Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Printer Cartridge Game

Think you got a great deal on a printer? Like the rest of us, you probably paid $50 to $75 for a decent Epson or Lexmark printer. What’s the catch, you might have asked? Most salesmen would say there is no catch. They’d probably go into a rant about how the printer market has gotten more competitive, driving prices way down. While that’s a true statement, it isn’t the primary reason for such inexpensive printers these days.

So, why are printers so inexpensive? It’s pretty simple – printer manufacturers need you to buy their printer model so you’re forced into buying their outrageously-priced ink cartridges. It’s kind of like the relationship between a gasoline company and car manufacturer, except in this situation the printer company is supplying both the automobile and the fuel. Gas companies wouldn’t make any money if no one owned an automobile. In the case of printer manufacturers, things are a little different. They don’t make any money on selling printers – they make their money by selling you the replacement ink cartridges.

It makes a lot of business sense when you think about it. A consumer buys a printer every few years, but may buy ink as much as once every three months. Printer manufacturers would much rather have this steady stream of income. Consumers don’t factor ink cartridge costs into the equation when they buy a printer. They look at the features and price tag. Sure you’re getting a great printer and not paying a lot. But if you use your printer on a fairly regular basis, the cost of ownership over a year or two (thanks to high priced ink cartridges) may exceed $500.

Before you buy your next printer, remember to do some research on printers, paying particular attention to the cost and longevity of the ink cartridge replacements. A little research ahead of time can save you hundreds of dollars. We don’t recommend Lexmark printers because Lexmark ink cartridges are generally mc more expensive than those of other brands, like Canon or Hewlett Packard. Because Lexmark embeds a special chip right into the cartridge, the cost of buying replacement Lexmark ink is astronomical.

How To Find Tech Support For Your Computer Printers

Computers are becoming commonplace in homes and offices around the world. The problem is that most people know so very little about their computers, that when something goes wrong, they do not know how to begin the troubleshooting process.

The ugly truth is that we could opt to call the technical support phone number that came with the computer, but you never really know what you are going to get at the other end of the phone. You could literally spend several hours just waiting to get to a technician, and then once you have the human on the line, there is just as good of a chance that they will not have a clue, as there is that they will find your solution.

I know this because I used to work in a computer technical support call center. You would be amazed who can pass as a technician! For most new hires, the only pre-qualifying knowledge that is necessary is being able to navigate the current Windows Operating System.

Management feels that if you can navigate Windows, then you can navigate the database to dig up a solution. The problem with this kind of thinking is that the person at the call center is often lost to find a solution that is not yet in the database.

Of course, all front line technicians have a help desk to call, but in my own experience, help desk posts were assigned based on politics and not technical knowledge. We ended up with some real idiots at our help desk. Call those people once or twice, and you will eventually decide that you stand a stronger chance to succeed on your own, than you would be able to accomplish going upstream in the support systems.

The Business of Printing Support

Fortunately, computer printers do not break that often. But when they do, troubleshooting can be a painful process.

There are some basics that you can cover to streamline the troubleshooting process.

Be forewarned that if you ever crack the case of your printer, you should make darn sure to disconnect the power source before you do so. Printers that are connected to a power supply can actually charge you up with enough current to kill you. Don't take chances with your life.

Long before you get to the point of trying to crack the case to reach the internals, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take.

* Always check your power supply to see that you have a good, solid connection. I know that it seems the most logical step to take, but you might be surprised how often a powerless machine is discovered to be an unplugged machine.

* If the printer has power going to it, then turn off the machine and then turn it back on. Each printer has an internal brain in it. Removing power temporarily from the machine will force the computer chip inside of the printer to reset. Often times, this will solve any issues.

* Make sure that your printer cartridge is properly seated. Make sure the cartridge is in the printer the way that the manufacturer intended.

* Use the printer's "self-test" feature. The manufacturer has included this to help you to eliminate common printing problems.

These four steps will help you to overcome the problems most commonly associated with printers.

For a complete breakdown of generic troubleshooting steps, the following URL points to the most comprehensive and easy-to-follow checklist I have seen:

Drivers Are the Software Applications That Power Printers

A driver is the software package that enables your printer to communicate with your computer's operating system, and vise versa.

The manufacturer of your printer sent out a software disc with the printer. On this disk, you can find the default driver for that printer.

As computing evolves, printer manufacturers upgrade their drivers to either improve the printer's performance or to keep up with changing Operating Systems.

Of course, you could go to a website that has been established to give you a one-stop shop for finding hardware drivers online. A couple of the most common sites of this type are:


While these global sites are good, they don't always deliver the most up-to-date drivers that are available from the manufacturer.

What Do You Do When Your Printer Runs Out Of Ink And You Have A Rush Printing Job?

It is always a pain in the neck when you run out of ink while printing a very important document – on a deadline. When everything fails, make sure you keep your cool and you know what to do next. Don’t worry! You’ll have that paper in your boss’ or professor’s desk in time – even if you run out of ink.

Undoubtedly, computer parts and accessories cost a lot. And you usually don’t realize when these parts would reach the end of their lifespan, so be sure you are prepared. Running out of ink is not a funny situation, not when you have a deadline for a paper. And buying a refill in the middle of the night is not exactly a fun thing to do. Now, you’d probably ask, “How do I keep my cool?” Here’s how: Know about ink refilling and do it yourself!

Ink refilling is popular nowadays, that it has even given birth to lots of ink-refilling stations. But that would mean another expense to you too, although it might be cheaper compared to buying a new ink cartridge. You can actually do the refilling yourself provided you have the materials and the knowledge how to do it.

Anybody who can read a manual would surely be able to get on with the task. Below is the list of what you should have and what you should do when refilling your own ink cartridge. Remember, keep your cool and don’t panic!

A place with a close access to running water is the best place to do the refilling. This is so as not to smear ink on furniture, other things most especially important documents.

The amount of ink to be refilled varies on the size of the cartridge. The cartridge states how many milliliters (ml.) of ink it can hold.

In your ink-refilling kit, a syringe is provided to draw the ink (of any color) to refill the empty (or near empty) cartridge. Along with it are bottles of ink of different colors, a bottle of cleaning solution especially designed for the sensitive parts of the cartridge and a user’s manual. Refer to the manual on how to properly inject the ink to the cartridge.

To transfer the ink from the syringe into the cartridge, there must be a very tiny hole (the size of the tip of a ball point pen) poked on top of the cartridge, near the label. Insert the needle of the syringe and slowly, very slowly inject the ink into the cartridge. It is necessary to do this process very slowly so that the ink would not form foam and the bubbles would prevent it from printing.

The newly created holes need not be sealed after refilling, as it would look like the other “breather” holes on top of the cartridge.

Left over ink inside the syringe can be returned to its original bottle. The syringe must be properly washed before using for another color. It is also preferable to use different syringes for different colors.

To make sure ink is not dripping out of the sponge, turn the cartridge upside down. Replace the cartridge back in the printer cradle, totally cleaned up. Run test print to see changes and to clear and clean any printing problems.

Few important things to remember:

It would be best to refill a near-empty cartridge than a totally empty one as dried up ink might cause clogging.

It would be best to let refilled ink cartridge stand overnight to let the newly injected ink even out.

It would be best to poke a tiny hole on top of the cartridge with UTMOST care so as not to cause a crack which will completely make it useless. Even a very thin crack might cause the newly refilled ink to dry up no sooner that when you put it in.

It would be best to inspect the cartridges to be refilled because there are some ink cartridges that say “Single Use Only”, and refilling it might cause damage to the printer especially when the ink injected is not the same with the previous content of the cartridge. Worse, when found out, the one who refilled it (you or some commercial refilling station) could face charges.

It would be best to check the cartridge (especially the newer models) for the green chip that keeps track of the levels of the ink. Its memory can be reset so as to be able to check the level of the cartridge with the newly-injected ink or when it is necessary to refill “again” before it has completely run out of ink.

Monday, January 16, 2006

How Device Drivers Work?