Frequently Asked Questions
We have a huge amount of experience in the industry and our engineers and reception are often asked the same questions. We've put together some FAQs to help you find resources and troubleshoot any issues you may have.
1. How do I remove a paper jam?
You should have received a guide to your machine when purchased, so consult this first to see if there are specific instructions on how to remove jams on your model. If there isn’t one, or you have misplaced the guide, follow these simple steps to help clear the jam:
1. Like with many technological errors, it is always wise to switch the machine off at the mains, and re-start. You might find that the jam will clear itself when the machine warms up.
2. If the jam doesn’t clear, but you can see the paper that is jammed, give it a gentle tug to remove it from the machine.
3. If you can’t see the paper, and your printer has a screen, it will probably tell you where in the machine the jam is (with images for easy location). The machine will give you basic instructions on how to get into the part of the machine that the jam is, and then tell you how to remove the paper.
4. If your printer doesn’t have a screen, you will have to do some investigation of your own, and look in the machine to see where the paper is jammed.
5. When you have found the paper, gently tug the paper to help guide it out of the machine, tug from both corners, so you don’t rip the paper. Some larger models such as MFPs and digital duplicators may have handles to turn that help to get the paper moving.
6. Once the paper has been removed, open the paper trays, and make sure that the paper is all aligned and not curled, wrinkled or creased – replace with fresh paper if the paper is not perfect.
7. Before the print job restarts, you may have to press a button to let the machine know that the jam has been removed.
3. What causes the black spots on my print-outs and how can I prevent them?
There are a number of reasons why your printer or photocopier could produce documents with black dots of smudges on them. This includes lack of moisture in the room, not telling your printer what paper type you’re using, a dodgy toner cartridge, if your printer hasn’t been serviced for a while, or if your photocopier has foreign material in it or has been damaged in some way.
LACK OF MOISTURE
Laser photocopiers and printers require a certain level of static electricity to fuse the toner to paper. If your printer is located in a room that experiences low humidity levels, then it can interfere with the printer’s ability to bond toner effectively to the paper. To avoid this, investing in a humidifier can help to improve print output in an environment that is too dry.
INCORRECT PAPER SELECTION
It is important that you tell the printer how thick the paper is you are about to print on, or if it is a coated stock, such as gloss or silk. If the machine is expecting plain 80gsm paper to be used, but you are using 200gsm paper, for example, it will not heat the fuser to an appropriate temperature for thick paper, resulting in smudges and un-fused toner dust left on the surface.
Whenever you are printing on stocks which are not your standard office paper, be it a thicker paper or different paper stock, including envelopes or sheets of labels, you must be sure to change the paper tray settings, not just on the print driver window but on the actual machine itself. It is also advised that you use the bypass tray when printing on thick or coated stock, as it travels through the machine in the straightest route, which helps to prevent paper jamming.
A BAD TONER CARTRIDGE
Usually associated with compatible or re-filled cartridges, a leaky cartridge deposits toner inside your printer and onto your paper in places that it’s not intended, resulting in black spots. The easiest way to check if a cartridge has defects, is to place it on a large piece of paper and tap it with a ruler, if toner is emitted from the cartridge, it is advised that you use a different cartridge, and dispose of the damaged one in your toner recycling box.
CHECK THE PHOTOCOPIER GLASS
The glass on the photocopier may be to blame for black spots on print-outs when copying documents. If there are specks of dust or dirt on the glass, then the photocopier will reproduce them on the printed outputs. To check if this is the cause, place a blank piece of paper on the glass and produce a copy, if there are black specks it is likely that the screen is dirty. Therefore, it is important that you make sure the glass surface is cleaned regularly to prevent this. After you have cleaned it, repeat the blank copy process and the print out should come out clear.
FOREIGN MATERIAL CAUSES BLACK SPOTS
Spots and streaks can be caused by foreign material finding its way inside the machine and sticking to or damaging the surface of the drum. The foreign material can be:
• glue from labels
• glue from envelopes
• paper clips
Toner builds up on the areas of the drum where the foreign objects are and creates black dots on the printed pages. The way to prevent this, is to ensure that users don’t photocopy documents that contain paperclips or staples, and that when printing on labels or envelopes that the machine is told that is going to be printing on envelopes and labels (it will lower the temperature, and prevent the glue melting in the machine).
Over time, the components inside copiers collect dust and dirt. Failure to properly clean inside a machine can affect its long-term performance. Midshire engineers carry out preventative maintenance as part of every visit to a customer. When they arrive at your offices, they will not only look at the broken-down machine, but all Midshire machines on-site and give them a good clean to remove any dust and dirt to prevent black marks on the printouts, and also prevent future breakdowns.
2. How do I prevent a paper jam?
Once you have gone through the process of clearing a paper jam you will want to reduce the chance of it happening again. So follow these simple steps to limit your chances.
1. Always only use one kind of paper in the tray at any time.
2. Check with the documentation that came with your printer (or do a quick Google search) to find out what the maximum and minimum paper weights your machine can handle. Never use paper that is too heavy, as it will get stuck.
3. Ensure you have selected the correct paper thickness / quality in the print controls on your PC before you start the print job.
4. Always store your paper in a cool, dry place. If any moisture gets into the paper, it is likely to cause it to stick together, meaning multiple sheets of paper can accidentally get fed through the machine, causing jams.
5. When you add paper to your machine, ensure that the paper is not curled, wrinkled or creased, and is all aligned, using the moveable guides within the paper tray.
6. Do not overload the paper trays. There are usually guides within the tray, with a ‘fill to’ line for guidance.
7. Never open the paper tray while printing is in process – this will disrupt the print job and is likely to lead to mis-feeds and paper jams.
4. Lost instruction booklet
If you can’t find your instruction manual you will be glad to hear that all the manuals for Toshiba and Ricoh machines can be found on their website.
Simply click on the links below and search for your machine.
If you can’t find it give us a call on 01799 525 777 and we'll be happy to help.