Welcome to this new series of articles about home computing. This month’s tips are about printers. Most home users will have an inkjet printer which will use either a colour and black cartridge or a black with individual colours, cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow.
You need to turn the printer on at least once every week to charge the ink. This helps to prevent blockages and keeps the ink fresh in the head and stops the inks from drying out. You do not need to do anything to your printer as the cleaning function happens automatically when the printer is turned on and you do not need to print anything either.
Once the printer has finished making its ‘start up noises’ this means that it has performed the above function and can be turned off again. This is true of the majority of inkjet printers ; if your model doesn’t work automatically it will be a feature that is accessible from the lcd panel on the front of your printer, or via the printer software on your computer.
Many people think that you must only use original cartridges as cheaper compatible inks will either damage the printer or void the warranty of the printer, a misconception that the manufactures do not correct. This is not the case. You can get wonderful prints from inks that are a fraction of the cost of an ‘original’.
Did you know that if there is an interruption to your phone or internet service you can still print documents or pictures as your printer will still be able to operate wirelessly (providing the router is turned on! ; you just won’t be able to surf the web until the problem is fixed!! ) It is handy to keep a USB cable in reserve, just in case. If you need to print direct from the web, or if your router breaks, a solution would be to use a mobile broadband dongle, which is a little pre-paid USB device that plugs into your PC or laptop in conjunction with the USB cable.
Nicola Baglow (Complete Computing).