Inkjet printers offer relatively inexpensive color printing for everyone. Techs need to understand how inkjets work for maintenance and troubleshooting. This video covers all the components and processes involved.
is the printer that brought color printing to the masses. This is an inkjet printer. Now, for a long time, inkjet printers were the way that we made color printing, and we still see lots of color printers out there that use inkjet technology, although today, lasers are doing a pretty good job of it. Now, when we talk about inkjets, Inkjets tend to be more inexpensive, although I would argue that, than laser printers. Inkjets tend to cost less to actually run than laser printers, which I would also challenge that as well. However, the big thing I want to do in this episode is make sure you understand how inkjets work. So let's take a look at inkjet technology. The whole idea behind inkjet is that you have these ink cartridges, and connected to these cartridges, although they don't have to be connected, sometimes the cartridge can be a little bit away and there's a hose, is this little guy right here. This is where the jet comes from. What happens is that ink is brought into this, and then we put some fire underneath it (chuckling), we heat it up, and it actually boils and shoots the ink out of the little jet itself. So not only does the ink shoot out, but it comes out with a charge on it. So we can actually put these metal deflectors around it, which will actually point the ink in different direction. Now the ink doesn't just stay in one spot. What we actually have is what we call a print head. So here's an example of the print head. And if it's just black and white then we'll have just one little jet here. Otherwise we might have CYMK, so we have cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, you might see that a lot too. In fact, a lot of times on these inkjets you can even have more colors than just that. But the bottom line is, is you've got this print head, and that print head actually stores all of the jets. So what then takes place is this print head moves back and forth on the carriage, which allows it to shoot ink across an entire sheet of paper. This is being transferred, we have rollers on either side, and a belt that actually moves the carriage back and forth. In fact, when inkjet first came out, they were known as bubble jet, because the little heater made a bubble and, ping, shot the ink onto the paper. Now, not only do we have all of those parts, but the other thing we're going to have is, you know, it's a printer, so it's going to have some kind of feeding mechanism to bring in paper, and as well as to bring the paper out when it's done. The nice thing about inkjets, especially compared to laser jets, is that we don't see all the scary high voltages, and incredibly high heats that you would see with lasers. So they tend to be a little bit safer for people who don't do the right thing. So let's go ahead and actually take a look inside this guy. First of all, what I want to do, is I'm going to force this guy into a mode so we can actually see some things happen. So I've put it into a maintenance mode. We'll talk about that in a minute, but what I'm more interested is showing you this. What you can actually see there is the print head on the carriage moving back and forth. And so you can actually even see the belt that's pushing it if you look closely enough. Now, he doesn't like it when I open him like that when he's in the middle of these jobs like this, well tough! I want to show you guys. So that's actually moving back and forth, which is really pretty cool. The other thing we're going to have is we're going to have ink cartridges. And anybody who's ever messed with an inkjet knows that we have ink cartridges. These are actually kind of interesting. (door clicking open) We can actually see them there. So we have M, C, Y, and then black. this is actually what we call a multifunction device. In particular, it's also a scanner. So you see I've got scanner functions right here. And it even does fax as well. So these are popular in offices. So I got a printer, I've got a scanner, and I've got a fax machine, all built into one. I even have phone jacks to plug in, if you still need to do old school faxing. Now, when it comes to maintaining these guys, there's a couple of things we need to deal with. The big thing is is that there's always some type of maintenance mode to do. In particular, what you're going to want to do, is that carriage, when it's not being used, and it sits in what's known as a maintenance area. In fact, I think we could probably see it on this guy. (printer parts banging together) In fact, it's way over here. We see how he's kind of pushed off to one corner? The maintenance area really only has one important job, and that is to (fist hitting palm) plug those inkjets. Inkjets are notorious for clogging; it's a big problem. So whenever an inkjet's not working for a living, it goes into a maintenance area, and little stoppers come up so that it won't drip ink and clog; it's a big deal. All inkjets do this, no exception to that. However, you can run into problems. So one of the big things is that all of these inkjets have some kind of maintenance tools. In particular, one of the things they'll true, number one is they'll try to clean the nozzles. So if you're ever having problem with a particular color not coming out, or you're getting clipped imagery, all you do is you run through a clean the nozzles, or clean the jets, it depends on the brand, and it will go in a force all of these guys to squirt ink. It actually will heat the individual jets a little bit extra, and most of the time it'll clean out any extra ink you have laying around, and it does a pretty good job. The other thing you have to worry about, and this is unique to the color ones, is you have to do some form of calibration. Because you have literally four different jets shooting, over time, because they're just kind of stamped in there, they can lose their calibration, and all of these printers have some kind of recalibrate mode, where you can actually just force it, and it will automatically double check everything and recalibrate the jets for ya. I'm going to tell you right now, from a maintenance standpoint, I'm not a big fan of inkjets. Inkjets take a lot of love in order for them to work the way you need them to work. They also tend to use a lot of ink over a relatively short time, so you're constantly replacing cartridges. Now, luckily for us, pretty much all inkjets today will have some kind of little program running on your computer, that'll let you know your inkjet, your different ink levels and things like that so you can replace cartridges, but be braced for some real sticker shock when you go in and find yourself having to replace just the cyan (laughing), because, well, you're running out of cyan, and it can get a little bit expensive. The other challenge we run into with inkjets, in fact, this could be with almost any printing technology, inkjets tend to be pretty bad, I'm also going to throw laser jets in here too, is paper jams. We have pickup rollers on these guys. They can pick up paper dander, they have trouble picking up paper. Or even worse, they'll partially pick it up, or they'll pick up two or three sheets, and you get a jam. Luckily all these guys come with lots of little doors and access points for us to be able to clear those jams away. All right, so that's the basics of an inkjet printer. Now, keep in mind, just because Mike Meyers, popular author, is saying he's not a big fan of it, don't think for a moment that the A+ isn't a fan, you're going to see plenty of questions on these guys. (upbeat music)
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