Know More About Your Printer

Paper Jams : Why Paper Gets Stuck Inside The Printer

Paper jams do happen frequently, particularly when a laser printer is already over a year old. This temporary inconvenience however occurs with all types of printers and not just laser printers; given the mechanical components in motion to transfer paper from one component to the next. With contemporary printer units, state of the art electronic devices now support the smooth conveyance of paper while built-in software prompts the user over the occurrence of a paper jam. Nonetheless, these do not in any way prevent the incidence of paper jams. Paper gets stuck inside the paper due to damaged or worn out rollers.

What are printer rollers?

Rollers are moving plastic cylinders that depend on friction between its rough rubber coating and the surface of the paper to move the latter across printer components. Over time, the roller surface will wear out; picking up toner and paper dust that will contaminate its surface and reduce its resistance. This then becomes the precursor to paper jams which can be fixed by cleaning roller surface with a lint-free damp cloth or if not, by replacing the entire roller assembly. Nevertheless, to identify which roller is due for replacement and likewise causing printer jams needs careful study.

Which printer roller is responsible for paper jams?

The Pick-up Roller set with the paper supply tray is the typical culprit of most paper jams. When said rollers are moving but could not pick-up paper, this indicates loss of friction caused by a dirty, worn out roller that renders the roller unable to grip the paper properly. When the roller’s rubber coating is spotted shiny or smooth, then it’s time to replace the pick up roller.

On the other hand, paper jams can also be caused by transparencies where a ream of paper has been loaded to the tray straight from its packaging. Transparencies packed in a ream tends to stick to each other and therefore needs to be loosened before loading the stack to the printer.

The Separator Pads outfitted with the paper supply tray allows paper to be fed to the printer one at a time; even when a stock of transparencies is loaded to the tray. Positioned right in the middle of the paper path, the device is intended to avoid multiple feeding and prevent paper jams as well. Separation pads are held by a pair of steel pressure springs that is responsible for introducing pressure on the topmost surface of the loaded stack to thus allow pick-up rollers to pick paper one at a time.

Over time, the pressure springs lose its pressure capability to cause multiple paper feeding and eventually the dreaded paper jams. As preventive maintenance, what is recommended is the replacement of pressure springs following 3 toner cartridge replacements or after the third refill, in case cartridge toner supply is replenished using toner refill kits; to keep the pressure springs reliable and properly functioning.

Remember that paper jams do not occur because of an empty toner cartridge but due to dirty and worn out rollers.

Photo credit: leokoivulehto / / CC BY

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