My Printer Is Printing Stripes
Desktop printers contain complex combinations of permanent moving parts and consumable components that must be replaced on a regular basis. When your office printer produces output with striped patterns across or along the pages, you’re wasting paper and supplies until you figure out what’s wrong. The type of output defect you see and the printer you use will determine where you direct your troubleshooting.
Inkjet printers work by heating or applying an electric current to tiny nozzles, causing them to change shape and force ink onto the page. If you see voids or horizontal lines in your output, your printhead may have clogged nozzles. Inkjets do not tolerate downtime well, and it may take several head-cleaning cycles to break through dried ink. If the defects in your output cause the appearance of vertical lines in your page content to be disrupted, your printhead may need to be realigned. Cleaning and realignment both consume some of your installed ink, particularly if your equipment requires thorough cleaning or multiple adjustment cycles.
Laser Toner or Drum Cartridge
Laser printers print a full page at a time by transferring toner from a rotating drum onto paper and melting the toner with a heating unit. The drum is either a component of the toner cartridge or a separate consumable. Scratches on its photosensitive surface can cause stripes or lines in output in either case. Most cartridges have a spring-loaded shutter that opens when the consumable is inserted into the printer. Surface scratches may be visible if you remove the cartridge and gently open the shutter without touching the drum or anything else inside the cartridge. Replace the cartridge and reprint your document page to rule out consumables as the source of your problems.
Toner is made up of ground plastic and colouring agents. Laser printers use a heating element called a fuser to bond it to paper, which melts the toner as the paper passes through the fuser’s rollers. If toner cakes onto the fuser or its rollers wear out, you may notice unexpected vertical lines across your output. You may be able to find a repetitive defect ruler published by the printer manufacturer for your hardware model to diagnose lines that form a repeating pattern. This document identifies the source of marks on the page based on their location in relation to the position of rollers and other print mechanism components. Some manufacturers restrict access to these service manuals to technicians only.
Unbonded toner can end up on the rollers or other moving parts of a laser printer and transfer to your output as stripes, tracks, or lines. Many roller marks create a distinct “tire-mark” pattern along each sheet as the paper passes through the printer. Curing these flaws necessitates a two-step process. Finding the source of stray toner may lead you to a leaky cartridge that gradually soils your machine or a one-time accident caused by attempting to reprint a page from another machine that fuses at a lower temperature than your printer. Depending on your level of experience and the design of your printer, cleaning the device may necessitate a service call.
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