Troubleshooting Network Printers

Joe Churma - Hardware Technician

I replaced a tray #2 paper pickup assembly in a laser jet network printer at a customer’s site. This required splitting the printer in two. After completing the replacement, the diagnostics ran OK. The customer IT analyst had the user send print jobs to the printer. The printer would print one form, but the second form instead of going to Tray #2 for plain paper or Tray #3 for letter head, would ask the for the form to be loaded into Tray #1.

I tried to reset configuration parameters, pulled off the covers, and reseated cables to PCB’s – all NG! The user we were using to send online test print jobs to the printer left for a meeting with one of her customers. The IT analyst then asked a second user to send print jobs to the printer. The online test for print jobs from the second user ran OK, as did tests from two other users. 

The first user’s software driver for the printer suddenly became corrupted and sent both myself and the customer's IT analyst down the yellow brick road chasing a ghost. What are the odds that a software driver would go corrupt for a printer that just had a major repair done to it?  One would believe that the odds are so small that you would believe that it would not happen. But yes, it can happen!

When you work on a network printer, always check it with multiple computers before determining if you have any problems with it even after a major repair. What turned into a two-hour ghost chase could have been avoided by testing the network printer on multiple computers in a half hour or less.