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How to Troubleshoot a Used Copier

If you’ve recently purchased a used copier, congratulations! You’re likely to save a lot of money on the cost of a new machine. However, before you can start using your new copier, you’ll need to troubleshoot it to make sure it’s in good working order. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of troubleshooting a used copier. We’ll cover everything from paper jams to broken printers. So read on for tips and tricks on how to get your used copier up and running in no time!

Paper Jams

A paper jam occurs when a sheet of paper gets stuck inside the copier. A jam can be caused by feeding multiple sheets at once, placing too many sheets in the input tray, or if something is stuck on the glass or rollers. This usually results in having to troubleshoot the issue with a used copier.

Take note of how many sheets are jammed into the machine; then take out each sheet until you find where the blockage occurs. Clean any debris that has accumulated inside. You might need to have the copier serviced if the paper is still having trouble.

There are two types of paper jams:

  1. The first type happens when one sheet is fed but doesn’t get ejected correctly. The second piece will be torn into several pieces that get stuck inside. This is typically more difficult to troubleshoot unless you have experience working with used copiers. You will need to check for loose toner cartridges and any broken gears due to excessive force being applied.
  2. The second type is known as a “chain jam.” This occurs when several sheets are fed at once. They will typically make it halfway through the machine before getting tangled together, breaking multiple gears inside. You can troubleshoot this by checking for torn rubber rollers and any loose toner cartridges.

Lines On Paper

This typically is due to the drum not rotating. The most common reason for this happening is because of insufficient oil surrounding the gears of the drum and paper pickup rollers, or old worn-out oil which doesn’t maintain enough pressure around the drum. If you are troubleshooting your own machine, be sure to check any kind of safety interlocks that may prevent operation under certain conditions.

When troubleshooting lines on paper, start by replacing the black toner cartridge. This should correct the issue. If not, you may need to replace the drum unit (also known as a “drum kit”).

A common misconception is that this issue always occurs because of excess toner in the cartridge; however, it’s far more likely that there’s too little toner or worn parts.

The troubleshooting steps for this type of problem include:

  • Check the fuser roller for wear and contamination from toner debris, which can transfer onto paper
  • Replace rollers as needed
  • Remove and clean green electrical contacts with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol
  • Make sure that there is sufficient oil surrounding the gears of the drum and rollers

If these troubleshooting steps do not solve the problem, it could be related to contamination or excess toner.

To troubleshoot for this possibility, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  • Check the corona wire for wear and replace if needed.
  • Make sure that the fuser roller is seated properly in its location​.

Cartridge And Toner Issues

Generally, there are two different types of faults that are the most commonly found in a used copier. First, there is a cartridge issue. This can be caused by either low toner or toner not reaching all parts of the cartridge properly. Second, if your machine cannot detect your cartridges, it usually means they have to be replaced.

To troubleshoot the cartridge issue you will need plenty of paper for testing and several new or used cartridges with full drums wrapped together so no one opens them.

Remove one cartridge and then fire up your machine. Feed-in some paper and either let it run its course or hit cancel when the toner light comes on. If the cartridge is low this should reset it and tell you how much toner is in it by blinking 4 times for new and once for low. Repeat the process until all cartridges have been checked and you will know which ones need to be replaced.

To troubleshoot the missing cartridge error you only need four that hold down one corner of the duplexer. Open every tray except for the duplexing unit and feed a piece of paper into each tray individually. Once all trays are filled with paper add four pieces to an unopened duplexing unit and then close it. If the machine misses a cartridge that is not in any one of these places, troubleshoot each location until you find where the problem originates from.

Copies Come Out Either Too Light Or Too Dark

If a used copier is creating copies that are either too light or too dark, this usually indicates that the photoconductor located inside of the machine needs to be cleaned. The photoconductor provides the toner with a surface to lay on, and without it being clean, images will not come out as they should.

When a new photoconductor (the drum) is installed, the copies coming out either too light or too dark indicate a problem with the surface of the photoconductor because it has been damaged during shipment or installation.

The best way to tell if this is the case is by running a cleaning page after you install a new photoconductor and then looking at how well it cleans up. If there are still areas on the photoconductor that didn’t clean off, then you have found the issue.

A Used Copier That Doesn’t Copy

If your copier isn’t copying properly, troubleshoot by checking that there are no foreign objects on the glass of the machine.  Press “Copy” to see if it’s in manual mode — if not, press “Stop/Clear,” then hold down “Start” until the display reads “Copy.” You might need to have it serviced or cleaned if troubleshooting these steps doesn’t work.

A Used Copier That Doesn’t Want To Turn On

In troubleshooting a used copier that doesn’t want to turn on, it’s important to keep in mind that all electronics can be fragile. In the case of a copier, this means that there are several components working together that can stop working from something as simple as being jarred too hard or being plugged into an outlet with not enough power. When troubleshooting a used copier, it’s ideal to always consult a technician so they can pinpoint what is causing the machine to malfunction and have it repaired quickly. To troubleshoot a used copier yourself though, you will need:

  • An outlet tester
  • A multimeter
  • Philips screwdriver
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Testing for power outlets is easy with an outlet tester, which can be purchased at any hardware store for just a few dollars. Many copiers require a 220-volt outlet, and if you’re troubleshooting a used copier that won’t turn on, then it’s possible that the outlets don’t have enough power to run the machine. 

Testing for this is simple: plug in your outlet tester and make sure all of the lights on it light up. If one or more of them doesn’t, you aren’t getting enough power to your outlets and need to troubleshoot further by testing each outlet using a multimeter.

The multimeter is another tool that can be purchased at any hardware store; use an analog multimeter (the cheaper option) rather than digital because not only will it be much cheaper but it will also be easier to troubleshoot using. To use the multimeter, touch the clips on either side of it to the ends of the prong in an outlet and check if you’re getting 220 volts. If not, troubleshoot power issues further by switching outlets until you find one that works.

If you’re having trouble with your used copier, give us a call and we’ll help troubleshoot it for you. We can also provide old-fashioned customer service that’s not available from most manufacturers these days. Call us today if one of these problems is happening to your machine!

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Office Machine Specialists has been servicing and selling office equipment since 1995. A family run business that has dedicated our efforts to providing the best equipment options and after-sales service to our clients. Our goal is to ask the right questions and guide our customers to make smart decisions about new machine leases and purchases.  We were servicing copiers long before the internet was a viable resource, and have transitioned to the digital workflow environment of color printing, scanning, account control and fleet management. With over 20 years in the industry we have extensive experience with many brands and consider OMS to be a valuable resource to any organization. Contact us for all of your copier needs here!