Print cartridges sometimes represent a significant budget for individuals or companies. There’s nothing more irritating than finding that a new cartridge doesn't work properly and that you have to replace it without even having used it! In this article, we give you all the best practices to avoid these problems and to best preserve your ink or laser cartridges...
How to keep your laser cartridges in top condition?
Laser cartridges are sensitive to external factors such as temperature, humidity and brightness.
1. Be wary of the temperature
When outside of the printer, laser printer cartridges must be stored at a temperature of less than 40 degrees Celsius. If exposed to a high temperature, the powder grains may begin to stick together. This would result in print defects (stains, leaks, etc.). The grains could also damage the printer.
2. Watch out for humidity!
Too much humidity (about 80%) will alter the electrostatic charge and cause printing quality problems. The powder will be poorly transferred onto the paper. So be careful to keep your cartridges somewhere dry!
3. Cartridges are sensitive to light.
The drum of the cartridge (photoconductive cylinder) is sensitive to light. If the cartridge is too exposed, its quality may deteriorate. This will cause smudges on print-outs. So keep your laser cartridges out of bright sunlight!
Of course, as we will also see for ink cartridges, laser cartridges must be handled carefully so as not to damage the electronic chip (the printer will not recognise the cartridge, etc.)
How to keep your ink cartridges in top condition?
1. Prevent the ink in your cartridges from drying out
For an ink cartridge to function properly, its ink must be fluid. Indeed, when the ink in the print cartridge dries out, the print head through which the ink passes may malfunction. Dry ink will damage the print head by blocking its nozzles. The drier the ink, the harder it will be to fix the problem.
A print head is located either in the printer or directly on the cartridge. It will be even more difficult to fix this problem if the print head is in the printer. If it cannot be recovered, the printer must be repaired or replaced. For the cartridge, just replace it…
To avoid drying out cartridges, we recommend that you follow these instructions:
- Do not expose the ink cartridge to extreme temperatures (excessive or negative) as these may affect the ink's fluidity.
- Print regularly to prevent ink stagnating in the print head. It is recommended to print at least one page per week.
- Open the cartridge cap only at the last moment before inserting into the printer. Be careful not to lose ink when opening!
- Use your oldest cartridges before the most recent ones.
If the ink in one of your cartridges has accidentally dried, you can still try to run it again by cleaning the nozzles using your printer software (see maintenance tab). Printers are equipped with small tools that clean the print heads.
Be careful to wait at least one hour after cleaning before reprinting. This allows the ink used during cleaning to have enough time to dissolve the blocked ink in the nozzles. Do not repeat this operation more than 3 times. All your printer cartridge nozzles will be cleaned and you may needlessly use all your other cartridges.
After 3 cleanings, if the cartridge still does not work, take a paper towel, moisten it, and clean the print head with a delicate, linear movement. The nozzle rows will appear (3 different colours for colour, 2 to 3 rows for black). If a row is missing, the reservoir is empty. Also pay attention to the various tutorials available on the Internet, check that the source is reliable and that advice is given by a professional. Unfortunately, if the problem is not resolved, we recommend that you replace the cartridge.
2. Avoid leakage problems and dropping your cartridge
Avoid bringing your cartridges with you by plane! Indeed, a high pressure variation can cause ink leaks…
Also, handle your cartridges carefully, as they are sensitive. Even if the packaging is suitable, a drop can very quickly damage the ink reservoirs or the chips. If the chip is damaged or dirty, the cartridge may not be recognised by your printer.
At Armor, whether for our Armor or OWA cartridges, we make sure to minimize risks (suitable packaging with a recyclable air cushion, optimised ink formulation, 3-year warranty for ink jet cartridges and lifetime for laser cartridges, etc.). However, all cartridges are fragile and you must still take precautions if you do not want to effect the quality of your cartridges.
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