Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Protect Your Laser Printer from Damaging Voltage Spikes

According to HP “Problems or issues may arise when an HP LaserJet series printer is connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a power strip, or a surge protector”.

That is good advice, however, how can a user protect his printer from damaging power surges?

Undersized or over utilized surge protectors and UPS’s will lower voltage to a printer which can cause a number of problems. HP lists a few:
High pitched squealing, beeping sounds, or alarms (UPS)
NOTE: Noise over the phone line can also cause high-pitched squeals and beeping sounds.
Inexplicable or false error messages
Printer will not "wake up" from sleep mode
Printer appears to be DOA
Incorrect printout
Slower than normal printing
The printer control panel display is blank or shows garbled characters
Accessories, such as attached copier/scanners, do not function properly
Monitor loses power or shuts off
Computer reboots when job is printing
Job only prints half way, causing a paper jam

HP’s solution to these symptoms is to: “Plug the printer directly into a wall outlet to test. The surge protector or UPS may not be allowing sufficient voltage through to the printer”
HP should go one step further.
If plugging the printer directly into a wall outlet eliminates the problem do NOT keep it there. Get a dedicated surge protector and plug the printer in to it. A UPS will keep a computer from crashing and loosing work time and data. Loss of power to a printer powers it down but does no further damage, however, a voltage spike can be a big problem. Using a properly sized surge protector diminishes the chance a voltage spike will damage the circuitry in the printer.
A printer doesn’t need all the benefits of a UPS but it does need surge protection.

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