Understanding How An Inkjet Printer Works

By: Richard J. Martin

Computer printers are great when they work correctly, but when they do not work as they should, they can become a real source of frustration. If you know how an inkjet printer works, then you are likely to have fewer problems with it and you are more likely to be able to make simple repairs to the printer yourself.

Inkjet printers are the cheapest printers that you can buy, and because of this many people elect to purchase them instead of the more expensive laser printers. An inkjet printer places very small droplets of ink onto a page that it is printing. The droplets are so small that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. It is by putting a number of these tiny droplets together that you can see an image or print on your printed page.

The inkjet printer, and other printers like it, never actually touches the piece of paper where it is printing. Instead the inkjet printer uses a series of nozzles to spray the ink onto the page, and thus gives you the final image that you see on the paper.

Since inkjet printers never actually touch the paper they are considered to be "non-impact printers". Typewriters on the other hand used a solid impact to place the image on the page. The actual shape of the letter or number from a bar on the typewriter would hit a ribbon and push the ink onto the page.

There are a variety of other types of non-impact printers, but many of them are rarely used or are considered too expensive. Often, you can find an inkjet printer for under $50 and this helps make the inkjet printers more appealing to most consumers.

Inside the printer you will find many different parts. The print head is the main part of the printer; it contains a series of nozzles that spray the ink onto the paper. There is also a print head stopper motor that moves the print head back and forth across the paper while printing.

A belt attaches the print head to the print head stopper motor, and a stabilizer bar is used to stabilize the print head.

Inside the printer you will also find the paper feeder and the paper rollers as well as a paper feeder stepper motor. The paper feeder stepper motor synchronizes the movement of the paper with that of the print head so that the images that are printing appear on the correct place of the page. Most of the newer inkjet printers are using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port to connect to your computer, but there are still quite a few older models that use a parallel port.

When you purchase a new inkjet printer, it will come with a disc that you will need to install the software onto your computer. Once you place the disc into your computer it will activate an installation wizard. Generally the installation wizard provides some very easy-to-follow instructions on how to place the software into your computer.

The only hardware that you will actually need to install in the inkjet printer is a power cord to an electrical socket, a cord from the printer to your computer (either a USB port or parallel port), and then you will need to install the ink cartridges, leaving you with only the paper to load.

For people who have never used a computer printer before, the main things they are interested in when learning is how to load the paper and how to replace the ink cartridges. For the average computer printer owner, these are the only maintenance tasks they will need to carry out during the life of the printer.

The actual ink cartridges will vary according to the particular model and brand of printer that you have. Some brands have one ink cartridge for black and one for all other colors; some printers have only one cartridge that contains all colors, including black. Yet, other models will have a separate ink cartridge for every primary color.

When you buy a new printer, be sure and read the box to see if the printer comes with ink cartridges or not. It would seem apparent that every new printer would come with ink cartridges included, but that is just not the case. When you do have the need to replace the ink cartridges, you want to be absolutely sure that you get the correct replacement cartridges. Different brands and models of printers use different ink cartridges. I have found it best to remove the old ink cartridge and check the part number to be absolutely sure that I get the correct replacement ink cartridges for my printers.

If you are willing to buy your replacement ink cartridges in advance of your current cartridges running out, then you can expect to save some big money by buying your ink jet cartridges from internet retailers. Don't take my word for it, shop around and compare prices. You might be surprised to see how much some of your local stores are marking up these essential computing products.

Knowing how you will use your printer will help you to decide what type of printing paper to purchase. If you intend on printing a large number of photos you may want to get a higher quality photo-paper. If you are a college student using a printer primarily for term papers, then a lower quality paper will usually serve your needs just fine.

You can find inkjet printers made by a variety of manufacturers at a wide variety of prices. You can spend as little or as much as you want on an inkjet printer. Your purchase decision will greatly depend on how you plan to use your printer. Again, if you plan on creating photos or business cards with your printer, you may want to opt for a higher quality model, but if you simply want to print out some papersComputer Technology Articles, then it might make better sense to go with a less expensive printer.

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