The Common Problems
One common problem with inkjet printers occurs when the printed item has lines in it. Sometimes there are lighter or darker lines between the printing rows, sometimes it’s faint printing, and sometimes there are literally tiny straight white lines where no ink at all is on the paper. Unfortunately there’s not one answer that fixes these issues, so here is a breakdown of each type of issue and how to fix it.
Most of the information below is also in this video but you should read over the rest of the article even if you watch the video.
Light or Dark Lines Between the Printing Rows
This problem is normally called “banding” and contrary to most people’s reaction of “run a cleaning”, this is not usually the problem. As the print head moves back and forth, each row must be positioned perfectly to allow the rows of ink to butt against each other. This results in rows of printed ink that blend perfectly and you normally cannot tell the image was printed in rows with the naked eye. When the paper type selection in the printer driver is not correct, the print head is not adjusted properly.
For example, if you are printing on sublimation paper or matte printable vinyl the best choice for paper type is usually Presentation Paper Matte. If you print on various media such as waterslide, cardstock, and others, you may have to use some of your media to experiment and print with different settings until you narrow down the best setting for your media.
Print head clogs normally leave light areas in the printed rows, sometimes they will look like smudges. Other times there may be ink completely missing or tiny perfect white lines left behind across the entire print. What gives the appearance of a clog can also be an air bubble in the print head or feed line. This is often caused by ink not being the correct viscosity such as using generic sublimation ink or generic regular ink (non-name brand) in the printer. We always recommend using original name-brand ink from the printer manufacturer. In addition to our dpiSub Premium Sublimation Ink, we offer regular Epson ink for many Eco-Tank models.
To clear up this situation, you should run a nozzle check and possibly a head cleaning. In the worst cases it may require a Power Cleaning if the printer is an Epson. For other brands you may need to research how to clean the heads, but you can click here for an article on how to clean your printer heads and also learn about the Power Cleaning procedure.
If you believe your printer is clogging from non-use or low usage, you can use this free utility to send a scheduled test page to your printer to help prevent clogging.
Use the Correct Printer Drivers
One of the biggest issues I have seen is that users get their new printer set up, plug it in, and Windows installs the printer driver for them and they’re off and running. The problem with this scenario is that the original manufacturer printer drivers are not being used so you miss out on special utilities, controls, and settings specifically designed for your printer. Every printer model will have it’s own specific drivers and software utilities so it’s important to install the correct software. You can simply use Google to search for the drivers by using your printer brand and model along with the word “drivers” and normally the manufacturer’s website will be at or near the top of the results. The images below show examples of what the differences are if you have the Microsoft drivers or the printer manufacturer drivers installed.
Printers are mechanical devices and can be finicky and often misunderstood. Using the information above you should be able to resolve clogs and maintain your printer in good working order.