Technology Advisor Blog

Help! My Brother MFC-495 Printer Won't Print Black

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 10/12/11 9:04 AM

Brother MFC495 PrinterAfter a busy day at the office, it's time for IT support for the kids.  Last weeks call for help was an urgent - "The printer isn't printing!"  Typically, the printer is off-line, or the wrong printer was selected, but this time was different: paper was coming out, but it was blank.  I checked the ink cartridges and they were all fine.  I thought maybe the ink level indicator wasn't working, so I put in a new black cartridge.  No success.  The page was completely blank.  The work of fiction needed to be printed, so I changed the font color in the document to navy blue, and it printed fine. 

After going on line and googling for a solution, I found some support forums where people complained about the low quality of these all-in-one printers.  I started to conclude that I had a disposable printer, and given how much the ink costs, the fastest resolution was probably to get a new printer.  The problem is that I really like this printer/all-in-one.  It's compact, and the paper feeder works great for scanning and faxing, so I didn't want to see it go.

Turns out the solution was VERY simple:  The print head needed to be cleaned. Don't worry, this doesn't involve opening the system and using tools.... it's just a few buttons to press. Press the "Ink" button (red arrow on the photo above), then select "Cleaning", then select "Black", "Color" or "All".  In my case, I just needed to clean the black print head, and after two cleaning cycles, the printer was back in action.  A test page is generated after each cleaning cycle, and you're prompted to run the cycle again until you're satisfied with the quality.  For more detailed instructions, refer to page 155 of the 224 page manual available on-line. 

Hope this post saves you time if your printer won't print one day.

Tags: printer, clean print head, Brother MFC-495

How to Add a Printer in Windows 7

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 7/20/11 10:15 AM

One of the big benefits of keeping your technology current is that routine tasks get a LOT easier.  One prime example is adding a printer.

If you're bringing in a laptop from home and you need to print in your office, or if you've just bought a new printer, getting ready to print in Windows 7 is easy.

Add a PrinterTo add a printer, hit the "Start" button on your system (windows logo in the lower left hand corner of your screen), and select "Devices and Printers".  From there, select "Add a Printer".  You'll have two options:  (1) Select a Local Printer - this would be for a non-USB printer connected directly to your system.  Windows automatically installs USB printers when you plug them in! (2) Add a network, wireless, or BlueTooth printer.  This would be the standard configuration working in an office environment.

Its just a few more mouse clicks to install the printer.  You'll see a list of available printers on the network, and when you select the one you want, Windows will find the driver for you.  The "driver" is the software that tells your computer how to print to a specific printer.

In Windows 7, you'll see that installing a printer is a quick task, and you'll be thankful that your technology is up to date (or the task would take a lot longer).

Tags: Microsoft Windows 7, printer

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