How to Connect and Setup a Wireless Printer

How to setup a wireless printerSetting up a wireless printer for the first time used to be hard. The operating systems commonly in use weren’t designed to work with wireless printers, and so you had to do a lot more work to setup the printer. Now, most modern operating systems are designed to work with wireless printers, and many other wireless devices. You can take advantage of this, to connect a WiFi equipped printer to your computer, and print from anywhere in your home.

While there are several technologies that wireless printers can use to connect to a computer, the most common is WiFi. That is the type of wireless printer that we will be discussing how to setup.

Some of the steps will vary depending on the wireless printer that you have, and on the operating system.

Gather the Wireless access point information.

Get the wireless network name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) and the wireless network password. You’ll need the name of the network, along with the password or pass phrase that you use to connect to your wireless network. If you are using a wireless router or modem and printer with WPS active, then you don’t need to worry about this step, just push the button on the modem. The printer should receive the network information, and connect to the wireless access point. For security reasons, it is recommended that you only have WPS turned on when you want to connect something, and to leave it off otherwise.

Gather up the installation disc and instructions for installing the printer.

In order to take full advantage of the wireless printer, you will need the printer’s driver software installed. In some cases, you can use generic driver software installed on your computer, but it may not allow full use of your printer. If you have been connecting your printer with a USB cable, and already have the drivers installed, it will be easier to re-install the drivers to setup the printer for wireless usage.

Run the printer’s installation software.

The printer setup wizard will ask you for the wireless network name and pass phrase, or if it is equipped with WPS, and your wireless access point(either modem or router) has WPS as well, you can just push a button, and have the wireless printer connect to your access point.

If the printer does not successfully install after this step, you should go to the access point’s administration page. This is usually accessible by typing 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1 into your browsers address bar. In some cases, a wireless device may not support one of the encryption schemes, such as WPA, WPA2, or WEP. You can try removing the encryption from the wireless access point, and retrying installation. If this works, then you can try adding back one of the encryption modes, either WPA or WPA2 is recommended, WEP isn’t very secure. If this fails, then you should copy down the settings for your wireless access point, and then reset the access point to the default settings, and setup the wireless security. After setting up WPA2, or WPA if necessary, start adding devices back.

If you are limited to WEP with your printer and can not upgrade it to a model that supports a secure encryption scheme for wireless, the best solution is to have the printer setup next to a computer that can access the network, and allow that computer to share the printer with computers on the network. Windows computers that have at least Windows 7 or newer can share these settings via the HomeGroup sharing settings, which can be found in the network and internet settings in the control panel.

Ready to print.

4. If everything went well with your wireless printer installation, and you can ‘see’ your printer from your computer, you are ready to go. Most wireless printers have a control panel that is located at the printer’s IP address. You should be able to print out a copy of the wireless printer’s settings page, which will include the IP address of the printer. You should stick this in a safe place, so that you can easily access the control panel. Some models have detailed diagnostic information about the wireless printer on their control panel, which allows you to check the ink levels, and will tell you which printer cartridge you need for your printer.

Some printer manufacturers offer a mobile app that can allow you to print wirelessly from your tablet or smartphone. This isn’t as common an option right now, but is likely to become a standard option in the future.

Setting up a wireless printers for the first time can seem confusing if not down right impossible but we hope this post has helped you to better understand the dynamics of getting this done.

Pros & Cons: Xerox eConcierge Service vs. Laser Care Advantage Program

which is better xerox econcierge or ink & toner Solutions laser care advantage program

The battle of the service plans begins!

In late 2013 Xerox®, one of the leading office imaging product manufacturers worldwide, unveiled its Xerox® eConcierge™ program, which offers free extended service coverage for all supported Xerox printers on your network, as well as Xerox-branded compatible supplies for certain non-Xerox printers on your network. Sounds great, right? It really is, but let’s sum the program up and compare it to Ink & Toner Solutions’ Laser Care Advantage Program. We’ll sum up the pros and cons towards the end, if you want to skip ahead. Continue reading

Guide To Choosing A Wireless Printer

Wi-Fi PrintingFor many years the big choice in buying a printer was should it be a ink jet or a laser. All-in-One or a single function model. A small inexpensive desktop or a business grade model. These are all choices that we have to make so as to buy the right printer for the right job. But things have changed, over the last couple of years printers have added another feature, wireless connectivity. In this article we are going to try and guide and demystify some of the buying decisions a consumer has to make.

Continue reading

Toner Cartridges, Is Price The Only Factor?

Quality Toner Cartridges, Lowest Price for Toner CartridgesInk & Toner Solutions has been in the business of selling high quality Eco-friendly remanufactured ink and toner cartridges since 2004. Over that period of time I’ve seen and heard just about everything on the subject of buying printer cartridges but the one subject that constantly pops up is price. It usually goes something like this, I give someone a price quote and they get back to me with, I can get this same cartridge for $X amount on line, can you match that price. Continue reading

MPS, Is There Another Choice?

MPS, managed print services , This is a subject that has been bugging me for some time now so I thought this would be a great time to get it off my chest. Any one that has an office and 5 or more printers has most likely been approached by a sales person selling one form or another of the popular MPS (Managed Print Servics) program. This service at first glance seems like a win win situation and one of the biggest selling points is when you sign on they tell you they take care of everything and you never have to bother yourself with printing supplies or service again. Continue reading

8 Tips on How to Keep Your Copier Running

Keeping a Copier clean and runningI don’t think any of use really think about our copiers until something goes wrong, am I right. There it sits in the corner churning copies out day in and day out, never asking for anything but some power and paper, OK and some toner, but that’s it. Then it stops or something goes wrong and we go into panic mode because we really can’t live without these machines anymore. All these machines need is some TLC. Try following these 8 tips on how to keep your copier running and see if you don’t get less down time…

1 – Turn It Off

When the unit is not being used, like over the weekend or after hours get in the habit of turning it off. If you have a cover, use it. If you don’t have a cover get one. This helps to keep dust out of the machine.

2 – Keep it Dry

Go to your local hardware store or wherever you purchase your office supplies from and invest in some Silica Gel Bags and place them in the copier paper tray. This will help to keep moisture out of the unit.

3 – Keep the Air Intake Clean

All copies have an air intake panel and most of them have a filter on the inside to clean the air as it is pulled into the copier. But you can never clean the air enough. You would not believe the amount of dust we find in copies and printers even though they all have filters on them. For added protection place a strip of cheesecloth over the opening and change it every month.

4 – Changing the Air Filter

We all know there’s an air filter in our copiers but how often do we change them? I’m betting not very often. For the best protection these should be changed every month. I know what your going to say, but the rep said once a year is plenty. It’s better in this case to be safe than sorry, changing every month will guaranty you are consistently pulling in nice clean air into the unit.

5 – Clean the Optics and Glass’s

You should be cleaning the optics (glass) and the slit exposure that is usually located next to the main copy glass and is about an inch wide. While your at it clean the document feeder area. These area’s should be cleaned every few weeks or month. You can use glass cleaner for the optics.

6 – Keep Paper Fresh

If the unit has been sitting for quite some time for whatever reason make sure to remove the old paper that’s been sitting in the tray collecting dust and moisture and replace it with fresh paper. Dust, dirt and grit will have settle on the top page and the last thing you want is to have those foreign particles going through the copier.

7 – Pressurized Air

Once a month take a can of air and blow out all of the dust and dirt from the paper trays. I’m going to mention this even though it seems obvious, take the paper out first!

8 – Clean the Paper Feed Tires

Have you ever had paper not feed through the ADF (auto document feeder), like it just stops? That happens because the paper feed tires have become slick and can’t grab the paper anymore. Don’t call the tech and pay all that money, the simple fix is to clean the rollers with soap and water. Prepare a damp rag with a little soap on it and run up the feed tires. When finished take a clean rage and dry them off. They should work fine after that.

Keeping a copier clean inside is critical for the unit to keep performing at peak efficiency. Keep in mind that all laser based copiers and MFP (multi-function printer) work on static electricity. An electronic charge is applied to the drum and paper every time a job goes though. Dust inside of the unit can become charged and then adhere to other areas of the copier where you don’t want it to be.

So take the time each month and perform these 8 simple cleaning tips and you will have fewer service calls and more trouble free copying. If you have any tips or tricks that you use on your copiers or printers let us know, the more we share with each other the better we all are.

 

How to Manage Your Printers

Printer Repair, Printer Fleet, MPS, Managed Print Service

Keeping a Printer Fleet Running is Key

Have you ever wondered what the choices are for taking care of your printers or how to manage your printers? Has a sales rep approached you with something called MPS, (Managed Print Services) Are you looking for an easy to understand product that will take the hassle out of printer supplies and maintenance? Any one that has a fleet of printers has struggled with these questions. Continue reading

Should I Lease or Buy a Copier?

Lease or Buy a Copier?

Lease or Buy? What’s The Right Choice?

Should I lease or buy a copier or which machine in your opinion would be the best for me to buy is questions we get asked all the time at Ink & Toner Solutions. The first answer I always give them is “It Depends”. And the answer really does depend on a lot of variables. So let’s break down some of the pros and cons of leasing Vs buying.

Being Trapped

One of the main reasons to lease a copier is so that you are not trapped in technology so to speak, let me explain. Let’s say you’ve done your homework and you decided to buy that really neat copier with all of the advanced technology that will improve your productivity and lower your printing cost. The system will cost you $15,000, you can afford it and of course you write it off as an expense. So you go ahead and buy it.

Company Growth

If your company stays about the same size as when you bought this machine and your still printing the same volume you were printing say three years ago, all is well. But, and this is what many business owners don’t take into consideration, what if your company has steadily grown and you have added personnel which of course has increased your printing volume? So now your using the copier much more than anticipated for scanning, printing and copying. With this extra usage the system is requiring additional service calls each month, your maintenance and supplies cost have risen and your productivity is suffering at the copier because the system is down more frequently than you expected. Your personnel are waiting around for their print jobs to be completed or worse still the job never gets processed to a failure at the copier again.

When you bought this unit you were planning on getting at least 6 years out of it but here you are just after 3 knowing that you have to do something. Shelling out another $15,000 or more is not an attractive option but may be the only one you have. So now in just 36 months you have the specter of dropping $30,000 plus on equipment cost alone. Yes the new unit has additional features that will increase productivity, lower maintenance and supply cost but surely not enough to offset the additional cost of $15k. This is what I mean by being trapped in technology. Chances are you will continue to limp along with the old system and just make do until you can purchase a new unit.

But what would the same situation be if you had leased? Your lease is for 36 months and the payments are $418 per month. You call the vendor that is holding the lease and tell them you have to upgrade. It turns out the cost to upgrade is less or about the same as your current lease payment. In many cases it is less and most likely your maintenance and supply cost will be less. Not only that, you get some new features that you know will save additional time when jobs are being processed and will handle the growth your business is experiencing well into the future.

Answering questionsAnswering the Question

So before you can answer the question of should I buy or lease a copier you first have to answer the question do I see my business expanding to the point where I will outgrow this copier in 2 to 3 years. If the answer is yes it might just be better to lease and trade the unit in when it’s capabilities are maxed out. If the answer is no, buying might be right for you.

Some other things to consider if you are thinking of leasing:

Tax Benefits – You can deduct the monthly lease payments as an operating expense.

Payment Flexibility – You can work with the vendor to structure a payment that fits your situation.

100% Cost Coverage – You will have the option of including “soft” costs such as shipping, software, service and installation right into the lease.

Technology Changes – As technology changes as it always does, in three years you will have the option of upgrading if needed.

Conservation of Capital – If your money is not tied up in equipment costs as when you buy the machine outright, you are free to spend it on other items such as inventory, advertising or personnel.

Cash Flow Forecasting and Fixed Payments – Fixed monthly payments helps you to budget for easier cash flow predictions.

Longer Terms – Banks usually lend money on 12 to 36 month terms but a leasing company can stretch payments out to 72 months.

Due DiligenceDo Your Due Diligence

So as you can see there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on a lot of variables that only you can shift through and come up with the best choice. Call different vendors, see what each has to say and research your options on line. One of the best scenario is if you know some one that has a machine under a lease contract. Call them and see if they will talk to you about how it has worked out for them. Ask the vendor to give you some references that you can contact for feedback. I must caution you though, it’s obvious that the only contacts the sales person is going to give you is the ones that will give him a positive recommendation. But if you really think about what you want to ask you may get some truthful answers.

As always we would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. It seems every business at one point or another has to wrestle with this question so the more we learn from each other the better we all are.

 

Why You Should Enable Secure Printing in Your Office

Securing networked printers

Lock Down That Networked Printer!

I think you would agree that everyone has been talking about securing their hard drives, wiping data from hard drives and even destroying the hard drive by beating it to death with a hammer if you are going to be selling or recycling a computer. And we do this for good reason, even if you wipe your hard drive clean there is always the possibility of extracting data from it in the hands of a knowledgeable person thus putting you at risk of loosing valuable or personnel data that you would not want in the hands of thief’s. But would you believe one of the easiest losses of data within your company is through your networked printer and copies! It may be time you enable secure printing in your office.

Sensitive Information

Think about it, what do you send through your printers & copies? How about customer list, invoices, payroll information, credit card transactions and god knows what else. Where does this information end up? Well most of the time in the hands of the person that sent the job to the machine. But does your copier have a hard drive that stores this information or other ways that retains information? Is it networked? Is that network really secure from hacking? These are questions that need to be answered.

Internal Theft

How about that disgruntled employee that has already interviewed for another job, has been accepted but will not start for another 30 days. Let’s say the new job is another sales position the same as he has been doing for you? He has access to all of your confidential information from client list to equipment that each customer has to each customers buying habits. It happens all the time, it actually happened to me with a partner I had, when he left without my knowledge and against the terms of the termination agreement, he left with the businesses entire customer list with all the associated information. Or have you ever printed out an account list or internal documents to a printer and when you went to pick up your job it wasn’t any where to be found? Where did it go, did it ever print, is there an audit trail.

Most likely someone has stolen that printed data, account list or intellectual property. It could very well be that disgruntled employee who is getting ready to leave and is gathering information on as many accounts from as many reps & managers in the company as he can before leaving. So how can you protect your self against this?

Print Secure from Print Audit

Print Secure from Print Audit

The Solution: Print Secure

One solution that fits the bill is a product called Print Secure from Print Audit. This product is loaded with features. The software is easy to install and can be installed on as many machines as a business has. All you need to make sure is you are running XP or newer software. You can configure the software to automatically delete an unreleased job after a specified period of time, that way if someone sends a job to the printer and forgets about it someone else won’t be pulling it from the machine.

Some of the benefits of using this product is you can place your print jobs into a virtual print queue so you are in control of when that document is going to be released thus eliminating the risk of prying eyes viewing confidential documents. It encourages users to only print the documents they really need thus saving the company money. It ensures your data is secure by not transmitting any information outside of your network.

Users can also release their print jobs at the printer (prox card reader) or manage their jobs by logging into the secure web portal through any device with web access. Thus you could release your job via your smart phone, a web browser on the MFP/printer, PC workstation or a tablet. The Secure Web portal also allows users to view detailed information about each print job in the queue such as document name, user, time printed and the printer that was used and more. All of this information can be very useful in tracking and knowing who, when and to what printer a job went not to mention who sent that job.

Not only that, with Secure every printer is assigned a 2 to 5 character code known as a Printer ID. When using a smart phone to release a job the user has to enter this Printer ID to send the job to a specific printer thus giving you a virtual paper trail. To allow users to easily identify a Printer ID, a sticker template is provided to allow organizations to easily print labels to apply to their printers and copiers.

Whether we like it or not, digital theft in all of it’s forms is here to stay. In the old days someone had to manually jot down all the info he or she was trying to steal or swipe some documents that were laying around that had the info they wanted. Now with computers and cutting edge printers and copies that are networked and are capable of holding and storing every document that passes through it a thief has many avenues of stealing what they want. It’s up to us to make sure that data is kept secure.

Your turn, we would really like to hear if you have had any security issues and how you dealt with them. Do you use this software or some other software to protect your printed data. The more all of us know the safer we will be.

 

HP Photosmart 7520-e-All-in-One review

HP Photosmart-7520-All-In-One-Printer

HP Photosmart 7520 All-In-One Printer

When looking for a low cost all in one printer for home or small office use you want it to be easy to use, have print, copy, scan and fax capabilities high output quality, good speed and a good LCD control panel that is easy to see. The HP Photosmart 7520 e All in one fits that bill.

The printer is also super easy to set up with the software being first rate. The LCD panel has a clear icon based menu structure with a touchscreen, you press instead of tap and hold for about half a second to invoke the options. It has cloud printing capabilities, includes HP’s own Web based apps as well as HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint for printing from mobile devices.

Features

Even though the Photosmart 7520 is known for its photo printing its features go well beyond that. The main tray holds 125 sheets of standard paper and has a secondary photo tray that holds up to 20 sheets of photo paper, 5 X 7 inch max intergrated into its top. It also comes with a 25 sheet automatic document feeder or ADF for the scanner. The printer can print and scan in duplex, both sides or the paper but duplex scanning requires two passes.

Speed is good on this unit with Monochrome pages of text and text with graphics coming out at 9.5 pages per minute. Printing photos take longer as would be expected but the output quality is some of the best in the industry for this class of printers. A 4 X 6 inch photo at default settings on plain letter size paper will take about 16 seconds or 3.75 ppm. The same photo on letter size photo paper will about 60 seconds.

Ink Cartridges

Now for the ink story, there are two types of ink cartridges that you can get for this printer, the HP #564 standard and the HP #564XL. The standard colors cartridges are going for about $10.99 each and get 300 pages or 3.3 cents per page per HP’s literature with the black costing $12.99 and getting 250 pages or 4.8 cents per page. Better to go with the XL series.

HP-#564XL-color-ink-cartrdiges

HP #564XL-Color-ink-cartridges

The colors for this series goes for $19.99 each and get 750 pages or 2.4 cents per page. The black XL goes for $23.99 and gets 550 pages, 4.2 cents per page. You could save even more money by buying the an Eco-friendly remanufactued ink cartride like Ink & Toner Solutions sells. The black remanufactued ink goes for $17.99 and the colors go for $15.99 each with both getting the same page yields as the original.

The HP photosmart 7520 offers outstanding print quality coupled with ease of use and having all of the features most small or home office users would need. It’s worth consideration especially if you also like to print out your own photos. The cost is reasonable for what you get and the ink is priced right no matter if you buy the original or the re-manufactured brand.

We would like to hear from you if you have one of these machines and what your experience has been with it.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Printer?

How much does it cost to run a printer

Miles Per Gallon

I find it very curious indeed that when you go to buy a new car the manufacturer will spell out in no uncertain terms what that vehicle will get in miles per gallon because this is a very large factor in making your decision. But when you go to buy a printer you find no such information, why is that? You really need to know what it’s going to cost to run a printer.

Now some printers are pretty cheap like under $100 but then again you have large copiers and printers that can run into the thousands of dollars. It would be nice to know what it is going to cost you to run these machines so you can make an intelligent decision just like when you buy a car.

Running the Numbers

So let’s keep this article nice and simple and just run the numbers so next time your ready to buy a printer you will be able to figure out what your long term cost’s will be. When your doing your research and you get your choices down to 2 or 3 machines that have the features you need, the next thing you want to do is check out what the toners cost and what the page yield is for each toner. Look at it like filling up your gas tank on your car. If you have a 20 gallon gas tank and the gas cost $4.00 a gallon but your only getting 8 miles to a gallon your going to be filling up a lot more than the other guy’s car that gets 32 miles per gallon. Which of course means your going to be spending a lot more than the other guy, same logic with a printer.

Brother MFC-9970CDW Printer

Brother MFC-9970CDW Color Printer

I’m going to use a Brother MFC-9970CDW printer as my example to show you how to calculate the cost per page.  This is a multi-function printer that cost in the $700 range, not a cheap printer but not one of the extremely expensive ones either. Because it’s a color printer it will be taken four toners and one drum unit for the consumables.

The drum unit for this printer cost $164.99 and is good for 25,000 pages. Just divide the cost of the unit by the number of pages and you get .0065999 or .7 cents per page. The black high yield toner for this machine cost $102.99 and is rated for 6000 pages which turns out to be .017169 or 1.7 cents per page. The high yield color toners go for $124.99 each and are good for 3,500 pages each. Add the cost of the three color toners and you come up with $374.97, divide that by the page yield of 3,500 and you come up with .1071342 or 10.7. I’m rounding out here for the example but it’s best to do all of your calculation in a spreadsheet as most of the numbers carry out to a few decimal places. It may not seem like a big deal but if your doing a lot of printing per month the cost do add up and you want a accurate number.

Putting It All Together

So now that you have these numbers you can figure out what it cost you to print per page. For example for a black page take the .7 cents per page that we came up with for the drum unit and add the 1.7 cents from the black toner and you come up with a page cost of 2.4 cents.

For the color pages you also take the .7 cents from the drum as that unit is used in all your printing jobs and add the 1.7 cents for the black toner which gives you 2.4. Now add to that the 10.7 for the color toners and you get a grand total of 13.1 cents per page..

If you do a lot of color printing this can add up fast. The Brother we are using is rated for 60,000 pages a month for it’s duty cycle. So lets say you push out 30,000 pages a month and they are all color. Add up the decimal answers you got, .0065999 drum + .017169 for the black toner and .0357114 for each color toner and you come up with .1308988. Multiply that number by how many pages you print an month, 30,000 and you come up with a whopping $3,926.96!

The Fine Print or What They Don’t Tell You

Keep in mind that the page yield noted on a toner cartridge package only provides an estimated number of pages that the cartridge will print, with “estimate” being the operative word. Believe it or not but the stated page yield is based on 5% coverage. Yes, text and/or images, on average, cover only a miniscule part of the page. Industry research shows 4% to 5% coverage is the average for a black-and-white page. Problem is if what you’r printing covers a lot more than that 5% you’r page yield will go way down per toner cartridge. The only way to figure this our is to monitor your print count for each toner and see how that compares to the stated page yield.

5 percent page coverage in printing

Example of 5 percent page coverage

 

I have only included the consumables in this example, to get the real cost you would also have to factor in the cost of the machine, the life of the machine and of course if it will need any repairs during it’s life which is a number nobody can tell you. But putting these factors aside for this example it shows how important it is to know what you are buying and how much it will cost you to run it.

Let’s say you rarely do color printing, opt for a monochrome unit that only prints in black and take the few color documents you need to your local printer. If you do need the color capabilities shop around to see if other machines will cost you less by running the numbers as we did above. The last thing you ever want to do is go to store with no information and tell the sales clerk you are in the market for a color printer. I’ve had more than a few of my customers tell me horror stories of how they were sold machines that ended up being to expensive for them to run. We have put together a FREE Step by Step Guide to Choosing Your Next Printer that you can down load here.

So do your home work before going to buy your next printer. It’s simple math and it can save you a ton of trouble later on down the road. We would like to hear if you have ever found out you ended up with the wrong printer and how it happened. Your experience could help others not to make the same errors.

 

Buying Cheap Toners on Line, Good or Bad?

Patent's, intellectual Property, US patent offfice

Intellectual Property Matters

Have you ever thought of why some toners are so much cheaper than others on line? There are several factors and we will cover some of them in this article. The first issue is intellectual property and patent rights.

More and more the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacture’s) are aggressively defending the patent rights and intellectual property for each of their products as well they should. There are some in our industry that sees this as an intrusion into the toners they manufacture while others, the reputable remanufactures see this as a positive development and here’s why. When anyone comes up with a good idea and patents it why would they willing let someone else manufacture it and make money off of it? Disreputable businesses that are doing this are breaking the law, period. These types of businesses really don’t care that they are using other people’s intellectual property; they only care about making a buck. By not having the overhead burden of an R&D department or Engineering team to assure they are not infringing they save a ton of money. This is one reason they can sell toners so cheap.

Consumers may think this is a good idea but it’s not. Yes they get a better price but at what cost? Quality is one. Companies that are producing these cheap cartridges do very little testing, don’t have the facilities for the research needed to properly dismantle and reassemble these units in a way that will insure a product that will work as good as the OEM product. Another point to consider when buying one of these ultra cheap products is the warranty and return policy. Many of these companies either have no warranty policy or a very skimpy one if they do. The return policy on many of these sites is either nonexistent or ridiculously ineffective at best, so make sure to read the fine print before buying.

The reputable remanufactures that Ink & Toner Solutions buys their ink and toner from are considered the top in the field. They all are committed to producing products that respect the intellectual property rights and patents of all of the OEM’s whose products they are remanufacturing. We will only buy from business’s that can prove to us that they are in fact following these guidelines.

Peace of MindWhat does this translate to for the consumer? Peace of mind! Yes, our ink and toner do cost more than what you can find on line, no question about that. But, we are on average 30% less than the SRP (Suggested Retail Price) that the big box stores sell the same product for. On top of that all of our toners carry a full 12 month warranty from date of purchase. See if you can find that on any of the cheap toners you find on line, you won’t.

Not only that but when you buy a toner from us you get the peace of mind that if you do get a toner that is not working properly, we will replace it no questions asked and in most cases you will have the new one in one to two days. I have actually seen some return policy’s on line that would in the end take up to 6 weeks before you got the replacement toner, can you wait that long to start printing again?

Our business is to make sure we are supplying the highest quality Eco-friendly ink and toners we can by using the top remanufactures we can find. We don’t cut corners, we don’t buy from business that do not follow these guide lines and we refuse to buy counterfeit products that are being made overseas circumventing all the patents and intellectual property rights of the OEM’s.  It’s just not the right thing to do.

Clover Technologies Group is one of the manufactures we buy from located here in the United States.  They have over the years proactively taken many steps and made sizable infrastructure investments to guarantee that their products do not violate any OEM patents and are not infringing on any intellectual properties. They have built an entire R&D and engineering team dedicated to this cause. Many of the manufactures that are selling toners at unbelievably low prices do not have any of these infrastructures in place, simply because they don’t care if they are breaking the law. They are in it for the short haul, there in it strictly for the money. They realize that there will never be a shortage of consumer’s that are looking just at the cost and ignoring all other factors until it is too late.

So as always you get what you pay for. Cheap price usually means poor customer service, poor quality product and poor or non-existent return policies in place.

Your turn, we would love to hear from you on this subject. Have you ever had a bad experience buying a super cheap toner on line? Have you ever had to return a toner and what was your experience?

Printer, Copier and MFP Security Tips

Secure MFP-printer-copier

Securing Your Printers and Copiers is Critical

We have traded the security of the wire for the convenience of the wireless world when it comes to printers, copiers and MFP devices.

Shocking Facts:

A security software company representative purchased four used copiers for $300 each from a New Jersey warehouse. He then lifted tens of thousands of documents off the hard drives using easily available and free software; it only took him 30 minutes.

He then lifted documents from the sex crime division of a major city police department containing detailed domestic violence complaints, major drug raid documents, pay stubs with names, addresses and social security numbers, $40,000 in copied checks and 300 pages of medical records.

In view of the fact that this person could do this so easily with software that any one obtained should give pause and concern to every single business out there that use that are using networked printers and copiers.

These facts were reported by CBS in April of 2010 on the risk of information stored on digital copiers!

Printers, copiers, and MFPs are commonly connected to networks with only the basic network settings required for printing.

Most networked MFPs require active oversight of operating system updates and security patches.

Sophisticated MFPs and printers run on an operating system and application software which makes them vulnerable to network attacks and hijacking.

MFPs and printers with outdated system software are most vulnerable to network attacks.

All of these devices can be administered over the network so data can be stolen without physical access to the units.

What follows are facts and tips on what to look for and what to avoid with any networked printers or copies. Most of all if you do not have the knowledge to set up and secure your networked printers, copiers and MFP devices find someone that does and close this potential disaster portal before it’s too late.

Networked Printer Security Tips:

Business users should work with their printer vendor of manufacturer to identify their security needs. Identify where information is stored and how it is transferred to assess security risks.

Make sure to choose printers and MFPs with configurable security features.

Investigate your MFPs capabilities.

Choose printers with hard drive encryption and data overwrite features.

Install a firewall on the network or sub-net. Connect all networked printers, copiers, and MRFPs to fire-walled sub-nets.

Simple Network Management Protocols (SNMP) is used to monitor and manage network-connected devices.

Where SNMP is a requirement be sure to change the printer default SNMP string.

Printer Security and Hard Drive Best Practices

“Scrub” the hard drive before turning in a leased machine, selling it or otherwise decommissioning the unit.

Hard disk drives should be encrypted and /or overwritten to prevent unauthorized access to your data.

Some printer and copier manufactures offer hard disk removal for a flat fee. Certified disk and data destruction services are also available in just about all areas now. Find one in your area and use them, its well worth the cost and peace of mind.

If you’re hard drive contains very sensitive or even classified information it might be a good idea to remove the hard drive from the unit and keep it.

Be aware that some copiers may have more than one hard drive.

In units that have more than one HD, one of the disks is used for network functions and another “image disk” is used to store scanned image data temporarily.

Some stand alone digital copiers may not have a HD, so image data may be stored temporarily in memory with battery back-up. Remove power from the copier for 72 hours to allow time for the battery to drain down, removing any residual image data.

Faxing Security

Your fax could be an open back door right into your network. The best printer security includes separating fax functions from telephone line fax functions.

eFax software

eFax

This can be most easily achieved by using a service such as eFax. The service is inexpensive and you get a fax number for sending and receiving faxes. Another really nice feature of using this system is the fax that you send because you are scanning the image comes out as a perfect duplicate as the original.

eFax also works great for the traveling professional, incoming faxes come in as email with a PDF attachment.

You can receive and send faxes from anywhere, anytime, sharing faxes is as easy as forwarding email and the PDF format is perfect for storing and sharing, you also save on printing costs.

 

In the end, you are responsible for your data’s security:

In 1202 Xerox and McAfee commissioned a security survey revealing data risk even where companies have security policies in place.

 

Company IT Policies:

  • 54% of employees don’t follow IT policies
  • 33% are not even aware of policies
  • 39% worry if confidential information on networked devices will remain secure

Of the 39% who worry:

  • 86% were concerned about personal data
  • 77% about employee data
  • 70% indicated proprietary company data

More statistics to think about:

54% of employees think company computers pose the greatest security risk to the network

Only 6% considered MFPs to be a security risk

13% of workplace MFP, printer and copier users are required to authenticate to gain access to MFP functions.

51% of employees say they have processed confidential information on their company MFP units.

So it becomes very obvious indeed that with the convenience of wireless printers, copiers and MFPs comes the added responsibility of making sure these units are secure. Without security measures in place you could become a victim of an attack from outside or leaking sensitive information from within. If you don’t have in house IT personnel that can assure the security of all of your printing units we highly recommend you find someone that can. Sensitive information of any kind in the wrong hands has the possibility of seriously affecting your business not to mention law suites depending on the type of information that was gained.

Samsung and Dell Security Alert!

PcWorld reported (Feb. 2013) the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team

 United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team

US-CERT

(US-CERT) issued a security advisory on Samsung printers and some Dell printers manufactured by Samsung.

Attackers could change printer configuration, read network information and stored credentials, even access sensitive information sent to the printer.

Samsung printers have a backdoor administrator account hard-coded in the firmware which, can be accessed through the SNMP interface without authentication.

The backdoor SNMP account has full read-write permissions and remains accessible even with SNMP disabled through the printer management utility.

According to Samsung, models released after October 31, 2012 are not vulnerable and a patch tool will be released later in 2013 for vulnerable printers.

US-CERT recommends restricting access to the SNMP interface of affected printers from only trusted hosts or network segments.

Ability to attack through the hard-coded backdoor account will then be limited.

Buying Tips for All-In-One Printers

Epson, Multifunction printers

Epson Artisan 837

We are living in a world where everyone seems to be multi-tasking at a high rate so the appeal of having a printer that does almost as many tasks as you do is very attractive. They are attractive but there are some key considerations to think about before you make your buying decision.

Multi-function or All-In-Ones are available through a variety of manufacturers and as there name implies they don’t just print, they now provide a number of functions that make life easier for us. The benefits of owning one of these machines is obvious, they save space because you are buying one machine that does the work of many, saves on your electric cost, and your only buying paper and supplies for one machine.

There are some drawbacks to multi-function printers, mainly that they generally don’t perform each task equally well as a dedicated machine would do. Some machines might fax better than they scan, or print a little slower than a dedicated copier might. The other drawback is you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. If any of the functions fail, the entire machine might be out of commission until that process is fixed. They also tend to wear out faster than dedicated machines because of the demands put on them.

So how do you go about picking the right one? What factors should you consider? What machines provide the most for your dollar? Well let’s start with the basics. should you buy a Laser or an Ink jet printer?

Inkjet or Laser?:

Inkjets tend to be less expensive to buy than their counterparts the laser’s but the ink for the inkjet tends to be more expensive when viewed from cost per page.So the savings you realize in the beginning will not last as the ink in the long run will eat up those savings. The ink jets also tend to be slower than a laser but generally produce a higher quality photo than lasers. So if you do a lot of photo printing opt for the ink jet.

For high volume printing the laser all-in-one is a better choice. They’re generally heavier and take up more space than the inkjet variety which could be a problem if your home office is small. All-in-one lasers typically have a higher up-front cost than the inkjet printers. Most importantly to those with a busy office that does a lot of printing, they’re designed to print thousands of pages a month, where many inkjets can only handle hundreds.

Cost:

Now you need to consider the cost of the machine, how much can you afford? Don’t just look at the up-front cost as this typically does not reflect the true cost over time. The cost of toner or ink jet cartridges, paper and other supplies and consumables is equally, if not more important to consider. Make sure to ask how many pages each cartridge for the machine is rated for and divide that by the cost of the cartridge, this will give you what it cost to print each page. By doing this you will get a better understanding of what the printer you are looking at will cost you each month and over the life of the machine. If the dealer you are working with won’t give you this info or tells you it really doesn’t matter, find another dealer.

Most Important Functions?

After determining what you can spend you next need to determine what is the most important functions you are looking for. Some machines are better at some functions than others. For example, do your really need a fax machine? Not all multifunction printers have them and it seems to be a feature that’s increasingly less common due to the fact that there are many different ways out there to fax. We use software that’s called E-Fax, an electronic faxing system. Many people are using e-mail now and attaching there files to the e-mail thus saving money. On the other hand if you have a business that relies heavily on the standard fax’s than this feature will be very important to you and you want to choose a machine that is strong in this area. Some Multifunction printers that have a fax include the Oki Printing Solutions MC561 starting at $749 and the Epson Artisan 837 All-In-One that goes for $280.

Other functions that All-In-Ones come with will be a color scanner that not only doubles as a copier but can handle basic projects such as charts, pictures and documents. The down side to the scanner is that most of these machines are not suited to high quality professional level pictures. The important thing to remember here is to know what your tasks are, which are the most important and what type of quality and speed do you need. Check all of the specs to assure you buy the machine that will meet your needs.

Other Considerations:

Speed: We did touch on this earlier but speed is such a crucial consideration for most individuals and businesses that it is worth discussing further. Print speed is usually measured in pages per minute and varies from machine to machine. for instance, the Oki Printing Solutions MC561 prints 27 pages per minute in color and 31 pages per minute in black and white, whereas the various versions of the HP Officjet Pro X can print 36 to 42 pages per minute. The speed you need depends largely on how much you print. Another thing to consider is the paper capacity of the machine. Many of these machines hold between 100 and 250 sheets of paper, You can find some machines such as the Brother MFC-J6710DW that have dual paper trays and can hold up to 500 sheets.

Connectivity: One very important thing to consider when buying is the machines ability to interface with your various computers and possible other devices you may have. There are many choices out there now as far as printing, if you have a small office with more than one computer you may want a printer that prints wirelessly. Some printers now come with mobile printing apps that allows you to print from anywhere you are. Epson for example offers the free service Epson Connect, which allows Epson users to print wirelessly from their tablet, smartphone or computer.

ADF (Automatic Document Feeder): This feature allows for multiple pages to be scanned or copied at one time without constantly having to place each individual page on the scanner, this is a real time saver if you do a lot of scanning or coping.

Photo Printing: How often do you intend to use the machine you buy for printing high quality photos? This is a very important consideration because all printers will not have the capabilities to print professional looking photos. I would steer clear of the laser machines and opt for an inkjet if this is a critical consideration. Many of the multifunction inkjet printers now come with slots for digital camera memory cards, which makes it easier to transfer photos from your camera to your computer.

Multifunction Printers

A Multifunction Printer

Additional Considerations: Other questions you will need to ask yourself is will you want a machine that can duplex, in other words one that prints on both sides of a sheet of paper? What size paper will you be using,  the standard 8 1/2 X 11 or do you use legal size or even larger? As with any machine the type of All-In-One you buy depends largely on what your specific needs are. Once you figure that out you have a much better chance of ending up with what you want.

We have put together an easy to use free guide to help you in this endeavor, click on this link and download you free guide now.

 

 

What’s The Smallest Portable Printer?

Planon PrintStik

PrintStik by PlanOn

More and more I have customer’s that have a sales team on the road and want to know what is the smallest portable printer on the market. Most of them are not looking for anything really fancy, most of the time they don’t even require color. They just want something that’s inexpensive, reliable and can get the job done when someone has to do a quote on the fly or print up a contract that needs to be done now! Continue reading

I Only Print in Black On My Epson Printer, Why Are The Colors Empty?

Epson Printer problemsEver since I started in this industry I have been hearing the same question over and over again from customers who own Epson printers, namely “Why is it that I only print in black but my color cartridges are empty”? After hearing this same question about a zillion times I figured it was time for me to write about what’s going on. But before I get into the why this is happening I think it’s interesting that none of the customers I have asked nor myself has ever been able to find the answer to this question in any of Epson’s manuals or on their website. So I’m thinking, if I’m being asked this question all the time and I’m just a small business owner I’m going to out on a limb and guess that this same question is being asked all over the world where Epson printers are being sold. So why doesn’t Epson just explain what’s going on in their manuals? Could it be they really don’t want the consumer to know? That’s just plain dumb. Much better to explain something about your product than to bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

PRINT HEADS

So lets get into it. The answer lies in the design of the print heads. So what’s a print head you ask. Good question and again something Epson should explain in each and every manual it packs with its printer. What a novel idea, give your customer some basic information about the product they just bought from you?

Disposable and fixed head ink jet cartridge

Inkjet head: Disposable Print head style on left and the non-print head or disposable tank with its print head on right

The print head is the part of the printer that actually delivers the ink itself to the paper. There are two basic types of ink jet cartridges, what we call a print head cartridge and an non print head cartridge. The print head cartridge has the print head attached to the cartridges itself, it is self contained. It holds the ink in suspension until it is needed, it then drops ink into the print head and then delivers it to the paper using the instructions that were sent from the computer. HP, Lexmark and Canon uses this type.

 

Non-Print Head Style of Ink Jet Cartridge

The non-print head ink jet cartridge is basically a tank with no print head attached. After inserting this type of cartridge into your printer the ink from the tank is transferred to the print head which is located just below the ink tank. This is the type of system that Epson uses.  In both systems once the ink is in the print head it stays there until it is used. On both systems the print head holds the print nozzles, this is the heart of the printer.

If you looked closely at a print head under a magnifying glass and found the microscopic nozzles that the ink comes out of you will notice very small electronic wires that run from each print nozzle to the print head contacts on the outside of the print head. You can clearly see the contacts on the outside of the cartridge on the left in the photo above. These print head contacts are what receives the information from the computer which in tuen tells each nozzle what color ink to fire in what amount to what section of the paper. This happens thousands of time a second.

The Ink

Ink used in ink jet printers

Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow Ink

For these systems to work properly the ink has to be kept in it’s liquid form and the viscosity remain at certain parameters. Once the ink is in the print head it will start to evaporate due to exposure to air through the ink nozzles. You can read more about this process at “Can an Ink Jet Cartridge Dry Out?” Once enough evaporation has occurred the ink will be to thick to pass through the nozzles onto the paper. Once this happens you will start to see those white lines on your documents. What this it telling you is certain nozzles are plugged with dried ink.

In the print head style cartridge like HP uses on most of it’s printers, when this happens you simply remove the cartridge and buy a new one because the print head which includes the nozzles are an integral  part of the cartridge. What you are doing is removing the clogged print head and replacing it with a new one.

Epson Print Head

When an Epson print head becomes clogged you can’t take it our and replace it. It is part of the printer. Epson does give you one method that you can find in the maintenance section and it’s usually called “Print Head Cleaning” or “Nozzle Cleaning”. When you use this tool the printer will take clean ink from the ink tank and attempt to force it out through the print head and nozzles to try and clear any blocked nozzles. This does work up to a point, but if the printer has not been in use for any period of time sometimes no amount of print head cleanings will work.

Epson’s Solution

OK, so now we know that ink can dry in the print heads if it’s not used. Well Epson knows this to and knows very well that many of it’s customers will only be printing in black. So Epson designed their printers to use a small amount of ink from each color print head even when printing in black only so as to keep the ink flowing in those lesser used print heads thus preventing them from drying out. If they didn’t do this and a customer printed only in black for extended periods of time the color print heads would eventually become clogged with dried ink and thus be unusable. So Epson does have a very good reason for doing this.

The problem is Epson does not tell it’s customer’s that this is happening. So of course the customer that does not have this information has no idea whats going and of course gets upset. All he knows is “I only print in black and my color cartridges are empty. My printer won’t let me print until I replace the color cartridges and I don’t even use them.” Believe me the wording they use is much more colorful and I can’t repeat it here. But the point is you have a manufacturer that is failing to inform it’s customers of a situation it knows all to well is going to happen and does nothing to share that information, that’s just plain dumb.

Know What You’re Buying

So the answer really is to buy a printer that is suited to the type of printing you do. If you don’t plan on doing much color printing, don’t buy a printer like an Epson that is very good at photo and color printing, get a printer that is geared more for black printing, otherwise your just throwing your money away. If your only going to print black, think about purchasing a laser printer. If your going to be doing mostly color printing or photos, by all means get an Epson or even a Canon. To help you choose your next printer we have created a Free manual which you can download here. It will ask you a series of questions and will give you explanations of printer terminology so you will be armed with the info you need to get the right printer for the right job.

We hope this has helped to explain what is going on with your Epson printer. Please let us know if this article has helped and if you have a question you would like us to answer about printers please let us know. We at Ink & Toner Solutions love to help.

Free Printer Guide

 

 

 

Ink Jet Cartridge Help Web Site

Anyone with a ink jet printer knows all to well the frustration that these printers can cause us at one time or another. An error message comes up on the screen, lights go on or off, or they start to blink for no apparent reason, the printer won’t print or the machine rejects the cartridges you just put in, what do you do, who do you call? Where do you go? Continue reading

Brother Color MFC-9000 Series Printers

MFC-9330cdw

MFC-9330cdw

Brother has finally introduced a line of printers aimed specifically at the small business market that are inexpensive while retaining high quality and a number of printing & hardware options. These all-in-one machines can fax, scan, copy and depending on the model, print any where from 19 to 23 color pages per minute at a high resolution of 600 X 2400 dpi. With this kind of resolution you just might be making less trips to the copy center shile keeping the money in your pocket. They feature 3.7 inch color touchscreen displays with WebConnect, 250 sheet paper capacity, 35 page automatic document feeders and wireless connectivity.

Continue reading

Replacing Brother Toners and Drums

Brother HL-5070n, TN-560, DR-500 drum unit

The Brother HL-5070N

The reason I decided to write this post is to hopefully save someone from needlessly buying a Drum and a Toner when all they really needed was the toner. I’ve had to many customers come to my store with the Drum unit and toner in hand telling me their getting poor quality prints and they have to replace the toner. When I ask them how many toners have they used in this particular drum unit they will either say “I don’t know” or “I thought this whole assembly was the toner”. Can you believe that many of these customers told me that when they brought this unit to a big box store the customer rep never told them the difference between the two and proceeded to sell them both the toner and the drum without ever asking them some very important questions. We’ll attempt to make replacing Brother toners and drums an easy procedure. Continue reading

Re-manufactured Printer Cartridges, Good or Bad

Before I attempt to answer the question, are re-manufactured printer cartridges good or bad I think it might be in order to define what is meant by “re-manufactured”. Let’s start at the beginning, at some point someone was happily printing away and all of a sudden he was getting blank sheets of paper coming out of his printer. Well, after spending $20 or $30 or more for his ink jet cartridge he thought, why spend all that money again when I could just find some black ink somewhere, drill a hole in this thing, fill it back up for pennies and start printing again. Long story short, someone did this and it worked and so was born the re-manufacturing industry. Continue reading