Copy machines were created to make life easier for the office worker. Most copy machines can make copies and print jobs from a computer. It is rather simple to network, troubleshoot and repair them but most individuals don’t have the time or the specialized training that is needed. I have always wanted to do copy repair and have not been able to get into the field. After a long time, I some how stumbled into it. Copy repair can be broken down into several categories: training, cleaning, jams, break/fix, network issues, copier limitations and customer adjustment.
When dealing with customers always remember that they may not know as much as you do about the copier. Lets set the stage. You walk into a customers office and they are unable to make double sided copies. The customer is already frustrated from not being able to fix the issue and all you have to do is solve it. Many copier companies have staff that specialize in training so you may not be required but its always good to be the “GOTO” person. You become the go to person by taking the time to read the users guide. Even if its available to the customer, they rarely use it. If you know the users guide or at the least, you are familiar with every aspect of the copier then you should be able to take care of the more common features. If, for example, a customer states they need to do a specialized function that you have no familiarity with you have a choice (1) You can tell them that you are going to research it and get back to them or (2) You can tell the customer that this is an advanced feature which requires a different individual to help out with the issue and you will set an appointment for them… If they are really insistent then you might need to get some assistance via a teleconference and make it happen. I generally just made it happen by contacting whoever I needed to contact. If I was unable to resolve the issue then I would get a contact person at the customers office and get back to them with a solution in a timely fashion. Training isn’t hard it just takes time to learn the material.
Another common issue with copiers is cleaning. You know that your copier needs cleaning because you are at the customer’s site. What do I mean? Exactly what I said… Always clean the copier. If you clean the outside of the copier, the customer will swear you did a good job even if you did nothing. The cosmetic cleaning aside, it is always best to clean the copier, the paper path, anything that is a mirror or glass or even plastic that is a part of the copy process. In many cases, paper dust can cause the copier to perform significantly below its optimum state. Dust can clog filters which causes the copier to overheat this can lead some copiers to work more slowly or make erroneous copies. Dust can also cause components that affect image quality such as transfer rollers make a lighter image. Dust can also interfere with transfer chargers by causing them to fail or leave marks on the copy. In the case of the drum, dust can cause spots on the drum that become permanent.
Our next issue is paper jams. If something else is jamming in your copier then you have a serious problem. Enough jokes, lets get back to the discussion at hand. Paper Jams can be generated by a variety of issues. Lets explore a few reasons for paper jams. Paper jams can be caused by unsecured guides. If you open the paper drawer and the paper is loose then more than likely this will cause a jam. You remedy by getting the guides very tight to the paper. If you are unable to do this by just casual adjustment then you may have to bolt down the guides in place. Another reason for paper jams is a roller that has been worn down. You can usually tell a roller has been worn down when the paper does not take up right away. The paper is trying to grip but its taking forever to do it. If you are into magyverisms then pull the roller off the machine and cut little grooves across it making the roller look like a gear. You can also clean the roller with rubbing alcohol till its dry this returns the stickiness in many cases. Even a household cleaner will do in many cases just so its dry before you put it in the copier. Copiers and liquids do not mix. Jams can also get generated by lose staples in the paper path or torn paper. You can usually detect these jams by seeing where the paper stops and then clearing the issue.
Keeping in mind that I am not going in order, the next issue is copier adjustment. In many cases with the copier alignment will need to be adjusted. Either it wasn’t adjusted to begin with or the adjustment was lost due to power outage or vibrations from use. In adjustments we are usually talking color calibration or paper alignment. If the colors aren’t right then you need to calibrate your colors first. If your paper alignment is off then you need to check your trays first and then after ruling out user error then proceed to do the internal machine adjustments. Remember bring the machine back to the adjustment specifications before taking it beyond. If you try to go beyond the margins specified before bringing it up to specification then you might overlook an issue that will cause another issue.
Copier limitations is a very important topic. In many cases a customer will want a copier to print to the very edge or will want a copier to do multiple things at the same time or move faster than it was built to. As a technician, it is your responsibility to explain this to the customer. The customer may not like it but you cannot take the copier beyond its specifications. In some cases your manager will agree that this needs to be done. In such cases, you will either be shown or you will need to figure it out. Explain to the customer and your manager that this might cause an extra service call in the long run and then if your manager does not budge do the adjustment.
Break/Fix is very far down on this list because it is not always an issue. In many cases, a break can be worked around. Here is an example. Lets say a customer breaks a paper tray… You can usually disable the tray by emptying it. If the customer breaks the ethernet port on the printer card for the copier, there is usually a usb port on the printer card which means you can either setup a usb printer server or setup a shared printer on the nearest pc via usb. There are also a variety of issues that a well placed paperclip, bonding agent or a scissors can come in handy. If you come to the off chance when you do need to replace something make sure to diagnose it as deep as possible. This means don’t tell your manager we need to replace an assembly. You need to be able to explain to him what broke and why. When making the purchase the part may be sold as part of an assembly or if a used assembly is on you might be able to scrounge it…
The last issue is the network. In many cases, customers lack a proper network department and you become the impromptu network guy. They may have scanning either of email, or ftp or smb or to folder and it stops working. You might need to troubleshoot the issue. The easiest way to troubleshoot a network issue is begin with knowing the problem. If the customer is saying that they have lost connectivity to the copier check the cables if the cables are ok… check where they are plugged in. check that everything is on. Check that the network is live. Check that the customer hasn’t changed everything from static to dynamic. Check that the IP, SUBNET, AND GATEWAY of the copier is working… Ping the copier from a pc… If working with scanning know the basic principles of smb, folder scanning and ftp. This way you can test from the command line if ftp or smtp is working and then if they are not then fix them. In other words verify everything else works before even messing with the copier.
Its a long article but if you are a copier technician or field engineer you will glean some nuggets of wisdom. Copiers are not difficult to fix. You need to listen to them. You need to get a feel for your machines. Once you get a feel for your machines then you will know what to do about the various issues. After a certain point, you see the same things over and over. Every now and again, you might see something really new but when you are experienced that wont be too often. Just keep an accurate record, try everything, contact your tech support when you need them and keep track of your expenses. If you can do that then you will be ok…