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How They Work

Ahh, the world of printers and the leaps and bounds they have made. The printer really isn't a computer part but does serve as an extension of that. The printer has come away from the ole loud roller it at one time was. Now we have the inkjet jets, bubble jets, and the laser printers on top of the world. Which one do you have? Is it fast? Print well with photos? Lets find out and explore what some of the task a printer must go through in order to work.

-First off when you see a page like this one for instance and want to print it you simply click print. What will happen next is simply sending the information to the printer. Depending on the printer you have it will either go into RAM memory of the printer or site in the RAM memory of your computer. Cheaper printers use a buffer to take up the slack if the printer is slow. Which the one I have is slow. I have a Canon that takes forever to print and is a bubble jet. Its not a bad printer but I did get what I paid for which was about 125.00. There is a buffer of about 40k on this printer also which helps it out when I send to many pages to be printed. If you have a printer with RAM built inside you can take some strain off of your system. Some really elaborate printers even have there own motherboard and CPU to go along with the operation. Of course these get into the big dollar amounts.

-Now how does the printer actually get the text and graphic detail on the paper I put into it? This is easy to answer with inkjet. Inkjets work by spitting yes I said spitting tiny dots of colored ink onto a page. Most of this printing action takes place in the nozzles of the print cartridge. What happens is a interface circuit in the cartridge applies a charge. This is applied to a series of what is called impulse drivers that correspond to the selected colors. Now there are two ways to get the ink out of that cartridge. This is done with by charging and heating up a small amount of ink till it is a vapor ball and gets pushed onto the page. The other method is to apply a charge to a piezoelectric driver(Big Word) that is made up of synthetic quartz. The quartz expands and then pushes the ink onto the paper. This is similar to fuel injector in a sense.

-How about those other printers we talked about? Now this one is a little harder to explain we will speak of the laser printer. If you have one you know they are pretty neat printers. This is used mostly in business applications and are not cheap. First off laser printers use a fine black toner. The toner itself is made up off magnetic iron compounds, plastics, and pigment that will allow it to be melted, shaped and applied to a page.

-Now you know what the basic compounds are lets see how that page is made. Okay, we start with a OPC (optical photo conducting) drum. The drum is what is used to transfer this fine black toner to the page. The drum has to be charged first which by the way sucks the electricity out of your office, after the drum is charged it causes static electricity and repels the toner. Now with the drum charged we have a laser come in and the beam strafes the drum at about 300 pulses a minute(300dpi). Each time the laser strobes this represents a single microscopic dot. The laser also breaks down the charge on the drum allowing toner to adhere to the surface of the page. The drum turns allowing this process to keep repeating for every line you are trying to print. Now we have a magnetic roller that comes into play that is covered with toner. Now the roller is subjected to what is called a corona, this is simply a strong static charge and is underneath the moving paper of the drum. The roller will remove the toner from the drum and then onto the paper where it will then be melted by another roller. The roller that actually melts the plastic toner is a heated Teflon roller. This is a complicated process but seems to do a good job in the office.

Installing a Printer

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