Category Archives: Troubleshooting Zone

Clearing a paper jam from an ink printer

If you have a paper jam, it’s important to remain calm as trying to remove jammed paper can result in making the situation much worse, because the paper could tear into pieces and become stuck deep inside the mechanism and then you’d need a printer repair – or to replace the unit.

1.Sometimes, a “paper jam” report is as simple as the paper not feeding at all. In which case, you can easily pull the paper – without any resistance. If there’s only a few sheets, adding some more can often allow the printer to feed the paper. On the other hand, if there’s too many, reducing the number may overcome the problem.

2. The next step is to turn the printer OFF and open the front panel – where you insert the ink cartridges.

3. If you can’t EASILY remove the jammed paper, you’ll need to turn the printer around and see if your model has a Rear Panel like the one shown in the image below. Once opened, you can usually remove the jammed paper easily in one piece – don’t pull it too hard as it’ll tear into smaller pieces!!
HP Photosmart rear view of paper hatch4. Don’t forget to replace the rear panel – and close the front door – before switching the printer back on and trying to print again. In most cases, your printing will be fine again.

TIP: To reduce the chance of having paper jams, store paper in a cool, dry place, only open the pack when you need to start using it, and “fan it” with your fingers before adding it to the tray.

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Electrical item stopped working ?

If a computer or other small electrical item suddenly stops working, FIRST CHECK to see if the plug’s fuse needs replacing (so keep spares of 3A, 5A + 13A).

fuse in a plug
With a conventional plug (as above) you’ll need a screwdriver to open the plug … but with a newer moulded plug (see below) you just need to remove the cover.

fuse in a moulded plug


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Printing solution (Choosing the default printer)

If your job is going to the wrong printer, it may be set as the “default printer” in error. Open up Printers in the Control Panel and use this picture below to check where the black tick is !

Default printer

If the black tick is on the wrong printer, click on the one you want, click with your RIGHT mouse button (to bring up a menu) and choose “Set as default printer”. The black tick will move to it !


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Monitor problem – what you can check before calling support ….

The first thing is to check if the fault is with the monitor – or your PC.

This is important because – if it’s the cable or the monitor, it can be easily replaced yourself without too much expense (possibly just £10 or £15 – or even £0 which is perfect!).

Here’s how to see if the monitor or the video cable is the problem:-

1. Monitor is receiving power – either a green/blue or amber light. *
2. Cable is securely attached to the screen – tighten the thumbscrews if necessary.
3. Cable is securely attached to the back of the PC – tighten them if necessary.

below is a VGA connectorVGA connector

4. Ask a friend / colleague if they have a similar cable (blue is VGA, white is DVI and black is HDMI).

5. Ask a friend / colleague if they will let you borrow their monitor – to see if it is at fault.

If you still see nothing on screen, the fault is likely with your computer itself. It contains a video card (either built-in) or slotted in which may be faulty and need replacement. Or there could be a more serious problem with the circuitry inside your PC which may make it not economical to repair.

* an amber light can mean one of two things – it’s in “power save mode” or not connected to the PC. In power saving mode, usually pressing the space bar on your keyboard (and/or moving the mouse) will restore the screen to life.

* If not connected to the PC, usually it will show the words “No connection” but again these words may not be visible if the monitor’s gone into “power save” mode so you may wish to do the above first to check.


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Broadband not working ? – What you can check before calling your supplier ….

If you have any other devices in the home which can connect to the internet – such as a tablet or smartphone, can they connect to your router via cable or wirelessly?

1. Is phone cable from your modem connected into the socket securely ?
2. Is the “ADSL” light on your modem visible ?
3. Is your phone line working okay ? If not check the cable is firmly connected between your phone and the socket ?

If using a cable connection
1. Is cable firmly connected to the back of the computer – and the modem/router ?
2. Can you see the network connection symbol in your “notification tray” (near the time). If not, check it’s connected using the Control Panel. I will publish an article showing how to check this shortly – in the meantime, please feel free to email for advice, stating if you’re using Windows  XP, Vista, 7 or 8 ?
3. Does the problem remain after restarting your computer (using the Shut Down command) ?

If using a wireless connection
1. Is the wireless on your laptop turned on – often there is a switch and a corresponding light ?
2. If using an adapter, is it fully plugged in ?
3. Is the “Wireless” light on your modem lit ?
4. Does the problem remain after restarting your computer (using the Shut Down command) ?

If none of the above resolve your problem, and especially if your phone isn’t working either and it’s not a cable problem, you may now need to call your Internet Service Provider for help.


1. If possible, it’s best to call them from your home phone number as the call will usually be free.

2. Even if calling them from a mobile, it’s best to call whilst at home and near your computer, modem and connections so they can troubleshoot your problem and hopefully resolve it before sending an engineer (which they will often charge for if the problem is found to be with your computer or cabling).


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