Fax Machines, Top Four Problems and How to Fix Them
by Bill Tucker
If you have a problem with your fax machine, chances are it's one that I mention in this article. Find the solution, read on...
There are many makes and models of fax machines, but they all have certain problems that come up that are easy to fix. I have listed four common problems and will explain the problem and the solution for each. I charge for this so this is a valuable article for anyone who has a fax machine. Keep it filed so you can retrieve it for another time or use it now to repair an existing problem.
Multi-feeding through the automatic document feeder This is when you put a stack of papers into the automatic document feeder (ADF) and it pulls more than one in at a time. This is called multi-feeding. Most ADF's have an item that separates the paper called a separation pad. This wears out after some use and needs to be replaced. Open the ADF cover and shine a flashlight up into this area. If it is worn out replace it. You can call the manufacturer and speak with the parts department for a replacement ADF separation pad. Replace it and you will have your ADF working good again. While you are repairing this you should also clean or replace the ADF feed roller. See "Not pulling in originals." A little modification I have done many times is flipping the pad over. Some models you can do this and actually get double the life on the pad.
Not pulling in originals This is when your originals don't pull in the papers when you insert them into the ADF. You can use WD-40 to clean this roller. Take a strong cotton cloth that will not tear and saturate it with WD-40. Clean the roller well all the way around the surface and then take the dry part and make sure you get all the cleaner off of the roller. You will probably notice that the rag is very dirty and black from the ink, dirt and toner being removed from the roller. The roller should pick up the paper much better now. If not you will need to replace the roller with a new one. Use the steps above and order an ADF feed roller or a feed roller kit. A feed roller kit normally consists of a pre-feed roller, feed roller and a separation pad. Replacing this kit will make it feed like new.
Lines sending faxes or using the copy feature This is when the faxes that you send or transmit have lines or streaks on them. This is often caused by something on the slit glass of the fax machine scanner. To test it, make a copy on your fax machine. Is there a line? If yes, print a journal. If there is only a line when you copy and no line when you print a journal, the problem is the slit glass. You will need to clean the slit glass. Lift up the ADF cover and shine a flashlight inside. Look for a small "one inch" by "eleven inch" glass. Inspect it for whiteout, ink or foreign matter stuck to it. Remove the stain by first scrapping it with your finger nail and remove as much as you can. Then use an alcohol swab to remove the rest.
Keeps ringing but never answers or receives faxes If your fax machine keeps ringing without answering it probably has the auto answer function turned off. Look in your owners manual on how to turn on auto receive. If you don't have an operator's manual it is often located directly on the operation panel. Set it for "on" and test it.
My service business receives many calls for each of these problems. We make an attempt to try and explain to the customer on how to fix it themselves, but some people just want to see a technician. That's where I come in, and make an easy dollar. If you want to save money, you can by fixing it yourself and use the money you saved to take a friend out to dinner instead!
About the Author
Bill Tucker has been in the office equipment and supply industry for over 20 years and has several published industry related articles that help the end-user as well as the technician.