Should I just replace this printer?
July 30, 2022 3:22 PM   Subscribe

I have an old HP 1012 printer that will successfully print one page, but even if I set it to print only a single page, a second one gets jammed. I have removed and cleaned the pickup roller and it worked for two pages then went back to jamming. Next possibilities are to replace the pickup roller or the toner cartridge. Would you try those or just buy a new one? I don't have money to waste on this.
posted by HotToddy to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Has the paper been sitting in the tray for a long period? A salesman once told me to keep the minimum amount of paper in the tray because humidity causes paper to warp, causing jams. 🤷
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:32 PM on July 30, 2022

You could also try using a heavier weight of paper. I used to buy whatever was on sale and, as a result, had printer jams all the time. Then I switched to a 24lb Hammermill paper and haven't had a jam since.

In general though, I find HP printers (and their drivers) to be crap. If you have to buy a new one, get a Brother laser printer.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:37 PM on July 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It's been sitting there a long time but it's never humid here, and although this paper is indeed crap, it used to work okay.
posted by HotToddy at 3:49 PM on July 30, 2022

A replacement pickup roller for the 1012 looks to be $10 or less, if that helps.
posted by channaher at 4:22 PM on July 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

A long long time ago I used to fix printers- you need a maintenance kit! It replaces the most common wear parts and usually will fix paper jam issues. This looks like approximately what you want:
posted by abbazabba at 6:12 PM on July 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

Agree that you likely need a maintenance kit; the "ask for one page but a second page gets jammed" sounds like it may be double-feeding, which is likely a dirty or worn separation pad. You can probably see it, just opposite the half-moon shaped pickup roller. You may be able to just clean the separation pad; especially if the printer doesn't have that many sheets through it, it may just be dirty rather than worn. Environmental dust, and paper dust, will quickly contaminate the rubber, making it less grippy.

Power down the printer and unplug it, remove the paper. Point your finger like the "we're #1" gesture, and tightly drape a good shop towel or old T-shirt over your finger. Not a kitchen paper towel, they shed too much lint. Moisten the rag with some Simple Green if you have it, or just plain water, and gently wipe that separation pad clean. Adjust to a clean part of the rag, re-wet it, and repeat until you're not getting more dirt off the pad. If you can't quite reach with your fingertip, you may be able to use chopsticks, the end of a ruler, or something else to wrap your rag around and reach in there. Be gentle, don't force anything. There are lots of plastic bits in there, and pay special attention to any thin, spindly sensor actuation levers that might be dangling in there. They are fragile and easily broken.

Another possibility: Is the paper size set correctly in your print driver? (That is, if you have Letter/A4 paper loaded, is the driver set to Letter/A4 and not Legal?) Smaller printers like this often use the registration sensor for timing as well; when the lead edge of the paper trips the registration sensor, the printer says "Okay, top of the page," and then as it's printing, it keeps track of how long that sensor stays tripped, and if it remains so for too long, it indicates a jam.

If you're running say, Legal paper in the printer, but have it set to Letter size, that 14" of paper takes longer than the 11" the printer is expecting, and can trip a jam. Oddly, the same can also be true when flip-flopped (printer set to Legal, actually running Letter). It's a bit of a long shot, but I saw it happen often enough that it stuck with me.

If you do need parts, Precision Roller is a decent end-user source (in the US, at least) and also carries a lot of the tools you may need. I was a copier/printer tech for over 20 years, and like 90% of my tool time was either a #2 Philips, or a small flat screwdriver for popping off e-clips. But certain tools, like a spring hook, not having the proper tool can quickly turn a 15-minute job into an hours-long marathon of colorful metaphors.

Last tip. I strongly advise against using your home vacuum to clean the inside of your printer. The hose etc. is not grounded against static discharge, and there's a chance of zapping a component, but safety is the bigger concern. Most home vacuums do not have fine enough filters to trap toner particles, and toner is very flammable when aerated, like grain elevators exploding because the grain dust was ignited. If you suck up a bunch of toner and it passes through your vacuum filter and is ignited by a spark in the motor, you could start a fire. It's unlikely, but it is definitely possible, and I can recall at least one office visit where someone spilled a bottle of toner, tried to vacuum it up, and caught the office vacuum on fire.
posted by xedrik at 8:03 AM on July 31, 2022 [3 favorites]

My HP 1012 developed a similar problem a few years ago. I stubbornly kept using it because it felt wasteful to get a new printer when it was only 12-13 years old. Replacing the pickup roller gave me about a year more of OK use, but I finally bought a Brother wireless printer in September 2019 and now revel in easy two-sided printing and stable performance.

I think going for the maintenance pack right now is your best bet. It's a good way to get at least another year out of the machine. But when you do replace it, Brother is the way to go.
posted by maudlin at 9:42 AM on July 31, 2022

Response by poster: Okay, I ordered the maintenance pack. Thanks everyone!
posted by HotToddy at 1:21 PM on July 31, 2022

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