So you need ten sets of a fifty page document for this mornings meeting. It’s 8:30AM and your meeting is at 9:00AM. You begin with your project and the copier jams. You clear the jam but it keeps jamming! It’s not pulling in the paper. Sure you can call the repair person, but you need the copies now! There’s nothing you can do, or is there?
All office equipment that feeds paper has a component inside that pulls the paper out of the paper tray and into the machine. Most are made out of rubber and just like the tires on your car they wear out. When a roller is worn and dirty they will cause paper jams. The purpose of this article is to show you how you can clean or rejuvenate the rollers long enough for you to complete your job and have your repair person come out and fix it properly.
When your machine is jamming, first locate where the paper is jamming. Which paper tray? Is it tray 1 or tray 2? Also which size is jamming? On machines that have more than one paper tray you can switch paper trays and then you can skip cleaning the rollers. Make sure when you change cassettes that the copier registers the correct size. The machine will think it is a different size and it will jam. The sensors are set for a specific timing and it will know the difference in length from letter size and legal size. I also would try using the bypass tray or manual feed tray if so equipped. This will get you up and running quicker than cleaning the rollers.
Determining if the rollers are the problem:
If you need the specific tray to be functional we will get busy with the repair.
First make a single copy in the tray that is jamming. By doing this you are determining where the paper is jamming. If it is jamming in the exit for instance, you have another problem. If it is jamming in the center of the machine, again it is a different problem. But if it jams at the cassette or paper tray area the next step is removing the paper tray. Shine your flashlight into the paper feed area and see if there are any pieces of paper torn off inside or something blocking the paper path. Now that you have ruled out a blocked paper path, you can clean the feed roller(s).
Flashlight, strong cotton towel (so it will not rip off in the machine), WD-40 or Rubber roller rejuvenator.
Note: Never use alcohol to clean rollers. It dries out the tread and the remaining tread will get ripped off and then it still will not feed. Use WD-40 it works great!
Cleaning the rollers:
Shine your flashlight into the paper feed area and locate the rubber rollers that feed the paper in. Grab your towel and saturate it with cleaning fluid. This can be WD-40 or your favorite roller rejuvenator. Start by cleaning the roller and spinning it all the way around not missing any of the surfaces of the roller. Then go over it again with the dry part of the towel. As I said there are many different types. Some have a set of three rollers. One Pre-feed roller, this pushes the paper into the other rollers. One feed roller and one separation roller. Others have a half moon style. These are harder to clean because they have a clutch system that keeps it at home position when not feeding.
WARNING: If you try and turn these to clean them you will damage the clutch mechanism! There are two ways you can clean these types. First you can actuate the clutch by pushing down on the solenoid or release lever. This sometimes can be hard to get to. You can also start the copy process and shut off the machine exactly when the feed roller engages. This takes some patience and practice but it is better than damaging the clutch. Once you get it where you can clean the roller repeat the procedure above.
Some alternatives to replacing feed rollers:
There is a material called feed roller tape. I have used it when I didn’t have the right roller in my car stock. It works with some styles mainly half moon styles. Just peel off the adhesive and wrap it around the worn roller surface. They also have some that stretch over the old rollers. I have never used this but I have been told it will get you up and running. On old copiers or printers that you can no longer get parts for you can apply clear silicon on the feed surface and let it dry twenty four hours. It works but I am inclined to use the real thing. You can also use generic rollers manufactured for almost all equipment. I have mixed feeling about these because I have had to go back and change them again later. For the best repair I use genuine OEM feed rollers. They are still inexpensive and they will last you longer and you will have fewer headaches.
I hope this has helped you complete your print or copy job. Please remember that this article is just a quick fix and not a long term solution. Be sure and call your repair person to fix it correctly.