Fax Machines

Fax Machines, Top Four Problems and How to Fix Them

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.  Its a rubber pad normally square in shape and it’s  held down by a screw or two.  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. How you can tell it is worn out ,they will have a noticable worn spot like the rubber is gouged out.  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.”

Note: 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 the feed roller.  The roller that is on top of the separation pad is the one to clean. Take a strong cotton cloth that will not tear and saturate it with WD-40. Clean the roller all the way around the surface and then take the dry part and make sure you get the excess 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!
Izzy : )


A Quick History of “The Evolution of Thermal to Plain Paper Fax Machines”

Fax machines have gone through some changes but most would agree that the biggest change has been the change from thermal paper to plain paper.

Many years ago, businesses were leasing thermal fax machines that were priced at $1,500.00 to $2,500.00. Now you can buy a plain paper fax machine for under $150.00. Times sure have changed.

Thermal fax machines were the ones with the long roll of paper and each fax would be cut to the size that is transmitted. You could make some cool banners with those things because you could set them to not cut and it would continue to spit out the paper!  They were pretty much bullet proof. The major problem was the paper. It would curl and you had a hard time working with it. If it was exposed to the sun or heat it would turn a dark black and all of the information was lost. They were very economical compared to laser or ink jet fax machines. The only supply that you were required to purchase was rolls of paper.

At the time of transformation most people didn’t rush out and buy plain paper faxes. They waited until either there fax machines went on the blink or the prices came down quite a bit. Up until several years ago you could still find a few still chugging away but now I believe they have completely vanished.
Plain paper faxes now have saturated the market and the prices have dropped so low that anyone can afford one. With rebates you may even get one for free. The only problem may be that you may not be able to afford the supplies that go into them. Laser, inkjet, and thermal transfer rolls are the options that you have. The cost per page varies but believe me when I say that the money is not in selling machines, it is in selling supplies. You can shop smart though and look at the cost per page. This is the price of the toner or supply divided by the supply yield. Spending a little more on the machine for a lower CPP can save you a bundle of money.

Some of the younger people that read this probably can’t even imagine using thermal roll fax machines.  If fact right now many people do not even use fax machines.   They seem like a dying breed in the technology of today. What does the future hold for the fax machine?  Death perhaps or a re-emergence…Nah !

Izzy Kilman