Some printers can be upgraded to print faster and to accommodate more print jobs by adding hardware. The hardware may include additional paper trays, sheet feeders, network cards, and expansion memory.
Firmware is a set of instructions stored on the printer. The firmware controls how the printer operates. The procedure to upgrade firmware is similar to installing printer drivers. Because firmware updates do not take place automatically, visit the home page of the printer manufacturer to check the availability of new firmware.
Upgrading the printer memory increases the printing speed and enhances complex print job performance. All printers have RAM. The more memory a printer has, the more efficiently it works. The added memory helps with tasks such as job buffering, page creation, improved photo printing, and graphics.
Print job buffering is when a print job is captured in the internal printer memory. Buffering allows the computer to continue with other work instead of waiting for the printer to finish. Buffering is a common feature in laser printers and plotters, as well as in advanced inkjet and dot matrix printers.
Printers usually arrive from the factory with enough memory to handle jobs that involve text. However, print jobs involving graphics, and especially photographs, run more efficiently if the printer memory is adequate to store the entire job before it starts. If you receive low memory errors, this can indicate that the printer is out of memory or has a memory overload. In this instance, you may need more memory.
Installing Printer Memory
Before installing additional printer memory, read the printer documentation to determine the following:
- Memory type - Physical type of memory, its speed, and capacity. Some memory types are standard, and some printers require special or proprietary memory.
- Memory population and availability - Number of memory upgrade slots in use and how many are available. You might have to open a compartment to check the RAM.
Printer manufacturers have set procedures for upgrading memory, including the following tasks:
- Removing covers to access the memory area
- Installing or removing memory
- Initializing the printer to recognize the new memory
- Installing updated drivers if needed
Additional Printer Upgrades
Some printers allow additional printer upgrades:
- Duplex printing to enable dual-sided printing
- Extra trays to hold more paper
- Specialized tray types for different media
- Network cards to access a wired or wireless network
- Firmware upgrades to add functionality or to fix bugs
Follow the instructions included with the printer when you install or upgrade components. Contact the manufacturer or an authorized service technician for additional information if you have any problems when installing upgrades. Follow all safety procedures outlined by the manufacturer.