Types of Printers and Their Functions

Here is a detailed guide to help you learn about the different types of printers and their functions. This would be especially helpful for CompTIA A+ professionals when preparing for interviews or configuring printers in organizations.

Printer is an output device that prints out text or graphics onto a paper. There are many types of printers:

  • Impact
  • Bubble jet / inkjet
  • Thermal
  • Plotters
  • Laser
  • Photo smart

Impact printers: They use inked ribbon, much like type writers; types are daisy wheel and dot matrix.

Dot matrix printers: They use row of pins that makes dots as they press on inked ribbon and as carriage travels across the paper. The dots form letters and graphics. Image quality is poor.

Daisy wheel: It uses a rotation wheel with all characters on the wheel. A hammer mashed the characters from the wheel on the paper to create the words, cannot do graphics.

Bubble jet printer: They have replaced ink jet printer; they are clearer then inkjet and better in quality.

Here is how a bubble jet printer prints:

  • When you click print, software sends job to print driver
  • Printer driver use PDL (page description language) to convert job to printer language
  • Data is sent to printer via interface (network, USB etc)
  • Printer stores jobs in buffer
  • Paper is fed, if there is no paper, you will receive timeout error message on computer
  • Motor moves print head across paper and print head prints. Dots are out on paper in either black or color
  • After a single line is printed, paper feed motor moves paper one line
  • Paper feed motor feeds the paper until ejected
  • If that is the end of the print job, the printer head is parked and the computer is informed that the job is printed

Laser Printer Components:

Here are the major components of a laser printer:

Toner cartridge: holds toner, toner is carbon with polyester resins and iron oxide particles.

Developer: located inside toner, carries the toner

Drum: holds a static charge when not exposed to light, toner is stuck on the drum and applied to the paper in the necessary shapes and amount.

Cleaning blade: continuously scrapes off useful toner to be reused and keeps the drum clean

Laser scanning assembly: laser shines on particular areas of the drum to discharge the toner from the drum in areas where it isn’t wanted

HVPS: high voltage power supply, high voltages are needed to energize the charging and transfer corona

DCPS: powers other components of the printer, between +5VDC and +24VDC

Paper transport assembly: moves paper through printer, contains pickup and registration roller

Stepper motor: turns the roller; uses the electricity in a very small amount

Fuser: fuses plastic toner particles on paper

Primary controller circuit: converts computer data to language the printer can understand

Ozone filter: ozone is chemically reactive gas created by the coronas, newer printers doesn’t have ozone filter because they use transfer corona rollers, which reduces emission.