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Unjamming Your Fax Machine

No matter how carefully we handle our fax machines, paper jam is inevitably to take place.  That’s right! It can happen to us whether we like it or not. I once had a difficulty trying to figure out what could have caused the jam while I was at the height of transmitting a fax message.  After having examined the equipment, I finally discovered the culprit - a small piece of ripped paper left inside the rear portion of the tray of my fax device.


That was just one part of the many other headaches which triggers paper jam.  In order to understand how to properly address the jamming issues, remember that each paper jam is unique to the device you are using.  It is always best to refer to your user’s manual for instructions. However, if such is not available, this article will discuss some fixes you may follow to unjam paper in your fax unit.


But before that, let us study how we can prevent paper jams in your fax machines since the best way to fix paper jams is to not have a jam to begin with. How do we do this, you may ask? Below are the dos and don’ts you should observe:

Dos ():

  • Use clean and good quality sheets of paper to avoid regular jamming. Be aware of the required substance or material of the paper to be used.
  • Obtain the right level of temperature and humidity inside the room where the equipment is deployed.
  • Always follow your machine’s guide and instruction for the maintenance and care of the unit.  

Don’ts ():

  • Use low or poor-quality paper as this is the common cause of jamming
  • Use ripped, torn and / or crumpled paper
  • Use paper that’s previously printed on.  It causes the paper to have print traces that may lead to jam.
  • Use in either very low or very high humidity areas causing paper to stick to each other.
  • Use a fax unit that is far older than its usability.  Its normal lifespan of regular use is for 3 years or 5 years at its maximum.

Now, if after having tried the given guidelines to avoid experiencing paper jam in your device, you still encounter this technology fail, here are some of the TO DO tips you may explore to resolve the trouble.

TO DO:

  1. Assess the situation. As mentioned early on, each paper jam consequence is unique to the equipment you are using.  In order to cut the time in troubleshooting what causes the problem, it is important to assess the situation carefully.   In a worst case scenario, where you smell something burning, or notice a sign of overheating or fire, immediately shut the machine off and take all the necessary precautionary measures for fire. However, if there is no risk of fire or personal danger, it is usually best to not turn off the machine.  Normally, fax messages that were transmitted through but were not printed will be stored in the fax memory. Turning the machine off loses any information kept in its memory.
  2. Gently open the fax machine where the jammed fax has taken place.  Open the machine where the paper has reached the farthest through the machine – right at the point where you can gain access to the paper.  If, while opening the cover, you hear that the paper is beginning to tear, do not proceed any further. Try having access to another panel or area in order to perform the task.  Unfortunately though, if your unit does not have an alternative panel or opening, then continue with the initial steps taken.
  3. Pull the paper out through the paper track.  A simple trick for this problem is to simply pull the paper out through the paper path.  These machines have gears, rollers, and moving parts built to turn one way. If you pull the paper out of the machine the wrong direction, you risk damaging the parts of the machine down, or potentially breaking one of the parts.  So, make sure you pull the paper through the machine in the its travel direction in order not to cause damage to the internal parts of the machine. In case you need to unjam more than one paper, simply pull all the paper out of your machine.  
  4. Clear all the paper from the machine, even the smallest piece that was torn inside.  Look inside through it and pick out any pieces of paper from the machine. If necessary, use a piece of tweezers to pull them out of the machine. Make sure to clear all paper before using it again.  
  5. When all the jammed paper has been taken out and the machine had already been cleared, properly close the machine and run a test page through.  You may then attempt to print the fax that was stored in your fax memory. When you have completely put a full sheet of paper through, unjamming has been successful.  

There you have it! A very easy and comprehensive tutorial on unjamming your fax machine.  It would be great if you leave a comment telling me how these tips have saved your day.  


6 comments

  • In cases where one end of a jammed paper that has been removed from the front end (along the print direction of the fax machine) is inside the machine. Can I risk removing the other end from an alternative opening on the machine in the opposite direction with causing any damage to the machine ?

    Michelle Dave
  • I can’t help but agree with these tips especially with the point that has to do with “Maintaining the temperature and humidity in a room where the fax machine is kept are conditions”. I have had to keep my fax machine ion an unregulated temperature and the results were obviously in the negative.

    that looks and sounds so ambiguous to do, or don’t you think so. There should be a more easy and doable conditions to follows.
    Pearl Tom
  • In cases where one end of a jammed paper that has been removed from the front end (along the print direction of the fax machine) is inside the machine. Can I risk removing the other end from an alternative opening on the machine in the opposite direction?

    Pamela Johnson
  • In cases where one end of a jammed paper that has been removed from the front end (along the print direction of the fax machine) is inside the machine. Can I risk removing the other end from an alternative opening on the machine in the opposite direction?

    Pamela Johnson
  • Nice Tips !! In some cases, I discover that my ink cartridge is at the center or in between the jammed paper and trying to remove the paper, it rips the ink outlet on the ink cartridge. How do I go about this in case of the next time? Thanks

    Rebecca sharks

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