Troubleshooting Brother Printers

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When a project is nearing its final steps of completion, the last and final step is getting it printed. The only thing that might stop someone from finishing his or her task is when the printer mysteriously stops working and it’s time to troubleshoot.

If you’re working with a Brother printer, there are a few basic things that might be the cause of the problem. However, this company does offer a wide range of models, and some versions might require more troubleshooting than others to get things back in working condition. If you can’t solve the problem in a few steps, consider reaching out to a Brother customer service representative for more detailed help.

For a few of the quick fixes you can complete on your own with a Brother printer, we’ve provided some advice to help you get your printer sorted. Consider these directions first when you’re troubleshooting Brother printers:

Paper Jams                                                         

Paper jams are not an uncommon issue with printers, but, fortunately, these require some easy fixes. You’ll know that there is a problem when the LED light on the control panel is highlighting the word “Error,” “Alarm,” or something similar.

To begin troubleshooting, open up the cover and allow the machine to cool down for at least ten minutes. Once you have waited for the unit to cool, carefully remove the drum unit and toner cartridge assembly. This will allow you to pull the paper away from the assembly unit or from the paper tray opening.

If the paper is not jammed in this position, replace the cover and remove the paper tray. From here, you may be able to remove the jammed paper, or you may have to open the back cover and gently pull the paper out of the fuser unit.

This kind of troubleshooting is ideal for Brother monochrome printers that include the HL-1230 model. For further assistance with other models, consider this Brother printer paper jam troubleshoot page.

Blank Copies

If your prints are coming out blank, you may need to check that you are loading the document correctly. Use troubleshooting steps to properly use the automatic document feeder (ADF), or make sure that you’re using the scanner glass properly.

With the scanner glass, you’ll need to lift the document cover and follow the guidelines in the top left corner. Place the document front-side down, to ensure the scanner can find the images.

No Printout

businessman fixing printer cartridge

If you’re seeing no action at all from your Brother printer, then there are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot. The first is to check that the machine is plugged in and the power switch is turned to “On.” Ensure that the toner cartridges and drum are installed properly and ensure that there is a strong connection between the printer and your computer. If there is an error message showing, there are a few different error and maintenance options to choose from, which might help you to solve the problem.

Printing Stops

If your project is in the midst of printing and the printer stops working, you’ll want to select “Job Cancel.” This will cancel all of the jobs that are in line, and clear the memory of the printer. Extra printouts may print before it turns off, and then you can turn it back on and try again.

Random Printing or Miscellaneous Printing

brother industries computer printer

If your printer is starting up and printing projects that you haven’t set up, then you’ll want to pull out the paper tray and wait for the printer to stop printing. Once it stops, turn off the machine and unplug it from any power source for a few minutes.

Before turning it back on, make sure that the printer is hooked up to the proper machine and cancel all printing projects in line.

Prints Are Smeared

When prints come out with smeared text and images, it’s likely that the “Paper Type” setting is incorrect for the type of media that you are using. For example, if the “Paper Type” is set to a thin material, and you’re using a thicker paper, then the printer will struggle to apply the proper pressure and ink to the medium. There might also be smearing if the print media has a rough surface that isn’t compatible with the printer.

In these instances, browse through Brother’s acceptable paper and print media to see if you’re using a medium that is compatible with the printer you’re using.


Troubleshooting a printer doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort; in fact, there are quite a few instances where some easy steps are all that it takes to get a Brother printer up and running again. If you’re having issues, consider these basic troubleshooting Brother printers guidelines that you can easily perform on your own.

For more detailed problems, be sure to contact a Brother customer service representative for further instruction.