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Re: Okidata microline 521
You should clean the printer every six months (or after
about 300 hours of operation).
1. Turn the printer OFF.
2. Remove the paper from the path.
3. Open the access cover and remove the pull-up roller
4. Use a clean, dry cloth to dust the area around the
carriage shaft and platen. Be sure to remove any loose
particles of paper.
5. Reinstall the pull-up roller assembly.
6. Close the access cover.
Never use solvents or strong detergents on the
cabinet — they could damage the housing.
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The most common cause of missing sections in the letters is a bad print head. These types of printers (Dot Matrix) create the print with the print head which has a line of small pins called hammers that are activated by an electromagnet. Each pin has its own hammer. If the electromagnet fails or you have something jamming the hammer then it will not move to strike the ribbon and make the image or letter. You can get a replacement print head online for about $15.00, the part number is 50063802. Here is a picture of what the print head looks like. :
Sounds like the print head is at fault. The print head is actually a vertical line of small wires that move in and out to form the dots as the head moves across the page printing one row of characters at a time. One of the wires has failed. While it is possible that cleaning the print head with contact cleaner will resolve the problem, it might be time to replace the print head, or likely buy a used working replacement printer at less money than the cost to repair.
Try to perform an offline test print using your printer alone
To do this, power off your printer first
Press and hold the LF/FF button on the printer panel then power on. The printer will perform its own printing ( lines of pattern )
If it does it without problems ( no MENU lights came on ) the printer should be OK. If not try replacing the printer main control board.
My Brother printer MFC-465cn is doing the same thing. I have workaround / worked-around it by disabling bi-directional printing. Then print is clear. It's as if the head is shifting an irregular amount on the opposite direction, like the head is loose.
Same for copies. If I use the PC interface to make copies, I can set the copy printing to be mono-directional, then copies are clear.
Suonds as if your spacing motor is going out. The part number is 56513701. Here's a link to a free complete Okidata Service Manual for your 320Turbo. The manual will walk you through the testing process to verify the problem prior to ordering the part.
The drivers should be on the company website, if these are not working for you the generic text driver in Windows will work for text only printing. If you do graphics or formatted invoices, etc. on the printer Epson and Okidata both make pretty generic print drivers that should work for a microline printer.
if you take the cover off on the left or right on the bar the bar where the carriage and head ride, there is a tab that will adjust the head gap, be careful if you get it 2 tight you my damage the print head
also I've see this be a bad head, pins not fireing all the way out.