From all the problems that you may encounter with your fax machine, one of the most common ones is your regular paper jam – it's a fault that can never be properly designed out of the system due to the way paper moves through the fax machine, through a system of rollers and gears.

Most brand name fax machines have their quirks that can cause paper jams, which are described in detail in the user manual, but you can deal with the problem even without the user manual.

Prevention is better than cure, so it would be the best if you do everything you can do avoid paper jams in the first place. There are things you can do to reduce the chances of experiencing a paper jam:

Use clean quality paper – do not try to print on ripped paper, a paper that's already been printed on, or has been crumpled. These things are most common causes of paper jams – a small tear or a crumple on the paper can shift the paper's path slightly as it moves through the fax machine, resulting in a jam.
Use fax machine in normal temperature and humidity levels – fax machines have their optimal operational temperature range, and don't do well with high humidity, two things to bear in mind if you use a fax machine.
Follow the maintenance and care guides from your fax machine's user manual.

Using these will greatly reduce the chances of experiencing paper jams, but if you're already there, then here are steps to take to try and get your fax machine running again:

Step 1: Analyze the paper jam

This is a good step to fixing a problem with any mechanical piece of equipment before you start trying to open the machine, try to get a good grip on what's going on. If there is smoke, or if there's a smell of burning, the problem might not be just a regular jam, but a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed.

If the issue seems to be just the regular paper jam, check out all of the access ports and slots to the jammed parts before you get to work, and see if you can find that manual again, it would have the best descriptions of the fax machine's interior.

You will also want to keep the fax machine running if there's no immediate danger, as the fax machine's memory is still loaded with the fax you were sending/receiving, you will experience no loss of data until you turn it off.

Step 2: Get access to the jammed area

Once you've figured out where the jam happened, try to get access to that area of the fax machine's interior. It shouldn't take too much effort, as these machines were made to be opened up, if you feel like you have to use too much force to get it opened, there's probably a clasp or some small trick to opening it up, or you're just trying at the wrong spot. If you hear the paper ripping, you may want to try to get access from some other point!

Step 3: Clear the paper path

Interior of the fax machine is a complicated path that the paper is supposed to roll along by easily, and most of the parts allow the paper to travel only one way, forcing it the other way would just cause damage to the fax machine. You want to start by pulling the paper out down the path it was supposed to go, and then check if you got all of it out – if there are any leftover pieces of paper in the fax machine it may cause further jams. If those pieces are in hard to reach spots, don't try to force the device open to reach everything, but try using a pair of tweezers.
Step 4: Close the fax and run the test page

Now just close the machine in the opposite order of actions you opened it, and run a test page. Every fax machine has some simple method of printing a test page, if you don't know how to do it, just try to print out the last fax message you received – if a paper can run through the fax machine unimpeded, you've fixed your paper jam!


eHow How To Fix A Paper Jam

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