Friday, October 31, 2014

How to find the MAC address of a Ricoh MP series copier

If your Ricoh MP series copier has the capability to be used as a networked printer, then it has its own MAC address.  There are two styles of the MP series copiers: the ones that have touch screens (such as the MP2550 or the MP6000) and the smaller desktop models that don't have touch screens (like the MP2000).  The copiers with the touch screens are easy to recognize because the display screen is large and graphical, whereas on the other models the screen is tiny and displays mainly text.

The steps to find your copier's MAC address depends on which style of MP copier you have.  (The steps may vary for some individual models, but they should generally be the same across the board.)


For the touch screen models:

A.  Press the User Tools/Counter key (typically found to the left of the display screen).

B.  On the touch screen, select System Settings.

C.  Select the Interface Settings tab.

D.  Select Machine IPv4 Address on the touch screen.

The MAC address will be displayed on the screen, next to the IP address.


For the non-touch screen models:

A.  Press the User Tools/Counter key (probably in the upper right corner of the operational panel).

B.  Using the arrow keys, scroll down until you see System Settings, then press the OK key.

C.  Scroll to Interface Settings (or IF Settings) and press the OK key.

D.  Select Network.

E.  Select Machine IPv4 Address.

F.  There will be three choices along the bottom of the screen; press the corresponding key for MAC Address (probably the far right one).

The MAC address will be displayed on the screen.


If you would rather have a printout with the MAC address on it, you can print a configuration page on either style of machine.  For the touch screen models, press User Tools/Counter, then go into Printer Features and on the List/Test Print tab (the one that should be active by default) choose Configuration Page.  On the page that prints out, the MAC address will be located toward the bottom, in the "Interface Information" section.

For the non-touch screen models, follow steps A, B, and C above, and then instead of choosing Network, go to Print IF Settings List, and then press the Start key.  Two or three pages may print out, depending on the specific machine, but the MAC address will be located toward the top of the first page.

(Originally published on Helium.com, August 2010)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to troubleshoot a Dynex Wireless Optical Mouse

The Dynex Wireless Optical Mouse (model #DX-WLMSE) is a reliable, highly-functional mouse that has become a popular choice for many consumers.  It is compatible with most modern Windows operating systems, from Windows 2000 to Windows 7.  Like with any electronic device, it will occasionally run into problems, but usually these problems can easily be resolved.  This article is a basic guide for troubleshooting your Dynex Wireless Optical Mouse:

If your mouse is not working, the first thing to do is make sure it's turned on.  There is a tiny on/off switch on the bottom of the mouse; make sure it is flipped to On.  The red light on the bottom of the mouse should come on when you move the mouse.  If it doesn't, the two AA batteries it uses might need to be replaced.

Once you've verified that the mouse is on and has power, it's time to check the connection to the USB receiver.  The receiver is the small black thing sticking out of the computer's USB drive that exchanges wireless signals with the mouse itself.  If the receiver is not plugged into one of your computer's USB slots, it needs to be.

Press the Connect button on the receiver.  A light should start flashing.  Now press the Connect button on the mouse.  Once the connection is established, the light should stop flashing.  If the light continues to flash after you've pressed Connect on the mouse, the connection hasn't been properly made.

Make sure the mouse and the receiver aren't too far away.  Generally, if the receiver is plugged into the front of your computer (or the side, for a laptop) and the mouse is within a few feet, you should be fine.  If you have the receiver plugged into the back of your desktop computer, the computer itself may be interfering with the wireless signal.  Either plug the receiver into the front, or use the USB extension cable that came with the mouse to use a rear USB slot but allow the receiver to come around the computer and maintain a line-of-sight link with the mouse.

Another step to try when the mouse doesn't work is to plug the receiver into another USB port and see if that makes a difference.  If there is another computer available, try installing the mouse on that computer to see if the problem lies with your PC.

If the mouse is working, but is functioning erratically or some features don't work, you may need to reinstall the driver.  You can reinstall it either from the CD-ROM if you have it, or from the Dynex mouse web page.  On the website, scroll down to the "Drivers, Firmware and Software" section and click on "English."

With the Dynex software installed, you will see a mouse icon in the system notification tray that tells you how long your batteries have left.  You can double click on this icon to bring up the Mouse Suite, where you can adjust and customize the mouse's properties, such as what the different buttons do or how fast the pointer moves.

If you've tried all the steps above and the mouse still doesn't work, you probably either have a faulty mouse or a faulty receiver.  The Dynex Wireless Optical Mouse isn't very expensive -- it's much cheaper to buy a new one than to try to have it repaired.  You can often find wireless mice on eBay or Amazon for about ten bucks or less.

(Originally published on Helium.com, August 2010)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to configure the default scan settings on a Ricoh MP series copier

On a Ricoh multifunction copier with scanning capability, the scanning options may be configured differently, depending on whether you got your copier directly from Ricoh, from an independent copier dealership, or if you purchased it used. However, you can easily configure the scan settings so that they are to your liking.

This article describes how to change the default scan settings for a Ricoh Aficio MP series copier. Just about any Ricoh Aficio MP copier with a color touch screen and the ability to scan can be configured using the procedure covered below, although for some models (including those with smaller touch screens) a few of the steps may be slightly different.

Press the Scanner button on the left side of the copier's operation panel (or select Scanner from the Home screen) to bring up the scanning screen. Then press the yellow Clear button to clear out any temporary settings that may have been set. The settings you see now (resolution, file type, etc.) are the default settings that the copier uses when you don't select anything different. You can change these settings to suite your needs.

The first step is to select whichever settings you want. If you want to change the default resolution to 300 dpi, go ahead and set that now. If you want to change the default file type to multi-page PDF, set that as well (under File Type). Select any settings that you want to change, but be sure not to change any settings that you want to remain the same.

Once you've selected all of the settings that you wish to change, press the Program button on the right side of the operation panel. Select Program as Default on the touch screen (it may be called something different, such as Program Current Settings as Default), then select Program.  When asked to confirm your choice, select Yes. The settings you've chosen will now be the default settings for scanning.

The default settings for the main scanning screen and the simplified display scanning screen are separate, so if you want to change the defaults for simplified display, you'll have to do that manually. Press the Scanner button, then the Simplified Display button to bring up the simplified display scanning screen. Now select the scan settings you want to save as the default settings. Press the Program button, and on the screen touch Program. You'll be asked to confirm your choice; select Yes.

(Originally published on Helium.com, January 2014)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to fix a Kenmore 70 Series dryer that won't stop running

The Kenmore 70 Series heavy duty dryer can be a pretty good dryer for many homes.  It is simple to operate, has an easily-accessible lint trap, and can run on 120 volts.  However, one problem that may occur with it as the dryer gets older is that it keeps running after its cycle has finished.  When it completes one cycle, it will stop, but if it is left alone it will continue on to the next cycle and start that one.  It will keep running until someone notices and unplugs the dryer or leaves the door open, and it will drain electricity and cause possible damage to your laundry.

Usually the problem can be fixed fairly easily if you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty (figuratively).  The problem is likely nothing more than a faulty switch.  The switch (which sits behind the button you press to start the dryer) relies on a piece of copper to make and break the connection, and this copper piece can become bent or warped over time.  This article will walk you through repairing that switch.  (These instructions were written for the Kenmore 73742 dryer, but the procedure should be similar, if not identical, for the other 70 series dryers.)

The very first thing to do is to unplug the dryer from the outlet so it is not getting any power.  Once it is unplugged, you'll need to either pull the dryer out, away from the wall, or tilt it forward so that you can get to the rear access panel.  Ideally you should pull the dryer out, but there's not always room to do that.  If you tilt the dryer forward, place something sturdy in front of it and underneath it so that there is no chance of the dryer falling either forward or backward and causing harm to anyone in the area or causing damage to the dryer or other appliances.

The switch in question is located behind the dryer's start button (on the right side of the operation panel).  To get to the switch, you need to remove the rear access panel, which is a long metal cover that runs across the upper length of the dryer and is held in place by six slotted screws.  Set the screws and the cover somewhere safe and out of the way.

As you're looking at the back of the dryer, the switch will be on your far left.  It is a small black box with several different wires attached to it.  All of the wires can be pulled off (by pulling on the connector, not the actual wire) though if they've been on there for a while you may need to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to (gently) pull them off.  Before removing the wires, it's a good idea to either mark the individual connectors or to take a picture of the switch assembly, so that you know where each wire goes when you reattach them.

Once you've removed the wires, you can test the switch if you have a multimeter handy.  Set it to the logic or continuity setting (if it has that feature).  If the multimeter is on the right setting, you should hear a beep or see the display change when you touch the two leads to each other.  Place one lead on either of the upper contacts (the two that come out of the same copper strip) and the other on the lower contact below them, and then push in the start button on the front of the dryer.

Normally you would see a change of state in the switch, signalled by either a beep or a change on the multimeter's display.  However, if the switch is causing your dryer's problem, you won't notice any change on the multimeter when you press the start button.

You can take the switch apart without removing it from its housing, which means one less step when you put it all back together.  To take apart the switch, pry the back off with a small flathead screwdriver or a pocket knife.  If you can pry one side up a little bit and then work on the opposite side, it should pop right out.

The start button has a spring that sits between the button and the switch; make sure you don't lose this spring when the switch comes off.  When you have the switch removed, turn it over to look at the inside.  There is a bent copper strip running along one side -- this is the culprit causing your problem.

The copper strip over time has become bent so that it is always in contact with the switch.  All you have to do is bend it away from the switch's contact enough so that it doesn't rest against it when you reinstall it, but still leave it close enough to make the contact when the start button is pressed.  This will require some trial and error -- bend it a little, reattach it, and test the start button while your multimeter is attached to the two contacts.  When you have the copper piece bent enough so that the switch changes state when you press the button, you've fixed the problem.

Now put everything back together.  Reattach the switch wires, screw the rear panel back on, push the dryer back to its original position, and plug it in.  Then test it by turning it to different settings and making sure it doesn't come on unless you press the start button, but also make sure that when you press the start button it actually starts.  If both of those things happen, you have successfully fixed your dryer!

(Originally published on Helium.com, September 2010)

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to ping from a BlackBerry Tour

Any computer user who has ever tried to troubleshoot a network connectivity issue is probably familiar with the "ping" command.  Ping sends a quick message from your computer to the computer you specify, just asking for a reply.  Assuming the request can make it over the network (or Internet) to the destination computer, and assuming the destination computer isn't prevented from receiving the request or replying by either a firewall or a security policy, that computer will send a reply back to you, and you can verify the connection between the two computers.

If you have a BlackBerry Tour, you can send ping requests directly from the Tour, in addition to sending them from your computer.  To use the ping command from your BlackBerry Tour, follow these steps:

A.  From the main screen, press the BlackBerry button (the one with seven dots to the left of the trackball) to get to your Home folder.

B.  Scroll down until you see the Options folder (with the wrench icon) and select it.

C.  Scroll down to Mobile Network and click on it.

D.  Press the BlackBerry button again to bring up additional options

E.  Scroll down to Tools, and either click on it or move the trackball to the right.

F.  From the list of available commands, select Ping.

Now you should see the Ping screen.  From here you can send ping commands as well as set the parameters you want to use.  By default, a ping command will send four requests of 32 bytes each, but you can change either of those settings if you want.

To send a ping, type in the destination you want to ping, either as an IP address (for example, 192.168.1.8) or as a domain name (like yahoo.com).  Then hit the BlackBerry button and choose Send Ping.

If the pings are successful, you will see "Success!" displayed on the screen, along with the time it took the destination computer to respond.  If the pings do not go through, you will see either the "Ping request timeout" error (which means the destination couldn't be reached) or the "A network error occured" message (which could mean either the destination you entered was invalid or there is a connectivity problem somewhere).  Either way, at the bottom of the screen you'll also see a breakdown of how many of the attempted pings went through successfully and what their average travel time was.

The ping command screen is also where you can view your BlackBerry's IP address, if you ever need to look it up.

(Originally posted on Helium.com, July 2010)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BlackBerry app review: Password Keeper

Password Keeper is a free application that comes pre-installed on many BlackBerries, including the Curve, Bold, Tour and other models. It can typically be found in the Applications folder and it is designed to allow you to store and organize passwords that you use for websites so that you don't have to remember them all. It can also be used to save PINs, account numbers or anything else that you don't want to have to remember but you don't want anyone else to be able to see.

The first time you use Password Keeper, you can set up a password for the application, so that if someone else gets a hold of your BlackBerry, if they don't know your password, they can't see any of the information that you have saved in the application. This password protects your other passwords and data and even if you leave the program running and switch to another application, you'll be asked to re-enter the password when you come back to Password Keeper.

If you're familiar with using other BlackBerry apps and features such as Tasks, Calendar, or MemoPad, Password Keeper will be simple to use. The basic interface is the same and all of the options can be accessed from within the program by pressing the Menu button (on the Tour, this will be the button with the seven dots to the left of the trackball).

You can easily set up passwords for new websites and the program allows you to store a title for that entry, the website address, your user name, password and additional notes. One nice feature of the program is the ability to change any of the labels, so in addition to storing website passwords, you could store PINs and other information.

The security settings of the program can be customized as well, so you can specify how many attempts you have to enter your password before the program locks you out. You can also use the random password feature to generate a random password for a website and you can tell it whether to include numbers, letters and/or symbols, as well as how long to make the password.

Password Keeper is a good free password vault program. There are more sophisticated programs you can download, many of which cost money, but Password Keeper should be sufficient for most users' needs, and it's easy to use and set up.

(Originally published on Helium.com, August 2011)

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to change the toner on a Ricoh Aficio 1022 / 1027 / 2022 / 2027 / 2510 / 3010 / 2550 / 3350 / 2851 / 3351 / 2352 / 2852 / 3352 copier

Follow the steps below to replace the toner bottle in your Ricoh 1022, 1027, 2022, 2027, 2510, 3010, 3025, 3030, 2550, 3350, 2851, 3351, 2352, 2852, or 3352 copier.

- Open the copier's front door
- Pull up on the green handle on the toner unit
- Push down on the small green lever on the left side of the toner unit
- Slide the toner unit out using the green handle
- Remove the old toner bottle
- Unscrew the black cap from the new toner bottle
- Lay the new toner bottle on the toner tray, top of the bottle facing toward you
- Push the toner unit all the way in using the green handle until it locks in place
- Push the green handle down into place
- Close the copier's front door