Printer and Photocopier Troubleshooting and Repair Collection : IBM X-24 Proprinter print head jumps aro..  
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IBM X-24 Proprinter print head jumps around

"Got a problem with a real nice 24 pin dot matrix printer I bought used. Was working fine for awhile then all of a sudden it will be printing fine an the printhead intermittently will jump to the center of the carriage and start printing from there. Also, when you turn it on, many times the printhead jams over to the right side of the carriage and the gears grind and you have to cycle it on and off to get it to start up right. Then you now almost for sure it will have problems printing. Help, any ideas? Do I just change a control chip? How do you scope out something like that? Can I get a manual somewhere? I want to keep the printer."

Also check for bad connections. If the printhead motor is a servo (DC instead of stepper), you have an intermittent feedback problem, again could be bad connections or bad parts.

(From: Ralph Wade Phillips (ralphp@gcstation.net).)

First off, have you changed the RIBBON? Second, clean the print head carriage rails. They need a VERY LIGHT coat of VERY LIGHT oil, then wiped clean.

Usually, when I see this, either the printer is just plain wore out, or the ribbon is snagging. Since the ProPrinter family drive the ribbon off of the carriage drive, if it ever snags, you'll get these symptoms.