Toner Cartridge Troubleshooting Guide
Don’t get frustrated by laser printer problems! Use our troubleshooting guide below for helpful tips and techniques to solve the most common laser printer problems.
Cleaning can go a long way towards keeping your laser printer running smoothly. The exterior of your printer can be cleaned with a damp cloth or a cleaner specially designed to clean electronics. The interior of the printer can be cleaned with compressed air or a small purpose built vacuum cleaner. If you are using compressed air, you must remove the fuser assembly to allow a path for dirt and debris to exit the printer. The interior can further be cleaned with a dry, lint free cloth.
The first step to troubleshooting is determining the nature of the problem and then concentrating on a specific area. Most laser printers contain a status message area which displays the printer’s current state. If an error occurs, the printer will almost always display a message or error code. Errors are often also written into a status log. The status log can be viewed by printing a self test/configuration page. If the problem is keeping the printer from printing, the configuration page will not be available. If this is the case, the troubleshooting can be performed by connecting the printer to a PC via a parallel network cable or a network connection and running diagnostic tests. All laser printers generate very high internal temperatures and have the potential to overheat. To avoid this, a thermal fuse is incorporated in these printers to prevent this. If this fuse is faulty, the printer may overheat and become damaged or the fuse may signal the printer to stop printing, even if the printer has not yet overheated.
The most common problems with laser printer are paper jams and image problems.
The most common printer problem is a paper jam. Moving a very thin piece of paper through a mechanical device requires great precision. If you encounter a paper jam, you will need to firstly determine where the jam is and examine the area. Most jams occur due to a paper blockage or a worn roller. Many times, the paper itself is the cause of the jam. Poorly installed paper or paper that has not been stored correctly and allowed to curl prior to installing it into the paper tray can lead to paper jams. If the paper jam is in the paper tray, you should suspect the pick up roller. A worn pick up roller will not grab the paper correctly and will result in the paper being partially removed from the tray. If the printer is pulling out multiple sheets of paper at a time, it could be the separation pad at the front of the tray. You should replace the separation pad and pick up roller as a set. If one is worn, the other will probably need to be replaced too.
Any deterioration in the quality of the image is directly related to one of the components in the image substation. Firstly, you should examine the toner cartridge. Your toner cartridge contains a drum and developing rollers. If either of these components is damaged it will result in poor image quality. You should inspect the drum unit for marks or debris; the drum can be inspected by pulling back the plaster shutter which protects it when it is removed from the printer. Remember, the drum is very sensitive to light, so do not expose it to bright light for a long period of time.
Printing dark spots
If your printer is printing dark spots, the cartridge may have excess toner. You will need to run blank pages through the printer to absorb the extra toner.
If your printer is printing out blank pages, the toner may have either dried up or is almost empty in the cartridge. Shake the cartridge to free any dried toner inside. If there is no toner, replace the cartridge. Ensure that the sealant tape has been removed from the cartridge before placing it in the printer.
Most toners are provided with a removable strip to protect the drum during shipping, make sure that this strip has been fully removed by pulling out the tab on one end (usually the right side) of the cartridge then insert the cartridge into the printer.
Any cartridge, new or remanufactured, can streak if the toner inside is not evenly distributed. To fix, remove the cartridge from the printer, rock the cartridge back and forth, and then gently shake it to evenly distribute the toner powder. If rocking the cartridge doesn’t make any difference it’s possible that the drum unit is faulty.
Cartridge won’t fit
You need to make sure all of the packaging has been removed and the cartridge is being inserted into the printer the correct way around. If it still doesn’t work then check the cartridge you have purchased is the correct one for your printer model.
Poor print quality
Firstly, try to clean the cartridge drum with some dry tissue paper, ensure you rotate the drum whilst cleaning to ensure you clean all sides of the drum. If this doesn’t work then perform a clean function through the printer software.
Sometimes ghosting can appear at regular intervals on the printed page. This is because either the imaging drum hasn’t fully discharged and is picking up from a previous image, or a previous image has used up so much toner that the supply of charged toner is insufficient or the toner hasn’t been adequately charged.
Laser printers have up to four rollers. In addition to the heat and pressure rollers of the fusing assembly, rollers are designed to move the paper from the source tray to the output tray. These rollers crease the paper to avoid curling, which would cause paper jams in the printer. If the creases are noticeable, try using a different paper type. Cotton bond paper is usually more susceptible to noticeable creasing than other bonds. You might also try setting the output to the face up tray, which eliminates one roller. No hardware solution exists to this problem. This is simply a side effect of the process.