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May 09

Running out of Toner

Posted by: Steve Marr

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I keep backup toner because in my work I often need to print copies. I don’t want to email my file to the UPS store and pay extra money to print a file.  However, on occasion I have run out of toner.

What I did might help you in a pinch. Open your printer and take out your cartridge. While holding the cartridge securely, shake it vigorously up and down and sideways six or eight times. Then, place the cartridge back in your printer and print.


The way cartridges are constructed, toner may run out in one part of the cartridge causing the printing to become faded or not print at all. By shaking the cartridge, you redistribute the toner and will have a limited amount of time to print additional copies. Of course, I immediately order replacement toner online. While it was relatively inexpensive, I did have to wait a few days. Shaking the cartridge filled the gap. 

Since I prefer to be frugal, I use this tactic on my cartridges anyway just to get a few more pages out of each one. 

In Genesis we read, “Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it.  Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.” (Genesis 41: 48 – 49, NIV)

We may think that saving on toner by shaking the cartridge is a waste of effort.  However, Joseph’s example of how storing food during times of abundance provided enough food during times of scarcity teaches us to do the same.

Comments (2)add comment

Chuck Nielsen said:

I love you brother, but this is one time where the advice does not meet the context of the scripture. If you had stored an extra cartridge or two so you wouldn't have run out, that would have met the criteria. Additionally, shaking the cartridge on a home user's non-commercial copier/printer may work fine for a few extra prints, but doing so on a component-based commercial machine will only cause internal damage unseen for a while.
This article brought a smile to my face because I just traveled an hour away to deliver toner to a customer. I did it because I'm covering for others that are in the Covid-19 lockdown. I became frustrated because another department at the same location called just as I arrived back at my home office an hour away and said they were out of toner. They said the printer had been telling them that since this morning. 5-minutes later I read this. It brought a smile to my face. This machine is a commercial machine that transfers toner out of the cartridge directly into the developer unit. The developer unit calls for toner when the piezo sensor detects it's need based on a specific ratio. If you shake the toner cartridge, it's no different than simply opening and closing the access door. The toner will still be low as well as the ratio, but the machine will allow a few extra prints. Doing this enough times, the carrier (microscopic iron particles that look like golf balls) won't have enough toner to buffer it's brushing action and two things start to happen. First, you have metal brushing your drum instead of plastic/carbon toner. Second, the bias voltage which draws the toner away from the carrier to the drum is now drawing the carrier (developer) out of the cartridge. In this case, the piezo sensor is now out of calibration, and when the customer adds fresh toner, you start getting an overtone situation. Now you're using excess toner that is now being wasted and if bad enough warrants a service call.
In a consumer-based machine, the cartridge contains the toner, developer, and usually drum all in one package. Shaking those doesn't have the same effect.
Having cartridges on hand eliminates all of this frustration. Just like Joseph keeping extra grain on hand. Keep up the Good work brother Steve :-)
May 12, 2020
Votes: +0

Steve Marr said:

Thanks for the heads up.
May 13, 2020
Votes: +1

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