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Basic Maintenance of Laser Printer

Info   Consult the manufacturer's handbook regarding issues concerning health, safety and warranty conditions. 
Info   Before replacing or repairing items, always check that the settings on the computer/printer are correct. 
Info   Error or service codes may help to isolate and resolve problems.
Info   Prices are highly variable depending on manufacturer and the specific make/model of the laser printer.


Toner Cartridges

 


 

The photoreceptor drum, toner supply bin, waste toner hopper and wiper blades often come combined in a single replaceable unit that is changed when defective or depleted of toner. However, if items are separate, soft plastic drums may a have high cost of ownership that becomes apparent when it needs to be replaced.

The cost of replacing the toner cartridge is significant ($70 - $350+) but less expensive alternatives are available compared with using a standard manufacturer's cartridge. These include: 

• 'Re-manufactured Cartridges'/'Return Cartridges' and 'Compatible Cartridges'
• 'Refill Cartridges' 
• Standard and high yield versions

Refer to Toner Cartridges - What are the Different Types? for details.


Fuser Assembly

This can include damaged paper sensors, power supply and electrical failure, cleaning build up of toner, torn fixing film sleeves, worn or defective feed and transfer rollers, defective gears and failure of the heating element Quartz bulb. Vertical lines on printouts may be the result of scratches on the rollers produced by the build-up of dust and dirt.

The cost of replacing a laser printer Fuser depends on the manufacturer, make/model and whether it is a refurbished or brand new item.

Example: HP Colour LaserJet 5550 Fuser
Refurbished Fuser  £135 (approx.)
New HP Fuser       £235 (approx.)

 

Rollers and Assemblies

 

 

Excessively worn or defective rollers should be replaced. The paper rollers can be cleaned with proprietary chemical solutions that often contain 99% isopropyl alcohol with a damp, lint free cloth.

 

Paper

 

 

Errors in printing and paper jams may result from inappropriate paper type or thickness. 

 

Additional RAM 


Question_Mark  Why add more RAM?

•  One should notice an improvement in print speed especially for demanding graphic and image intensive documents.
•  Extra memory allows pages to be pre-fetched and stored in advance of printing ('stacking') and minimises print and memory error messages.
•  Increased capacity for adding extra 'downloadable/soft'  fonts.

Question_Mark  How much does RAM cost?

Overtime and approximately in relationship to Moore's Law, the size of RAM you will be able to buy for a given sum of money will increase. However, RAM prices fluctuate in accordance with market demand/supply, disruption of the supply chain e.g. natural disasters where RAM is manufacturered, and will vary depending on make and model of printer. It is usually advantageous to buy larger sized memory modules with regard to the 'MB to price' ratio.

Example:  Epson M8000N

SIZE OF RAM MODULE        PRICE  (approx.)  
    PRICE PER MB (approx.) 
  64MB  SDRAM         £256              £4       
128MB  SDRAM   £307             £2.4
256MB  SDRAM   £390             £1.5

 
Info  Memory bought from third party manufacturers can produce amazing savings but check with the printer manufacturer's warranty to see if using it invalidates their warranty. Increased error and failure rates of third party memory compared to OEM memory is sometimes suggested as a reason to purchase OEM memory. However, quality third party companies discount such views with a confident offer of a lifetime warranty and a full refund-no quibble policy on their RAM products. RAM prices can fluctuate considerably
depending on market forces, therefore though accurate at the time of writing, those quoted below should be seen as a rough guide only.

Example: (inc.VAT) 

LASER PRINTER   RAM SIZE   

 MANUFACTURERS WEBSITE PRICE  

    THIRD PARTY PRICE        SAVING
Xerox Phaser 7760 DN     512 Mb                   £770.80        Orcalogic     £15.98       £754.82
HP LaserJet 5200tn   512 Mb                £884.76        Offtek        £44.65       £840.11       


Question_Mark How to add more RAM 

Adding RAM to a laser printer is usually a simple process that takes a matter of minutes to perform. Consult the manufacturer's handbook for specifics and remember to remove the power cord and other leads connecting the printer before starting the procedure. As a general principle, a dedicated panel secured by a tab or screw covers the printer's memory slots. After removing the panel, note the direction that any existing RAM card is inserted and then simply push the new memory card in to an available free memory expansion slot. The process is completed by replacing the access panel, reconnecting the leads and performing a test page to ensure everything is functioning correctly. 

Maintenance and Repair Kits

Manufacturer maintenance and repair kits are available for many laser printers and these typically come with at least a 90 day warranty. The cost of such repair kits is highly variable and depends on manufacturer and make/model of the laser printer. Also, the contents of maintenance kits can differ but the following is a representative example costing £235 (approx.):

HP LaserJet 4250 Maintenance Kit 
LaserJet 4250 Fuser (New HP) 
4 X LaserJet 4250 paper feed roller (for tray 2/3 - 2 needed per tray) 
1 X LaserJet 4250 paper pickup roller (for tray 2/3) 
1 X LaserJet 4250 paper pickup roller (for tray 1) 
1 X LaserJet 4250 separation pad (for tray 1 makes sure only one piece of paper is picked up)

Replacing the majority of Fusers is a straightforward process involving turning a latch or using a #2 Phillips screwdriver. 

Paper Repair Feed Kits are avaliable for certain printers and contain various new paper pickup rollers, feed rollers and separation pads. They can help address poor paper feed/paper pick up issues and paper jams (involving actual jammed paper or situations where an error message reports a paper jam yet no paper is actually jammed inside the machine). The following is a representative example costing £47 (approx.):

HP LaserJet 8150 Paper Repair Kit

1 X LaserJet 8150 paper pickup roller (for tray 1)
2 X LaserJet 8150 paper pickup rollers (for tray 2/3) 
8 X LaserJet 8150 separation rollers (for tray 2/3 - makes sure only one piece of paper is picked up) 
1 X LaserJet 8150 separation pad (for tray 1 - makes sure only one piece of paper is picked up) 


On a final note, the saying, “if in doubt…..don’t!” should be borne in mind when considering undertaking any laser printer repairs beyond replacing basic consumables and clearing paper jams. Aside from the possibility of invalidating shop purchase guarantees and manufacturer warranties, serious damage to both printer and person can result. Therefore, first try to track down and resolve common problems and, if unsuccessful, before starting to use any tools, seriously consider seeking the assistance of a professional.
 
 

Articles

1 History of Laser Printers
2 How do Laser Printers Work?
3 LED and LCD Printers - Are these Laser Printers?
4 Laser Printer and Photocopier - What is the Difference?
5 Laser Printer Paper - A3 Size and its Equivalent
6 Toner Cartridges - What are the Different Types?
7 Choosing a Laser Printer – How to Make an Informed Choice
8 Where to buy a Laser Printer and its Consumables - High Street v Internet
9 Basic Maintenance of Laser Printer
10 Who uses A3 Laser Printers?
11 A3 Laser Printers compared to A4 Laser Printers
12 A3 Colour Laser Printers compared to A3 Monochrome Laser Printers
13 A3 Colour Laser Printers compared to A3 Colour Inkjet Printers
14 Why does a Laser Printer cost more to buy than an Inkjet Printer?
15 Laser Printers: Health and Safety

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