Laser printer toner.


I got my laser printer a little over a year ago – there were electronics gift cards that came my way on Christmas day, and so I went to the boxing day sales and carried home a little Brother printer. It’s been a great unit, and I’ve put it to good use – printing out several copies of every short story or excerpt that I take to Hamilton Writers or the now-defunct ‘New Writing Workshop‘, and every story that I put into my Kansas binders.

Just before I left for San Francisco this November, the printer’s ‘toner warning’ light started blinking. I over-reacted a little and didn’t even turn the printer on again until I’d found a seller on Ebay who would ship me a toner drum without charging a full arm for it, and then once I’d brought the new drum home – the printer seemed to be fine with the old toner drum.

This has continued on for a few months – the toner light would start blinking intermittently, and then clear up, as if it can’t make up its mind. “Toner? Yeah, I could do with some new toner.” “Toner? Nah, I’m fine, I don’t need more toner.”

Tomorrow is the first Hamilton Writers meeting of the new year, and I had some idea of forcing the issue, of continuing to print out copies of “Project Fast Track” until the printer knuckled under and asked for toner. Turned out I didn’t really need to try very hard. The toner light came on steady after the third copy, which means that it’s not a warranty, but a ‘toner end of life’ error condition. Somewhat whimsically, I turned it off for about an hour, came back – and got another one and a half copies, (twelve pages,) before ‘toner end of life’ hit again.

That time, turning it off and waiting didn’t clear the problem, so I finally opened up the front of the printer, took out the drum assembly, bagged up the old toner drum, inserted the new one, and cleaned off the ‘primary corona wire’, whatever that is, by sliding a stiff green switch back and forth several times. The manual says that I should wipe out the insides of the printer when I change the toner, but it’s too late for me to bother tonight, so I need to remember to do that soon.

It’s a good little printer, and I’m sure it gave me thousands of pages from that first starter drum. Here’s to the next five thousand pages printed!

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