Understanding Printer Technology

Understanding Printer Technology

What do we mean by “page yield” or “capacity”?

A page yield is a guideline of how many pages your cartridge will print. For example the HP Q2612A cartridge has a page yield of 2000 or 2k. This means this toner cartridge will print 2000 pages at 5% coverage of a page.

What does 5% coverage mean and where did it come from?

Well 5% coverage of an A4 page is what the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has calculated as the average business letter. Assuming you were printing the average business letter coverage of 5%, you would be able to print the 2000 pages.

5% coverage refers to the percentage of the surface area of the paper which is actually covered with ink or toner in a typical page of text. It refers specifically to the actual characters printed, not the spaces between them or any blank space which may be part of character itself. For example, the space inside the letter "O" does not count because there is no ink or toner there, just as the blank space inside the top half of the number "9" would not count.

It's not how much of the paper the text occupies, for example a couple paragraphs could take up half a page but that would not be 50% coverage because the ink or toner is not covering 50% of the paper. Basically it means that if you could lift all the ink or toner used to print a full page of text then redistribute it into a solid block of exactly the same thickness as it was originally printed, that block would cover 5% of the paper.

General Printer Maintenance

  1. Unplug printer. For safety reasons it is best to let the printer sit for about an hour to cool down before starting the cleaning procedure.
  2. Remove any paper trays.
  3. Open the printer and remove the toner cartridge. Place the cartridge on a piece of disposable paper or newspaper. Be careful not to tip or shake the toner cartridge as this may lead to toner leakage.
  4. Clean the interior of the printer with a dry, lint-free cloth. Many models of laser printers provide a brush inside the printer that can be used to gently remove toner from hard to reach areas. If no brush is provided a clean, dry paintbrush can be used.
  5. If the printer has corona wires, gently wipe them with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol – Be careful when you do this, if a wire breaks it can be expensive to fix!
  6. Clean the rollers with a clean, slightly damp cloth to remove dirt buildup.

Paper Jams

Probably the most common mechanical problem for a printer. Here are the most common causes:

  • Bad pick up rollers in the tray. If they are really smooth and have trouble getting some friction, you will have problems. Solution — Replace the rollers (they are usually under $10)
  • Bad paper — many people try and use the CHEAPEST possible paper and wind up costing themselves an arm and a leg in service calls. Poor quality recycled paper is probably the biggest cause of the paper jamming, so avoid this at all costs. You can tell the quality of the paper by holding a single page to the light and seeing how fragmented the paper is. The more uniform, the better the quality.
  • Improper set up – If you’re using legal sized paper, but you have your printer set for letter sized paper, your printer will probably jam.

Genuine toner cartridges

Genuine toner cartridges are also known as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges as they are manufactured by printer manufacturers or by suppliers authorized by the printer manufacturers. Such cartridges are usually more costly than refills, compatibles or re-manufactured cartridges and are often preferred for printing machines under warranty.

Compatible toner cartridges

These toner cartridges are manufactured from scratch by generic or off-brand suppliers and are sold under different brand names. These cartridges are made to be compatible for the specific brand-name machine and generally have the same capacity and quality as the OEM version. Compatible cartridges typically cost about 30-60% less than the OEM versions and are a great way to keep the costs of printing down.

Remanufactured toner cartridges

Re- manufactured toner cartridges are remanufactured from used cartridges. Any defective part is replaced and the cartridge is cleaned and refilled with toner. Remanufactured laser toner cartridges generally last 20% longer than generic cartridges and typically cost about 30% to 40% less than generic toner cartridges.