Common toner cartridge problems

21. November 2011 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Printer problems are an unavoidable reality when owning a printer. New printers can have problems out-of-the-box as well as older printers with many hours of usage. Many people are unaware of the fact that most printer problems are not caused by the printer at all, but are caused by the toner cartridges. Fortunately, these issues can be easily fixed with just a small amount of knowledge on common toner cartridge problems.

Printing Failure – “Unidentified Cartridge”
Oftentimes when a printer fails to print it will cause an error message reading “unidentified cartridge” or “unrecognized cartridge.” This can be caused by an incompatible toner cartridge being installed into the printer or a defective chip on a compatible cartridge. Compatible LaserJet toner cartridges usually have a chip on the cartridge that registers with the printer.  If the chip is defective, you typically get the unidentified cartridge message.  Many times, powering off the printer, unplugging it and waiting for 15 minutes will resolve this issue.

Additionally, printing failure can be caused by a cartridge that isn’t fully seated in the printer. Sensors inside of the printer may fail to detect the cartridge if it isn’t seated correctly. Removing the problem cartridge(s) and reseating could also fix this issue.

Printer Toner Readings Incorrect
Failure to use the correct printer drivers and failing to install drivers at all can cause problems that resembled printer toner issues. For instance, the print maintenance utility included with most printers can possibly read that the toner is low, or the toner is empty, or that there is no toner cartridge at all. If there is no actual problem with the cartridge(s), the printer driver might be the culprit.

When an incompatible printer driver or an outdated printer driver is installed on a computer failure to print can result, with error messages that point to “driver” problems as well as incorrect toner readings. Drivers are software programs that hardware depends on to function correctly or at all. Most computer operating systems will automatically install the correct printer drivers during installation, but many instances occur in which the driver can’t be found for a particular operating system or computer. Searching the manufacturer’s website online usually helps to locate the correct driver for the printer model that you own since all companies have technical support teams to contact for further assistance.

Failure To Print Due To Firmware Problems
Manufacturers release “firmware” updates for printers which can be downloaded to fix bugs, increase functionality and improve features. Printer firmware updates can be found by visiting the website of your printer’s manufacturer and searching under “downloads.” In rare cases printer problems such as incorrect toner cartridge errors and incorrect printer status readings can be fixed by updating the firmware.

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