Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hacking Your Own Printer

This week, the laser printer we have at home decided that it would no longer print - halfway through a 74 page document. The last 20 pages didn't come out. Argh. Send the last 20 pages again. Still nothing. Try a test page. Still nothing.

Double check the lights on the panel and look up what they mean.

So, the toner light has been on the laser printer we have at home here for....well, a long time. Now, the status light also went red, which means "I'm not printing; get a new cartridge".

Which is weird, because the document looked just fine - even the last page. I shake up the toner cartridge, stick it back in. Still no go.

Go online, price the toner replacement (this would be the first time - I've been using the cartridge that came with the printer.) at the local big box retailers. I see that I can get THREE of the high capacity replacements (7500 pages vs. 3500 pages) for less than one of the regular capacity at a local big box.

So, I order some, but...would still like to print. Does the printer supply an override of some kind to let the USER and not the PRINTER decide when it's time to change the toner?

So I google some, and find that a strategically-placed piece of electrical tape lets some people print 500-1000 more pages just fine with the same model. I take a look at the cartridge, and I can see what they are talking about, and after a bit of rummaging, I find some electrical tape at the house. A few seconds later the cartridge is back in, and the status light is no longer red!

Clear out the printer queue, and voila, I have my complete document printed out.

It's not that I'm poor, but I just abhor waste and inefficiency. 500-1000 more pages is substantial. This toner came with the printer and lasted a long time - but getting it to last even longer is just fine with me.

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