Save Time and Money on Your Laser Printer – Part 1

Save Time and Money on Your Laser Printer – Part 1
By Jerry Arsenault

Just as computers can be mysterious and intimidating sometimes, the same can be true of laser printers. When you are in the middle of a print job and something goes wrong, a basic understanding of how your printer works may prove very helpful in resuming your printing quickly and without the need for a service call and resulting cost.

Data is sent to your printer via a cable that is connected to your computer. This data is processed in the printer and is transferred to a drum that is located in the toner cartridge. The drum, which has an electrical charge on it, attracts toner that forms an image equivalent to the original document. This image is next transferred to the media (paper or transparency). Next, the media passes through an assembly called a fuser, which heats the toner and the paper to about 180 degrees and causes the image to bond to the paper.

Finally the paper exits from the printer as a finished product.

The most common problems occur because of a toner cartridge which is either faulty or near the end of its useful life. The fastest way to determine if the cartridge causes the trouble is to exchange it with another one. That is, of course, assuming you have a backup on hand. If the trouble is exactly the same with the new cartridge, then the printer itself becomes suspect. However, recently, I discovered that a printer cable had actually come loose from a customer’s computer and was lying on the floor!

Jerry Arsenault, Toner Time Fredericton

Here are some of the problems that are often caused by the cartridge:

  • Weak or light image
  • Recurring vertical white or black spots
  • Recurring horizontal black bars
  • One or more vertical black lines down the entire page

Note: If spots are random or intermittent, your printer may need cleaning. But caution is advised. Toner is very fine and should be removed by a vacuum cleaner that has a hepa filter installed. Never use compressed air to clean a laser printer. Also, avoid touching behind or below the cartridge area with bare hands. Oil from the skin can affect certain rollers that will cause image problems on paper.

Jerry Arsenault manages Toner Time Fredericton Inc. If you have questions about your laser printer, you can contact Jerry weekdays by telephone at (506) 450-6134 or (506) 457-2252 or by email: Or visit Toner Time Fredericton online at