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Waiting for a Sign? This is what Your Printer Needs You to Know!

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  • Does my printer need regular maintenance?

  • Does printer maintenance include the replacement of printer parts? 

  • What’s in a printer maintenance kit? 

“This printer was working fine an hour ago. What’s going on? I can’t read this document and I just replaced the toner,” you exclaim. You see a non-descript status message on the printer dashboard that originally showed up several weeks ago and you wonder, “What does this mean? Was I supposed to do something?”

This has happened to all of us at one time or another. It’s easy to brush aside a status message when your printer appears to be working. One of the more common messages where this occurs is “low-toner.” You may find yourself waiting until the crisp image begins to degrade before replacing your toner cartridge. This is fine but what happens when other messages are ignored?

What Time Is It? It’s Maintenance Time!

Just like a vehicle undergoes an oil change every 3,000 – 6,000 miles to ensure that it’s running smoothly and efficiently, laser printers also need routine maintenance. Your printer will often provide plenty of notice before any of its consumable parts need to be replaced. Lights and warning messages may appear when there is 25% life left remaining. Many printers have a way to indicate exactly how much use is left before replacement is absolutely needed.  Here’s what you need to know about maintenance and the printer parts that keep your device in optimal condition!

  •  What is a maintenance kit? A maintenance kit is a set of various parts and has an expected life – this can be from 20,000 pages up to 200,000 pages depending on your machine. Included in this kit is the fuser, which is the part in your printer that fuses the toner to your page. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to change your fuser every 3-5 toner cartridges. Aside from a fuser, a maintenance kit often includes various rollers and separation pads that keep the paper running smoothly through your machine. By routinely changing the rollers, you’re less likely to struggle with paper jams.  
  • What is a transfer kit? A transfer unit or transfer belt is the part in a laser printer that transfers the image you intend to print onto the paper. The part is constantly moving during a print job and it’s not uncommon for transfer rollers and the transfer belt to become misaligned. Like the fuser, a transfer belt needs to be changed after a few rounds of toner have been consumed.
  • What is a drum? The drum is a large roller that transfers toner to the paper. While some laser toner cartridges include a drum, some manufacturers sell a drum as a separate component. Again, drums do not always need replacement every time a toner cartridge is used up, and your printer should provide ample notice before replacement is absolutely necessary.
  • What is a waste toner box? When laser printers are in use, there is often excess toner (fine powder) that does not affix to the page. There is a piece similar to a wiper blade in most cartridges that wipes the excess toner into the waste toner box. When the toner box is full, it must be replaced before it spills and causes a mess in your machine.

Manufacturers are making these parts more end-user-friendly so that technicians are not always necessary. MCS is more than willing to help determine if parts are needed and the severity of the need. In addition, we often offer FREE installation of the above-mentioned parts. 

If you’re ever in doubt about the performance of your machine or wondering about the various error/status messages, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are always more than happy to help!

We have purchased printer ink cartridges from MCS and I believe also copier toner. We have ordered color paper with them in the past. They donate white copy paper to us as a non-profit. The folks at Michigan Computer Supplies are remarkably easy to work with, super nice, and quick! They get back to me right away and deliver immediately it seems. And as a non-profit theater, they are very supportive. They are generous to all of us in the non-profit world. This is the ideal business model, as far as I'm concerned: really friendly people, great customer service and support of us little guys.

Suzi Peterson, Managing Director Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

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