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Toner Cartridges

In a recent article in PC Magazine online there was a review of an OKI B412dn black and white laser printer.    In the article it makes the comparison of the cost per page between this OKI printer, the Brother HL-5450DN and the Canon LBP6230dw.   The claim is that the cost per page of the OKI B412dn is 1.9 cents (1.25p) against 4.1 cents (2.7p) for the Canon and 2.2 cents (1.45p) for the Brother.   It is my opinion that these are very expensive printers to run and that is born out by the total cost of ownership of these printers after only 2 years of modest usage.   They are inexpensive on the face of it but actually have a very high running cost.

  Pence per page Cost per 1000 pages Printer Cost Cost after 2 years at 1000 pages per month
Canon LBP6230dw 2.70p £26.97 £100.00 £747.37
Brother HL-5450DN 1.45p £14.47 £190.00 £537.37
OKI B412dn 1.25p £12.50 £170.00 £470.00
HP LaserJet P4015dn (refurb) 0.5p £5.00 £240.00 £360.00

Of course, I am making the comparison between the purchase of one of these small printers against a more robust printer capable of a heavy workload.   I refer to a refurbished HP LaserJet P4015 supplied by us at £210.00 which will have a cost of ownership after 2 years printing 1000 pages per month £110 lower than the the cheapest small printer.   At the end of the two years, when the small machines will be coming to their life end the HP LaserJet P4015dn will still be ready for many more years of productive printing.LJ_P4014N

You can see the trend in the above table that the more you spend on your printer the lower is the cost of ownership.

So, in summary, why would you want to spend all that money on a printer when there is a cost effective alternative in the HP LaserJet P4015dn that comes with a 12 months warranty as well?   We have other cost effective printers on our website at under refurbished printers for you to choose from.

I have long held the view that compatible toner cartridges should never be used in colour laser printers unless they come from a reputable source.

Last week we were called out to a Samsung multifunction printer that was putting a smudgy grey band down the side of the printed page about 1cm wide. After performing all the tests we could to identify the reason for these unsightly bands we discovered it was the compatible black toner cartridge causing the problem.

It is not unusual for toner cartridges, even originals, to cause print defects but our experience tells us that compatibles cause them many, many times more frequently.

So, the customer had another compatible black cartridge in stock so that was put into the printer and the printer turned on. After the machine had initialised there was a message on the screen saying the black cartridge was not recognised. No matter what we tried we could not get this cartridge recognised.

So we put the previous offending cartridge back into the printer anSamsung CLX-6220d the customer said they would send these two defective compatible cartridges back to their supplier for replacement.

You will remember that I qualified my opening statement by saying ‘provided they come from a reputable source’. Well, you would think the local stationery supplier would be a reputable source and you would be right. By ‘reputable source’ I mean the source of manufacture. These cartridges had the ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 symbols, the box was very colourful but no sign of a manufacturers name or even a country of origin…..and therein lies the problem.

How do you know that they are from a reputable source if that source keeps themselves a secret. And if the manufacturer does not want to be named what does that tell you about them.

Anyway, back to the story. Having left the customer with a two defective black compatible toner cartridges to be replaced by the local stationery company we were surprised the very next day to be called out to the same printer with another problem. This time there was a clunking sound coming from the right rear of the printer. Not having the space to dismantle this large printer in the office we took it back to our workshop where we had more space.

What we found after testing the parts and looking for a gear with a tooth missing was that the noise stopped if we removed one particular motor. The motor worked fine so it had to be something driven by this motor. Tracing through the gears to establish what this particular motor was for we found that it drives the stirring mechanism in the toner cartridges. We then studied the toner cartridges and found that the stirring mechanism in the yellow toner cartridge was jammed solid, it would not turn at all and therefore the gears driving it were making this clunking sound in there effort to stir the yellow toner.

We re-assembled the printer and returned it to the customer with our findings. Luckily, or was it, they had another compatible yellow toner cartridge from the same unknown origin in stock so we put that in the printer and turned it on. Sadly, this toner was also not recognised by the printer.

We now have four defective compatible toner cartridges from the same origin in as many days. The customer has paid us twice to attend to their printer issue which has turned out not to be an issue with the printer but with the compatible toner cartridges. Whatever the customer has saved here on purchasing compatible colour toner cartridges from an unknown origin they have then spent on correcting this issue so there were no savings at all, only down time when their only printer could not be used. I would add that we did provide a loan printer so they could work whilst we had their printer in the workshop.

So in summary, the customer had purchased compatible colour toner cartridges 4 of which proved to be defective in as many days. I therefore stick to my conviction that you should never use compatible toner cartridges in colour laser printers unless they come from a reputable source.