Laser Printer Maintenance – CompTIA A+ 220-1101 – 3.7

It’s important to maintain a laser printer to ensure peak performance. In this video, you’ll learn about replacing toner cartridges, using maintenance kits, and calibrating and cleaning the laser printer.

One of the most common maintenance processes on a laser printer is replacing the toner cartridge. The toner cartridge contains the toner and in some cases, the photosensitive drum that’s used during the printing process. There’s usually messages that will appear on the laser printer telling you that the toner is getting low. But that still means that you’re able to print and use the printer.

But it does give you fair warning that eventually you will run out of toner, and that printer will no longer be able to work. It’s very common for the OPC, or the Organic Photoconductor, drum to be included with the toner cartridge. That means when you replace the toner cartridge, you’re effectively getting a brand-new OPC.

You’ll notice the toner cartridges often come wrapped in a package that doesn’t allow any sunlight to get in. And that’s probably because the OPC is also included with that toner cartridge. Replacing the cartridge is relatively straightforward. You would power down the printer. Usually you have to open the printer to gain access to the cartridge itself and then simply remove the old cartridge and replace it with the new cartridge.

Before putting the new cartridge into the printer, you want to make sure that all the packing strips or anything that’s used to seal the cartridge has been removed so it’s able to be used by the printer. Here’s a view of a toner cartridge and the photosensitive drum that’s on the inside. You can see that there’s a cover that’s been lifted above the photosensitive drum that’s normally down to protect this drum from any light.

If you’re replacing a toner cartridge in your laser printer, it’s usually best practice to keep that cover in place and prevent any light from getting to that photosensitive drum. Sometimes these cartridges are installed from the side. So you can simply slide it into the side of the printer. Or you may open up the front of the printer and insert the cartridge from the top.

These laser printers are complex pieces of machinery with a lot of moving parts on the inside. So there will be times when you’ll need to perform some type of maintenance on that device. Usually there is a laser printer maintenance kit that you can get from the manufacturer of the printer that gives you all of the parts that you might want to replace during one of these maintenance tasks.

These will usually have feed rollers inside, a new fuser unit, or anything else that may get worn on that printer over time. Usually the manufacture of the printer will tell you how long you should wait to perform one of these maintenance tasks. And it’s usually based on the number of pages that are printed by that printer.

There is a global counter inside of the printer. And it keeps track of exactly how many pages have been printed, which can then inform you when a maintenance task may be required. Of course, before working inside of a laser printer, you want to power off and remove that power source. And then you can replace any of those parts that may have been included with this maintenance kit.

It’s also important if this printer has recently been used that there are parts inside of this printer that will be very hard to the touch, especially if you’re working with the fuser assembly. So you want to be very careful with what you’re touching inside of this printer so that you can avoid any burns. And once you’re done replacing feed rollers and the other parts of the maintenance kit, make sure that you reset the page counter so when the next maintenance update may be required.

There may be times when you replace a toner cartridge, and you notice that all of the subsequent output looks a little different than the original toner cartridge. It may be printing too dark or too light. So you may need to calibrate the printer to get exactly the right density of toner.

There’s usually a calibration option inside of the printer that will create some output. And then it will ask you to make some changes based on what the printed page looks like on the printer. And sometimes the calibration process can be completely automatic. You want to check with the documentation of your laser printer to know exactly what steps are required during the calibration.

Laser printers tend to accumulate a lot of dust and dirt over time. The toner, of course, is very dirty when it comes out of the toner cartridge. And as the paper’s going through the printer, it leaves a little bit of paper dust in its wake.

The documentation for the printer will give you information on how you can properly clean the inside and outside of the printer. But some good best practices are to use water and isopropyl alcohol, which is often abbreviated as IPA. You don’t want to use any harsh chemicals or commercial cleaners when cleaning a laser printer.

To clean the outside of the printer, you want to use a damp cloth with cold water. And when working on the inside of the laser printer, you can also use a damp cloth with cold water. And if you use a vacuum, you want to use a vacuum that is specifically designed to vacuum toner.

A normal vacuum cleaner is not designed for the very fine toner that’s inside of a laser printer. So instead you’ll want to use a laser printer vacuum that’s specifically designed to vacuum toner. If you get any toner on your skin, you want to be sure to use cold water to wash off that toner because using warm water will start to melt the toner and make it more difficult to remove. And if you’re working with the rubber rollers that are inside of the printer, you’ll want to clean those with isopropyl alcohol or cold water.