Laser Printer Maintenance – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.11

It takes a lot to keep a laser printer running at peak condition. In this video, you’ll learn about toner cartridge replacements, calibration processes, printer cleaning, and maintenance kits.

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One of the most common laser printer maintenance tasks that you’ll perform is replacing the toner cartridge. First, the toner cartridge will become low, and then eventually you’ll run out of toner completely. There’s usually a warning message that will appear as the toner is getting lower and lower, so make sure you check the messages to see exactly how much time you might have until you need to swap out that toner cartridge.

Many toner cartridges also contain the Organic Photoconductor drum, or the OPC drum, inside of your printer. When you replace the toner cartridge, you’re also effectively replacing the OPC drum. This drum is very sensitive to light. So you should probably keep the toner cartridge inside the bag until it’s time to replace it in the printer.

As a best practice, it’s always a good idea to power off the laser printer and disconnect it from any power sources before working inside of the printer. The toner cartridges are usually quite modular. It’s easy to remove and replace them. Just make sure that you remove any packing strips from the new toner cartridge before putting it inside the printer.

Here’s a good look at that green OPC drum. You can see that the protective cover has been moved out of the way so we can see this. This is obviously not something you would want to do with your toner cartridge is to have that OPC drum subjected to any type of light.

Some toner cartridges are replaced by sliding them out the side of the printer and sliding the new one in place. With some laser printers, there’s an entire tray of toner cartridges, especially if it’s a color laser. And you can simply pick up and replace that toner cartridge onto the tray.

There are a lot of moving parts inside of a laser printer. And eventually, after you print a large number of pages, some of these parts will begin to wear out. There’s also a lot of heat and pressure with some of these components. So you’ll find that certain parts of the printer may be swapped out occasionally to keep the printer working properly.

Because of this, most printer manufacturers create a standard maintenance kit. This maintenance kit will provide everything that you need to swap out or replace during the scheduled maintenance process. This maintenance scheduling is usually based on the number of pages that have been printed through that laser printer. There’s a page counter inside the printer that will help you know when a good time would be to schedule this maintenance.

Normally, you would power down the printer, remove any power sources, and then remove or replace the components inside the printer. If you’re replacing the fuser unit, you want to be very careful when replacing that because it gets very hot, especially if the printer’s recently been used. Once you’ve swapped out the fuser unit, you’ve replaced the feed rollers, and you’ve provided any other maintenance tasks that are required during this particular maintenance session, you can power on the printer and reset that page counter so that you can then start counting toward the next maintenance schedule.

Once you replace a toner cartridge or perform maintenance on a laser printer, it’s common to print out a test page. You might find that a new toner cartridge prints a little bit differently than the cartridge that was there before. You’re able to adjust the density of these colors on the printout by performing a laser printer calibration. This calibration will provide you with a set of colors and marks on a page that you can then use to help determine how dense the output should be.

This process might be automated by the printer, or it may ask you to be able to evaluate output and adjust the density accordingly. Each printer is a little different, so make sure you check the documentation for your printer to know exactly how to perform this calibration.

Laser printers tend to get very dirty. You may find that there’s toner inside the printer. And, of course, the paper dust tends to get on the inside and the outside of the printer. The manufacturer of your printer has recommendations on exactly what you should use to clean the different parts of the printer. This might include water or IPA, which is Isopropyl Alcohol. And you want to avoid using any harsh chemicals on the inside or the outside of the printer.

On the outside of the printer, a damp cloth is usually enough to get rid of any stray toner that might be there. On the inside of the printer, we would use that damp cloth to wipe away any paper or toner that might be on the inside. What we don’t want to use is a normal vacuum cleaner or compressed air that might get those toner particles into the air around the printer.

If you do get any toner on yourself, it washes off very easily with cold water. And if you do have rollers inside of the printer that have gotten dirty, they tend to clean very easily with isopropyl alcohol.