Clearing Paper Jams
Incorrect clearing of paper jams can cause toner dust to
accumulate in your machine. Before your paper reaches the printer's fuser
roller, the hot roller near the exit of the paper path, toner dust is
lying on the page in the shape of the image to be printed, but is not
yet fused to the paper. If you rub your finger over the print it will
smudge and easily wipe off the page. The heat roller (fuser roller) has
not yet melted the toner to the page. It is important to understand this
when clearing paper jams.
In the event of a paper jam, where the paper begins to
pick up print:
1. Fold paper so the print is inside the fold. Without
folding the paper,
some of the toner will fall from the paper into your
If the toner falls on your charge wire or charge
roller, streaking will occur.
2. If paper has not yet begun to exit the printer, pull toward the inside
of the machine.
If paper has begun to feed, and has picked up print,
and you pull it back
through the feed rollers, the loose toner on the
paper will get on the rollers.
This could make additional copies come out dirty.
All toner cartridges, whether new or recycled will drop
minimal amounts of toner into the machine. If left to accumulate, it could
cause printing problems. You should give your equipment a general cleaning
every few months, depending on how much you print: clean everything in
the paper path with a vacuum and dry rag. Rollers should be cleaned with
a damp cloth. Have a professional cleaning at least once a year. There
are parts that are impossible to get at without disassembling the machine,
and this should be best handled by a professional.
Most of the newer machines have toner cartridges that do not require
any maintenance. However, most of the older ones have two items that
require your attention: The cleaning wand, and the corona wire.
The cleaning wand is a long plastic wand with a strip of felt running
the length of one side. Many people do not know what to do with this
when they get it. However, it is important in keeping your machine
clean. Both copiers and laser printers have a heat roller, called
a "Fuser Roller", at the end of the paper path, just before the exit.
A clean fuser wand should be placed on the fuser roller each time
you change cartridges. If you are using heavy graphics, it is a good
idea to get an extra clean wand and change it about half way through
your cartridge's print cycle (2 wand changes per cartridge). Most
remanufacturers have additional wands you can purchase for about $2.00
each. Most will re-felt them for you at no extra charge when you are
getting your cartridge recharged. This is not available with most
"New" cartridges, unless the dealer has some extra wands in stock.
Some of the older copiers and laser printers have a corona wire, just
below the floor on the inside of the machine. You will find the corona
wire in a metal trough that runs the width of the paper, along the
bottom. It may be covered with angled wire to protect the corona wire
that runs the length of the trough. The corona wire charges the paper
so the toner will cling to it in the image to be printed. If there
is a small dust particle anywhere on this wire, it could result in
a white vertical streak in copiers, and a dark vertical streak in
The corona wire is very thin, like a hair, and care
should be taken not to break it when cleaning. First the trough should
be vacuumed out as much as possible, then cleaned with a cotton swab
dampened with water or peroxide. After all of the toner is removed
from the floor and walls of the trough, gently brush the length of
the corona wire with a dry cotton swab to remove any dust or debris.
Just as there is a charge wire inside your machine
to charge the paper, many toner cartridges have a charge wire inside
them to charge the drum. Often times, during cartridge installation,
when you pull the toner release and rotate the cartridge to distribute
the toner, some dust will occur inside the cartridge, and may get
on the corona wire. This is why you should clean the corona wire
as the last thing you do before installing it into your machine.
If your copier or laser printer uses a corona wire, it will most likely
come with a corona cleaning tool, which is located either on the floor
of the machine, next to the machine's corona wire, or under the copy
board cover on your copier. This tool should be inserted into the
slot on the cartridge, and moved the length of the slot about 10 times.
Removing dust from the cartridge's charge wire will prevent most vertical
streaking. If you don't have a corona cleaning tool, but your cartridge
and machine have a corona wire, ask your remanufacturer to get one
for you. Most vertical streaking caused by a dirty corona wire will
be hazy or uneven, and intermittent.
All gears should be vacuumed where you see loose toner. If too much
toner is allowed to accumulate on the gears, they could become sticky
and not function properly.
The glass copy board on your copier should be cleaned with window cleaner
to prevent marks on your paper.
To optimize your toner page count, remember, "The darker the print, the
more toner you are using, and the faster your cartridge will run out".
The page count rating by the manufacturer of your toner cartridge is rated
at 5% page coverage. This means optimized print density, double spaced
text only, and letter sized paper. If you single space your text, you
double the page coverage and cut your rating in half. Using graphics uses
tremendous amounts of toner, and you may get as little as 1/4 of the actual
rating if you print pictures and lots of bold print. On copiers, if you
are copying from a colored paper, and the color from the paper creates
a hazy background on your copy, that haze is toner being used and will
minimize your page count.
Some copiers have an automatic exposure, which automatically
optimizes toner usage. However, it can have some drawbacks. Depending
upon the setting of your auto exposure, if you are mixing bold print and/or
pictures, with normal print text, it may lighten the dark print to optimize
toner usage, but at the same time will cause faded spots in your normal
print areas. If this happens, reverse the autoexposure control switch
inside your machine (see your manual if you don't know where this is located).
This will cause the lightest print to darken to optimize toner usage,
and correct the fading problem. This problem seems to be more pronounced
with remanufactured cartridges using long life drums.
Because the long life drums are a bit less sensitive than
the OEM drum, having the wrong auto exposure setting will fade more often
than with an OEM cartridge. In laser printers, and copiers that don't
have autoexposure, the best way to optimize is to make a copy of your
most often copied type of material, and lighten the density just until
it becomes too light, then turn it back one increment until it is just
dark enough to your satisfaction. Mark that spot, and you will be able
to come back to it if you have to change it. This will use the least amount
of toner possible with each copy, and will make your cartridge last longer.
Toner Low Indicator
Most laser printers have an indicator showing when the toner is low in
your machine. When you see this indicator, you should at least have another
cartridge available to replace the existing one. However, you can run
the printer until the print begins to fade. This may occur after 100 or
so copies after the "Toner Low" indicator comes on. If you really want
to milk it, once your print begins to fade, you can remove the cartridge,
and holding it on both sides, rotate it 90 degrees toward you, then away
from you. This will bring up the remaining toner that is lying in the
bottom of the hopper and stick it to the magnetic roller that transports
it to the drum. Doing this could get you another 50 or so copies. When
you take this step, and it doesn't correct the fading, your cartridge