Laser Printer Technician’s Toner Secrets

From looking at my keyword search logs, I’m finding more and more people interested in a technician’s secret for toner. I’m not sure if it’s regarding whether or not to refill toner, if remanufactured toner is ok to use in a printer, or if printer techs like me have dirty secrets to unveil. So for this post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions I get asked about toner cartridges. If you have questions about toner and/or cartridges, please feel free to comment on this post or submit a question.

Q: Does using remanufactured toner cartridges void my HP/Toshiba/Brother warranty on my printer?

A: The Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts of 1914 prohibit a manufacture to void the warranty on a product they sell because you don’t use their specific, brand name, over priced, high margin product. As an example, when you need an oil change, getting your car serviced at the dealership is generally a little more money. Going to a local shop can save you money, but it doesn’t void your car’s warranty. This same principle is applied to cartridges (and ink too). You’re welcome to use any toner cartridges you wish and it will not void your warranty unless damage to the printer is caused by the use of a bad cartridge or remanufactured cartridge. This is usually a rare occurrence though. Out of the many years I’ve spent working on printers, I’ve never seen a warranty issue be rejected due to not using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner.

Q: What is the difference between remanufactured and refurbished toner?

A: Marketing mainly. There is no set standard for “remanufactured” or “refurbished”. Most retailers of aftermarket toner will tell you that their toner is remanufactured meaning that more went into manufacturing the toner cartridge then just filling it with toner. Essentially both names mean the same thing though. Sometimes techs will call the toner “remans” or “refurbs”, but it really comes down to the company that you purchase through. Don’t pay attention to what they say their cartridges are, look for yourself or ask good questions to find the right cartridge.

Q: Can I just refill my toner cartridge and be ok?

A: That’s a tough question to answer depending on what type of cartridge you have. It would be safe to say that the bigger the cartridge, the more likely you will need to exchange or buy a new cartridge. This is mainly due to two parts, the drum and the PCR. Both of these parts will wear out before the toner runs out which causes you to buy a new cartridge anyway. Toner generally does not work like ink cartridges. Ink cartridges generally have a print head inside the printer which makes it possible to just fill up the ink and get by ok. Toner cartridges have a lot more parts to them and generally can’t be “filled” without future issues.

Q: Is remanufactured color toner cartridges just the same as black and white cartridges?

A: Not really. I’ve had a lot more problems with the color cartridges being “off color” and leaking to really not make it worth selling or supporting these. There are a few models that look ok, but they are the minority. This is a reason why color is so much more than black and white.

6 Replies to “Laser Printer Technician’s Toner Secrets”

  1. I was looking for a replacement black cartridge for my laser printer, HP 2600n, on a popular auction site, and saw an ad for a CD that explains how to get an additional 600-1500 print sheets out of the cartridge. They are selling for around $8. I searched the internet and came up with nothing, but your site seems to know a lot about other printer stuff. Have you heard of this “secret” ? The ad says it is built in to help technicians service printers. One way or another, I might get ripped off, either $8 to learn nothing or more money on cartridges. Thanks for your time, great site.

  2. In 7 seven years experience for ink and toner technician pls allow me to introduce my self. im looking fro this mkind of jobs. i know to refill toner cartridge like HP hewlett Packard, Samsung, Canon, Lexmark, Kyocere, epson and brother cartridge. for more detail pls. contact me at or +639185125377

  3. I am interested to know the different ways OEM’s calibrate the end of life of a cartridge with their chips.

    That is, manufacturers have an interest in reducing the
    potential for refilling and remanufacturing their carts. Part of that effort is to put a life limit on the cart. How that life limit is calculated will vary but it has to have an outside limit, say printing entirely on draft or some minimal coverage. claims. Logically a higher coverage document could result in a runout before reaching the limit. I have heard some have a gear that winds down, another models the first 25% of print jobs and projects a run out point even if there was more toner left inside.
    Can I have your thoughts on this topic?

  4. The “Secret” that it speaks of sounds like buying the replacement sensor chips for the ink toners. The small chips can be found visible on the outside of each ink toner.

    Order a set off eBay or some other vendor for each color. Each chip is color specific. Then pry the slightly melted plastic holding the old chip, and replace with a new one in the same place. Can probably use a hot glue gun to have it held in place firmly as well or other methods.

    New sensor, printer thinks it’s a new toner. Viola!

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