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Brother printers. How much powder inside starter toner ?

Discussion in 'Laser Printers -Everything-' started by Artur5, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. Sep 26, 2018
    Artur5

    Artur5 Fan of Printing

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    Recently I purchased a Brother HL-L5000D. As most of you know, these printers come with a special cartridge toner, called starter, that doesn’t have a reset gear and also yields less pages (2000) than the regular toners for this printer ( TN3430=3000 pages and TN3480=8000 pages)

    When I had printed around 1700 pages, the printer gave a warning message of low toner. Therefore I replaced it with a compatible cartridge for 8000 pages. Unfortunately, that one was a dud, leaking toner from one side so I returned it and I was refunded. Waiting for a new toner to arrive, I reinstalled the original (supposedly almost empty) shacking it sideways to redistribute the remaining powder inside, with the hope of getting a few pages from it.

    Fact is that I’ve printed 1000 pages more with the original starter toner and the prints come out flawless. Besides, when I check the status of the toner on the printer menu it says remaining 70%. It seems that when I inserted the defective cartridge, the machine resetted the toner lifespan to 8000 pages and when I reinstalled the original unit (which hasn’t a reset gear) the machine didn’t notice the change and still believes that it has a 8000 pages cartridge.

    The question is, if the starter toner has powder for only 2000 pages, how come after 2700 the copies are still perfect without any signs of exhaustion? I print quite dense text, for sure with more than the 5% of coverage corresponding to the specifications.

    How much powder does Brother put inside those starter cartridges ?.
    I’ll keep you updated, maybe I’ll reach 8000 pages ... :rolleyes:
     
  2. Sep 26, 2018
    PeterBJ

    PeterBJ Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    Maybe the starter cartridge and the regular cartridges contain the same amount of powder? The starter cartridge might be limited by missing a special reset gear. Your installing of the defective cartridge then resat the printer so the starter cartridge was considered a new normal cartridge.

    Even if this is not for your printer model, it looks like a reset gear for a Brother starter cartridge lets you continue printing with the starter cartridge without refill.
     
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  3. Oct 1, 2018
    Artur5

    Artur5 Fan of Printing

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    Yes, I think you’re right. Probably the cost of the powder for the manufacturer is quite low so they don’t care much about the amount that they put in those starter cartridges. Now the count is 3600 pages and prints show no signs of powder exhaustion. In fact, a new compatible cartridge of 8000 pages arrived last week. I installed it and, luckily, this one is fine. After printing 50 or 60 pages with it, I reverted to the starter unit, which was reset again to full capacity by the printer. Maybe I’ve discovered a trick to extract much more pages from starter toners with an official yield of only 2000.
     
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  4. Oct 1, 2018
    PeterBJ

    PeterBJ Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    It looks so. You have already got 80% extra pages from your starter cartridge. :clapPlease post again with the number of pages when the starter cartridge finally gives up.

    Maybe something similar applies to other models and brands of laser printers? I wonder if others have revived starter toner cartridges and reduced printing costs this way? If so please post.

    I have an entry level monochrome laser printer I got for free, the Samsung ML-1640. It came with a starter cartridge with a nominal capacity of 750 prints. Now after 387 prints the status is toner low 3%, but the print quality is still OK. It seems the starter cartridge is limited in capacity by missing a chip that is present on the regular 1500 page cartridge. See this. I wonder if this chip and the holder will revive the starter cartridge?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  5. Oct 2, 2018
    Artur5

    Artur5 Fan of Printing

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    At this point I’m starting to think that manufacturers of laser printers are still greedier than the inkjet world. Think of the number of toners which are discarded still containing maybe 70-80% of powder inside.
    In my case, the Brother HL-L5000D and other models using the same toners, have no chip at all, only a reset gear which differs according to the type of cartridge.
    Right now, an OEM Brother TN3430 toner ( yield 3000 pages) is priced 75 euros and the TN3480 ( for 8000 pages ) is roughly 120 euros.
    If my suspicions are right, just replacing the reset gear of a TN3430 with a gear for the TN3480 will give us 8000 pages with a TN3430.
    On these models, the reset gear is held in place by a prong of the refill plug, which is welded to the body of the cartridge. If you remove that plug with a penknife, in all likelihood you’ll damage it and will leak powder if reinstalled again, so you need a new plug to refill the toner (in case you want to)
    Starter cartridges are a bit different, They have no reset gear and the refill plug is not welded to the body, so you can remove it without damage BUT those caps are flat, they have no prong to hold a reset gear which isn't there. In order to refill them you need a kit containing a reset gear for 8000 pages, a spring and a plug with prong.
    I found out that most sellers at Ebay/Ali express sell kits without a refill plug or with a flat plug, so they’re not useful for refilling genuine Brother carts. Those kits are intended for third party toners, which have the refill plug on the other side of the cartridge, while the prong that holds the reset gear is part of the body of the cartridge. At least it’s so for the two different compatible toners that I’ve purchased.
    If that trick of mine works, no need to search for reset gears and plugs. You install any third party TN3480 toner in reset position, no matter if empty or full. That will clear the toner page counter in the machine and you’ll be able to use the starter toner up to 8000 pages. I guess that, just like inkjet printers, the best way to economy and quality is to reset end refill OEM toner cartridges instead of buying third party units.
    Now there’s the non trivial question of finding a supplier of good quality and cheap bulk powder. There’re Chinese vendors selling 500gr bags for 6 euros (plus shipping) while European suppliers are much more expensive, but I wouldn’t bet a cent that the powder offered by German or British vendors isn’t made in China. A lot of sellers in the USA of course but, for people in Europe, shipping costs and Customs taxes are a deal breaker.
     

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