Leaking Cartridge Causing Black Prints

More often than not, toner leaks aren’t a serious problem—you simply remove the toner cartridge that is leaking, carefully clean out the print cavity, and the machine is back in business. In a worse-case scenario you may need to vacuum out the print cavity. Sometimes, however, it’s not this simple.

Case in point
On a recent service call regarding a leaking toner, the leak actually led to paper jamming under the toner cartridge. The customer had already replaced the toner cartridge but, unfortunately, the machine was now printing all black pages. I immediately put the old cartridge (that was leaking) back into the printer but continued to get black pages. With both the old, leaking cartridge and the new replacement cartridge, I could faintly see that a print image was on the page. And an engine test produced the same result―black page with faint horizontal lines.

Typically black pages are caused by four things; the cartridge, cartridge/HVPS contacts, HVPS, and, in rare cases the formatter (like in the P3005). To fix this problem, try each of these steps until you find the right solution for your situation:

1. Try another toner cartridge.
2. Clean out the print cavity and check for bent, dirty, or broken contact points.
3. Remove formatter and try an engine test page.
4. Remove the HVPS, check continuity on the contacts, clean the contacts and try again.
5. Replace HVPS
6. In rare cases, you will need to replace the formatter

On the machine that I was working on, after spending lots of time cleaning out the inside of the machine with no improvement, I had to remove the HVPS. The contacts didn’t look too dirty but once I cleaned it out and put it back together the machine was up and running again.

Removing the HVPS isn’t the easiest task on this machine but one worth trying to prevent the expense of replacement parts that might not be needed.

The HVPS is underneath the toner cartridge. If you have a major leak and you blow the machine out before trying to clean out excess toner then you could be creating more problems. Always wipe down the inside of the machine first and look for piles of toner, especially around the transfer roller. Most manufacturers don’t recommend spraying canned air in machines. I typically don’t recommend it to my customers, either.

However, if you decide to use compressed air, start by spraying at a low rate and work up to full force. Also, cover the slot for the laser scanner assembly to prevent toner dust from getting on the optics. Otherwise, you may have to remove the HVPS and laser scanner unit.

Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for TKO Electronics/Market Point. TKO Electronics/Market Point is a  Lexmark Elite Authorized Parts Distributor selling Lexmark printer parts and a HP PartsOne Partner selling  HP printer parts. If you have a question regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics for which you would like more information, please send an email to maryp@marketpoint.com.

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