I recently bought a Xerox Phaser 6125N for the school, as a result of good experiences with similar Xerox printers at previous schools. This one, however, had started to concern me as it seemed that the toner cartridges were reporting as empty when they still had a bit left in them. I knew this because the cartridges on these printers are very simple; they don’t incorporate the image transfer components like so many of Xerox’s competitors, and opening them is as simple as sliding a small trapdoor open by hand.

Last week, I did a little experiment. I borrowed a Petri dish from the science prep room, and used a funnel to shake out what was left in an ’empty’ cartridge into the dish.


Left-over toner from a magenta 6125N cartridge (p/n 106R01332), with 10 pence coin for scale

Now clearly this isn’t a mountain of toner, but it is significant, and more than I was expecting. Next week when I have more time I intend to weigh both a full and ’empty’ cartridge to find out the weight difference between the two, then weigh this residue to see what percentage is being left over. Care to place any bets?


About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

7 responses to “Toner”

  1. Neil says :

    I remember reading that some printers can have over 40% left and 20% is fairly common (something about running dry damaging the printer and safety buffers…. apparently) but that many printers have obscure settings where this can be changed. Pity I lost the bookmark.

  2. Dale says :

    @neil: there are various “hacks” out there which fool the printer into thinking it’s got a non-empty container. I wouldn’t recommend them myself.

    Angry Technician, you weren’t able to “swing” the toner cartridge side-to-side to redistribute the toner??? (swing wasn’t the exact word I meant, but it’s better than “shake”).

  3. Steroberts89 says :

    keep them from several cartridges and then put them all into an empty one.

  4. Stephen Lockyer says :

    Konica Magicolo(u)r have the same profit filter. I think mine go off when about 20% of the toner is left. They have chips in them tha don’t let you hotswap them with other printers. What is even more annoying as that they have designed the Waste bottle to be replaced, rather than emptied, which we have managed to carry out on previous versions.

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