Posted by Tim Stobbs on September 29, 2008
My laser printer recently died. It stopped at page 93 out of 103 of the document I was printing. The display said my printer was out of toner. I picked up the last page. It looked perfect. Not a hint of fading. At this point I’m getting suspicious that my printer thinks it is smart when it isn’t.
So I open the toner cartridge and give it shake and load it back in the printer. The toner display light goes back out for a second, but not before I can finish my print job. I take out the toner cartridge again and listen as I shake it. It’s got a fair amount of toner left that I can hear sloshing around.
So rather than accept what my printer tells me. I investigate on the internet. I unfortunately didn’t remember to bookmark the site and I can’t see to find it again otherwise I would post it here. Yet basically I discover Brother laser printers are infamous for showing they are out of toner before they really are out. The solution to many more pages of fine looking text is to simply put black electrical tape over the optic sensors on the side of the toner cartridge. I find some black electrical tape. I investigate the cartridge and find the sensor. I cut one small piece of tape and put it on then I load it back in the printer.
The toner light is now out. I do a print job. It looks great. To test my theory I show my wife and cover up the page numbers. Which one was printed last? She says “I cant’ tell.” Exactly, my point. Out of toner my ass!
So the moral of this little tale is don’t believe what people or machines tell you if it sounds wrong to you. Often when planning an early retirement I hear people saying ‘You can’t do that.’ I just think to myself, why not? If my printer is that dumb, why should I believe much from people that thought I would accept a stupid light on my display telling me to buy something? The world doesn’t revolve around buying more stuff or having the most money in retirement. Just remember to be smarter than the out of toner light.