I bought a Brother HL-4040CDN color laser printer about two months ago. Knowing I had a whole book worth of proofreading to do, I knew a lot of printing was coming. And the way my publisher marks things up, I need to see some color on each sheet to confirm formatting is right; some words are highlighted in red or blue. We're talking a few words on each page, typically.
After exactly 2310 color pages printed, the printer declared that all three toner cartridges (CMK) were empty. This was of course nonsense; there's no way I burned through that much color toner, or that all three went on the same page. This model has three rounds of defense mechanisms against using cartridges longer than they want you to:
1) Page counters per toner cartridge. This what I ran into. To fix, open the bay where the toner is stored. Hold down the Cancel button and hit Reprint. This will bring up a maintenance menu. Scroll through all 8 entries there, selecting them with the right arrow to reset the counts. Close the front again, wait a bit for it to recalibrate, and you're past this problem. As I hadn't used even a tiny fraction of the real toner yet, this is all it took for me.
2) Optical sensors for the amount of toner left. Once toner gets low, these will trigger. You can likely still print for some time before it actually runs out though. To defeat, pull out each toner cartridge. On each side, there will be a clear, round plastic window that you can see the colored toner through. Cover these with something opaque, like black electrical or duct tape. Then run through the page count reset procedure. You should be able to print again. If you notice a color starting to print less accurately, you might get some more life out of it with the usual "shake the cartridge" trick. But you don't want to print too many pages with your printer in that state, once it really has run out.
3) Gears that advance forward as you use the toner, to set how much voltage the cartridge needs to provide to print with the remaining amount in there. You definitely need to reset these if are refilling the cartridge; see refill instructions for details. I'll have to see how many pages I've printed before I reach this point before I decide if I feel this is a good idea or not. I'm not going to refill the toner, but if I suspect there's still more in there I might try it. If I really am out of toner, I don't have a problem buying more; I just don't want to get blatantly ripped off.
There is an excellent albeit rambling forum discussion covering this issue for a number of Brother printers you may find useful for additional details here. Thanks to them and to Amazon reviewer Sang Joon Lee, who turned me onto this idea before I'd even bought the printer, while researching whether it was a good idea or not. If some playing with the service menu and electrical tape is all I need to make the unit economical, that doesn't bother me if everything else about it is OK. And that's been the case so far. This printer doesn't have great print quality like the old, dead QMS it's replacing did, but it's completely acceptable for the sort of general business printing I do in color. And it works great under Linux.
- ▼ 2010 (2)