How to Solve the Issue of Constantly Recurring Paper Jams When Using Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
July 27, 2011 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Remanufactured toner cartridge is causing recurring paper jams. But the remanufactured toner cartridge looks identical to the original toner cartridge! What could possible be causing the paper to jam, and has anyone ever figured out a fix or workaround so as to avoid buying the higher cost tone cartridges?

First off, I know it will be easiest to say "Just buy the original name brand toner cartridge!" but that's not what this question is about. It's about finding a (person who has figured out a) technique or workaround for making these remanufactured toner cartridges just work! I certainly read all the issues people had with remanufactured toner cartridges, including paper jams. I thought I would take a chance and try one anyway... for $25 bucks, I figured it wouldn't hurt.

Now here I am with the remanufactured toner cartridge, and it looks exactly the same as the original toner cartridge in every way, shape and form! It worked great out of the box, of course. Now, about 50 pages in, I started getting occasional paper jams. Now, I'm getting constant paper jams, even with "99.99% paper-jam free paper!" Of course, naturally, if I replace the original back into the printer, it works perfectly! What the heck?!

I honestly don't see what could be causing the constant paper jams, as there seem to be no imperfections with the remanufactured toner cartridge, but I'm wondering... has anyone here figured out any solutions to this issue? Techniques, or workarounds? I'd really like to keep using the remanufactured toner cartridge if at all possible!
posted by purefusion to Technology (14 answers total)
The way I see it, somebody has got to be buying these things, which means there must be somebody who has gotten them to work properly!
posted by purefusion at 11:18 AM on July 27, 2011

What brand was the original? I work in a government building, and the remanufactured ones are the ones we always buy, because they are cheaper and the government is cheap. Every printer we have in my work area is an HP. I don't have problems with jams, on either the ancient crusty 300 dpi black'n'white one at my desk or the brand new muliplexing color laserjet across the room.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:23 AM on July 27, 2011

Also, when I plug in cartridges in the new one, it reports "Genuine HP Toner Installed" which says to me exactly what I expected - the cartridge is a used HP one, with the stickers removed, and new toner dropped in. Some brands the chips break if they are refilled, and it registers as non-genuine. Apparently the HP ones for this specific model don't do that.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:24 AM on July 27, 2011

There are gears in the toner cartridge. One of the gears is probably broken.
posted by I-baLL at 11:29 AM on July 27, 2011

It's a Canon X25. All the gears appear to be intact, as well!
posted by purefusion at 11:49 AM on July 27, 2011

Not all remanufactured cartridges are made equal, at least in my limited experience with the things. There are decent-enough remanufacturers, and there are shady fly-by-night ones. I'd send back the ones you bought, if you can, and try another producer.

In general the better ones tend to cost a bit more and have warranties, but are still a lot cheaper than OEM. For instance, for my laser printer, I can get OEM cartridges for $250 (yes, two hundred and fifty dollars), very shady "remanufactured" carts for around $30, or ones with a good warranty and return policy from anywhere from $50-80. If you are buying the very cheap ones you might just want to upgrade to the middle-of-the-road and see if they work better.

My theory is that the very cheap ones aren't actually "remanufactured" at all. They're just refilled and resealed with toner out of a barrel. The better ones actually get inspected and the worn gears and stuff are replaced. I think you probably have one with worn mechanical parts, and that's the source of your issues.

I doubt there is much you can do with that cartridge in particular. I guess you could see if the company you bought it from will take it back and send you a replacement; maybe you'll get one that's a bit less worn out on the second try and it'll last a bit longer. But I'd still move up in the market with your next purchase.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:49 AM on July 27, 2011

I actually purchased it from and they warranty their cartridges for one full year, but I was still curious about what might be causing the issue before I contact them for a replacement.

As an aside, I was also wondering if there was a safe way to transfer the toner from the remanufactured toner cartridge to the original stock OEM toner cartridge. Obviously that would break the warranty though! There is a warranty security seal on there. ;)
posted by purefusion at 11:54 AM on July 27, 2011

That would probably be the best way to ensure my cartridge was in the best shape though, since it was the original, and still works good.

The mechanical wear does seem to make sense, after all.
posted by purefusion at 11:58 AM on July 27, 2011

I, ahem, work for a company that makes laser printers. You don't mention the location of the jams so I'm going to assume they're in the area where the paper hits the imaging drum. If that's the case it's very likely this is a refilled cartridge and the refiller did not actually remanufacture the cartridge or do much beyond the toner fill. The cartridge is actually part of the paper's path through the machine and even a fraction of a millimeter can cause the leading edge of the paper to stub and a jam to occur. A single worn bearing for the drum can easily do this.

There's probably not much you can do to make it work other than looking to see if there's anything sticking up or otherwise impeding the path of the paper. Not all refillers are the same, try to look for one that does more than just refill the toner. It'll be more expensive than the one you have now but should still be less than new.
posted by tommasz at 12:09 PM on July 27, 2011

Thanks tommasz, you'd be correct... it's got to be hitting the cartridge somewhere. I had tried removing the flap that covers the drum, thinking that it might be the cause, but the paper still got jammed. So I figure it's probably not the flap that's causing the issue.
posted by purefusion at 12:34 PM on July 27, 2011

Yeah, the cartridge itself shouldn't wear much. They usually have some molded-in features that make sure they seat correctly and unless they're damaged the cartridge housing should last a long time. Internal wear of moving parts is another story, of course.

The flap is probably there just to protect the drum and is likely levered out of the way when you push the cartridge all the way in. Otherwise it probably doesn't move at all.

As long as they warranty it, I'd say go ahead and return it for a replacement. Unless they have a problem on their refill line it's unlikely you'll get another one that jams. But I'd still look for an alternative source.
posted by tommasz at 12:47 PM on July 27, 2011

Does the cartridge have any rubber(ish) paper rollers on it? If the cartridge has been reman'd several times but the rollers have not been replaced then they can harden and be less effective at grabbing/moving the paper.
posted by de void at 1:08 PM on July 27, 2011

Yeah it could be the rubber rollers in the printer. Perhaps they are on the verge of needing to be replaced due to either getting too worn out (smooth) to grab the paper properly or just getting stiff due to age. Our HP would show paper jam errors all the time (even though there was no jam) and it turned out that one of the rollers that feeds the paper was worn out. Could be the same thing and for whatever random reason it only happens with that specific cartridge (where if you got the rollers replaced, maybe that cartridge would work fine?). Worth a shot.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2011

Count yourself lucky. I work in government IT also, and many of our departments elect to use reman cartridges for our mostly HP fleet. In addition to jams we get the dreaded toner explosion inside our printers from bum leaky refill cartridges. I'd say 75% of the time the remans are fine, but the hassle of the other 25% makes it barely worth it.
posted by sprocket87 at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2011

« Older Automatic sprinklers overspray   |   Looking for a book about living your life by... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.