Should I return my new printer?
January 19, 2017 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I set up a new laser printer last night that had just been delivered. It is a Dell e525w that can print, scan, fax, and copy. After going through the set-up process, I printed some test pages. They came out mottled, with very uneven print. See image here (let me know if the image is not public, as I've never used Google Photos before, thanks). I was using plain laser printer paper and the correct printer setting for it. More info below.

From the user's manual, the only listed solution is to adjust the transfer roller using the included maintenance software. It had 7 settings from -3 to +3, default was zero. I tried every option and printed a test after each. The picture I linked to was the worst and the best of the bunch.

First question, does anyone have this printer or one like it, that can give me some advice of other adjustments that might help? I'd rather not waste a lot of time and toner testing every maintenance option, especially since the manual only listed the one.

Second question, should I just assume that the printer was damaged in shipping and request an exchange? It was shipped in its original packaging, which only had one inch thick white styrofoam inserts. Hardly a good buffer against being knocked around during the shipping process.

I really appreciate your input!
posted by Don_K to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I used to be a desktop / printing admin way back when and have set up many laser printers. I would return this one. Contact Dell support and show them those pictures, I'm sure they'll take care of you.
posted by rachelpapers at 7:53 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Did you shake the toner cartridges before putting them in ? The pictures look like uneven/incomplete toner coverage on the paper, and that can be caused by not shaking the toner cartridge before putting it in the printer. (eg first sheet looks really poor coverage, second sheet it's starting to cover better.) On the plus, this is something you can test and eliminate in 5 minutes.
posted by k5.user at 8:04 AM on January 19, 2017

I've worked as a digital pressman, and as an ad-hoc tech for when we were in a jam (ha-ha), and I'd say if it's all the same to you, I'd just go ahead and swap it out, despite the inconvenience of that. If it's a brand new printer sub-optimally performing like this, right out the box, something's not right. It looks to me indeed like either the transfer roller or some other development process is full-on faulting out right now, and I don't think this'll fix without new parts, and/or wasting the entirety of your starter toners.
posted by a good beginning at 8:25 AM on January 19, 2017

Yeah, looks like you got a dud-- that's beyond mere control panel settings.

Just on k8t's note— you can (at least in the several models I've owned) turn off the check for official Dell toner in the maintenance control panel for these printers, and use /much/ cheaper OEM stuff. (I tend to lean towards LD Products as the supplier of decent toner, for example for the E525W you save about 75%). One refill and you've pretty much saved the initial cost of the printer.
posted by Static Vagabond at 8:30 AM on January 19, 2017

Once again, the Metas deliver! It may not be the news I wanted, but it is the news I expected. I suspect that either this printer is a dud, or the lack of cushy packaging led to its downfall. Thanks to all. Of course, I welcome additional comments, so I won't mark this as resolved quite yet.

I will most certainly try k5.user's suggestion of shaking the cartridges before packing it all up again. It seems unlikely that all of the cartridges would exhibit the same problem, however.

Hey Static Vagabond:
You seem to have owned printers like this, so I'd like to ask you another related question: After install, the printer shows up four times in my printer list (Windows 7). It appears as though there is a different printer for each function/driver (scan, fax, etc). Is this normal? Also, how would I go about scraping all instances of printer drivers/software from my computer so I can start fresh with the new one? Thanks!
posted by Don_K at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2017

If I can field that question, Don_K: yeah, it is pretty normal for multiple iterations of the same multi-function printer to install with different functionalities for each of them. I wouldn't worry too much if you are looking to replace it with the same printer - the drivers sort-of function as a hard-coded handshake between your computer and the printer hardware itself - okay to be left.

In the interests of being extra certain, though, you may indeed go to your Device Manager (search in Control Panel), and often it'll be under the 'WSD Print Provider' category, where you can right-click » [uninstall] the requisite drivers. If it came with software, install Revo Uninstaller and feel free to give it a good search to make sure it removes all of its registry information, etc., as well... but I honestly wouldn't worry about this process all too much. The installer likely can re-install on-top / re-integrate easily.
posted by a good beginning at 2:37 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the reply, 'a good beginning'. Nice handle!
posted by Don_K at 4:03 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would print 50 pages, just to see if it clears.
posted by gregr at 6:31 PM on January 19, 2017

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