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Difference between a drum and toner cartridge?

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Post time: 2004-4-9 07:46:00 |Show all posts
I have my first laser printer and I am trying to estimate expenses and also make sure that I have backup supplies.
How long does a drum typically last in comparison to the toner?  Do you buy one drum for every toner or does the drum last longer?
When new, most printers come with toner/ink that has less capacity.  Is this the same for drums?
I am using a Minolta PagePro 1350W.

Post time: 2004-4-9 16:17:56 |Show all posts
Your toner cartridge come in two yields.   3000 & 6000 pages
Your drum is a separate unit that has a yield of 20,000 pages
Just run the drum until you see defects in the print or unless your printer has a chip or machanical mechanism to shut the printer down after a certain usage.

Post time: 2004-4-9 14:52:46 |Show all posts
I'm an expert in the electrophotographic process in laser printers so I can comment.
The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) rate the drum by its page yield.  This is an estimated amount of pages printed during the life of the drum.  The yield is based on a 5% page coverage by most manufacturers.  Of course if were to print all pages with 10% covered with toner your yield would be somewhat half.  A standardize test method is available for toner cartridge remanufactures call STM (Standardized Testing Methods) comprised of ASTM F1856 (Toner Usage) and ASTM F 2036 (Density Measurement).  This test is only suitable for all in one toner cartridges though, meaning the all the components necessary such as the drum, pcr, toner, magnetic roller( or developer) are included in the same cartridge.  Part of the STM mentioned above deals with density or how dark the print is.  This measurement is done with a small device called a densitometer.  This is important to allow the remanufacture to achieve OEM comparable density.  The higher your density is the lower the yield and vise versa.
Advertised yield is an estimatiion.  In fact there is no possible way to define a cycle.  There is no way to determine the exact wear on a toner cartridge as consumer have different printing needs and that not all printers are exactly the same within its model.  In STM test 5% page coverage is ran.  This page uses the letter E spread out evenly alternating vertical download page.  This is done to create even wear through the roller inside the cartridge.   For example if the cartridge has a rated yield of 10k.  I will run 2 - 10k test to make sure it will last through a harsh usage.  Also if you print a page, stop then print another page then stop, you are wearing the components quicker than if you ran a few thousand pages without stoping.  Everytime the printer starts a new print job the rollers in the cartridge rotate to run a cleaning cycle.  There is a lot of friction due the wiper blade that clean the drum and doctor blade that control and charges the toner on the mag roller.  I read a study done by a testing institute in our industy.  They tested an HP 4000 cartridge (probably the most common laser printer).  They tried to test the reusability of the oem HP 4000 drums.  They found that depending on the wear of the drum after its first cycle to the wear on the second cycle this varied greatly.  Some OEM drums would not quite last a full cycle and sometimes they would last as much as 2.5 cycles.

Post time: 2004-4-9 12:56:16 |Show all posts
My Okidata OL400 has seperate drum and toner carts. I don't think it has a page-counter/drum-replacement thing though, at least not that I can see through the control-panel buttons. I think that you are supposed to replace the drum once for every three toner carts. I got the printer for free from a friend, because it had come time to replace the drum, and they decided to spent the money on a new printer instead. I think the drum is ~$80-120 or so. Toner cart is $30-50. It still works out to be $100s less than an inkjet though, considering how many pages you get per toner cart and drum.

Post time: 2004-4-9 11:25:48 |Show all posts
I always thought that most of the inexpensive laser printers have integrated drum/toner carts - when you replace one, you replace the other. A lot of folks refill these as it is uneconomic to be replacing the drum all the time (the better refillers also refinish the drum when a refill is done). Only in the higher end ones do you get separate toner and drum assemblies.
. The printers with separate drums usually have a page counter built in so you can tell when you are nearing the expected drum life.

Post time: 2004-4-9 09:33:42 |Show all posts
Manufacturer gives a rated life on the drum.  But that's almost always going to be the best case scenario. For most people, drum life will be  much less than rated.  Drum life is not only affected by printouts, but also heat issues.  Too warm of a room will cause less life altogether.  This means for example, drum life may be rated as 30k.  Best case scenario I could get 25k out of it in a 3 month period by printing crazily.  However, over a 2 year period I may only have printed 10k pages, and now my drum needs replacement, because of daily heat issues.  Improper installation can reduce life greatly as well.  For instance, always change your drum unit in a dark room, without any flashlights! as the drum is highly photosensitive.  Store your spare drum in a very dark and cool area.
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