It can’t go on forever you know, although it’s simple to refill the vast majority of toner cartridges eventually you’ll have to buy a new one. Although your cartridge initially will just run out of ink, eventually other components in the cartridge will begin to fail.
For those of us who have got used to refilling our own cartridges, the final arbiter of when a toner cartridge is no longer refillable is really down to each of us. You might think it’s a bit of a nuisance having to monitor the quality of each print out but lets face it we all do that anyway without a second thought.
So what’s likely to be the signs that it’s time to stop refilling your cartridge and face that bill for a new set? Well if you’ve already refilled the toner a few times, it’s probably best to keep a closer eye out – the number of times you can refill will vary hugely from cartridge to cartridge and indeed between different manufacturers. I can’t give a figure but my record is 4 refills before needing to get a new cartridge for an older HP Laserjet model, I know many people feel happy with refilling once or twice though and then buy a new cartridge automatically.
Even if you have only refilled a cartridge once with compatible toner then you’ve helpded the environment considerable and your pocket too.
But anyway the great thing is that when the toner cartridge is starting to fail completely the very first signs will be on the printed page. Spots, dots or dark areas on the printout are a common sign, also void or completely blank areas. These will often be repeated in a pattern down the page, another common sign is razor thin line appearing down the page.
When you start to see these signs then I’m afraid it’s time to order a new cartridge either new or remanufactured. The choice is yours but I have had problems with cartridges that have been remanufactured and will normally buy a new cartridge and then repeat my refilling toner process. The amount of money you will save is quite staggering, especially if you’ve refilled a few times.
Of course there may be unused toner left in the cartridge when the other components start to fail. If this is the case you can reclaim the ink and reuse that in your next cartridge, be careful though it’s sometimes trickier to get the toner out of a cartridge. I have to say I rarely bother to reclaim any toner, if you don’t try and reclaim any ink from the waste compartment of the cartridge as this toner colour will be contaminated. All in all it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s time to stop refilling your cartridges, just look at the printouts – simple really.