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While roaming in the internet looking for a printer problem that can be featured on today’s post, I run across a thread from HP support forums and a topic just came up to me. It’s a print cartridge problem specifically with an HP 4500 series model unit. The issue basically is mainly with the unit’s consumables particularly the toner cartridges.

According to some aggravated customers, their printers just stop printing colored documents due to an error that says: Print Cartridge Problem Tri-Color, followed by some instructions telling the user to refer on the device’s document to troubleshoot the error. However, you may read every guide from the manual that is related to the issue to no avail. The problem or rather the thread for this issue is still active, and customers are waiting for a real good response that might fix it. However, it seems that users help out their fellow users simply because their beloved manufacturer can’t even give a working solution for it.

Back to the problem, as the title of our posts explains, there are solutions from the same thread which came from concerned users that would like to help out. The funny thing is that their suggested workarounds are kind of weird, something like it. Check the ones below for you to know.

One of them suggested spitting on the HP 4500 cartridge contacts, like very lightly to prevent damaging the item. If you want you can probably dip your fingers to your tongue and rub it gently on the contacts. Sounds gross or whatever, but it did work for some.

Another weird suggestion is blowing the cartridge, not like a balloon. Just give it a nice blow, perhaps the contacts are not fully detected by the machine due to dust or toner build up. But I’m thinking, maybe it is because they removed then re-install the replacement cartridge from the printer which helps a lot. You see, taking the toner cartridges out of the unit then reseating them back is an old-age method that really does the trick on most issues related to print supplies.

Others have resorted to buying a new replacement which roughly costs around $29 more or less. To find out that they wasted their money from purchasing the previous cartridge that caused the problem. It is a costly method indeed, especially if you’re not sure if buying a new one would really resolved the problem. But what can we users do if the manufacturer itself can’t even give us the right solution, guess we have no choice but to try everything that might work.


 
 
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First of all let me guys remind you that all information presented in this post are all gathered over the internet. Our intention is to give you an idea where to get the least expensive print supplies for your HP 3500 and 3700 printers.

Randomly, we chose a few online retailers and check their product offerings specifically for HP 3500 and 3700 series laser printers. Both models use HP 308A (black ) and 311A (color) cartridges so we focused on these items. Since users seldom replace fuser and transfer kits, we basically disregard those two.

Aside from Hewlett-Packard that sells their HP 3700 toners around $149.99 for the black cartridge and $192.99 for the color cartridges. We found some other retailers that offer the same original items (as they claimed) but were either tagged with the same price, or surprisingly lower. Checkout the shortlist below:

@Staples

HP 308A Black is being offered at the same price as HP, as well as the three other color cartridges (Cyan, Yellow and Magenta). But they provide a $20 Gift Card as a rebate for customers who will buy 2 of the same products.

@eBay

Honestly, we’re not familiar with the way they price such items since there’s this bidding thing, thus we only refer on the figures stated on each product’s Buy It Now price. Based on the page we bumped, their genuine HP toners (308A and 311A) can be purchased around $65.00 and above. Yes that sounds pretty cheap for an OEM cartridge.

@Amazon

Here’s another reseller that offers cheap priced toner cartridges for HP 3500 and 3700 printers. The black HP Q2670A has a market price of $97.00 which is about 50% less over Staples and HP. While the rest of the color cartridges unusually come cheaper in contrast to HP’s original prices. Notice that originally, the black is less expensive that the color toners which is obviously not the same thing here.

Just a reminder, we are neither promoting these stores nor have anything against them to write something that may affect their standing. They’re randomly chosen upon searching the internet for local online retailers that are offering the product we intend to use as a topic for this post. If you’re not convinced on the information we provided, you can check them out for you to see.

Any comments, suggestions and corrections are very much welcome. Let’s see them right below this post through your comments.


 
 
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Not every printer users, specifically those who owned laser type units often use their machine’s special feature which is commonly referred to as Grayscale-printing. Well if you’re using the unit mainly for your personal printing needs, then it’s considerable if you don’t have to enable it. But if you’re printer is in the office and most of the time people who are sending print tasks on it are just in need of a draft or black&white copy, then you should enable it.

In the office, monochrome printing is more preferred than colored, however there are occasional needs for color printing. Hence, buying a color laser unit with grayscale or toner-saving feature is a great choice. But, what is its purpose if you will not use it right? As much as possible, always turn it on to help you save toner consumables.

One good example of a printer that has this efficient and economical feature is the HP M276nw which comes from LaserJet 200 Pro series. We’re not particularly sure if all models in this lineup are equipped with grayscale mode, but maybe yes. Enabling it will let your supplies specifically the HP 131A toner cartridges to last longer than you could have expected. Since when it is enabled, it reduces toner consumption but up to 50% less than regular printing.

To enable it, just toggle your printer’s properties and then go to preferences, click Color tab, and below the Color Options check the box that indicates Print in Grayscale. That’s it, now every printout that will come out of the unit will be in black&white, monochrome, or whatever you want to call it.

However, there are times when users are having problem with their units printing only in black when the said feature isn’t enabled at all. If printing a test page isn’t helping then the problem is the printer itself and not with the installed cartridges, unless the color toners are running low. But anyway such machines can’t be able to continue printing if any of the consumables inside are empty. To help you fix it, here’s your quick solution.

Your option is to hard reset the printer, restoring it back to its factory defaults. Directions are as follows:

·         Press the Setup button from the control panel (home screen display).

·         Scroll down and find Service Menu, then click it.

·         Continue scrolling until you find the button for Restore Defaults, press it and click the OK button.


 
 
PictureBrother DR310CL Drum Unit
Whenever our printers run out of cartridges we only have to replace whichever is empty with a new one, and everything’s solved. While with imaging drum, the component or rather the consumable where you install the cartridges, is a bit more arduous. Because even after you replace the drum with a new one it doesn’t end there. You still have to reset the drum counter to complete the process.

Installing the imaging drum on a laser printer is not that too difficult to consider, in fact it’s simply easy. Once you get used to it, doing it frequently wouldn’t give you any trouble. The task that follows after drum installation can be called counter resetting. This part requires the user to literally reset the recorded count back to zero so the printer could recognize the drums as new replacements.

How is drum counter resetting perform?

First of all, it depends on the control panel of the machine model you use. The one we use with the test has mono backlit screen and uses Brother DR310CL drum unit.Since there are printers with touch-screen LCD while others don’t support such, the process is split into two.

For Brother multifunction printers with plain mono display, refer on the steps below:
  • Locate and press the Menu button from the panel.
  • From the list of options select “Machine Info” using the arrow keys and OK button.
  • Next, select “Reset Menu” followed by selecting “Drum”.
  • When prompted, hit the number 1 key from the numeric pad and let the machine execute the command.
  • If it’s done, press the red “Stop” button to exit.

While to those who are using printers with touch-screen LCD, these are the steps you should follow:

  • Perform the first two steps provided above on a similar manner, but this time the button for “Menu” and “Machine Info” can be found on the screen.
  • It’s somehow the same with the steps for printers with mono display. The only difference is that the keys to press are found on the LCD. Still you need to choose “Reset Menu” and then followed by “Drum”.
  • The machine will prompt a message similar to “Reset the Drum”, of course you need to select Yes to execute the command.
  • To stop the process, there’s a stop button on the screen, or exit once done.

If you find it useful, please let us know with your comments below. We hope it did help you on how to reset the Drum Counter of your Brother DR310CL drum unit.


 
 
Either you are using a standard-yield or a high-yield model cartridge, the life expectancy of a printer consumable will greatly depend on several factors. The types of files and documents you frequently print may extend or shorten the page capacity of a cartridge. Same goes with the type of media or paper sheet you use regularly. Thus, you can’t simply rely on the printed information found on the items packaging as it may still vary.

If you suspect that you aren’t really getting the right amount of toner or yield out of the cartridge you are currently using, then consider these two questions:

What are the types of documents you regularly print?

As we mentioned above, the number of printouts a toner cartridge can deliver is dependent upon different factors. Remember that the percent of coverage on the printed material is the general metrics they use to measure the approximate page-yield of a cartridge. If you based your regular printing on the standard 5% coverage, then you’ll probably get an amount of printouts that can match with the rated page capacity of toner you used. But this standard is only applicable if you’re printing letters or plain text documents with not more than 1500 characters.

Let’s try to do the math here. Using the Brother TN315 toner cartridge as an example with a yield of 6000 pages. If you will use it to print documents with entirely 10% coverage, the number of prints you get out of it will then be reduced to approximately 3000 pages.

Which one am I using, a genuine or a compatible?

If in case you’re using compatible. Probably, some third party manufacturers are not refilling their products with enough or exact volumes of toner. It could be a possible reason why the item you purchase often runs out easily. But it’s not always the case. Brother printers are generally designed to work with OEM or original toners. There’s a chance that the machine can’t detect the precise volume of toners inside the cartridge.

Using genuine on the other hand, may still result to inconsistent number of printouts, as explain above. A brand manufacturer like Brother would recommend their users to always use OEMs for the reasons being:

  • Brother printers can only reach its highest possible performance when used with original cartridges.
  • Using compatibles will void your unit’s warranty. (This is something still arguable)
  • The use of non-originals will damage your printer. (It’s a case to case basis, and may also happen when using branded supplies)

 
 

Staples global recycling program for used printer ink and toner cartridges have reached 350 million recycled toner cartridges and ink cartridges. Being one of the largest office supply company, they're definitely worthy to have an award for such achievement. Though I'm not particularly sure of what kind of award should they received.

Over the past 8 years, Staples Inc. continuously accept and recycle used printer cartridges globally from almost all printer users and consumers. Overall, an approximate value of 350 million cartridges have been recycled. Therefore, we can assumed that there are over 60 million spent cartridges that are being recycled every year since the company started their program in the year 2005.

Staples' Printer Cartridge Recycling Program has nearly recycled about 182 million pounds of resources like plastics and metals which are mainly use in the production of such products. According to the company, the total weight of these reuse materials collectively, it can match with the actual weight of an aircraft carrier.

Aside from the fact that Staples is one of the world's largest printer supply company. It also has an outstanding recycling program which is not only exclusive for their customers, but for everyone who would like to participate. In North America, it is the largest retailer of print supplies including ink cartridges and toner cartridges for all printer types and models.

As a customer, what else are the benefits of participating to their program? Well believe it or not, there is cash in cartridge recycling and a lot of consumers know that this is a real thing. In Staples, anyone who return their supplies for recycling purposes will receive $2 per cartridge. But they are only limited to return up to 10 cartridges per month. You see they don't want to make it a business for you to surrender a hundred of spent cartridges for a couple of bucks. What they intend to promote mainly is the practice of recycling your print supplies. With or without money in return, you should be concern enough for the environment to keep those spent cartridges until you reached like 8-10 pcs or so, then send it back to Staples. You earn by simply being environmentally responsible.

Rewards are really good to hear, but let's not make it the reason that drives you to participate on any recycling programs. Printer cartridges and other supplies can harm our environment if we don't disposed them off properly. It wouldn't harm to spend an hour or two driving off to the nearest Staples retailer and get those empty cartridges recycled.
 
 
Don't wait for your printer waste to pile up until you think of a way on how to get rid of them properly. To help you with your problem, here are some of the most eco-friendly way of disposing your used and empty cartridges where you can even earn cash.

Send it back to your respective manufacturer is one of the most and common way to properly dispose printer-post-consumer wastes. Notice that whenever you purchase replacement cartridges from branded manufacturers, they often include a special envelope inside the packaging. This indicates that the product can be returned once empty or used, and the envelopes you kept will make use by then. Mailing the cartridges back to the manufacturer requires either a box or a seal pack where you'll put the items. Additionally, most big names in the print industry such as Hewlett-Packard, Epson and Dell, these companies are willing to provide 5-10% rebates to all customers who will participate in their recycling programs. No one should worry about the shipping or mailing costs, as they will shoulder the expenses for you.

A non-profit organization that gladly accepts used printer cartridges as donations is one of the perfect choices you have. Globally, there are a few of these organizations that you should be familiar with if your planning to support such one. Local groups are also a good choice, they receive cash or monetary donations from different manufacturers for every recycled toner cartridges and ink cartridges they provide.

If charitable works are none of your business, and you certainly need cash in exchange of your empty cartridges, then might as well sell it directly. Since there are non-profit organizations, of course they have a counterpart. Consider it their business, accepting certain amounts of used cartridges from people who are in need of cash. These option, unlike the drop box recycling programs of many branded manufacturers, you can't just give them  three or four cartridges. Perhaps 10 items maybe good enough, but that's the least, a box of used ink or toner cartridges is more likely sufficient. With this option, you have to wait much longer to gather enough until you reached at least their minimum requirement.

Now if you're not concern of any money, and that you just really want to get rid of your post-consumer waste, then how about you give a visit to any Office Depot or Staples branches near you. These two stores are now accepting used ink and toner tanks for your convenience. Since they'll be taking your own garbage, neither of you will give or receive any money. Just simply take the items with you, visit their store and find the bins marked with cartridge recycling logos. If you can't find any, look for a personnel or go straight to their customer service to ask for help.

If you want a bigger role to help the environment, you may consider setting up your own recycling program in your neighborhood. It isn't hard to spread the news around that you're accepting used and empty printer cartridges, then place a recycling bin just around an accessible corner where anyone get drop their items. This sounds absurd, but come to think of it, once the bin is full of plastic ink and toner tanks, you can sell it in exchange for cash. Wouldn't that be nice, helping your neighborhood get rid of their junks, while you're getting some small amount from gathering their waste?
 
 
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Do you want to save with your printer's mounting expenses? The fact that most manufacturers are selling highly expensive printing supplies, it can be hard to cut down the cost. In most cases, users opt to decrease their consumption of supplies and reduce their volume of printing just to at least moderate the generated expense.

In our today's world, options are abundantly available, and we just need to consider trying them to find out how can they be useful for our problem. Quit asking if there's such a way to set yourself free from those pricey printer consumables. Indeed there's a way, and one good example to cite with are the replacement cartridges or the so called remanufactured cartridges. These consumables are made from OEM components of empty or used cartridges, hence they can still be tagged as original.

Through using remanufactured toner cartridges and ink cartridges, you can greatly shrink your printer's recurrent expense by almost half of the previous months where you used OEMs. Remanufactured printer cartridges come with the word cheap or substandard. Yes these products are substantially cheap but they're not substandard. Fraud manufacturers are fishing for easy money, they're the ones responsible why people connotes the term 'substandard' when they heard of remanufactured cartridges.

Many printers now support economy mode of printing, but how can this feature be useful to reduce overall expense? Let's say your printing drafts or test pages, you think it's efficient in your part to print in regular settings when you can use eco-mode? Basically, what it does is to prevent the printer from using excessive ink/toner with every print. Text output may somewhat fall into gray-scale quality but still readable, unless you need a hard copy for an important purpose just turn the eco-mode off.

Another way to reduce printing cost particularly with the supplies, is by fitting two pages in a single sheet or try duplexing, a feature that allows printing on both sides of a page. First you make a cut on the expense or purchasing paper materials, second, you get to reserved more inks since printing two files in a single paper tend to shrink the output.

As a rule of thumb, if you don't intend to use the printer for photo printing, graphics or high resolution prints, it is wise to have a laser printer instead. Laser toner cartridges have a considerably low cost-per-page, that's for original brands. What more if you try using the remans which are half the price cheaper compared to branded supplies.

 
 
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It's kind of easy to assume the process of ink cartridges recycling, someone can say it's just grinding and melting then voila you have a new ink container. But everything in the process of recycling takes more than just those two things. Quality control and a lot of complicated steps must be delivered in order to cope with the daily demand for replacement printer consumables.

From original cartridges, after they run out of inks, users may either send them back or deliver it directly to many recycling facilities. Then, returned cartridges undergo sorting and cleaning, by removing any harmful metals and non-plastic materials from each container. We're talking about recyling plastic-made materials, thus any other components aside from plastic must be separated. Afterwards, here goes the famous grinding process where it harshly chopped and cut all those cartridges into tiny little pieces.

After grinding and shredding, extra ingredients were added into the mixture such as shredded PET bottles and the likes, to make them more sturdy and pliable just like a new cartridge made from virgin materials. The mixture is then toss into an enormous V-shaped blending machine to grind the materials again and let all the components blend well. The raw mixture will be extruded from the machine, which then be used for manufacturing new replacement cartridges.

Indeed, it's more likely easy to refill a small container with inks or toners, but considering the ecological impacts of doing such thing, I'd gladly reject the option. Choosing eco-friendly toner cartridges and ink cartridges for all printing needs is still way better than any other options available. Instead of manufacturing new printer cartridges using virgin materials from our natural resources, why not invest on establishing more recycling plants. Quality control plays a key-role in the recycling process. It may seem too complicated right now but economically and environmentally speaking, printer cartridges recycling has a lot of good points.

 
 
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Is it still ideal to own a printer right now? Basically and essentially, yes it is, as there are so many printable works that we encounter in our everyday lives. If your prefer relying on online print services, then you must be wealthy enough to support such luxury. Especially to those who are printing photos and documents of more than 10 copies daily, otherwise if your the type of guy who prints one copy a day or a week, that's more considerable.

Printer cartridges are typically expensive, but if you will try to compare their market prices before from their price range today the difference is really enormous. Additionally, decades ago some manufacturers were producing cartridges with decent amounts of inks and toners worthy enough for the price, but now cartridges in the market are yet much expensive as before with less amounts of inks. It's kind of ironic to pay more with less to take, and I thought spending more would give you valuable goods. In the case of the print industry, manufacturers are selling equipments at a lower cost, while harvesting money from cartridges sales.

Another thing with most brand new printers nowadays, they come with an initial set of cartridges filled with almost 1/3 of inks/toners. Hence, after the free cartridge set runs out of consumables which would probably won't take long, customers will have to buy a replacement to keep the machine running. Here's more surprising, you get too excited to make your first purchase of replacements for your printer, and once the cashier is done scanning your items you'll be surprise to see how much would it cost to buy the whole set of inks. More likely you would have thought of buying a new printer instead of taking some bucks out of your wallet just for about 2-3 pieces of cartridges.

No wonder why most printer users are opting for alternative consumables like remanufactured and compatible cartridges. Mainly to cut down their printing expenses and operating cost, as well as aiding on the conservation of natural resources through using recycled products. I mean it's given that OEMs can provide us the superior quality of printouts, but people are considering where can they save without compromising the quality of their purchased. It's not a requirement to switch to low-cost printer consumables, but once you tried using remanufactured toner cartridges and ink cartridges, you can even say "it's not bad", and probably you'll end up using it over OEMs.

 

    Author

    Fiel Mori Promotes Eco Friendly stuffs and creating environment friendly articles for everyone @PrintGreen



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