Product & Printer Reviews

Optical Sensor + Reset Gear : The Safety Devices Of The Brother TN 350 Toner Cartridge

The optical sensor built into the Brother MFC 7220 laser printer prompts the user when toner supply is really low. The sensor monitors toner supply levels by shining a light beam across a toner cartridge window. If no toner is detected, the low toner light consequently blinks. The optical sensor works like the photo switch outfitted with streetlamps that switches on automatically during late afternoons (when the surroundings are dim) and turns the light off on early mornings when there is already sufficient natural light. Only that in the case of the toner cartridge, the amount of toner filling the chamber is employed to block the light beam delivered by the sensor; thus, the printer continues to operate. But once toner is depleted, the light beam connects, completes the circuit and the low toner prompt appears.

Another safety feature of the Brother TN 350 toner cartridge is the reset gear that accurately monitors the number of pages printed by the printer. This counting device is activated depending on the number of revolutions made by the cartridge developer roller. Once the rated capacity is reached, the device turns off the printer automatically. It takes 18.5 revolutions of the developer roller to print a single page where a cartridge rated 2,500 pages (like the TN 350) actually makes 46,250 turns to complete the rated capacity. Once the developer roller reaches its revolution capacity, printing operations desists regardless of the amount of toner still left in the cartridge.

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The mentioned safety features are integrated into the laser printer and toner cartridge combo to reduce the likelihood of damage to sensitive imaging components of the toner cartridge. These may all sound like a plus factor to printer manufacturers, but on the contrary these are integrated into the design to help sustain the cartridge’s functional life cycle and on the aftermarket side, allow 3 or more toner refills on the cartridge. Without such devices, the cartridge will go on printing even when empty of toner, to eventually bring damage to the cartridge.

Printer manufacturers put in an extra 20% to total toner supply, precisely to bar the cartridge from printing when the toner chamber is empty. In case toner left in the cartridge is still more than half its capacity, then something must have triggered the cartridge to stop working. To override cartridge safety devices, the user will simply have to shake the cartridge vigorously to free clumped toner inside and so that printing could continue. In case the culprit is the developer roller, adjusting the reset gear would resolve the issue. However, if the cause of the stoppage is the optical sensor, placing a black electrical tape right across the cartridge window will solve the problem. But if printouts are diagnosed with fading prints, the primary cause therefore is low toner supply which can only be solved by replenishing the cartridge’s toner supply with a compatible Brother toner refill kit.

Reuse empty toner cartridges and save as much as 80% on printing costs. Visit and shop for the toner refill kit compatible with your cartridge.

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