How To Replace a Drum Toner Cartridge

You’re printing some important work documents or school paper and then you notice that the words on the printouts are getting fainter by the page. Soon, only blank pages are coming out. What do you do? Don’t panic and check the display screen on your printer or copier. If it reads, “Replace Drum / Toner cartridge,” or if the cartridge LED is flashing red, you will just need to swap the used up ink cartridge with a new one. A good number of photocopying machines and laser printers utilize toners or large cartridges that are housed inside a drum. You will need to detach this in order to slot in the replacement. Make sure that you use the correct replacement cartridge type; otherwise, you can seriously damage the drum.

  • Find out what particular cartridge type you will need to buy. It is advisable that you always keep an extra toner cartridge at the ready should the one installed run out. If you don’t know what type of cartridge your particular machine uses, don’t hesitate to bring the drum unit with you when you go to the office supply shop. If this is not possible, simply supply the salesperson with the specific brand and model number so that he can find the correct replacement cartridge for you.
  • Remove entire drum unit / cartridge assembly. Turn your printer off and pull its plug from the socket. Release the front cover and carefully, but firmly, grasp the handle of the drum and pull the entire cartridge assembly until it pops out of the machine completely. Quickly wrap the drum unit with old newspaper or cloth to avoid spilling or scattering any leftover toner. Make sure that you are working in an area away from an open flame as the chemicals inside the cartridge are highly flammable.
  • Detach the used up cartridge from its drum. Make sure that you are holding the ink cartridge securely in one hand before releasing the lock lever. For some units, the lock lever is blue, while in others, this mechanism is green. With your other hand, pull on the drum unit until the cartridge is freed.
  • Insert the replacement cartridge into the printer’s drum unit. Before replacing the drum unit, make sure that the printer is clean. Wipe away any loose powder inside the printer using a lint-free cloth or dry paper towel. Do not spray any cleaning agent inside the machine to avoid any electrical shock once the power supply has been returned. Unpack the new toner cartridge and shake it thoroughly from one side to the other about six times. Unpeel any protective seals and unclip the bracket from one end of the new cartridge. Push the cartridge into the drum unit. Make sure that it clicks in place and the lock lever lifts automatically.
  • Insert the drum back into the machine. Hold the drum unit firmly by its handle. Align the markers on the assembly with the appropriate arrows on the printer. Gently push the drum unit in place. Slide it in until you hear a gentle click. This means that the drum is locked in place correctly. Shut the cover.

Plug your printer into the power supply and print a test page. Simply access the printer’s diagnostic mode on your computer’s control panel menu. Choose the print test page option and wait for it to come out. If the test pattern looks streaky, remove the cartridge and shake it some more. Reinstall the drum unit and print another test page. If the result is still unsatisfactory, you may need to purchase a new drum.


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