Basic English Class (4)

What Happens If a Printer Drum Runs Out?

Laser and LED printers use photosensitive drums as a part of their printing process. These printers flash the pattern of the page onto the drum, which picks up an electric charge where the light strikes it. The drum then picks up toner in the areas where it is charged and transfers it to the paper. An electrical charge in the printer then resets the drum’s charge so that it can print again. Over time, the drum’s chemicals can lose their effectiveness and the drum’s surface can be damaged.

Printer Stops Printing
Many printers have sensors that track how many pages their drum has printed. Once they hit a certain preset threshold, the sensors usually warn you that your drum needs replacement, and eventually stop the printer from printing until you replace the drum. This helps to prevent you from getting low-quality output from a failing drum.

Faded or Blurry Prints
Over time, the cycle of repeated charging and discharging, combined with the electrical charges that printers use, can break down the chemicals in an imaging drum. As the chemicals break down, the drum’s power to attract toner becomes weaker, while the edges between charged and uncharged areas become more blurred. This leads to prints with blurry edges and with areas that are gray instead of black.

Lines on Prints
The drum is supposed to have a smooth and clean surface, so most printers have built-in wipers that clean any leftover toner from the drum. However, over time, some drums can either develop scratches or get toner deposits. These deposits can leave thin vertical lines on printouts, indicating that the drum is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Spots and Blotches on Printouts
As drums get dirty and age, they can also attract random spots of dirt. These spots can either transfer additional toner to pages or prevent toner from getting transferred. If either of these print quality issues occur, it can be a sign that the drum needs to be replaced.

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