Brother Printer Toner Nightmares
In our office, we use only Brother printers. The primary reason is because they’re cheap, and they’re reliable. Also, the toner cartridges are simple to refill with aftermarket toner, and they actually do last quite a while.
Our machines are all either HL-5250DN units or our wonder workhorse the DCP-9040CN. We also have two Intellifax 4100e fax machines.
The biggest problem with these machines is that they are incredibly stupid about telling you when the toner is empty. Most of the time, the machine will tell us it’s out of toner when the toner cartridge is still half full. After hours and hours of poking buttons and playing with the blasted machines, and reading literally hundreds of different forums posts, we have a suite of solutions that we use all the time. I’m going to summarize them here mainly for my own use, but hopefully somebody else will find this in a search engine search and be glad I took the time to write it up.
Brother printers use one or more of up to 3 methods I have found so far to tell whether the toner cartridge is empty or not.
First, the sensor hole trick. Most modern Brother toner cartridges have two clear, plastic covers on either end. If you hold it to the light, you can see toner flopping around inside the hole if you shake it. The printer shines a light through this hole and, if a photosensor picks up the light at the other side of the box, then it’s empty. If light doesn’t shine through, it assumes there is toner. So, the first thing to do with any new Brother toner cartridge out of the box is to cover this sensor hole with black electrical tape, color it in with a Sharpie, paint it over with white out, etc.
Second, most Brother toner cartridges have a mechanical reset gear on one end. You may need to take a couple screws off and remove the end cover to see this gear, but it’s there. Do a search for toner refill kit instructions for your particular toner cartridge model to see exactly how to reset this gear for your exact model. This trick is for use when you either refill a toner cartridge or you need to set the gear back a few notches when it hits it’s limitation of travel.
Third, most Brother printers have some sort of secret handshake to reset the toner life counter. It varies wildly by model of printer, so do a Google search for that as well. It’s usually some weird combination of button pushes in a sequence.
Here’s the information we use for our printers.
Brother DCP-9040CN Toner Reset
Model – DCP9040CN
Toner H – TN115
Toner S – TN110
1. With power on, open the toner access main door (You will get a “door open” message in the LCD.)
2. Hit the “Clear/Back” button and… ta-dah!!! you go right to the “Toner Reset Menu” (cue Vienna Boy’s choir sounds here).
3. Using the up ^ Down > “Search” arrow buttons, you can then scroll through reset options for each of the printer’s  toner cartridges!
Code: B. = black; C. = cyan; M. = magenta and Y. = yellow
4. For each for these cartridges is the option to reset for low yield = S (small?) or High Yield = H
5. Using the number keypad, select option #1 (to reset each to the size you have installed.
6. Hit the “Clear/Back” button to get out of the menu, close door ad the problem is FINALLY solved.
Brother HL-5250DN Toner Reset Sequence
Turn the printer off.
Hold the ‘go’ button while turning the printer on. All panel lights should be on.
Release the ‘go’ button.
Press the ‘go’ button 2 times.
Press the ‘go’ button 5 times.
The toner light should be off.
The paper light should be on.
Close cover. The ready light should be the only light on.
Whenever you replace a toner cartridge on a Brother, remember to power it OFF before replacing the cartridge, otherwise the mechanical reset wheel gets turned and the printer might think it’s got less toner than it should.
If you replace a drum in a Broth HL-5250DN, and the drum light stays on, do the following:
1. Open the door.
2. Remove the drum unit.
3. Press the GO button until all the lights come on in amber color.
4. Let go of the GO button.
5. Put the drum unit back in.
6. Close the door.
We also have an occasional problem where the Brother printers will reset their internal network configurations, which kicks them off our network and registers them as “Offline”. Here’s how I correct this problem:
1. Press the GO button 5 times really fast. This will produce a printout of the printer’s configuration.
2. Go to a computer on the same network, and enter the IP address of the printer into a web browser.
3. Click on the Network Configuration link at the top of the brother menu.
4. Enter “admin” as the login, and “access” as the password.
5. Change the configuration type to static, and assign a manual IP address that matches your print server settings.
6. Hit SAVE at the bottom.
I hope that these tips and updates are helpful for other Brother owners out there!
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