Sometimes masking tape is all you need: Brother Laser Printer cartridges
February 10, 2010
Hardware | Troubleshooting

I have an old Brother HL-5250DN Laser Printer that's been giving good service for years. Seems like forever since I replaced the toner cartridge (TN350 Black Toner Cartridge). But the other day, it simply stopped printing! It was out of toner, apparently. There must have been a "toner low" message, but I missed it.

Unfortunately it is quite unforgiving. Once it is below a certain point it simply stops functioning. Of course it was a most inconvenient moment for it to stop working.

All I could do was go look at Amazon for a new cartridge. Lo and behold, the customer reviewers there have come up with a quick fix to get the printer back up and running while you are waiting for the new cartridge to arrive.

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Posted by ellen at February 10, 2010 03:42 PM

Look for the clear round plastic window on both sides of the cartridge. When the toner is full, the window is blocked. When the toner falls below the level of the hole, a laser can shine through to the other side, signaling the printer to shut down until the cartridge is replaced.

A simple piece of masking tape across one or both plastic windows will allow you to use the rest of the toner - often 30% or more.

One person found that simply shaking the cartridge had the same effect. I love fixes like this!

Many thanks to David Tutwiler and C. MacPhail for this tip.

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