I have a Sharp AL 1661CS and am having problems with the drum unit. I've already replaced this twice. The copier has 46,492 copies on it. I'm debating wether or not I should spend the $199 to replace the drum or put that towards a new copier. I'd like to know what the expected average useful life is for this copier to help me make my decision.
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Re: Average useful life of Sharp AL-1661CS
With that machine the toner cartridge also contains developer. Without getting too in depth, it sounds like maybe your toner cartridge is leaking a bit of developer which takes with it a bit of toner. Developer is made up of tiny metal particles which are supposed to stay inside the developer unit. As the seals wear in the developer unit (which is part of the cartridge) it allows a little to leak out causing the problems you are seeing. When you take the toner cart. out, at the rear side (part that goes the furthest into the machine) you'll see a white foam seal. If you notice some excess toner (and probably developer) sticking straight out from that, it could be that the seal has a jagged edge which is dragging developer off of the magnetic roller and depositing it on the drum making the line you speak of on the left hand side. Also check to make sure the copier is sitting level, if it's not then the concentration of toner at one end of the developer unit is too great and some can be allowed to spill out.
So in short, it's probably not the drum that's at fault, it's more likely the toner cartridge.
Is it worth replacing? There's no easy way to answer that. If the machine is used in a fairly high volume workplace, it's probably worth replacing. If you could get by with a smaller cheaper machine (brother, HP, lexmark etc.) that does printing, scanning, faxing and copying you may be better off.
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After replacing drum catridge you should reset the drum counter in the following way
1.Identify the buttons used for adjusting exposure (darker or lighter copies), amount of copies, clear copies and start copying
2.Now press the following sequence of buttons: [CLR], [AURO], [CLR], [AUTO] all thes one by one
3.Your unit should turn off the numbers in the panel
4.Now press 24 as if asking for 24 copies and press [START].
4.Now press 07 as if asking for 7 copies and press [START].
This should reset your drum and it should stop flashing
Older Sharp AL copiers will go on working with the drum light blinking, but yours will not. Newer models do stop working when the drum reaches its limit. Now keep in mind that just as almost every copier in the market, these units count the copies they make in order to determine toner & drum life. So it is possible to reset the drum counter if you inspect the unit and see no markings or visible wear & tear. Also keep in mind that the toner & drum units have been the same for all AL units through time, so there are plenty of good replacements in the market (not recycled, but re-manufactured or brand-new compatibles).
As for your unit, if the drum is Sharp original or a good quality replacement, you should have to do nothing after installation, for the internal chip in the drum will tell the copier to reset the counter and begin working automatically. However if that is not the case, or should you want to reset the counter on your existing drum, this is the correct sequence to do so.
Identify the buttons used for adjusting exposure (darker or lighter copies), amount of copies, clear copies and start copying.
Now press the following sequence of buttons: [CLR], [EXPOSURE], [CLR], [EXPOSURE]
Your unit should turn off the numbers in the panel.
Now press 24 as if asking for 24 copies and press [START].
Press 07 as if asking for 7 copies and press [START].
Your unit should restart by itself and start working normally.
Your unit definetly needs a new drum. The usual yield for this consumable is upt ot 15,000 pages, so at the stated rate, the unit yielded more than average. AL-1000 series share the same toner and drum, so finding remanufactured (or recycled) drum units should be no problem. In Puerto Rico, they are sold for about $79.00.
Not familiar with this particular machine, but it sounds like one which uses a seperate scanner when drawing originals from the sheet feeder.
Have a look to see if there's a glass strip to the side of the main copier face. If so, give that a careful clean.