Inside the front cover of the Samsung CLP-510 printer is a "Waste Toner Bin" -
this bin collects any toner which is not fused to the paper during the printing
process. The photo at the left shows the waste toner bin installed in its
correct position.As you print, the waste toner bin "fills up" with
wasted toner, and you have to replace it on a regular basis. Other printers
send waste toner back to a separate compartment in the toner cartridge,
however Samsung prefers to sell you and additional "consumable" - apparently
the $130 cost of the toner cartridges (x4 cartridges = $520/refill) just
isn't sufficent revenue.
In the photo below, we see the waste toner bin removed from its operating
position, and lying down on the printer door - Just tipped down from its normal
Note (1) - this is an optical sensor which detects when the waste toner
bin is full - A "bump" on the bin (2) fits into the sensor notch when the
bin is in position. An optical sensor looks though the "bump" and is supposed
to detect when the toner reaches this level.
Note that one of the inlets for waste toner (3) is just above the sensor
"bump" (when the bin is in it normal position). You can also see the round
feed which goes into this hole, just above the sensor notch (1).
The problem occurs because the waste toner being injected into the bin
"runs down the side" through the sensor "bump" - after a little while, this
dirties the walls of the "bump", and although this is nowhere near as opaque
as the actual toner, the sensor is sensitive enough to decide the bin is full
and shuts down printing. In my opinion, this represents two fundamental flaws
in the design:
- The toner inlet should not be positioned such that toner entering the bin
runs through the sensor area.
- The optical sensor should not be so sensitive that a little dirt is detected
as a full bin.
It is interesting to note that Samsung explicitly advises that you not empty
and reuse the waste toner bin - The overly sensitive sensor pretty much guarantees
that you cannot do this, as it is virtually impossible to empty the bin without
getting toner into the sensor bump, after which the printer will refuse to print
and direct you to replace the bin.
The first time this happened, I noted the dirty sensor notch and cleaned the
area - It lasted only for a few pages, at which time I contacted Samsung to
report the problem - No matter how I tried to explain the situation to them
(over several days of correspondance) the only response I could get from them
was "the bin must be full - change it".The new bin lasted for perhaps
100 pages, at which point the dreaded "replace waste toner bin" message
appeared. Samsumg responded that I should clean the external sensor (I had
advised them that I had tried cleaning the external sensor in my first contact
TO DATE - SAMSUNG HAS REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEGE THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM IN THE
DESIGN OF THE WASTE TONER SYSTEM.
To confirm my theory that toner entering the bin via the inlet was
dirtying the sensor area, I added a baffle made from tape as shown on the
left - This cured the problem - Note how dirty the tape has become! (It WAS
clear tape)... a LOT of toner was passing through this area!
Worried that the hot toner might melt/burn the tape baffle, I have since
replaced it with one made from aluminum foil - Using only a single layer, with
a fairly thin part that passes through the hole and is taped in place on the
outside. It is important to get the part passing through the hole to be as
flat against the side as possible, as it has to fit in beside the inlet from
the printer - too much thickness or wrinkles here could cause a messey leak.
It is also important that the baffle NOT be so long that it would prevent
the sensor notch from filling from the bottom - this could cause the printer
to overflow the bin - which would not be good... I recommend that you check
the waste toner bin every time you change a toner cartridge.
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