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04 October 2012

 Printer cartridge jargon is confusing

Are you confused with all those words describing printer cartridges, and how important are they? I know I was.

You have recently bought your first printer and it is time to get another print cartridge so you look up the internet, to be confused with a plethora of expressions that leave you absolutely baffled. It can make it hard for you to make the right decision as to what to get.

We will define some of the expressions used here to help you understand what they mean:

Compatible/Genuine/Refill/Remanufactured: You can have all of these types of alternative cartridges even though they apply to the one printer.For a fuller description of these types of cartridges, click here.

Drum Cartridge: The drum cartridge can also be called the drum unit or drum roller.

It is used with toner cartridges which generally fit inside the outer drum cartridge. Whereas the toner (laser) cartridge holds the powder , the purpose of the drum cartridge is to distribute the powder in image /text form onto the paper. When the quality of your printing is deteriorating it is usually the drum cartridge that needs replacing, normally after every 3 to 4 toner cartridges 

Laser Cartridge:  A laser cartridge is really a cartridge that uses toner powder. It is not the cartridge itself that is laser but the printer that uses a laser ray to focus a beam of magnetic charged light to transfer images and text onto the paper. The expression laser cartridge really means a toner cartridge that disperses powder onto the electronical charged paper as dictated by the laser beam.

Mono: The printer only uses black cartridges - it does not have colours. More often used in an office environment for text printing, usually at higher speeds.

OEM Cartridge: Means Original Equipment Manufacturer, and refers to the model code for the cartridge as supplied by the original manufacturer. For example Brother TN2130....TN2130 is the OEM as supplied by Brother.

Toner Cartridge: refer to Laser Cartridge above.

Yield: This is the amount of available toner or ink that determines what quantity of print you will achieve. It will normally be measured in millilitres or pages that can be printed. The term is often not a good measure in that there are many variables that effect yield, including the efficiency of any particular printer, the density of print (image/text) to the page, the mix of black, cyan, magenta, & yellow etc. There is now an International standards organisation accepted measurement that determines a page as approx. 5% of an A4 size sheet in text printing. So when a user sees yield 5,000 pages, in fact it might be more like. 1,000 pages achieved.


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