What is a Laser Toner Chip?

Every time a warning message pops up on your PC letting you know that yourprinter’s toner is low, you have a laser toner chip to thank. These chips, alsocalled printer or ink smart chips,are used by printers to monitor the reservesand levels of your current toner cartridge. They communicate with your PC toprovide warnings when certain levels are reached or if any other issue arises.

How They Work

Toner chips read levels by monitoring your cartridge’s droplet count, orthe number or ink droplets that have been used so far when printing. Chips areprogrammed for specific toner designs and will provide warnings and stopprinting once a certain number of droplets have been used. Unfortunately, thismeans that cartridges you refill may still have ink in them if the chip isn’t reset and told that a cartridge was refilled.

Cartridge Refills and Replacements

Toner chips have caused some controversy because they make it difficult torefill a printer cartridge. After you refill a cartridge, you have to reset orreplace the chip in order for your printer to allow you to print. Whenreplacing a spent cartridge with one from a third party, some smart chips willsend users warnings that these cartridges will damage your printer. While thereis little research evidence of damage, the chip will record that this messagehas been sent, which may void a manufacturer’s warranty.

Resetor Replace a Chip

Depending on your printer model, smart chips in your toner cartridge mayor may not be able to be reset. Some chips store toner levels permanently inmemory and don’t allow this memory to be accessed. If this type of chip is inyour toner, you will need to replace the chip when refilling your cartridge.Other chips can be reset with a “resetter,” a small plastic tool thatphysically connects with the cartridge chip and tells the chip to return itscount of spent droplets to zero.

Consumer Troubles

Many customers report issues with toner cartridges notbeing recognized by smart chips or with chips saying that their toner is emptywhen the cartridge still has droplets available. To avoid these problems, youshould always power down your printer when doing any maintenance or replacingcartridges. Bad connections or improper installations of new cartridges canalso cause many of these errors. Reinstalling the cartridge and following yourmanufacturer’s instructions with the power off can resolve some issues.

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