Replacing Brother Toners and Drums
What is a Drum unit and a Toner cartridge anyways?
The toner itself sits inside of the Drum unit and can be pulled out via a small blue lever on the top of the drum unit.
In the Brother type of setup, the toner cartridge is just that, it holds the toner or the medium that will be deposited onto your paper to produce the text and images you see. The Drum really does all the work. These machines are called laser printers because they use a laser beam to produce an image on the drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum wherever it hits. The drum is then rolled through the reservoir of toner which is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. Finally, the toner is transferred to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure and presto, you have a printed page.
What is the Page Yield?
Now, the important thing to know here is what is the page yield of the toner and the drum you are using and knowing when to replace what. Let’s use the Brother TN-560 toner and the Brother DR-500 drum unit as an example. The TN-560 toner is rated at 6,500 pages and the DR-500 drum is rated for 20,000 pages. So there is enough toner powder in the toner cartridge to theoretically get 6,500 pages depending on page yield. The drum will wear out eventually due to the fact it can only receive so many laser light impressions before it can’t hold the negative charge anymore, hopefully around the 20,000 pages.. When that happens your print quality deteriorates.
So in both cases when one of these units starts to fail your print quality is going to suffer, how do you know which to replace? On most of the Brother machines you will get a warning that the drum unit needs to be replaced or the toner. Problem is, most owners don’t ever read the manual, so even if they do get this type of message they will take the entire unit out and bring it to the store for replacement. Understanding the difference between the two units and what function each unit performs is critical. So if you happen to own a Brother printer that does not give you a message saying your drum unit needs replacing, always buy the toner first. It usually cost much less than the drum. If that does not solve the problem, then buy the drum unit.
If you have one of the Brothers that do not give you the message that your drum needs replacing. Tape a piece of paper to the side of the machine and write down the date you replaced the drum. So let’s use the example above to demonstrate. The TN-560 toner is rated for 6,500 pages and the DR-500 is rated for 20,000. It’s simply a matter of dividing one into the other to see how many toners you can use before replacing that drum.