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Old 06-13-2017, 11:32 PM   #1
newbiesforever
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I wonder why toner cartridges aren't transparent


Since I started owning laser printers, I've repeatedly wondered why every toner cartridge I've ever seen has an opaque black casing. Because if the plastic was clear, wouldn't you always be able to see how much toner remained by only pulling out the cartridge and looking? It would be much simpler than coding software to monitor it. Or have I had my head stuck in the sand, e.g., clear cartridges are available and I've somehow never seen or heard of them?

Last edited by newbiesforever; 06-13-2017 at 11:34 PM.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 03:36 AM   #2
Teufel
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1. The manufacturer is not interested letting you know how little toner contains in the cartridge. People will be indignant that the cartridge is almost empty (especially "starter" cartridge that shipped with printer).

2. I think non-transparent plastic is cheaper.

3. Even if cartridge would be transparent I doubt you could see anything inside it: electrified black dust will adhere to the inner surface and make it non-transparent. Some Brother cartridges has such a transparent window for photo-sensor, but in this window you can not see anything.

Last edited by Teufel; 06-14-2017 at 03:51 AM.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 06:37 AM   #3
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This has been asked before. As above but I'll add a couple of things:
Some are but you'll likely not find them in home machines.
Some toner cartridges also contain the photosensitive drum (where the image is created) so being transparent could cause issues with that.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 07:08 AM   #4
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
This has been asked before.
By the same person...
 
Old 06-14-2017, 07:33 AM   #5
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Hi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
This has been asked before. ...
Yes. Look at the bottom of this page... "Similar Threads."


Have fun!
 
Old 06-14-2017, 10:15 AM   #6
BW-userx
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whatever happen to the 'just pick it up and shake it to see how full it is' technique?
 
Old 06-14-2017, 10:30 AM   #7
Myk267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Since I started owning laser printers, I've repeatedly wondered why every toner cartridge I've ever seen has an opaque black casing. Because if the plastic was clear, wouldn't you always be able to see how much toner remained by only pulling out the cartridge and looking? It would be much simpler than coding software to monitor it. Or have I had my head stuck in the sand, e.g., clear cartridges are available and I've somehow never seen or heard of them?
The same reason most electronics are swaddled in opaque black plastic; they don't want you to see the bugs running around inside.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 11:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BW-userx View Post
whatever happen to the 'just pick it up and shake it to see how full it is' technique?
Depends upon the device -- on some that may work, on others it will work but give you a constant error until the next replacement and others you won't be able to tell anything due to the way the toner delivery mechanism, developer or whatever inside the cartridge works.
If you work in an office with "managed print" all it will likely acheive is the next toner wo't autoorder and some poor sap will have to order it for you manually when you phone up to complain.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 11:53 AM   #9
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I don't know the answer, but my without-googling guess is that it's because toner is light-sensitive.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 12:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
I don't know the answer, but my without-googling guess is that it's because toner is light-sensitive.
Toner isn't but, as I mentioned, the certridges sometimes contain the drum, which is.
I also forgot to mention that toner cartridges nowadays often come in the color of the toner inside for easy identification.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 04:04 PM   #11
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Drum is light-sensitive, but it's not so critical. Light can affect drum in case of very bright sunlight (should be comparable to laser brightness). This case printer will print absolutely black pages. After a couple of hours drum will return to its original state.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 04:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teufel View Post
Drum is light-sensitive, but it's not so critical. Light can affect drum in case of very bright sunlight (should be comparable to laser brightness). This case printer will print absolutely black pages. After a couple of hours drum will return to its original state.
In my experience a drum which has been exposed to too much light outside of the device can end up producing poor quality images.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 02:51 AM   #13
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Where toner cartridge and OPC are a single unit, the cartridge will generally be black, dark grey or very rarely some other opaque. This is mainly to protect the OPC (as mentioned above).

But cyan and magenta toner is usually not UV stable so the red component will fade when exposed to sunlight, but this would take months of direct exposure.

Also transparent plastic is probably ruled out for the start because maybe because it's likely that cheap recycled pellets are used and transparent plastic tends to be more brittle. In most laser or LED printers which I've come across, the consumables are black, though I've seen e.g. grey cartridges, where the toner cartridge is separate from the drum.

And it probably makes commercial sense not to have transparent cartridges as the customer would see that the cartridge doesn't look very full out of the box.

Eventually the massive environmental impact of the laser toner market will have to be tackled head on. The machines are quite literally given away with a discount set of toners. The profit then comes from further toner sales. The toner is a global rip off, more expensive than gold and most of the plastic cartridges go into landfill. The sustainability of the old printers is also questionable. Where the fuser cannot be replaced easily by the end user, the printer itself is a "consumable" and may not last much longer than the 1 year warranty.

The industry has responded to aftermarket/compatible or re-manufactured toners by making the cartridges harder to copy and thus much less reusable and harder to recycle and dispose of. This is because you have a business model centred entirely around selling overpriced toner, rather than selling the machines.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 05:12 AM   #14
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While I agree that toner is overly expensive and that "starter toners" are a con most of the issues around sustainability apply more ore to home printers rather than offcie devices.
Manufacturers are starting to recycle the toner containers and other consumables and black and white devices nowadays tend to recycle toner within themselves rather than letting any unused toner from the process go into a container to be disposed of as the used to. I suspect people are working on the same kind of toner scavanging for colour devices but, obviously, the process results in mixes of toner so it may ot even be possible.
Personally if I were to buy a laser printer I would make sure it was one with fuser, transfer roller and feed roller kits available.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 09:28 AM   #15
newbiesforever
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an honest mistake

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntubski View Post
Really! I'm so sorry, I had forgotten. My habit is to unclutter my subscribed-threads page by deleting the ones I'm not likely to reread; that's why I didn't remember the other thread. I don't suppose the mods would want to delete this, since new information has been given; but I wouldn't object in the slightest. ...Actually, perhaps they might merge it with the other thread--better idea?

Last edited by newbiesforever; 06-15-2017 at 09:37 AM.
 
  


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