Lexmark C770n Massive Toner Waste?


E

emailaddress

We have a Lexmark C770n color laser printer that seems to terribly
waste toner.
http://www.lexmark.com/lexmark/product/home/957/0,6970,204816596_653399446_801075133_en,00.html

It keeps track of % coverage per page and # of pages for B&W, and a
separate % coverage and # of pages count for color (if it prints a
single blue dot on a page, that is considered one cumulative color
page) in total. Based on our use which is mostly black text (this is
not a scenario where someone might be sneakily printing big pictures,
we are certain of what has been printed), looking at what we have
printed, the stats it displays seem accurate.

The stats for this ~18 month old printer are 5,500 pages printed black
at 3% coverage, 540 pages color at < 2% coverage. This is a typical
office, temperature and humidity controlled environment using regular
20lb copy/multipurpose paper and printing an address on laser
envelopes about once per 500 pages. Another laser printer, different
model a few feet away performs as expected without the issues this
printer has.

We accept that the first black cartridge may have been used up at
5,500 pages as it was only rated for 6,000 pages. However the Lexmark
C770n has wasted an entire 6K page yellow cartridge, it is now empty
without having printed even 100 pages worth of color text. The other
cartridges are also reporting low at 20% remaining toner without
having printed much at all. The printouts having color on them at
all are few and far inbetween, not only because it was printing plain
text documents, but obviously looking at the printouts they are only
B&W with rare small amounts of color.

What we have printed looks fine, the printer displays no errors or
warnings and seems to monitor itself in several ways. Only one
operational issue exists that we are aware of, that it seems whenever
the printer goes into sleep mode (currently set for a 20 minute
interval), it requires over a minute wait while the "heating" message
is on-screen, or over 90 seconds while a calibration message is on-
screen. Is this now typical for color lasers? How can they advertise
a 15 second time to _FIRST_ page when the first page always takes in
excess of 70 seconds, only subsequent pages print within 15 seconds?
We could accept 30 seconds, even a bit longer but this seems an
unreasonable period when it takes over 70 seconds for even a single
line of black text to print. None of our other laser printers take
1/2 this long even from a complete power-down, power up.

This is only a secondary concern, mentioned in case it is significant
to the main problem of massive toner waste. Most often when we print
a color page the only color is a handful of blue email links, perhaps
0.1% coverage for color. It has a separate toner waste container
rated to be good for 180,000 pages black, and 50,000 pages color.
That waste container is now roughly half full of wasted toner after
only 5,500 B&W pages printed at 3% coverage, 540 color pages at < 2%
coverage. We have not set it to print dark, nor in high quality mode,
it's the normal default print settings (which we have checked in it's
setup menus to be sure) and almost entirely small font black text. We
have compared the estimates to ISO 19752, 24712 test pages upon which
the cartridges were supposedly rated.

What can be done? The printer has now wasted hundreds of dollars
worth of toner. Unfortunately it is over a year old, outside of it's
warranty period? It's a shame we print low enough volume that it took
over a year for the color cartridges to empty themselves. We are
certain these are 6K page cartridges, not the "starter" underfilled
cartridges that come with some lower-cost printers today. We have
upgraded the firmware to the latest version several months ago, before
we were aware the toner was being wasted so fast, in an attempt to
combat the aforementioned issue of excessive heating/calibration
waits. We have contacted someone with Lexmark but have yet to receive
anything further from them.

I'm concerned that their reply will be something like "blah blah blah
% coverage, usage, average ratings", as if their product shouldn't
have to achieve anywhere near the 6K pages that we've paid hundreds of
dollars for in toner. We can accept it may not exceed 5999.999 pages,
that it's just a ball-park estimate or average, but not a mere 540
pages at < 2% coverage. This is not a case of the printer
misreporting that toner is low, the fading print and amount of toner
remaining visible when the toner refill cap is removed show the toner
is gone, as well as the amount of waste toner in the waste container.

We hope for a resolution, or at least a recommendation for a
replacement printer that doesn't take over a minute to warm up and
attains near it's ratings for toner. Being able to refill the toner
ourselves or buy remanufactured cartridges would be a plus, ultimate
photo-realistic quality output is not necessary, nor does it need to
be as high a duty cycle as the C770n though cartridges capable of 4K
pages or more are desired. I often hear good things about Brother and
HP, are any of those especially good or bad?
 
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A

Arthur Entlich

Your interesting experience doesn't seem quite typical. Good laser
printers either have low waste toner by percentage, or may even
recycling each toner within the cartridge, depending upon the exact
toner technology and cartridge design used.

Having said that, there are two things you should be aware of in terms
of very low cartridges. Most, but not all color laser printers (and now
many black and white as well) do not come with full standard cartridges
which would contain all the toner filling you might expect. Most today
come with 1/3rd to 1/2 the toner that the first replacement sold as a
standard store item. Often you cannot buy a starter cartridge which
comes with your printer on the open market. However, the amount of
waste toner you have encountered sounds like something may not be
functioning correctly and you may wish to address the problem with Lexmark.

In regard to the yellow cartridge, Most color laser printers (and
photocopiers) produce a repeated code including the date and the serial
number of the printer onto all documents in yellow. This coding is
barely visible to the eye without a special blue filter. The FBI, CIA
and others pressured the color laser printer manufacturers to provide
this so a fraudulent or threatening document could be more easily
traced. It does use up some of the yellow toner.

Color laser printer purchases are quite difficult to make the right
decision on the model for your printing style. There is a web sight
that explains which printer use the yellow serial code engine and which
do not, and if pressed some laser printer manufacturers will tell you
the anticipated yield for the first set of starter cartridges.


Art


If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
J

Jerry1111

Arthur said:
However, the amount of
waste toner you have encountered sounds like something may not be
functioning correctly and you may wish to address the problem with Lexmark.

I'd think that the printer is broken. Arthur is right - try to contact
Lexmark.
In regard to the yellow cartridge, Most color laser printers (and
photocopiers) produce a repeated code including the date and the serial
number of the printer onto all documents in yellow. This coding is
barely visible to the eye without a special blue filter. The FBI, CIA
and others pressured the color laser printer manufacturers to provide
this so a fraudulent or threatening document could be more easily
traced. It does use up some of the yellow toner.

Is there anything on the web available? Having several color laser
printers around me I've never seen that. I'm really curious ;-)

Color laser printer purchases are quite difficult to make the right
decision on the model for your printing style. There is a web sight
that explains which printer use the yellow serial code engine and which
do not, and if pressed some laser printer manufacturers will tell you
the anticipated yield for the first set of starter cartridges.

For example I'm very happy with Oki C5100n. It works, asks for toners
and drums, but it never (well, so far) refused to print (I mean it
doesn't break). Compared to some big thing in our reception which is
serviced bi-weekly I think it's a good achievement. It did 40k pages,
50% in color and it's close to the belt change.

If they tell you 'average usage' bullshit - ask to speak with the
manager and don't accept any soft-talk. You may have to fight through
the 'first line of defence' (as I had with Dell), but once you're past
that, then everything else is really easy.
 
E

emailaddress

Your interesting experience doesn't seem quite typical.  Good laser
printers either have low waste toner by percentage, or may even
recycling each toner within the cartridge, depending upon the exact
toner technology and cartridge design used.

Thank you and Jerry for your replies. I don't know if it recycles
toner within the cartridge, one thing I did note is toner is on each
cartridge roller at all times for all colors and black, and yet black
seemed to have a lot close to reasonable yield.

The waste container is at the end of the belt, fairly large as you
might expect to handle 180,000 pages before full. It being half full
is a rough estimate, there's a rotating brush-like structure at the
top which would seem to need stay above the level of the toner when
the container is full.


Having said that, there are two things you should be aware of in terms
of very low cartridges.  Most, but not all color laser printers (and now
many black and white as well) do not come with full standard cartridges
which would contain all the toner filling you might expect.  Most today
come with 1/3rd to 1/2 the toner that the first replacement sold as a
standard store item.  Often you cannot buy a starter cartridge which
comes with your printer on the open market.  However, the amount of
waste toner you have encountered sounds like something may not be
functioning correctly and you may wish to address the problem with Lexmark.

The printer specs and website claim it ships with 6K page cartridges,
that was one reason we went ahead and bought a printer is that
probably higher capacity than we actually needed, because in the end
the addt'l toner that came with it made operational costs the same if
not lower in the long run.

Comparing the part numbers off the cartridges, they are labeled as 6K
page cartridges. If they pulled a fast one and only ship starter
carts, the only indication of it would be what low yield we are
getting (except for how full the waste container is).

We have a local contact who works for Lexmark and he's supposed to be
getting back to us but thus far no word.

In regard to the yellow cartridge, Most color laser printers (and
photocopiers) produce a repeated code including the date and the serial
number of the printer onto all documents in yellow.  This coding is
barely visible to the eye without a special blue filter.  The FBI, CIA
and others pressured the color laser printer manufacturers to provide
this so a fraudulent or threatening document could be more easily
traced.  It does use up some of the yellow toner.

I vaguely recall reading about this a few years ago, have no idea if
ours does it as it's not visible on the page with the naked eye though
I haven't looked very hard for it either. The color page count
doesn't reflect counting these as color pages if it is happening, but
even then it couldn't account for running out the whole cartridge at
only 5500 pages total unless it dumps out the same amount of toner per
page no matter how much color is on the page which wouldn't make much
sense.
Color laser printer purchases are quite difficult to make the right
decision on the model for your printing style.  There is a web sight
that explains which printer use the yellow serial code engine and which
do not, and if pressed some laser printer manufacturers will tell you
the anticipated yield for the first set of starter cartridges.

I wouldn't mind if it did print the yellow id on each page, we're not
up to anything sneaky, but if it effects yield significantly then it
seems an undesirable feature. We don't really need much in the way of
features for our style, could've randomly picked one and had the
majority of our needs met so long as it had low cost per page, ran for
long periods without breaking down, and had a 300 page or higher
feeder which is pretty much anything above a certain price-point.
Ultimately refilling the cartridges without having to deal with
microchips or fuses would be nice too.
 
A

Arthur Entlich

If you want to research the yellow dot issue with laser printers, just
plug the following into Google and there are about 90K hits. The first
page of responses will supply you with enough reading material for a month.

Yellow dots +laser printers +serial numbers

Included in that list are URLs with lists of all the known brands and
models which have this lovely "feature".

Art

If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
A

Arthur Entlich

In general, Lexmark laser printers are good quality. Some lasers have
much larger yield black toner cartridges than the color, but you need to
check the specific specs for you printer.

Keep in mind that the specs are usually for 5% coverage, which is a
spare text area within large margins. If you use heavy fonts, or even
small areas of high coverage, you will easily exceed that 5%.

Photographic images can use the equivalent of 10 or more pages of 5%
coverage per color.

It seems to me you need some specific answers from Lexmark on the
expected yield to make sure you aren't experiencing a printer defect.

Artr

If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
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A

Arthur Entlich

I just went to the Lexmark website, and indeed the cartridges, as you
suggested have equal yields. They are all listed as 6000 pages at 5%
coverage, so you are correct that the color cartridges should provide
similar lifespan to the black.

I think it is time to contact Lexmark for some answers.

Art



If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
A

Arthur Entlich

One final comment. There is a very extensive review and testing
regarding this printer at:

http://www.lexmark.com/vgn/images/portal/C770n_BERTL_4stars_Highly_Recommended.pdf

One interesting thing mentioned is that it comes with 6000 page
cartridges, but that 10,000 page cartridges are also available.

See below:

• The C770n may be equipped with either 6,000– or
10,000-page yield toner cartridges. In contrast, the
C772n can be equipped with both the 6,000– and
10,000-page yield cartridges, but also features an
“Extra High Yield” toner cartridge that Lexmark says
will yield up to 15,000 pages. The C772n comes
equipped with the 10,000-page-yield cartridges, while
the C770n comes equipped with 6,000-page-yield
cartridges.

If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
E

emailaddress

One final comment.  There is a very extensive review and testing
regarding this printer at:

http://www.lexmark.com/vgn/images/portal/C770n_BERTL_4stars_Highly_Re...

One interesting thing mentioned is that it comes with 6000 page
cartridges, but that 10,000 page cartridges are also available.

I suspect the C770n has a firmware that limits the max capacity
cartridge it can use, otherwise the printer is extremely similar to
the C772n that can take 15K cartridges.

The ironic part is we just bought a 10K page black cartridge a few
days before it indicated the yellow had ran out, so now we have
another $170 tied up in a printer that we don't know if we'll continue
to use if the situation with the color waste isn't resolved. If we
were aware of this and would be charged for a repair, we'd have
thought about buying a different printer instead of the black
cartridge. Replacement cartridge is still sealed in it's bag but
thanks to the way they package it the outer cardboard box had to be
torn open.

Is it safe to assume it will still be able to print B&W-only pages
when one or more color carts are completely empty so long as the color
cart stays in the printer? I suppose it may not allow that due to the
yellow ID codes you mentioned previously. I found one list at eff.org
( http://www.eff.org/pages/list-printers-which-do-or-do-not-display-tracking-dots
) which didn't list C770n or others of that generation and newer, but
did list it's very similar predecessor the C760 as producing them so I
doubt they'd get rid of this tech once it was engineered into the
series.
 
A

Arthur Entlich

Regarding the toner cartridges running out and continuing to print in
black only... I honestly don't know. I would hope the manual would tell
you.

Art


If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:

http://e-trashtalk.spaces.live.com/
 
E

emailaddress

I just went to the Lexmark website, and indeed the cartridges, as you
suggested have equal yields.  They are all listed as 6000 pages at 5%
coverage, so you are correct that the color cartridges should provide
similar lifespan to the black.

I think it is time to contact Lexmark for some answers.

It seems I forgot the cardinal rule - Keep it simple.

After talking on the phone with a fellow from Lexmark he's sent an
email reply which mentioned how to disable calibration to make the
wake-up time from sleep shorter, but complete omitted any mention of
what to do about the toner waste! I'll try calling him again and see
if we have to escalate this to someone else at Lexmark.
 
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Y

Yianni

I suppose this is the solution. The calibration cycle prints onto the drum
or the transfer belt, and this toner goes to waste chamber. It seems this is
the reason you waste toner.


--
(e-mail address removed)
(Remove the number nine from my email address to send me email)





I just went to the Lexmark website, and indeed the cartridges, as you
suggested have equal yields. They are all listed as 6000 pages at 5%
coverage, so you are correct that the color cartridges should provide
similar lifespan to the black.

I think it is time to contact Lexmark for some answers.

It seems I forgot the cardinal rule - Keep it simple.

After talking on the phone with a fellow from Lexmark he's sent an
email reply which mentioned how to disable calibration to make the
wake-up time from sleep shorter, but complete omitted any mention of
what to do about the toner waste! I'll try calling him again and see
if we have to escalate this to someone else at Lexmark.
 
E

emailaddress

I suppose this is the solution. The calibration cycle prints onto the drum
or the transfer belt, and this toner goes to waste chamber. It seems thisis
the reason you waste toner.

I suspect that you are correct. Previously a lexmark technician we
spoke to, estimated that the calibration only put down approx. 1"
square patch. Based on that, 1" being roughly:

toner used / page printable area
1" / [(8.5"-0.5" margin) * (11.0" - 0.5" margin)] / 1" = 0.0119
0.0119 * 100 = 1.19% coverage

Therein lies the problem, even if it does as the technician claimed,
wasting slightly over 1% worth of coverage for every page printed, it
still *shouldn't* have used up the color toner within 5,500 pages of
mostly small font black text. Therefore I have to conclude it is
wasting much more than 1 sq. inch of toner when it does the
calibration. If this is by design then the printer is simply
unsuitable for anyone with a typical office workload instead of
printing mostly color brochures, which was definitely not mentioned in
any literature or elsewhere.

Since starting this topic, I have now found we're almost out of
magenta toner too... and probably blue soon enough because ironically
what little toner we used was mostly blue, printing about 0.1% per
page of color (out of 550 pages total) printing occasional plain text
email links. At least now we know it wasn't just one defective
cartridge.

So since it seems all cartridges are running out at this point, at our
< 2% coverage (I'll just round up and call it 2%), with 6K rated
carts, we should have attained closer to an average (granted, it'd be
a lifetime average):

3 carts * (6000 pages * (0.05 rated coverage / 0.02 actual coverage) =
45000 pages

Replacement cartridges that are identical to what we have are $226.80
each on Lexmark's 'site.
3 carts * $226.80 per = $680.4
$680.4 / 550 pages = $1.24 per page at < 2% coverage

If this is how much it costs to calibrate before printing, I'd rather
it just randomly picked the colors and amounts no matter how
psychedelic looking it turned out.
 
E

emailaddress

Knowing manufacturers it may not in order to force you to
buy a replacement.
That said, lasers don't clog or suffer if toner runs out, they
just don't print that colour.

I hope you're right, but printers are now a bit smarter than they used
to be, as are manufacturers if/when they want to force people to buy
more of their own-branded cartridges and Lexmark seems to take that
stance at least as aggressively as anyone else.
 
E

emailaddress

Topic update:

The fellow at Lexmark that I was talking with got back to us and got
more info, still agreeing that something is wrong but not narrowing
down what is wrong yet. We also had the pleasure of an hour spent,
being handed off to a couple people on the Lexmark customer support
call-in center, were instructed to email them the printer stats after
describing the problem.

All the stats are going to show them (AFAIK) is same thing verbally
communicated, but regardless they were sent. There was some mention
of it being escalated to someone higher up, perhaps an engineer
knowledgeable with that model looking into the matter. Being the
weekend we don't expect to hear back from them for a couple days at
least.
 
J

Jerry1111

Topic update:

The fellow at Lexmark that I was talking with got back to us and got
more info, still agreeing that something is wrong but not narrowing
down what is wrong yet. We also had the pleasure of an hour spent,
being handed off to a couple people on the Lexmark customer support
call-in center, were instructed to email them the printer stats after
describing the problem.

All the stats are going to show them (AFAIK) is same thing verbally
communicated, but regardless they were sent. There was some mention
of it being escalated to someone higher up, perhaps an engineer
knowledgeable with that model looking into the matter. Being the
weekend we don't expect to hear back from them for a couple days at
least.

An unusual problem it is. Could you please keep the group informed as to
the progress - I'm thinking about a color laser printer and appreciate
any information!
 
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E

emailaddress

An unusual problem it is. Could you please keep the group informed as to
the progress - I'm thinking about a color laser printer and appreciate
any information!

Will do, but so far no word back from either the local fellow or
Lexmark service. Good thing we have another printer to use in the
interim, though if we hadn't that other printer we would've been using
this one a lot more, probably would've found the problem before the
warranty ran out.
 
J

Jerry1111

Will do, but so far no word back from either the local fellow or
Lexmark service. Good thing we have another printer to use in the
interim, though if we hadn't that other printer we would've been using
this one a lot more, probably would've found the problem before the
warranty ran out.

Another option - you're supposed to buy 1 set per year. If you're not
using your pronter then toner is going to the waste container ;-)

It's possible from the technical point of view, I'm just not sure if
Lexmark is so brave as to implement such a strategy ;-)
 
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E

emailaddress

Another option - you're supposed to buy 1 set per year. If you're not
using your pronter then toner is going to the waste container ;-)

It's possible from the technical point of view, I'm just not sure if
Lexmark is so brave as to implement such a strategy ;-)

A couple days ago a fellow from Lexmark with enough clout to get
something done called us. We had to send in some identification and
PID, serial numbers off the printer. They're sending replacement
color cartridges and waste container at no charge. We were also
informed that ours does put the yellow dot identification codes on
printed pages, but I don't yet know what happens if it entirely runs
out of yellow toner, if it stops printing pages that wouldn't
otherwise have yellow on them.

We've mixed feelings about this. It'll be good to have it working
again but without finding a fault, we can't reasonably expect the next
set of carts to last longer than the current set did.

We had ran the printer with default settings - median darkness, normal/
median quality instead of draft or high quality print mode. If they
don't come up with an answer as to exactly what can be done to bring
yields within reasonable range of our expectations, all we can do is
try to maximize how long these will last with most conservative print
settings or get out of the situation by selling the printer while we
have a full set of cartridges for it and apply that $ towards another
printer. Within the past few days I've read of another person who has
the next smaller model Lexmark color laser and he also sees
equivalently low yield from the color cartridges. Granted it's the
internet, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt but his
situation seemed similar to ours.

We'd almost rather they'd taken the list price of the cartridge set
and given us that much in credit towards a B&W-only printer. If C770n
isn't suitable for low volume and % coverage color printing then at
least our higher volume B&W printing would be closer to expected
yields. I suppose one problem with that thought is the razor/razor-
blade profit models most printer manufacturers use today, that
printers themselves seem to be a bit devalued and the cartridges
overvalued.

This topic may have reached it's conclusion, there isn't anything else
to add unless we eventually figure out what will result in predictable
higher yields from the cartridges. Maybe we'll get lucky and they put
someone on fixing the firmware so eventually flashing a new one
resolves the issue. It is a tank of a printer, it would last many
years but if the next cart set doesn't substantially outlast the
present set we can't afford to wait too long on a firmware fix,
especially since the printer this one was ultimately going to replace
is getting a bit older, we probably won't buy any more cartridges for
the old one so whatever replaces it will be much higher volume soon.
 
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