Handy tip – don’t beat upon toner cartridges with a hammer

Here’s another in the amusing ‘Dave is occasionally an idiot’ series of posts.

I got a new color laser printer, the Samsung 300P, and spent last weekend printing a bunch of stuff to test it. To my surprise, after less than 60 pages the red toner cartridge claimed to be out of ink. This pissed me right off since one of the prime motivating factors in my buying this printer was to escape the ‘inkjet ink is more expensive than human blood’ syndrome. I was convinced there was still plenty of toner left in the cartridge but no amount of shaking, cursing and configuring could force the printer to recognize that. Angry yet at the same time curious as to what was going on, I proceeded to try and break open the toner cartridge.

This printer uses cartridges that look like oversized film cannisters, and I knew there was some risk of a mess so I took it out into the yard. Various efforts to pry it open all failed so finally in a fit of who gives a shit I started bashing it with a hammer, which caused it to pop like a balloon, showering me in violent pink powder.

So, I was right. There WAS plenty of toner left in the thing, but now it was all over me. I cleaned off in the hose, laughing at myself but still irked that I had to drop ~$40-50 on a new cartridge when there was nothing wrong with the old one besides being clogged or something. From now on I’m going to periodically pull the cartridges out and shake them about to try and prevent this from happening again.

There’s a coda to this story too – my yard got a dusting with this stuff. I wandered around with the hose trying to wash it away, and we had rain as well, but still, while playing with the dog yesterday I noticed Soolin’s water had taken on a distinct pinkish hue – the toner was getting into her drinking water, probably via the ball as it picked it up from the grass. There’s also a pink stream tracing the flow of the rainwater that follows the contours of my driveway.

Aside from the annoyance with the red toner cartridge, the printer’s decent. I now have a monochrome samsung ML 17something looking for a home, if anyone’s in the market for a laser printer on the cheap.

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