The next time you receive a printer fuser error message, you may be able to quickly solve the problem yourself. That’s great news for time-starved HP printer technicians who want to avoid minutes on the phone with refurbished parts providers’ service lines, or the hassles of product returns.
10 Things Laser Printer Technicians Should Know About Fusers
Armed with the following checklist, you can reacquaint yourself with some “fuser basics”, and avoid frustration or an unnecessary return.
The 10 things you should know about fusers below is meant to be a memory jogger about simple things that may be overlooked even by the most experienced technician who gets rushed by having too much to do and too little time. Over the years, HP laser printers have evolved into highly complex, networked, high-speed machines.
However, they still retain the core group of parts and other little things that can be frustrating when trying to service them.
First, a back-to-the-basics reminder of the critical importance of the fuser in the printing process, for your team, or for conversations with your customers. Essentially, without the fuser’s proper function, the toner will not be properly fused into the page.
In the final stages of printing, the printer passes the paper through the fuser, which has an upper roller and a lower roller. As the paper passes through these rollers, a combination of heat and pressure fuse the toner with the fibers in the paper. The fuser
rolls the paper to the output assembly, and you have your finished page. Then the paper exits the printer.
The next time you hit a fuser error speed bump, we hope the 10 Things you should know about fusers help you “de-fuse” your frustration.
1. The Printer Fuser Heat Source
If you receive a printer service error, or equivalent, the fuser’s heat source may have burned out. This is the equivalent of walking into a room, flipping on the light switch, and the light bulb burns out.
There is no foolproof way to prevent or predict when the lamps will burn out in either OEM or refurbished fusers. The fuser’s necessary heat comes from two primary sources: halogen quarts lamps or ceramic heating elements. One contributing factor can be shipping.
Though it is rare, shipping may weaken or break the filaments in the lamps or cause the ceramic to crack. At Metrofuser we take special precautions with all packaging on fusers and other refurbished parts to keep this occurrence to a bare minimum.
2. Printer Fuser Lower Pressure Roller
If proper pressure isn’t applied, the fuser can’t function. A sign that there’s a lack of pressure is an improperly fused page. The pressure the fuser needs comes from the LPR lower pressure rollers and springs.
The springs in the fuser put pressure on the fuser’s lower pressure roller. Rollers are available in many different forms: foam, solid rubber, multi-layer coated and other materials. Some fusers can work with either a solid or foam LPR.
The type of material used by the OEM is specific to each printer. Metrofuser uses the same type of material as the OEM, unless another qualified roller passes our exacting quality standards. For example, a foam roller could work where one would expect a solid roller.
3. Printer Fuser Upper Roller
It takes two rollers to make a fuser function properly. If the LPR isn’t the issue, it’s possible the upper fuser roller or hot roller is.
Upper fuser rollers come in many types. Older printers used a aluminum tube coated with Teflon, or a similar material, not unlike what you would find on your pans at home.
The way the coating is applied and the cure temperature of the coating are critical. If the coating is nicked or scratched, toner can accumulate on the upper fuser roller and transfer print defects to the page. It is normal for separation claws to make marks or thin lines on the roller. This can happen even after a page or two has printed. In this case, the coating is not damaged, but a line does appear on the roller.
To minimize the issues, our refurbished fusers have a brand-new UPR installed. This means you can be sure that you’ll receive maximum life and performance from this component of your refurbished fuser.
4. Printer Fuser Fixing Film Sleeve
Another fuser component that may be the cause of a fuser malfunction is the fixing film or sleeve. If the sleeve isn’t turning properly, the paper can’t move through the printer to its final printed state. There are two common myths about fixing film or sleeves.
The myth is that the fuser film sleeve must turn when the main drive gear turns. When examining the fuser, as you hold it in your hand, the sleeve may or may not turn. This does not necessarily mean your fuser is defective, since fixing film fusers rely on the paper’s thickness to provide the friction needed to rotate the sleeve.
Another myth is that sleeve color determines quality. This is simply untrue. Like the OEM, Metrofuser uses new sleeves for films in our refurbished fusers.
If a sleeve is manufactured properly it will perform as good as or better than the OEM, regardless of color. Instead of color, at Metrofuser we pay attention to quality and proven performance.
We use the same inspection process for our refurbished fusers that the OEM uses on its fuser fixing films and sleeves. We ensure the sleeve is correct. They are run to life cycle and more. When you receive a Metrofuser fuser, rest assured that we have put it to the test and that it’s backed by a 6-month warranty.
5. Fuser’s Flags and Sensors
All fusers have sensing levers for flags that must move freely in order to ensure proper printer function. These flags tell the fuser or other components inside the printer what to do. like traffic cops who use flags to direct cars, sensing levers flags guide the paper through the printer, including the fuser.
When a traffic cop’s flag doesn’t work, you get a traffic jam. In a printer, if a flag doesn’t work properly, you get a paper jam. You know them as “13.xx paper jams” or “2.xx jams” in Lexmark printers. Depending on the type of error you receive, you can determine which flag is causing the problem. Flags can be easily inspected prior to the fuser’s installation by making sure they are secure and that they move freely. If there are problems, in most cases, you can simply snap or lightly bend the flags back into place.
6. Printer Fuser Levers
Some of the fusers have levers or spacers placed in them to establish a gap between the upper fuser roller and the lower fuser roller. The levers are meant to prevent flat spots from developing and in some cases, for printing on envelopes. When they are on the envelope setting, toner will not fuse properly on normal paper thickness. This is a very common complaint that’s easily solved.
It only takes a second to check the levers prior to fuser installation. Metrofuser's fusers are always shipped in the same orientation as the OEM, so you would be very unlikely to encounter this issue upon initial installation of Metrofuser fusers. Though it is something to check. Remember to remove the spacers if they are present.
7. Adjusting the Printer’s Fuser Temperature
Some printers have the option of making temperature adjustments to optimize printing for different media types and paper thickness. At Metrofuser, we commonly hear from field technicians that “I never used to have to turn up the fuser temp.” If you have never had to do this in the past, consider yourself lucky. But with today’s increasingly sophisticated printers, you may encounter this in the future.
Sometimes fusers will properly fuse the toner to the paper without these adjustments, but it is important to know where they are and how to adjust them for optimum printing quality. If you’re unsure how to set the printer’s temperature, reference the printer’s manual or contact Metrofuser, Tech Support, and we’ll point you in the right direction.
8. Help! The Printer Fuser Service Error Is Still There!
Another call we receive is, “I put in the new fuser and it still has the fuser service error.” This may happen with older HP printers. If this happens, it may be a good time for you to take a coffee break and check back in a little while.
The printer may need to time-out or power-down for up to 20 minutes after the fuser service error appears.
If you did not switch the printer off i.e. the display reads 50 service and you installed the new fuser, the machine will keep displaying the error message. The printer needs up to 20 minutes in a power-off condition in order to clear out the error.
9. HP Printer Inputs and Outputs
Other key parts on fusers are the paper input ramps and output guides you might know these by other names. These components allow the paper to enter and exit the
They should periodically be checked for any foreign material that may be inside the printer that may end up in the paper path in front of the fuser. The common term “paper-thin” was probably born out of this situation. The foreign material need only be thicker than “paper thin” to cause a hang-up.
Metrofuser conducts input and output checks on its refurbished fusers to remove any
tiny bits of dust or matter before the refurbished fuser is shipped to you.
But you may want to check the input ramp for a small nick or burr, just in case. These may occur during the cleaning process. While the fuser may have worked in our test printer, after shipping and cleaning, alignment may be slightly different and could cause a jam. In most cases, you can simply remove small burrs with your finger.
It’s also possible that the exit guides or rollers shifted during shipping or while in the printer. Simply snap them back in line.
10. HP Laser Printer Gears
All fusers have drive trains small gear boxes that must mesh with other gears inside the printer. Metrofuser conducts quality inspections to ensure proper gear function in its refurbished fusers prior to shipment. But the fuser relies on proper alignment with other gear assemblies in the printer. If the printer’s existing gears are severely worn
or seized, the newly installed fuser drive assembly can be damaged.
To avoid this mishap, run a quick check of the old fuser for any gear damage. take sure all other gears on the assemblies are functioning properly prior to installing the refurbished fuser. This can prevent damage to the newly installed fuser, and ensure proper printer function once it’s installed.
Taking a few minutes to reacquaint yourself with some of the basics on how fusers work can help to avoid some frustration or an unnecessary return. We hope 10 things you should know About fusers enables you to experience the satisfaction and time savings of being a Fuser Guru.
However, even the savviest technician needs a helping hand once in awhile. Metrofuser's printer service advisers and Technical Support Team are available, to walk through issues whenever you need assistance.
Other Helpful Laser Printer Technical Support Resources
Metrofuser is a leading global innovator, manufacturer of printer parts, equipment, diagnostics, repair information and systems solutions for professional users performing critical tasks. Products and services include hp printer parts, printers and printer repair training. Parts include hp printer parts such as printer fusers, printer maintenance kits and other hp printer replacement parts. The company's, customers include office equipment dealerships, online retailers, repair centers and MPS service providers nationwide. Metrofuser has been named to Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies five consecutive years.