Thursday, 9 August 2012


Everyone is familiar with printer cartridges (well, nearly everyone), but what about drum units?

You are happily printing out a mass of statements. You have had the new printer for 8 months now, with no problems. 
Just  yesterday you replaced the toner cartridge with a new one, the fourth one now, when suddenly the statements are becoming faded, But how could it be so? You've only just replaced the cartridge, so that has to be the problem! You take it out, check that you've removed the seal properly, shake it for a possible blockage, and try again-  same problem. So you get the reserve cartridge out, install it..... and aghhh... still no success. Has it occurred to you that your drum unit has worn out.

Before describing a drum printer cartridge or unit, it is important to know that you should normally replace it approximately on a ratio of every 3 to 4 toner cartridges.

What is a drum printer cartridge and what does it do? 

A printer drum is a rolling pin inside of a laser/toner printer. To create image patterns, a laser beam shines on the drum in the shape of the required image (text, pictorial), to place what are called "electrostatic images." The drum is then rolled through a reservoir of toner, the powdered substance that creates printed images on the paper (for both black and coloured prints), on those previously invisible electrostatic patterns. The magnetically paper rolls through the drum, where the toner is applied, and then finally goes through what is called a fuser which is a heat source to melt the powder, to create your printout.
The drum is different to the toner cartridges, the sole purpose of which is to hold the toner powder. For a number of printers, the drum and toner cartridge are the one unit, known as a toner cartridge. But a number of popular printers have the drum roller separate from the printer cartridge, as follows:
For the Brother brand, there are the Brother DCP7040, and HL2140, HL2142, HL2150N etc. printers that use the DR2125 drum unit, as we well as the DCP7055, HL2130, 7460DN and others that use the DR2225 drum unit. There are 6 other drum rollers from Brother including the DR3000, DR3115, DR3215, DR6000, DR8000, & DR150CL with their related printer ranges.
The HP brand uses the CB384-7A drums for black,cyan, magenta, and yellow. each colour having its own drum roller. The related HP printers include the LaserJet CP6015dn, CP6015n, CP6015x, CP6015xh, LaserJet CM6030, CM6030f, and CM6040 .
Dell has the 592-10544 laser drum unit for their 1700, 1710, 1710n range of printers; Epson the C13S051055 mono laser drum unit with the  C13S050010 mono laser cartridge for the EP L 5700, 5700L, 5800 range of printers; & Xerox the CT350150 colour copier drum unit for the DocuCentre C240, C320, C400 range of printers

 The drum is the unit that can clip onto the back of the toner cartridge, or surround the toner cartridge; and it holds the image and  is extremely important to the laser printer functioning properly. When it starts to wear, you will have problems with print quality and you may experience frequent paper jams.
Signs of drum deterioration:
  • Smudges or marks on paper
  • Faded print
  • Blank areas in print
  • Paper jam
Although some printers will give you a warning that you should replace your drum unit, it is a good idea to have a spare in the storage room.
Our next article will be on how you can clean a drum unit, for the brave hearted!

We thank our sponsor, ABC Print Supplies, for their support