A few days ago I went on a rant about crappy aftermarket toner cartridges for my printer.

Today I got my new OEM toner cartridges from HP.

Then I ran into another problem. A problem that almost broke my printer. I took out the old (well, new but kind of useless) toners and went to install the new ones. They all slotted in just fine, except for the cyan.

I felt something was off as it slid in. The rest of them went in with a satisfying click, but the cyan cartridge felt like it hit something before the click. Investigating inside the cavity left by the toners I saw there was a little retention lever that was stuck in the down position. The rest of them were all up. I tried to force it a bit, but I wisely stopped before something really broke.

I googled for the problem description and came upon a repair article. The typical use case for this problem is a broken cam or lever. What I did glean from the article is that as the printer door closes the levers are driven down by a cam locking the cartridges in place. Conversely, as you open the door, the cams unlock the levers (not really opening them, just unlocking them mainly). When you pull out the toner cartridge, the cartridge exiting completes the job.

Well, what happened is the cyan was out of spec it seems; it didn’t open the lever. When I pushed in the HP cartridge, it jammed into the still mostly closed lever and that was all she wrote. Once closed, it locked.

I was getting ready to settle into tearing things apart to fix the problem.

That’s when I realized the unlocking only really happens when the printer door is opened. I tried to poke around as the door was partly opened. The lever moved!

Thusly, the printer wasn’t really broken, just almost broken.

The OEM cartridges immediately solved the color registration problem after its initial calibration. Not just that, but the colors are a lot different from the aftermarket toner. Better.

So it goes… you get what you pay for in this case.

The upshot to this is I’ve found the factory service manual for the printer and I know that parts are sold to fix it if something does break on it.  :-)