We use printers every day in our life. Printers take up a very important role in our life; printing our official documents. We use printers so often and yet we do not have any idea what components it has and how it works. Most importantly, we do not know what is the drum in a printer is, which is the most crucial part of the printer.
Most people do not know how to take care of the drum units to make them last longer and hence increase the efficiency of the printer. They replace the toner cartridges timely but ignore the drum unit or the photoconductor unit. Most printer users do not know that the drum unit has a life.
In this article, we will elaborately explain the drum unit, its life, and replacement as well as some other important components of the printer too.
Key Components of a Laser Printer
All sorts of laser printers generally contain a drum unit. But before we go on to explain what a drum unit is, here is a piece of brief information about other key components that make up a laser printer:
1. Laser Gun
Laser gun transmits light from diodes across the mirrors and has the most fundamental function in printer operation.
2. Toner Cartridges
Toner cartridges are powdered ink that helps in printing the image. The cartridges come in many colors such as black, cyan, magenta, etc. You need to replace cartridges once the ink runs out.
3. Fuser Unit
A fuser is a heated roller and serves the purpose of melting the toner onto the paper. This seals the toner, making sure it does not smudge or fall off when the paper comes out.
4. Transfer belt
The transfer belt moves the paper through the printer. In smaller printers, rollers replace the transfer belts.
Now let us explain what a drum is. A drum or photoconductor unit is an aluminum cylinder that is coated with light photo-sensitive film. The main function of a drum is to help in the production of an image onto the paper (we will explain this in the next paragraph where we tell you how a printer works!). The drum unit also gets help from the Charged Corona wire in the process of distributing charges on the drum.
Let’s print something
The process of printing may seem like some rocket science but is easier than you think. Below is the entire process summarized in just 5 steps!
- The laser beam projects the image to be printed onto the drum with the help of a mirror.
- With the aid of corona wire, the drum gains charge and attracts the powdered toner from the cartridge to the drum.
- The drum rolls and transfers the toner to the paper in the form of a print.
- The fuser melts the toner in the paper.
- Your print ejects out of the printer.
The intensity of the print and colors depends on the charge. You can regulate it by increasing or decreasing the charge on the drum. This shows how important a drum is in the entire printing process!
How often should you replace a drum?
Several factors play a significant role when it comes to assessing the life of the drum of your laser printer. Often ignored, but you should replace the drum unit sooner than you think. Otherwise, the result would be a smudgy, blotchy, and missing print even with a new and full cartridge. The standard drum unit prints around 12,000 pages in its entire lifetime. But who has time for keeping track of all this math?
A more general rule is replacing your drum after using three to four cartridges to be on the safer side
Not every printer drum would adhere to this principle. Depending on the usage, you may end up needing a replacement sooner than this. The key in this is to keep an eye on the print quality. If replacing the cartridge does not solve the problem, time to invest in a new drum.
Wear and Tear of the Drum
Just like everything else, you need to take care of your printer drum too. Taking proper care of your drum helps to make it last longer, delaying the need to replace it, and keeping your pocket happy!
The first precaution to take in drum protection is to keep it away from light, both natural and artificial. The thin layer of photosensitive material on your drum is affected if exposed to sunlight, decreasing the affinity to the laser. So it is best to keep the drum in dark places all the time.
Moreover, the drum unit in your printer is riddled with dust and leftover toner residue. Dirt hinders the adhesion of the powdered toner to the drum, decreasing the print quality. The print ends up getting blurry. The best way to prevent this is to keep your printer clean. We recommend thoroughly cleaning your printer, removing the drum (yes, it is removable), and cleansing the drum.
Your printer is clean and away from sunlight but still not printing properly? There is a chance of scratching during installation. Sadly, there is no way to undo this, and drum replacement is the only solution in this case
So now you’re a printer drum expert! You know what a drum is in a printer, what function it serves, how to take care of it properly, and can successfully identify when to replace it. Use this information to increase your printer drum’s life and save a lot of money!
Just remember, keep the drum away from sunlight, dust and do not scratch it. The drum should be replaced after three or four cartridges of toner and you will never have a smudgy or blotchy print again! Think of all the money you will save just from the papers.