Dell 3100cn printing faded/blank bands on right side

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Dell 3100cn printing faded/blank bands on right side

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I have  Dell 3100cn that is about 3 years old and I began experiencing 2 rows of dots down the right-hand side in each of the CMYK colors about 1 inch from the right margin.  With some further prints, the dots continued and the right margin faded some.  Upon encountering this, I inspected the original drum, which had 13,000 color prints on it and found a noticable wear pattern on the roller right where the dots appeared, which also happens to be in the middle of the faded area. 

I have since replaced all 4 cartridges (no change) and the drum (this removed the dots) and the dots are gone, but the faded bands on the right side are still present and sometimes introduce a little yellow toner in a stipe as well.  Any ideas what may be the cause - possibly a roller needs replacing? 

Here are some photos of the problem:  http://picasaweb.google.com/kerrylandis/Dell3100cn?feat=directlink

Any assistance would be most appreciated.  Thanks you!

Kerry

Verified Answer
  • Were you able to clean the stuff off the new drum unit? Are there ANY scuff marks left on the drum after you do? If so, that drum unit is "toast".

    Again, excellent pictures. Nothing appears to be "obviously" wrong except for one thing I did notice..... you're using 3rd party toner carts. In this model printer, that's bad news. I'm sure they're cheaper, but in the long run, you'll end up paying a lot more to get your machine fixed.

    3rd party toners (in this class printer) do not have the same xerographic properties as the OEM toner. In your case, it appears as if the black toner from the black developer is clumping to the drum preventing any other colors from making an effective transfer. You'll need to replace all 4 developer assy's and all 4 toner carts (with OEM parts) just to be sure. Not cheap.

    By law, printer manufacturers are prohibited by the "US Clay Act and Sherman Act" and the "Canada Competition Act" and other statutes from requiring you to use their cartridges. That said, this law doesn't mean that OEM manufacturers are liable for repairs when 3rd party or sub-standard products are used in their machines. Also, this law does not force manufacturers to share their toner formulation.... usually a trade secret.... with their competitors.

    Some manufacturers DO use special formulations for their toner. All Dell 3xxx/5xxx series COLOR laser printers fall in that class. IF "other" toner is used in the machine and the machine is damaged, repair of that circumstance is NOT covered by your warranty. In others words, you'll be paying for the repair until the machine is fixed, then, the machine is back on warranty. I know from personal experience that Dell does have this policy.

    I know your not on warranty now..... but this is gonna cost you some $$ if you want to restore this machine to pristine condition. More $$ than the printer is worth, but that's your decision. (you might think about parting the machine out on eBay)

    Personally, I no longer buy third party carts..... Ask ANY of the 3rd party resellers if they'll guarantee the repair costs of the printer if their product causes damage. If they say yes, ask for it writing.

    Sorry I don't have better news for you.

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
All Replies
  • Excellent..... you included great print samples.

    This appears to be happening on all colors, and you already swapped the Drum/IBT Unit.

    Clean the ROS (Raster Optical Scanner, aka, Laser unit) window:
    1. Open only the front cover.
    2. At the right-side of the door opening, grasp and pull out the blue handle.
    3. View the right-side cover of the printer. When the blue handle was pulled out, an access hole opens and reveals the ROS cleaning rod.
    4. Pull the rod completely out until it stops, then push it back in until it stops.
    5. Repeat this action 2-3 times.
    6. Ensure the rod is all the way in and push in the blue handle to close the access hole; close the front cover.
    7. Print the test pages again.

    Let me know what happened.....

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
  • llynster, thanks for the tips.  I did what you said and actually repeated the action probably 5-6 times. It helped with some of the fading on the prints at the very right edge, but I am still seeing some fading in the worst location and can also see a hint of yellow and black toner on the worst stripe as well.  I pulled out the new drum and it looks like there is some excess toner on the roller that appears after a few prints.  This drum now has about 30 prints on it.

    Please take a look at the latest test print photos and let me know your thoughts. The latest photos are 4-8 (each shows an upload date of 6/22) when you view the large image: http://picasaweb.google.com/kerrylandis/Dell3100cn

    Thanks again for your assistance with this issue.

  • Photo 8 of 8...... doesn't look good. Using a very soft cloth or cotton ball, can you clean that stuff off the drum surface? If you can, I'd set this drum aside and let's use the one you removed for troubleshooting. Btw..... the bluish/greenish drum is light sensitive..... don't expose it to bright lighting for an extended period, let's say, more than 5 minutes at a stretch.

    I'll need you to examine each of the MAG rollers:
    1.  Power off and remove the AC cord
    2.  Open the front cover
    3.  Open the top cover
    4.  Remove the Drum Unit and set aside.
    5.  Close only the front cover (this releases the cartridge carrier [carousel] brake); leave the top cover open.
    6.  Reaching in the top of the unit, rotate the cartridge carousel in either direction. AVOID touching any of the "fuzzy" rods that extend across the carousel from side to side. These are the MAG rollers and apply the toner to the drum cartridge.

    Can you take some pictures of these? They should appear to have an even "fuzzy" texture all the way across the surface.

    Also, while you're in there and have the drum removed, at the very back inside area of the printer is the transfer roller (2nd BTR). Please take a picture of that too.

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
  • Llynster, I followed your instructions and have posted 5 new photos:

    • 4 are of the CMYK MAG rollers
    • 1 of the 2nd BTR

    I left the photos at high res so you can zoom in and look at the rollers closely.

    I also placed the old drum back in the system and did a quick test print.  The results are about the same (fading may be slightly less than the new drum), but for the most part it is still present.  The only 'new addition' with the old drum is some uneven application of the toner in a horzontal pattern across the page and the column of CMYK dots reappear just to the left of the faded stripe.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/kerrylandis/Dell3100cn

  • Were you able to clean the stuff off the new drum unit? Are there ANY scuff marks left on the drum after you do? If so, that drum unit is "toast".

    Again, excellent pictures. Nothing appears to be "obviously" wrong except for one thing I did notice..... you're using 3rd party toner carts. In this model printer, that's bad news. I'm sure they're cheaper, but in the long run, you'll end up paying a lot more to get your machine fixed.

    3rd party toners (in this class printer) do not have the same xerographic properties as the OEM toner. In your case, it appears as if the black toner from the black developer is clumping to the drum preventing any other colors from making an effective transfer. You'll need to replace all 4 developer assy's and all 4 toner carts (with OEM parts) just to be sure. Not cheap.

    By law, printer manufacturers are prohibited by the "US Clay Act and Sherman Act" and the "Canada Competition Act" and other statutes from requiring you to use their cartridges. That said, this law doesn't mean that OEM manufacturers are liable for repairs when 3rd party or sub-standard products are used in their machines. Also, this law does not force manufacturers to share their toner formulation.... usually a trade secret.... with their competitors.

    Some manufacturers DO use special formulations for their toner. All Dell 3xxx/5xxx series COLOR laser printers fall in that class. IF "other" toner is used in the machine and the machine is damaged, repair of that circumstance is NOT covered by your warranty. In others words, you'll be paying for the repair until the machine is fixed, then, the machine is back on warranty. I know from personal experience that Dell does have this policy.

    I know your not on warranty now..... but this is gonna cost you some $$ if you want to restore this machine to pristine condition. More $$ than the printer is worth, but that's your decision. (you might think about parting the machine out on eBay)

    Personally, I no longer buy third party carts..... Ask ANY of the 3rd party resellers if they'll guarantee the repair costs of the printer if their product causes damage. If they say yes, ask for it writing.

    Sorry I don't have better news for you.

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
  • Llynster, thanks for all your help on this.  I may be lucky on this one.  Those cartridges only have about 40 pages on them - I swapped them out when I started getting the CMYK dots thinking it may be a cartridge issue.

    I actually do have a backup set of OEM cartridges and put those in the printer to run a few tests.  The fading issue looks like it disappears with my old drum using OEM cartridges (however, CMYK dots still present).  With the new drum the fading is also gone, but I still get 1 partial toner stripe with a little Black and Yellow present right where it looks like the drum is damaged on the photosensitive roller.  Since the old drum works ok except for the dots, I think I'll try 1 more replacement drum to see if that does the job in the hope that the drum just got damaged by the generic brand toners.

    If that doesn't work and the cost is going to be $$$, like you said, I may as well swap out the printer.

    Thanks again.  I really appreciate your assistance!

  • Yep.... you may have lucked out on this one. I'd say you're on the road to recovery. It may take a little longer for all the bad stuff to work it's way out, but sounds like a dramatic improvement already.

    The dots are caused by a pinhole defect in the drum surface. Let me guess...... one of each color, arranged in a vertical row, and the next set is ~148mm down the page? This "foreign" toner probably caused the dots as being incompatible with the developer material.

    I think I'd be raising a little "heck" with the supplier of that toner. Maybe you can convince them to buy you a new drum..... Surprise

    Edit Note:
    Apparently, the word I "didn't use" use that describes a location beneath us of fire and brimstone is a naughty word and hence, a violation of the TOS. I've since corrected my misguided ways and edited this post to use the word "heck".......ridiculous, huh?

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
  • You got it.  The dots are almost exactly the pattern you mentioned.  I'll certainly contact the toner supplier and give them a piece of my mind.

    Thanks again for all your help on tracking down the source of the issue!

  • My pleasure.

    You can do us all a big favor by making a new post and describing the problems you encountered, and the damage done to your machine, after using 3rd party color toners. It might save others some grief.

    I might suggest a title such as "3rd party toner.... save $ now, or pay $$$ later". But, it'll be your title Big Smile, just an idea on my part.

    Happy printing !!

    ps. If/when you decide to retire the ol' 3100cn, I might suggest you look at the Dell 3130cn - great little machine...... I hardly ever get to work on one.

    "the Llynster"

    • CompTIA PDI+ Certified
    • all dell shop
    • internet connected via WildBlue satellite
  • I have an almost identical problem. The thick bands that form on the drum are off to the side on mine, but the most striking thing is the "magenta toner explosion" that is pictured. That looks exactly like mine, and I find it hard to believe it is not related. Any idea what the cause of this might be? I always use OE toner & drum in mine. It's been such a workhorse, I hat to give it up.

    Thanks!
    Dwight

  • llynster
    Some manufacturers DO use special formulations for their toner. All Dell 3xxx/5xxx series COLOR laser printers fall in that class. IF "other" toner is used in the machine and the machine is damaged, repair of that circumstance is NOT covered by your warranty. In others words, you'll be paying for the repair until the machine is fixed, then, the machine is back on warranty. I know from personal experience that Dell does have this policy.

     

    I have been reading this excellent thread to diagnose problems with y Dell 3100cn printer. We have just started using compatible toners in it, and within a couple of weeks we now have fading on the right side of the page, PLUS the CMYK dots every 148mm down the page. From reading this I see that the toner has clogged somehow which is caused the fading, AND it has damaged the imaging drum (our drum has marks on it which align with the CMYK dots and cannot be wiped off). We are about to replace all the inks with OEM toner, and put in a new imaging drum. Hopefully this will sort that one out.

    Thanks for all the excellent information Llynster! Smile

    My question now is that we also have a Dell 2135 printer. Will we get the same problems with that one? i.e. fading due to third party inks, and damage to the imaging drum?

    Thanks for any info!

  • @Thoughton71 - I did replace my drum and toner with OEM parts and used the ROS cleaning rod on the side to run a few swipes and clear the laser unit.  Presto, everything printed fine and haven't had a problem since. Based on that experience, I'll never use anything but OEM drums and toner in this printer.  Hope you have the same good results as well.

  • When using non-Dell toner in any machine, you can suffer from print quality issues. I highly reccomend to choose Dell toner as when needing support in the future, Dell toner must be in the machine to troubleshoot when have print quality issues. One good thing about the 2135, is that the drum and developers are all in one housing and are extremely easy to replace; this unit is known as the PHD - print head device.

  • Hi there

    I'm having similar problems with a Dell 3100cn (I know it's old!): http://www.flickr.com/photos/91644838@N04/9971055065/lightbox/

    But I'm not sure where to locate the Laser Unit (ROS) you've mentioned. I can't see it from your description. I'm going to download the service manual to see if that has any clues on how to clean the ROS. But in the meantime, do you have any diagrams you could point me to for this?

    Thanks in advance.