asked Jan 12, 2016 at 8:15pm
Brother Brother HL 3170CDW

Waste Toner Cartridge is empty but printer is still telling me to replace it

So I have this printer and it's telling me to replace the waste toner cartridge. I replaced it and it is still giving me the same error. For the fun of it I took apart one of the waste toner cartridges and found that it's 95% empty. I noticed three electrical contacts on the right side so I'm wondering how to bypass the sensor or even how the sensor works.

All of the ones I've seen are optical. Light shines through a transparent section of the waste box onto a photocell. If toner builds up past that area, it gives a warning to replace it. Possibly toner dust has gotten on the photocell.

by moe on Jan 13, 2016 at 1:35pm Add comment

I know you posted this a while ago but I have a similar issue. My waste toner box is the WT-220CL.

I successfully re-used this box three times by emptying it, cleaning it and resetting the knub under the black panel.

Each time I reset and cleaned it would be months before it said "waste toner soon" then eventually "waste toner full" (we are heavy users).

So the message comes back, I remove the box, clean as usual, reset and replace.... yet the printer was having none of it. How bizarre? It worked before so why not now?

All I see are three contacts, no microchip, nothing! So I remove the panel over the contacts and clean them and do all the usual procedures to no avail.

After spending an afternoon looking at this design I think I have the answer as to what stops the printer accepting the cartridge even after it has been cleaned and reset - and it's to do (I'm sure) with "resistance".

Basically, if you look at the contacts under the black cover you will see some very fine legs coming from two of the contact plates.... these make a connection with the two rollers (the foam and metal ones). Which leaves me only to assume that since printer toner contains iron then when the foam roller becomes saturated (since it is quite porous) with printer toner it thus decreases the resistance between the metal and foam roller gradually as more builds up which the printer senses through two of the contacts on the box.

There is literally no other explanation as to how the printer knows the box is not new. So, I cleaned the foam roller, tapped it and blew it and hey presto.... it works again!

Now, the next stage would be to detect the resistance through the rollers of an old box throwing the message up, and the resistance of a new box with a fresh foam roller. Once you have both values you can just buy an adjustable pot and wire it in where the rollers would normally be wired in and fool the printer into thinking it's a new box due to the higher resistance reading.

Anyway, that's my theory. If anyone else has an explanation I'd love to know how this printer detects the box is old if it's not the way I imagine.

by HiNtZ on Apr 13, 2018 at 9:42am Add comment

I have had poor working life from these waste toner boxes with the first one declaring it was full at 2500 pages A4 - a long way short of the 50k mentioned in the handbook. The replacement one was no better and so I sought to clean it out and reuse it a couple of times. Now it is saying it is full again but there was only a couple of tablespoons of spent toner in the collection box. So my suspicion is that there is a fault in the machine giving a false reading as after a few attempts this time round I cannot get ride of the warning message on the LCD display. Once when I installed as brand new box the message would not delete. Brother said to send the machine to a service centre but I tried turning off the mains for a day or so to see if the message was locked in some type of memory. This worked at that time as the message did drop out and the machine started working normally after mains power was reconnected. All so frustrating so I will probably go back to inkjet printing as this laser printer is very expensive to service in comparison to inkjet printers for domestic use. Pity because when the laser printer was working well ir produce excellent copy.

by teck101 on Nov 17, 2018 at 8:39am Add comment

Excellent! Everything you said was correct. I followed your advice and it worked great. Thanks

by [email protected] on May 23, 2019 at 2:08pm Add comment

hi, HiNtZ !
I hope you'll pass here very soon...
You say "I successfully re-used this box three times by emptying it, cleaning it and resetting the knub under the black panel.", but what do you mean by "resetting"? Do you mean setting the contact on or off ? the metal blades touching each-other or not ?

by markorki on Jun 16, 2019 at 3:53am Add comment

I am also having the same problem with my toner box. I don't really want to spend the money on a new one. I took it out, cleaned it and put it back in. No change with the warning still on there. I have the same question as markoki about the nub. Are you referring to the little black thing under the cover that swings and makes the contacts touch? I am now going to open the box up again and clean the sponge roller like HiNtZ suggested. I will report back.

by rflynet on Jul 18, 2019 at 7:52pm Add comment

Well, I have tried everything listed above and can not get my Waste Toner notice to re-set. I cleaned the whole inside of the box put the 'nob' into both positions and tried it. I cleaned the roller, cleaned the contacts and mad sure that the rollers were free and easy to spin. Nothing. Still comes up with the same message. Replace toner waste box. I even bought a refurbished unit and had the same problem. Now I am going to purchase a factory box and see if the problem is my printer.

by rflynet on Jul 19, 2019 at 9:13pm Add comment

I usually just take them apart and clean them out and re-use. Never had to reset anything in the box, but this time was a no-go.I need to verify this, as I ran into the same issue when replacing the WT220CL waste toner box in a customer's printer. Never had to reset anything. If you take a look at the box with the handle facing you, on the right side is a black cover. Under the cover is a gear that turns and closes a contact plate, which is what I think makes the box shut down. Turn the white gear so the contact plate opens the connection.

by ImageRefresh Tech on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:56am Add comment