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I tried a generic drum & generic toner - and it prints dirty.

I also tried cleaning everything per the instructions in the documentation.

Could it be a faulty drum unit? Or is it just a generic drum unit issue?

I am about to buy a new drum unit, and don't want to buy generic if it will always cause this issue.

Thoughts?

P.S. I tried new toner cartridges (generic, but I know these work with a 'genuine drum' properly).

Edit 1: This is a scanned image of a sample print-out (redacted for privacy purposes): enter image description here

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I can't really comment as to whether your generic drum is at fault, especially as you haven't listed the make - have you checked to see if others are having problems with this source of drums?

I also note that this unit has an exposed corona wire - I assume that you have cleaned it?

It did find some information about splotches on prints and possible drum issues. There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether the cause of the splotches is the toner or drum.

Do check visibly for signs of damage on both. Also check with a bright light in the printer to see if you can spot any leaked toner. Also use the link above to check for regularly repeating marks as this may indicate the issue.

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I have cleaned the corona wire multiple times. I have been through all the FAQs on the actual site. I haven't checked with a bright light in the printer for any leaked toner. Where would I look? The print-out page just looks very dirty. i.e. there isn't any single blotch or anything like that. It just looks like I had changed the background of the document to be a greyish background. Hard to describe and there are no patterns with multiple print-outs except that the left margin is cut off and the entire page is hard to read. –  marcamillion Jul 10 '12 at 7:37
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To look for spilt toner, you simply need to look around with a small torch - it is pretty obvious when you see it, it's a black fine powder. You can also run your fingers around accessible parts of the printer - though avoid the drum, preferably by carefully removing it before you look around. However, from your further description, this sounds more like a faulty drum as the other issues generally leave streaks or blotches of toner rather than an overall grey. –  Julian Knight Jul 10 '12 at 14:27
    
That does sound like it makes sense. Here is a scanned image of a print-out - i.imgur.com/JNxxG.jpg (I have redacted a few spots for privacy purposes). –  marcamillion Jul 11 '12 at 0:06
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