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We've had the Samsung SL-M2825DW for about 2 years now, and printed a total of 5345 pages (according to the configuration report).

Recently, I've noticed that the toner doesn't always adhere well to the paper after printing. At first it seemed to only happen after printing dozens of pages, but now it seems to happen even from a cold start.

Toner smears easily off the page

As you can see, I can easily rub it off from certain parts of the page. However, other parts of the page seem to be fine.

From what I've read so far, it is most likely due to some problem with the fuser unit (which uses high temperatures to fuse the toner to the paper). I've tried cleaning the rollers in the toner, but that didn't seem to help much - I suspect that any residual toner I see on the rollers is just left over from not adhering to the paper.

Is the fuser just reaching the end of its life? The estimates I've seen for fuser life are typically in the 100K page range. So, I am surprised that I've only gotten about 5K pages, even with this lowest-end consumer printer.

Other possibilities I've considered are:

  • Paper type. We've been using the same kind of paper since we got the printer, the Astrobright series from Neenah (weight 11.8 M, basis 24/60). So, unless the paper has significantly changed formulation, I'd be surprised by this. I even tried adjusting the paper thickness setting on the printer to maximum thickness, in hopes that it would print more slowly or at a higher temperature to help the toner adhere;
  • Toner quality. We've been using an offbrand toner cartridge, but again we didn't seem to have a problem with this toner a year ago.
  • Eco mode. We print using "eco mode", which is supposed to use less toner. Again, I don't think this caused any problem a year ago.

Is this typical for low-end consumer printers? Would a more expensive printer have a longer-lasting fuser unit? I should mention that the printer only had a 1-year warranty, and so is out of warranty at this point.

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  • When is the last time you replaced the drum? samsung.com/nz/consumer/monitors-printers/print-supplies/… The drum makes the toner "stick" to the paper. The fuser usually doesn't require replacement earlier than 50k pages (75k-100k is more typical). Some printers incorporate the drum in the toner, like most HPs, but this one doesn't appear to. – acejavelin May 21 '16 at 2:11
  • I have yet to replace the imaging drum, but it is supposed to last for at least 9K pages (I've only printed 5K). – alexw May 21 '16 at 3:34
  • Every 4 toner cartridge changes was always the rule of thumb... But something is obviously wrong, I doubt it's the fuser though. – acejavelin May 21 '16 at 3:58
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If toner is not sticking to the paper then the problem is with either the paper or the fuser (note: not the drum).

The fuser is there to apply heat to the paper. This heat melts the toner so it adheres to the paper. If the fuser does not apply sufficient then not all the toner will melt, and the un-melted particles can rub off.

The amount of heat required in the fuser depends on the paper used. Heavy paper requires more heat to warm up. To achieve, that most papers either warm up the fuser more, or they slow down the speed of paper travel. This latter method is used for card stock, labels and other very heavy papers. Changing fuser temperature can be used to switch between light and heavyweight papers.

I would start by checking the paper type, and compare it to the driver settings. Make sure they match. If you are using paper heavier than 80gsm, set the driver to "heavyweight paper" or equivalent. Anything over about 120gsm will need a "light card" setting or even heavier. Note that this is printer dependent, so check your manual.

If the paper settings are correct, then you will need to replace the fuser. While it is never listed as such, the fuser is actually a consumable. A typical life is 50,000 to 100,000 pages. If you have only printed 5,000 pages, the manufacturer may replace it under warranty, if the printer itself is still under warranty.

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  • Thorough answer, although the OP addresses the paper in the question. I would add one more item. The OP describes using off-brand toner. They can have different melting points and melt characteristics based on particle size. The vendor could have changed the old family recipe, or it could be slightly out of spec and worked when the fuser was new, but a slight shift in performance could be enough so it now doesn't. Samsung won't do anything based on a problem with 3rd party toner. I'd try the brand name toner as a first step. – fixer1234 May 22 '16 at 6:02
  • @Fixer1234 You're right, the toner could make a difference, but since the problem is recent, my money is on the fuser. – hdhondt May 22 '16 at 10:20
  • Thanks. Unfortunately, I suspect this is a case of "planned obsolescence". The printer was so cheap ($75 US), and the fuser does not appear to be consumer serviceable. So, I may just have to replace the entire printer - particularly infuriating, as I'd be more than willing to pay a little more for a printer with a more durable fuser. The wastefulness of having to replace the entire printer is atrocious. – alexw May 22 '16 at 17:21
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    @alexw: If you do replace it, I would pick another brand. Samsung has a horrible reputation for printer quality (especially their dirt-cheap ones). If you want to stick with a laser printer and good value, check out Brother printers. Their inkjets suck, but their lasers are great. – fixer1234 May 22 '16 at 18:20
  • @fixer1234 thanks. If you have more thoughts on Brother, you might want to write up an answer to this question on hardwarerecs.sx! – alexw May 22 '16 at 18:35
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Although this is a very old thread, I found it while researching the same problem. I found the solution for my problem, maybe this helps others too. My paper was not dry, it wasn't wet but humid (You couldn't feel it, but the office is not properly heated). And it was a bit chilly in the office as well. I put the stack of paper on the heater for a bit and than as it felt warm I printed again. NO more smudging :)

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