My HP laserjet 1200 series laser printer is now printing all pages with a grey background from the toner covering the whole print area. I can still see the printed letters as much darker, but this gray wash across the whole background looks bad.

I can think of two possible causes.

First, my replacement toner cartridge for the c7115a Toner Cartridge was a compatible one sold by imagestore us inc. Perhaps the cartridge is defective or after-market ones are not worth using? I took the cartridge out and rotated around the long axis several times back and forth, but the printing was no different.

Second, I recently moved, could some damaged have occurred during moving (I replaced the cartridge right before moving and do not recall if this issue existed before moving.)

If it is the first, I just buy an official HP cartridge, if not, I get a new printer.

  • Are you trying to print a page with a non-white background? – Michael Hampton Aug 11 '12 at 18:15
  • No, this is happening for black text on white background. – WilliamKF Aug 11 '12 at 19:37

To understand this better, you may want to read about how laser printing works.

A gray cast indicates that the drum is not getting or holding a sufficiently strong charge to hold the toner. It looks like either the OPC drum or the corona wire/primary charge roller is not working correctly. Try replacing the cartridge (the drum is part of the cartridge in many HP laser printers, including yours). If this does not work, the printer needs to be serviced.


Before replacing the toner, try cleaning the drum with some cleaning paper (toilet paper might do the trick), this is the (usualy) green roller hiding behind the protection you will need to lift. If I recall correctly, this protection is on the right side on this picture. Try printing to see if it got any better. Good luck!

Image of the 15A toner cartridge

  • Unfortunately, it did not help, but thanks for the suggestion. – WilliamKF Aug 19 '12 at 16:08

This is too late to help the person who asked but I found this site because I had the same problem. I tried cleaning the drum ... no difference. I wondered if the printer was just too warm and turned it off again. When I turned it back on -- there was no problem.


I'm having this same issue. I suspect it was because when the last cartridge needed to be replaced I kept using it - took it out and shook it occasionally. It didn't do this until after I replaced the cartridge. I buy HP brand cartridges.

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