A buyer's guide to HP 92275A toner cartridges

If you're anything like me, you probably have anywhere from 5 to 10 HP laser printers laying around in varying states of disrepair. When a friend mentions needing a reliable printer, you cobble together a working one from various carcasses, buy new rollers and a toner cartridge, and hand off to him, satisfied that you've done a good deed by keeping a workhorse printer out of the dumpster and at the same time helped a friend.

Except, when it comes to the 92275A toner cartridge for the IIP and IIIP series of printers with the Canon LX engine, it just isn't that easy.

First of all, never buy remanufactured toner cartridges for this printer. The reason is that the remanufacturers do not replace the rubber wiper inside the toner cartridge. This wiper is responsible for removing unused toner from the drum. When it fails, toner will be left on the drum, eventually causing streaks and afterprint on the page. The wiper does not last long. If the remanufacturer DOES state that they replace the wiper and have a good reputation, you should be fine.

When buying NEW toner cartridges, beware. New toner cartridges only have a shelf life of a few years, even in a sealed box. After a certain amount of time, the toner congeals and will fail to transfer to the drum during a print job. Check the expiration date on the outside of the package. You will find that on many old-stock toner cartridges, especially those sold by wholesalers and online auction vendors, the “Sell-By” expiration date has been removed. If the expiration date has been removed, DON'T buy the cartridge. There is no other reason to remove the expiration date besides to conceal the date of manufacture.

Now, there are three kinds of boxes that this toner was shipped in. In order of oldest to newest: a brown box with green/blue print and a green and white label, a white/blue/purple box, and a white/blue box. If it is not in the white/blue box, don't buy it – the brown boxes are at least 10 years old, and the white/blue/purple boxes have been sitting around for quite a while at least.

Now, if you got a toner cartridge and it's not printing – don't panic yet. Did you remember to shake the cartridge back and forth several times? Did you remember to remove the sealing strip? If you did, did it come out in one piece approximately 1.5-2X as long as the cartridge is?

If you did all those things and it's still not printing (but another cartridge does print), you are the lucky owner of a stale toner cartridge. Get your money back as soon as you can. I recommend using Paypal to pay for toner cartridges that aren't coming from a known, trusted source, for this reason – you can use Paypal's arbitration process to get your money back if there is a problem.

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