Peripheral Visions

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HP Fuser Unit

How a Fuser Unit Works

How a Fuser Unit Works

Today I wanted to review the HP fuser unit and how to keep an HP laser printer functioning properly by periodically maintaining and replacing the printer fuser. First it is important to review just what a fuser unit’s main purpose is.  Have you ever wondered why or how the paper is warm when comes out of the a printer?

Well you can thank your HP fuser unit for that! The fuser unit is responsible for “fusing” or “embedding” the toner onto the paper using the combination of heat and pressure. The heat is generated from a heat lamp and the pressure from two rollers.  Hence the warm paper. The diagram to the right does a nice job of showing how the fuser unit works.

It is common for HP fuser units to come in two strengths: a 120v fuser unit and a 110v fuser unit, so it is extremely important to order the fuser unit that is compatible with your printer. Using a fuser unit of incorrect strength can cause serious damage to a printer and may even lead to fire hazard.  So when it comes time to order a replacement for the HP fuser unit remember to shop for a replacement either by the manufacturer code or printer model. Let’s say you own an HP LaserJet 5550 printer. It would be wise to perform one of the following searches when shopping for this particular HP printer’s fuser unit; “HP LaserJet 5550 fuser unit,” or “Q3984A.”

HP LaserJet Fuser Maintenance

After learning  that the HP fuser unit is responsible for getting a printer’s toner onto the paper, it should be clear why it is so important to constantly monitor and troubleshoot fuser unit maintenance issues. Think of the HP fuser unit as a car’s tires. The tires keep a car on the road and operating properly, similarly a fuser unit enables the laser printer to perform it’s primary function of printing. So just as it is important to keep tires in impeccable condition, equal attention should be paid to keeping the HP fuser unit in working condition in order to prevent printer damage.  You may be asking yourself, how can the fuser unit damage a printer? Well were you aware that your fuser unit takes up to 90% of a printer’s power usage? If the fuser unit is not working properly then the heat produced can damage the surrounding parts, resulting in expensive and potentially life-ending damage to a printer.

To maximize the life of the HP fuser unit we recommend to refrain from printing on non-standard media from the paper tray and to perform the following monthly tasks: vacuuming or dusting of the assemblies and rollers as well as applying cleaning solutions to remove toner build up. Remember to always wear repair gloves (latex gloves will work fine) when handling your HP fuser unit and assembly rollers as this practice will help reduce contaminating your HP fuser unit with skin oil and other debris.

Replacing your HP Fuser Unit

It is important to keep track of your HP fuser unit’s shelf life, that way you will know when a replacement is necessary. This information can be discovered by referencing the laser printer’s manual (look for the life expectancy chart) and find the fuser unit’s “expected page production life,” better known as the page yield. For instance the HP LaserJet 2200 fuser unit has a page yield of 100,000. This means one could expect their HP LaserJet 2200 fuser unit to function properly for approximately (depending on how the print quality settings are configured) 100,000 printed pages. After the thresehold of 100,000 has surpassed, it is important to monitor the fuser unit’s performance more closely and look to replace the fuser unit shortly thereafter.

If there is no way of keeping track of printed page count (most models will track this automatically), then it is necessary to pro-actively look for other warning signs or red flags including; an increase in paper feed errors or problems, and a decrease in print quality.  Neglecting to replace your HP fuser unit will inevitably lead to printer defects including; damage to printer sensors,  drive gears breaking from over use, heat lamp malfunctions, film sleeve tears, pressure rollers can become worn and scratched, and most commonly toner buildup will develop on the heating and pressure rollers.  Purchasing a replacement HP fuser unit is a small investment that will prevent these printer defects and significantly improve the overall life of your HP printer.

Categories: Technology

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