Remanufacturing the Minolta PageWorks 8 Toner Cartridge
First released in September 1998, the Minolta PageWorks 8 engine is an 8 to 17 ppm, 600/1200 dpi engine (depending on the actual machine). Although it has been around for a while, there have been some recent developments in the OEM cartridges, as well as in the remanufacturing practices, that call for another look.
First and foremost, if you are remanufacturing these cartridges, the doctor blade MUST be thoroughly cleaned. Failure to do this will cause streaking. There are many incorrect methods used for cleaning the doctor blades, such as just blowing the cartridge out, or taking a small plastic card and inserting it behind the developer roller and sliding it across the doctor blade to scrape the blade clean.
Neither of these methods really works; the cartridge may not streak at first, but it will, sooner rather than later. To remanufacture these cartridges correctly, the developer roller has to be removed and the doctor blade cleaned with acetone. A fairly common cleaner available at most hardware stores, acetone is the only chemical we have found that removes all the buildup of toner from the blade. Although acetone is an excellent cleaner, it does leave some residue; clean the blades again with isopropyl alcohol to remove that residue.
A second issue is just starting to surface. There are cartridges that are made in Japan and assembled in China, and as well as those that are made in China. See Figures A, B and C. In initial testing we are seeing that the cartridges made in China seem to have a much higher rate of problems with streaking than the cartridges that are only assembled in China, which seem to be OK. This is true even if the blade is cleaned properly. This was not always the case, and it has only started showing up in the last few months. We are continuing to test the cartridges made in China to fully confirm this, and to see why this is happening.
A third issue is how many times a Minolta PageWorks 8 cartridge should be remanufactured. Over time, the buildup on the doctor blade will start to cut into the surface of the developer roller. To be safe, we recommend that cartridges only be remanufactured two times. After that, the chance that the cartridge will fail grows exponentially. This is especially true if the toner is not a polyester type.
Last, but not least, is the type of toner used. Plain old Minolta SP-302 (polystyrene) toner normally will not work properly unless it has been optimized for the PageWorks 8 engine. The best type of toner to use is a polyester type, which is what the OEM toner is. This type of toner flows better, and does not build up on the doctor blade. There are a lot of issues for such a small cartridge, but all of them are easily surmounted as long as you are careful in your methods.
There are a few different versions of these cartridges in the field. There are two main differences: the location of the tabs on the back side of the cartridge varies, and the fax cartridges have windows while the printer cartridges do not.
Figures D-H show some of the different versions we have been able to find (Figure H is an unidentified cartridge). When sorting these cartridges, make sure to note that there are both small and large tabs, and cartridges can have similar tab locations but different-sized tabs. The cartridges can be made universal by cutting the tabs off. If you do this, make sure that you have a FAX universal, and a PRINTER universal cartridge. Cartridges without a window will not work in fax machines, regardless of the tabs.
The drum units that are used in these machines can also be rebuilt. They will be covered in another article at a later date.
Common cartridge problems, as well as some machine troubleshooting (on the more popular machines) will be covered at the end of this article.
The machines that are based on the Minolta PageWorks 8 engine are listed in Table 1.
1) PageWorks 8 toner (185 grams).
3) 99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol.
4) Cotton swabs.
1) Toner-approved vacuum.
2) Small common screwdriver.
3) Phillips-head screwdriver.
4) Spring hook.
1) Locate the spring-loaded cover that protects the developer roller. Remove the cover by prying out on both ends where they contact the cartridge. A spring will come loose. Instructions for reinstallation will be provided later. See Figures 1 and 2.
2) Remove the fill plug on the left side of the cartridge. Dump out the remaining toner. Lightly vacuum or blow off the outside of the housing and the developer roller. See Figure 3.
3) As stated earlier, in order to have a cartridge that functions properly, the developer roller must be removed and the doctor blade cleaned.
4) Remove the two springs located on either end of the doctor blade. See Figures 4 and 5.
5) Remove the small hubs from both sides of the developer roller – the contact hub from the left side and the non-contact side from the right.
These hubs can be either black or gray in color. See Figures 6 and 7.
6) Remove the developer roller assembly and the plastic shims on both sides. See Figures 8 and 9.
7) Clean the developer roller sleeve with a lint-free cotton cloth, and place aside. Do not use any chemicals to clean this roller!
8) Remove the two screws and the doctor blade. When the doctor blade is removed, the seal foam will likely come with it. Carefully remove the foam from the back of the blade. Clean the rest of the toner from the hopper, and the metal feed roller. The doctor blade should be removed so that the acetone does not accidentally drip into the hopper. See Figures 10, 11 and 12.
NOTE: When vacuuming or blowing out the hopper, be very careful not to damage the seal foam. Hold it in place as you clean.
9) Clean the doctor blade with a cotton swab and acetone. Do not press hard or the blade will bend – let the acetone do the work. Clean off any residue with a fresh swab and alcohol. This blade must be perfectly smooth; any buildup left on the blade will cause streaking. Make sure it is completely dry when done. See Figure 13.
10) Realign the seal foam on the five small posts. See Figure 14.
11) Install the doctor blade and two screws. Make sure that the foam stays in place. See Figure 15.
12) Install the cleaned developer roller with the two shims into the hopper.
Make sure that the two shims are flat-side up. See Figures 16 and 17.
13) Install the two developer roller hubs, with the contact hub on the left and the non-contact hub on the right. Make sure that the clear plastic strips fit over the hub tabs. See Figures 18, 19 and 20.
14) Install the springs on both sides of the doctor blade. Make sure that the open side of the spring is facing towards the doctor blade. See Figure 21.
15) Set the drum cover spring onto the shaft as shown. See Figure 22.
16) Install the cover. Pull the upper tail of the spring to engage the tab on the drum cover. The tail of the spring has been colorized to make it easier to see. The drum cover should move easily and fully close on its own. See Figure 23.
17) Fill the cartridge with 185 grams of PageWorks 8 toner. See Figure 24.
Common Cartridge Problems
Vertical gray streaks down the page:
This is normally caused by a buildup of toner on the doctor blade. In extreme cases the buildup will also cut into the surface of the developer roller.
Toner leaking from either edge of the cartridge:
The clear strip and spring are not set correctly. Make sure the spring is attached, and that the strip is over the plastic tab.
Taking Test Prints
NEC Superscript 870:
Make sure that the "ONLINE" light is on. Press the "OPERATOR PANEL" button until all the lights cycle, and the "ONLINE" light just starts to flash. Release the button. A test page will print out.
The easiest way is just to make a copy, or you can print a series of reports.
To do this press the "FUNCTION" and "2" buttons.
The display will show "LISTING MODE ENTER #(01-11,*,#)."
Enter 01-11 for a specific report. Enter "*" or "#" to scroll through the lists.
01 Activity report.
02 Timer list.
03 Phone number list.
04 Relay group list.
05 Passcode list.
06 Optional settings.
07 Program and group list.
08 Batch transmission list.
09 Department usage.
10 Confidential reception list.
11 Anti-junk number list.
Changing the Density Setting
NEC Superscript 870:
The density in these machines can only be changed using the printer driver.
NEC Superscript 870:
"ERROR" light on steadily: Top cover open.
"ERROR" light on steadily, "Paper" light flashing: Paper jam.
ALL lights flashing: Machine error – could be almost anything.
The display on these machines uses plain English for the error codes, so they are not listed here.
Contact Mike Josiah and the technical staff of Summit Laser at (631) 218-8376, fax (631) 218-3285 or visit www.summitlaser.com.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Recharger.