Remanufacturing the Lexmark Optra S/T/M/Se
- By Mitch Schwartz
- Mar 25, 2004
The following instructions, first presented in 2002, also cover newer Lexmark models such as the T520/620/630. The only difference is in the chips and their placement. If you’ve already recycled any one of these cartridges, then you’re 90 percent there. If not, don’t worry, I hope to help you gain comfort with this profitable line of printer cartridges.
Meet the Family
The most well-known member is the Optra S. This is the base from which to learn. Up next is the Se 3455 and 3455N, the T, and the M 410, 410N and 412 (this is a smaller, cut-down version of the S). Following is a partial list of the cartridges used in the printers:
In this engine, the PCR is part of the printer rather than the cartridge, and is a maintenance item that is replaced after approximately 250,000 copies. Located on the drum cleaning blade is a PCR felt used to clean the roller. Above that, on the outside of the cartridge, is a sealing tape to keep the gap between the drum cleaning assembly and waste hopper from leaking. This must be replaced each time you replace the drum cleaning blade. Below the drum cleaning blade is a recovery blade; it’s best to remove this to facilitate emptying of the waste hopper and then replace it with a new one. Another feature is the partition or "wall" built into the toner hopper. The auger assembly pushes toner over the wall into the development area and this is how the toner is metered. A phototransistor disk (PT) or encoder wheel at one end of the auger assembly is used for detecting the cartridge type as well as the toner level. It is extremely important not to put more toner than is required for that cartridge type, otherwise the printer will report "Unsupported Cartridge."
When removing the PT disk, take care not to damage it. Replacement disks are available, and these are used to upgrade a standard-yield cartridge to a high-yield type. The toner hopper cap is a multi-part design, with a filter in the center that acts as a breather. This will allow air to enter the hopper compartment so as not to create a vacuum. Like its predecessor the 4019, the Optra cartridge uses a rubber developer roller and a doctor bar. It also has a toner supply roller, or adder roller, directly behind the developer roller. This is an open foam construction and extreme care should be used when cleaning this part of the section. I recommend removing the leaf spring first, then removing the developer roller. Clean the developer roller with a soft dry cloth, or with compressed air at low volume (less than 30 psi). Clean the adder roller with compressed air as well, if you wish; keep a vacuum nozzle near the cartridge to pick up toner blow-off.
1) No. 2 Phillips screwdriver
2) Small flat-blade screwdriver
3) Spring hook
4) Long or needle-nose pliers
5) Small hobby knife
3) Drum cleaning blade
4) Conductive lubricant
5) 99 percent alcohol or ethanol
6) Cotton swabs
7) Starting powder (Kynar or like)
8) Toner vacuum
9) Recovery blade
10) Sealing strip
Figure 1 shows the cartridge in the upright position.
Figure 2 shows the two tension springs, and the cartridge inverted.
1) Grab the first tension spring with the spring hook. See Figure 3. Gently release tension on the spring so as not to damage cartridge parts. Also do not overstretch the springs, as this will damage them.
2) Using a flat-blade screwdriver, gently remove the developer drive gear. See Figure 4.
Note that the drive gear has a flat spot inside. This corresponds to the flat spot on the developer roller shaft. See Figure 5.
3) Rotate the cartridge so that you’re looking directly at the toner hopper. See Figure 6. Gently push the cartridge wall in the direction of the arrows; this will release the lock pin on the right side.
4) Continue to lift the hopper up until the left side is free of the cleaning section. Place the toner hopper to one side. See Figure 7.
Cleaner Section (Down and Dirty)
5) On the right side of the cartridge, locate the drum "E" clip. (There’s one on the left also, but don’t take that one off). Using a small flat-blade screwdriver, pry the clip off the shaft. Notice that by applying downward pressure on the cleaner section the drum cover will remain open. See Figure 8.
6) Pull the drum shaft out from the left side of the cleaner section. Hold on to the opposite gear with your other hand, balancing the drum. See Figure 9.
Figure 10 shows the drum completely out of the cleaner section. Notice the drum washer. Place the drum in a safe dark area if you intend to use it again.
IMPORTANT: When you reinstall the drum shaft, insert it in from the right side. This will ensure that you do not break the contact inside the drum. It also makes it easier to capture the drum washer on the tip of the shaft.
7) Figure 11 shows the location of the cleaner section parts. At this point it is best to remove the recovery blade and vacuum out the waste hopper. If you attempt to remove the cleaning blade now, you will end up with a really nasty mess.
8) Once you’ve removed as much toner as possible, remove the two screws holding the cleaning blade in place. Then carefully turn the section so it’s resting on the waste hopper. See Figure 12.
9) With a razor knife, slice through the waste hopper seal, end to end. Be careful at each end not to cut through the cleaning blade foams. See Figure 13.
10) Rotate the laser shutter inwards, and remove the cleaning blade through this opening. See Figure 14. Now you can completely clean the waste hopper, and set it aside for reassembly later.
Toner Hopper (A Dark Ride – Not Really)
Toner hoppers used to be simple things, but Lexmark made them much more interesting. Figure 15 shows three of the main development devices: leaf spring, doctor bar and developer roller. The developer roller is NOT a magnetic roller, but a soft rubber roller much like the PCR.
11) First things first. Remove the leaf spring. Gently press down at the center to unlatch from the detent. See Figure 16. Be careful not to deform the leaf spring. Place it in a safe location. When reinstalling, first insert the center of the leaf spring back in the detent, then with both hands, gently place the ends on the top of the doctor bar.
12) Last note on the leaf spring. When reinstalling, locate the tiny "V" mark (Figure 17) on the top of the leaf spring body; this must point away from the toner hopper assembly.
13) Using a flat-blade screwdriver, carefully pry the PT disk off the agitator shaft. Do not pull on the disk itself. The disk in Figure 18 is a 13822925, high-yield Prebate.
Note that the agitator shaft has a flat spot that matches the inside of the PT disk hub. Be sure to line these up at reassembly. See Figure 19.
14) Carefully remove the toner hopper cap. Use a flat-blade screwdriver. Take care not to break any of the tabs on the cap, as these hold the two sections together. See Figure 20.
15) Vacuum the breather cap from the rear, or gently blow compressed air through the front to remove toner. If the cap is not clean, the possibility of building up a vacuum within the hopper exists. See Figure 21.
16) On the left side of the developer roller locate the black plastic bushing. At the bottom of this bushing, you will see a small ridge. With a small flat-blade screwdriver, lift this ridge to the top. See Figure 22.
17) Once the bushing is released, pull the developer roller shaft forward. See Figure 23.
Notice the developer roller contact bushing. This is not installed on all cartridges; some versions only use the contact plate directly against the shaft. With either type, a small amount of conductive grease will improve performance. See Figure 24.
Figure 25 shows the developer roller washers. These should be replaced at each remanufacture. Excessive wear will cause leaking.
18) In Figure 26 you can see the foam toner supply roller. Very light air pressure with a vacuum held near (not on) the roller is all you need to clean this. Clean the bottom of the doctor bar and the seals at the ends of the developer roller with a foam swab and 99 percent alcohol.
That’s it! Reassemble the cartridge, clean up the casing, and you’re done.
Check back through these instructions for notes about reassembling. Remember to install the drum shaft from the left side and apply a little conductive grease to the shaft where it will contact the ground pin in the drum. Also don’t forget about the "V" arrow on the leaf spring.
Contact Mitch Schwartz of Densigraphix at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.densi.com.
This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Recharger.