Toner HelpReplacing the Toner on a Sharp 3060 print station

The biggest question we get asked in this industry is a simple, but very important, one. How do I know when to change my ink/toner?

Firstly, let’s talk about common symptoms from a Printer/Copier that has run out of toner:

Faded Colours

This issue is immediately obvious but not entirely self-explanatory. Colours may fade, or they may be replaced by a completely different colour altogether.

As the ink runs out, the colour-density of the image will be lessened. You can cross-reference the original image and depending on whether it uses RGB or CMYK colours (see below), work out what you’re missing. Often this symptom leads to the next one.


For printed media of any type, this is a hugely frustrating issue. Often a printer can be printing text documents with no problem at all, but then as soon as you add some supporting media into the document (pictures, graphs), the image is distorted with white lines streaking across it.

This is a result of ink being too low to coat the print heads that a printer uses to apply the ink to paper.

Error warnings when copying/scanning

A printer may flat-out refuse to carry out any sort of print job if ink/toner has run out. Frustratingly, even if the missing colour does not appear on the document, the printer may still refuse. See info below on RGB and CMYK.

Low Ink Warnings

If Ink running dry is a problem you are experiencing, this has more than likely been the first indicator. Easy to ignore at first, but some models will refuse to print altogether if even one cartridge is completely empty.

This is due to the way ink colour schemes work with each other.

RGB & CMYK Ink Colour Models and why all your cartridges need to be full

Printer ink is applied using colour models, two different types of colour model to be precise. These are: RGB (Red Green Blue) and CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK).

RGB combines those three colours to make whatever shade is needed. Old colour TVs utilised the RGB colour wheel on the same principle.

Much more common these days is the CMYK colour wheel, which lays a foundation based on colour and then prints any combination and density of the other three colours on top of it to create a more accurate shade. Most of the time when a print job’s colours come out inverse, looking the negative of a photograph, it is due to a lack in one of the CMYK colours (or an issue with the print heads, but that is a whole other problem).


If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms with printing, this is the first step to fixing it – change your printer ink. In this digital age, we have the ‘internet of things’ and almost all of our devices are ‘smart’; capable of communicating with each other.

Your smart-phone, desktop, tablet and laptops can all communicate with your printer. Formerly, printer/copiers used to ship out with a disc of software allowing you to remotely monitor your printer’s ink levels from your PC, but this practice has now been almost entirely replaced by apps. For more information on how to keep your business devices completely connected, how to change a cartridge or the best place to buy them for your business.