Printer Troubleshooting

How To Clean The Transfer Belt In A Color Laser Printer

Transfer Belt
Transfer Belt
Okidata C5200n 5400 Transfer Belt Unit OEM

Color laser printers have a more complex printing process which enables them to produce precise prints without color fringing or streaking on the edges of the colored regions. Some color laser-class printers use a rotating belt called a “ transfer belt ” to further color registration accuracy. Although cleaning it is not necessarily required, regular maintenance can help extend the printer component’s life expectancies as well as optimize the machine’s performance.

What Is A Transfer Belt?

It is a rotating belt that is typically large which carries the mixture of different colors of toner particles. Color laser printers use the CMYK color combination. This means a color laser-class printer will typically have 4 toner cartridges. The transfer belt will pass in front of all the four cartridges colored as cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). The cartridges will then precisely apply each toner layer to the belt which will then apply the combined layers uniformly onto the paper. This process happens in less than a second but will have significant effects on the printouts. This printing technique widens the color tone range of the CMYK color combination. This will greatly improve quality of color outputs. Newer color laser-class printers usually use this technology to produce better color image printouts.

Transfer Belt

Why Does a Transfer Belt Need Cleaning?

Like most laser printer components, a transfer belt needs cleaning to prevent print quality deterioration. Although the belt does not need cleaning as often as the other parts like the drum unit, the excess toner from cartridges as well as dust will build up which will affect the machine’s performance. The belt will need cleaning, especially after suffering from a major toner leaky. The printer may suffer from issues known as registration errors which occurs when printing color images. Registration errors can cause blurring, unintended color fringing, and light or dark streaks on the edges of the printouts and may even occur all throughout the outputs. In order to avoid such work-halting issues, maintenance is highly recommended.

More tips and tricks to printer maintenance and how you can save on printing supplies from the Printer Encyclopedia.

How to Clean a Transfer Belt?

A transfer belt can be cleaned using a cleaning cycle with a software or through manual cleaning. The type of cleaning varies depending on the severity of the problem. Usually, minor streaking and blurring can be fixed using a cleaning cycle with a software. However for the major registration issues, manual cleaning is recommended as it may need replacing depending on the state of the transfer belt.

**Cleaning Cycle With Software

Step 1 – Install the color laser printer utilities that come along with the printer. For best results, users can download the latest drivers and utilities from the OEM’s website. For those using the included CD/DVD that came with the printer package, simply insert the disk into the disk drive and run the setup. Downloaded drivers and utilities usually come in compressed, installing a decompression software like WinRar should do the trick. Simply extract the files into the selected folder then run the setup.

Step 2 – Once the utilities are installed, look for the “Laser Printer Cleaning Cycle”. This is usually found on the tool bar under printer maintenance. Follow the steps indicated in the transfer belt maintenance window. There are some printers that require removal of some parts so be sure to do so to avoid issues. Do note that this will consume some toner in the process. Be sure to have enough before proceeding with the process.

Step 3 – After the process is done, restart the printer then test print. If problems persist consult a professional.

transfer_belt detach

**Manual Cleaning

Step 1 – Read the manual before doing anything else to prevent further damage. This will also simplify the cleaning process as manuals usually provide enough information regarding transfer belt maintenance.

Step 2 – Turn off the color laser printer and unplug it from the power source.

Step 3 – Open the access door of the printer and locate the transfer belt. Depending on the kind of printer,toner cartridges may have to be removed. It would be safer to refer to the steps indicated in the manual.

Step 4 – Remove the transfer belt and check how severe the problem is. Although it can be cleaned without removing it from the printer by wiping it with a piece of soft cloth, removing it is recommended to get the best results.

Step 5 – Use a blower to blow out the excess toner out of the printer. This is done to make sure that excess toner and dust particles are flushed out. After doing so, gently wipe the transfer belt with a soft cloth. Do not use alcohol as it may damage the belt. Also note that the belt is light sensitive, exposing it to light for an extended period of time may render it useless.

Step 6 – Once the transfer belt is clear of dust and toner residue, reinstall it into the laser printer. After reinstalling everything, turn on the printer and test print. If problems persist, it would be best to call a professional.

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Transfer belts may not be found in some color laser printers but it is a key component for those that have it. They may not be as talked about as toner cartridges but without keeping them at their best state, color registration precision could only be fair or even be outright poor. Avoid registration errors and keep top quality color prints by taking care of the parts inside the machine.

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  • Reply
    Consuela Cuomo
    April 21, 2017 at 6:22 am

    That stinks. wanted it to be more broad and detailed. Ubersuggest girl .

  • Reply
    invention companies
    May 27, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Good post. I’m experiencing many of these issues as well..

  • Reply
    July 13, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Nice info dude!
    What is the liquid that we should use to clean the transfer belt without may cause damage transfer belt ? Thx

    • Reply
      July 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      you don’t need any cleaning liquid for transfer belt as it is very sensitive you can blow the dust and dried toner. You can also lint-free cloth.

    • Reply
      April 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      a very damp cloth, not dripping. no soaps, no chemicals.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    It works really well for me

  • Reply
    November 23, 2017 at 4:57 am

    My transfer belt is old its look very dull. can we renew it by cleaning. in a video a guy using to car wax to polish it. it came as new. will it can work?

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 4:15 am

    Thanks for sharing this info. i will try making it

  • Reply
    Joseph M
    March 30, 2018 at 9:56 am

    My HP CP2025 is printing entirely black pages. I previously had a problem with the printer not recognizing a refilled black cartridge with a new print chip. I took all the cartridges out and the transfer belt and tried cleaning all electrical contacts. when I reinstalled everything and a new black cartridge, the problem of entirely black pages started. Could this be caused by the transfer belt being exposed to light?

    • Reply
      Camilla Osberg
      August 5, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Did you get an awnser for youre question?
      I have also This problem with no color aften cleaning. Also i was stupid and used alcohol cause i followed a you tube video. But the printer is printing – just not colors!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    on the m551’s the toner transport assy. may fill up the tail/encap on the transfer belt assy. cleaning out the encap (un-snap 3 snaps) and cleaning the belt will help for a while, but if the white bin isn’t getting any toner added to it, then the transport mechanism/system is not working. (you should not have to keep cleaning the encap and belt, only empty the white bin during proper operation) I’ve yet to find out the root cause, but Hp says to use their toners, due to refills plugging up the transport assy. I’m still diagnosing what either the real root cause is, or…finding out what the resulting issue is, after using the original hp toners again. Do the old refills just plug some other hole, (behind the storage/collection bin), or possibly the gear cluster stops working/small cluster on one side of endcap on transfer assy?

  • Reply
    Nancy Ngulube
    October 19, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Hello, thanks for this post.

    I am experiencing a problem, each time i print the top part of each page a few line strips. I followed your post and cleaned the Image Transfer Kit, and when i printed a test page…the problem was solved temporally…and now the problem is back again. Could it be that my printer is failing to rid itself of any waste toner?

  • Reply
    HP Laptop Troubleshooting
    December 4, 2018 at 5:35 am

    this information is really very helpful actually. I will definitely follow this information.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Hai you post is useful but i have a xerox Dc252 vertical toner mark on transfer belt that is very deep how to remove that and when i print that mark also print how solve that any idea let me know

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