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Brother HL-2132 - Lousy Yield on the Starter Toner Cartridge and How to Work Around it

I bought a Brother HL-2132 mono laser printer from Offceworks recently. Like almost all printers these days, it came with a "starter" toner cartridge that promises 700 pages of print. Well, guess what? The "Replace toner" LED came on after printing only 199 pages! How do I know? More on that later.

A quick search found a number of proposed solutions on the Web, ranging from taping the optical window to resetting the flag gear on the toner cartridge. Well, the starter cartridge I got came with neither of these mechanisms. Seems like Brother has read all these solutions and decided to lock down their starter cartridges even further!

What finally worked for me was to factory reset the printer. This can be done by the following steps:

1. Open the front cover and remove the toner cartridge. Leave the front cover open!

2. Turn the printer off.

3. Press and hold the "Go" button while turning the printer on. All LEDs will light up. Release the "Go" button.

4. Now press the "Go" button twice and pause for a second.

5. Press the "Go" button a further 5 times.

6. If you have done all the above steps correctly, the computer connecting to the printer will detect a new device, try to install a device driver for it and fails, then displays an error window saying that it is unable to install a driver for the printer in "maintenance mode".

7. Now turn off the printer.

8. Re-insert the starter toner cartridge and close the front cover.

9. Turn on the printer.

After the brief startup churn, the printer was ready for printing again, with the toner level restored to 100%!

To check the toner level, right-click on the printer icon and select "Print Preferences":

Then click on the "Support" button on the bottom-left:

 Finally, click "Print Settings":

The printer will print out a single sheet of information detailing interesting tidbits such as the number of pages you have printed, the % of toner left, and the % of drum life left. That was how I got to know that the starter toner cartridge "ran out" at exactly 199 pages!

Update: I managed to get to 329 pages before the print started fading. So that's only about 100 pages more from the starter toner. To be fair, my average coverage per page is probably about 30% rather than the 5% frequently used in industrial figures, so your mileage may vary.

Further update: Yield comparison on toner cartridges/refills


  1. thank you so much - I have tried to replace my toner 2x and was about to give up and buy an expensive Brother one (instead of the cheaper refurbished types) when I found this post - it works! I will keep this as a reference if I need it again. Thank you!

  2. God Bless you. the videos we found on the Web was not even in English, and Lousy thing didn't even work. I followed your instruction and got it right without even re installing the device. Thank you

  3. thank you very much, very helpful!


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