Every time a warning message pops up on your PC letting you know that your printer’s toner is low, you have a laser toner chip to thank. These chips, also called printer or ink smart chips, are used by printers to monitor the reserves and levels of your current toner cartridge. They communicate with your PC to provide warnings when certain levels are reached or if any other issue arises.

What exactly is a cartridge chip?
  1. Cartridge chips are devices that communicate with a machine through either direct contact or RF (radio frequency).  
  2. They typically are mounted on a small circuit board. 
  3. They have memory to store information. Sometimes have a processor to provide the correct responses. 
  4.  Contains cartridge specific information (so the printer knows the correct cartridge has been installed). It lists the cartridge yield. 

How They Work

Toner chips read levels by monitoring your cartridge’s droplet count, or the number or ink droplets that have been used so far when printing. Chips are programmed for specific toner designs and will provide warnings and stop printing once a certain number of droplets has been used. 

Cartridge Refills and Replacements

Toner chips have caused some controversy because they make it difficult to refill a printer cartridge. After you refill a cartridge, you have to reset or replace the chip in order for your printer to allow you to print. Our compatible inks and toners have been installed with a new chip in our factory so you don’t have to worry about resetting the chip. 

What does it mean by “new chip” or “second generation chip”?

Sometimes the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) will upgrade their chip at a certain point of time during the year, making the old chip unable to function in the newer printers. That is why for some ink or toner models, you will see it has new chip version or second generation version. Please always buy the newest version for your printer.

Printers with Chips

Most of the Brother inks and toners don’t have chips. (Except for LC103 Series).

Most of the HP inks and toners have chips.

Most of the Canon inks and toners have chips.


Consumer Troubles

Sometimes customers report issues with toner cartridges not being recognized by smart chips or with chips saying that their toner is empty when the cartridge still has droplets available. To avoid this problem, you should always power down your printer when doing any maintenance or replacing cartridges. Bad connections or improper installations of new cartridges can also cause many of these errors. Reinstalling the cartridge and following your manufacturer’s instructions with the power off can resolve some issues.

For further questions or help on solving any chip issues, please contact our customer service team at 1-866-979-7463, by online chat or by sending us an email at support@123ink.ca.