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Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean?

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Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by fefrie (4/2/07 12:12 AM) reply + / -
Tonight I had to do a bunch of printing where I shot off about 400 copies in a row.

My printer is an hp1100 with a monthly duty cycle of 3000 pages, which is about 100 pages a day. Prints at about 8ppm

So in the span of about 1 hour, I printed 400 sheets in a row or the equivalent of about 100 times the recommend monthy duty cycle rate. (4days worth of printing in one hour = 96hours/1hour)

When I finished printing, the printer was pretty toasty.

Is this the equivalent of redlining a printer?

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Stephen (4/2/07 7:49 AM) reply + / -

A duty cycle is something the manufacturer makes up to sell printers.

The maintenance kit interval tells me more than a duty cycle.

HP made more than one 1100, so you need to be more specific as to which one you have. (4 different machines that print use that model number)

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by fefrie (4/2/07 10:47 AM) reply + / -
it's an hp1100, that I bought a scanner for, so technically it's an 1100a

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Stephen (edited 3/20/08 6:10 PM) reply + / -
Then it's a LaserJet 1100...

I'd mention the other HP 1100's in this thread, but then future searchers would find it when it had nothing to do with their 1100.

Here are my thoughts expanded:

Duty Cycle in laser printers is the theoretical average number of pages the machine should be used for in a given time period, generally one month.

Maximum Duty Cycle in a LaserPrinter would be the highest number of pages the printer should be used for in a given period of time, again generally one month.

These numbers are more a marketing tool than anything practical.

To determine the actual practical duty cycle of a laser printer you need to know how many pages a toner cartridge is good for and how often a maintenance kit needs to be installed. I can cite one example where a customer printed over 1,000 pages a day on a particular laser printer, the machine required service every 6 months, but had over 1,000,000 pages on it the last time I serviced it. The OEM specifies the Duty Cycle of that printer at 65,000 pages a month, so the customer was using the machine at half it's potential, but, if the machine had been used at it's full rated duty cycle a maintenance kit would have to be installed every 3 months. (list price on that kit is $295, the printer sold for around $1,000)

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by jas (6/9/07 11:08 AM) reply + / -
I have been trying to find the definitive definition of printer “Monthly Duty Cycle” for years.
I have not found one. Each definition I have come across is a little different.
For example, HP on their printer / All-In-one products differs even in there own definition.
Example: The HP LaserJet P2015 Printer series states that the Monthly Duty Cycle for this unit is Up to 15,000 pages.
They’re meaning of duty cycle:
“Duty cycle is defined as the maximum number of pages per month of imaged output. This value provides a comparison of product robustness in relation to other HP LaserJet or HP Color LaserJet devices and enables appropriate deployment of printers and MFPs to satisfy the demands of connected individuals or groups.”

But on the same page they have a “Recommended monthly print volume” on the same product and that Recommended monthly print volume is 740 to 3000 pages.
They define “Recommended monthly print volume” as “HP recommends that the number of printed pages per month be within the stated range for optimum device performance based on factors including supplies replacement intervals and device life over an extended warranty period”.

Last time I did math 3,000-page monthly volume does not add up to 15,000 page Monthly Duty Cycle, not even close.

I read some time ago what sounds to me to be the best independent definition of the printer Monthly Duty Cycle.

The duty cycle is intended to show how much a given unit can produce over a one-month period without any errors or jams. This does not mean that you can produce that given number pages per month each and every month. The monthly duty cycle should be used for comparison only.

I hope this helps

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really me by Anonymous (6/10/07 6:20 AM) reply + / -
To me it basically means, "How stout" a printer it is. Lower duty cycle= cheaper machine. Higher duty cycle= more durable machine. You can use this to your purchasing advantage. jmho

Duty Cycle Case Study/Comparison by Stephen (edited 5/11/08 7:16 PM) reply + / -
Duty Cycle seems to be a way of avoiding posting MTBF statistics, (Mean Time Between Failures), where "Mean" means average.

Refering back to my previous post the Maintenance Interval, (how many pages you can expect to print between maintenance kits), is more useful in determining how "Robust" a product is.

One of the company offices I maintain had a problem with a LaserJet 8000, they didn't understand how to reset the maintenance count, and after the third time they noticed it asking for a kit "again" they decided not to install another maintenance kit, replaced the 8000 with a LaserJet 5100.

Duty Cycle on a LaserJet 8000:

Duty Cycle (Monthly Usage) Up to 130,000 images

Duty Cycle on a LJ 5100, (HP calls it something else):

Monthly volume: 65,000 pages

Mintenance Kit, (MK), Installation Interval:

LJ 8000 350,000 pages

LJ 5100 150,000 pages

Using these printers at the rated number, (which I interpret to be the maximum) you would get these results:

LJ 8000 2.75 months between MK installations.

LJ 5100 2.3 months between MK installations.

Very few people need maintenance kits every three months, I had one customer that used 1 MK per year in an 8000, they were the highest usage customer I had for that type printer, every three years was more normal.

Had that customer replaced their 8000 with a 5100 then they would have needed a MK every 6 months, for the average other users this would translate to every year and a half.

HP list price for a MK :

L J8000 $305 (exchange price, return shipping for the core is about $10)

LJ 5100 $440 (outright purchase, no exchange price listed)

Based on these figures which printer would you rather have?

The LJ 8000 gets over twice as many pages out of the fuser, the feed/separation rollers will probably need to be changed once along the way, (unless you use HP or other quality paper).

When the LJ 8000 fuser fails the symtom is usually image defects, when the LJ 5000 fuser fails the film sleeve will shred and the printer will be unusable.

So in summary ignore the "Duty Cycle", and instead look at the real numbers that tell you how long the high wear parts are supposed to last.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by pcrmike (6/11/07 3:49 PM) reply + / -
Very good post Stephen. This is a very good way of explaining it, and you can add to that the average toner cost and life expectancy, divide the cost by the yield, do the same for the MKs and get a fair estimate of materials to keep it running over a given period of time. An excellent way to compare. Also consider hte 8100 is more than 3 times as fast (the 5100 is only 10 ppm, right?) and you also have the time factor to consider. Waiting ten minutes for 320 pages or 32 minutes for 320 pages. This gives your total cost of operation. :-)PCRMike

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Vicaol (3/20/08 6:58 AM) reply + / -
does it make any difference to the performance of the machine if you only use for say 300 or so pages a month and the monthly duty cycle is 30000 pages. I use this for my home printing needs only.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Stephen (edited 8/11/09 5:26 PM) reply + / -
If a fuser is rated to last about 150,000 pages, it will print somewhere around 150,000 pages before it wears out.

If you print 1,000 pages a day the fuser will last about 150 days.

If you print 500 pages a day the fuser will last about 300 days.

If you print 250 pages a day the fuser will last about 600 days.

But any which way you look at it you still get the same total number of pages out of the fuser before it wears out, it just takes longer to get to 150,000 pages.

So your machine will last a long time.

Some rubber parts, most notably feed rollers and/or separation rollers may dry out and fail due to old age, but if it's a HP printer those parts will be cheap.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really me by deadra3 (5/4/08 7:24 PM) reply + / -
Help!!! I am a court reporter and have been for three and a half years. In those three and a half years, I have been through three different printers. I am looking for printer number 4. Can anyone out there recommend a good high-volume printer?


Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Anonymous (5/4/08 7:32 PM) reply + / -
Depends on how many pages you need to print and how soon after you press print you need them.

My laserjet 1100a is working fine I had it with 11k pages printed and it now has 25k with no problems for over four years, with refill kits the price of printing pages is minimal.

But it prints at 8 pages per minute, which is 'slower'. If I have to print multiple copies I just press print and go for a coffee if I need to. If you need a lot of copies right away, a better printer or kinko's is your better choice.

At 0.6cents per page including paper and toner costs, using the hp laserjet 1100a means that I can print without worrying (we reuse paper to print on both sides if it's not critical)

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really me by Sharpie (edited 5/5/08 4:54 AM) reply + / -

The HP LJ 4250 or 4350 are 2 great machines. Easy to replace the fuser & pickup/feed rollers in. They have the 4240 too which is a lower cost machine (basically the same machine & parts) but can only take the A cartridge (lower toner yield) & not the X cartridge.

If you can get any of those I think you'd be good for a long time.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by printer pete (5/9/08 2:45 PM) reply + / -
The 'Maximum Duty Cycle'printed by most manufacturers is a joke. As a simple rough guide divide the Max Duty Cycle by 4.
I work for a manufacturer that issues this info on some of its documentation. From experience the 1/4 figure is good.
If you are running machines 24/7 I would allow for a lower figure say 1/5 or even lower.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by scoles00 (11/17/08 8:34 PM) reply + / -
I'm looking to purchase a laser printer for my home. I'm wanting to get the best bang for the buck, taking into account maintenance costs, purchase price, and whatever other costs that will occur. I'm either looking for a wi-fi capable printer or one that I can easily integrate into my home network. Any suggestions on specfic affordable models or what to look for when purchasing a laser printer?

Re: Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by LC_Group (11/23/08 12:29 PM) reply + / -
I recently purchased a Brother HL-4040cn color laser and have been satisfied with its performance. The price ($199 + tax at Office Depot) was a big factor in my decision. It also received good marks from a CNET review. I don't do a lot of volume printing but for the materials I have printed, I've been very happy with the results. You might want to check it out. Good luck.

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by Nauman Ansari (8/10/09 11:46 PM) reply + / -
In print and copy terminology, duty cycle refers to the number of copies or prints that the device can reliably produce on a monthly basis. Exceeding the duty cycle number on a regular basis can lead to equipment malfunctions and breakdowns over time. Alternatively, not printing or copying in numbers close to the duty cycle could mean you have over-purchased on equipment.


Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by kyocera toner (8/11/09 8:20 AM) reply + / -
As defined:

A duty cycle is something the manufacturer makes up to sell printers.

For consumer friendly articles about kyocera toner, visit

Re: Monthly Duty cycle..... What does it really mean? by caley (12/8/09 12:35 PM) reply + / -
Thanks for the help everyone.

We have to print about 3000 pages per month.

Any recommendations for colour laser printers i should start looking at so as to get a jump start with the required math...

Thanks a lot,


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