Brother® stops & refuses to print. Annoying! So I hack their TN-360 toner cartridges to get all the toner in them.

Your Brother TN-360 High Yield Toner Cartridges contain more toner than Brother is letting you get out of them, at least on the MFC-7840w… Here’s the fix.

I purchased a Brother® MFC-7840w multifunction laser printer some years ago and I have to say that it’s one of the better modern printers I’ve owned.  Mac OS X software for it isn’t great (buggy), but it’s better than most of the others I’ve tried and the printer performs quite well.  I’ve been recommending them to anyone who’s asked me (and I get asked quite a bit).

After finishing the small starter toner cartridge they supply with the printer I put in my first TN-360 “High Yield” toner cartridge which claims 3500 pages under “normal use”.  I use this printer under what I’d consider normal conditions – mostly simple text documents.

Worked well but all of a sudden it just stopped printing with a message about the toner needed to be replaced.  “That’s odd,” I thought to myself.  “I’ve owned a lot of laser printers over the last 22+/- years and they’ve always started gradually printing more and more faintly when the toner was running out and I’ve never had a printer just refuse to print until I changed the toner cartridge before! Seems pretty heavy handed.  Then I calculated the number of pages it had printed (2120) and had an uncomfortable thought: “If they just stop and refuse to print and the printouts were looking just fine right up until that point, how do I know it’s really out of toner?”

I didn’t get my money’s worth and the forced toner replacement was feeling heavy handed and annoying.  So I wondered, “how do they decide to put up that alert anyway?”  Pulled the toner cartridge out and started examining it looking for electrical contacts (sensors inside?) or some other mechanism.  I found this:


Note the arrow.  It’s pointing to a clear plastic “window” on the right side of the toner cartridge when you’re looking at the top from the front where the handle is.  It appeared like it might give the printer an optical view into the insides of the toner cartridge. “Ah HA!” I thought.  Small piece of Gorilla tape (sticks much better than electrical tape) later and I had this:


Put it back in and time for a test…

Printer prints PERFECTLY… We are being ripped off by Brother and that really sucks.

This fixed worked for another 1001 perfect printouts and then it stopped again…

“DANG IT! The printouts were still looking *fine*!”

Take the toner out to put in the replacement and notice something on the side when you’re looking at the bottom:


There’s Another Sensor Window!  (With Gorilla tape on it in this image).  Here’s a close-up:


This piece of tape added and, sure enough, working FINE again… ARG FARG SNARG – BROTHER!  I want to like you but this is robbery!  AND it’s bad for the environment which makes it even more offensive.  Rarely do I want to call for a class action lawsuit, but this situation was definitely making me feel that way…

How many perfectly fine beautiful printouts did I get after blocking the second window?  I can’t tell you yet because it’s still going strong 200 sheets later.  :-/

So, if you want to get the full life out of your Brother TN-360 High Yield printer cartridge you may want to pick up a roll of Gorilla Tape and prepare to “fix” the cartridge.  Be careful to make sure the tape is stuck on there will because a loose piece of tape being drawn through your printer will probably do bad things to it (Follow these instructions at your own risk!).

Please add a comment if you try this with a different printer model and it works for that one also; likewise for other Brother toner cartridges. Thanks!


Note: All trademarks noted are the property of their respective trademark owners.


Summer Game Project meets goal!

So anyone who’s following us on twitter ( @GeekAndDad ) probably knows we decided to spend the summer making an iPad version of a game designed by our neighbor (a game designer with significant experience designing and publishing successful games – can’t say more until after GenCon 2012 !).  It’s been a HUGE project since we let him talk us into doing 3d (we liked the look of Unity3d so it wasn’t hard for him to convince us).  We’ve learned a ton and our goal – a playable demo in time for GenCon 2012 – was ambitious, to say the least.

I am happy to report today that we’ve delivered a build that we think meets this goal!  It’s not pretty (Unity’s default terrain is kind of ugly), and it’s perhaps a tad simple in places, but on the other hand it has a ton of functionality and is a playable 3d game with some moderately complex game mechanics that make it interesting to play.  Need some usability improvements to reduce friction and some performance improvements but I think it’s getting really close to being “Fun!” which is exciting.  The artists we hired to do the 3d models have done a great job and the in-game characters are both cool and fun.

Turns out we finished just in time since Geek is heading off for his annual summer-traveling-with-mom and GenCon 2012 is NEXT WEEK!  So, time for a few bug fixes, some polish, oh, and maybe we’ll try to sneak in “just one more character type” which just happens to have custom combat rules and… well, you get the idea 🙂

Hope your summer projects are going well also!


Dial-a-Dice customer in 8th country!

Dial-a-Dice sales have been tapering off, as we expect given what we’ve seen from other iPhone app developers. Once you aren’t in the “what’s new” group, sales head down unless you get into the what’s hot or get added to Apple’s advertising.

That said, we got our first sale yesterday from Canada which brings us up to 8 countries total – wow!

Press Release: Dial-a-Dice exceeds expectations


Geek & Dad announces successful first week of sales for Dial-a-Dice iPhone(TM) application

Corbett, Oregon (June 2, 2009) — Geek & Dad, LLC announced that the first week of sales for their first iPhone(TM) application Dial-a-Dice was successful beyond expectations.  With customers in over 5 countries, Dial-a-Dice has international appeal and more customers than expected after only one week of sales.

Created by Geek, a 12 year old who loves Role Playing Games (RPG), Dial-a-Dice is an iPhone application for rolling dice for Role Playing Games. Dial-a-Dice, only 99 cents on the iPhone App Store(TM) ( is handy for everything from character creation to combat.  Also handy for when you need LOTS of dice for calculating the immense damage done by a dragon’s fire breath.

The original interface allows complex die combinations, while remaining easy to use.

Use the included Quickroll buttons for commonly used dice, or you can spin the wheels to create custom combinations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Just tap the “Roll” button and Dial-a-Dice will roll your custom dice for you.

Rolls everything from d2 to d% (d100).


* Dial-a-Dice works with the iPhone and iPod touch(R) with iPhone OS 2.0 or greater and is available on the iPhone App Store:

About Geek & Dad, LLC

Geek & Dad, LLC is a small software development company founded by a geek and his dad.  Focused on having a good time while creating fun software, Geek & Dad plays in Corbett Oregon, USA.


Legal:  Apple, the Apple logo, iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPhone and App Store are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Reviewers:  If you’d like a promo code for Dial-a-Dice in order to do a review, please send your request via

Thank You Customers!

Just wanted to send out a thanks to those people who have purchased Dial-a-Dice.  Two purchases each of the last two days – pretty fun!  It’s especially neat to see the purchases from people outside the USA: one from Australia and one from France.  Wow – cool!

Dial-a-Dice is a simple little app, but it’s pretty cool and actually useful without a lot of glitz.  Geek has some ideas for some improvements and, of course, Geek has a bunch of more ambitious ideas that hopefully we’ll actualize some of this summer.  (I have a few of my own, but seems unlikely that there will be time for those until the fall :)).

Update 2009.05.30 – Countries with customers now include: France, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Australia, and the USA.  Very neat.

RPG attack roller dashboard widget available

Geek built a little Mac OS X Dashboard widget (10.4.2 and later) that is an “RPG Attack Calculator”, or so I’m told.  It’s up on the Apple Downloads area and available directly from the geek and dad website:  Attack Calculator Widget.  Pretty Geeky, but I guess that’s the point! 🙂   

Donation-ware – if you like it and want him to do more, press the donate button at the above link or in the widget.