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Troubleshooting when the Toner Status is missing or incorrect


Help! Our PaperCut server isn’t showing the correct model, serial number, or toner status for our printer. How can we get this working?”

Out of the box, PaperCut automatically queries networked printers using the SNMP protocol to determine a variety of information for each printer, including:

  • Type/Model
  • Serial number
  • Toner level

This information is then conveniently shown in the admin dashboard, and you can even configure automatic email notifications when toner starts to run out. Read below to understand the requirements as well as what to check when things don’t seem to work.

Note that from PaperCut version 19.0 onwards, PaperCut also supports SNMP version 3 for Toner, Model and Serial number. A printer can be enabled for SNMPv3, by checking the box in the Printer Details page and entering the relevant SNMPv3 configuration information.


  • PaperCut must be able to determine the IP address or hostname of the printer from the operating system.
  • For SNMP version 1 (used by default when SNMPv3 is disabled) PaperCut must know the SNMP Community String of the printer (unless it’s still set to the default of ‘public’).
  • For SNMP version 3, the security configuration information must be correctly set on the Printer Details page to match with the SNMPv3 settings on the network printer. This includes: context-name, username, authentication password, privacy/encryption password, authentication protocol and privacy/encryption protocol.
  • UDP port 161 must be open on the firewall between the server and the printer to allow SNMP traffic.
  • For PaperCut to get information about toner levels, the printer must support the standard SNMP Printer MIB RFC1759 and RFC3805.

Troubleshooting Steps

Check that the Physical Identifier for the printer is the correct network address

PaperCut determines the network address of the printer from the operating system and calls it the “Physical Identifier”. To check the physical identifier in PaperCut, log into the admin interface, open the printer list, select a printer and look for Physical Identifier as in the screenshot below.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • SNMP only works with networked printers, so the physical identifier format should look like: net://<printer-network-address>.
  • If you see a WSD port instead, then the PaperCut server will not be able to determine the IP address of the printer. Make certain that all of the printer queues on the server are using a Standard TCP/IP Port or the PaperCut TCP/IP Port.

To see where PaperCut pulls this information from, open printmanagement.msc on your Windows print server, right click on a printer in question, choose Properties, and click on the Ports tab to edit.

If the Physical Identifier is not listed or is incorrect

Please help us troubleshoot the problem by following these steps:

  1. Try restarting the print server (or Stop and Restart the PaperCut service).
  2. If you don’t see a change, turn on debug mode in the Print Provider.
  3. Then collect the logs described in the above article and send these to support along with the following:
    • Windows: a registry export of the printer settings - Use regedit to export the key (right click on Print entry and choose export option): HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print
    • Mac/Linux: A copy of the CUPS configuration. e.g. /etc/cups/printers.conf
    • Novell: A copy of printer database backup. /var/opt/novell/iprint/padbtxt.xml

Verify that SNMP and its appropriate version are enabled on the printer

Typically, SNMP settings are managed through the printer’s web interface. Often printers will come from the factory with SNMP version 1/2c enabled and a default community string “public”. (In the world of SNMP, a community string is basically a clear-text password.)

If PaperCut cannot determine a printer’s toner level, serial number or model number make sure the printer has SNMP enabled. In the case of using SNMP version 1, make sure that SNMPv1/v2 is enabled and that read access is turned on for the “public” community string. If a different community string is used, this can easily by changed by editing the config key (since PaperCut version 16). Note that these steps are different from changing the SNMP community string for Hardware Checks - as detailed here. In the case of using SNMP version 3 (available since PaperCut 19.0), make sure that SNMPv3 is enabled on the printer and that each of the 6 configuration settings (context-name, username, authentication password, privacy/encryption password, authentication protocol and privacy/encryption protocol) are all correct and matching with the Printer Details page.

Confirm that SNMP traffic is not being blocked

Confirm network security services, such as a router or firewall, are not interfering with UDP port 161..

Debugging SNMP

If all of the above is correct and PaperCut is still not retrieving SNMP information from a particular printer, please help us troubleshoot the problem by running our pc-print-monitor command to gather diagnostic information following the steps below:

  1. Log on to the server running PaperCut.
  2. Open a command prompt or terminal window and navigate to the PaperCut print provider directory.
    • On Windows: open a Command Prompt window and browse to “C:\Program Files\PaperCut MF\providers\print\win”
    • On Mac: Open a Terminal window and browse to “/Applications/PaperCut MF/providers/print/mac”.
    • On Linux or iPrint: Open a shell session and change to the “/home/papercut/providers/print/linux-x64” directory.
  3. Run the following commands for each problem printer (adjusting the IP address and filename as appropriate):
    • pc-print-monitor -h -W -o savepath\myprinter.prt
    • pc-print-monitor -h -W -o savepath\myprinter.res
  4. For each printer you have a problem with, gather these details:
    • The text files created with the above command
    • The make/model of the printer
    • If possible, the approximate toner levels (i.e. check the toner levels from the printer’s built-in web interface).
    • If possible, the printer’s serial number.
  5. Start a support ticket with PaperCut through our Support Portal and share the details above.

Quick Tip: if you are familiar with PaperCut’s Server Commands you can run a command like this to see what toner information the PaperCut server will retrieve: server-command snmp-tool toner.

Debugging SNMPv3

From PaperCut version 19.0, the Application Server provides SNMP version 3 support. In order to do the previously mentioned toner sub-command when using the snmp-tool, there are new options to set for the SNMPv3 configuration information.

An example of doing an SNMPv3 toner retrieval on a Toshiba device:

server-command snmp-tool toshiba-hostname -v3 -u admin -a MD5 -A authpassword -x DES -X privacypassword -n MFP toner

The following options are provided:

  • -?,—help help
  • -a,—authproto auth protocol = MD5|SHA
  • -A,—authpass auth password
  • -b,—byte-order-reverse reverse byte order
  • -c,—community community name
  • -n,—contextname context name
  • -o,—once poll or just retrieve once
  • -p,—private private MIB first or not
  • -r,—retries number of retries on failure
  • -s,—show-all show more status
  • -t,—timeout number of milliseconds
  • -T,—timings show timings
  • -u,—username auth username
  • -v,—version SNMP version: 1 | 2 | 3
  • -x,—privacyproto privacy protocol = DES|AES
  • -X,—privacypass privacy password

SNMPv3 Errors

The following errors are worth watching out for in the output of the commands or in the server.log file:

  • “Timed out waiting for SNMP response from device”. On some devices this error can also result if there is a decryption error instead of the explicit decryption error below.
  • “Authentication failed: incorrect password. Please check the SNMPv3 authentication password is correct.”
  • “Decryption error. Please check the SNMPv3 privacy password is correct.”
  • “Authentication failed: unknown user. Please check the SNMPv3 authentication username is correct.”

Known Issues

  • HP LaserJet 8100N - While this device does have a toner indicator on its own Admin Web Pages, it does not give a numerical value and does not reset its value when a new cartridge is installed. As a result, toner levels for this device are unavailable.

  • Brother printers and copiers - Brother devices use a custom MIB. Support for querying Brother devices over SNMP was added in PaperCut version 14.2.

  • Ricoh printers and copiers - The toner levels from the standard Printer MIB seem to work for some and not others. We have had reports of problems on the following models: C420DN, C430DN, C4000, C4001, MPC 3001, MP 6001, 3500, MPC 400, and MPC 2051. Custom MIB support for Ricoh for toner was added in PaperCut 14.2.

  • The PaperCut Admin interface does not show accurate toner values for Ricoh devices. This can be the result of PaperCut attempting to retrieve the public toner information as opposed to the private toner information. This can be resolved by changing the following configuration key keytoner.fetch-public-mib-then-private to “N”, by default this is set to “Y”

  • Sharp printers - show a “Near end of life” status when they have low toner, as this status is specific to Sharp printer we do not know how to interpret it which is why low toner notifications are not sent. Printer MIB shows partial (−3) for this status, ‘partial’ means some supply of toner is remaining but it does not provide us information about the exact amount of toner left. Please let the Support team know if you encounter this problem and reference issue PC-13668.

Categories: Troubleshooting Articles , Print Queues

Keywords: ink , cartridge , supplies , levels , type , model , toner , debug , toner , troubleshooting


Last updated June 13, 2024