Troubleshooting Brother Fax Machine Problems

by Patrick NelsonUpdated September 26, 2017

Despite the increase in texting, email, Facebook and Twitter, we still hang on to our fax machines. They are perfect for sending copies of original documents despite document jams, buying ink or special paper, maintaining a phone line--we love 'em. Basic problems like paper misfeeds can be troubleshooted through the use of some basic steps.

Check the Message

Check the messages on the display of your Brother fax machine. The messages will be pretty self-explanatory such as "Insert Doc, Again" or "Please Supply Paper." "Insert Doc. Again" means that that the documents weren't placed on the feeder correctly; just follow the instructions and try again. A message like "Please Supply Paper" will simply mean you need to replenish the paper. "Memory Overflow" is probably the most cryptic. It just means that the memory capacity was exceeded and it has stopped recording. Press "Enter" to register the documents in memory and to complete the operation.


Clearing an original's misfeed by pushing down on the release lever to open the front panel. Remove the failed original and close the panel. To clear recording paper that's gotten jammed in the paperfeed, open the turn guide and remove the paper. To clear paper from the transport unit, which is in the top, open the cover, remove the drum and toner. Lift the guide and remove the paper by pulling upwards. Paper can get stuck in what is called the Fixing Unit. Open the top cover. Again, remove the drum and toner. Open the Fixing Unit cover and remove the paper by pulling it back.

Image Problems

Foggy backgrounds are caused by the position of the density control. Adjust it. A white line through the middle of a line of text can have a few causes. There could be a dirty corona wire which you should clean. The LED head could need cleaning, or the toner unit could have dust or dirt in it. Clean it with toner cleaner. Patches can be caused by a soiled LED head or a charging corona wire. In both cases, clean them. Edge marking is caused by ink on the lower or upper paper guide. Clean the guide.


Sectional light and dark areas can be due to the drum being exposed to extreme light. You will need to get the unit serviced or replaced. Repetitive soiling is from a scratched drum or a damaged fuser roll, in both cases, the unit will need service.


Sometimes the phone line can be the cause of a fax failure. Just let the fax try again.


About the Author

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.

More Articles