Before you race to the office supply store and splurge over $50 dollars on new ink cartridges, try these quick tricks.
In most cases, when a printer reports that it is out of ink, that is not the case. It is just running low. Printer ink is the most expensive liquid in the world right behind king cobra venom, scorpion venom, Chanel number five, insulin and mercury. Most major printer manufacturers are willing to give away free and or cheap printers to make money on ink cartridge sales. If they underreport ink levels to the printer or allow for constant misalignment, forcing you to waste ink by cleaning the heads repeatedly, then you’ll buy more, right? Not anymore!
1. The Tape Trick
On ‘Brother’ printers and several other brands, there is a simple trick that will allow you to bypass the low level alert that is stopping you from printing. First, find the thin transparent window or slit on the inside of the ink cartridge. That window is scanned by the printer and reports that the levels are low. Second, take an opaque (not regular clear masking tape) and attach it around that window to completely cover it on some models and in other cases, slide it through that small slit to effectively block the levels from being scanned. Third, reinsert the cartridge to the printer and test again.
2. The Sharpie Trick
Similar to the trick above, simply take a black sharpie marker and thoroughly black out the same window on all 3 sides. This has the same effect by blocking the printer from scanning the ink level and reporting the status back to the printer. Try the
3. The Reset Ink Memory Trick
On ‘Epson’ printers and several others, there is a small circuit board on the ink cartridges that monitors ink levels and stores the status in a tiny memory chip on that circuit board. Locate the small pin hole just outside that circuit board and insert a paperclip. This will reset the memory on that sneaky memory chip and report more accurate ink levels. Reinsert the cartridge and you’ll notice that the low ink level alert is not gone and that same cartridge now shows much more ink.
4. The Hair Dryer Trick
On most printers you can take the offending cartridge out and run a hair dryer (on medium heat) over it for a few minutes until the cartridge is warm to the touch. Then while it is still warm, quickly put it back into the printer and start the printing job. The heat thins out the ink slightly, allowing it to flow down the sides of the cartridge as well as remove any thick, dried ink from the nozzle. Also, write yourself a Post-it that says “GET PRINTER INK!” and put it on your bathroom mirror. This trick will only work once, because you really are out of ink.