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Bypassing ‘no ink’ errors with Epson print drivers

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As we have noted before, Mac OS X’s Epson print drivers tend to refuse to print when the ink level reaches a certain level, even if ink remains in the cartridge. Although there is no standard way to work around this limitation, Jonathan Greenberg found a technique that seems to work for him with an Epson 740. However, users should be aware that there may be unintended consequences to this approach. He writes:

“I’m not entirely sure how this will affect the ability of the printer to track the amount of ink, and Epson recommends against inserting a used cartridge (although, technically, I didn’t really remove the cartridge, I just tricked the printer into thinking I did).

  1. Open the lid, hold down the ink button.
  2. When the ink holder moves into position, lift up the lid to the cartridge that is ‘out’ of ink, then close it without removing the cartridge.
  3. Close the lid, and continue to print.

I was able to continue printing, and the output still looks good, so I’m getting more bang for my buck with this cartridge.”

Update: Michael Kincaid writes: “This trick only works on Epson printers that don’t use microchips on the cartridges to track the ink level (such as the 777, C60, C80, 1290, and many of the Photo models). To see if your printer uses microchip-based cartridges, check the ink level; if clicking on the picture of the cartridge with the ink level shows the part number, manufacturer and type of cartridge, then the printer uses a chip).”

Update: Tim Rosencrans adds: “There are a couple of consequences to this procedure. The biggest concern is that you may not notice right away when the cartridge finally does give out, and printing with no ink can damage the expensive-to-fix print head. This is Epson’s explanation for why it stops printing with ink left. The other problem is that since the printer has no real idea how much ink is in a cartridge (it guesses based on what you’ve printed) it sees opening the cartridge carrier as replacing the cartridge and now assumes the cartridge is full. The best solution is simply to refill your cartridges (see this site for some alternatives). Of course, when it is 1:00 a.m. and you need a page printed, the original technique may be useful.”

Wireless London
Source: Cnet News
Keyword: Bypassing ‘no ink’ errors with Epson print drivers

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