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Printer out of ink (I think)

  1. Jul 18, 2014 #1
    My printer is printing pages with text that has white bars through it (basically the bars are where there's no ink). It's just black text. The text doesn't appear to be faded, and the printer software says the black ink has about 1/5th left and it has a green checkmark indicating it's ok. Anyone have any idea what the problem is? It happened all of a sudden. I've been printing fine for the last few days, so it's not like the printer has been inactive for a while and the ink dried up. I tried the self-cleaning option of the software and that doesn't seem to fix the problem.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2014 #2


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    Have you tried printing a test page since the test pattern might give you a clue what is wrong. Although the software reports 1/5 ink left I find that it can be wrong sometimes especially if you're using non-OEM cartridges but with the non-white bars not being faded it sounds more like a print head problem rather than ink cartridge related although if you don't mind maybe throwing away a bit of ink just change the cartridge to check thats not the problem.

    I had a similar problem with a printer and the self clean function didn't appear to work but i was advised to run the self clean last thing at night and then turn the printer off but leave the wall socket on and plugged in. Then next morning turn the printer on and run the self clean again and hopefully it might have cleared the problem. Leaving it like that over night after the self clean lets the clogged ink soften so that it can be removed by the second self clean in the morning.

    It could also be an issue with the print head alignment. If you google for your printer model and how to align print head you should find instructions on how to do it. Should just be a piece of software that will print a test page and it'll ask you to pick certain blocks that are the most solid colour or something similar.
  4. Jul 19, 2014 #3
    I printed a test page (accidentally) in color, and it printed out a sheet with 4 rows and 8 columns of different colored blocks in the center of the page. It looks fine, so I'm guessing there's nothing wrong with the printer itself, but instead with the black ink cartridge. Maybe it is running out of ink. Or maybe it is clogged. I hadn't used the printer in a couple of months, but then started printing out pages of text. I printed out about 50 pages of text and they all came out fine. Then suddenly, the next day, they started having these white bars of missing ink. So if it printed fine after a couple of months of sitting there idle, I don't think it would be clogged from sitting idle for only a day. I'll get a new cartridge and see if that fixes the problem. I hate to waste good ink, though, if it isn't empty.

  5. Jul 19, 2014 #4


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    The printer head is on the cartridge itself, so perhaps it is a poor connection. There will be a contact pad on the cartridge, perhaps clean it (gently, with a dry cloth only) and it'll make a better connection.
  6. Jul 19, 2014 #5


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    Sometimes shaking the cartridge will fix the problem. You have nothing to lose trying a new cartridge, if it works, try shaking the old one. I've been able to get more life out of old cartridges by shaking them.
  7. Jul 19, 2014 #6


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    Extended non use of a printer cartridge can cause it to fail.
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