• It never fails to amaze just how little common sense is applied when it comes to the issue of the “Service Required” message on inkjet printers. We know it’s a technical device but ink is a fluid and a very messy one that doesn’t just give up physics because it’s in a printer?…

    The reason we say this is not because anyones IQ has suddenly disappeared into a vacuum, nor has anyones ability to discern the North Star in the middle of a hail storm, disappeared… No? No!… The reason I say this is because a significant proportion of you reading this article believe it is perfectly acceptable to reset a printers waste ink counter and think “Done!”

    But what about the ink?

    Erm… Hello! Resetting a couple of bits of data in a printers memory chip does not remove all the ink that’s been slowly soaked into those waste pads you’ve heard about. Nor, despite rumours to the contrary, have Epson, Canon or anyone else been lying about the waste ink either. Nope, that ink waste is really there, and it’s a timebomb waiting to strike.

    Why? Well you see, when you reset the waste ink counter that tells the printer that the waste pads have been changed. So it thinks that it has all that absorbent capacity afresh so it can merrily run cleaning cycles, prime new cartridges and generally push a pretty hefty amount of ink down that waste tube and not have to worry… Yes, printers don’t worry (unless they happen to be fictional, and called Marvin or somesuch).

    There’s No Waste Ink Sensor?

    Yes, that’s right! There’s absolutely nothing like a sensor in the printers circuitry that will tell it that the pads are becoming over-saturated. Why? Well, cost for one and there’s something else you need to know too.

    Your printer is going to flood!

    Oh, forget the drama of a dam bursting and the household being drowned in sticky black goo. Oh, no, this sort of flood is completely unannounced, quiet, totally without fanfare but when you finally catch on, it will be like a scene from the Keystone Kops.

    How Bad Can it be?

    Bad enough that it can cost you a new computer when the printer electronics short out and cause a surge because ink gets into the electronics

    Sinister enough that, Ink sitting in your waste tube allowing it to clog up until it finally backs up into the parking pad, soiling the underside of your printhead.

    Subtle enough that backed up ink soils printouts, and clogs the nozzles. Often people don’t notice the increase in cleaning cycles or the increased cost in cartridges whilst actual printing output reduces.

    So bad that if you aren’t paying attention when it finally starts leaking out, that your walls, your desk and yes, that wonderful carpet or laminate flooring will need to be repainted, repaired or replaced. Often involving some other form of insurance claim that ups your premiums, and incurs an excess.

    So, not really good at all!

    So What Can You Do?

    Let’s review those options…

    Putting the printer on a tray with a lip around the edge will save you from a flood scenario but it won’t stop the internal electronics, backing up or soiling over time.

    Sucking ink out of the waste pads sounds easy but have you ever tried releasing urine from a nappy or diaper? These pads are designed to retain a certain amount of ink so all you’ll ever do is return the pads to roughly a quarter empty and even then you still have to get to them.

    Install an external waste kit… Yes, Ok, so I’m biased but in all seriousness do any of the other options sound better??!

    So, Which Waste Kit?

    Yes, you can indeed build your own bottle with a hole punched in the side and some tape to hold it in place.. It’ll work so long as you don’t have kids, aren’t clumsy and don’t forget to empty it before the ink reaches the hole…

    … and yes, you could buy a cheap, poor quality knock off complete with stolen documentation that’s been rebranded because they just want to make a fast buck but don’t understand the actual physics involved.

    But, no.. Let’s not beat about the bush. If you have kids, if you don’t want a waste ink grenade equivalent waiting to go off, and if you’ve ever heard the expression “Buy cheap, buy twice” then you’ll be considering our Printer Potty kits.


    Yes… I know, I’m biased!, I admit it, but frankly there are two things you have to remember

    1. Resetting a printer and ignoring the waste ink is like flying a kite in a lightening storm
      (It’s not a case of if, but when!)
    2. The OctoInkjet kits are designed to withstand primary (K12) school environments and general clumsiness.

    Nuff Said!

    Posted by Martin @ 20:40

    Tags: , , ,

  • 6 Responses

    • Yo Martin yes I know about the waste ink I am sure you read about my undoing when I gave my flagship printer to my Son and he sent it to canon for repair. I had that printer 5 years and never once did I get or have a problem with the waste ink messages, it just printed on and beautifully on. The waste ink was just bursting to get out but was all right until some courier turned the box upside down. I think the waste build up is slower on CISS equipped printers and mine was at the point of warning when this accident happened. I am still pinning at the loss sob sob.. P.S. I never reset the waste counter. (The hat)

      • Sadly this is one of the things with CIS equipped printers.. Because there is no sensor in the pads you can easily end up with a printer that’s doing a good impression of the titanic…
        As for the courier turning the box upside down… Yep, that’s another “great” way to find your printer has filled its pads and then some

    • I have just installed the waste ink tank in my SX415. I already have a CIS installed. My waste pad is under the tube in full visibility, you can even touch it. I have had this printer for 2 months and already it has used 10% on the one pad (according to reset utility). I have printed about 200 images. Therefore i’ll need to reset it in 18 months.

    • Hi there.
      I have an R1900 with CIS and, yes, the inkpads have been silently and sneakily filling up to the point that, without any warnings being shown, I got the brown gooey stripe on the back when I printed some A3+ images.
      It wasn’t until I searched t’interweb for solutions that I learned of your external waste ink system. Too late!
      Or is it? Is there a successful way to replace sodding – whoops! sorry, I mean sodden – inkpads? If so how???
      Yours in hope

      • Hi, Sorry I missed this before now… You should be able to revive the printer again provided you install an external waste kit sooner rather than later.

        You may have to purge the tubes running from the cleaning/resting pad using a syringe to suck things through.. Failing that some suitable cleaning solution capable of breaking down your printers ink.

        The other thing worth noting is that I’d put that printer on a lipped tray as it could be overfull and likely to leak too… Hope that helps, albeit late…

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