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How To Fix Printer Ink Cartridge Issues

How to fix ink cartridge issues

Printer Cartridge Problems? Below are some common printer cartridge problems and our recommendations for resolving the issues. If these don't help, please contact us - we're happy to assist in solving any and all printer problems.


For Compatible Ink Cartridges

Installing your print cartridge properly

- Your ink cartridges will last longer if you do not remove your cartridge from the protective wrapping until it's ready for use.
- The ink cartridge should be placed upright for at least 30 minutes prior to use; this will allow the ink to flow down to the print head and allow any oxygen bubbles to rise up and away from the print head.
- Be sure you've removed the plastic strip from the ink cartridge.
- Install the print cartridge(s).
- Run the head cleaning cycle at least one time.
- Print a test page to make sure the print cartridge(s) are installed and functioning properly.

The print quality is not very good

- Run the head cleaning cycle 2 - 3 times.
- If this does not work, please contact us.

The ink cartridge is not being recognized

- Be sure that you have removed the plastic strip covering the cartridge vent holes. (the plastic is generally yellow in color)
- (1) Remove the ink cartridge from the printer. (2) Power OFF the printer for 2 minutes. (3) Power ON the printer and re-install the ink cartridge(s). (4) Run the head cleaning cycle.

For Remanufacutured Ink Cartridges

Prints Only White Page

- Be sure tape has not been removed from printhead.
- Air may be trapped inside cartridge. Ensure tape covering printhead has been removed. Wrap the cartridge in an absorbent paper towel and shake lightly.

White Lines and Streaks

- Printer contacts may be worn or dirty OR your printhead may be partially clogged. Try this to fix:
- Moisten a nonabrasive towel; gently wipe printer contacts.
- Avoid touching contacts with your fingers.
- Soak the printhead in warm water for 5 minutes. Blot printhead with a nonabrasive towel. Reinstall and use printer cleaning cycle.

Leaking Cartridge

- The likely cause of this is that the internal pressure is unbalanced. To fix this rest cartridge (printhead facing down) on paper towel and allow excess ink to balance.

Color Mixing / Cross Contamination

- This is likely caused by one one color bleeding into another. To fix this set the ink cartridge (printhead down) onto folded, moistened paper towel for 5 minutes, then reinsert into printer.

Generally Poor Print Quality

- This is likely caused by paper fiber and/or debris buildup in the ink cartridge carriage. To fix this refer to your printer user guide to run routine cleaning cycles. We recommend running routine maintenance on your printer to maintain peak performance and prevent debris buildup.

Cartridge Not Registering

- To fix this (1) Verify that tape is removed from the printhead. 2. Gently wipe cartridge printhead and printer circuitry with a nonabrasive towel to ensure there is no debris. 3. Turn printer off. Unplug power cord and other cables. Wait 30 seconds. Plug cords and cables back in.

Dell Cartridges - Low Ink or Empty Ink

- It is very common for Dell ink cartridges to incorrectly display ink levels. If you ink level appears to be empty on the Printer Software please ignore this message & follow the instructions below to turn off or minimize the warning dialog box (please note, this works for the Dell M4640 & M4646 ink cartridges):
1. In Windows XP. Select Start.
2. Select Printers & Faxes (or open the Control Panel and select the Printers & Faxes folder)
3. Select your Dell printer.
4. Click FILE on the top right corner and select Printing Preferences from the pull down menu.
5. Select Advanced Options Tab.
6. Click on More Options.
7. Select one of the following two options.
a. Never Display the print status
b. Display the printing status minimized in task bar.
8. Press OK, Press OK, and close windows.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile