Print with missing or empty cartrideg

  Ian in Northampton 09:30 AM 25 May 13

Does any of you own - or know of - a printer/scanner/copier that allows you to still print even when one of the ink cartridges is empty or missing? My HP is driving me mad - I can't print just because one of the cartridges is empty, even though I don't need that colour. It's close to defenestration (not just for this reason either - bloody thing...)

  alanrwood 09:41 AM 25 May 13

I don't know of any but stand to be corrected. I think the reason is that black is not always printed with the black ink. It sometimes prints "process black" which is a mixture of the colour inks. Also you need to remember that printers use subtractive colours ie the mixture of inks removes a part of the spectrum for each colour and you see is what is left. This is different to what your eyes which see all the colours of light that enter the eye ie. it is additive

  spuds 11:24 AM 25 May 13

I have a number of different make printers, mainly 4in1, some used, some new and still boxed. All seems to have the same limitations regarding empty or near empty cartridge problems. They refuse to continue at one certain point, or give constant warning messages. So possibly that is what the print manufacturer's want to subsidise the cheapness of actual printers nowadays?.

My latest printer that's in regular daily use is a Brother DCP-135C 4in1, which uses 4 x 50pence compatibles (bought through eBay). The black cartridge is the main user, so I obtain extra supplies. This particular printer was a great purchase, works brilliantly and a real cost saver.

  Peter 13:28 PM 25 May 13

Ian in Northampton,

It may be possible to get a chip re-setter for your printer and fool it into believing that the cartridge is full again. Be careful though as most printers do not like being run completely dry and damage can take place.


  Ian in Northampton 13:33 PM 25 May 13

Many thanks guys - very helpful. Spuds: noted re the Brother. I've always been an Epson fan (my wife bought me the HP... :-( ) because they're reliable, and because low cost cartridges are readily available. Peter: I'll investigate that. alanrwood: yep, I take your point. What I'd really like to do is, if I'm just printing something relatively unimportant, just change the font colour from black to blue or red or whatever.

  alanrwood 15:45 PM 25 May 13

Hi Yes I appreciate what you wanted but even if you print just cyan, yellow or magenta you would find it difficult to print in just that one colour as all colours are mixtures in various proportions.

  wiz-king 16:40 PM 25 May 13

Any Brother with a separate black cartridge will give you the option of printing in b&w or colour, even in colour mode it will still print in a dark grey.

  Woolwell 19:36 PM 25 May 13

AFAIK you cannot do it. Printers use Black, Cyan, Yellow and Red to create all of the colours. Some printers add more cartridges but they are designed to work with all cartridges functioning.

  Ian in Northampton 19:39 PM 25 May 13

Thanks again. Looks like I'll search in vain...


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