Installing a new ink cartridge is a very straightforward task. While the odds are low, a new ink cartridge may seem empty after installing it. But why would that happen?
When a new ink cartridge says it’s empty even though it’s not, start by resetting the printer. If the problem persists, then it’s likely because you didn’t answer the printer’s prompts accurately when replacing the cartridge. Besides that, an unremoved plastic tab on the cartridge chip, incorrect installation, and dirty electrical contacts can also cause this problem.
New printer ink cartridges can be costly. Read this guide to understand why this problem happens and how you can get your new ink cartridge working correctly.
Why Does My New Ink Cartridge Say It’s Empty?
When a printer continues to sense its ink cartridges are empty, it will stop itself from printing your documents. So, here are the likely causes that you’ll want to troubleshoot and resolve:
Reset The Printer
About this: A reset is an excellent way to start your troubleshooting process. By resetting an electronic device like your printer, you’ll force it to shut down and start over.
In most cases, doing that will clear any minor issues affecting the printer, like its failure to sense a new cartridge full of ink.
Depending on your printer model, you could reset it by choosing the appropriate setting on its menu. Whether or not it has a menu option to reset, you can do it manually through power cycling.
What happened: The first reason you should troubleshoot is that your printer is experiencing a minor error or glitch preventing it from sensing the new ink cartridge.
A glitch like that can happen without any apparent reason. Thankfully, ruling out minor errors like that is straightforward and quick.
How to fix it: Firstly, check if the printer menu has an option you can choose to reset the device. If that’s not possible, you can also power cycle the device.
Firstly, remove the printer’s power plug from the wall socket. Then, leave the printer alone for at least 1 minute to clear its memory. Finally, reconnect the printer and let it restart normally.
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Incorrect Prompt Answer
About this: For some printers, replacing an empty ink cartridge isn’t as easy as removing it and putting in a new one.
Instead, the printer will issue a prompt on its menu or your computer screen to confirm that you’ve replaced an ink cartridge. The prompt may even ask you what kind of ink cartridge you’ve installed (e.g. color or black and white).
You should respond to any prompts accurately after any ink cartridge replacements.
What happened: A new ink cartridge might read empty due to a user error. For instance, the user might have responded incorrectly to the printer’s prompts after replacing the ink cartridge.
As a result, the printer continues operating as if the cartridge is still empty.
How to fix it: You can solve this problem by triggering the new cartridge prompt and answering it correctly. To do that, remove the ink cartridge and reinstall it.
When the prompt appears on the printer menu or computer screen, respond to it correctly.
That will let the printer know you’ve installed a new ink cartridge.
Unremoved Ink Cartridge Packaging
About this: A printer ink cartridge comes in special packaging that keeps it secure.
Aside from protecting the cartridge from damage during shipping, removable plastic tabs are stuck onto the cartridge’s electrical contacts. These tabs protect the contacts from things like dust and other debris.
You’ll have to remove all packaging material before installing a new cartridge into a printer.
What happened: If a new ink cartridge says it’s empty, it’s possible that you haven’t removed a part of the ink cartridge’s packaging. The most likely thing you haven’t removed is the plastic tape covering the electrical contacts.
Without removing that tab, the printer can’t communicate with the ink cartridge and measure the ink contents.
How to fix it: You can solve this quickly by removing the ink cartridge and gently removing any packaging material still on it. Most notably, make sure that you’ve peeled off the plastic tape covering the electrical contacts on the cartridge’s chip.
Incorrect Cartridge Installation
About this: Each printer model has steps you must follow when removing an ink cartridge and installing a new one. These steps are clearly defined in the device’s user manual. Plus, some even print the instructions inside the printer, making it visible while you handle the cartridges.
There are two reasons you have to follow those installation instructions precisely. Firstly, it ensures that the ink cartridge can move in perfect alignment during printing.
Secondly, a correctly seated ink cartridge will communicate, sending and receiving electrical signals from the printer.
What happened: An ink cartridge not sitting firmly in its place will prevent the printer from functioning correctly. That’s because the ink cartridge is misaligned, which means its electrical contacts are also not in the correct position.
As a result, the printer can’t accurately sense ink levels in the new cartridge and mistakenly think it’s still empty.
How to fix it: Solving this problem will require you to remove the ink cartridge. Then, follow the printer instructions to install the new ink cartridge. Be sure to seat the ink cartridge firmly and attach any clips as needed to secure the cartridge in place (if the printer has them).
Dirty Electrical Contacts
About this: Each printer ink cartridge has a chip attached to it. That chip has electrical contacts that allow it to communicate with the printer.
The printer and the individual cartridge can communicate through those electrical contacts, sending signals back and forth.
One type of information communicated that way is the ink level of that cartridge.
What happened: The final cause to consider is that the electrical contacts have become dirty. They could have gotten that way because dirt or debris had built up on the electrical contacts.
Dirty electrical contacts will prevent the printer and cartridge from communicating information accurately.
How to fix it: The solution to this problem is for you to clean those dirty electrical contacts. You can do that using isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
Rub the electrical contacts and give them a few seconds to dry before reinstalling the cartridge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Check out these questions and answers to help you troubleshoot your ink cartridge:
What Do I Do If My Ink Cartridge Is Empty?
When your ink cartridge is empty, you must replace it with a new one. First, open the printer’s door to access the cartridge and remove it, following the steps that apply to your printer model.
Can I Replace Just One Ink Cartridge?
Many printers won’t function if you only replace one empty cartridge. Instead, all cartridges must have some ink for the printer to continue printing documents, regardless of whether they’re in color or black and white.
How Do You Change An Ink Cartridge?
You’ll have to open the printer’s cartridge door to access the cartridges inside. Then, remove the cartridge. Some models require you to press or undo tabs that secure the cartridge in place.
Once the empty cartridge is removed, you can install the new one in its place.
How Long Will An Ink Cartridge Last In A Printer?
The lifespan of an ink cartridge depends on how much you use it. Simply put, the more you print, the more ink will come out of the cartridge until it’s empty. Check the ink cartridge packaging or user manual, as it’ll show you how many pages you can print with that cartridge.
Can You Remove The Chip From An Ink Cartridge?
No, you should never remove the chip from an ink cartridge. The chip is a crucial component that allows the ink cartridge and printer to work correctly.