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I had the same problem with my Brother MFC 490 CW. It suddenly started printing yellow instead of black. I believe my problem was cause by a mislabeled third party black ink cartridge. The cartridge was labelled black but it had a yellow end piece. In any case I took out the black cartridge and replaced with another. Initially it made no difference I assume because some yellow ink was still in the tube. After 10 or so pages of printing the print turned darker. I also did three cleanings and unplugged the unit and then plugged it back in. I am not sure what if anything these latter two actions accomplished, but I wanted to report all I did in case they were actually part of the solution. My own conclusion is that it was simply a mislabeled cartridge.
The Lexmark Platinum Pro905 needs all four inks to have substantial ink for printing at all times in order to prevent damage to the printhead. This is why a user has to replace empty ink cartridges to continue printing. This includes color cartridges for black only jobs.
This model printer has only two slots for ink cartridges. One is for a black ink cartrigde and the other is for a tri-color cartridge which contains cyan, magenta and yellow inks. This tri-color cartridge has run out of yellow ink, you need to replace this tri-color cartridge.
See if the ink cartridges are installed correctly. It may be that your Magenta and Yellow ink cartridges need to change places. So, try replacing the cartridges, put the Magenta where the Yellow is, and the Yellow where the Magenta is. Usually the ink cartridge placement follows this order: Cyan, Magenta, Yelow, Black, so see if the cartridges on your printer match. Also, check to see if there are color markings on the print-head itself, and make sure the markings match the cartridge inks. If the ink cartridges are aligned properly and the Black is printing out just fine, you may be looking at a software issue, and you'll need to remove the printer from the Devices list (go to Start -> Control Panel -> System), unplug the printer from the PC and restart. Then, install the drivers first, and after that plug in the printer cable to the PC.
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On this machine you have to install inks with power on and use the ink button and choose replace ink. If you just plug them in it won't register and reset the counts. You may need to run clean cycles at least twice to get proper colors.
Most printers use a little of all inks in their functioning, just to keep all the inks flowing, so while it is not printing yellow, it uses it in the startup mode to verify function and cleaning mode to clean the nozzles. Manufacturers usually do not put in a bypass for this, because they make money mostly on selling you ink cartridges.
The PGBK cartridge is a pigment black ink, while the others use a dye for coloration. The pigment black is used when printing text and other documents. The dye ink is used when printing photos and other colored documents. The dye black is used in conjunction with the color (dye) inks to provide tinting and color gradation, and therefore is not used nearly as much as the pigment black unless you use your printer only for printing photos.
If you're printing text and documents, you will need to buy another pigment black (PGBK) cartridge.
I had the same problem with the yellow cartridge.
Yellow quit printing, put in a new yellow and
still would not print yellow.
I had a help file, don't know where I got it, but
it suggested replacing the black ink cartridge
also, even though the black wasn't low yet.
Replaced the black, ran a few nozzle cleans and
everything worked fine. Don't know why.