Question about Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet Printer

1 Answer

No black ink prints but colors almost perfect

My Brother 420CN will not print any black ink in color prints or in black & white prints. The colors seem to print ok although the test print shows a couple of dots missing in the magenta and blue, but I do NOT get anything that is black to show when printing. Even on the test print no black will appear. The cartridges have been refilled and used for a few months with no problems, but when I did not use the printer for a couple of weeks I found that the black became inop. Have already gone into "maintenance mode" to perform head cleaning and countless cleaning procedures as per owners manual prior to this. All ink cartridges are visually full and fully seated and monitor also agrees with ink levels. Can anyone assist me on what to do for a fix on this thing?? This is my second printer in less than two years and can't believe I may need to buy another one so soon.

Posted by on

1 Answer

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Vice President:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 100 times.

  • Master
  • 832 Answers
Re: no black ink prints but colors almost perfect

Sorry, no good news: Infact you need a new printhead. The refill ink has clogged the filter inside the head which is in front of the nozzles. Another reason could be: Did you unplug the printer from power in those weeks of none use? If yes, the head has dryed out. In future: Do one simple test print once a week when you dont use the printer too often. That keeps the nozzles going :) There is some hope, too: See here how to fix it on your own (Following the link given to : choose mfc 215c inside)

Posted on Oct 05, 2007

Add Your Answer

0 characters

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add


3 Points

Related Questions:

1 Answer

If I am out of one of the color inks, can I just

Yikes! No. That's how they designed it. You always to have all 4 ink because the printer does self-cleaning every so often. Otherwise, the jets dry & clog.
Also, my understanding is that even for black prints, color inks are used in small qty. If ink cost is an issue (it is for a lot of people), you might consider bulk systems.

Jun 02, 2010 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

My printer doesnt print out color, only black..

3 things will cause this. Either you are simply out of color ink, the print head is clogged or your driver is set to print only grayscale or black and white.

You can run the cleaning cycle a few times to see if you start to get it printing colors. If you printed a bunch of color stuff the last time you used it and it has set for a week or more (sometimes less) then the ink can dry and block the sprayed ink. The cleaning cycle helps clean it off and restore printing.

You can also look at the print settings from the start - then printers and then right click on your printer and then look at printing preferences. There should be a setting that says print color or gray scale or auto. It may also show you the status of the ink, if they are empty or not.

Usually after all this you will find it just needs quite a few clean cycles and away it goes.

Apr 24, 2010 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

Brother 420CN printer will not print black ink. Have replaced the cartridge and after several cleaning cycles, it still will not print properly. Test Print shows colors are fine but black ink is hit and...

I have a brother MFC 3240C. My Black ink stopped printing(initially printed horizontal faded lines and gradually got worse), the other colors were printing fine. I tried cleaning numerous time( 50 -100 times over 1-2 weeks ). Still no improvement. The way I print now is:
1. I go to Printer Properties
2. Change Media type from "Plain Paper" to "Inkjet Paper".
3. Change Quality to "Photo".

This takes a long time to print 1-2 minutes per page. However, this works for me since this is my Home printer and use it for printing only few pages here are there.

Good Luck

Dec 20, 2009 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

Printing color is ok but no black

printer is probably too old . buy a new one

or just print everything out in blue or sumtin other than black.

(thats what i do when my black ink is out)

Jun 30, 2009 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

Will no print black color doc if any other color ink is empty

actually, its not. the reason is, there is a small resovoire (sp?) in the ink cartridges. if you continue to print, the nozzles will clog up, and can cause all the nozzles not to work. even when you do just black, the printer has to clean at times all the nozzles and if your nozzles are empty, air will go into the deep and dry up the excess ink.

if you are going to do primarily black prints, you should get a black and white laser for those uses only.

Jun 13, 2009 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

I Need to Print

Sadly in a word, 'No'.

Here is the exact answer from Brother:

Your Brother machine is designed to stop ALL printing operations
(printing from the pc, printing received faxes and printing copies or reports) when any of the ink cartridges are empty. This is to ensure the life of the print head and maintain premium print quality. If the unit were to continue printing, print jobs and cleaning cycles would suction air from the dry cartridge and damage the printhead. Even if you print in black only or change the print settings to MONO or GRAYSCALE to avoid printing in color, the programmed cleaning cycles would still suction the dry cartridge, because they are programmed to clean ALL the ink nozzles.

The only way to continue printing is to replace the empty ink cartridge or cartridges.

While memory is available, black and white faxes will continue to be received into memory. If a color fax is being received, the Brother machines HANDSHAKE will request the fax be sent as black and white fax.

All faxes received into memory will automatically print once the ink cartridge is replaced.

NOTE: Brother strongly recommends that customers do not use generic ink or refill their Brother ink cartridges. Using non-Brother supplies may affect the hardware performance, print quality and machine reliability since the ink formulation in genuine Brother ink cartridges prevent smearing and clogging of the print head. The Brother limited warranty does not apply to any problem that was caused by the use of unauthorized third party ink and/or cartridges.

Nov 26, 2008 | Brother Multi-Function Center MFC-240C...

1 Answer

MFC-420CN does not print black

My yellow cartridge was doing the same thing as your black. So I took the cartridge out, and took a flashlight to see how it works. There is like a little straw on the right hand side which goes up into the printer cartridge, this I assume is to measure the ink. I took a needle and cleaned that 'straw' thoroughly. Reseated the ink, ran cleaning and test print, and then the printer found the yellow ink! You could give that a try. It might work for you too. (I have never used any ink but Brother ink in the printer, btw.)

Apr 20, 2008 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

2 Answers

Brother MFC-420CN color ink empty but want to print/copy in B&W

brother won't print od do anything is one of the 4 inks are empty so first of all you have to replace whatever is empty, when you remove it it will ask you if you changed it and if it is a new one you will press 1 twice per cartridge, if you put compatible ink in you will clog the ink head up and then be stuffed

Dec 15, 2007 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

Will not print

naturally will the printer refuse to print if one color is empty to be in safe mode.
This is because of the print head technique which demands a permanent ink supply to prevent drying out:

Dec 07, 2007 | Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet...

Not finding what you are looking for?
Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet Printer Logo

341 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Brother Printers & Copiers Experts

Jim Yeh

Level 1 Expert

15 Answers

Jesus  Colon
Jesus Colon

Level 1 Expert

12 Answers

Rick Johnson
Rick Johnson

Level 2 Expert

84 Answers

Are you a Brother Printer and Copier Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides