there is NO ink tank in your printer! All printers send allwaste ink to the blotters at the very bottom of your printer. Not all your inkis used up on your prints and photos - much of it is over-spray or the excessused in printhead priming before, and cleaning and wiping after, a print job
is finished. Yes, there's a lot ofink down there!
Can a printer owner fix this problem at home? Well, the answer comes in twoparts, the first is easy, and is answered by the procedures below - the wasteink counter can be easily re-set, and your printer will once again beginprinting. The second part of the answer is that unless you take your printerapart and clean it out, you will eventually - sooner or later - face a scenariowhere the waste ink in your printer will begin to ooze out of the bottom ofyour printer (I will answer this second issue with a companion article to thisone - link under Resources below).
I am most familiar with Canon printers, and will use one of Canon's mostpopular recent printers, the Pixma iP4000 as an example of the waste tank resetprocess. This same process should work with all of Canon's Pixma printers, andmay even work with other Canon printers as well..
Does Canon want you to know this information? Of course not! Will it extend thelife of your old faithful printer? Yes it will. And this is especially good ifyour old printer is one of those that uses generic, compatible ink cartridges,which are much less expensive than today's "chipped" ink cartridges.So, keep that baby alive, and feel good about it.
1.We'll assume that you've already removed the outside caseof your printer
2. Once the case is off, you're looking at the guts of theprinter sitting in the tray-like base. To get at the blotters and waste ink,you'll need to get under the printer body, which is held to the base by threeor four screws. The older your printer is, the easier it will be to find thescrews that hold the body to the base, and the more working room you'll have.If you have a good magnetic screwdriver, that will be very helpful. It may alsobe helpful to take notes and/or pictures of where the screws are located tomake re-assembly easier.
3. Use your flashlight or lamp to illuminate the rear corners of theprinter base. You should see a small screw on each side with an access for yourscrewdriver to it - remove each of these screws, and the body of the printershould be freed-up from the rear of the case. Now look for one, or usually, twomore small screws on each side of the case bottom toward the front. With theremoval of these screws, the printer body should be able to be raised at therear and lifted backward out of the case. Some models have a hidden screw ortwo, which might even require the removal of the power supply, or the movementof wire assemblies to get at the screw. But there always will be a way.
4. Put on a pair of latex gloves. With the printer body removed from thecase, and set aside on some newspaper (it may/will be very "inky" onthe bottom!), you are now looking at the blotters which have received theexcess ink - see the top pic. Again, it's a good idea to take notes or picturesto indicate the location of the blotters. There are usually several large andsmall ones. Remove them to plenty of newspaper and take them to a utility sink,idealy in your garage or the utility room
5. The cleaning of the blotters will take huge amounts of running water!Hold the blotter under a stream of running water as it flushes the waste inkout. This will take a long time - maybe 10-15 minutes for each one. No, youwill never get them white again, but your goal is to remove enough of the wasteink that eventually, the wash water is just slightly inky and the blotters aregrey. You may gently squeeze them as you wash them, but this may damage theblotters, so go gently. When you decide they've had enough cleaning, let themswell with warm water until nice and plump, and do not squeeze this water out.Put them outside in the full sun on some thick newspaper to fully dry -occasionally turning them over. If it's raining in your area, you may choose todo the drying in your oven - use only the oven light, which should push thetemp to near/over 100 degrees, and lots of newspaper.
6. While the blotters dry, take the printer tray/base to the sink andgive it a good cleaning. Make up a Clorox/water solution to help remove inkstains
from the base and the outside of the case too. When the blottershave dried - two days is not unusual - you're ready to begin the re-assembly ofthe printer. Use your notes/pictures if you've been smart enough to have them.Replace the blotters. The printer body will slip into the bottom of the casefrom the back toward the front. Replace the screws. Remember to re-route anywiring, and to reconnect plug-ins. It's a good idea to power it up before youput the case back on, just to make sure all is well. Replace the case, andpower it up.
7. f you're lucky, you will no longer see the flashing error code lights(they are different on many models, but usually on the Pixmas, you'll see asequence of 8 orange flashes followed by one green). If you are still seeingthis error code flashing, you'll need to reset the printer's internal setting -to do that, see the last link in the Resources below titled, "How to Fixthe Dreaded Waste Tank Filled Error Message for Your Canon Printer". Andif you continue to have issues, check out one or two of the suggested PrinterForums listed below.
With the printer power turned off, while pressing the Resume/Cancel button,press and hold the Power button. (DO NOT release the buttons. The LED lights ingreen to indicate that a function is selectable.)
While holding the Power button, release the Resume/Cancel button. (DO NOTrelease the Power button.)
While holding the Power button, press the Resume/Cancel button 2 times, andthen release both the Power and Resume/Cancel buttons. (Each time theResume/Cancel button is pressed, the LED lights alternately in orange andgreen, starting with orange.)
When the LED lights in green, press the Resume/Cancel button 4 times - Wasteink counter resetting. (Each time the Resume/Cancel button is pressed, the LEDlights alternately in orange and green, starting with orange.)
After the function (menu) is selected, press the Power button. The LEDlights in green, and the selected function is performed. (When the operationcompletes, the printer returns to the menu selection mode automatically.)
If the printer is now off, the process is finished, otherwise press thePower button one more time to set the function and to shut down the printer.