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Typically you do not have to change the color cartridge when you replace the black cartridge.
As far as the spotty printing, it sounds like you have some clogged nozzles caused by the lower quality of ink in refilled or aftermarket cartridges. There cartridge inks may not be up to specification. This is especially true for the ultra fine printers.
To clear the problem you need to insert an OEM cartridge, run the deep nozzle cleaning utiliity at least twice followed by the alignment utility. This should clear up the problem with the spotty and washed out printout. Let me know if this solves your problem otherwise we can explore other solutiions.
For the record, which printer do you have? Please rate this solution. Thanks.
Indicates that the printer is using only color ink to create a black color. Check printer settings to see if you can set it to use only black cartridge. Also try printing with only the black cartridge inside if the printer permits, this way you can be sure if the black print head is faulty.
http://crm01.konicaminoltaeurope.com/openmind/technic/engineer/qmspubkb.nsf/0/70744652a954e650c1256f820078e0a2/$FILE/MC24x0-Replace%20Toner%20Cartridge.pdf Goto the above link and it shows the PDF doc. for changing the cartrides.
No, you can't print with only one cartridge in the printer. The printer needs both of them to close the electric circuit. Remove the color cartridge and inspect it. Clean the electric contacts on it- sometimes, when the contacts are dirty, the printer cannot recognize the cartridge. If that doesn't do the trick, you will need to replace the color cartridge.