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It sounds like the cartridge chips are incompatible so you've probably been sold/sent the wrong cartridges.
It's possible that the printer you have is a later version with an updated firmware which has been programmed to refuse cartridge chips that were compatible with the first printers produced of this model but as the CX8400 is a relatively old printer I'd be a bit surprised if that were the case.
It's also possible that the cartridge chips are badly aligned, soiled (ie: dirty), or that the contact wires in the printhead (the thin/delicate wires that make contact with the chip when the cartridge is installed) are damaged.
Easiest way to tell if the cartridge chips are the problem though is to get a completely different cartridge, preferably some originals and see if they are accepted or not.
Yes you should be able to just change the black ink cartrage, A lot of printer wont allow other third party cartrages, is it a genuine epson ink cartridge? if so try cleaning the contacts on the cartrage.
When you put in a "new" cartrage the printer sens an electrical charge to the cartrage to set it up properly. So I would treat this as a new cartrage, rather than a refilled one. Go to the printer menu and re install the ink cartrage in question, it should recognise it and start the function as a new one, good luck
Took printer back- power up and take all carts out in sequence that would not register, then put them back in sequence- works fine now! At one time you could not do this with Epsons but it seems you can do so now. Printer happy- me happy- £50 worse off as bought another set of ink carts so I won't get caught out again with no ink. However given one black cart for my trouble so happy again.