My printer, Canon PIXMA iP5000, comes up with error 1003, No paper, load the paper cassette properly. Obviously I have paper in there in the normal way I have been doing it for years. No obvious paper jams, bits sticking etc. Have switched printer/Mac off and on several times. Opened and closed all covers, pressed every conceivable permutation of switches. Still the same error message.
Presumably there is some sort of microswitch or opto-switch to detect the presence of paper that is malfunctioning.
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Another possible reason for getting this error is a dusty printer. I don't dust very often so dust piles on everything, including my printer. My daughter wanted me to print something for her and the first page went through just fine. But the second never started and I got error 1003. I had plenty of paper loaded and my settings for the size of paper were correct. I dusted out my printer and everything else printed just fine. My theory is the top paper had dust bunnies on it that were pulled into the printer when it pulled the first page in. Maybe the dust got caught on a sensor that told the computer there wasn't any paper. Regardless of what happened, a quick cleaning fixed the problem. I just wanted to throw in my two cents for anyone out there that may have a dusty printer and run into this error.
It turns out that if you read the documentation VERY carefully it says that "if the application program specifies 8.5x11 plain paper and that is what is loaded in the front cassette you cannot print from the rear tray". It turns out that this is true even if you go to the printer driver and specify "rear tray" manually. The driver disregards the setting. You can force printing plain paper from the rear tray by going to the Canon "My Printer" icon and forcing ALL printing from the rear tray. If you do this, remember to change it back. You can also print plain paper from the rear tray if you specify the "allocation" option and the paper from the front cassette runs out. You can always print from the rear tray if the application that created the print job specifies something other than 8.5x11 without resorting to the forced override, e.g. printing a .jpg or .gif or something from an application like Paintshop or Printshop, etc.
Tackler- I dont think I have a solution but I know that the cassette should stick out about 5cm i.e. the cover just fits on nicely. I found with mine sometimes it needed a firm (but not hard) push in as obviously some sensor was not being tripped and it would just not pick up the paper in the tray. Have you tried using the top down feed? At least if that works you can print (and you can stack up a couple of pages).