Shawn's Blog

a hair-band lovin', techni-junkie's banter about… whatever.

“Fixing” a Brother MFC-240C

Posted on | August 26, 2008 | 174 Comments

About a year and a half ago, my wife and I were looking to upgrade our older printer and get rid of some of the clutter on the computer desk. We decided to go with a Brother MFC-240C All-In-One printer which had copier, scanner, fax and printer functions which would be perfect for us, and to be honst, the price was great on it.

After a few months, we had a notification that the colors were running low, which was strange, since we rarely print colour on the printer – actually, we rarely print anything at all. Flash forward a few weeks, and we get a message that the colour cartridges are empty. Again, we hadn’t even used the colour cartridges (we actually turn the colour settings off in the options before printing, so, no, the colours were not being mixed to create black). No problem – we’re not going to print colour anyway – just give us black. Nope. Come to find out, this printer will not print anything if any of the ink cartridges are empty. I have a full black cartridge, and 3 colour cartridges which are “empty”, and the printer will not print in black. We have to buy new ink, replace it, and we’re good to go – for another year.

So, last week the same thing happens. I take a look at the ink cartridges, and see a full black cartridge (yup, same one I installed last year), and the 3 colour cartrides are near empty (I may have printed standard size pictures since replacing the cartridge) but can see ink in them. The printer refuses to print. At this point, I am furious, and to be honest, was looking at buying another printer rather than replacing the ink on this – in reality, a new multi-function printer would have cost about $20 more than buying ink.

A did a little research to see if anyone else had the same problem I did. Unfortunately, I did not find anything relevant on my printer, but found a lot of people having trouble with Brother printers doing the same thing. A theory I did find about the colours running out came from a person who works on printers and claimed that Brother printers randomly turn on during the day and do a nozzle cleaning, which uses up ink. I’m not sure if this is the case, but certainly seems plausible, as my colour ink cartridges were low, with very minimal use.

One person learned that if you covered a specific spot on their Brother ink cartridges with black electrical tape, you can trick the scanner in the printer into thinking that the ink is full. Unfortunately, the cartridges people were talking about did not match what I had.

So, to help anyone else who may have this problem, here is how to “fix” your brother MFC-240C:

After some playing, I got it to work. On the MFC-240C ink cartridges, look on the end that goes into the printer. About half way down there is a clear section where you can see the ink. Cut a piece of electrical tape which is about the same size of the hole, and push the tape into the groove to completely cover over the clear plastic inside. I used a pen to make it “hug” the clear plastic section. When you place the ink cartridges back into the printer, they will be a little snug, but they will fit in. I did this for all of the cartridges, and closed the cover to the ink section. The printer went through it’s cleaning phase thinking there were new cartridges added, and I was good to go.

Needless to say, I will never recommend a Brother product to anyone. Pass this on to anyone you think may be having trouble with their Brother printer. This simple “fix” can save a lot of money.

EDIT: For clarity, here is a picture of the area that need to be patched up.

ink location

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174 Responses to ““Fixing” a Brother MFC-240C”

  1. Fixing a Lexmark E332n that will not pick up paper. | Shawn's Blog
    July 20th, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    [...] year, I wrote an article on “Fixing” a Brother MFC 240C Printer which explained how to bypass the “feature” of that printer which would not allow you [...]

  2. Connie
    August 11th, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

    :smile: Thank you SO much for the tip for the Brother MFC 240C !!! I mostly use this printer as a scanner and for black and white copies. It’s been so irritating to have to constantly replace yellow, pink, and blue ink just to SCAN something! Your “tip” worked perfectly. I’m a happy camper today! Thank you!

  3. Sen
    August 15th, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    Thank you for this tip.

  4. Grant
    August 19th, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

    Thanks a million :) worked like a charm.

  5. Ricky
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 3:32 am

    First of all, thank you for this awesome advice!! I have a Brother MFC 210C and yes it does turn on automatically randomly in the day to clean the nozzle or whatever it is, because you can hear the printer sound cleaning it.

    I hate the fact that i have to buy colour ink cartridges just so i can use black and white printing or else the printer won’t work at all……

    i’ll give your advice a try, i just hope i can find some black electrical tape, not sure if they sell it in New Zealand coz i haven’t heard of this….

    but anyway thanks a lot for the tip!

  6. Amber
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

    OMG… Thank you so much… works perfectly… you just saved us a lot of money :smile:
    Can’t believe they would actually force you to buy all cartridges just to be able to print with black ink…

    Anyway :razz: works now!!!

    Thanks a million!!!

  7. Ricky
    September 3rd, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    okay i just tried it and it’s not working. I’m not exactly sure which part of the catridge the sensor is, i’m using Brother MFC 210C so maybe it’s a little different? I think i know where the sensor is but when i cover it, it doesn’t work.

    Could somebody please take some photos showing where to cover the cartridge sensor?

  8. Cindy
    September 9th, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I own 2 Brother printers……..this one and a laser hl-4040cn. I am so UPSET :twisted: Brother makes it so expensive to operate one of their printers!!! I guess that’s where they get their $$$. Not on the front end from the purchase, but on the back end for parts! But I can now scan….and I will be shutting it off when not in use at all!

  9. Shawn
    September 14th, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

    Ricky: On the 240C, the side of the cartridge that goes into the printer has a clear plastic section where you can see some ink. You should be able to cover this over with any dark colored tape to trick the printer into thinking the ink is full.

    I’ll try to remember to grab a picture of this tonight for you.

  10. MrGonz
    September 29th, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    First let me thank you for the excellent advice on “fixing” my Brother 240C. It totally worked for me with blue masking tape instead of gaffer’s or electrical.

    It not only doesn’t allow you to print when one of the inks is out, but I was unable to scan either! This is absolutely the last Brother printer I buy in my life and as the family/friend “computer guy” I will direct everyone I know to avoid their products.

    Secondly, the 240C is a true CMYK printer (that’s what attracted me to it in the first place) and I believe that the printer reads all black as “rich black” (i.e., it mixes 2% CMY with 98% K) that maybe the reason it seems to go through so much color when you are printing B&W. Now if it were a $2K+ CMYK printer, I would expect that. Here not so much!

    Thanks again,


  11. MARY
    October 12th, 2009 @ 1:05 pm


  12. MARY
    October 12th, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    it really works u are a genious

  13. Abzman
    October 21st, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing this cost saving advice. Brother deserves a class action suit for this. Can you imagine your parked car running every few hours on its own to keep the injectors clean?! This is what this printer does. I discovered it by coincidence and unplugged it from the power.
    I bought cheap ink for it from They had a promo of 10packs for $13! Anyway, I’m ticked off with this printer bcz I printed maybe 3 pages of black text since I owned it yet the ink is empty now! I had an Epson before and that ended up in a class action and I got part of the settlement. The reasons were slightly different.
    If you have the energy and money consider consulting with an attorney. I might do that later.

  14. Tyson
    October 26th, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

    I found a website which I purchased a Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) for around $170 Australian (includes shipping) for my MFC-240C. It has worked fantastic and still has lots of ink. It is even cheaper to order the ink and ship it from Australia than it is to get the cheap refill locally. Each color reservoir holds 100ml of ink and since most cartridges hold 8ml it lasts a super long time. I checked the website just now and couldn’t get on, so hopefully they are still around. Definitely worth it if you do a lot of printing.

  15. Les
    November 3rd, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

    Thank you for your fix on the Brother MFC-240C. This ‘problem’ with the ink has turned me completly off Brother. Thank you so much for an easy fix.

  16. cali
    November 6th, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

    :idea: GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT :idea: !!!!!!!!I have had so much trouble with this and it worked perfectly. I had to thank you. I actually used a bit of paper i colored blue since i didn’t have any tape… and voila, a perfectly printed black and white. Thanks for the tip. they should put this as one of the faq’s on the brother troubleshooting website!

  17. daniel
    November 29th, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

    hello to all. i also own a brother mfc 240c. my problem is a the same but different cuz im trying to print color prints but it wont read red cartridges. bought new ones and wont read them. dont know what to do.

  18. Lyn
    December 6th, 2009 @ 7:54 pm


    Just tried your trick and it worked like a charm! I didn’t have black electrical tape, but I had red Christmas tape that worked just fine!

    What great advice!! I’m so sick of paying for ink that i NEVER use!!!

    Has anyone tried leaving the printer unplugged to avoid wasting ink on “cleaning”??

  19. Monique
    December 8th, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    OMG thank you so much for the tip….I was getting so frustrated not being able to print with just black ink…your a life saver!!!!!

  20. Mahant
    December 11th, 2009 @ 9:30 am

    Thanks a lot….Your trick worked indeed. Right now you saved me bunch. You are really good!!!

  21. Fred
    January 27th, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    I will never recommend a Brother printer to anyone. The red stopped printing and after finding out that it was JUST past the warranty date, they would not help me. So, try other brands of printers before trying a brother printer.

  22. Sharukhan
    February 8th, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    Thank you.

  23. Earl
    February 21st, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    Great trick,works well,found another fix for when the lcd says replace ink and it is not empty and no matter what you do it will not reset and let you print 1.Raise the cover as if you are going to install the usb cable,you will see 3 philips screws remove these,now unsnap the control panel you may have to pry gently on either side to unlatch now comes the hard part turn the power off,next remove the 9 wire connector in the circuit board that is in line with the usb connector it is white now turn the power on your lcd will say to trouble shoot when you see this turn the power off reinstall the white connector-it must line up properly do not force just slight pressure is needed-[90 deg. needle nose pliers work well and good eye sight].next turn the power back on this process resets the chips and you should be good to go. Leave control panel off for a while and perform some print functions before reassembling beacause if it’s been a while since it has been used you may have to do some clean functions and may have to reset the chips more than once. THIS IS A LAST RESORT AND ONLY DO IF OUT OF WARANTY. :!:

  24. Lance
    February 23rd, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    This worked great. Thanks for excellent advise. You saved me not only time but money. I agree, I will never purchase another Brother again.


  25. Linda
    March 4th, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    IT REALLY WORKED! Thank you so much!!

  26. John
    March 6th, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve got a 210C and has been struggling the same issue for long time. Another way I just tried is to fill some water into the empty color cartridge, so that the printer “think” it is not empty (hey, do have some liquid in it). Turn over the cartridge, you will see one hole and one stick. Put some water into the hole, and try to open the small hole by pressing a thin screw driver into the hole. At the meantime, press down the stick of the other side, the water will get in. So you will see more “ink” in the cartridge.

  27. chris
    March 10th, 2010 @ 5:44 pm


    YOur are great…brother essentially gave away the printer because they knew we would be a hostage to the color ink…(liquid gold for their profits) Well no longer…

    Brilliant idea.

  28. Mike
    March 30th, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    Thank you for the tip. It worked like a charm on my Brother MFC-240C USB Printer!

    I would highly recommend it to anyone.

    Good deal!

  29. Jenna
    May 14th, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Just as reference to anyone interested, mine is always turned off when I’m not using it, but still turns itself on for cleaning and such. I noticed because I’m in college and at night time it would kick on when my roommate and I were sleeping and my roommate thought my printer was posessed. To avoid wasting ink, you have to physically unplug the printer if you’re not using it.

    Happy Printing!

  30. John B
    May 24th, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

    I have a mfc-240c and was having trouble with the machine not even detecting black cartridge. As a tip from another site I lifted the scanner glass portion up, and removed the 3 screws at the top of controls. I then clipped the 5th wire on the 9 pin white wires plug that is attached to the circuit board. This disables the sensors and the machine works fine now. You just have to replace ink when it starts to fade.

  31. Leah H.
    June 23rd, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I had already thrown out the empty cartridge, so I had to modify your suggestion a little. I rolled up some electrical tape into a little cylinder and placed it in the crevice into which the clear plastic part of the cartridge is supposed to go.
    I closed the cover, and the printer went through it’s cleaning cycle and read it as full, even though there was no cartridge in the machine! Now I can print gray scale no problem.

  32. Rachel
    June 28th, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    Thanks! :mrgreen:

  33. Darren
    June 28th, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I used part of a white mailing label. As long as it’s opaque to light, it’ll work.

  34. Dan
    August 27th, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Worked like a charm. I just slapped a piece of electrical tape accross the opening and now the status shows full. B/W print function back online. THANKS!!

  35. Angie
    September 13th, 2010 @ 12:36 am

    Thank you so much! I was frantic thinking I would have to buy another printer/copy/scanner/fax! Did the whole take apart, disconnect the 9 pin thingy and hook it back up and put it back together. FANTASTIC!! I want to clip the wire like John B
    said to do, but I am unsure if he means the 5th wire from the right or the 5th wire from the left, and facing which way! LOL. JOHN..IF YOU READ THIS CAN YOU CLARIFY OR SHOW ME A PIC?
    Love you guys! Thanks!!

  36. Jamez
    October 15th, 2010 @ 12:10 am

    Excellent Info!

    My Cyan sensor is fried, when full it registers around 20%. the old one registered zero. I used a felt pen instead of tape to blacken this area. Worked. Even the old cartridge that was zero registers 20% or as full as it is going to register thanks to blackening it out.

    Brother is a rip off, they wanted more for the cartridges than the printer. I found some on line dirt cheap but wish I read this first, works great. The printer is a pig, otherwise it does some functions like scanning and faxing so can’t be knocked for that at this price. But the printing blows, literally =)

  37. Ian
    October 27th, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

    Thanks for this! Looks like there must be a sensor to detect when the cartridge falls below 50% of full.

    Now to research the 9-pin harness idea to disable the sensor altogether.

    October 29th, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    be careful. if the lines that run to your ink heads run dry, you can damage the ink heads

    October 29th, 2010 @ 9:32 pm


  40. Black ink cartridges
    November 5th, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    I have a Canon PIXMA MP160 I refilled the ink cartridges and now get the E5 errors. I tried the common fixes and so far nothing has worked. Do you know a fix besides buying a new ink cartridge?

  41. byron
    November 8th, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    I printed about 8 copies of street maps after replacing the cartridges about 6 mos. ago. Today I went to print some pages and yellow ink was out and magenta and cyan. Called brother and they tried to make it sound like it was my fault for using after market cartridges. After paying full price for brother cartridges and having them last only a few months weather I use them or not, the aftermarket ones last just as long as the original….last brother product I will ever buy.

  42. Debrann
    November 13th, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

    Different Problem: Brother MFC-240C, will not print black but does print all grey tones and color. Any ideas? Thank you…

  43. Jonathan
    November 14th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    Great !! thanks !

  44. Credenciales Express Mexico
    November 20th, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    Thanks a lot !!! Amazing a really fix my problem. Thanks again guys!!! Regards from Mexico City

  45. ken
    November 21st, 2010 @ 2:12 am

    DeBrann, hope someone knows the answer to your question. I’m experiencing trouble with both black and magenta. Print head just doesn’t seem to get ink from either — or gets a tiny bit. Can’t figure out why.

    Printer was just replaced under extended warranty and this is the new one doing this. Printhead nozzles should not have dried out and gotten gummed up as I’ve not run them dry. Somehow it has quit drawing black and magenta ink from relatively full cartridges.

    No number of cleaning cycles corrects this. Nor does printing endless solid-color test-print pages. Nor did a heavy duty maintenance flush cycle.

    Sure need this thing working. Anyone know a way to re-prime the printhead?


  46. Hazel
    February 6th, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    Thanks soooooo much. It’s been months since the last time I was able to use my printer.

  47. luis
    March 5th, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    Thank you so much!!

    After one year “without” printer, the trick worked perfectly (i also refused to buy new cartridges).

    Never more i’ll buy Brother products. Never!

  48. Jane
    March 8th, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    YIPPEE!!! Thank you so much! ;-)

  49. GREG
    March 12th, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

    :lol: Thank you so very much Shawn for your inciteful comments on the sorry cartridge system of the Brother MFC-240. I was driving around with this all-in-one printer in the trunck of my car because I was receiving a message of replace the cayenne cartridge. I had tried thing and was going to recycle this beast of a machine. Thanks to you,my printer is working fine. Thank you so very much.

    Greg B

  50. Tech guy
    March 24th, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    JUST A TIP!!




  51. Liz
    April 21st, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    Wow! Thanks Shawn, you are awesome. It works and it works well. Have a Happy Easter Weekend!

  52. Bobo
    April 27th, 2011 @ 3:31 am

    Thanks for the tip on the MFC240, works great. I will NEVER buy Brother again. I’m sure some ‘genius’ there is very proud of himself for coming up with ways to waste ink intentionally, even when tanks are half-full. I’m sure there’s a special place in hell for such d-bags.

  53. guy
    May 20th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    Thanks, worked well. It will not perform any scan functions either with empty cartridges. Duct tape fixed it. Has anyone tried to dummy the 3 colours and just replace the black as needed?

  54. alice
    May 26th, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    this is annoying and it did NOT work for me!

  55. IMSUZY
    June 8th, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    :idea: WOW :!: I am extremely disappointed with BROTHER products! I WILL never PURCHASE ANOTHER BROTHER product because if this is disturbing to the consumer “What other products the sell they have that are ripping off the Consumer. Without us there WOULD BE NO BROTHER COMPANY TO BEGIN WITH :evil:

  56. smartcatxxx
    June 12th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    Awesome tip. Saved me of so much pain. Thank you a million times! Worked like a charm. Just in case (for people who said it didn’t work), make sure you use black tape, not transparent.

  57. Angela
    June 17th, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over! I was so tired of being ripped off for this ink, and to make matters worse, tonight I needed to urgently fax a bundle of documents, and despite having purchased two color ink cartridges less than two months ago and not once having printed anything in color the cartridges were reading as empty and the printer refused to print!

    Like others above, this is the very LAST Brother product that I intend t buy.

    Thank you so much again.

  58. Krysta
    July 11th, 2011 @ 12:36 am

    The electrical tape trick didn’t work for me…the printer was also saying there was no cartridge when there was one in there…I followed John B’s advice on cutting the 5th white wire of the 9 on the circuit board…and it worked!! It is a bit tricky to do, but it does work! I am so happy, thanks a million man!

  59. Shawn
    August 27th, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    I am trying to scan with a Brother MFC-490CW but I notice the yellow cartridge is missing. So, I can’t do the ducktape solution to bypass my problems. Is there anyway I can simply scan even though it’s missing a cartridge?

  60. Chris
    August 29th, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    Awesome. Never knew about this annoying feature on these printers, but your fix worked perfect. Needless to say I’ll never buy another Brother anything again.

  61. Lori
    August 30th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    Thanks a lot! Duct tape worked it’s miracles. I learned to not leave my printer on otherwise the ink did “disappear”
    Thanks again.

  62. Patrick Gibbons
    September 1st, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    AWSOME fix… now i can block all the colors and tell big BROTHER to shove it…whooo

  63. monique dixon-blake
    September 4th, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    i have a brother 240c printer it says
    ‘unable to print 50′

  64. Mel
    September 14th, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    I clipped the 5th wire and the icon on the task bar indicates all inks are full, but the black still won’t print. Next move?

  65. Mel
    September 24th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    I forgot to include the printer type in the Sept. 14th message. It is a MFC-240C printer.
    It will copy in a black or gray shade type of print, but not print in black from the computer.
    Hope someone has some clue as to my problems.

  66. julian
    September 26th, 2011 @ 5:48 am

    How to fix Brother MFC-465CN no cartridge not recognized and black empty cartridge displayed in the screen. hope for some reply..tnx

  67. Peter
    October 3rd, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    Hey Shawn,
    Like Mary said, you are a genius!
    Great work around. Thank you.
    Last time, I too, will buy a Brother.

  68. Annonymous
    October 5th, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

    thanks for this, it was really starting to get irritating. works on the 465cn as well

  69. MissTokyo
    October 11th, 2011 @ 4:39 am

    Oh thank you! joy and blessings to you and your descendants throughout the ages Shawn. I only want to use this for scanning and said a bad word when I encountered the afore mentioned problem. Solved with a sticker. May the gold of a thousand angels’ wings be yours. etc.

  70. Janis Martinez
    October 11th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

    I have a MFC-240C. I found on Brothers website that the printer cleans all the time, whether turned on or not. So I unplugged it. When I plugged it in to use it, it would clean all the colors every time. So it still uses a ton of ink. I tried Pressing the “ink” button and pressing “ok” for cleaning. It said, “Printer busy.” I might as well try the tape solution as the printer is useless otherwise. How do you solve the problem of the print heads drying out? How can you tell when they are drying out?
    Also, HP has its own game. Maybe more that will be revealed to us sometime. You can not refill used cartridges because the print head has a date stamp on it so you can not use it past a certain date. (I was told this by a technician). Also, I had a brand new HP printer. The box got turned sideways in moving from one place to another. It never would work after that.
    I hear Cannon plays the game too. So, you are right to say that there is more money in cartridges than there is in selling printers.

  71. Sandy
    October 13th, 2011 @ 6:17 am

    We have been importers of toner cartridges for many years. Our company can provide you with high quality toner cartridges at low price. This is our company’s website: If you are interested in our products, please feel free to contract us. Thank you!

  72. scott
    October 14th, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    Thank you for this!

    I also will not recommend borther products to anyone again!

  73. Cheong
    October 15th, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    Thanks a million. It worked even with masking tape. I use regular masking tape as follows. For each of the 3 color cartridges, cut two 0.6cm x 2cm (width of making tape) strips to cover the 2 depressions. I used a ball pen tip to push the masking tape snugly in as suggested.

    After some 5 cleaning cycles (which left me wondering if it would actually work), it finally works!!!!! Awesome.

  74. rose
    October 31st, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    dito all the comments above. thank you kindly

  75. Nancy Beswick
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    Thank you!!!! :grin: I was so mad at that printer, but now I am so happy!

  76. Danica Allen
    November 5th, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    :grin: you are so awesome! This really worked. Thanks!

  77. Ugbo
    November 6th, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    tanks a million.Finally i got it.My printer work with relife from your tricks.Great job.

  78. Randy
    November 21st, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    Wow! I use my MFC-465CN for faxing only. This glitch prevented the confirmation page from printing. The black tape did the trick! Works like a charm. Thanks and be blessed!

  79. m
    November 25th, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    thanks a lot! it worked like a charm

  80. Jaimee
    November 30th, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    Thank gawd! FINALLY a solution to my problem. I’ve had this printer for several years now and I am always so very frustrated with using the machine when the ink cartridges are low…. even if just to scan a document to the computer. My magenta cartridge decided it would not work today. I did happen to have a spare, but that didn’t work either. After some quick googling, I’ve found this blog. It has solved the problem for me. Thank you so very much!

  81. phil
    December 1st, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    works on the 210c just a bit more tedious

  82. Dee
    December 3rd, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    love u!!! thanks :lol:

  83. Aida
    December 11th, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    :lol: thank you so much, I was going to buy another printer this week end out of frustration, I mostly scan and fax and if I print rarely only black and white.

  84. epson compatible ink
    December 11th, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I feel that you could do with a few percent to drive the message house a bit, however other than that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  85. Ina
    December 12th, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    Thank you SOO much!

  86. K C J
    January 11th, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    Hey all, even if I am a little late to the party, I just wanted to confirm what other people have suggested here. I bought a brother 240mfc like most people here, and this is the first time I have ever actually encountered this problem. I haven’t used my printer in more than a year or so, and I didn’t realize I was out of ink.

    So I bought black ink, and replaced that cartridge only. Tried to print today and it wouldn’t work and I had already thrown out the other 3 cartridges. For some reason it still thinks that yellow and magenta are near low in spite of there not being a cartridge in either slot. But it told me to replace the cyan…I used electrical tape and rolled it up into a cylinder and just stuck it into the spot where everyone says. After what seemed like 45 mins of cleaning, I finally managed to print what I wanted. BLACK INK ONLY! here I thought I could just replace the black ink, as most of the time I rarely print colour…

    anyways, thanks for saving the day!
    thumbs down to brother…and why the heck you cant even use the copy or scanning option is beyond me. Thumbs down on brother!

  87. Jola
    January 19th, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

    I have a Brother MFC-465CN and was so annoying that I could not print BLACK when the other colors were empty. Followed the directions and it worked GREAT! I too can print black only now. Thanks so much!I do and will continue powerdown my printer to save ink. I’m looking for a new printer as I’m not real happy with this one….

  88. Kevin
    January 24th, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    wholy sh… cow. thought mine was gone – just a scanner now, but this worked! OMG!

  89. Chris
    January 25th, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    THANK YOU! Brother can take a big lick :mrgreen:

  90. Kiki
    January 25th, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    Thank You!!! ;-)

  91. Nick
    February 5th, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

    Tanks a million! :grin: :lol: :mrgreen: :o :razz: :smile: ;-)

  92. Mike
    February 12th, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    Thanks for the tip! Now I can start my homework

  93. Terra
    March 29th, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

    Thankyou so much!…couldn’t find i tried a sharpie…didn’t work…so i used duct tape instead…..if u can’t duct it…worked like a charm!

  94. NibZ
    April 18th, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

    the tape “trick” totally worked guys, I had the same problem when i ran out of color ink and was like damn i have to buy more color ink just to get this thing to work but then of course i googled the solution to the problem and came across this blog. i didn’t have black electrical tape so i improvised and came up with a very similar solution that worked!

    i think most people have scotch tape so all you have to do is cut a small piece of scotch tape to fit over the section that the sensor scans for ink. get a black sharpee and color the piece of tape so now it looks like black electrical tape. now cover that section with your “black scotch tape” and put the cartridge back in. if you did this right your printer will now work!

  95. CaptnBob
    April 25th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    Ink cartridges don’t last more than 6 – 12 months normally, before drying up purely thanks to evaporation. I’ve had Epson, Canon and Brother – all with the same problem. The models I’ve used were equally frustrating, all the other functions not working if one of the cartridges weren’t full or present.
    I’m generally quite happy with the Brother products though. The others were poorer quality and the software (Canon and HP) were really irritating, always requiring special software to be installed.

    My preference is Brother still.

  96. J Moss
    April 30th, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Thank you for this simple suggestion, I inherited the MFC-240c printer. And was thinking about buying all black to fix the colors but this is much easier.

  97. Reina
    May 9th, 2012 @ 5:10 am

    This is perfect for emergencies when i cant just go out and buy new ink. Duct tape works too! thanks a bunch

  98. Clipper
    May 11th, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Clipped the 5th wire on a MFC-490CW. That cleared up the issue with needing any cartridges installed at all. I only use the device for scanning. However, the pannel now reads “Door is Open / Close Ink Cover”. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any cartridges installed, but it really doesn’t hurt anything, as pressing the Stop/Exit button bypasses the error message and the scanner can be used. Although the message does come back after a few seconds.

    By the way, it doesn’t matter which end you start counting from for clipping the 5th wire, with nine wires, #5 is in the middle!!!

    Thanks for the tip!

  99. Tim
    June 5th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

    You are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  100. Stu
    June 10th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    :grin: Thank you! This worked on my J270W. If you push down on the cartridge (the part covering the section to be taped), it provides easy access. Thanks again.

  101. Js Allen
    June 13th, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    ;-) and HA to Brother

    A tiny Hello Kitty sticker worked just as well to fool the d*** thing. I have to say I will never buy Brother again.

    Thanks so much for the tip.

  102. roslen
    August 20th, 2012 @ 3:09 am

    HI ,

    For Brother printer, You can use ink supply as well, please see link below:

  103. pourya
    August 26th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    :idea: awesome… thanX a lot…

  104. Amy
    August 29th, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    :lol: much appreciation – used masking tape. For my printer the thing to do is put tape nside the black loop in the center of the cartridge…

  105. Erica
    September 14th, 2012 @ 3:30 am

    YOU ARE A GENIUS!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! :smile: :grin:

  106. Amar
    September 21st, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    I was going to buy a new printer this weekend.
    But thanks to you Brother is printing again.
    Thx Thx Thx Thx………….

  107. Tyra
    September 24th, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate you sharing this information. The picture made it even more clear!

    God Bless!!!

  108. Tim
    October 8th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    :grin: Dude! You rock! Thanks for the tip! Even though I use the printer alot, it seemed that there was always ink still in and I wanted to run them dry. Gets too expensive! BTW it work on the MFC-465CN too!

  109. Joll
    October 24th, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    Thank you so much, didn’t even think of doing this!

  110. grace kim
    November 12th, 2012 @ 4:12 am

    Thank you Shawn!

  111. Amir
    November 23rd, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Thanks, I couldn’t find any tape but I used wipe-out instead.
    worked like a charm!!! (I think it might be better than a piece of tape since it can’t get stuck inside the printer.)

  112. Shyana
    November 25th, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

    OMG! Thank you! I tried this on my Brother MFC-465CN and it worked like a charm! I used green painters tape though. It worked just fine. Thank you!

  113. Dan
    November 28th, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

    :grin: You made me very happy, what a money saving idea and shame on Brother printer manufacturer for ripping their loyal customers off, forcing them to purchase their expensive inks that never last as long as they are supposed to. I just bought Brother compatible black ink, after the printer refused to print I taped the colour inks as you suggested :)
    No more aggrevating messages my inks are empty…thanks a lot !

  114. David
    December 3rd, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    Successfully used this tip with Brother #1960C “IntelliFax”. Wish we had a purely “black and white” fax machine, but bought this more elaborate answering machine w/phone version.
    BTW, we have a Brother HL2070-N networked laser printer. We SAVE a lot in not using an inkjet printer for text documents. The initial cartridge lasted more than a year and the $50 replacements last us several years. The current version of these printers are around $100, print wirelessly, quickly, even duplex (double-sided). :mrgreen:
    I would buy another Brother Laser.

  115. Kay Fitzgerald
    December 8th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

    Does anyone know where I can find a picture of the Brother MFC 240c parts? I have a little plastic piece that broke and the whole thing is out of operation. I just love the 240c and want to order a part, just don’t know what it is or what it is called. Thanks!

  116. Tereza Opatril
    December 14th, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    Thank you so much I was so severely frustrated with this stupid printer! definitely the worst buy ever!

  117. Dev
    December 18th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Thank you so much for your simple technique, now i can save $100.00 of dollars, thank you once again.(Trinidad)

  118. Tom
    January 1st, 2013 @ 2:58 am

    Can confirm this also works for the DCP-J725 and very easy to do. Good MFC other than this but as everyone is saying, makes it hard to recommend Brother printers to anyone else.

    Cheers for the tip!!

  119. 1544C
    January 2nd, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I love you for doing this.

    Greetings from Mexico

  120. KJM
    January 6th, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

    ;-) Thanks a bunch, this allowed me to print tonight when I really needed a B&W but my colors were all dry!

  121. David Christian Newton
    January 7th, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    Everything works. You are a cyberangel sent directly by Yahweh Himself. I am one of the returning lepers, here to throw himself at your feet and grovel in gratitude!
    One extra point. We had no electrical tape, so I used masking tape. Worked like a Chimpanzee on Hornitos Tequila!!! Everlasting and profound gratitude.
    A shout out friend in Mexico. We have our little bed and breakfast in by the mountains outside of Cd.Victoria, Tamaulipas. Very pleasant, again. Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre, and you can access through We are elated by this kind person’s information. Just did a colour and then an ancient black and white of my great grandfather ON PLAIN PAPER!!! THE COPY IS BETTER THAN THE PICTURE!!!!!
    celebrate the small victories. They are gifts from the angels.

  122. Criss
    January 22nd, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    Wow! This has been driving me crazy for years! Tried your trick and it works!!! Thank you!!!

    Appreciate it!!

  123. mactwang
    January 31st, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

    Thank You!

  124. Melissa
    January 31st, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

    ;-) Awesome thank you so much for this. I also have the mfc-240c and had the same exact problems until now.

  125. Marie Wauben
    February 4th, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    Omg – I having same problem with Brother Intellifax 1860c – I have same type toner – do you put tape on the raised clear part or in the two depressions on either side -it is not working for me – thank you for trying to assist others – what a rip off – no more Brother products for me – I am wasting my whole morning.

  126. Sandra Naranjo
    February 21st, 2013 @ 11:56 am

    Chico me salvastes de veras. You saved me!I inheret the MFC-240 and loved it for 8 months when the problem with the ink color cartridge started so finally I found you on line. What a blessing followed your instruction to a T.
    Perfecto. Muchas Gracias!!!!!!!

  127. Lynn-lee Ciano
    March 1st, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    Thank you for this tip. It worked perfectly.

  128. Doug
    March 3rd, 2013 @ 11:51 am

    ;-) Thank you so much. I put in NEW Brother cartridges and it still asked me to replace them. Your advise saved me from buying an new printer.

  129. Ame
    March 5th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    Oh my god, I was trying to scan something, and this bastard of a printer was going off saying “NEED YELLOW INK” I was like: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: WHY THE F#@$ DO I NEED INK TO SCAN?!?

    Needles to say, you saved my ass, thanks!

  130. Yon Bakar
    March 8th, 2013 @ 4:45 am

    My printer cannot detect the black ink cartridge when I replace it. I have tried so many ways to fix it since yesterday. Then I found your blog and follow your technique. Now the printer is working just find. Immediately after that, I called my friend who want to buy the same printer like me..I told him not to buy Brother printer. Thank you so much!!!

  131. Sheba
    March 10th, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    It was driving me nuts! I also switched my print options to quick print to avoid using unnecessary black ink! ;-)

  132. Megan
    April 25th, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

    Thank you so much! You are a genius!

  133. Jordys
    May 8th, 2013 @ 10:35 am

    I followed your advice to the letter but it didn’t work for me. The printer won’t print at all. Its mind keep thinking there’s no ink in the cartridges like a silly mule.

  134. Typical
    June 7th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Yes same Issue.. In fact I have not actually printed 1 damned colour document and use a pre set for low grade B&W only printing now my colour cartridges are empty.. I don’t know about other people but I am so damned over being ripped off for Ink in general but I am just so so so pee’d off that I have not even used the colour cartridges.

  135. Mike
    June 17th, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    Same issue with a Brother MFC-795. I only print black and white but I’m already on my 3rd blue cartridge and my second yellow and cyan while I’m only just starting my second black cartridge (it is about twice the ink volume).

    The window the sensor looks at to determine when the ink is low can be seen if you push in the spring loaded end of the cartridge. Use a black pemanent marker to color over one side of the clear plastic window and the printer will think the cartridge is full. I would think this is the best method for any of the Brother cartridges – black permanent marker rather than tape.

    NOTE – when an ink cartridge cartridge is dry for too long, it is likely that the feeds to the print head will dry up. Depending on the design (I have no clue about these Brother printers) that would mean one of two things will happen:
    1) the feed from just that color cartridge will clog and you will never be able to print that color again (not a problem if you only want to print black)
    2) the print head will clog and the printer will no longer work at all, not even black printing.

    SO – proceed at your own risk. In my opinion, if the printer works for another 2 years and I no longer have to replace color cartridges, I’ll have saved over $100 and can easily replace the unit. Most likely it will last longer and if the print head isn’t involved in the eventual clogging, it will last a lot longer.

  136. Joan
    June 17th, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

    You are my hero!! This worked I have a MFC290C Fax and I’ve always thought this was the biggest rip off. Thank you so much!!!

  137. Gerrie
    June 30th, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    It worked! I love you!

  138. John
    July 6th, 2013 @ 4:42 am

    My MFC-240C has been the most trouble-free printer I have ever had. I got it in 2008, and have hardly had a problem with it. I found out early on not to turn it on and off. That uses up a lot of ink, because it primes the heads every time you turn it on. Also, I priced the ink online before buying the printer, and I found a place to buy ink for it cheap, It’s not waterproof, but it’s fine for what I use it for. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job, and it still prints quite nicely. I dread when it breaks down and I have to buy another printer. I love this one.

  139. Kenn Gorman
    September 20th, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    GENIUS! I have had the MFC-240C for a number of years and we rarely used it since the color seems to run out quickly. I also had the random turn on and clean issue and now know why.

    Anyway – I cut small pieces of tape, re-installed, and it works! We will continue to use it until the black ink runs out. I would have spent $75 today in ink – THANK YOU!

  140. GENIUS
    September 22nd, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    Thanks for your expertise – worked for me! :grin:

  141. Genie
    October 15th, 2013 @ 3:04 am

    Thanks so much!!! I had been wondering for ages how to fool my printer.

  142. Brad
    October 15th, 2013 @ 3:36 pm


    Also it’s simply disgusting how many Brother customers have this problem.

  143. Netta
    October 19th, 2013 @ 4:23 am

    i had the same prob few years back and since i had a printer at my work place back then, i kinda gave up. now i need a printer and i dont want colors so i bought just the black and found out, i have to put in the others as well and really got pissed off. i searched the web and yours was the only reference to my problem and your idea kinda fixed it and i love you for it!!!! you’ve saved me both money and time and it was really simple!!!! thank you so much!

  144. Mike
    November 6th, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I used orange electricians tape and it worked like a charm. Cyan down, two more to go when they run out!

  145. Jenny
    November 15th, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

    You are a deadset legend. My Brother MFCJ6510W would not print in black and white because the Cyan cartridge was shown as low. Switching to greyscale no help. Desperate as I have to print out and sign a contract, I just drove 300km retun to purchase new black and cyan cartridges. Got home, printer does the cleaning thing and then says the other cartridges are low!!! You are !@#$% kidding me!! Really desperate now I did a google search and found your blog. Two bits of gaffer tape later and I can print again. Thank you Shawn! Brother can jam their products where the sensor wont detect ink!

  146. Ken Graham
    November 16th, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    All inkjet Printheads must fire a certain amount to keep from clogging on all brands of inkjet printer. Taping the brother cartridge so it appears full will allow you to use only black – Other printers won’t likely have this option, using complicated electronics instead of a float window.

    However your printhead will likely fail on the color portion over time.

    If black is all you want then you are okay but should probably have purchased a black only printer. Alternatively you could simply print in color.


  147. HMP
    November 22nd, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    I have this MFC-240C and I just replaced all the ink cartridges. The printer recognizes them fine, cleans, then was ready to print.

    But when I print it prints blank pages. No ink what so ever on the paper. It acts like it’s printing something but paper comes out empty. I tried cleaning few times but no help. What could be the problem?
    Please help.

  148. Diane
    December 1st, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much! The first time I tried it, I looked at your picture and only covered half of the window. When that didn’t work, I covered the entire rectangle using a pen to push the tape in snug. That worked like a charm! I have two nearly full black cartridges, so I should be able to print for a long time! Thank you! Thank you! :grin:

  149. Dave
    January 28th, 2014 @ 10:18 am

    I have mfc-490cw
    so please helpppp how to turn off color inkjet cartridges cuz the Shape of mfc-490cw is a little bit different from mfc -240.

    Please help

  150. Mike
    February 2nd, 2014 @ 3:20 pm


    I have four brother printers, two MFC 240c’s, and two brand new MFC j430w’s.

    The MFC 240c’s stopped printing after about a year and indicated the printers needed service. My Internet research discovered that Brother has a counter and the printer stops functioning when it reaches the number that Brother sets. As instructed by the online forum, I cleared the counter and the MFC 240′s printed great for about a year. Now they won’t print magenta. Even though the ink level is sufficient in the magenta cartridges, I bought new ink cartridges hoping that would solve the problem. It didn’t, so rather than wasting money on another package of ink cartridges, I purchased two MFC j430w printers that were on sale.

    The wireless option on the MFC j430w is worthless. Both printers worked great until they ran out of ink in the starter cartridges that came with the printers. When I replaced the ink the first printer would not print yellow despite cleaning it multiple times. The second printer will not print black. I am at my desk looking at two new BROTHER printers and two BROTHER printers that are less than two years old and none of the work. BROTHER PRINTERS SUCK.

  151. Margaret
    February 8th, 2014 @ 11:58 pm

    This hack would have saved me a lot of money and time had I found it earlier. My problem is I am getting an Error 51 message – after buying 3 sets of ink (I could expense them for a project so I stocked up). I am so mad – I know this printer is old but I take really good care – always keep them covered (I sew cozys for all my electreonics so they don’t get dusty) only use brother ink (not that this even matters but I do it anyway) and never turn on and off just keep on or unplug. So I have been searching for a fix – I reset the purge counter – did not work. I searched for bits of paper in the roller – nothing. What could this be? And do you know a workaround so that you can just use as a scanner? It is ridiculou that if one of your ink cartridges is empty you can’t use any of the other functions. That is the most ridiculous design. Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks!

  152. Connie
    March 8th, 2014 @ 9:38 pm

    I know this is an old post but it worked perfectly for my brother MFC-240C thank you very much!! :mrgreen:

  153. Salima Meghani
    March 13th, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

    Oh My God…
    Life Saver..
    Thank you for the great tip.
    Saves lot of money. :smile:

  154. Penny
    March 21st, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

    Thank YOU! I was getting so frustrated having to buy all colours just to use BLACK like yourselves!!!

  155. Penny
    March 21st, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

    Bravo! Genius! The Status monitor shows the colours as full. I’m so happy right now… :lol:

  156. Manu
    April 1st, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

    You’re a genius! thanks!

  157. Sudheer
    April 1st, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

    Great! It works! Thanks a lot.

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  162. Bonnie's Grateful
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 1:58 am

    Thank you thank you thank you worked great!!! I can save money!! You are a cyber-angel like someone had already called you., I agree!! ;-)

    June 12th, 2014 @ 11:55 am

    Je remarque tout de suite que vous connaissez bien ce que vous

  164. ToscasKiss
    June 28th, 2014 @ 5:10 am

    Howdy–I’ve just tried this fix on my MFC-240c (with some variations, including continuing to press the black “start” button, and zeroing out everything that can be done) three or four times tonight. Unfortunately, though it seemed to go a little further than it had, before crapping back into the “unable to clean error 50″ mode (when this first started, a few days ago, it said “unable to print error 50″), it ultimately would not work. I don’t understand how the print head could be messed up, with all the cleaning this machine does. I’ve been using it, but very lightly over the time since it was bought.

    Does anyone have any further ideas for me? And is there anything I can do to the print head to fix this? Really can’t afford to buy even a cheap new printer/copier/scanner/faxer, and, if it’s feasible, I’d like to at least use up the expensive ink I still have, before changing to another one, when I can. It does seem that all the different companies have their own, maddening faults; this model at least prints nice photos when it’s working. Anyway, thanks so much for taking time to put this information up here!

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    July 10th, 2014 @ 5:07 am

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    July 20th, 2014 @ 3:59 am

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  167. Barbara
    July 21st, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed to print out a shipping label and it worked. Gotta share this tip! :)

  168. Elaine
    August 4th, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

    This is ingenious! Works like a charm! The ink replacement cost had almost doubled since my last purchase. And since only 1 colour “showed” empty, that’s a huge waste of $$ – which sadly I’ve spent many times. The idea of switching the machine to “off” when not being used is a good idea for this kind of product because of the daily cleaning that uses up the ink quicker than necessary.
    Thanks againg for your help!

  169. Brian
    August 14th, 2014 @ 9:13 am

    You, sir, are a genius! Thank you very much for your great post ;-)

  170. Ron
    August 15th, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing ;-)

  171. Nelson
    August 19th, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

    Thank you for helping me do the workaround for my Brother MFC-J4510DW, LC103, LC105, LC107 cartridge.

    Not able to scan without ink and without paper is a shame. This is my last Brother product.

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  173. Palmira
    September 10th, 2014 @ 10:32 am

    THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH! Was having the same problem…. I will never by another Brother printer.

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