Posted on | August 26, 2008 | 158 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.