Imaging Spectrum Blog

Epson Ink Cartridge Error with Stylus Pro 900 Series Printers

This post originally appeared back in 2012, but the suggestions still apply today. Following these simple steps may solve your ink error and save you time.

Troubleshooting the Epson Stylus Pro Ink Cartridge Error Message

Most of us have seen the dreaded “ink error” message once or twice.  It’s the unwelcome alarm that pops up when you insert a new ink cartridge into your machine, and things get a little weird.  In most cases, closing your eyes and counting to three seems to resolve the problem.  But for those stubborn cases (which usually pop up when you’re right in the middle of a time sensitive job or demonstrating your fabulous printer’s virtues to a prospective customer) when the ink error message doesn’t resolve,  we’d like to offer the following suggestions to hopefully get you up and printing again.

  1. Reload the cartridge.
    Sometimes this does the trick.  Take the cartridge out, wait a few seconds and reinsert.  Problem solved?  Great!
  2. Tap, tap, tap.
    Epson Ink Cartridge Error solutionGently tapping the cartridge on the edge of a table can help to dislodge any air bubbles that may have gotten trapped in the ink sensor. Sometimes, gently shaking the cartridge back and forth can solve the problem.   You don’t want to go all crazy – using the cartridge as a maraca or a Shakeweight  is NOT a good idea – but a gentle rocking back and forth may help correct the problem.  If you have time, let the air settle by sitting the cartridge upright for an hour or even overnight.
  3. Restart the printer.
    You’d be amazed how many problems can be cured simply by restarting the old Epson every once in awhile.
  4. Elbow grease.
    Cleaning the Epson Ink Cartridge chip with a pencil eraserThe cartridge chips are the “weak link” in the Epson chain.  These chips are programmed to track your ink consumption and make sure that you are using the proper ink in the correct channel.  (For instance, you could not insert a yellow ink into the light black channel.)  The chips also measure how much ink is left in the cartridge.  Occasionally these chips will get smudged by fingerprints or charged with static electricity.  The simplest way to solve this issue is to gently rub the green cartridge chip with a clean pencil eraser.  If you notice smudges or dirt on the chip, you can also gently wipe it with a clean, lint free cloth or paper towel.  While some people use cleaner specifically designed for electronics (zero residue cleaner) or rubbing alcohol, Epson does not officially recommend using any type of cleaner or water on either the chip or the cloth.
  5. Check your firmware.
    Make sure that you have the most recent firmware version available installed on your Epson printer.  Epson’s most recent firmware specifically addresses ink cartridge recognition issues.  Simply follow this Epson Link , find your printer and download the latest firmware to see if that helps solve the issue.

Hopefully these five steps will solve your problem.  If you are still having issues, please give us a call at 800-342-9292 and speak with one of our inkjet specialists or leave a comment below.  We’ll get you up and running in no time! Have a tip or trick that has worked for you? Please post in comments below.

Matt’s knack for the use of inkjet applications including proofing, promotional goods and signage came from the advertising world, where he managed the print and broadcast accounts for several key corporate accounts. Over 20 years at Imaging Spectrum, his experience has broadened in the print industry and now heads up the inkjet team in providing thorough solutions for printing opportunities across several platforms.


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