Did you ever try to print something with your Epson printer only to discover that both red lights are flashing continuously in a “game over” fashion?
What the lights can mean
There are a couple of reasons why this can happen:
1st is that a foreign object has got into the printer preventing the print carriage to move freely across left or right. Some remains of a paper jam or something your little “treasure” left there for you could easily be the cause. In this case turn off the printer then remove the object and turn the printer back on.
2nd (and more usual) reason for the flashing lights is that is that the waste ink counter has reached its maximum count and it shuts down use of the printer to prevent damage to it.
This scenario is usually accompanied by a “parts in your printer have reached the end of their service life” but not always.
What is the waste ink counter?
Ok. let me explain. Every time you turn on your printer or do a head cleanor putin a new cartridge the printer goes through a head cleaning cycle that uses ink to clear the print nozzles in the print head. The waste ink used for this cleaning cycle has to go somewhere. Epsons solution is to collect it in pads at the base of the printer, and when the printer software in the printer decides that the pads are “full” it shuts the printer down.
So … end of service life does not mean that any mechanical part to your printer is not operational, and it does mean that your hardware is in perfectly good condition.
Epson has 2 solutions for you when this happens (and if you use your printer much it will happen)
1st is have your printer reset and the waste ink pads replaced.
2nd is to go and buy a new printer and consign your (perfectly good) printer to the ever growing rubbish heap.
If you purchased your printer less than 12 months ago you are covered by the Epson warranty and you will need to take your printer to an Epson repair centre to have it reset and pads exchanged.
If your printer is out of warranty (and if your printing is average use it will only just be out of warranty) then you are left with a hard choice. Pay the £40 fee to have it reset or to go and purchase a new printer (which can be had for the same money and comes with a new set of cartridges).
There is a consideration to be made here. It is the use of compatible ink. If you use 3rd party ink or cartridges be warned that by purchasing a new printer you may find it hard to get your compatible inks for it (if its a model thats just out.) Epson change their printer models regularly and the main reason is to stay ahead of the copied ink market, and the built in redundancy (waste ink counter) is a way to ensure customers upgrade their printers on a regular basis.
If your printer is not so new then there is hope to breath new life into it. www.ssclg.com/epsone.shtml is a website that hosts a cool little program called ssc print utility. This program can reset many Epson printer models (don’t worry about the pads as they can hold 2 or 3 times the waste ink count.)
Unfortunately it does not reset the latest Epson printers, and it looks like the programs development has come to a standstill. If your Printer is not listed by this program you will need to do a search like “Software resetter Epson” with your model at the end.
Some printers can be reset by pressing a combination of buttons.
Before you decide to throw away your Epson printer have a go to reset the waste ink counter. If successful and you still want a shiny new printer, at least you can sell it or hand it to someone else thus keep it out of landfill a while longer. 🙂