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Has a printer update rendered your cartridges redundant?

Printer software update

You fire up your PC, turn on your printer and send a file to print and then… ‘cartridge not recognised’. The printer won’t print. So what’s changed since yesterday? You may be the latest victim of a printer update.

Third-party ink cartridges are generally a fraction of the price of printer-branded inks, but we’ve heard reports of printer updates rendering these cartridges unusable.

We asked Which? members to share their printing problems and a number of them sounded like they related to software updates. However, with some printers set to automatically update, it can be hard to pin a specific problem to a specific update. Ian C told us:

‘I bought compatible inks. After a few weeks they suddenly stopped working, with a message saying they were incompatible. Replaced them with new ones but had the same problem.’

Tony G had a similar experience:

‘Lo and behold, my printer has started rejecting – that is, not printing when I use third-party cartridges – but when I then replace them with printer-branded ones it seems to work fine.’

We tried updating the firmware on three second-hand printers in our lab and the printers worked just as well with third-party ink before updating as they did afterwards. So updates won’t always stop your cartridges from being recognised.

HP printers rejecting ink cartridges

However, there have been some very recent victims. Just last week we heard a number of reports from members whose HP printers have stopped working with the third-party inks.

Mr White’s printer ink cartridges have been affected by the latest update:

‘I own an HP 3055A printer which uses the popular 301 cartridge, today I changed the cartridges and find that the printer will no longer print as it detects that a non-HP cartridge has been installed. A printer update was reported as being available from HP when I turned the printer on – on the 7 March – and I updated prior to installing the new cartridges. After installing the new cartridge the information screen on the printer showed the message “incompatible cartridge detected”.’

Rob Stone has also suffered at the hands of a recent update to his HP Officejet 6600 and said:

‘I’ve been using third-party inks with no issues for several months. It was when I accidentally ran an HP update from my PC that the problem occurred. The error message said “There is a problem with the printer ink or system. Turn printer off, then on. If problem persists, contact HP”. It prevents me from moving to any other menu on the printer.’

Your right to use third-party printer inks

As iPhone 6 users suffering at the hands of the ‘Error 53’ message know only too well, update issues aren’t only a problem for printers. But, fortunately for affected phone users, Apple released a fix.

It may not be quite so simple to roll back a printer update. We’ve previously spoken to printer manufacturers about software updates, with Brother, Canon and Epson telling us that reverting to a previous firmware version wasn’t usually possible at all. HP stood out from the crowd by saying that you could roll ball its updates, but it’s not an obvious or simple process.

In light of this latest glut of update issues, we’ve approached HP to find out what’s causing the problem and whether it’ll be possible for those affected to get their printers working with their inks again.

You absolutely should be able to choose to use third-party ink in your printer. The big consumer printer brands have all signed up to a voluntary agreement which includes a provision around not preventing third-party ink from being used in their printers.

If you’ve suffered a ‘printerruption’ as result of a printer software update – or which you suspect is as a result of a recent update – we want to hear about it.

Comments
Guest
Tracy Somers says:
2 February 2017

My partners dad has an Epson 332 printer and tried using compatibles to save him some money as he is a pensioner and the printer will just not recognize them and so now he is going to buy some of the genuine cartridges. I think it is terrible that people who are on a lower income for whatever reason are being forced to pay out this money to basically line the pockets of the big printer companies. They’ve paid out to buy the printer in the first place, surely they should be able to save money by buying cheaper cartridges to run the machine.

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Guest

Please contact the company that sold the compatible cartridges, Tracy. I expect that they will give a refund or exchange the cartridges for ones that do work.

I would like to see Which? take this problem up with the Competition and Markets Authority.

Guest
Stephen says:
13 February 2017

I agree, a reference to the CMA is worth consideration.

An Epson printed packed up, due to age. I had used compatible cartridges costing 55p each. I was quite OK with the not using original ink can damage your machine, do you want to carry on type warnings which are fair enough.

I purchased another Epson, only after checking that compatible cartridges would not cost a fortune (about £2 each was not too bad). At no point was I told that I would have no choice but to use only Epson inks (costing about £8 minimum), or that it was even a possibility.

I have used Epson compatible cartridges for over 5 years, and so the chance of this being a rogue compatible cartridge is slim.

From 55p to £8 per cartridge in under 3 months.

To be candid, I feel as if I have ben duped and coerced.

Guest
johnridgway10@yahoo.com says:
2 February 2017

How can which recommend printers that wont accept 3rd party inks when cost is an important consideration?
Come on which tell us who the bad guys are? I have recently stuffed by HP.

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Guest

We could do with finding out which makes and models are the problem, so that Which? has some information to go on.

I am using third party cartridges in an HP printer I bought last year. I thought I had a problem but it turned out to be the chip had fallen off a cartridge and was still in the packet.

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Guest

I hope John still has his HP printer , while I said previously that HP had announced that it was rescinding its blocking it failed to do it–so far , BUT there may be a light on the horizon. BT has announced that HP has had a “change of heart ” (again ) and this time it is “definitely” rolling out an optional update in the next two weeks (dated 23rd January -2017 ) see : https://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/tech-news/hp-printers-reject-budget-cartridges-11364097793419 no such announcement from Epsom . I hope this isn’t a “definitely maybe” ? The “bad guys ” =HP-Epsom-Brother-Canon

Guest
Hilary Wardrop says:
7 February 2017

I have a Samsung C1810 Xpress Colour Laser printer and I had 123ink.ie toner cartridges in it. However, when I put a Samsung cartridge in the other day, it gave a message to say that the other three toners (Yellow Cyan and Black) were not compatible. I bought a new 123ink.ie Magenta cartridge instead, so now I have all four 123ink.ie cartridges in it. BUT, it now says all cartridges are incompatible! Does this mean that I have to fork out for another three Samsung cartridges at an outrageous cost?

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Guest

Looks like it Hilary , just changing one non-propriety cartridge wont work as the blocking is in the firmware and all cartridges are tested for compliance.

Guest

Has HP released a firmware fix? I have an HP Deskjet 2545 All In One. I recently replaced the tri color cartridge with a genuine HP product and it’s telling me that an older generation cartridge has been installed. I’ve read online that this was a firmware upgrade from HP but that they were backtracking and now allowing the old cartridges but I can’t find how to roll back the upgrade.

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Guest

Hello Ken , yes HP are blocking what they term are “old cartridges ” for -quote-“older generation printers ” this is another -make more money out of HP printer users , you can also get -incompatible older cartridge-etc , the chip in the ink has been scanned by the firmware upgrade and refused .HP .s own words ?– HP cannot extend warranty to non-HP.refilled, re manufactured inl cartridges . HP,s warranty coverage lasts until the ink is depleted OR “the Warranty ends ” DATE on the ink cartilage has been reached whichever occurs first . HP “backtracking ” well you can take that with a pinch of salt –August we will backtrack -November -UH NO ! -December yes we have listened and will “definitely ” backtrack -February-UH NO ! . They have “listened ” all right–to their shareholders. So there is no dispute over this go to HP,s OWN official website to verify what I said : http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c02534494 I will ,of course see if there is any way round this –legally .

Guest
Marc Bourhill says:
19 February 2017

I have an epson XP 530 and updated the firmware which then prevented me from using compatible cartridges. If I had known this I wouldn’t have done the update. I have over £100 worth of cartridges which i can’t use and Epson’s cartridges are almost dearer than buying a new printer. What can I do about it?

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Guest

Marc -from Epson,s point of view nothing but I have found a website where you can LEGALLY try to downgrade your Epson firmware ,it includes a video , so the best of luck to all you users of Epson printers . I do of course take NO responsibility. liability , warranty, etc legally or otherwise for following their instructions and neither does WHICH as I speak ONLY for myself here . : http://www.wic.support/?p=307

Guest
Lliam bunter says:
21 February 2017

Buy a cartridge chip resetter off ebay £14 ?

Guest
Lliam bunter says:
21 February 2017

Buy a ink cartridge chip resetter off ebay £15 ? it resets the chips on the cartridge.

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Guest

The ink cartridge chip resetter when pressed against the cartridge and no LED illuminates then physical contact was not satisfactory , if repeating it does not work then the RESET TOOL may be INCOMPATIBLE with the cartridge , before spending money on another reset tool check to see if it works with another cartridge , it can also result from the cartridge chip becoming CORRUPT . Lliam , have you not wondered why they become corrupt ? do you think that Epson hasn’t “wisened up ” to this dodge ? I have a whole page of complaints of those resetting devices not working on Epson printers , NOT from Epson but from the Amazon website also an Israeli run web company, and be aware Israel has the latest high tech stuff even sell to our government, quote – when the cartridge runs out of ink it “self destructs ” when it report empty -these CANNOT be rest by a chip resetter and there is more , I have downloaded all the tech info for any arguments. If people are persuaded to buy those resetters PLEASE be aware they will probably wont work with the latest Epson /HP printers .

Guest
Elizabeth Guest says:
20 February 2017

Having similar problems with an Epsom WP 3620. Refuses to recognise a cartridge it used to be happy with. Updates seem to be forced on you.

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Guest

Elizabeth updates aren’t forced on you but you have granted permission for both Microsoft Windows 10 and Epson to update your printer. Granted you might have done it inadvertently in Epson when first installing the printer but in Windows if you have the choice , then chose – only let me know if updates are available then you can decide which ones to install , that is if Windows lets you do that. In win 10 there is the new “settings app ” which you can see the updates available and click to download .IF that is no longer available then you can set your updates to a metered connection -this is only available on Wi-Fi – there are more ways if anybody is interested I can post . On Epson its a bit trickier -when installing your printer from new -disconnect your modem >insert printer CD >enter setup >select custom/manual NOT !!! express/automatic>click NO in first window >decline in second window >tick “do not display message again ” >when it finishes installing >plug modem back in again /turn it on > make sure your firewall is working >click >keep blocking option . Do NOT fall for > click here to receive offers on Epson ink under ANY circumstances . As I said I could post more but it gets technical. I am afraid trying to backdate the driver WONT work -its in the Firmware .

Guest
E E Connecticut says:
21 February 2017

Hello, I am a 37 year old male, homeowner and father. I may use my printer (HP model 1010) perhaps once a month at most. Without fail, this printer doesn’t work whenever it is needed.

When the factory ink ran out, I bought aftermarket online. As you may have guessed, I am not able to print. Error message: Cartridges are damaged or have failed. I have an HP desktop, but I am going to another brand for a printer.

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Guest

Do you mean each time you came to use it, after a month, it wouldn’t work? Your ink probably dries at the head. Does it work when you’ve done a cleaning cycle? I do use my printer fairly regularly and leave it switched on all the time. it does not seem to use extra ink when doing so. It’s a Canon and has done good service for the last 10 years – using Canon ink.

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Guest

Infrequent use can be a problem with inkjet printers. My newer HP printer has to be used regularly or printing becomes streaky until I clean the heads or the machine decides this is necessary. The same happens with both HP and third-party ink. My older HP printer just works, even if it sits idle for a week or more.

Guest
Andrew says:
22 February 2017

I have a five year old HP Officejet 6500A. It worked fine with Windows based Samsung rv720 laptop. Have just moved over to Mac book Pro . Low and behold the scanner part of the printer will not work with the Mac book. Checked with HP and Apple and both admitted that there is no software update to make the mac book speak to the printer. Both said to buy a new printer !!! Please Which expose this cartel / greedy mentality !!

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Guest

Hi Andrew – Have you tried downloading a driver from this page? http://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/HP-Officejet-6500A-e-All-in-One-Printer-series—E7/4083974/model/4083870

Failing that you could have a look for advice on the Apple website or post a question on one of the Mac forums. The two most useful bits of advice I have been given are (1) turn it off and on again, and (2) don’t believe official advice. 🙂 Best of luck.

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Guest

Andrew as Wavechange says dont believe (a word ) what the official advice is they only want you to buy a new printer that will block non-propriety inks . First try : https://driverscollection.com/?H=Officejet%206550A%20Plus%20-%20E710n&By=HP&SS=Mac%20OS%20X two driver files available / or : https://mac.softpedia.com/get/Drivers/HP-Officejet-6500-Driver.shtml under NO !!! circumstances download from cnet/ download.com –you have been warned !

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Guest

Andrew, One way you might get around your problem is to plug a USB memory stick into your printer and scan to that instead of your Mac book.

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Guest

I hope this helps Andrew, but it has certainly helped me. I bought an HP A3 printer/scanner with an automatic document feeder but was rather unwilling to install the HP scanner software in case I ended up being unable to use third party ink. The printer works fine from my Macs.

I have just scanned an 79 page report listing maps and historic documents held by a museum, so that I can share it with colleagues in a society.

Thanks very much, Alfa. I had always assumed that the USB socket on printers was for printing image files. Guess I should RTFM.

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Guest

LOL!!! Glad I could help wavechange.

Guest
Peter Kennedy says:
24 February 2017

I have an Epson WF-3620. I bought third party ink from Office World .
Problem…the printer is happy printing colours other than Black. It will print Dark Grey but not Black.
In some ways I am impressed the software can ignore Black but it is irksome.

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Guest

This is a common problem in Epson printers using third party inks, you are very lucky your printer has not had a firmware update to block all use of TPI Peter . Having said that I checked with a high tech. computer website (Epson/HP repair technician) rather than the usual types and the consensus was that there is a print head blockage . Epson cartridges have a very fine screen at the bottom of the cartridge where it goes into the printhead keeping dried particles from entering the printhead many compatibles don’t have this screen . Not turning off the printer properly also causes clogged printheads . It requires a bit of patience and time to do it properly but you can buy the official Epson head cleaning kit from Printhead Hospital (UK) . It could also be a mainboard problem if that doesn’t help , you might need to clean it several times , hope this helps ?

Guest
michael g says:
1 March 2017

Can i refill original hp 62 cartridges and will they work.

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Guest

Well you can try Michael-have a look at the instructions for that same cartridge to refill it on a US website : http://www.printerfillingstation.com/Refill-Instructions/HP/H52.htm and for more elaborate instructions including video check out : http://inkjet411.com/?page_id=4555 or : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmkslxHF3pU . Having posted that please have a look at : http://www.ghacks.net/2016/10/13/hp-releases-printer-firmware-to-undo-non-hp-ink-cartridge-blocking/ even they say , as I have said in above posts that twice HP have said they will rescind their blockage (August/November ) but even at this date it doesn’t seem to apply universally in all HP printers especially the new ones , so I cant guarantee that it will work for you . The secret , if there is any is when you install the printer is to block updates both on your computer (relating to HP ) and on the installation instructions which you need to read carefully before clicking on -install.

Guest
Kurt says:
2 March 2017

My Epson WF-3640 will no longer print with high quality. The degraded output is not a result of inferior ink, but appears to be an intentional “de-rezzing,” which I noticed after a firmware “upgrade.” Specifically text and images show a dithering pattern.

I would love to roll back the update.

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Guest

It seems more likely that something has gone wrong during the update but I strongly agree that it should be possible to reverse updates. Many have updated operating systems and found that their software no longer works.

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Guest

Wavechange could be right Kurt try re-installing the latest drivers and ,if not ,get back as there is more to try.

Guest
Naomi says:
3 March 2017

I bought a Samsung M2026 a couple of months ago and the supplied toner just ran out. I just replaced it with one I got online that was £16 and said it was compatible with my printer. The printer is rejecting it and won’t print, saying the toner is not compatible. How do I get around this? I don’t want to pay £40 for a toner, that’s nearly the same price as the printer!

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Guest

Naomi- your printer is selling currently on the web for £40 , the point of selling at this price is that the manufacturer makes his money on the ink sales . If your printer is new then you cant roll back to a previous firmware update or even install old drivers unless it was updated in the intervening time you bought it , if you had blocked any updates when you installed it , it might be different . Try You Tube as they have some visual answers to some Samsung models with your problem , if I can find a more acceptable answer I will get back.

Guest
Vic Cowley says:
6 March 2017

I have an Epsom WF-3640 printers. I have been using INKJET replacement cartridges. I tried to replace an INKJET black cartridge with a new one and now the printer rejects all of my cartridges. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

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Guest

If it will make you feel any better Vic head to : https://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/epson.html a VERY long USA webpage all devoted to one star Epson printers including yours , one guy bought 3 of your model ALL failed quickly another one shows your printer and WARNING !! BREAKS after 6 months business owner , maybe make you feel better you are not alone.

Guest
Tina C says:
6 March 2017

My epson printer XP610 has just stopped allowing the compatible cartridges! These are the same ones I have been using I assume an update has done this.

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Guest

Very probably Tina , I have warned Epson/HP users many times -buying a new printer ? then the FIRST thing you do when installing it is to BLOCK updates when in installation mode -then block Epson/HP from downloading onto your Windows 10 computer.

Guest
William L. Athas says:
19 March 2017

I have a Brother MFC 9340 CDW and I have used third party ink cartridges for over 1.5 years. Now, all of a sudden, I put in a full cartridge and the printer continues to read, no toner. Very frustrating. W.A.

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Guest

There have been recent updates to your printer if you enabled updates automatically when you installed it and allowed Windows to install them William.

Guest
Robert says:
20 March 2017

i have just received my compat inks for the HP 7500A printer and it wont recognize the compat ink cartridges.
tried everything . not happy bunny

Guest
karran says:
22 March 2017

Hi. I have an Epson Workforce 2650 all in one printer. I updated the firmware last week believing it must be a necessity. Nope. Since then my compatible cartridges that have worked since I bought the printer are now no longer recognised since the update. I phoned Epson technical support UK today who told me that they only recommend ‘Genuine’ Epson ink cartridges even telling me the printer would go wrong after using compatibles over time (Evidence?)

When I pressed further I was told that the new firmware update I used will stop the chips on my compatibles being recognised by the printer because my compatibles are probrably using an older chip version. They informed me that as newer chipped compatibles become available then at some point my printer would recognise them as they would be ok with the new firmware. The fact that I would have to wait for my supplier to sell all of his old before he could sell the new chipped stock (weeks or months?) before that becomes a reality seems to have bypassed Epson as a company or they just couldn’t care less!

Regarding the firmware – I stated to Epson that at no point did an onscreen message appear just prior to the update listing exactely what the changes would entail and more specifically that the update would disable the use of compatibles. No such warning was given to me as a customer. They informed me that I still had the option of buying ‘Genuine cartridges which would work. So basically I am being blackmailed into buying their own cartridges if I want to use my printer. Surely this is against the law?

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Guest

Not in Epson,s eyes Karran, , they are “spinning you a yarn ” about third party cartridges being “eventually ” compatible , if that happened any time soon their enormous profit would go out the window. As this is into the firmware you arent going to get it changed anytime soon also . The problem with Windows 10 is that it doesnt go into detail , like LInux about what you are actually downloading to install , as Windows priority updates arent all “priority ” as MS admitted on one of its websites . I have said many times -installing a printer ? BLOCK any updates when installing it and dont update any printer yourself if you are using third party inks successfully for years. Many have tried (in the USA ) to take Epson to court and HP etc there arent many winners.The EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) -USA wrote to companies about it , their reply we will “see what we can do about a “SMALL MINORITY ” of users having problems —BUT -we will continue to use security features (get the legal wording ) to protect the quality of our customers experience and maintain the integrity of our printing systems and protect our ink products including authentication methods that Quote- may prevent some third-party supplies from working . Can you see how high power corporate lawyers will never lose in court ? I would like to add that there is an internet company who will downgrade your firmware for you-BUT it costs and due to legal hesitation I will not name it as it could be construed as breaking some company law .

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Guest

My HP F2280 has never printed straight or well, now the cartridges do not work.
I will buy another brand, or not bother having a printer at all.

Guest
Deborah Potts says:
29 March 2017

My kodak all in one printer has just done this. They also monitored it remotely and told me I was using non KODAK original ink and that was the problem. Their cartridges are actually fairly inexpensive anyway but it is still not legal for them to do this I believe from reading the other comments here.