Cannot detect ink – Brother Printers

cannot detect cartridgeA common issue that many people are experiencing with the latest model Brother Inkjet Printers is the “Cannot Detect Ink” error message when installing a new ink cartridge.

There are several reasons for this error message appearing and the most common cause is that retailers are selling generic cartridges with out dated micro chips attached.

The micro chip is the small electronic circuit which is attached to the top of each cartridge. This is what the printer looks for as soon as a new cartridge is installed. (see image below)

brother micro chip

The micro chip on the Brother cartridge is a very clever little device. It allows the manufacturer to be able to manipulate the printers firmware whenever they desire and by doing so the printer is able to detect the difference between the genuine Brother cartridge and the generic equivalent.

This process is not uncommon and has been used by most printer company’s including Epson, HP, Samsung and to a lesser extent Canon.

As a retailer of generic inks we are very watchful of this and we keep a very close eye on when these “Firmware updates” occur. As soon as we hear of an update occurring we contact our wholesalers and as soon as updated generic cartridges are available we grab them.

This is why you must buy generic ink from a reputable dealer

Most online retailers selling generic inks simply import 50,000 plus inks at a time and when a firmware update occurs they continue selling their current stock until they get rid of it all.

This is where Ink Hub is different. In the last 6 months we have gone through 3 shipments of the latest LC 133/LC 135XL/LC 137XL and LC 139XL Cartridges. What this means is as soon as we hear of compatibility issues with these cartridges we import a whole new batch with the updated micro chips and all our current stock gets dumped !

This process becomes quite costly for us however our goal is to make sure that our customers always have the latest updated cartridges which guarantees they will work exactly the same as the genuine Brother cartridges.

Our latest Brother Version 2.0 cartridges have just arrived (Jan 2015) and they are fully compatible with all of the latest model Brother printers.

If you would like more information on Brother cartridges or any other query feel free to call Ink Hub – Office: (08) 7324 3065  Mob: 0408 691 299

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hp photosmart 5520 ink cartridge problem

HP Photosmart Ink Cartridges problemApproximately 6 months ago HP released an updated version of their popular Photosmart 5520 printer.

The Photosmart 5520 is a very popular model and due to it’s very low retail price (typically around $55-00) it has been a very good choice as a cheap, reliable home printer.

Many people have taken advantage of the low retail price of this printer and have purchased them for their home or small business.

The hp photosmart 5520 ink cartridge problem begins

So why the ink cartridge problems? HP in their great wisdom decided to update the firmware on the new 5520’s. They work fine with genuine 564 cartridges but insert a generic cartridge and the new firmware wont recognise it.

This once again is a clever move by HP to try and combat the compatible ink cartridge market and try and win back their share of the market. So far the Photosmart 5520 seems to be the only model using the updated firmware however no doubt other models will follow the same path.

Hooray new 564XL Generic inks arrive for the 5520 printer

Ink Hub picked up on this problem several months ago and we imported the new Updated 564XL Generic cartridges which have overcome the firmware update and work perfectly with the 5520 printer.

The new 564XL inks have a new microchip attached which is able to simulate the genuine HP cartridge and works without any issues.

As stated in previous articles Epson have been using these tactics for years and now Brother have also jumped aboard and are constantly changing their firmware in an attempt to combat the generic printer cartridges.

All in all it’s an interesting field to be in however the continual unethical tactics used by printer manufacturers to try to win back their share of the lucrative print consumables market makes our job so much harder.

Once again I will say it: “Why should the printer manufacturers dictate which ink cartridges we should use”. If a consumer wishes to print with a cheaper, generic cartridge then they should have that right.

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Brother Printer not printing black

brother wont print blackThe most common of all problems with Brother inkjet printers seems to be the black print head clogging. It has always been an issue with Brother printers for as long as I have been involved in the printer industry.

After much thought and conversations with fellow printer experts I have come to the conclusion that the following scenarios are the culprits which cause this to occur so often.

Why Brother Printers stop printing Black

Most people do not change their cartridges when the low ink warning light comes on. Instead they wait until they can see that the black cartridge has run out or partially stopped printing. By this time there is no longer ink in the nozzle but air.

Whenever a cartridge is empty enough to tell by looking at the printout, then that particular nozzle is filled with air. Air in the nozzle is by far the most effective way to prevent the ink from flowing.

This is only one cause however I believe that it is by far the most common. Other ways in which the black print head can stop functioning are from using very poor quality generic inks which solidify in the print head and become extremely hard to shift.

Good quality generic inks will rarely cause this to occur as they are of a much better viscosity and also tend not to cause sedimentation as do the low grade inks.

Another major cause of black ink not flowing is that the breather tape has not been fully removed. Not all Brother cartridges use a breather tape however if yours do then make sure this has been fully removed before installing the cartridge.

Leaving a printer sitting for long periods or infrequent printing can also cause the black to stop flowing. The longer a printer stays inactive the more time the ink has to solidify on and inside of the print head.

Finally DONT blame the generic ink cartridge for causing the problem as it is an incredibly common problem with Brother printers wether using genuine or non genuine inks.

So how do we fix the problem ?

There are several ways to go about remedying the problem. Whenever you install a new ink cartridge ALWAYS make sure that the printer is turned ON. This is especially important with the older Brother printers as the ink cartridges are not chipped so the printer needs to be ON for the printer to know that a new ink is installed.

Once installed the printer should automatically prime the cartridge. Once this has occurred if no black ink is being printed get the printer to do 2 or 3 more deep cleans on the black nozzle alone.

If still no black ink is printing then download a large black image from Google images etc and keep trying to print it in the highest photo quality mode to force ink through the Black nozzle.

If you have exhausted the above methods then you will need to use some kind of  print head cleaning solution. This may be the only way to break down the hardened ink to allow it to be flushed out of the print head. The print head nozzles are first sucked dry of ink using a syringe (supplied in cleaning kit)  and then the cleaning solution is injected into the nozzles.  The solution is allowed to dissolve any dry ink and can even be left overnight in extreme cases to break down any stubborn residual ink.

In really extreme cases the above procedure may need to be repeated until the black ink flows freely again without any blockages. Once the print head is clear and printing is back to normal be sure to maintain your printer correctly, printing regularly, not running inks until they are dry and turning printers OFF when not in use.

By turning printers OFF when not in use will assure that every time they are turned back on the printer will automatically go into cleaning mode which in turn will help keep the print head free of blockages.


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Brother updates firmware on latest printers

brother firmware updateWe have just been informed that Brother has released a new firmware for their latest inkjet printers. This means that once again the current generic LC133 / LC137 / LC135 and LC139 cartridges are not compatible with this new firmware version.

If your Brother printer was purchsed after August, 2014, the compatible cartridges may not register.

As I stated in my last blog post Brother has now gone down the exact route that Epson have done and we will no longer promote their printers as we believe this to be unethical of the Brother company to operate this way.

The above warning applies to all the cartridges and printer models listed below.

Brother LC-133 Cartridges

DCP J4110DW, MFC J4410DW, MFC J4510DW, MFC J4710DW, MFCJ6920DW, DCPJ152W, MFCJ870DW, DCPJ172W, MFC J475DW, MFCJ245, MFCJ470DW, MFC J6720DW

Brother LC-135XL Cartridges

DCP J4110DW, MFC J4410DW, MFC J4510DW, MFC J4710DW, MFC J6920DW, MFC J6520DW, MFC J6720DW

Brother LC-137XL Cartridges

DCP J4110DW, MFC J4410DW, MFC J4510DW, MFC J4710DW

Brother LC-139 Cartridges

MFC J6520DW, MFC J6720DW, MFC J6920DW

If your Brother printer was purchased before August 2014 then you don’t need to worry about the above issues. For those who recently purchased Brother printers then we will have an updated micro-chipped cartridge out soon.

If you have a late model Brother printer (or any other brand) check to see if your SOFTWARE AUTO UPDATES are turned OFF. If they are not turned OFF then turn them OFF. Be warned most printer manufacturers are using the same tactics. Once you update the software then you may not be able to continue using compatible cartridges in your printer.

Note: Ink Hub has now released the new Brother V2.0 series of  LC 133 / 135XL / 137XL / 139XL cartridges which has overcome all firmware compatibility issues. (Feb 2015)

If you have any questions feel free to call our office anytime – Office: 08 7324 3065 or Mob: 0408 691 299

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Brother micro-chip their cartridges to gain back market share

Inkjet Cartridge micro chipsIn what appears to be an attempt to win back some of it’s market share Brother has started to micro-chip all of their new ink cartridges.

Up until recently all Brother Inkjet Cartridges never sported a micro-chip and simply relied on the printer to detect all of the information about the individual cartridges including ink levels, colour and compatibility.

Although this old method was relatively archaic it actually worked well.

There is no doubt however that like all other printer companies Brother also is feeling the brunt of the exploding generic cartridge boom and is desperately trying to fight back !

Why use a micro-chip to regain market share ?

The micro-chip is not something new to inkjet cartridges as all other manufacturers have been using them for years. The big issue with Brother however is that they seem to be going down the exact same pathway which Epson did over the past decade or so.

What Brother have done in the past 12 months is they release a series of printers which operate fine with generic cartridges however within a matter of months they release the SAME model printers however these utilise new firmware which no longer recognise the generic cartridges.

This is EXACTLY the same tactics used by Epson over the past decade which has almost ruined Epson’s reputation completely.

By continually updating firmware and tweaking their printers both Brother and Epson seem to think that people will turn back to using only genuine cartridges. This however is definitely not the way to win back consumers as it only frustrates them and at the same time tarnishes the printers reputation.

Generic inks in Brother printers

So can I use non genuine ink in the new Brother printers? The answer to this is YES you certainly can however you need to be certain that whoever you purchase them from has cartridges with the very latest updated micro-chip attached.

Just to give you an insight into how it works we (Ink Hub) purchased a large amount of the new Brother 133 and 135XL Generic inks when they were first released and within 2 months we binned the whole lot and imported all new cartridges with the updated micro-chips. This was done simply to make sure that our customers received cartridges that will DEFINITELY work in their new Brother printers without any warning or error messages.

So should I avoid Brother Inkjet Printers ?

The answer to this is a big NO! Brother Inkjet printers in general are extremely good, reliable printers for home use and small business and are extremely economical to use (if using compatible inks).

We refer to them as the “Workhorse” of all printers as they just keep going and rarely give you any problems. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to make sure that your ink supplier stocks the non genuine inks with the latest version micro-chip. As long as you keep this in mind you should have many trouble free years of printing.

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Printers and Generic Cartridges

Printer with Compatible Cartridges

In recent times there has been a huge swing in popularity to the non brand name inks. Perhaps this trend has been brought on by the slowing economy and the need to cut back on everyday expenses.

Whatever the reason is the non genuine inks have flooded the market and they are here to stay ! Many people are still die hards for the OEM or brand name cartridges however even a large amount of these have converted.

So how do you go about changing to generic inks and what precautions should you take? The first and most important decision (if you don’t already have a printer) is deciding which printer to buy that will work well with the cheaper cartridges.

Choosing the right printer for the job

If you are looking for a new printer specifically to use compatibles with then consider the following points:

1. Choose a printer which compatibles are readily available for.

2. Choose a printer which works well with generic inks

3. Make sure the printer has all the features which you require

4. Read as many reviews about the printer before making the final decision.

Which printers you need to avoid !

Here’s a few tips on which printers to definitely avoid.

1. Avoid All Epson printers as they have a print head that is renowned for clogging and also the company are hell bent on combating the use of compatible cartridges.

2. Avoid any printer which uses cartridges with the actual print head built into the cartridges. These are very expensive to replace even in generic form. Usually these printers are recognisable by their cheap sale price and also most use only 2 cartridges.

3. Try to stay with the more known brands such as Canon, Brother and HP printers.

4. MOST IMPORTANT – check which ink cartridges the printer uses BEFORE you make your purchase. Many people buy on impulse because the printer looks shiny and irresistible but the sting comes when they run out of ink and find out the price of the cartridges.

 Maintaining your new printer

Now that you are home with your wonderful new printer here are some basic tips to make sure it continues working well for years to come:

1. Make sure you buy good quality generic inks from a reputable supplier who has a phone number and address on their website. (if you don’t , expect problems).

2. Follow the instructions carefully when installing inks making sure that breather tapes are removed and any rubber stoppers, clips etc are removed before installing.

3. PRINT REGULARLY ! A printer  will be much healthier if you print at least one colour page per week. This keeps ink flowing through the print head and flushes out any residue in the print head itself.

4. If your printer has had inks installed in it for a long period it pays to remove them and GENTLY wobble them to stop sediment from forming in the bottom of the cartridge. DO NOT shake them as this will aerate the ink and mess up your print head !

5. DO NOT print until the ink has completely run out. It is fine to keep printing for a time after being warned of low ink levels but if you keep printing until no ink remains you will eventually kill your print head.

 Don’t be afraid to give compatible inks a go

Finally don’t be scared to try generic inks as the savings are huge and the chances of you running into problems is almost non existent. If you still cant decide and you need advice call our friendly staff at Ink Hub: Office: (08) 7324 3065 or Mob: 0408 691 299

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