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FAQ 

This page contains information that can help you quickly resolve any issues or problems you may be having with your cartridges. Many times, problems can be easily solved using the simple suggestions below.

 

YOUR PRINTER IS GIVING YOU ERROR MESSAGES

 

If message reads:  "CARTRIDGE ERROR" or "CARTRIDGE INSTALLED INCORRECTLY"

There may be some ink residue on the contact points of the cartridge. Sometimes poor electrical contacts will trigger a printer error. Try cleaning off both the cartridge and printer contacts with a lint-free cloth or paper towel dipped in alcohol, distilled water or a non-greasy cleaner. Cleaning in a circular motion works best.

When installing the cartridge into your printer, "drop" the cartridge into the holder, then slightly wiggle the cartridge left to right a few times to ensure proper seating. Then lock the cartridge into place.

In rarer cases, a resistor inside the cartridge may have burn out and could be causing the error message. If this is the case, the cartridge cannot be fixed and would need to be replaced.

If cleaning the contact points doesn't work, please go ahead and send it back and we'll get a replacement sent out to you right away. Read and follow the instructions on our Returns & Exchanges page.
 

If Message reads:  "CARTRIDGE EMPTY"

First, figure out if the printer itself that says it's out of ink (blinking light), or does a printer related message box come up on your monitor saying it's empty?

If a light on your printer is blinking (saying 'out of ink'), make sure the contact points on the cartridge are completely clean and free from any grime or residue.

If it's a printer control program or message box that's telling you it's out, the issue is probably that the printer control software hasn't been reset or told a new cartridge was installed.

The printer software is what measures the cartridge ink fullness level. The printer software actually remembers the number of pages that have been printed since the last cartridge was installed, and then ESTIMATES when the cartridge should be empty. (There is no internal device inside the cartridge itself that measures the ink level.) If you change the cartridge without letting the printer driver know to reset, it will think it's still using the old cartridge. This would show you error messages saying low ink.

Here's what to do...  Try installing the cartridge again making sure your computer and printer are both on (power turned on). Change the cartridge on the printer by taking it out, and then putting it back in. Close the cover, or press the button on your printer that tells it to return to normal. The printer control program should come up. If it doesn't, you may have to search around somewhere in your printer utilities and try to find where the "Install New Cartridge" option is. When you find it, open the printer utilities and select "Install/Change cartridge". (Go through the steps described in this printer function)

This approach will tell the software that a new cartridge has been inserted and force it to reset the internal page counter to zero.

If you are still having problems, please read and follow the instructions on our Returns & Exchanges page.
 

CARTRIDGE PRINTING STREAKY OR WITH LINES

Before we begin, make sure that any plastic shipping clip and blue printhead tape is removed from the inkjet cartridge (HP or Lexmark). If you can't see the electrical contacts on the cartridge, the plastic shipping clip is not removed.

If colors are missing, it's likely that the cartridge has become "deprimed". This means an air bubble may be trapped inside cartridge between the ink and the printhead, preventing proper ink flow. Many times, all it takes is a couple of cleaning cycles with your printer utilities program, or a few hard shakes with a paper towel over the end to get the cartridge primed and working again.

First, run 2-3 cleaning cycles using your printer's utility program to try and get the ink flowing properly.
Go to your "Control Panel" folder and right-click on your printer's icon. Under "Printer Preferences" or "Properties", you should find your printer utilities and see an option for "cleaning" or "priming" the cartridge.

If you have run at least 3 cleaning cycles without success, try this:

Take a slightly damp warm paper towel (use distilled water) and fold it in half two times.
While holding the cartridge, place the towel on the printhead (the bottom of the cartridge where the ink comes out), and hold it on securely with your fingers.
Shake the cartridge quickly and firmly downward to drive the ink toward the printhead as if you would trying to reset a medical thermometer. -- (Shake approx 2-3 times)

Now "Blot" your cartridge onto the folded paper towel to see if all of the colors appear. To "Blot" test, hold the folded paper towel over your fingers of one hand and press the printhead into it with the other hand. All colors/chambers should appear in uniform size. If not, repeat shake proceedure 3-4 times. Sometimes this can be a quick fix to prime the cartridge printhead. Sometimes it works great, other times it may not.

Customer tip
Another trick to help prime the printhead is to blow a little air through the vent hole on the top of the cartridge until a small amount of ink has been expelled. This will force the ink down to the bottom of the cartridge. Repeat the "Blot" test above.

When storing cartridges, always make sure to store them with the printhead side facing down to keep them primed. Although the shelf life is longer, we do not recommend storing cartridges for periods longer than 6 months.

If you are still having problems, please read and follow the instructions on our Returns & Exchanges page.

 

PACKAGE LEAKED WHILE IN SHIPMENT

Sometimes during the shipping process, the package handling can cause leaking problems. If the package experiences higher than normal altitude pressure changes, or even remains upside-down for an extended period of time, it may leak some ink. It only takes a small amount of ink to look like a disaster, even though the actual amount leaked is relatively small.

If there is any leaking of ink, please clean the cartridge up with water and paper towels. The cartridge is most likely still full and should print fine. However if you would prefer a replacement it's not a problem -- just let us know.

If you accidentally get some ink on your hands, the quickest and most effective way to get it off is water and bleach -- then use soap to wash off the bleach residue. If you do use bleach on your hands, please make sure to do this next to running water because contact with skin can begin to burn if left on too long.

To return your cartridge, follow the instructions on our Returns & Exchanges page.