Troubleshooting GENERIC INKS

Q. The generic ink cartridge I bought from you is not working, or not recognised by my printer.
Is there something I can do to get it working, or will you send me a replacement?  Please help!


A. Non-recognition of generic cartridges sometimes happens. Very occasionally the electronic chip can be faulty, but more often it is not a defect, but rather a matter of getting the cartridge to “talk” to your printer.


In this guide are a few troubleshooting tips and tricks, from simple to complex, to get generic inks working. If your cartridge is not working, after trying these techniques, it is likely to be faulty and we will happily send a replacement.      

Note: This is a general guide, and not specific to any brand or model of printer. If these troubleshooting tips are not helping, please contact us, or your dealer, for further advice.


How to Troubleshoot Generic Inks and Inkjet Printers

Before loading your cartridge

After removing any protective bracket around the cartridge, check that you have removed the tape or foil covering the electronic contacts and/or vent hole (unless it says - “Do Not Remove”).

Leaving a vent hole covered will stop the flow of ink, and the cartridge may not work even though it is not empty.


Cartridge NOT RECOGNISED – What does the printer say?

When a generic cartridge is not recognised, your printer may incorrectly indicate that

  • the cartridge is empty, or

  • the wrong cartridge is inserted, or

  • no cartridge is inserted


Unfortunately these general messages can be misleading, and don't give good clues for solutions to the problem.

However, the display panel may also display an error code – For example “error 26”, or a 4-digit code. You can refer to your printer manual to clarify the error code.


Low Ink or No Ink Warning

In order to keep costs down cartridge re-fillers and some re-manufacturers do not replace the original electronic chip. This may cause the printer to incorrectly warn of low or no ink, when in fact the cartridge may be full.

A low ink warning can be usually be ignored. Just press OK and you can continue printing as normal.

If your printer doesn't print, and the control panel shows an “Out of Ink” warning or flashing light, please do the following -

  • Press and hold the Stop/Reset/Cancel button for 3 to 5 seconds. This should disable the ink counter and enable printing again within 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat 2 or 3 times if necessary.

If there is still a problem, or you are trying to get a new compatible cartridge to work, please read on for the next troubleshooting tip.


Clearing Memory

Many inkjet printers electronically read and record cartridge chip serial numbers, and may prevent the same serial number being recognised more than once.

This technique will try to clear the printer memory of recent cartridge serial numbers, allowing the printer to read and accept your generic cartridges. This is useful for both new and partly used cartridges (at least 20% full).

  1. With the printer turned ON, remove all the cartridges by your usual method - either computer software or the printer's control panel.

  2. Turn printer OFF and remove wall plug, for at least 10-15 minutes. This should clear any memory in the printer's electronics.

  3. While waiting, check if the cartridge electronic contacts are clean. Wipe or clean as described below.

  4. Turn printer back ON. Printer will ask for a cartridge. Re-install each cartridge, one by one, and check to see if they are accepted.


Loading original and generic cartridges together, can sometimes prevent the printer from recognizing one or more.

So if necessary, make sure you are using only one cartridge type - ie. all generics or all originals, and repeat the above procedure again.

If still not working there is chance the cartridge chip is faulty. You should consult your dealer to discuss a replacement or refund.

If you have the time you could also -

  1. Reset the printer to the factory default configuration -

  2. Delete and re-install the printer driver /software on your computer


Printer Firmware

Another possible reason for a generic cartridge not working could be a recently updated printer driver or firmware, or even one which is very outdated. This is more likely to occur with top-of-the-range high end printers. Most home and small business printers, and older models are not affected.

If your printer is connected to a network and updates are set to automatic, this may affect the use of generic inks. For this reason we recommend that printer auto-updates are turned OFF if you wish to use generic cartridges.

For model-specific advice regarding firmware, please read our guide “Printer Firmware and Generic Inks” or consult your dealer.


Cartridge Chip Contacts

Care with handling cartridges is important. Touching electronic contacts with fingers may leave a slight oily residue which can affect how the printer “reads” the cartridge.

Occasionally the cartridge chip contacts may need cleaning. Gently wipe with a non-abrasive tissue paper or mico-fibre cloth. If needed clean the contacts with a lint-free cloth and a solution of iso-propyl alcohol such as rubbing alcohol (Chemist), lens or DVD cleaner.



Ink cartridge problems are varied, and solutions may be simple or complex.

Generic cartridges invariably have more recognition problems than original cartridges, and they are always related to the printer they are being used with.


This guide covered simple solutions, such as cleaning electronic contacts, to major procedures such as deleting and resetting your printer software, if nothing else has worked. Overall much less then 2% of all cartridges sold are defective. Every good dealer will be happy to replace or refund a suspected faulty cartridge, after you have been troubleshooting as far as you can with your printer.

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