Getting your printer to register a new printer cartridge

29-04-2013 by

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Once you’ve bought a new printer cartridge and slotted it into your printer, the last thing you want is to get an error message. You don’t want your printer to tell you that your brand new printer cartridge is empty or, even worse, that the cartridge is undetectable. It’s frustrating and worrying.

Not to worry, though. Here are some general troubleshooting tips to get your printer working again.

The first thing to do is to check whether the problem is with the installation or with how your printer software is dealing with the new cartridge.

For an ink cartridge:

  1. Check that the pull tags have been completely removed from the ink cartridge. The pull tag is a piece of sticky plastic tape that keeps the openings in the ink cartridge shut until they’re needed.
  2. Check that the black and colour ink cartridges are properly seated in their slots inside the inkjet printer. Try reseating the ink cartridges or wobbling them slightly to make sure they are positioned properly.
  3. If the ink cartridge has its own printhead (e.g. HP ink, Canon ink and Lexmark ink), make sure the copper contacts are connecting. Have a look at the copper contacts and make sure that they are still in good condition and that there is no dirt on the contacts. If there is dirt, take a clean dry tissue and wipe the contacts gently to remove it. Check the contacts in the inkjet printer and make sure that they are clean and in good condition as well.
  4. If your printer uses a tank style ink cartridge, with the print head inside the printer (e.g. Epson ink), check that one of the older ink tanks does not need to be replaced. Sometimes, an old tank will stop the printer from printing.
  5. Don’t be alarmed if you get a low ink warning from your printer if you are using a compatible ink cartridge. Unless the ink tank is clear, the printer cannot read how much ink is actually in the ink cartridge, it is guessing based on the information coming from the chip.

For a laser toner cartridge:

  1. Check that the pull tags have been completely removed from the toner cartridge. The pull tag is a long piece of sticky plastic that keeps the toner in the toner container. When the pull tag is removed it allows the toner powder to fix to the paper once printing starts.
  2. You may have to manually tell the laser printer that you have changed out a part. All Brother toner printers, for example, have to be manually told that a drum has been replaced.

With toner cartridges, there is very little that can go wrong. If you have tried the steps above and are still having trouble getting the cartridge to register, the fault will most likely be with the chip and the toner cartridge will have to be replaced.

If you still have problems getting your printer cartridge to register, please read our FAQs or contact us.

Nic Venter

About the author

Nic Venter+

 is the founder and director of He started the business in 2009 with the idea to sell ink and toner cartridges online and to provide you with a quality product, value for money and convenience. He regularly blogs on about printing and technology. Part of his philosophy is having fun and making sure that he and his team think everything ink, so you don't have to.

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