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Idle Mar 22, 2005 5:09 AM

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As Epson printer users will know, waste ink from head cleaning etc. is channeled into absorbent pads in the base of the printer.

Eventually these will fill up and need to be replaced, and some time before they actually fill the waste ink counter in the printer's firmware will signal an error and the machine won't print any more until the counter is reset.

This normally requires a trip to the service depot (if the printer's worth the cost, and if it's realised that this is the problem -- lots of otherwise good printers go to the dump through this relatively minor problem.)

The service depots have a program that can, among other things, reset this counter (but of course won't part with it -- there's money to be made, new pads to be sold...)

There's a third-party utility available that can do this (look for sscserve.exe on the 'net -- carefully read the documentation and use it with great care...), but at the same time the pads need to be changed, otherwise you risk ink pooling in the base, sometimes finding its way out and making a right mess.

Replacing the pads isn't for the faint-hearted, you have to virtually dismantle the printer to reach them.

Here's how to get around it -- the two pictures below are almost self-explanatory:

On the left rear of these printers is a small trapdoor held by a single screw.

Remove it, look inside (down and to your left) and you'll see the waste ink tube.

The tube is free at one end, and with a suitably curved piece of wire you can hook it and wangle the end out through the opening (you may dislodge a small piece of plastic in the process -- just put it back where it was, it's only a vibration damper.)

At this point, you're almost there.

All you need now is a suitable container for the waste ink, and to file a small slot in the trapdoor cover so you can put it back without pinching the tube (or you could just lave it off.)

The container in the photo is a small square one with a snap-on lid, approx. 60mm square and holding about 150ml -- they're sold in sets of three for a few cents and are for making ice-blocks etc. in your freezer.

Make a hole in the lid as shown (slightly larger than the tube to let air escape) insert the tube and forget about the internal pads forever.

(I've used a new machine for the photos, don't expect the tube in yours to look so clean.)

Idle Mar 22, 2005 5:10 AM

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fperry Mar 22, 2005 3:13 PM

You have not been idle,Idle (could not resist that) Very usefull post,I am running a R210 with a CIF system,go through lots of ink,wonder how they calculate when to give the message, wonder how that is effected by my CIF chip resetters? Time will tell.
thanks for the tip.

Idle Mar 22, 2005 9:30 PM


I am running a R210 with a CIF system,go through lots of ink,wonder how they calculate when to give the message, wonder how that is effected by my CIF chip resetters?
I think it's calculated in much the same way they "calculate" when you should throw a non-empty cartridge away -- with an algorithm that estimates the number of dots printed, probably combined with either the number of head cleans run, the number of cartridge changes recorded or both, most likely with a reasonable safety margin.

If your chip resetters adversely affect this and the absorption pads keep filling indefinitely, your first warning might well be a flood of brownish black ink under the printer and a big cleanup to do -- exactly as happens if you reset the waste counter and don't replace the pads.

Hence the external tank -- you'll still get the refusal to print when the device thinks the pads are full, but you'll only need to reset the counter.

Many of the more expensive commercial inkjet printers and plotters use a similar setup (which is where I got the idea)-- on the cheaper units replacing pads and resetting the counter is, in bank parlance, a "revenue opportunity".

fperry Mar 23, 2005 3:29 PM

Thanks,have placed my printer on a large tray (only joking)
I will implement your modification straight away,thanks again for your usefull post.

Kaptiv8 Apr 5, 2005 3:26 PM


Idle, thank you thank you Thank You! Your excellent post has my R300 back in business and waste ink channeling merrily out the back hatch into a neatly rigged external reservoir.

Luckily I have an old PC laptop lying around here since the reset utility is only for PC's, but it worked like a charm.

Thanks Again! :cool:



Idle Apr 7, 2005 12:52 AM

Glad to be of help.

Something that interests me -- I've noticed a lot of reports of the waste ink indicator shutting down these printers (R200/310/300/310 etc.) and yet they haven't been around all that long.

When I tested mine, I did so with the card reader and noticed it did a full head clean before every print job, pumping out each time about as much as it did on the initial prime.

For only a very few test prints it pumped out quite a lot of ink -- the bottle, which is about 2" square, had nearly a quarter-inch of ink in it and the CIS reservoirs went down noticeably.

It's now been on the computer for some weeks, done a lot of printing from it including several full A4 photo's, been turned on and off many times and has still only run a head clean twice, covering only a small part of the bottom of the same bottle, plus the reservoirs aren't going down much at all.

Makes me wonder if there's a bug in the firmware that runs stand-alone printing?

Kaptiv8 Apr 7, 2005 9:11 AM

I've never run mine directly from the card as a standalone, but once the original priming is completed it seems pretty economical with the ink.


digger845 Apr 19, 2005 5:13 AM

I have an Epson R210 which is rarely turned off. I've used a PC to reset it but as it's late I haven't set up a waste ink tank (external) yet. How often does it "prime" itself if left on? or does it?
My ink use seems economical so I'm assuming that it doesn't do it too often.
I've looked at the tube in the back and it seems very clean, almost though a lot of ink has not passed through it

Techpro Apr 20, 2005 6:53 AM

Thanks for the excellent Mod, Modded my R300 and its running as good as ever. No more waste ink pad changing for me, Thank you

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