How can I force my color printer to print B&W?
June 13, 2005 3:16 PM   Subscribe

How can I force my color printer (Epson CX4600) to ignore the fact that it's out of yellow and magenta ink, and keep printing black and white?

There's no obvious "B&W Mode" I can throw the printer into. Print jobs all throw an "ink is out" error and won't let me continue. I'm on Mac OS X 10.4.1. I tried running it through the "Black and White" Quartz filter, even though it's just an MS Word doc, to no avail.

Am I trapped into buying this ink to "keep around"?
posted by mkultra to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Unfortunately, yes, you will have to keep buying ink. Epson told me the printer (I have a bunch of C86's) will not work without all color cartridges present and accounted for, since it uses a little of each color while printing to keep all of the nozzles from clogging, even if it's just printing black. Maybe someone has come up with a way around this, but that is the official line from Epson.
posted by dual_action at 3:43 PM on June 13, 2005

I've had this problem before with a different Epson, and I believe it is an evil feature of the print driver.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:45 PM on June 13, 2005

God I use a lot of commas. Here's where Epson explains it all.
posted by dual_action at 4:39 PM on June 13, 2005

This sort of guff is why the last time my ink cartridge ran out, instead of spending $30 on more ink, I spent $98 on a Samsung laser printer. More than a year of light/intermittent printing later I'm still on the 'starter' toner cartridge that came with the printer.

Not a solution if you must print in color, but it suits me far better, especially as there's nothing to dry out or clog if I don't print anything for a while which was my biggest problem -- I wasn't even getting to use all the ink that I was paying for so dearly! Sorry to go a little off topic on you, but it was my solution the last time I had the same problem as you.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:32 PM on June 13, 2005

I think you can buy a gizmo that re-programs the chips in the ink cartridges to get around this, but it costs more than it's worth. You'd think you could set preferences to black ink only and it would work. Nope.

If you do buy new cartridges, be sure to run the nozzle check (just a few squiggly lines) once or twice a week to keep the nozzles from clogging. Once they clog, you have a doorstop. I had this problem with a CX5200, but fortunately Costco reimbursed me my $300 Cdn. (even after two years). I didn't want to buy another Epson after that, but the Epson R200 convinced me. At $99 Canadian with six ink cartridges, (and apparently Epson is the only brand that puts full cartridges in their new machines) the printer is cheaper than buying just the ink. The R200 ink is not DURABrite, so it smears when wet, but it won't clog the nozzles easily. Truly amazing quality, too, on heavy, glossy photo paper.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:52 PM on June 13, 2005

eBay: Epson Chip Resetter.

Keeps your carts thinking they're full!
posted by armoured-ant at 11:28 PM on June 13, 2005

Cheaper than I thought. Anyone have experience with these?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:38 PM on June 13, 2005

I haven't had an Epson since dot-matrix days, but for the last couple of years I have had an HP psc 2210 that prints with whichever cartridge the XP software selects regardless of the condition of the other cartridge.
Hope everything is spelled right - I waited a full minute, but Spell Check never kicked in
posted by Cranberry at 1:01 AM on June 14, 2005

Is there any problem with using "Epson-compatible" ink, which you can get for about a tenth the cost of the real stuff? I'm really sick of getting gouged for that stuff.
posted by languagehat at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2005

I'm intrigued by the resetter as well- ant, do you use one?
posted by mkultra at 11:44 AM on June 14, 2005

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