How to Bypass the Ink Requirement for an Epson Printer

By Elizabeth Mott

Updated September 01, 2017

Saving money on printer supplies can mean overriding printer management features.
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Like all printer manufacturers, Epson recommends that you install new cartridges each time your inkjet runs out of one of the ink colors used to produce a piece of printed output. Budget-minded consumers look for alternatives to often pricey supplies, but their attempts to use refilled or other alternative cartridges can end in frustration if the printer refuses to recognize them. With a workaround procedure and some careful monitoring of your hardware, you can take advantage of consumable options.

New Vs. Refilled Cartridges

Basic Epson inkjets use four inks -- cyan, magenta, yellow and black -- but the company's photo printers can double that count, with light versions of the four primary colors and, on some models, additional black or gray inks. Because of the cost of new cartridges, less-expensive alternatives, including aftermarket and refilled products, may look like attractive options. Once you load a non-Epson cartridge, however, you may see error messages that accompany the printer's refusal to use what you've installed.

Sensor Chips

Epson inkjet cartridges include one or more sensor chips that track ink usage, report low-ink conditions through your operating system, and balk at wrongly installed or otherwise unacceptable cartridges. By Epson's standards, "unacceptable" includes any consumables it didn't manufacture and anything other than new supplies. To convince your printer to accept alternative supplies, you must disable the monitoring capabilities that Epson builds in to its cartridges and reports through the software you install when you begin using your hardware.

Override Procedures

When you access the preferences for your Epson printer through the Windows Control Panel, you'll see a button marked "Speed & Progress." Clicking on it brings up a dialog box in which you can activate a check box that disables the Epson Status Monitor. With the Status Monitor off the job, you can install and use refilled cartridges without seeing an "Ink Cartridge Error" message that won't go away. Without ink-level monitoring, however, you must keep a close eye on output quality and replace cartridges when you see the signs of low ink, including faint printouts and missing colors.

Other Considerations

Using third-party or refilled cartridges won't void your Epson warranty, but if your printer suffers an ink-related malfunction with anything other than new and genuine Epson cartridges installed in it, Epson will decline to offer you warranty service. To manage ink counters and other functions on Epson Stylus printers, you can install a third-party utility that reveals many hidden settings (see Resources). The Epson Ink Pads Reset Utility enables you to recover functionality after replacing the absorbers that catch waste ink during the printing process, defeating another error message that otherwise can spell the end of your hardware's useful life.