What to do if the Printer Runs Out of Toner?

The printing technique works using a special dye that prints an image or text onto sheets of paper. Such ink belongs to consumables, and therefore sooner or later runs out. But the message “Out of toner” in the printer does not always mean that it is really missing. First of all, this may mean that there is very little of it. Such a situation can be perplexed by inexperienced users who encounter a problem even if the cartridge is just filled. In this manual, we will tell you what to do if a similar situation happened to you.

  • If your device uses toner and drum cartridges, then with this error you should pay attention to the first one – do not confuse them.

Possible on-screen notification options

The display may appear (in Russian or English). They usually state that the toner has run out or needs to be replaced. If the office equipment does not have a display, a light may be on next to the corresponding inscription.

What does this error mean and its reasons

This indicates that the coloring powder inside the device has either already run out or is about to run out. It can also be a programmed message. All of these options require different approaches to the solution.

Out of powder

The printer can signal the empty toner with the appropriate signals. This is usually done by means of a light bulb on the housing that says “toner” or a toner image.

If there is no signal, but the print quality has become noticeably worse, this is also a signal that the toner is running out. In the second case, you can slightly extend the printing period. To do this, simply remove the ink cartridge from its slot and gently shake it from side to side several times. In this case, the remains of the coloring granules will evenly fall inside the structure. This life hack will allow you to make a few more printed copies, but no more.

  • This method is only suitable for powder (laser) cartridges. If the printer has liquid ink cassettes, you do not need to shake them.

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What is Toner

Externally, the toner looks like a colored or black fine granular powder with a low melting point. It is produced on the basis of organic resins, synthetic polymers, and graphite. The powder is loaded into cassettes for laser printers. When the printing apparatus is operating, the toner heats up to a temperature above 180 degrees. It begins to melt, and on paper, when printing, characteristic traces appear – letters, patterns, numbers, symbols, lines, etc.

How to know for sure that there is no toner

There are two ways – how to determine the absence of paint:

  1. The print quality has noticeably deteriorated, and this happens not once, but constantly.
  2. The technique itself signals a problem.
Print quality has dropped

It should be visually determined that the paint is coming to an end. To do this, just look at the print quality of the last sheets. And also to assess the print quality on many models of printers and their software, the function of printing a test sheet is implemented.

Running out of ink powder is indicated by poor print quality, faded letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as the presence of characteristic vertical white stripes on the printed sheets. All of these signs are a clear sign that it’s time to change the ink.

Printer signals

A variety of labels and symbols can be displayed on the device. A shortage or a small amount of coloring powder is reported by the appropriate teams in Russian or English. Sometimes you can find characteristic pictogram icons representing toner – in the form of a black “pile”. And also the inscriptions may appear not on the display of the device, but light up in the form of lamps on the case.

  • If the device reports a lack of toner, replace or refill the ink cassettes in any way appropriate.

Sometimes the device asks for a toner card. This could be due to a defective cartridge or a blockage in the counting chip. In the second case, the counter should be reset. The first is to replace or repair the part.

The “pledged” resource has been exhausted

Many printer manufacturers market their finished products not with 100% cartridge charges by default, but with 50% or so. In this case, the printer may stop printing earlier than stated in its technical documentation. But this usually only happens when new equipment starts up and works. After you replace a cartridge, it should be in actual use at typical prints.

Determining the Remaining of Liquid Ink in an Inkjet Printer

  • This test method is applicable only to inkjet samples. In laser printers, the standard ink is in the form of a powder, there it will not be possible to apply this method.

In some models of inkjet printers, ink is stored in liquid form in special translucent cylindrical or rectangular containers. Their remainder can be determined visually, by eye, if you remove the cover of the device. Under the cover, there is a sliding carriage with containers, inside them – liquid ink.

If the container is made of opaque plastic, then the amount of paint remaining inside can be determined by weight, as well as by simple weight comparison with a new and full cartridge.

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Ink cartridge problems

If the equipment reports a malfunction or lack of toner, although it was refilled, it is possible that we are talking about a breakdown of the container with the powder itself. This doesn’t happen very often. Usually, the breakdown is preceded by careless, careless or rough handling of the printer or cartridge. It is almost impossible to fix a broken fragment with your own hands if there are no special repair skills. In this case, it is best to contact a specialized service.

Installed incorrectly

If the corresponding light on the equipment flashes, it means that you need to remove the cartridge and reinstall it. In this case, you must make sure that it is installed correctly: without distortions and not upside down. If there are special grooves for a part, you must carefully place the cartridge in them.

If all the above methods did not help, you need to take out the cartridge and wipe its grooves with alcohol cotton, and then put it back into place – until the sound of a characteristic click. Then you can close the cover of the device.

A substitute for original consumables is used

Manufacturers of consumables for licensed equipment put special chips on cartridges. If there is no such chip, the printer may refuse to print. However, even in this case, such protection can be bypassed. For example, reprogram the printer itself, or rearrange the chip to a cheaper but non-original cartridge model.

Chip flashing

If you reprogram the printer or the chip on the cartridge, you can forget about the problem of non-original components. In this case, it is better to reflash the printer itself, and not each consumable separately. Such a procedure should not be performed on your own if you do not have the appropriate software, equipment, and skills. The best thing is to contact the specialists so that they can perform the flashing of the device by their own means and forces.

If everything is done correctly, then office equipment will no longer bother you with messages about non-original equipment or the inability to print.

Samsung Features

Office equipment of this brand often has a special fuse that prevents the installation of “non-native” consumables. To get rid of this problem, you should put a similar part in the socket, but of much weaker power. The socket is usually located on the front of the device. The very first power supply will burn the excess part of the structure. It is difficult to do something like this at home. We recommend that you entrust this procedure to specialists in office equipment.

Copy counter full

If the user has replaced the cassette, but the display still shows the message that there is no toner in the machine. This could be because the number of copies printed on the old cartridge has not been reset. Then you need to reset the counter.

Zeroing methods

Office equipment specialists identify two ways to reset the counter of printed copies. Hardware does not work on all models of technology, but it is easier to implement. The software method consists in changing the basic settings of the device. The best way to implement it is to follow the user’s guide.


There is no universal method that is equally well suited for all devices at once. The best advice for the user is to find the manual. Oftentimes, this hardware maintenance booklet contains instructions to help you troubleshoot problems.

Manual is not always included with the printer. In this case, we recommend looking for suitable documentation on the Internet, focusing on the printer model. It is indicated on the case itself, on the check, and on the warranty card. When looking for a guide on the web, it is better to pay attention to the official websites of the developer companies. Any other resource sometimes contains malware that can harm your computer.

In the manual, you need to find the chapter in which there is a description instruction for operating and refilling ink cassettes. There should also be information on zeroing the chips. Follow the steps and then reboot the hardware for the new settings to take effect.


This option helps to quickly fix the situation. But it should be remembered that it is not applicable to all devices. Pay attention to office equipment – if there is a special window on the side through which the reader is launched, then this method can be applied.

This scheme works like this: when the number of coloring granules in the cassette is reduced, a special window opens and gives a light signal. Then it hits the counter sensor and triggers a mechanism designed for about 150-200 copies. When this quantity is printed, the printer will inform you that the ink has run out. Such an inscription will appear even if there is still enough powder in the cassettes.

To get around the scheme, it is enough to seal the window with tape that does not allow light to pass through. Or, change the machine’s settings so that it gives an ink shortage alarm after printing more copies than the default.

In different models, such a scheme can be implemented in different ways. Using the Ricoh brand as an example:

  • Select and confirm (OK) the item “User parameters”.
  • The message “Reset counter” will appear, click OK.
  • Use the cursor arrows to select the “Enable” section from the menu and click OK.
  • If everything is done correctly, the counter will be reset, the message about the lack of paint will disappear and the device will start working.

Damage to the housing or parts of the cartridge

If all other options did not help, perhaps we are talking about a defect in the device itself or its components. Often breakdown occurs due to careless, rough or careless handling of equipment. If there is a likelihood of such an outcome, it is best not to carry out the repair yourself, but to contact a specialized service center. There the equipment will be inspected and either repaired or offered a replacement option. If the product has a warranty, do not forget to take the receipt and the warranty card.

Feature of Brother cartridges

The equipment of this brand shows itself well when printing various types. But in order to refuel a cassette with coloring powder, you should take into account the unique features of this brand. Below we describe in detail how you can change the cartridge using hardware and software methods.

Reset methods

There are two of them: hardware and software. With hardware, it will be necessary to perform mechanical manual actions in the printer itself. It will require some technical skills. The software method is much easier to implement – just click on the buttons in the desired sequence. Let’s consider both of these methods for the Brother technique in detail.

There are short reset instructions below. Apply them first. If you cannot achieve the desired result using this method, then use our more detailed recommendations for resetting the toner counters of Brother equipment.


This option is applicable to many Brother brand models, but it is technically difficult to implement. Procedure:

  1. Turn on the printing device and wait until the noise decreases.
  2. Locate the lever on the left side of the machine and remove it, then place it inside the printer.
  3. Gently pull the cassette out of the slots.
  4. Take it apart. You should have the cartridge (toner) and drum unit on your hands.
  5. Find the mount on the side and click on it. Return the fragment containing the drum to its place.
  6. Fool the opening sensor. To do this, you need to press it down with a screwdriver or other flat object – to simulate the presence of a closed lid.
  7. To inform the printer that the cassette is in place, also press the special flag.
  8. As soon as the gears begin to rotate, release the checkbox, and then press the part again. You need to repeat this twice in 4 or 5 seconds.
  9. The checkbox should remain closed after the second click.
  • If you have not done anything like this before, it is unlikely that you will be able to do everything correctly the first time. If you cannot do the task yourself, contact the specialists.

After the device makes a noise, you can stop blocking the sensor responsible for the closed cover with a screwdriver. Place the cassette in its original position, replace the lever. The front panel should also be closed. Check if everything works well.

Sometimes the process of replacing a cassette chip is also called a hardware method. This can be seen on laser devices.


Nothing complicated here. Turn on your office equipment and wait for the noise to end. After that, open the front panel. Then you need to click on the buttons in the following sequence:

  1. Stop key (or Cancel, or Back).
  2. Start button and Up arrow button.
  3. Press the Down arrow several times. The display should show zeros.
  4. Confirm the selection with the OK key and return the front panel to its original position.
  5. The device is now ready for use.

But also the software option is called the reprogramming of the printer. If you follow the procedure correctly, the display will never show the low ink message again. It is better to entrust the flashing to specialists.

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