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What To Do When Your Printer's Waste Ink Tray Container Is Full

Updated on October 12, 2011

The Repair Kit

Waste Ink Container Kit
Waste Ink Container Kit

It all started when the printer quit

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How To Save Money With Continuous Ink Systems

Recently, our printer closed up shop and refused to work any more. With any ordinary printer, that's no big deal. Junk it, get a new one. But in this case, there's been a fair investment above and beyond it's initial cost. We bought it with a Continuous Ink System from, and those tend to be custom designed for specific printers. I didn't want to throw all that out and start again. Lucky for me, Monique is a powerhouse when it comes to solving problems.

Printer has gone on strike
Printer has gone on strike
Closeup of message
Closeup of message

Waste Ink Counter Shutdown

The printer's message screen read "Service Required. Contact Epson." She did a little research, and found out the problem. The printer (an Epson Stylus Photo R380) has a chip that counts waste ink use. When it hits a magic number, it decides the waste ink tray must be full, and turns itself off until an Epson tech can change the tray and reactivate the chip.

While I'm using a very specific printer here, the principle holds true for other inkjet printers. InkProducts offers solutions for a huge number of printers, if you're having any printer problem, it's worth seeing what printers they currently cover.

Instructions for Waste Ink Kit
Instructions for Waste Ink Kit

Like Hackers for Printers

Her next step was to find out what to do about it.  Turns out, Inkproducts has the answer for that.  What a cool company... they're like hackers for printers.  Anyway, they offer an Ink Waste Container Kit.  Costs about $15, including shipping.  Considering how much that printer already cost, fifteen dollars was a much better option than buying a new printer.  So Monique ordered the kit.

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You'd almost think I know what I'm doing

It arrived pretty quickly.  Everything looked very clean and simple.  As usual, they included a very nice set of instructions with full-color photographs.  I'm not very good with practical skills, but this was clear enough even I could do it.  As a matter of fact, the video below?  I made that on the fly while working through the instructions for the first time ever.  Yet it went so well, you'd almost think I knew what I was talking about...

This is where the waste ink goes... now!
This is where the waste ink goes... now!

Where does the leftover inkspray go?

The installation went quick and easy.  Before I knew it, there was a tube hanging out of the printer, going to an empty bottle.  Before now, it never occurred to me to wonder about waste ink.  I mean, I knew the head cleaner forced ink through that got wasted, but for regular printing?  I guess I always thought the printer only sprayed out what it needed.  But no, there's a surprising amount of ink that gets wasted.  Not like you could float a boat in it or anything, but still.  When you've always thought there was NO wasted ink, it's a bit of a shock to realize, yes, there is.  

Don't Re-use the Ink

At this point, the waste ink kit has been installed about 2 weeks. And there's around 1/4 inch of ink in the bottle. It's a shame to lose it, but the instructions are very clear. Do NOT re-use the wasted ink. It'll harm your computer. This would also be a good time to point out the removable cap on the bottle. Once full, you can take off the cap, throw away the ink, and reattach the empty bottle. Then you're ready to keep printing.

Now for the Software

This has been an excellent printer for us, and has seen heavy use. I'm glad there was a good, practical, solution to get it running again. And I'm glad it was so easy to install. Once all the physical stuff is done, then there's a link to get the software from. Epson has released the program that resets the counter, so Inkproducts just gives you a link to the right place. I understand that for other printers, Inkproducts provides the software as part of their kit.

To see the software installation and use, watch the video below.

Download the program, run it, and next thing you know, the printer is working just fine. For me, anyway. I have to give the ink waste container kit a big thumbs up. It was affordable, easy, and saved my printer!

Read ALL the Instructions

One small caveat - On the instructions, it very specifically tells you to read all of the instructions, and that there is no refund or exchange on this product. I can understand why. But as simple as the job was, I don't see that being a problem.

There's a video just below showing me install the ink waste container kit on my first run through the instructions. If you'd rather see it with text and pictures, just keep reading:

Me Installing the Waste Ink Container System

Step By Step Installation

First step:  Take out the access panel screw back by the serial number.
First step: Take out the access panel screw back by the serial number.
2:  Remove side access panel. Lever it out with a screwdriver.
2: Remove side access panel. Lever it out with a screwdriver.
3:  Disconnect the small rubber hose where it connects to the white box.
3: Disconnect the small rubber hose where it connects to the white box.
4:  Pull the waste container hose through the side panel opening; connect the two hose ends together.
4: Pull the waste container hose through the side panel opening; connect the two hose ends together.
5:  Put the side panel back in place. Don't crimp the hose.
5: Put the side panel back in place. Don't crimp the hose.
6:  Using the adhesive Velcro, attach the bottle to the printer.
6: Using the adhesive Velcro, attach the bottle to the printer.

Ready to Run the Software

Now you're done installing the hardware, it's time to follow the online link and download the software. Be sure to watch the video above for this procedure.

Once again, the link to this great company is:

I would like to note, they have no affiliate program, and are not paying me for this recommendation.  I use their products personally, and think they do a great job!


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    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Swiftcolour, thanks for the comment, I'm glad your computer is working again! Sorry for the slow answer, for some reason hubpages deemed this as spam, and I didn't find it until tonight.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Katraniasui, thanks for the comment, and for the visit!

    • katrinasui profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for explaining each and everything step by step. This is a good hub.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks, You're right, we throw so much away rather than fix things. But I'm glad you liked the hub. It may have been years ago, that printer may have earned it's rest, but doggonit, that used to be a $300 printer, and I just couldn't stand to throw it out without trying!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Great information - I can't believe how many printers we are all going through these days and where are they all going when they are bottoms up? Another story - but super informative and great pics to help even the retarded of us to get it!


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