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Look, I will not lie, the companies who are producing printers and ink/toner cartridges are hungry for money, and although some of them are trying to play nice with us, others are being pricks about it. As an example, just two years ago HP silently introduced a firmware update which disabled all printers that had non-genuine cartridges in them. The best thing? They did it without announcing it or doing *anything* to let the end user know (I’m not kidding, check it out here). You can already imagine how it went, the whole story backfired at HP and people started returning their devices. Yes, they did “fix it” later on, but the damage has been made, and customers were not only suspicions with new HP products, but also with other manufacturers.

Luckily, we humans are an interesting bunch, if you present a problem to us (especially if the problem is paying a lot of money for something which is not worth that amount), we will find a solution for it, and the same rule applies to the ink cartridge game.

So, in the today’s example I’m going to show you how to reset your Ink Cartridge, but this time mainly focusing on Epson, since you guys have been asking me about it through Facebook for a while now.


To start off, why would you even need to reset your Ink Cartridge?

If you take a normal Ink Cartridge, let us say from HP, you’re going to see that it has a small chip on the back of it, and once installed, that little silicon plate is touching the printer and, thus, the device can “read” how much ink the cartridge still has. This is quite useful since then the software on your computer can let you know if the ink is empty, but at the same time it’s a pain in the buttocks if you’re on the dirty side of the game, and are using refilled ink cartridges.

What is a refilled ink cartridge you’re asking? I wrote a whole tutorial about it last week, you can check it out here: How to start using Refillable Cartridges. But, to keep it short, it’s the process of taking an original cartridge, which is compatible with your printer, and manually refilling it with either genuine or non-genuine ink (well, in most cases with non-genuine), and then install it back into the printer. At that point the printer’s chip still thinks that there is no ink, although there is, and thus, the device doesn’t want to print.

The only solution which you have is to manually reset the ink cartridge, and at that point the printer thinks that, “hey, look, actually *there is* still ink in these seven year old cartridges, let’s go on a printing spree” – you get the concept.

Now, in regards to our tutorial, as I said in the beginning, I will only write about how to Reset Epson ink cartridges, if you would like me to write for other manufacturers, do let me know on Facebook.

Resetting Epson Ink Cartridges with a Chip Resetter or Cartridge Reset Tool

Epson Cartridge Resetter how it worksYou can reset your ink cartridges in two ways. The first one is that you physically have a cartridge chip resetter, or also called the cartridge reset tool, which is basically a small and affordable plastic tool with pins on it, powered by a battery, where the only thing you need to do is press the pins from the resetter on to the pins from the cartridge, and then the device does it’s magic all by itself, you can get more info in regards to the process within the user manual of the device. An example of the tool can be seen on the left image, where in this case it’s the universal chip resetter for Epson, a quite simple and cost efficient tool. In most cases it’s recommended to use one cartridge chip resetter with one printer model, do not use the same resetter on different models because it might screw up the device and cause some errors with it. So, basically, one cartridge reset tool per printer, remember that.

They come fairly cheap, around $15, sometimes even as low as $10, and you can get them from Amazon with Prime shipping the same day. The only downside is that you need to watch out which model you’re buying, since some of them are only compatible with certain Epson printers, other with certain HP printers and so on. As of now there is no “reliable” universal resetter for every printer out there, but there are other ways, we will go through them in the lines below. You can check some of the offers below:

Resetting Epson Ink Cartridges by Swapping Cartridge Chips

Now, the second hardware solution is swapping cartridge chips, which I personally do not recommend because it just doesn’t make sense. In this scenario you need one pair of full cartridges and one pair of empty cartridges which you plan to refill. Once you refill the empty cartridges you take out the chips from the full cartridges and put them in to the refilled cartridges.

With that “cheat” your printer will think that the refilled cartridges are the new, full ones, but do you see the problem here?

You already have a perfectly good new set of cartridges, and you’re screwing around with the new chips just to spend them on refilled cartridges. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s easier to just get a $15 chip reset tool then screw up a perfectly good pair of genuine ink cartridges.

How to reset ink cartridge epson reset tool

You see these little chips on the cartridge? Those are the culprits.

The Software way of resetting Epson Ink Cartridges: The SSS Service Utility

At one point the guys from the Localization group presented a small program which solved the problems of many, and even today, this little .exe file is still available for a secure download and works with over 100 printers. It’s the first true software reset tool for Epson cartridges, and it works perfectly.

Downsides? Well, 100 printers sounds like a lot, but it’s one printer less if your device is not on the list of compatible models, so be sure to check it before you download it. It’s available through this link, where you can also find the full tutorial on how to do it properly: http://ssclg.com/epsone.shtml


Is there a secret reset button on your ink cartridge?

Short answer: No

Long answer: People on various blogs, YouTube videos and God knows where else, are screwing around with you. There is no reset button on the ink cartridge, there is no paper clip ink reset method, it’s just another way for the internet people to get more views.

Look at it from the logical side, an Ink Cartridge has no electricity in it, it’s just a piece of plastic filled with ink, thus, you can’t reset an ink cartridge through a button as you could reset a modem or a router. It just doesn’t work that way.

How to reset ink cartridge with paper clip pin reset button

Don’t trust the green guy, he has been lying to you all this time.


Other things worth mentioning: Non-OEM (BCH) Refillable Cartridges

Non-OEM, an abbreviation for “Not Original Equipment from the Manufacturer”, means that someone smart out there thought about creating refillable cartridges which don’t cost an arm and a leg, included a chip on them so that the printer can read them, and on top of that, offered a solution for resetting the chip every time you refill the cartridges.

The process differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, and if you opt for the Non-OEM refillable cartridges you will get the manual/tutorial with them on how to refill them and reset them properly. It’s quite a cost efficient way of doing it, so it’s worth the research.

That’s all from me folks, let’s get back to printing!

I hope I was helpful with the tutorial, and that you’re one person less who believes that there is a paper clip method for resetting an ink cartridge. But, before I close up the article, I wrote an informative article in regards to extending the life of your ink cartridge a couple days ago, so if you want to learn a few new tricks, do check it out, it’s here: How to extend Ink Cartridge life