Printer Fixing Outlaws

I’ve had a Brother Multi Function printer for years and years. It has been very useful. Fax, Scan, Print, Photocopy perfect for a little office.

About two weeks ago I bought a heap of new ink for it (not cheap).

The printer promptly stopped working. As of course it must under these circumstances, i.e. accordance with Murphy’s Law.

After being waiting for the printer to fix itself (wishful thinking) for long enough I began to Google using the model number the error message all sorts of things. I came across a band of Printer Fixers who are apparently outlaws in the eyes of (Big)Brother, they share information that Brother Printers refuse to give out.

They offer heaps of great advice about using special commands into the EPROM to “reset the purge counter”, press this key and that key. Very interesting to see my printer flashing lights like it is having a party – alas for my printer it seems like it’s last hoorah.

Lesson Learned

I learned one great lesson today about cobbled-together help pages like this….

Read the whole thing before taking any action because they are totally unstructured and as mistakes are made new tips are added so the really important stuff is towards the bottom.

This is how my evening went…

  1. I read about a waste ink well inside the printer which I needed to clean – so I promptly took the printer apart with some printer-outlaw guidance. I happily located the bit I needed pulled it out proudly and proceeded to wash it.
  2. Very pleased with myself I proceeded to read more whilst the bits dried – the blackness on my hands was a minor concern but I returned to the computer to read more.
  3. I read that there was actually no need to wash anything or take it apart. Ooops. All I need do was trick the system with some snazzy key pressing that was smuggled (by R2-D2?) out of (Big) Brother’s HQ
  4. So I dried the bits and put it all back together – It looks alright.
  5. I did the snazzy key pressing and voila – what a racket! Not put back together right I think – oh dear and the same error but no idea if its for a new or the same reason
  6. Anyway still says “Unable to Init… blah”
  7. So I returned to the printer outlaw page and read some more, this is what I read….

cleaned the overflow tank (don’t do this unless you have either a pair of latex gloves or a free social diary for at least a week: printer ink is worse under the fingernails than even engine grease!),

Oh no! What have I done?

I rushed to the sink and started scrubbing

So right now I have scrubbed my hands over and over with water plus every type of soap in the house, I’ve even had a go with white-spirit and I still look like this (see pic)…. they’re worse than when I was a paper-boy 20 years ago.

What’s the big deal?

Well, I’ve got three back to back meetings tomorrow with clients I need to impress with my knowledge of websites and internet marketing. Technical incompetence with a printer isn’t consistent with being an awesome geek.

But I’m a special geek, a geek that distinguishes between hardware and software. I actually bought an iMac so I would never have to play with hardware again.

My pledge

I hereby pledge to never attempt to take a screw driver to another printer ever again

Goodbye Brother Printer

The printer that did us so well over the last 5 years will now be put into the car and taken to a place from which there is no return.

Redcliffe dump.

3 thoughts on “Printer Fixing Outlaws

  1. Hi – I am the guy who recommended keeping your social diary clear unless you use Latex gloves ;-).

    In my case at least, the press-buttons-magic recommended on the “printer outlaw” website succeeded to get my printer working again, i.e. resetting the cleaning counter in software worked and the printer printed again right away.

    It was only later that I decided to make sure that this trick did not backfire (since it is equivalent in a way to mending a fuse with a bit of aluminium foil – the underlying problem may eventually burn down your house). So, somewhat later, I cleaned the waste-ink pads and went into purdah for days afterwards due to black hands. The software counter is set to a safe margin: the printer stops working much sooner than waste-ink starts spilling into it; but I doubted that the safety margin was such that I could wait for the counter to reach 64000 again.

    From the sound of it, you never managed to sort out the reset of the counter, or your model had a different problem than mine (an MFC620CN).


    1. I did get the counter reset but I think I’ve caused some other error by putting it back together badly 🙂

      It sounds like a the big end is gone

      Oh well, back to scrubbing my hands.

  2. Also Thanks for the rubber glove warning. However I still managed to get some ony hands. Alas baby wipes worked a treat! I use the Kirkland brand ones from Costco. Happen to have a young child and have become reliant upon them….

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