Tag Archives: printer

Brother printers require all color cartridges to print black and white

Dear Brother,

What is wrong with you? Why do I need to purchase $70 dollars worth of color ink to print a black and white text-only document?

I own a MFC-J415W and would recommend it to nobody. The Multifunction center works well for scanning and copying, but it has one fatal flaw: In the event that you run out of Yellow, Magenta, or Cyan, the entire printer shuts down and prevents printing until all ink is replaced.  Minor inconvenience? Well, when the LC61 series ink packs cost over $70, I call it a scam.

Don’t believe me? Look what their support had to say:

6:44 PM Paul: Hello, David. Thank You for contacting Brother Chat Support. Just a moment while I review your issue.
6:44 PM Paul: I understand you concerns and I will be more than happy to assist you with your issue today.
6:45 PM David: ok
6:45 PM Paul: I have a solution I can provide you with which will guide you through step by step instructions to help resolve the issue you are having. May I send you the link with these instructions now?
6:45 PM David: okay
6:45 PM Paul: http://host220.brother.com:8080/sap/bc/bsp/sap/zsdb/display.htm?SOLUTION=200000026643
6:45 PM Paul: Please follow these steps to assist with your issue, was there anything else I can assist with today?
6:46 PM David: this does not address my issue.
6:47 PM David: The printer is reporting “can not print” due to no yellow ink. I am attempting to print in black and white.
6:47 PM Paul: If the message cannot print is on the display the ink cartridge will need to be replaced before you can continue printing.
6:47 PM David: But I am printing black and white. Why do I need to buy yellow ink for that?
6:48 PM David: isn’t there a way to print using the black cartridge?
6:48 PM Paul: Your Brother machine is designed to stop ALL printing operations (printing from the pc, printing received faxes and printing copies or reports) when any of the ink cartridges are empty. This is to ensure the life of the print head and maintain premium print quality. If the unit were to continue printing, print jobs and cleaning cycles would suction air from the dry cartridge and damage the print head. Even if you print in black only or change the print settings to MONO or GRAYSCALE to avoid printing in color, the programmed cleaning cycles would still suction the dry cartridge, because they are programmed to clean ALL the ink nozzles. The only way to continue printing is to replace the empty ink cartridge or cartridges.
6:49 PM David: thanks. I’ll buy a new printer, as that is much cheaper than replacing ink on this one.
6:49 PM Paul: Thank you for contacting Brother. Have a great day. If you need additional assistance with your issue, please contact us back though chat.

So, there’s my advice: go buy another printer. It is WAY cheaper than replacing the color ink on this one every month or so.

Update (5/24/2015): Alternatively, as someone pointed out in the comments, you can buy these cheap generic replacement cartridges for about 9 dollars from Amazon.