When Your Printer Says there is ink or toner left and it will not print!

When Your Printer Says there is ink or toner left and it will not print!

Posted by Adrian Rigby on

It’s frustrating when you want to print something, you press the button, the printer goes into action, and the paper comes out of the printer with feint or non-existent print on it. You check your ink or toner levels and they say you have ink or toner.

I had a customer call me about this the other day; I asked what they had been printing. A 20 page contract with full A4 sheets of print. The printer says we still have toner/ink to print with but it is very feint. I then explained that the printer has no way of knowing how much toner or ink is in a cartridge. There is no method of measuring the amount of ink or toner in a printer cartridge.

My explanation was that it is not like a car petrol tank which has a mechanism in it to measure the amount of fuel in it. What printers do, is when you install a new cartridge, it tells the printer a new cartridge is installed and that it can now print a certain number of pages. This figure is an average; it bears no relation to what the printer actually does. A page is classed as 5% coverage of an A4 sheet of paper, so if like my customer you print off a multi page document that is full of print it will use a lot more ink or toner. The printer thinks it has printed say 6 pages, but has in fact used the equivalent of say 60 pages of ink or toner.


Full sheet of print                        Partial Sheet of print with fewer words on

Hence you go to print, the printer thinks it has toner or ink in the cartridge but what comes out is feint or non-existent. It is like putting 15 litres of fuel in your car and expecting to do exactly the same mileage each time. We all know different driving conditions use different amounts of fuel.

It is not that the cartridge is faulty, but empty because of the printing done. It’s all about averages, not reality

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