Printers will often show a message saying they’re out of ink long before they’re really out of ink. We’ve had printers that let us continue printing anyway, and sometimes we’ve kept printing for a year after that message. But some printers force you to buy new cartridges. We’re out to get those companies.

Often the cartridges are still half full of ink when you see the “out of ink” warning message. A helpful reader pointed us to a YouTube video that describes a solution. Go to and type “printer ink secret” in the search field. It shows that most inkjet cartridges have a memory chip that can be reset by pressing into a little hole above the circuit board. The circuit board on an ink cartridge is the part with copper strips.

That tiny hole above the circuitry is the memory chip reset button. Push a pen point or paper clip lightly into the hole and presto, the cartridges no longer register as empty. When you restart the printer, the out of ink messages will not appear. Of course you are still going to run out of ink eventually, and you can no longer rely on a message from the computer to tell you that you’re low. You can tell if you’re out or low by the simplest method of all: your printouts will look faded or be missing a color. It would be smart to have reserve cartridges on had for that day that is certain to come.

Our personal experience: We tried the memory reset trick on our Canon IP 3500 inkjet, a very popular model. Taking out the black ink cartridge we saw that its circuit board looked nothing like the one shown in the YouTube video. Oh no! But … as we looked closely we saw a small hole above the circuitry. Nothing ventured, nothing gained we thought, so we pushed a pen point into that hole.

The results were dramatic! When we restarted the computer and checked its software to find our ink cartridge status, it showed that all the cartridges, even the ones we hadn’t reset, were “full.” Ah-ha! One small pen-push for a man, one giant … etc. Very satisfying. For more on this issue, check out and .

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