I'm trying to troubleshoot an error with an HP ink jet printer (Photosmart
3210) that says "Ink System Failure". All other components seem functional.
In the printer there is a small PCB with a few soldered components that
appear to sense ink flow or pressure. It is in series with the pump output.
How does this work? Are these 6 LEDs and photodiodes? Just detecting the
presence of ink doesn't seem likely. Wouldn't movement or pressure be what is
What does this PCB do and how does it do it?
Upon closer examination:
it looks like the printer controller is testing for continuity of the ink.
Could this be a simple presence / absence of ink in these tubes? I suspect
that some ink residue has built up on some of these tiny probes which may be
indicating no ink and generating this error.
I had a HP inkjet fax with several hundred MB of driver bloatware.
It refused to print B/W fax and complained colour cartridge was empty.
It has a separate B/W cartridge that was full. Sounds like their firmware
and software was written by sales people.
I have a Kodak printer in which the "print head" is a separate assemply from
the ink carts.
I note that there is a "chip" in each cartridge that, I ASSume, has a serial
I just printed out a test page in which the cartriges 20 digit serial number
The software also knows have many cartiidges of each type it has used and
the number of drops of ink (of each color) for this set of ink cartridges
AND for the print heads.
Part of that "bloatware" seems to be to get you to spring for a new
cartridge when the software "decides" it should be low on ink rather than
waiting for the user to decide. That seems to be a wave of the future.
(Lexmart cartridges for newer printers also seem to be "smart."
Re-cyclers can re-fill the cartridges since you are unlikely to get your
old cartridge back.
But if you just put more ink into your own cartridge, the software (which
tracks serial numbers) will still refuse to use it.
Were I not so lazy I would run experiments in which I would, for example,
switch "id chips" between a black cartridge and a color cartridge. Or
re-install the driver software to see whether the memory of the old
cartridges has been extinguished.
I note that HP drivers here switch to "color" very often when printing
B&W documents, I manually check before each print run now. PITA.
I did have some HP carts reloaded for my mom's home printer-copier,
which she uses to keep her medical bills straight (at age 82, she's
not into the net)
It runs, but shows the ink as low constantly. Popping open one cart
revealed that its definition of low is NOT my definition of low.
Sounds like we need a "truth in printing" rule from the CPSC, instead
of them going after things like fireworks and lawnmowers.
I can see this reservoir. It has one side covered by a translucent plastic
film. It's nearly empty.
And the "full" indication is calculated from the number of cycles it goes
through, not a sensor (there's no sensor on the reservoir). This is one of
the counters you can see in the service menu of the firmware (as well as
total pages printed).
Can anyone help me identify the part in the photographs and their function?
The pics don't show what's mounted to the side of the PCB that the hose
fittings are on. I realize that the separate parts weren't meant to be
Can you see a component on the end of the board, at the opposite end from
the wiring connector?
It looks as though there are components mounted on that side, marked as
positions 1 thru 6.
If those 6 pairs of solder pads are connected to 6 devices/components inside
the hose connectors, I wouldn't even have a WAG what they might be.
It looks a lot like MNOS more needlessly overcomplicated *crap* designed
into almost everything being made nowadays.
Those 6 pairs of solder pads connect to the 6 pairs of heavy wires (I think
they're probes, not simple conductors) that terminate inside the plastic ink
If there were indeed components inside the manifold (LEDs, photodiodes, etc.)
they would be much finer wires rather than these large conductors.
I suspect these are probes that detect the impedance of the ink when it is
present in each of the manifold's ducts. My guess is that it's a go/no-go
indicator of whether the pump has failed or an ink supply is empty (although
I think there are other sensors to detect this in the cartridge) or a hose is
Indeed, any technology in the hardware to boost HP's (and other
manufacturer's as well) bottom line from maximum ink sales.
Thanks for your reply.
This is from the wonderful world of Epson it is so well known that you can
buy cartridge reset devices to reset the counter chips imbedded in their
cartidges. It looks like the new generation of these chips are using
serial numbers to keep you from being able to reset the chip.
An even dirtier anti consumer activity by Epson than they have done
It sounds like the "Kodak" printer is actually an Epson in disguise since
thier sales are going away because of this.
It's a good reason to always aviod anything from Epson and spread the word
about them to kill all of their business as they deserve for this very
dirty anti consumer trick.
Forcing the throw away of up to half full cartridges is a real crime
aganst the customer!
On a sunny day (Thu, 28 Jan 2010 11:08:14 -0800) it happened DaveC
Have you actually looked for the repair manual for that printer online?
I found the one for my Epson R200 without much problems.
All parts are listed...
Two things: Each is its own separate process.
1) Reset the system by holding down the OK, Cancel, Black, and Color
buttons down at the same time and turn the 3310 off. Keep holding
the buttons down until the printer shuts off and the turn it back
on. You will have to turn the printer off twice and then it will
recalibrate. Make sure you have new cartridge in the printer so that
it can reset.
2) There is a patch available for your printer that might fix the
the problem. The link below is to HP's site.
Yes. Nothing turned up.
If someone knows where to find the manual for HP Photosmart 3110/3210/3310
all-in-one printers (not the LaserJet 3210 -- why a company would duplicate
model numbers...?) please let me know.
Thanks for your reply.
I saw this item on a printer repair forum last week. Tried this 8 or 10
times. No help.
This is for another model printer. While similar, there is no such patch for
the 3110/3210/3310 printers. I'm not encouraged...
Thanks for your reply.
I had a wild guess along the same lines (not saying SMF was guessing - just
me). Maybe a heater element inside the black cylinders causes air expansion,
pushing air down the tubes as a purge function?????????