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EPSON no ink no scan multi function printers

by juiceandjaja1 / August 28, 2008 10:33 AM PDT

Epson has engaged in what appears to be a purposeful act of bilking customers out of money. I have an EPSON Stylus RX500 multi-function printer/scanner. It is a color printer. I recently ran out of black ink; though the cartridge is empty it is still installed. The printer will not let me scan pictures/documents because I am out of ink. Keep in mind, scanning to my Mac (OSX) has nothing to do with ink, and no ink is required. So my only option is to spend $89 on ink; so I can use an advertised function that does not require the ink that I must buy. Good for EPSON pockets, bad for mine. Epson Customer relations and tech support has confirmed this ridiculous design flaw.

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Doesn't seem flawed to me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 28, 2008 11:00 AM PDT

I can imagine some may write that but as the scanner has an intricate connection to the photocopy function and that's dead without ink then why should it work at all?

Next I'll read you consider it a flaw that it won't print with the black only cartridge.

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Not It's Certainly Not a Design Flaw
by MCH86GN / November 25, 2012 5:46 AM PST

It is a feature that ensures people will have to buy ink cartridges to use functionality that should not in any way shape or form be tied to being able to scan.

BTW, the NX420 series will let you print if the black ink cartridge is empty. However, if any of the color cartridges are empty and what you are printing only requires black ink and that cartridge has ink it won't let you print off black and white.

My printer will have limited printing functionality and full scanning functionality regardless of whether or not an ink cartridge is empty or not!


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This old discussion
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 25, 2012 5:49 AM PST

Has run it's course and is now closed. Start a new topic as any model in this discussion is at its end of life.

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Step back
by Willy / August 29, 2008 5:11 AM PDT

Epson simply is saying with an empty ink cart, you're not at the ready status just in case you need to print. These personal printers are simple and what seems objectable isn't in their big picture. Once you get into far more expensive models, etc. what you seek if available, but it should blink or provide some warning the toner/ink is empty. Its just a method to keep the inkjets from clogging if left too long with no new ink(wet ink) to keep them unclogged. I'm sure once you've encounter that problem you'll appreciate their logic.

tada Willy Happy

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No I don't Appreciate Their Logic
by MCH86GN / November 25, 2012 5:52 AM PST
In reply to: Step back

If I only need to print in black and the other cartridges are empty, I should be able to print. No, it doesn't work like that. Now if the black ink cartridge is empty, and the color cartridges aren't empty you can print in black or color. You know because it takes all the colors to make black. So your logic and/or their logic is about $$$ and that is the bottom line.

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Your other option: buy a stand-alone scanner.
by Kees Bakker / August 29, 2008 5:28 AM PDT

The Canon Lide90 is $80 at best buy.

Are you sure a black cartridge for your RX500 is $89? I find a refurbished one at for $4.99 + $1.99 shipping. That's $7, not $89.


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Even better. Free.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 29, 2008 5:51 AM PDT

Look up freecycle on google, and every month here I see free scanners. Just last week 2 free multifunction printers. Surely a fix to the above.

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Response to responses
by CapnRon / December 21, 2008 10:39 AM PST

The first five responses to this post are either posted by Epson or they are the dumbest I have ever read and are certinly not helpful. In my opinion Epson's ink policy is outrageous and boarders on fraud. I have an Epson RX 680 that I'm ready to dump. I was about to start printing documents the other night when my printer informed me that one of the colors was out of ink. No problem I thought I only needed the black ink for the task at hand. To my surprise the printer would not print anything unless I replaced the empty cartridge. At 11 o'clock at night this was hard to do. I even tried to remove and replace the empty cartridge, No dice. Despite the idiotic opinions posted previously, this is inexcusable. Also, I know for a fact that some printers declare the cartridge empty long before the cartridge is actually empty. My previous all-in one was an HP 1210. It was April 15th. Again, late at night. No choice, I kept printing. I printed four full copies of my federal & state income tax with no problem. That taught me a lesson and I suspect Epson's ink monitor is just as fraudulent. Something needs to be done about this.

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Even scanning to a memory card will fail w/o ink
by mrtobias / November 14, 2009 1:28 PM PST

trying to use the Epson RX500 as a scanner to save files to the memory card slots fails without ink cartridge(s).
If anyone has a work would be great.

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Epson Stylus NX420
by dljoyner / June 23, 2011 4:39 AM PDT

The Epson Stylus NX420 has the same limitation. It will not scan without ink. I have filed a formal complaint with Epson. I also wrote a bad review directly on the website. I talked with Canon Technical Support and they recommended the MX882. I was given a way to get around the scanning without ink dilemma.

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Yes it can!
by chrissyd2013 / February 21, 2012 3:39 PM PST
In reply to: Epson Stylus NX420

The Epson Stylus NX420 WILL Scan without ink, but not from the printer control board. You have to manually link it to your computer via USB cable and find the Epson Scan program on your computer (it should have installed with the software to run the printer on the disk that came with the hardware). I didn't know where it was saved, but I used my computer's search function to look for "EPSON Scan" and lo and behold, there it was. It's probably no longer relevant to whatever problems you were having at the time, but it's there now, at least.

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No you can't
by Rainbowwalker7 / June 18, 2012 11:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes it can!

Just tried it. Error- cannot connect. Cables are fine, power on. No go.

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Epson NX420 scan without ink
by jerialice / July 5, 2012 9:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes it can!
Cool yes you can- add usb cable and go into "epson scan settings" app, reset the scanner select to "local"- it will work fine. you have to launch the scan app from the comp though!
good luck!
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YES It can I did
by masterguidebenjie / August 9, 2012 1:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes it can!

thanks for this tip.
I was mad at my epson TX210 due to no ink and no scan.
but i searched for EPSON scan and launch the software
and VIOLA! I was able to scan even without ink!!!!!!!!!!!
thanks a lot.

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Not only Epson
by mopscare42 / June 18, 2012 2:19 PM PDT

I had a Canon multifunction printer,scanner copier that did the same thing. I don't remember what the model was,
So it must be that way on a lot of brands.
I have since bought a HP that works with my iPad and never let any of the ink catridges go dry so don't know if that happens on the HPs.

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Poor usability
by Ross2393 / April 26, 2012 12:22 AM PDT

This is just poor design on the part of Epson.

I needed to photocopy some documents for my records. An ink cartridge has run out. OK, I think, I'll scan them to print later. But no, I can't use the scan function, that in no way requires ink. I don't have access to ink at the moment, and right now I don't want to spend money on a new ink cartridge.

There is no justification that this is good design. This is poor design. Epson have disabled a function that does not rely on ink. They are forcing my hand to buy new ink.

Please fix this bug in future printer scanners.

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bye-bye epson
by seb8611 / September 10, 2012 3:13 AM PDT

I had an epson laser printer that lasted me over ten years! I loved epson. I bought the epson artisan 800 all in one with the same expectations of a great product from a quality company. This printer has been nothing but headaches. As mentioned, it won't print or scan with one of the colors 'out of ink' which happens way too often. The printer doesn't recognize the after market print cartridges although sometimes they work. Try and find the ink colors for less than 15-16 bucks a pop. This printer won't print in just black.

Worse yet we have never been able to get a decent picture printed onto photo stock paper. I finally gave up on printing pix and just print them at Costco.

The ridiculous design of this printer prohibits me from just using this HUNK OF JUNK as just a scanner and black and white printer. If I could travel to Epson HQ then I would love to 'return' my product from whence it came. (Picture the copier seen from the movie 'Office Space')

Some of the other posts in this thread are clearly epson plants. Their defense defies logic, and in some case rudimentary language skills.

Don't buy Epson.


A Former Epson Fan

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Any printers that dont use Color to Print B&W?
by Nscaled / September 27, 2012 5:47 AM PDT
In reply to: bye-bye epson

I need a new printer, does anyone know of any printers that will print in B&W even if the color cartridges are empty?

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Epson Printer
by ponce1941 / November 20, 2012 1:59 PM PST

Disgusted this printer not only will not print even in black if a color is out it also will not scan! This is ridiculous I will never buy another Epson product as long as I live 2nd time got bilked i was pretty dumb to do it the second time without looking into it further you get what you pay for that is for sure! First time shame on them second time shame on me to that i say no more they got me twice duh

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