asked Nov 26, 2007 at 6:20pm
Hp HP CopyJet Color

HP C5180 black only print setting still uses color

On my HP C5180 I always have the Grayscale setting to "Black Cartridge Only" and rarely ever print anything in color.

The color carts still get used up fairly quickly??? Really as fast as the black, and the black still has plenty of ink, so doubt it's mixing the colors for black/gray because black cart's empty.

I also adjusted the "Ink Volume" under advanced settings to "Low" and set that as my default. I also print mostly on Fast Draft.

How do you, or can you, on these printers get it to actually use ONLY the black cart & not mix the colors when only printing black? Does the setting "Use Black Cartridge Only" in the "Grayscale" setting box not really mean what it says?

Any HP printer that has color and black ink in it will always use the color cartridges no matter what setting you have it set for. There is no other way around it short of buying a black only printer.
by anon88 on Dec 5, 2007 at 6:20pm Add comment
Then why in the world do they have the selection "Use Black Cartridge Only?"

Hp sent some instructions on how to supposedly fix the prob, but I don't see it. Probably, I'll have to email them back to clarify as usual.
by Anonymous on Dec 6, 2007 at 7:20pm Add comment
Consider These Things
1. The black cartridge contains 10 ml of ink.
2. The color cartridges contain 4 ml of ink.
3. At the start of every print job ink is consumed during printhead priming, almost certainly regardless of whether a particular color will to be used. Bottom Line: Print cartridges are going to be eventually consumed whether they are 'used' or not.

If you are looking for cartridge mileage and economy I suggest one of the "oldies but goodies" like the Deskjet 960C (42 ml of ink in the black cartridge). Your current printer is optimized for printing photos and not general purpose printing. My 960C has the black only mode and seems to use the black cartridge exclusively, and also prints excellent color photos. Bells and whistles, no, but great for general purpose printing. They are out of production but working samples can be refurbed to like-new condition easily. The only caveat is that Windows Vista will not support all of their features. Use your C5180 for projects where it excels.
by Bert on Dec 6, 2007 at 10:00pm Add comment
Thanks Bert,
I appreciate your input. The rate at which the color carts are being used up would be FAR in excess of any priming or printer prep, unless that process has a malfunction itself.

Some of the colors (which I replaced at same time as the black), were empty before the black. That's w/o printing ANY color documents.

Yes, the blk has 10 ml & the colors hold much less, but still we're talking about Magenta, lite Magenta & Cyan being emptied while the black still has a fair amt ink left. If the priming process is the cause, that's a heck of lot of wasted ink for priming.

And I'm not talking about a very long time period from when I last replaced the colors & black.

It's got to be something - glitch - in the HP software that's ignoring instructions to print only in black. I will look more closely at HP's last instructions, some of which seemed ambiguous or contradictory. As in, (maybe) it would stop the unintended use of color carts, but reduce page yield (from the black?). Didn't specify.
by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2007 at 6:55am Add comment
Something is really weird with your printer or HP is playing games with us. Near black can be made by combining yellow, magenta, and cyan. I can envision the 'need' to add magenta and cyan to 'enhance' black, but lite magenta also?
by Bert on Dec 7, 2007 at 9:34am Add comment
My C5180 really goes through the ink...
Black printing is not water proof which leads me to believe that color is being mixed with the black cartridge to extend black printing output.
I also have a bad problem with the printer que being cleared of the current print job to be able to print the following jobs. After the first print job prints it takes forever to get the next print job(s) to start. When the printer que is checked the first print job is being "deleted", and the next print job will not start.
by Anonymous on Dec 12, 2007 at 1:46pm Add comment
Did you ever get resolution to this problem. I have experienced the same thing. I use black cartridge only option and have yet to print in color in over a year yet the same color cartridges you saw used up emptied on mine as well. Now that the at least one of those colors is empty the printer asks if you want to print in black only which is what we wanted in the first place. I seem to have the latest driver so just curious if you ever got answer. I leave one cartride empty and get prompted to print in black only but sort of a pain. Thanks
by Anonymous on Sep 1, 2008 at 7:32pm Add comment
I have the same problem and after a while of selecting to print Black Only, the printer says it cannot print any more black until I buy a new colour cartridge. It must be a scam to make us buy ink
by chriskim on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:02am Add comment
i put in a new black cartarage however the printer still wants to print in color resembling black without using the black ink.
by Anonymous on Jun 29, 2009 at 8:50pm Add comment
Never figured it out for sure. Think it may be a way to keep color jets from clogging from non use. If so, the option "Use black cartridge only," really has no meaning on this model.

Have a newer HP C6280 & doesn't seem to have same problem. Does go through cycling process when turn on, but haven't noticed it using color inks extraordinarily fast when printing mostly black / white.

I would NOT suggest going for long time w/o using color to avoid jets clogging. Even a test page ? every week or 2?

They also fixed a bug in software for C6180 that made it a BEAR to use the "change ink volume" in advanced settings. I THINK the same software works for several all-in-one printers (C5180, 6280...), so updating to latest ver seemed to fix that in the C5180.
by unknown on Jun 30, 2009 at 2:29pm Add comment
Well, this is incredible! I've found others with the same problem I have, even though I'm using a Canon Pixma MP780. I'm finding out that it doesn't matter, they're all alike regardless of the manufacturer. Because I don't need color (and can't stomach the ultimate cost of my b/w print jobs after sucking up the color inks), I've taken the liberty of purchasing only black cartridges which of course are MUCH cheaper and putting them in the magenta, cyan and yellow slots! Voila! I may have ruined my all-in-one from a color-printing standpoint, but I certainly couldn't care less. Bottom line... buy a nice color printer only for exactly that and a run of the mill one for your b/w prints.
by unknown on Jul 6, 2009 at 1:05pm Add comment
I probably have the exact problem. The c5180 has used lots of color even though I haven't used it. So the blue and yellow cartridges were empty and I was unable to print black/white for like a month because it said it is unsafe to print with these cartridges empty. Then after a montch the brown cartridge was empty to even though i haven't printed anything. I tried to remove the color cartridges and print only black but this didn't work either.
It's so stupid that there has to be color cartridges in order to print black.

How can I print black with this printer without replacing color cartridges?

Ps. HP support aren't helpful. It would probably take him 3 minutes to tell me that it either isn't possible to do so or where I can find some information on the subject. Instead, when I called, he replied that my warranty (1 year) has expired and he therefore can't help me... BURN!
by Anonymous on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:03am Add comment
i have hp photosmart c5283 all in one and my problem is that
when i print paper jamp i remove the jamp paper but the printer screen show that paper jamp
i turn of the printer and turn on but the masege is the same
please help me
by unknown on Jul 11, 2009 at 10:38am Add comment
I got this from WIKI and it WORKED!!!!!

(from WIKI) I thought I would post this question for anyone having the same problem, I know what a pain it must be. I believe that this will fix all the All-in-one printers.

Reset the All-in-One to the factory default settings by using these instructions:

1. Unplug the power cable from printer when the printer is powered on.

2. Press and hold OK and HELP buttons while plugging in the power cord

FROM ME on 8/22/2009 - I can now print in black only. Make sure that after you follow the steps above, and before you actually print, you bring up the printer preferences/then go to the color tab on the top right/select 'print in grayscale'/and then click the dropdown menu and select black printer cartridge only. THIS WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Printing :-)
by dfrommi on Aug 22, 2009 at 5:04am Add comment
got it right
Reset the All-in-One to the factory default settings by using these instructions:

1. Unplug the power cable from printer when the printer is powered on.

2. Press and hold OK and HELP buttons while plugging in the power cord

thanks dfrommi - Anonymous
I have been trying to get my printer (HP C6280) to print "black only fpor over 6 months. I tried this and it didn't work. I hope it is just me. Can you help?

Thanks Len - lenbir
So I see I am not alone. I got so mad tonight when I went to print something and had to replace the yellow cartridge. I always print b&w and have been through way too much color ink. I rarely use the printer at all. I use the scanning feature the most on the thing. This is just wrong. Is there a multi-function printer that will not use color ink if you print 99\% B&W?
by tims on Oct 12, 2009 at 6:43pm Add comment
So awesome been trying to figure this out over a year heheeh

thank you thankyou thankyou...
by unknown on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:37pm Add comment
On using advice from dfrommi, I found that when I hold OK and HELP buttons while plugging in the power cord, what happens is that the printer powers up but then shuts down after about 10 seconds.
What am I doing wrong ?

by unknown on Jan 24, 2010 at 7:10am Add comment

That means it was reset.

The next time you power it on it should immediately say "OOB NVM RESET". - nintendo1889
Well, if you want to print with using black ink only, then here are the steps to do just that.

1. Click "Print" and the print window will show up
2. Go to Properties -----> Printing Shortcuts
3. On the left where your options are listed, click on Fast/Economical Printing
4. You will see on the bottom right "Print in grayscale." Make sure it says "Black ink only."
5. Print :]

And that's how to print using your Black ink cartridge only. :]
I hope that helps!
by Snowyxangels on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:06pm Add comment
I believe this works for one (printer) that is working fine. My printer does not use the balack cartridge no matter what. I tried replacing it and also blew out the black cartridge supply tube to be sure it was clear. I tried several suggested solutions with no success. Any ideas please? This is a decent and relatively new printer (HP C6280) and, even though I am a "don't waste" freak, I am about to pitch it. I don't know what I would get that would be reliable and less proprietary. - lenbir

Print in grayscale." Make sure it says "Black ink only." doesn't help. Color still depletes even though all I am printing is black and white.
by unknown on Sep 6, 2010 at 10:52am Add comment
Bert answered this already in post #4.

"At the start of every print job ink is consumed during printhead priming, almost certainly regardless of whether a particular color will to be used. Bottom Line: Print cartridges are going to be eventually consumed whether they are 'used' or not."

And you can read more about the priming system here.

by unknown on Oct 17, 2010 at 2:53pm Add comment

Not sure who to thank but I replaced the Caps and my 6180 is chugging along again. I would have tossed it, but have a few hundred bucks in cartridges.

Let's hope it last until they are used up.

Thanks again.
by unknown on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:34am Add comment
Dave K,

Thanks for the reply. I am aware that all inks are consumed during printhead printing but did not realise it finishes at such an astonishing rate. I print alll my documents in black and white but before I finish my black ink cartridge, I finish up my color ones even though I almost don't use them at all.
by unknown on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:41am Add comment
Thanks hp I bought this printer two years back because I wanted a printer with a scanner I made the mistake of seeking my old back and white lesmark printer that worked fine. I feel you are trying to scam customers into buying ink cartrages because my printer won't simply print black and white with out the color cartrages... Awesome! I'm bogging hopping to warn other potential customers they will be angery, frustrated upon the discovery of your design! Great design hp! Well here I am just one more of your dissatisfied customers! Now I feel better and I'm off to the store to look for the cheapest black ink printer I can find ( which will still be cheaper than buying 12 f***ing color cartridges at what $15-20 ea!
by unknown on Aug 26, 2011 at 5:24am Add comment
I have an Epson Artisan 835, which i spent a lot of money on. I have to say i am furious about this as well. When i bought this printer at Best Buy, the guy convinced me by saying the best part about this printer is there are separate color cartridges so when i run out of black i can just buy that one instead of buying all in one. LITTLE DID I KNOW that if it runs out of yellow, or magenta or any of the other five colors that i have to go get those expensive, only made by Epson cartridges before it will even let me use the black!! This is so deceptive. I have spent way too much money on ink that i wish i stuck with my basic old fashion printer that at least i can get color refills on. I never write on these boards but i am so aggravated that I want to warn anyone who is thinking about buying this product.
by unknown on Nov 7, 2011 at 4:59pm Add comment
I tricked the HP printer to thinking it has ink by putting clear tapes over the oblong holes..use like 2-3 piece of tapes over it..this tricks the printer to think it has ink and it will print!!!
Now, why didn't HP customer service tell us that????
by unknown on Dec 3, 2011 at 1:32pm Add comment
Can You please show some pictures where and what to stick, because I tried it and it did not work ..., or please send it to [email protected]
Thank You very much - mortein666
mortein666: I doubt they were talking about a HP 5180 since I was informed that it uses a page count to determine the amount of ink left, not the actual amount of ink in the cartridge. So the cartridge may say empty even tho it still has ink left in it. The page count resides on the IC chip on the cartridge.

My Brother printer appears to use an actual level sensing method of determining the amount of ink left. This is a guess on my part tho.
by 73shark on Feb 12, 2012 at 10:45am Add comment
The instructions from SNOWYXANGELS 1/27/10 seem to be about right. If, like me, you just want to print B&W photos without an annoying colour tint over them (either from B&W or colour originals) then it doesn't seem entirely straightforward. When you select "use black cartridge only" with the "photo" options, you seem to get a dialaog that says you have made conflicting settings, but if you choose the "keep these settings and I will change them later" option it all seems to work fine.
by unknown on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:42am Add comment
need help with above the printer.. came up with ink failure after fitting none genuine cartridges.. replaced with new ones (hp) still the same problem..did try all the usual fixes without any luck, now when pressing ok + cancel the message is enter special key combo serial and service id no's, i tryed getting help from hp a complete wast of time as usual, the answers given are always the same try switching off then back on again clean print heads etc.... any help would be very much appreciated..

by johndavid on Dec 29, 2012 at 12:38pm Add comment
I was tired of my HP Photosmart C5180 printer drank so much ink and felt a bit cheated.
Although I have chosen fast draft, black and white so does it insist on also using the color. Since I no longer print any photos anymore and just mainly use B/W text, Then I have for the the past two years just refilled with plain tap water in all the empty color cartridges. I also filled the black container. I recycle all ink containers and fill the water with the help of a hospital syringe. The remains of the ink that is left in the containers and diluted by the water. It is enough to continue and print hundreds of copies. However, they are a little paler in color and the text dissolves if you spill water on it . The printer is telling you that date has expired and they are loaded not with original HP ink and the warranty is not valid anymore. But as long it´s continuing to print, I continue to refill with water.
The printer is now so old that I probably would not be able to claim warranty anymore, anyway.

But how cares as long as it does not cost more than water :-)

NOTE! Take care, you can just fill a little water at a time as it create a pressure when injecting water. When you pull the needle out of the black rubber ring it´s usually also eject some water, mixed ink that can be very difficult to wash off.
by Oscar II on Jan 28, 2014 at 2:48pm Add comment
Oscar's idea of using municipal tap water to replace the color ink is very risky. Tap water contains many contaminants (especially trace amounts of heavy metals) that might clog the ink system or cause corrosion or pitting. Most tap water of the United States has Fluorisilic acid added to it by the local public works departments. It is an acid that may have unexpected effects (damage!) on various materials used in the printer and ink cartridges. Finally, tap water also contains bacteria and fungi and was never designed for long-term storage. In my experience, when kept in a jar, tap water sours after about 3 days.

Consider using distilled water instead of tap water. Distilled water is plain water with no contaminants.

However, using any type of water as a replacement for printer ink is still risky. I would assume that it would immediately destroy the ability to ever print correctly in color again. I would also assume that it would also eventually destroy the printer. To some people, the money saved on color ink may be worth it. To others, not so much.

Anyway, thanks for risking your printer in the name of science, Oscar. Your suggestion is quite interesting.
by unknown on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:33pm Add comment