asked May 27, 2008 at 3:19am
Brother Brother DCP 130C

Brother DCP-130C shows empty, but ....

Hi all

I have had a Brother DCP-130C for about 10 months now, but use it as much for its scanner as the printing (I also have a colour laser). Some time ago it showed ink low and now is showing ink empty on yellow and others low. Yet I have only printed a few dozen pages (mostly 'photocopies') and when I take out the cartridges they ALL show at least 1/3 full in the viewport of the cartridge (and 'slosh' when shaken [gently]).

Any ideas on what's going on, and more importantly, how I can fix it - short of replacing half full cartridges?

Thanks in advance

I have a Brother MFC-420CN, the one with four colors. All of the colors, Black, Yellow, Blue, are fine, except I received a LED notice that the Magenta was “NEAR EMPTY” (which it was not). I replaced it with a brand new cartridge, and now the LED message reads, “NO CARTRIDGE". I even went and purchased another brand new Magenta cartridge thinking that the other was defected, and this one - same thing. I just cannot get this LED display or the Brother machine to READ that there is a new cartridge in there. I called an authorized dealer, and he told me it may be the sensor...and to fix it, repair costs begins at $55.00+parts. I have unplugged the printer, turned it on/off, took all the cartridges out, then placed them all back in following the LED instructions, then answered YES when LED asked if it was replaced...I have even placed the wrong color cartridge into the Magenta slot, and it still does not read that there is a cartridge in there. Please advise soonest. Thank you.
by LiveWithLeslie on Dec 1, 2008 at 9:56am Add comment
Sorry for posting this so many times, but I found a solution here, and just was elated that it worked so well:


Basically you cut the wire to the ink sensor. You can no longer see the ink levels, but that didn't matter anyway, as it was incorrect before! - nintendo1889
the machine won't remove all the ink from the cart to avoid sucking up air in the print head , if it says emptry , u will have to repalce the cart with New ink ( preferable Brother inks) to reset the error, this machine is design to shut down if one or mnore carts are empty!
by unknown on May 27, 2008 at 2:44pm Add comment
Thanks lowla & anon

Just seems like a terrible waste of ink (& money) to have to replace when the cartridges are still sloshing ...

by flashfletch on May 27, 2008 at 3:05pm Add comment

Good evening advise you buy the cartridges on ebay you will be more economical, greetings
by unknown on Aug 26, 2008 at 6:09pm Add comment
If you look at the front of the cartridge you will see a square block of plastic set back in the casing. A light sensor is passed through this for ink levels. Cover this block with a piece of address label of tipex, inulation tape around the edges and the machine will show the cart as full. Some carts will open like a book on the square opening to make this easier.


by spillage on Aug 27, 2008 at 8:34am Add comment
Its working ...thanks a lot
- Anonymous
Spillage, you are a genius!! - garet
Hi,i was wondering if you could send me a picture of the cartridge with a piece of address label of tipex and insulation tape around the edges because what i did is not working - unknown
Thanks so much, Spill and to others who gave the black tape trick! This trick really worked on my brother dcp-150c. I wrapped electric tape on the slot for the sensors, and I had to push the tape in as the sensor was like a clamp that goes into the slot. The display finally showed full bars! Thanks everyone! - unknown
I would like to share with everybody that the "black tape" trick works for the following models: DCP-330C, DCP-350C, DCP-540CN, DCP-560CN, FAX-2480C, MFC-240C, MFC-440CN, MFC-465CN, MFC-665CW, MFC-685CW, MFC-885CW, MFC-3360C, MFC-5460CN, MFC-5860CN.

DCP-130C is using LC57 ink cartridge and the box states that this cartridge can be used for the above-mentioned models.
by unknown on Oct 30, 2008 at 5:21am Add comment
I have this problem with my 5460CN and read about this taping thing. I just can't figure out where the tape goes! Tried about everyplace I think. Anyone have a photo to show me where the tape goes? - unknown
Take the cartridges to an ink cartridge refill shop & see if they can refill the cartridge.
by unknown on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:19pm Add comment
It says see maintenance guide UNABLE TO PRINT checked everything in the book I have contacted Brother they say the ink waste pad needs renewing. Ive checked waste pad it dosnt seem that dirty Does anyone know how to reset this Model thanks
by unknown on Oct 31, 2008 at 10:11am Add comment
Cover your cartridge with black tape. At the back of the cartridge (transparent square). Then your ink will show full tank.
by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2008 at 10:04pm Add comment
I think this printer is fairly heavy with the cleaning process. I notice that the ink is used up within a few weeks even if you don't use color inks. Try the blockout method below to "trick" it into thinking there is ink in the tanks.
by unknown on Apr 16, 2009 at 6:16am Add comment
I just changed the black cartridge but it still prints blank pages. The printer does detect that I have a full cartridge. What could be wrong?
by RosyTH on May 5, 2009 at 3:15pm Add comment
just do the cleaning process once or twice until the printing is OK.. - unknown
OK ... I just replaced all 4 Carts and I have the exact same status as I had before. I even unplugged it a few times for 2 min!

BLK - No Cart
Cyan - Low Ink - Replace
Yellow - Low Ink - Replace
Magenta - Low Ink - Replace

Is this 1 yr old printer toasted?
by unknown on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:35pm Add comment
ihave problem its give nuabel to ptinter 50
by Anonymous on Oct 17, 2009 at 9:52am Add comment
u can refill the ink easily
go to http://www.ink77.com.au/page/106036206
by ezra_bujang on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:34am Add comment

I have reset the waste ink counter, put black tape on critical ridge of all cartridges and refilled them. All showed full. All was well for 2 sheets, then all 4 cartridges are showing as near empty on LCD also on software monitor program.

Whether or not they are near empty, how does the printer know with the light beam blocked? I have made filling holes on each cartridge (sealed with rubber plugs) so that I can refill without removing them. Doing this is not going to change the readout. How do I prevent them showing as empty after another few sheets and preventing printing. Anyone any suggestions please?
by JUB1L on Jan 24, 2010 at 12:16pm Add comment
The tape trick works!!!
by unknown on Feb 1, 2010 at 2:07pm Add comment
Thanks.. the tape trick works..
by raziq on Feb 4, 2010 at 7:38am Add comment
Thanks, I shall see if the 'near empty' message changes as more pages are printed.
by JUB1L on Feb 4, 2010 at 9:20am Add comment
My brother dcp 130c printer prints blank pages. But when I run a test print, it prints 2 lines of tiny squares (in black), unfortunately, I've given up on the colored cartridges. They stopped printing even if the cartriges are full.

Please can you tell me if my printheads are damaged? Is there a solution that I can try? Having it repaired will cost a lot. Better to buy a new printer.

by unknown on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:14am Add comment
If it is printing squares, then the print heads should be OK. Try unplugging the cable going to the level sensors as outlined in my post above. Then try switching on and off to reboot or even reinstall the printer driver. It may well come back to life again. Worth a try! - JUB1L
Sounds as though the print head is burned out, you will pay approx. the same price as a new Brother or more depending on where your location is,for new print head. Better off to by a new Brother printer.
by tigerwan on Mar 11, 2010 at 2:35pm Add comment
I have solved the ink problem on my DCP 115C. The black tape on the ink cartridges seemed very hit and miss. I was going to try and modify the sensor circuitry but found that if you remove the top cover, below the scanner, the sensors are on a strip next to the ridges on the cartridges. By unplugging the white connector from this strip and holding the plug out of the way with tape, the cartridges show as permanently full. There are also twin wires going in the direction of the waste ink pad. I did not try but maybe if these are also disconnected then the waste ink counter will also not have to be reset periodically. You could try by just unplugging the white 10 way connector, disconnecting both units at the same time (at your own risk).

If you fool the printer into thinking the cartridges are always full, you must be careful not to let the ink run out or the heads will possibly be damaged.

What I did was make a DIY continuous ink system (CISS). I drilled a 3mm hole in the top of each cartridge, made sure that they were topped up using a syringe and refill kit and then pushed a length of 3mm OD plastic tube into each cartridge. I drilled 3mm holes both in the side of the printer body and the caps of each 30ml JR refill bottle. The other end of the corresponding tubes were passed through the printer body then through the cap to the bottom of each bottle. By gently squeezing the bottles, the ink passed down the tube into the cartridge. Once primed, the joint between the tube and cartridge was made airtight using a little silicon or adhesive. Any other vents etc on the top of the cartridge should also be sealed. The joint at the bottle end was left as a push fit to allow air to replace the ink as it was used up. The four bottles were placed in a small tray at the side of the printer adjacent to the cartridges.

To make the printer even more economical to use, I recycled the ink, which would have been dumped to the pad at each cleaning cycle, back into the black ink bottle. (Yellow, cyan and magenta, when mixed, make black). If you do this, either collect in a separate bottle and transfer using a syringe or if you feed directly into the black bottle always make sure there is space left in the bottle to accomodate it. When the ink levels fall in the bottles, unscrew the caps and hold them to the side whilst you top them up using a syringe. Always keep the end of the tubes under the ink so as not to let air enter the tubes and break the syphon. I buy ink in 100ml bottles for £1.49 each from Bytech.co.uk.

I have used this system for a month now and not wasted a drop of ink.
by JUB1L on Mar 12, 2010 at 1:21pm Add comment
Hello JUB1L,
thanks for your solution: for anyone with the "dcp" "no cartridge" issue it worked fine to unplug the white connector and plug it back in. For (ex)-dummies (like myself): it helps to remove the thin black strip to the left (just pop out gently with screwdriver), release the blue lifting arm at the front so you can open the cover all the way. Then remove the screws and pop off the front cover.
(Don't be scared, it'll be fine although it makes quite a racket when properly put back). There you find the connector. Experience has taught that it's quite 'do-able' without a pincer and adequate lighting but if you happen to have them around, they might come in handy...;).
Great site by the way and greetings to everyone. - unknown
I have the same problem and will try the tape solution. I also have been experiencing faded printing for the color black. Printing a test page shows problems only with the black lines. If I change the quality to printing from Standard to Fine or Photo, then the black comes out alright. Could this still be due to the ink cartridge or a damaged printer head?
by karambulo on Mar 29, 2010 at 3:06pm Add comment
Looks like some of the black heads are clogged. Fine or Photo use multiple passes to build up images. Standard uses one pass, so any missing dots will show up.
by JUB1L on Mar 29, 2010 at 3:13pm Add comment
could someone help on my printer BROTHER DCP-130C..

when I run TEST PRINT then PRINT QUALITY, the 3 colors show "black, yellow, cyan".. the magenta didn't show any dot it's totally blank.. what seems to be the problem of my printer?

by unknown on Jun 3, 2010 at 3:21am Add comment
i have the same issue that my printer doesn't work. what specific thing to do.. i been trying to put back on and off the tree set of the original ink cartridge.. but it doesn't work! what should i do! it causes me a huge money for the cartridge. notify me if someone response,..
by unknown on Jun 25, 2010 at 6:18am Add comment
can you tell me what meant 'clean unable 46' in chapter maintenance??
by unknown on Oct 21, 2010 at 5:42pm Add comment
can someone help me with the Brother DCP-130C it shows no ink even if I replaced a new set of inks. it still shows....

Black - Ink Empty Replace Cartridge
Yellow - Near Empty
Cyan - Near Empty
Magenta - Near Empty

I just bought a new set of inks just today still it doesn't work
by unknown on Nov 12, 2010 at 5:17am Add comment

I just got the Brother DCP-130C printer from a friend who rarely used it. I have replaced the black cartridge with a new one, but the others are empty and the yellow catridge missing. Can I use the printer with just the black cartridge or do all cartridges need to be used. It also does not seem to recognise that I have replaced the black ink with a new one.

Appreciate any help

by Lauraw1 on Dec 13, 2010 at 7:16am Add comment
All cartridges must register as having ink for printing or copying.
by JUB1L on Dec 13, 2010 at 9:00am Add comment

My Brother MFC-5860CN now has new ink cartridges, but when printing, no inc comes out. I have cleaned multiple times (probably wasting ink) and have tried all of the functions. Can someone offer any advice?

Thank you!
by unknown on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:30am Add comment
How precisely should I plase the tape, when my Brother dcp 560CN shows catridge empty, when I have refilled the catridge. Do anybody have a photo of a catridge with black tape the right place?
by lars heerfordt on Mar 22, 2012 at 3:39pm Add comment
i have the dcp 130 bu wat to refill the cartridges.
how do i do it? do i drill in to the top like say a lexmarc cartridge?
by jez33 on Mar 24, 2012 at 4:43pm Add comment
The LED SCREEN shows MACHINE ERROR 50 and the INIT DISABLE I went over the usue of purging code system but still it returns with a message error; INIT DISABLE... Please assist with this problem....
by abner7 on Mar 24, 2012 at 6:36pm Add comment
Hi, My brother DCP-185C is flashing warning light, when i read threads on resetting the counter that did not work on the purge counter, it also says to read the user manual error 50.

I have CSS refill cartridges also and it keeps saying now it can not detect the black cartridge, in forums i read to clean the ink pouch / ink pad, i can not find directions to access this and clean, can anybody please help to show me how to open printer, locate ink pad, and clean it, also any tips that may help me fix the errors, thank you in Advance. Steve
by steverice on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:11pm Add comment
I tried all the above and i still have empty black cartridge message eventhough i put in new cartridge. I eventually remember the old cassette days when playing the cassette tape on a player, we have to occasionally clean the rollers. I used alcohol or nail polish cleaner to clean all those sensors (refer to the brother's website on where the sensors are - the ones sensing the empty or near empty ink cartridge) . It worked.
by unknown on Dec 29, 2013 at 1:45pm Add comment
Hi Folks
The Electrical tape over the sensor window does work. Make sure you don't keep printing until the ink runs fully out as you will eventually kill the print head.

If your printer is not reading ink levels correctly then first clean the small infer red sensors above the cartridges.

If still no luck unplug the printer from the wall for 30mins. This resets the memory and should cause the printer to recheck ink levels.
I done an article a while back which basically says similar - http://www.inkhub.com.au/ink/brother-inkjet-printers-ink-levels/
by Jaydean on Dec 29, 2013 at 10:27pm Add comment
hi, am bauer from Cameroun, Africa. I have a brother DCP - 130 C, but the CYAN and the YELLOW colors won't print the blue dots on the test page.
by unknown on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:27pm Add comment
hi, am bauer from Cameroun, Africa. I have a brother DCP - 130 C, but the CYAN and the YELLOW colors won't print the blue dots on the test page.
by unknown on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:30pm Add comment
Hi Guys.
Mi problem is with a DCP 130C Brother.
Does not Print the black color, color how magenta, yellow and cyan print very well.

I clean the headprint and nothing happend (Black Color).

I read forum spanish that in adjust panel print software. change paper type normal to fotographic paper and woala!!! black color print again!!!!

I think that problem is the sensor print, but i need the manual service for work in the real problem.

This is a temporal solution.

I see.....
by unknown on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:34pm Add comment

My BROTHER DCP350C has shown ink empty and I replaced the cartridge
but now it shows NO CARTRIDGE what can I do to repair this or remove this message and return the printer to normal?
by vauxhall on Nov 24, 2014 at 4:00am Add comment
This error occurs when the ink cartridge leaks.

The ink it short circuits the sensor giving a false reading.

Is your ink bay damp with ink? Try drying out.

by catflap on Jan 25, 2015 at 7:12am Add comment
The printer is printing the test print fine but it prints my document so light you can barely see it
by unknown on Feb 8, 2015 at 5:02pm Add comment


I can confirm that the black tape trick works for a Brother MFCJ6920DW.

Printer was telling me Magenta was out - but when you pull the cartridge out you can clearly see there is heaps of ink left.

This does not happen all the time - only occassionally.

I cut a small square of black insulation tape to cover one side of the plastic ink 'window' and put it back in. It worked a treat.

Be careful not to leave any extra tape overhanging the window - as it seems to sense something is amiss of you put too much tape on.

Thanks to the sensible folks who posted this tip here.

All the best
by unknown on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:50am Add comment