One of the scariest messages a printer owner can receive from his/her printer is the "Waste Ink Tank Full" message! Your printer stops working and you are left wondering, "What do I do now?". If you call your printer maker's help line, and you are out of warranty, they will tell you that you have two choices; you can go out and get a new printer, or take it a service center and for a $100+ get it fixed. Most owners take option #1, and another perfectly good printer winds up in the dump!
Let's immediately understand a key fact, there is NO ink tank in your printer! All printers send all waste ink to the blotters at the very bottom of your printer. Not all your ink is used up on your prints and photos - much of it is over-spray or the excess used in printhead priming before, and cleaning and wiping after, a print job is finished. Yes, there's a lot of ink down there!
Can a printer owner fix this problem at home? Well, the answer comes in two parts, the first is easy, and is answered by the procedures below - the waste ink counter can be easily re-set, and your printer will once again begin printing. The second part of the answer is that unless you take your printer apart and clean it out, you will eventually - sooner or later - face a scenario where the waste ink in your printer will begin to ooze out of the bottom of your printer (I will answer this second issue with a companion article to this one - link under Resources below).
I am most familiar with Canon printers, and will use one of Canon's most popular recent printers, the Pixma iP4000 as an example of the waste tank reset process. This same process should work with all of Canon's Pixma printers, and may even work with other Canon printers as well. To be absolutely sure, you can check with one of the websites listed below in step 9, for more specific information.
Does Canon want you to know this information? Of course not! Will it extend the life of your old faithful printer? Yes it will. And this is especially good if your old printer is one of those that uses generic, compatible ink cartridges, which are much less expensive than today's "chipped" ink cartridges. So, keep that baby alive, and feel good about it.
With the printer power turned off, while pressing the Resume/Cancel button, press and hold the Power button. (DO NOT release the buttons. The LED lights in green to indicate that a function is selectable.)
While holding the Power button, release the Resume/Cancel button. (DO NOT release the Power button.)
While holding the Power button, press the Resume/Cancel button 2 times, and then release both the Power and Resume/Cancel buttons. (Each time the Resume/Cancel button is pressed, the LED lights alternately in orange and green, starting with orange.)
When the LED lights in green, press the Resume/Cancel button 4 times - Waste ink counter resetting. (Each time the Resume/Cancel button is pressed, the LED lights alternately in orange and green, starting with orange.)
After the function (menu) is selected, press the Power button. The LED lights in green, and the selected function is performed. (When the operation completes, the printer returns to the menu selection mode automatically.)
If the printer is now off, the process is finished, otherwise press the Power button one more time to set the function and to shut down the printer.