Canon iP1600 Printer – Ink Absorber Full

February 18, 2010

BIG FAT WARNING: I’m not recommending this procedure to anyone, just documenting it. I feel sure you can royally foul up your printer by doing something wrong. Canon’s advice is to send the printer to an authorised service centre where they will do all this for you. So there. Continue at your own risk.

For a while now my printer has been whinging about it’s ink absorber being full. I found several places on the web where people recommended pressing various combinations of buttons to get around it, but even if they work the problem recurs next time you disconnect the printer from the mains, as any environmentally person would when it’s not in use.

Happily, I have now found a permanent solution and this is it.

  1. Your waste ink absorber almost certainly is full (or nearly). Getting rid of the error message won’t change that and you might end up with extremely stainworthy ink leaking out of the printer if you don’t either replace or clean them. You need to pull the printer apart to do that.
  2. Download a copy of the printer service manual from the web. Search for “canon ip1600 service manual”, and you might end up at for example.
  3. Download a copy of the iP1600 service tool. Search for “canon ip1600 service tool” and you might end up at for example. Naturally you will check it for viruses before unzipping and running it.
  4. Read the service manual. No really, read it, including chapter 7. If you don’t find it interesting, you’re probably not the sort of person who should be attempting this.
  5. If the error message you’re getting is that the ink absorber is full (not just almost full) then, like mine, it may have the two front panel LEDs blinking alternately. In this case I believe you have to put the printer into service mode before running the service tool. The service manual explains how to do this. If the absorber is only almost full, I think it will work just turning the printer on normally.
  6. Start the service tool program “GeneralTool.exe”.
  7. Select the correct USB port from the dropdown list (there’s probably only one choice).
  8. Click “Devcice ID” to display the printer information. Make sure the correct model is shown. If it’s not, click “Lock Release” and select the iP16oo using the model buttons.
  9. You can now have a look at the waste ink counter if you want, by clicking “EEP-ROM Information”. The main absorber is shown as “Dd”, the platen absorber as “Ds”. At least one of them should show 100% meaning that it is full.
  10. Now all you need to do is click the button in the “Clear Waste Ink Counter” section that relates to which absorber is full. Click “Main” if “Dd” is at 100% and “Platen” is “Ds” is at 100%.
  11. Now if you look at the “EEP-ROM Information” again, you should see that “Dd” and “Ds” are showing 0%.
  12. Quit out of the maintenance tool.
  13. Power off the printer.
  14. You’re done.

Please bear in mind I’m not a service engineer or anything like that, and I’m not especially interested in entering into a discussion of the rights and wrongs of this procedure. And no, I don’t know where you can get replacement ink absorbers. Canon I guess.

Update: A few weeks after this the printer started playing up again. This time, the paper pick-up wasn’t working and the printer was constantly reporting that it was jammed. After taking considerably more of it to bits, the reason why became obvious: great sticky gobs of thick black ink had built up underneath the feed mechanism and were gumming up the cogs. There was an unbelievable amount of gunk in there, and what seemed like gallons of liquid ink in the main absorber too. I shudder to think how much I’ve paid for all that. I spent a happy evening cleaning it off with cotton buds, methylated spirit and an entire copy of the local paper to absorb it all.

Put it all back together and it all worked, much to my surprise, and continues to do so. If any chump tells you just to reset the waste ink counter when errors start coming up and hope for the best, you can officially tell them they’re an idiot.


2 Responses to “Canon iP1600 Printer – Ink Absorber Full”

  1. Osiris Oki Says:

    This might be a weird query, but I’m a vegan, so I’m trying to find printer toner that do not contain any animal “element”. I understand that a lot of compatible toner cartridges contain perhaps parts that are tried out on monkeys, or are manufactured with animal products. Are there toner brands that are completely man-made?

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