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I thought I killed my Canon BJC-3000 printer, and started digging into trying to figure out what went wrong. Found some disappointing information including:

  • Canon calls the little sponge that the cartridge parks over the "waste ink tank". The printer firmware (IIUC) keeps a count of how many times the heads are cleaned. After a certain number of cleaning cycles, the printer is disabled with a "WASTE INK TANK" FULL ERROR. Fortunately, there is a way to reset it, but it is not officially documented. (See below.)
  • The instructions on some other Canon printers say to not turn them on or off via a powerstrip. I'm not sure why, but it doesn't sound like a robust design.
(This is normal at every inkjets: to prevent drying of the printhead printer should move its head to a park position. If power suddenly turned off, head can't reach this safe position. So you can SAFELY unplug printer if you are sure about the printhead park position.)
  • Naturally, it is not good practice to connect or disconnect a printer with the power on. Unfortunately, I tried to cheat, because I wanted to try it on my Linux box, which was up, running, and with a lot of windows / documents open that I didn't want to lose.
  • Canon (at least for other printers) cautions against moving the print head carriage by hand. One of the BJC-3000 error codes is "home position" meaning the home position is lost. I have moved the printhead carriage by hand with no ill results on various HP printers, and I did it with the Canon (because the cartridge did not seem to want to move the removal position). I was afraid it was not going to resynchronize, but it apparently did.
When I finally (partially) sorted things out, it seems that I burned up the printhead in the cartridge. After printing in Linux for a while, I checked the ink level (black) and found it was low (lower than I ever let it get before, but not totally empty). I refilled it, and, in the course of refilling it, I did things like move the printhead with the power off, disconnected the signal cable with the power on, and so on, which I thought might have caused the problem (because I didn't yet have any indication that the burnt out printhead was the problem).

If low ink did cause the printhead burnout, I wonder if:

  • any Linux driver checks for and detects low ink
  • a Windows computer printing through the Linux computer gets the low ink indication
  • I can modify the Linux driver to pay attention to ink level
If not, I probably will want to leave the Canon printer connected to a Windows rather than a Linux box.

More below.



Probable Sequence of Events

After finally figuring out the problem, I think the actual sequence of events was something like this:

  • I decided to move the printer back to a Windows computer because I could not print from my wife's and son's Windows boxes to the Linux box (I could print from my Windows box, and (two weeks ago!) was starting to dig into Samba to find out why I couldn't from my wife's and son's computers)
  • in the course of getting ready for the move, noticed the black ink cartridge was very low (but not empty) and planned to refill all the cartridges — perhaps at this point the printhead was already burned out??
  • connected and disconnected the printer cable with the computer and printer on — this may have led to the EEPROM problem
  • the EEPROM problem may have kept the print head from moving to the removal position, which is why I moved it by hand
  • after reconnecting the printer to the Windows box, the printer would not work and I got the three orange flashes
  • finally found the instructions to reset the EEPROM
  • after doing so, got the seven orange flashes which indicated an overheated printhead

Three Flashes

After whatever happened, happened, I noticed that the power on light was flashing orange 3 times and then green (and repeat, forever). That indicates an EEPROM problem (of some sort).

Reset the Printer (EEPROM)

Later, I followed the advice of the second poster on this page. That is: reset the EEPROM by:

  • pulling out the AC cord,
  • holding down both the power and resume buttons
  • while plugging the AC cord back in.
After that I started getting seven orange flashes (followed by green, and repeat, ...).

The seven orange flashes indicate an overheated printhead.


I never heard any beeps. Maybe because, although the computers the printer has been connected to have sound cards, they were not plugged into speakers (at least while the printer was connected).

Ink Coverage

According to this page, a BC-33e ink cartridge is rated for 280 pages at 5% coverage.

So, how should I calculate the cost per printed page--should I assume that I'll need 5% coverage from each color (plus black) ink, or should I assume that, overall, most pages get 5% ink coverage total from the 4 ink colors?

And, at $50 per cartridge, I should amortize the cost of that cartridge over some number of refills.

At some point I'll look for page coverage statistics. (I realize (or I'm pretty sure, or I assume wink that the 5% figure I found on the above cited page (link no longer works) was not based on typical printed pages so much as to give Canon (the ink supplier) some figure to calculate a number of pages.

And, if I print photos, I assume the ink coverage from all four colors will total close to 100%.

So, at some point I'll come back here and make some kind of new calculation.

The following are some old figures I had:

(At $50 a cartridge, that is not far from $.20 a page for ink. Or, looking at it another way, the ink to print a ream of paper (which costs $2 to $5), will cost almost $100.)

Oops, the previous calculation is wrong, I should have based the calculation on the cost of the ink cartridge alone, not the entire ink cartridge plus printhead assembly. I don't really know what a single black (large) ink cartridge costs, I've seen the smaller color cartridges sell for about $7, I'm going to guestimate the (large) black ink cartridge at say $12, which then means about $.05 a page for (black) ink, or about $25 to print a ream of paper (black only). Even so, I do much better by refilling the cartridges, getting on the order of 10 black refills for $10 to $15.

The only way ink jets make sense is if you refill the cartridges yourself. Notwithstanding the new "waste ink tank" boondoggle I just became aware of, many Canon cartridges are among the easiest to refill.

(By contrast, a $50 laser jet cartridge that covers 3000 pages works out to about 1 2/3 cents per page, or ~$8 to print a 500 sheet ream of paper.)

Cleaning / Replacing the Waste Ink Tank

I am not familiar with the internal layout of the bjc-6000, but expect it is not too dis-similar to the bjc-3000. In the bjc-3000 the "waste ink tank" is actually a "felt" like material under a white polystrene foam like material. To get to it, you have to remove the case of the printer and it is at the very bottom beneath the printer paper rollers and electronics.


If your waste tank is full, it won't be white but will be black+other colours and will have the appearance of being soaked with waste ink.


I washed my felt pad by soaking and rinsing in lots of cold water and dried it with a hot air drier and reused it. But it is a very messy process.

In the UK you can get a new "waste ink tank" by contacting:

Electroversal, Unit 1, Ribocon Way, Luton LU4 9UR Telephone: 01582-582-023

Resetting Waste Ink Counter

Adapted from Knowledge Base: Canon BJC-3000 — includes instructions for resetting the waste tank error, printing a test page (w/o a computer), and setting the model. (I'd like to refactor these to be much more succinct and easy to remember / follow.):

Waste Ink Counter Reset

  1. With the printer off and the covers closed:
  2. Hold down the RESUME button then press and hold POWER
  3. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn GREEN
  4. While holding down POWER, release RESUME
  5. Click RESUME twice and release
  6. Release POWER
  8. Click RESUME three(3) times.
  9. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn ORANGE.
  10. Press POWER to save the change
To Set Model
  1. With the printer off and the covers closed:
  2. Hold down the RESUME button then press and hold POWER
  3. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn GREEN
  4. While holding down POWER , release RESUME
  5. Click RESUME twice and release
  6. Release POWER
  8. Click RESUME 4 times
  9. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn GREEN.
  10. Press POWER to enter the MODEL setting mode.
  11. The INDICATOR LIGHT will be GREEN to indicate the printer is set to model BJ-F300
  12. Click RESUME once to set the model to BJC-3000
  13. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn ORANGE.
  14. Press POWER to save the change
To Print A Test Page
  1. With the printer off and the covers closed:
  2. Hold down the RESUME button then press and hold POWER
  3. The INDICATOR LIGHT should turn GREEN
  4. While holding down POWER , release RESUME
  5. Click RESUME twice and release
  6. Release POWER
  8. Press POWER to start printing the test page.

Error Codes

A list of error codes is at BJC-3000 Printer: Error Codes — copied here (for my convenience):

Error Condition Indicator Beeps Error Code Possible Solution
Paper Feed / Delivery Orange 2   Remove any paper jammed
Paper Jam Orange 3   Remove any paper jammed
Ink Out Orange 4   Add Ink
BJ Cartridge Misinstalled Orange 5   Re-install cartridge or replace it
NO BJ Cartridge Orange 6   Re-install cartridge or replace it
BJ Cartridge Error Orange 7   Re-install cartridge or replace it
Waste Full warning Orange 8   Waste is almost full , needs service very soon

Service Errors Blinks Beeps Error Code Possible Solution
ROM Error 1 x Orange 10 6100 Try unplugging Printer
RAM Error 2 x Orange 10 6300 Try unplugging Printer
EEPROM 3 x Orange 10 6800 Try unplugging Printer
Home Position 4 x Orange 10 5100  
Temperature Sensor 5 x Orange 10 5400 Try unplugging Printer
Waste Full 6 x Orange 10 5B00 Needs Service
Cartridge OverHeat 7 x Orange 10 5200 Replace the BJ Cartridge(Printhead)
Cartridge OverHeat 8 x Orange 10 5200 Replace the BJ Cartridge(Printhead)
Cartridge Displaced 9 x Orange 10 5200 Replace the BJ Cartridge(Printhead) or reinstall
Cartridge Displaced 10 x Orange 10 5200 Replace the BJ Cartridge(Printhead) or reinstall
Cartridge Displaced 11 x Orange 10 5200 Replace the BJ Cartridge(Printhead) or reinstall
Other Hardware error 12 x Orange 10 6500  
Other Hardware error None None 5910 Needs Service
Other Hardware error None None 5C00 Needs Service

Recommended Linux Driver

(Actually, I think there are several that will work, don't know if any of them pay attention to the ink level indicators.)

From Adolfo:

"BJC-3000 equals S400. Follow the advice given for this one. gimp-print 4.2.1 works with this printer. CYMK only, photo cartridge not supported."

Reinstall (on Windows)

This page recommends reinstalling the driver software, after uninstalling and clearing relevant parts of the Windows registry. I think this is aimed at printers using the USB interface.

Canon BJC-2110 (or BJC-3000) Printer Not Responding or Not Functioning Properly

ISSUE: When trying to print, the printer does not respond or function correctly. The printer may attempt to print and the computer stops responding, or the printer may not respond at all. If the printer drivers are removed and then reinstalled, the drivers appear to run through the install process properly. After restarting the computer, the printer is not recognized in the Printers folder in Control Panel.

Newer problem: Yellow printhead plugged or burnt out.

Trying to reconstruct the sequence of events:

Two things may have contributed to my current problem:

  • Because I got some generic ink cartridges (for the Canon) at a good price (yard sale), I decided to start trying a few when I needed to replace a cartridge. As it happened, a yellow cartridge ran out first, so I replaced it.

  • I also found that I could unplug a plugged printhead by filling an ink cartridge with rubbing alcohol (70%, because that's what I have) instead of ink, then running some test pages through the printer with that cartridge. I've done it several times with black ink, using the larger size ink cartridge (which typically holds black ink).

I then got one of the colors plugged (I guess it was probably yellow), and I didn't have an empty yellow cartridge at hand (this was before I found the yard sale cartridges). I had an old photo black cartridge (which is the smaller size, like the other colors). So I filled that with alcohol and tried to clean a plugged head. It seemed to work, the first time I tried it.

But, I should have used something else--maybe in the time between the first time I used it to clean a print head and the second time (or one of the subsequent times), the alcohol apparently dissolved / freed up the ink that was embedded in the sponge. I didn't really pay attention, but the alcohol now looks almost like black ink.

But, I didn't pay any attention when I went to clean my yellow print head more recently--I think using that alcohol filled cartridge made the plugging worse by depositing black pigment in the yellow print head.

And, (this is hard for me to believe), but, apparently, then when I put the yellow ink cartridge back in the printer and tried to use it, lots of that black pigment apparently got sucked up into the yellow ink. (Could that really happen?) And, there's a lot of it--I took a syringe and drew out some of it and put some drops on a sheet of paper. It is solid black except for just small rings around the edges of the black.

I really find it hard to believe that pigment could have migrated into the yellow ink cartridge and in such quantities as to make it seem like real black ink. (I mean, my alternate theory is that the generic cartridge was mis-manufactured or mis-labeled and had mostly black ink in it. BTW, until I recently drilled out the factory seal, it was intact--so if the cartridge was intentionally (accidentally) filled with black ink it wasn't my doing.

Anyway, now I'm having trouble getting yellow ink to flow at all. I don't know if something I've done has burned out the yellow printhead (but that the Canon software to detect a burnt out printhead somehow is overlooking it--maybe it only checks for a burnt out black printhead), or if the pigment from the black ink has just so thoroughly plugged the yellow printhead that the alcohol (in several days, and after printing probably close to 30 sheets of what should have been solid yellow), just can't clear out the pigment.

So, that's the current problem (ca. 20120511). Because I don't often need color (or even printing at all), I'll leave the alcohol cartridge in there, and try printing a few test pages (solid yellow) every day or so. I've also taken the cartridge out and tried dripping some alcohol directly in that--well, I'll call it the ink well--the collar where the "nozzle" on the ink cartridge fits in / on to.

If I come to any conclusions, I'll update this.


I see Canon BC-33e (normal) and 34e (photo) print head and cartridge sets for $42.50 to $47 on the net (haven't checked shipping):

Canon BC-33E - Replacement Ink Cartridge BC-33E For BJC-3000, S400, S600, & C755. Color. CNM4611A003

Replaces F45-1491-400 and F45-2071-400. (???)


  • () RandyKramer -- 28 Jun 2003
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