Ink absorber full/waste ink tank full

August 19, 2007 – 6:06 pm

This message comes up in two steps with Canon bubblejet printers. First there is a warning, then the printer refuses to work at all.

What has happened is that the software has determined that sufficient head cleaning/purging has taken place to fill the waste ink absorber with waste ink.

[It also means that you have spent rather a lot of money on ink, and that you may have used the printer more than was altogether prudent for a home/small office machine.]

This problem can not be solved by the user. You must take or send it to a service centre, where a technician will remove the old ink absorber, clean up any internal ink mess (a job seemingly made much more difficult and messy if the customer has been using cheap non-original inks) and enter a reset code to clear the “ink absorber full” condition.

[With some printers, no internal cleaning at all was required, while others, when unpacked, were plastered inside and out with black waste ink, and had to be completely dismantled and the parts hosed down and air dried before re-assembly. We suspected that the use of cheap inks caused this by gumming up the absorbers, hence the bad attitude you may encounter in the repair shop if you use cheap inks.]

Admittedly many users find the “waste ink tank full” very annoying, and one has some sympathy with their point of view, but alternative solutions would add to the point-of-sale cost, or be more messy and generate undesirable household waste.

[No you can not solve the problem by making your own absorber, or washing out the old one. DIY or recycled absorbers don’t work. Nor is it wise to enter the reset code, even if you can get your hands on it , without having the clearly well-used printer serviced.]

  1. 62 Responses to “Ink absorber full/waste ink tank full”

  2. We need how to reset the waste ink absorber tank.
    The code to reset this message error E146 0050 of Diletta 550i& 530i printer

    By Bakary CAMARA on Sep 23, 2007

  3. Canon ip 1200 printer absorber is full problem

    By minthuya on Nov 27, 2007

  4. This was about the funniest ….while I was on with a canon tech support representative telling me all what was said above, about my canon i9900 printer.

    We were in the midst of waiting for the code and being transfered over to a sales rep. and thought we’d type it in on google and do a search for the waste absorber thing to see if we could buy one and replace it

    By bytewoman on Dec 1, 2007

  5. Found out Nope cannot buy nor can we gain a new one of the same printer. Instead they offered us the newer model Pro9000 at a discounted price $500 more and it comes with only one set of 8 ink cartridges but I was insured they’d replace my unopened canon cartridges with the new printer cartridges (cli8’s).

    Another option was to take it to a authorized dealer around town and have it fixed it.

    Abosolutely, funny….

    By bytewoman on Dec 1, 2007

  6. Top message is obviously written by a Canon insider, who is fearful you may save a few $ (or even $$$) by learning how to fix this yourself. The truth is this is a fairly easy fix for most Canon printers, and can be done at home – the reset is equally easy. Goggle (use the title of this thread for your search) will give you plenty of leads to “printer DIY” sites that give all the specifics you need. DON’T be frightened off by a Canon rep who’s only interest is in getting into your wallet!

    By jmurren on May 13, 2008

  7. Top message was actually written by a former employee of a canon sub-contractor. If you can purchase the correct absorber and obtain the reset code and do the fix, good luck to you, you should be a printer engineer. If properly serviced after an “ink absorber full” the printer should last for as long again. If not, well…
    We serviced some really old Canon printers, so while you might get the run-around if you try to buy a service part yourself, an authorised service centre would be able to do the job.

    By admin on May 17, 2008

  8. Where I can find replacment printheads and ink for Diletta passport printer model # 500h other than Diletta?

    By REZEG JOULANI on May 19, 2008

  9. how about my PIXMA iP 1000?I don’t have the code,can U give me a code?

    By Kiky on Sep 11, 2008

  10. I see somebody thinks he knows how to reset an iP1000:
    I don’t recollect that the reset code worked that way on the printers I was familiar with.
    This printer looks design-wise like the cheapest Canon printers I worked on, and so far as I remember we never attempted to deal with an “ink absorber full” on these, as the printer (like the ip1000) cost about £30 and was designed for low-volume printing, so clearly not worth repairing once out of warranty.
    If you have used an iP1000 to the “ink absorber full” point, you should ask yourself two questions: 1) how much did you spend on ink to get to this point, and
    2) how mamy pages did you print, and would a printer with a higher purchase price have given you a better user experience?

    By admin on Sep 18, 2008

  11. Hold down the “setup” and “online” buttons while turning on will put you in service mode. Scroll thru the menu and find the waste reset (I forget what they called it, but it was obvious).

    By Craig on Sep 19, 2008

  12. como adquirir el codigo para resetear deposito de desecho de tinta lleno

    By kevin on Sep 23, 2008

  13. We need how to reset the waste ink absorber tank.
    The code to reset this message error E146 0050 of Diletta 550i& 530i printer

    By Odsn on Sep 24, 2008

  14. Can anyone tell me how to replace or reset the waste ink absorber on the Canon Pixma IP8500 please.
    Thank you

    By Syd on Sep 25, 2008

  15. Can any one tell me why black ink gets into yellow cartridge. How to reset ink absorber on Canon pixma IP4000. or scrap it

    By Tom on Oct 10, 2008

  16. I remember that we had a few Canon printers in which the yellow ink cartridge became stained with black. If I remember correctly, this was a printhead fault, so if fitting a new yellow cartridge does not get rid of the problem, the next step is to fit a new printhead.
    As pointed out in the first post, clearing the “ink-absorber-full” indication also requires that the printer be serviced to renew the ink absorber. It could be cheaper to just buy a new printer.

    By admin on Oct 16, 2008

  17. Can anybody help me with my Canon MP210?I have anoying problem with ink absorber.ITS FULL!!!How can i bypass that eror or fix-it cause i can`t scan,neither copy?Do anybody know its reset code?Thx

    By Giga on Oct 26, 2008

  18. I own 2 Pixma ip 1500 and 3 ip 1600

    I have been running them for my wifes home business for my daughters school work and my consulting work for over four years – I use refil ink and re plenish the cartriges myself (alittle messy)- This week three of the printers error messaged me (waste tank full) – is there a way to cure the problem or is it easier to buy another set of printers….Canons have been very dependable – I originally started with the ‘100″ series and had two of them – then got the “200” series and then got the five pixmas….no problems until now…

    By Andrew on Oct 27, 2008

  19. I’ve figured out the best way to deal with waste ink tank full for a canon printer!

    First unplug the printer lead then be sure to switch off at the mains. Unplug the mains lead too. Shut the paper feeders so that the printer looks like it did when you first took it out of the box many years ago. Then carefully take the printer to your uppermost floor. If you live in a high rise apartment that is great! Open a window and check that no-one is hanging around down below. Hurl the canon printer out of your opening then get on the Web and buy a nice new one. My canon has been streaking paper for a while and after taking a good look inside i cant see how anyone could clean it. It has printed thousands of sheets though – even with those bad sticky cheap ink refils.

    By Paul on Jan 23, 2009

  20. On pixma ip 1500. I bought this printer recently and I used it considerably until the day I got the error message (with the green-orange blinking light). It was very disappointing to me that the assistance in my town discouraged me to fix it without even having a look at the thing. They said I should buy a new one because it was problable that it wouldn’t be worth facing the cost of fixing it. I decided I wouldn’t buy any other printer from this brand once they offer you no real and reliable technical support, and, in the end, I was able to clean it myself and reset it with information from other users at internet.

    By Nelson T on Mar 11, 2009


    Open your printer.
    To protect hands from Ink wear thin latex (or similar) gloves.
    Locate the Waste Ink Pads on the inside of your printer. They are on the right hand side and are quite small.
    You can remove the pads and the holder with a gentle pull.
    Using a tissue, soak up as much ink as possible and clean the area around the waste ink area.
    There is one more waste holder in the right back bottom of the printer. A kind of sponge. There are few screws and plastic parts to be removed and this sponge needs to be washed, dryed and placed again. Be careful and patient. This is no understatement. On the iP1500 this requires the dismantling of most of the printer. Take a photograph (even with your cell phone) so you can trace back your steps. On the iP1500 the drive motor on the side (Just behind the waste ink pads) has to be removed to get to the main sponge. You also need to take care as you lift the slide/carriage. Below this you find 5 little springs.
    Carefully replace the holder and the pads. Close printer.
    Whilst printer is disconnected from the mains power, press and hold the power button and reconnect to ac power.
    Release the power button.
    Press the power button again.

    By AG on May 22, 2009

  22. Try this 8 steps to reset waste ink tank counter CANON PIXMA IP 1200

    STEP 1:- Look for ip1600st zipped file then unzip it.
    STEP 2:- Disconnect printer from AC power
    STEP 3:- Press and HOLD the POWER button, and connect printer to AC power
    STEP 4:- Release the POWER button
    STEP 5:- Press the POWER button again
    STEP 6:- Run GeneralTool.exe
    STEP 7:- Select the connected USB port number from USB port
    STEP 8:- Click LOCK RELEASE, and select the applicable model name in SET DESTINATION. In CLEAR WASTE INK COUNTER, select MAIN or PLATEN. The selected waste ink counter will be reset. MAIN resets the main waste ink counter, PLATEN resets the platen waste ink counter. If both the main and platen waste ink absorbers are replaced, reset both the main and platen waste ink counters.

    By ACP on Jul 2, 2009

  23. What a quack this thread was obviously started by a someone who makes a living fixing canon printers.
    Canon and the other printer makers have spent a lifetime trying to make you buy their ink at 20 times the real value of it.
    I think someone should take these guys to the antitrust boys for a good spanking.
    The whole idea of putting a chip inside ink so you cant refill it is so counter productive to our whole society. Its almost criminal.

    By warptweet on Oct 14, 2009

  24. “Canon and the other printer makers have spent a lifetime trying to make you buy their ink at 20 times the real value of it.”??!!
    Many products (e.g. mobile phones)have a heavily subsidised purchase price while the supplier takes revenue from associated charges. Many other products (e.g. automobiles) have a lifetime cost of ownership that substantially exceeds the purchase price. Inkjet printers (sometimes “sold” for little more than the price of a refill kit) would cost more to buy if the manufacturers were blocked from charging a substantial price for their ink. There is nothing illegal or immoral about this business model.

    By admin on Nov 5, 2009

  25. Have read comments, but dont tell me much. Is anyone out there who still has an MP360/370 Smartbase – yes I know its ancient but its been very good up ’til now. Because if printing prolems (prob. due to using cheap inks!) Waste Ink Tank almost full it tells me. Need to know how to do it myself. Any SENSIBLE and constructive suggestions will be appreciated.

    By j4jnee on Dec 6, 2009

  26. information is not sufficient. what users can do to solve this problem without taking the unit to the service?

    By kaala on Dec 28, 2009

  27. Long time ago (already had 63 empty ink cartridges) I got the answer on the Web: 1. Disconnect printer from mains; 2. Open front panel (where you put new ink in); 3. Hold down Start button; 4. Plug in mains; 5. Now release start button. 6. Finally, switch on in the usual way, with Start button.
    I have been doing this each morning for 2 years, and reloading ink cartridges, with no problems.
    Sucks to Canon!

    By Mike Carr on Jan 2, 2010

  28. Sorry, please add to last post, 4a. Close front panel

    By Mike Carr on Jan 2, 2010

  29. I have a Canon PIXMA MP170 with a “Waste Ink near full Message.

    None of the fixes I have eeen mentions the MP170 model.

    Any solution, Please?

    By david blackmore on Jan 3, 2010

  30. Has anyone replaced the waste ink absober on a Canon PIXMA MP 170? Wghere is it in the printer/ Is it simple.

    By Barry Leat on Jan 9, 2010

  31. Has anyone replaced the waste ink absorber on a Canon PIXMA MP170 printer? Where is situated?

    By Barry Leat on Jan 9, 2010

  32. my canon ip1980 giving error “ink absorber is full” then i fix the problem but when i unplug the printer or turn off this the previous error is come again. somebody told i have to reset the code, what can i do now?

    By raja sarker on Jan 18, 2010

  33. Hi
    I have a Canon MP470 with an Ink absorber is full message. I have taken the printer apart and cleaned to absorber. But I am still getting the message. I have tryed a few of the things on the page without any luck.

    If any one knows how to reset the printer I would be more than happy to buy them a drink!

    By Martin on Apr 5, 2010

  34. My canon mp180 stopped printing one day, checked the ink cartridges and noticed they were more clogged with excess ink than normal, and then noticed the printer had actually started to leak black ink from the bottom. I undid a few screws to get to the insides and found that the area around the waste ink absorbtion pads was completley drowned. I tried cleaning it with methylated spirits but it was just too cloged, so out on the lawn it went, out with the garden hose and hosed the whole inky area out. I thought to myself it was stuffed anyway and why pay a tech $100 an hour to try and clean it up when you can buy a new printer now for $100 anyway. So hosed it out, let it dry in the sun for a day, put it back together and, tada!, it works fine. Hows that for a fix!

    By OzDrDj on Apr 9, 2010

  35. Thanks Mike Carr, resetting pixma 1000 works as you described…at least so far.

    By Jaybee on Apr 26, 2010

  36. Anyone out there still use a canon i250? Just had an ink absorber nearly full message but I don’t want to get another one. The ink cartridges for this gadget are the cheapest around and I still have over 50 of them left. Any suggestions (besides throwing it out the window)?

    By sixstillys on Apr 29, 2010

  37. Does anyone know if the canon MP210 ink waste reservoir can be emptied at home?

    By Kinley on Apr 30, 2010

  38. SERVICE CENTER CANON IP 1980 reset code worked that way on the printers I was familiar with.
    This printer looks design-wise like the cheapest Canon printers I worked on, and so far as I remember we never attempted to deal with an “ink absorber full” on these, as the printer

    By SHAMSUL on Jun 1, 2010

  39. Hi there

    I’ve cleaned up the waste ink pad in my Canon Pixma IP100 and successfully reset the thing. It will now only print in colour, not black and white. I’ve put in a new ink cartridge. Has anyone any ideas please??

    By Pamela Browne on Jun 3, 2010

  40. Hi there,

    here I found a guide (but it is in italian) with pictures for solving waste ink adsorber problem of IP4000.

    By juan on Jun 4, 2010

  41. sorry.. the correct address was

    By juan on Jun 4, 2010

  42. This printer looks design-wise like the cheapest Canon printers I worked on, and so far as I remember we never attempted to deal with an “ink absorber full” on these, as the printer

    By nerissa data on Jun 17, 2010

  43. well, I finally got fed-up trying everything else related to re-setting, wiping the waste ink around the print-head, and decided to chance opening up the printer. Nothing to lose, right . . BIG SURPRISE ! the whole bottom of the casing was packed with felt-like sponges that were loaded with ink . I got them out and spent half a day soaling / rinsing / soaking / rincing. Right now they’re drying in the sun in my yard, so hopfully they will work when I put everything back together, and try the re-set again.
    I have not been able to find anywhere that I can buy replacement sponges, but next time I will either find new ones or get a new printer, because the time invested is too much.

    By cactus on Jun 26, 2010

  44. Thanks Mike Carr – so far so good!

    By mshulu on Jul 8, 2010

  45. Where did you get the ink-Absorber?

    By Markus on Jul 12, 2010

  46. @cactus any update of what happened?

    By erwin on Jul 25, 2010

  47. Hi Can anyone tell me what to do when the ink cartridges won’t move to the centre when I open the front of my Canon Pixma iP1500? Can’t do it manually either. I just changed a cartridge and it seems I didn’t fix it in properly, so, guess what, it’s refusing to print. Cheers Diana

    By Diana on Jul 27, 2010

  48. Just checked the ink levels in my week old Canon Pixma ip1980 – The levels indicated are about half for both the cartridges.The total print runs for the printer has been 75 ( only printing grayscale pages so far, but surprisingly the color is depleted too ).

    Opening the printer I see the ORIGINAL carts wasting too much ink, as both the absorber pads is full of ink. So canon guys saying originals do not spill is pure hogwash.

    I thought something is wrong and called the tech support – they say this is normal. Is it?

    By Guru on Aug 3, 2010

  49. Re Guru’s complaint, he doesn’t say whether he printed 75 pages in one run, in which case the ink usage is pretty bad, or turned the printer on on 75 occasions to print one page, which would provoke many cleaning cycles of the black and colour heads, and consume a large amount of ink for little printing. This is how colour inkjets generally behave, like it or not. If you don’t need colour print, buy a cheap mono laser printer instead – you could find its ink usage much less of a sore point.

    By admin on Aug 4, 2010

  50. Re. Diana’s complaint, if the print head doesn’t centre when the cover is opened, it can usually be centred manually with the power off without applying “excessive force”. If the power is on, the motor drive may be holding the head in the normal position. Hopefully adjusting the cartridge will clear the fault.

    By admin on Aug 4, 2010

  51. Here this step by step to resetting waste ink counter printer canon iP4000:
    1.With the printer plugged in and powered off, press and hold the Resume/Cancel button, then press and hold the Power button. Do not release the buttons. The LED light should be green to indicate that a function is selectable
    2.While holding the Power button, release the Resume/Cancel button, do not release the Power button
    3.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. Now release the Power button.
    4.When the LED light is green, press the Resume/Cancel button 4 times. Each time the Resume/Cancel button is pressed, the LED lights alternately in orange and green, starting with orange.
    5.Press the Power button. The LED lights in green, and the reset is performed. When the operation completes, the printer returns to the menu selection mode automatically
    6.Press the power button to exit service mode.

    By Prima Studio on Oct 28, 2010

  52. Used ink resevoir full ip1500. Solution suggested by Canon: go to ‘authorised service facility’. I am SO DISAPPOINTED with Canon – surely this kind of maintenance shd b able to be done by the owner. Or is it a kind of built-in-obsolenscence trick? Can anyone plz help?

    By Gwyneth M on Oct 31, 2010

  53. Re comment by Gwyneth M, you could maintain this yourself if you feel able to dismantle the printer, order a part, exchange an ink-soaked pad, enter a control code and re-assemble. Needless to say, users don’t want to pay more for a product designed to be easier to maintain. Low purchase price rules!

    By admin on Mar 17, 2011

  54. Thank you to Mark Carr above (Jan 2 2010 posting).

    I got the final red screen-warning today that my Canon PIXMA iP-1200 printer’s waste ink absorber was full, and pressing the RESUME button no longer got over the problem.

    No time to go out and buy another printer – so after three attempts carrying out your step-by step solution, the printer fired-up! You’ve got me out of a fix right now – hope your solution continues to work…

    By Philip E. on Mar 16, 2011

  55. having any error on my ip 4840 canon printer saying ink absorber almost full how do i solve thos problem

    By geshem on May 6, 2011

  56. Read the whole thread. Your printer needs servicing. Of course you can try to bodge it, if you can find the reset code, and you ignore the fact that the ink absorber is becoming saturated with runny ink…

    By admin on May 6, 2011

  57. just change the cartridges sometimes ink cartridges increase the problem

    By ink for printer cartridges on Oct 19, 2011

  58. PIXMA MP130 model, the same problem ‘ink absorber full’, how to deal with it?
    any idea? Thanks!

    By Madeleine on Dec 7, 2011

  59. how do i reset my canon ip4840

    By tawanda on Mar 27, 2012

  60. I have opened up and found my canon’s (MP210) full ink waste container. Cleaning the pads did not help. I cannot figure out how to get to the waste containe, let alone empty it. Its under the guts of the printer…so Ive closed it all up again, and it actually still seems to be working….it cleans wheels, shows a ready (“1”) number…..check rollers…and then shows the ink full message again…

    ANyone know how to ACCESS waste container and empty it? I know Ill need to start from below……but I dont want to do it blind again…!

    By art fulley on Sep 17, 2012

  61. Re Art Fulley’s MP210, I am not familiar with this particular model, but it appears to be a low cost model with a black ink cartridge and a 3-colour cartridge. Such printers are intended for light duties. If the waste ink pad is full, you’ve not been using it for light duty. The makers didn’t intend that you repair it yourself, any more than you’d change the big end bearings on your car. You could send it to a Canon service centre, but as this involves hand labour in a Western country, it will probably cost more than the MP210 cost to buy.
    My advice is to bin it, add up how much you spent on ink (probably more than it cost to buy), and replace it with a MEDIUM duty device. Also, if you don’t need colour on all prints, get a home laser printer as well. They cost very little nowadays and are cheap to run.
    This advice won’t be what you wanted to hear, but is based on sound economics.

    By admin on Sep 17, 2012

  62. My Canon ip4840 printer is shows orange light the moment you connect it to power.To switch it on i am pressing the ON button then connect it to power at the same time then pressing it again.On printing its not printing all the colours.The print head has black ink on the outside and there is a lot of ink in the printer pads.What could be the problem.

    By Doug on Jun 30, 2013

  63. Not sure of problem, but it’s probably detecting ink sump full and/or ink tank empty. Suggest you get it serviced, or (if it works out cheaper) buy a new one.

    By admin on Jun 30, 2013

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