You have hit on a real sore spot for me - built in obsolescence for certain computer parts and components and nobody does it better than Canon. Talk about waste and environmentally unsound practices - Canon's solution when you get this message is to tell you to scrap this printer and go out and buy another one. The only reason for this is that a waste pad is full of ink, but they don't make it easy for the user to clean. In fact, they will tell you that this is not a user serviceable problem. I'm picking on Canon because they seem to be the most common offender, but other manufacturers do it too.
Waste Ink Absorber Pads
The waste ink absorber is a series of pads that are under a pump that diverts waste ink when you purge the cartridge heads. Your printer isn't really monitoring these pads, but it does calculate how long your printer has been operating and then estimates when the pads will be full. Resetting the printer and ignoring the pads will only leave you with ink running down the back of your printer, your furniture and onto your floors sometime soon. You will usually see this message after about two years of regular use.
Cleaning the Pads
You can send this to an authorized repair shop, but the cost for this simple repair will run you close to the cost for a brand new printer. If you want to tackle it yourself, put on a pair of rubber gloves and follow these directions:
- Unplug the unit and remove the top cover of the printer.
- You will see two pads with tubes running to a plastic pump. These dump ink to the felt absorber strips that are under the pump mechanism
- Remove the screws that hold the pump in place so that you can reach the pads. Pay close attention to how this is put together, as you will have to reassemble it when you're done.
- Remove the pads and clean them by running them under water. Be careful because the ink will stain anything it touches. I wouldn't do this in your new white porcelain sink.
- They won't get completely clean, but do this until the water runs clear. You can squeeze them gently, but don't wring them because they are delicate. Place them on paper towels to dry completely.
- Reassemble the printer.
Reset the Printer
After you clean the pads, you may need to reset the printer to get rid of the message.
- Power off the computer.
- Press Resume/Cancel and Power at the same time.
- Release only the Resume/Cancel button, and then press it twice while still holding the Power button down.
- Release both buttons.
- When the LED is green, press Release/Cancel four times.
- Press Power. Your computer should be reset.
It drives me crazy when something so small can result in so much waste and expense. I would try to clean these yourself before taking the entire unit to the dump - you'll save yourself some money and save room in our landfills.