What exactly are the “waste ink pads?”
Exactly what it sounds like. Waste ink from cleanings and borderless printing has to have some place to collect, and that place is the waste ink pad. Like a bunch of paper towels wadded up together to trap stray ink. Here is a picture.
Everywhere you see black, or dark – that used to be white. There is not a sensor here, just an ink collection system. This is from a printer that was wanting to be reset (we had to reset it with $20.00 utility – read here). That plastic bottle in the middle of the picture has a tube running to it when attached to the printer. See below.
Why do I care?
If you are getting a “replace ink waste pad, or Epson waste ink pads need replacing” message and the printer has stopped functioning, don’t get ready to toss it quite yet – there might be a quick fix for that. Try to keep that older printer (less than 3 yrs old) working as long as possible – older printers are great when it comes to compatible cartridges, re-manufactured cartridges, and other inking systems. These alternatives to overpriced brand name inks are usually more readily available the older the printer is.
There is a constant cat and mouse game going on with the printer manufacturers, and the aftermarket ink manufacturers. Oddly, it’s not the ink cartridge technology that is changing, so much as it is new engineering efforts to prevent casual refilling, and make reliable professional re-manufacturing more difficult. Add to that the shrinking of the cartridge, successful litigation against the Chinese compatible cartridge market (near elimination of it), and multiple cartridges for different printers which is confusing the consumer and you have an inkjet printer market which is chaotic to say the least.
Video of the installation or removal.
Been around a while…
The waste ink pads are normally a chore to replace, or bypass, however Epson is making it much easier to re-route the ink waste line on the Artisan line of printers, which is very easy to get to. Simply remove one screw, pry open plastic cover, and pads and tubing are revealed. Just a tip, there is a metal plate covering the plastic door – it can get gangly, so try to keep it attached to the plastic pad holder if you can. Yet another example of some very simplified engineering (manufacturing?) on these Artisan series inkjet printers. User replaceable parts?
Cart before the horse.
There must be a reset utility available for any of this to work. You can replace the waste ink pads as much as you like, but without a way to reset the page count (waste ink count) stored in a memory chip inside the printer the printer is just dead. There might need to be a way to re-route the waste ink flow, or replace the waste ink pads – if – print quality suffers, or paper is getting continuously smeared with ink (and you have traced the problem to this issue). There are two schools of thought when it comes to waste ink – ignore the error, reset the printer and don’t worry about the pads. Or, simply re-route the tubing that deposits waste ink – into a container, or bag. We have to admit – we have an Epson Artisan R200 here in the office going on 3 resets, and no seemingly ill effects from the lack of ink pad replacement. It is possible the waste ink pads can dry themselves out over time, but if you have a high printing volume they may become to wet and need diversion or replacement.
As far as the Artisan 800 goes, here is where the ink pads are located. On the underside of the printer (look for the metal plate). Remove that one screw (to the right) where the USB, telephone, and ethernet ports are, and that plate levers at the bottom. The waste ink pads pop right out with a twist of a screwdriver (see above video)
Replacement waste ink pads – the one that caused our service error is on the top.