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Why compatible refills get blocked

A refill blockage due to unrecognition is not as rare as you might think. So, if you are using a compatible toner and it has locked up, the only solution may be to update your printer's firmware driver. In today's article, we'll tell you why this situation actually occurs and what you can do to successfully avoid it.

What types of toners we know

If you're choosing a refill for your printer, you have the following options to choose from:

  • Original toners - they are from specific printer manufacturers, so even though they are 100% reliable, they are quite expensive compared to others.
  • Remanufactured toners - these are original, genuine toners and ink cartridges that have been refilled with used ink. This is an environmentally friendly practice as these cartridges are not thrown away but reused.
  • Compatible toners - at first glance they look like the original, but they are made by independent manufacturers, so they are much more affordable.

Why the toner becomes blocked

The blockage of a compatible toner is certainly not just a coincidence. It is due to the low purchase price, which causes the original manufacturers to lose profit on the sale of their toners. That is why they are developing various ways to prevent the use of such compatible toners, for example by blocking the cartridge. The principle of such toner blocking is to update the printer driver (called firmware). Firmware is actually software that prints according to the specified print data - in the desired number of copies and at the specified quality.

Each printer therefore has its own firmware, which is updated by the manufacturers on a regular basis. Thanks to automatic updates, printer security is increased and various communication protocols are modified. At the same time, however, there may be situations where your compatible toner stops working. The reason for this is the update just mentioned, which has changed the program to allow functionality and use only genuine toner when printing.

What can you do to prevent this?

The problem is quite simple to recognize. A clear "toner not detected" or a lack of colour message will signal what has happened, even if you have a full compatible toner. To avoid this, you can try the following:

  • Reverting the firmware back to the version before the upgrade (also known as downgrade) - this has the disadvantage of reducing security, so revert to the upgraded version when the toner is used up.
  • Firmware update lock - this is a solution that you can use only in the time before the firmware update.

Compatible toner manufacturers are resourceful

If you use compatible cartridges regularly, you will probably be pleased to know that their manufacturers have managed to cope with this situation. This is evidenced by the fact that they are able to upgrade their compatible inkjets to accommodate new updates and bring them to market in just a few weeks or months. Thus, the latest compatible toners you purchase will likely work with the current firmware version in your printer as well.