Answer to your Frequently Asked Question:

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Description of Problem 100000000392

My machine is using up too much ink. Why?

Description of Solution 200000000445

Brother strongly recommends that customers do not use generic ink or refill their Brother ink cartridges.  Using non-Brother supplies may affect the hardware performance, print quality and machine reliability since the ink formulation in genuine Brother ink cartridges prevent smearing and clogging of the print head.  The Brother limited warranty does not apply to any problem that was caused by the use of unauthorized third party ink and/or cartridges.


The Service Life of the ink cartridges are the following:


Standard Black Cartridge - Approximately 500 pages at 5% coverage

Color Cartridges - Approximately 400 pages at 5% coverage


The above figures are based upon or depend upon the following:

  •          Continuous printing at a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi in normal mode after installing a new ink cartridge
  •          The printing frequency
  •          The number of pages printed
  •          Periodic, automatic, print head assembly cleaning (Your machine will clean the print head assembly periodically.  This process will use a small amount of ink.)
  •          Ink remaining in the cartridge identified as 'empty' (It is necessary to leave a small amount of ink in the ink cartridge to prevent air from drying out and damaging the print head assembly)


The amount of ink your machine uses can vary depending on different factors.  The first factor is what you print. Brother ink cartridges are rated at 5% page coverage, which is the standard by which most companies measure their ink cartridge life.  Of course, if you print at more than 5% page coverage, then the life of the ink cartridge will be reduced. For example: A person who prints photographs and complex graphics will use ink much faster than a person who normally prints documents with text only.


Another factor is the number of times the machine needs to clean the print head nozzles.  Every time the machine does a cleaning, a small amount of ink is used.  Whether you are using the colors a great deal or very little, the unit must clean all the nozzles on the print head regularly to achieve optimum print quality. This is why even low usage of the color cartridges causes a loss of ink.  Lack of use leads to ink drying in the jets and ultimately, poor print quality.  In order to keep the print quality at its best, the machine will continue to clean the nozzles as needed.  This process is common to all inkjet machines.


Yet another factor pertains to color units connected to a computer as a PC printer. Since these machines offer full color print, the default setting of the print driver is color. As a result, the colors are mixed in the appropriate amounts to produce the selected color. Even a document containing nothing but black text will combine all 3 colors to produce black. Changing your printing preferences from Color to Mono or Gray Scale when printing documents with only black text or images will allow the machine to use only the black cartridge when printing the color black, and will help avoid unnecessary color ink consumption.


The positive aspect of the Brother ink jet machines is that Brother took into account that ink does get used and has designed machines with an ink jet technology that will save consumers money.  Many other manufacturers incorporate the print head and ink cartridges into a one-piece assembly. Even if only one color is empty, the customer is required replace not only the print head itself, but ALL colors contained in the cartridge as well. This usually leads to a more expensive ink cartridge.  Brother, however, manufactures the print head and cartridges as separate consumables.  With Brother's Print head and Ink Cartridge technology, you replace only the empty ink cartridge, thus reducing your cost per page.


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