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Description of Problem 100000021001

How do I clear the message "Unable to Print" (followed by a two digit code) from the display? 

Description of Solution 200000026552

The message Unable to Print (followed by a two character code) will appear on the display for one of the following reasons: 

  •          Dirty encoder strip
  •          Foreign object, such as a paper clip or ripped piece of paper, stuck in the machine
  •          Mechanical malfunction


The most common cause of the issue is dirt on the encoder strip.  Clean the encoder strip by doing the following:



NOTE:  The images shown below are from the representative product. The customer's model may look different from the picture.

1.  Locate a lint free cloth such as a T-shirt, DRY eye glass cleaner cloth, DRY monitor cloth or wash cloth. 

DO NOT USE ANY TYPE OF PAPER PRODUCTS (EX: paper towel, tissue paper, napkin, filter, news paper etc.)  This will help ensure the dirt is removed from the encoder strip. 


2.  Lift the scanner cover using the plastic tabs located on the left and right side of the machine until it locks securely into the open position. 



3.  Confirm the location of the print head.  If it is in the middle or to the left side, using your fingers, slide the print head over to the right side under the cover to make sure you clean the entire encoder strip.



4.  The encoder strip is the clear plastic strip located in front of the white vinyl band. (Outlined in red as shown in the picture below). 


NOTE: There is a warning in the machine not to touch the strip; however, this warning is to stop users from touching the strip with fingers because of the oils on your skin.  It is OK to touch and clean the strip with a lint free cloth.



5.  With the lint free cloth, firmly grab the encoder strip on both sides and rub the cloth down the strip from one end to the other (left to right then right to left) at least three times.  In most cases, you have to rub firmly and aggressively to completely clean the strip and resolve the issue.  The encoder strip is very flexible, durable and has slack so do not be afraid of breaking the strip.  It does not easily break.


NOTE: If this is your second time cleaning the encoder strip and you already checked for foreign objects and paper jams, go to STEP 9 Otherwise, continue on to the next step.





6.  After thoroughly cleaning the encoder strip, look inside the machine and in the two corners for jammed paper or foreign objects and remove them if any are found.  Pieces of paper may be jammed under the print head.


  • If the print head is locked to the right side of the machine, press and hold the STOP/EXIT key for 5 seconds.  This will cause the print head to move automatically to the middle of the machine and allow you to look for debris in the right corner. 



  • If you physically moved the print head under the cover when cleaning the encoder strip, move the print head back to the middle with your fingers to allow you to look for debris in the right corner.


7.  Leave the scanner OPEN and turn the machine around so you are looking at the back of the machine. 

8. Open the Jam Clear Cover (1) and look inside the machine for paper.  Remove any jammed paper that appears; then close the Jam Clear Cover (1) and turn the machine back around to the front.




9. Close the scanner cover by lifting the scanner cover to release the lock. Gently push the green scanner cover support down and then close the cover.


Verify the error message cleared from the display.


  • If the error message is cleared, go to STEP 11.


  • If you cleaned the encoder strip ONCE and the message continues to appear on the display, go to STEPS 2 � 5 to clean the encoder strip again. It is common to clean the encoder strip multiple times to resolve the issue. 
  •  If you cleaned the encoder strip at least TWICE and the message continues to appear on the display, go to STEP 10.




10. Unplug the machine from the power outlet for 2 seconds and plug it back in to cycle the power. 


  • If the error message is cleared, continue to STEP 11.


  • If the PQCS does not print because an error message reappeared continue to STEP 12.




NOTE: After a paper jam has been cleared, the Brother machine may complete a 2 minute cleaning cycle to remove paper dust from the nozzles before printing.


11. Print a Print Quality Check Sheet (PQCS) to test the machine:


a.    Press MENU.

b.    Press the UP OR DOWN ARROW key to select Ink and press OK.

c.    Press the UP OR DOWN ARROW key to select Test Print and press OK.

d.    Press the UP OR DOWN ARROW key to select Print Quality and press OK.

e.    Press COLOR START. 

  • If the PQCS successfully prints, the issue is resolved. 
  • If the PQCS does not print because an error message reappeared AND you have NOT cycled the power, go back to STEP 10. 


  • If the PQCS does not print because an error message reappeared AND you HAVE cycled the power, continue to STEP 12.


12. Your machine may require service.  Any faxes received while the error message is on the display will automatically go into the machine's memory due to the product's inability to print.  If there are faxes in memory, you can transfer them to another fax machine so they are not lost.  If you do not want to transfer faxes, go to Warranty and Service Options.  If you want to confirm and transfer received faxes in memory, follow the procedure below: 





NOTE: In order to transfer data from your fax machine to another fax machine, you must have already programmed your Station ID in your Brother machine prior to getting the error message on the LCD.  If you did not already have your Station ID programmed into the machine before getting the error, you will not be able to transfer faxes in memory.  Continue to Warranty and Service Options.


a. Press MENU, 9, 0, 1.


  •            If NO DATA appears on the LCD, there are NO faxes in memory press Stop/Exit and continue to WARRANTY AND SERVICE OPTIONS.


  •            If the LCD prompts you to enter a fax number, there ARE faxes in memory.  If you want to transfer the faxes to another fax machine, enter the appropriate fax number to receive the faxes and continue to STEP b.


b. Press BLACK START and continue to WARRANTY AND SERVICE OPTIONS listed below.




If your machine is within warranty, you can locate a Brother Authorized Service Center (ASC) in your area by clicking on the link below:  or contact Brother Customer Service by calling 1-877-Brother (1-877-276-8437) Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. 


If your machine is out of warranty, you can locate a Brother Authorized Service Center using the information listed above.


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