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Chip shortage impacting printer cartridges
© Piyaphun Juntraverot |

Can’t find printer ink? Blame the chip shortage

Computer chips are used in almost anything electronically powered, ranging from handheld devices to kitchen appliances and everything in between. But the global pandemic has caused a significant shortage, and the automotive industry has been hit especially hard.

The semiconductor industry had already been somewhat wobbly before the pandemic. But as working-from-home started to gain traction, more remote workers required better equipment. This created an initial run for tech and gadgets, and manufacturers couldn’t keep up.

The shortage has rippled around the globe, and it might be with us for a while. Read on to find out how the scarcity of semiconductors is affecting printer cartridges.

Here’s the backstory

Depending on the type of printer you have, the manufacturer might have put some anti-piracy steps in place. Printer ink is notoriously expensive.

In most cases, a physical printer is seen as a one-time purchase and is often sold at low costs. Ink cartridges are a significant expense and need to be replaced regularly. To prevent unauthorized or third-party (and more affordable) cartridges from being used, makers insert special chips so printers can detect authenticity.

If the chip isn’t present or gives off the wrong information, the printer will refuse to accept the cartridge. This will often lead to the printer not working, and you won’t be able to scan a document.

But the chip shortage has derailed those prevention methods, causing manufacturers like Canon to concede. Canon has been forced to sell cartridges without the authentication chips for certain models in some regions, creating a different headache for users.  

The models that can accept chip-free cartridges are:

  • imageRUNNER
    • 1435i/1435iF
    • 2625i/2630i/2645i
    • C1325iF/1335iF
    • C3025i, C3125i and C3226i
    • 4525i/4535i/4545i/4551i, II and III
    • C250i/350i/C351iF
    • C255i/C355i/C355iF/C256i/356i
    • C256i/356i II and III
    • C3320i/3325i/3330i
    • C3520i/3525i/3530i, II and III
    • C5535i/5540i/5550i/5560i, II and III
    • DX 4725i/4735i/4745i/4751i
    • DX 6000i, C257i/C357i
    • C3720i/3725i/3730i
    • DX C3822i/3826i/3830i/3835i
    • DX C5735i/5740i/5750i/5760i

What you can do about it

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on ink cartridges with the chip, you shouldn’t be affected by the current shortage. But for those that have no other option, you might get a message on your printer about the cartridge not being genuine.

There is a solution for that. Canon in Germany detailed steps that users of impacted printers can take. The company assured users that the lack of a chip wouldn’t affect the print quality.

Depending on the model that you have, insert the cartridge as usual. When an error message pops up about the cartridge being unrecognized, tap on Close. The printer should work as expected, but the ink levels might not be accurate.

When you see the error message on other models, tap on I Agree and not on cancel. If you have pressed cancel, take out the cartridge, put it back in, and tap on I Agree.

A better solution

If you are in the market for a new printer and don’t want to deal with the chip shortage or expensive ink cartridges, consider switching over to our sponsor Epson’s EcoTank. It’s an all-in-one printer that has one major difference: No ink cartridges.

Epson’s EcoTank printers provide up to two years’ worth of ink in just one load. That’s 7,500 pages in black and white or 6,000 pages in color. Once you make the switch, you can kiss expensive cartridges goodbye.

Check out Epson EcoTank printers at a Best Buy, OfficeMax or Office Depot near you, or shop online at

Keep reading

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Replacing your old printer? One critical step you need to take before you throw it out or give it away

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