For HP 61 or HP 61XL ink cartridge error messages (i.e. "Cartridge Error", "Incompatible Cartridge", etc.) and the inability to print to the HP printer, this type of problem could be an electrical connection issue between the printer and the cartridge (i.e. dirty electrical contacts on either the cartridge or printer carriage flex cable surface), or more likely, an internal micro-electronic failure inside one of the HP 61 ink cartridges (please note it is very rare for both ink cartridges to fail at the same time - hence one of them is likely causing the current issue).  NOTE: If the printer is stuck on the message "Non-HP Cartridge" or “Very Low Ink” and cannot be bypassed, this is another indication that the cartridge may have suffered an internal electrical failure.

NOTE: “Empty”, “Low Ink”, “Out of Ink“, “? Marks“, “Counterfeit” and “Non-Genuine Cartridge”  alerts are COMPLETELY NORMAL for all HP 61 & HP 61XL black and color  ink cartridges which have been refilled!  While at first this may be an unusual workflow, it does allow print operations to proceed: HP 61 Low Ink Alerts & Messages (video)

3 Types of Alert Messages:

– Information Alerts. When a refilled HP 61 or HP 61XL ink cartridge is installed it is normal to receive alerts such as ‘non-genuine cartridge’ or ‘used color/black cartridge’. These may be bypassed by selecting ‘Dismiss’, ‘Ok’, or ‘Continue’.

Information Alerts

– Nuisance Messages. After a refilled HP 61 or HP 61XL ink cartridge is detected it is normal to receive alerts such as ‘low on ink’, ‘counterfeit’, ‘used’, ‘fraud’, ‘refilled’, or ‘depleted’ cartridge. These my be bypassed by selecting ‘Dismiss’, ‘Ok’, or ‘Continue’.

Nuisance Messages

HP Nuisance Alert Messages

Following the installation of a refilled ink cartridge, nuisance or annoyance messages will typically be displayed after the initial ‘low ink’ or ‘non-genuine’ ink messages: HP Nuisance Error Messages (video)
NOTE: If a “Non-HP Cartridge(s)” or “Very Low on Ink”, or similar message cannot be bypassed then the cartridge may be suffering from marginal internal electrical performance and may need to be replaced with a new one. First remove and thoroughly clean cartridges electrical contacts & printer flex cable contacts and retest (refer to Printer Maintenance). If the problem persists then we suggest you perform cartridge/cable cleaning [ Clogged Ink Cartridge Recovery (video) ] and/or perform ink cartridge diagnostics (see instructions below). 


Cartridge Failure Error Messages

  • Blinking cartridge lights on the printer.
  • A message that says “Cartridge Missing or Not Detected”, “Incompatible Print Cartridge”, “Black/Color Cartridge Problem”, “Refer to printer documentation”, “Cartridge in Left/Right slot is not intended for use in this printer”, or similar, on your monitor or on the printer display.

- Severe Cartridge Errors. When a HP 61 or HP 61XL ink cartridge has poor connectivity (between contacts and flex cable inside printer) or is suffering from marginal internal micro-electrical performance, you may observe error messages such as ‘incompatible cartridges’, ‘print cartridges error’, ‘cartridge missing or not detected’, ‘refer to documentation’, ‘cartridge in left/right slot is missing’, etc. In addition, the power light may be blinking while the error message is displayed. In some cases, errors can be cleared by removing and cleaning the ink cartridges and printer flex cable contacts. If not, then it is suggested to run the cartridge health diagnostics (‘tap 41′) check or perform a cartridge error bypass (available on select printer models) to confirm that the ink cartridge is damaged.

Severe Errors

- Cartridge Electrical Failures. Severe HP 61 or 61XL cartridge errors are primarily caused by an electrical breakdown at the cartridge’s nozzle plate. Ink penetration or corrosion into the nozzle plate will cause a failure of the tiny micro-electronics resulting in a variety of different error messages being displayed.

HP 61 Nozzle Plate_common problem areas

- Cartridge Diagnostics. The cartridge’s electrical health can be verified by running the ‘Tap 41′ diagnostics at the printer’s control panel (NOTE: not available on all printer models). If the ‘Tap 41′ or ‘Tap 10′ service test print is successful this only means the printer is functional, one (or both) of the ink cartridges may still be electrically damaged and may not support/allow NORMAL print operations to proceed. Select your printer model below (links to Inkjet411 support site):


In the lower portion of the Tap 41 test print, the Black/Color columns should not have any values other than zero (0) displayed. If a value other than zero (0) is displayed in the areas indicated then the cartridge is likely permanently electrically damaged and may need to be replaced with a brand new cartridge.


NOTE: The Tap 10 self-test print, which prints a range of black and color test patterns, may also be initiated via ‘code = 10′ (i.e. using the procedure above). Evaluate printed nozzle stair-step patterns for missing ‘horizontal’ lines. If more than 10% of the horizontal lines are missing, for any given grid, this typically means the respective ink cartridge (i.e. either black or tri-color) is electrically degraded and may not support normal printing.


Recommended Solutions
The contact between the ink cartridge and the printer must be clean for proper functioning.  If any dirt, ink or paper dust is on the contacts, the printer may indicate that the ink cartridge is bad.  To ensure a clean contact, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Remove and re-install the cartridge.
Step 2: Clean the contacts on the printer and the ink cartridge: Ink Cartridge & Service Station Cleaning (Inkjet411 support site)
Step 3: Run a self-test and/or re-set the printer. Refer to Printer Model page (if available) or HP Printer Diagnostics page from the selections above.

Advanced Diagnostics
To view advanced diagnostics tests for your printer, click here: HP Printer Diagnostics

Poor Print Quality or Missing Colors:

If any streaks or missing colors appear on prints, thoroughly clean the cartridge’s electrical contacts and printer’s flex driver cable surface. If the cartridge is clogged then a warm water flush may be necessary to recover all colors. Click here for instructions: Ink Cartridge & Service Station Cleaning

Partially Jetting Nozzles

NOTE 1: Replacing the ink cartridge is the best way to verify cartridge/printer performance.
NOTE 2: All integrated ink cartridges being repeatedly refilled eventually do fail.  Some cartridges/printers may encounter an unavoidable mechanical or electrical failure which is unrelated to refilling.  Check for physical damage on the cartridge.  Look at the print cartridge and see if there are any cracks, tears or missing elements.  Any one of these can cause a failure.  In these cases, you will need to purchase a new cartridge and start the refill process again after it has run out. [ Clogged Ink Cartridge Recovery (video) ]

HP 61 & 61XL Compatible Printers (select your model):  

HP DeskJet 1000HP DeskJet 1010HP DeskJet 1050HP DeskJet 1051HP DeskJet 1055HP DeskJet 1056HP DeskJet 2050HP DeskJet 2510HP DeskJet 2512HP DeskJet 2540HP DeskJet 3000HP DeskJet 3050HP DeskJet 3050AHP DeskJet 3051AHP DeskJet 3052AHP DeskJet 3054HP DeskJet 3056AHP DeskJet 3510HP DeskJet 3511HP DeskJet 3512HP DeskJet 3516HP ENVY 4500 e-All-in-OneHP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-OneHP OfficeJet 2620HP OfficeJet 4630HP OfficeJet 4635