This guide is intended for anyone who has looked at or who is considering paying for eBay software items (utilities, resetters, etc..) that indicate they will fix your printer when it stops working (usually reporting an error message of "Service Required")
UPDATE: December 2011
Since the last update in September 2009 even further changes have become apparent and some of the information originally hinted at, has become considerably clearer. With more than five years since this guide was originally started, here's a long overdue update.
SSC UtilityAs noted originally, the SSC utility is still free and available for download but it's now so old as to be redundant and development has failed to restart despite a brief glimmer of life back around a year ago. Thankfully it still works for older models released around the end of 2007 or earlier so still worth a look. Definitely NOT worthy buying if anyone is still dumb enough to be peddling it on eBay though.
For newer printer models though this still applies. M ost, if not all of the new printers are no longer supported and the SSC utility certainly will not reset the waste ink counter on such printers. It is very unlikely that anything purchased in the last 36 months can be reset using it.
Epson Released an "Ink Pad Reset" (IPR) Utility Unfortunately, while this sounds like great news it is limited in ways that make it a bit like getting a kiss... from your sister.
Theses limitations are as follow:
- It's only officially been released to North American Epson customers.
- Only some printer models are supported.
- It won't work with Epson printer models specific to non-North American zones
- Update: It also only frees up potentially un-used capacity in the waste pads.
QED: it is NOT a full waste counter reset.
It gets "better"... (ok, worse!)
After the first version was released, Epson then released individual resetters for specific printer models. This second generation system incorporates in an activation process that requires a key. This key is only available by submitting a valid North American printer serial number to Epson and then waiting for them to send you back a code to complete the activation.
It's not much of a jump to suggest that Epson track the serial numbers and stop them being re-used past a specific point. In short Epson have locked the system down.
Epson did relent it seems and continue to release updated versions of the IPR for newer models but there appears to be an active policy of only releasing it 12-18 months after the model has been completely retired.
In short, even the North Americans reading this are minus a paddle, up that well known creek, if they have a new printer!
There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the IPR tools are actually only intended to provide a means of allowing the use of the excess capacity available in the waste pads, rather than provide a full reset (ie: reset the waste ink counters to zero). So, while it looked promising the IPR utilities would appear to be a sop to whatever legal action was brought against Epson in the USA.
Bottom line the IPR tools are white elephants and not really long term solutions... and if anyone offers one of these utilites for sale they really are unscupulous and should be avoided like the plague
Leaked Adjustment Utilities (AdjProg)These are the software tools provided to official Epson Service Centers and technicians so they can fix and maintain Epson printers. They are incredibly complex and if you don't know what you are doing they (read: "you") can completely FUBAR your printer.
The good news is that once you know the minimum instructions and what functions you can use, you are then in a position to use it to reset your printers waste ink counter and get a printer working again.
Version #2 of the "AdjProg" Utilities
Update: This type of "activated" utility has thankfully mainly died out but may resurface in the future so I'm leaving this information in for completeness
Yeah, you knew it was too good to be true didn't you... Unfortunately around the same time that Epson brought out the new individually activated versions of their reset utilities they also came up with a new twist on the Service/Adjustment Utilities.
Instead of an activation code the newer leaked utilities are locked to specific computers and whilst you might automatically assume that this means that all bets are off, the reality is that there are some sources appearing that will sell you these utilities.
In the last 18 months a new tool has appeared that provides compatibility for almost all Epson printers and this freely available but has one catch.
While the utility provides the means to read the waste counter and some other functionality for free it does require the purchase of a "key" to allow you to use it to reset the waste ink counter. Cost wise it's fairly minimal, especially compared to a new printer or reset at an official Service Centre but it does still require a purchase.
This utility fills the gaps left by the lack of an AdjProg utility or for models where the printer is not currently supported as the utility is actively developed and includes the necessary tools to profile your printer for analysis and inclusion.
Possible the best news for those with non Windows operating systems on their computers is the inclusion of 64bit support and even a Mac OS specific version in the form of iWIC.
The key thing to note is that the Key is the bit you need to purchase, not the utility... Keys retail at $9.95 and are available from various sources, but you do need to be aware that eBay's policy on digital downloads (ie: they aren't allowed) means that you'll still have an associated shipping cost for a physical copy of the key.
Windows XP Only? (actually no!)
One new tip that all the eBay sellers completely miss (proving that many haven't a clue!) is that these utilities are not limited to Windows XP computers. You can use the utilities in compatibility mode on Vista and (with one or two exceptions) the same will be true of Windows7.
Other operating systems are not generally supported by AdjProg utilites at all but the iWIC utility does support Mac OS's past a certain version... (details to be added shortly).
Various work-arounds for those with incompatible operating systems include:
- loan/borrow or purchase of an old WinXP capable laptop
- Use of a Virtual OS (VMware), XP guest OS and assigned USB port to virtualise the issue
- Use of Bootcamp or similar to dual boot to a Windows OS
Summary and Where to Find HelpThere are still a
LOT of unscrupulous sellers on eBay who are quite happy to resell software that is:
- Already free.
- Incompatible with the printer(s) that are supposed to be supported
- Poorly documented and supported
Getting HelpYou can save yourself a huge amount of trouble and ensure you are not paying for something freely available by checking for an online tool. This will tell you what you need so you'll need the following keywords to locate it.
Keywords: octoink quickfind tool
Other resources:Try these keywords to locate other useful resources that will help save your printer and stop rewarding the rip off artists.
Keywords: wasteink ssclg adjustment utility wicreset 2manuals
Please remember to vote for this guide if you found it useful.
OLD ARTICLE VERSIONI've left this version of the article untouched as it still has some relevant information but you will probably find a large part of it is now out of date.
It's already free??!First thing you need to know is that in 99% of cases the eBay listing is actually selling you something that is already FREE but because the main site is not particularly well publicised you need to know some keywords to find it on google. Those keywords are:
- SSC, epson, printer, reset
That will help you find a site in Russian that will provide you with the utility. Or of course you can pay between £1 and £4 on eBay for the same thing as a download link or a CD. It's perfectly legal but why pay someone for it?
Whoops we forgot to mention the smallprintSecondly, many of these utilities are NOT the "cure-all" healer of ill, disabled or maformed printers... Many of the eBay listings will use quotes like:
" Will fix 99% of all your Epson printer problems"
" Get your printer working again without a service"
" ...utility allows you to do many amazing things with your Epson printer"
It's true that a program will be required to reset the printer for use but what the eBay seller will conveniently forget to mention is that your printer will be an ink time-bomb waiting to leak everywhere and eventually kill your printer as it drowns in waste ink.
The magic fix is the "Printer parts have come to the end of their life. Service required" which is usually when the waste ink blotting pad in the bottom of your Epson printer becomes completely saturated with ink and requires replacement. What you must realise is that:
- The pad still needs replacing even if you can reset it
- The utility will not reset all printers (Many are not fully compatible)
- If you don't replace the waste ink pad or find another way to redirect waste ink flow (search on google for "external waste ink mod R300") ink will eventially overflow all over your desk, carpet, etc..
- Many of the newer printers will not actually reset at all because the SSC utility is unable to communicate with the printer once it displays the "service required" message.. (this is particularly true of the C64/84/66/86 and D68/88 printers)
Reset possible BEFORE service required displayed.Most people will find out about the " service required" message after their first printer has decided it's "full" and unless you have a printer that accept reset commands after the message appears (eg: R200, R300...) then you're plumb out of luck using the free utilities.
HOWEVER!! if you're thinking ahead or forewarned it's worth noting that the SSC utility can be used to reset your waste ink counter for a working printer on a regular basis so that it never reaches the failure limit. This approach works with models that won't accept resets when it's too late (eg: C8x models)...
Amendment: I've been informed that the C64 can be reset after the "service required" message displays but as a rule of thumb, avoiding the message is obviously the better policy.
The critical bit is that you reset the waste ink level regularly while the printer is still working and not waiting until it starts screaming for a service you save yourself a LOT of heartache. See, being organised does pay off sometimes (but don't tell my mother I said that!)
Of course, this doesn't mean your waste ink just disappears.. the normal rules still apply... You must make sure your waste ink is being handled properly (eg: external waste ink tank, etc..) so it won't overflow and ruin the printer.
IMPORTANT: I've generalised in this guide as there some other utilities available on the net. However almost all of the Quick fix reset utilities/programs listed on eBay seem to be the SSC utility. Also, the coders responsible for SSC offer very useful assistance for printer users who take the time to read the small-print but you are always responsible for using it. EBay hawkers don't make all the information available so don't blame SSC for those looking to make a profit.