Archive for MacOS

Fixing Mac + HP “Expired Ink” Error

Posted in Misc with tags , , , , , , , , on 30 September 2012 by Richard Hornbaker

Or, “Why won’t my Mac print to my HP 8500 network printer any more?”

So, you’ve had a continuous ink supply system (CISS) running for a while, and you’ve pushed past the HP printer warnings that the ink was low.  Or maybe that new cartridge sat on the shelf for too long.  Either way, you got the dreaded “Ink is Expired” error.  You’ve seen HP’s page about why this happens, but you want to press forward.

You got the printer to ignore the warning, but now there’s an odd problem… Windows PCs can print just fine over the network, but Macs can’t.  You get an error that looks like this:

It reads: The following cartridges are past their expiration dates: Black. You should remove or replace the expired cartridges or click OK to continue with the expired cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of expired cartridges. Printer service or repairs required as a result of using expired cartridges will not be covered under warranty.

What the heck is going on?  There’s no “OK” button to click, and your print job never prints.  Well, actually it will – if you’re patient enough to wait 85 minutes!  You’re stuck.  Of course, you could throw in the towel and pay HP about $90 for a fresh set of ink cartridges, but I’m more stubborn than that.

What I Discovered…

HP’s printer driver for MacOS checks the status of the ink supplies before it’ll release the print job.  If it sees the inks are expired, it displays this warning and waits for your OK – but they brilliantly didn’t code in an OK button, either here or in the Supply Levels dialog.

In fact, the driver sends the printer 18 “SNMP” queries every second to read different status values, waiting for you to clear the condition.  After 85 minutes of doing this, it’ll finally give up and forward your print job from the computer’s queue to the printer.

However… I discovered that if the Mac never receives a reply to its queries, the HP printer driver gives up after 8 seconds, assumes the printer is healthy, and releases the print job.  Eureka!  Now, how to make that happen?

An Easy Fix!

I’ll spare you the seriously nerdy machinations behind this discovery.  And the equally intense original workaround involving command-line firewall filter rules in MacOS.  In the end, the fix is painfully simple: go to the printer and turn off the SNMP management protocol.  This is done through the web GUI.

First, find your printer’s IP address.  You won’t find this in your Mac easily – go to the printer and navigate its menu to Setup | Network | Network Settings to find an address like 192.168.1.22.  Then enter that address in your web browser, like http://192.168.1.22 – your printer’s web page should load.

Go to the Networking tab and select SNMP in the left pane.  This page will load:

Check the button that says Disable SNMPv1 and click Apply.  Problem solved!

(If you’re the techie type that wants SNMP support for other purposes, just change the “community string” to something other than the default value of “public” and the printer will still ignore the Mac’s queries.)

We’ve been coping with issue this for months, shuttling Mac files to a PC for printing; I finally spent hours hacking up a crafty fix before I realized it could just be disabled at the printer.  Hopefully this post saves other folks a ton of frustration!

Do You Have a Different HP Printer?

This fix might work for other HP printers too, since HP’s Mac printer drivers probably share a lot of common code.  If you have a different model of printer that this fixes (or doesn’t), please comment below with the model number so others will find this fix!