This guide should be used to clear instances of the error message ‘Error 46’ or ‘Unable to Clean’ that will be presented to Brother Printer users when the machine estimates that the waste ink sponge may have become full.
Due to the specific steps necessary this method of resetting a purge counter is not applicable to Brother inkjet printers that have a touchscreen or feature a numerical key pad on the front of the printer. Please ensure your printer does not have either of these before continuing to read. We have made a guide for printers with a touchscreen here and another for printers with a numerical pad here.
What is a purge counter and why do I need to reset it?
As many users will know, performing a printer head clean uses a large amount of ink. What many don’t realise is that this ink is actually deposited in to a large sponge in the base of the printer. Your machine will keep track of approximately how much ink has been deposited and will then cease to function at a point when it determines that sufficient ink has been deposited for the sponge to be considered full.
Ideally you would remove and replace the waste ink sponge or take the printer to a Brother Authorised Service Centre so that they could do it for you. This is a labour intensive task however and if you were to pay a professional to do it then the cost will likely be more than the actual value of the unit.
Many users find that the printer has presented this error unnecessarily by relying on an overly cautious estimation. As such they choose to simply reset the counter and continue printing unimpeded. In a worst case scenario the sponge will at some point become legitimately full at which point you may get excess ink on your prints or in the base of the machine; use of the printer should then cease and it should either be disposed of or the sponge replaced.
Will this method work for my printer?
This guide is designed for resetting the error 46 or unable to clean message on practically every Brother printer that doesn’t have a numerical keypad or a touchscreen. Models that we’ve tested this reset routine on include the following:
Brother DCP-110C, DCP-115C, DCP-117C, DCP-120C, DCP-310CN, DCP-315CN, DCP-340CW, DCP-585CW, DCP-130C, DCP-135C, DCP-145C, DCP-150C, DCP-153C. DCP-157C, DCP-163C, DCP-165C, DCP-167C, DCP-195C, DCP-197C, DCP-330C, DCP-340CN, DCP-350C, DCP-365, DCP-365CN, DCP-375CW, DCP-377CW, DCP-385C, DCP-395C, DCP-540CN, DCP-560CN, DCP-6690CW, DCP-750CN, DCP-750CW, DCP-770CW, DCP-J125, DCP-J140W, DCP-J315W, DCP-J515W and DCP-J715W.
This isn’t necessarily an extensive list and it’s likely the routine will work on any printer which doesn’t have a keypad or touchscreen. If you come across a model that it doesn’t work on or if you have any issues then please let us know so we can update this guide accordingly.
It should be pointed out there are some variances of the button names which can include:
- Set / OK could be referred to as Set/OK, Set or OK.
- Mono Start could be referred to as Mono Start, Mono or it could be a simple grey key.
- Stop / Exit could be referred to as Stop/Exit, Stop, Exit or it could be a simple red key
To get started turn the machine on and wait for it to start up.
- Press the Set/OK button, then Menu, then Mono Start followed by the up arrow key four times. These buttons have to be pressed independently and should be done in rapid succession. If you have done this stage right you should be presented with the word ‘maintenance’.
- Using the Up/Down arrow keys select the number 8 and then press Set/OK. Then select the number 0 and then press Set/OK.
- At this point we need to get in to the Purge option which, depending on the machine will either be a case of pressing Mono Start repeatedly or using the Up/Down arrow. We recommend trying one method and if it isn’t right for your machine turn the printer off and back on again, start the process from the beginning then try the second method.
- Once PURGE is on the screen (usually the word purge will be followed by a reading indicating how much ink has been deposited) use the up/down arrows and the set/ok key again to enter the numbers 2, 7, 8 and then 3 on the screen.
- The number after PURGE should now reset to zero. Press the Stop/Exit key to go back to the main maintenance mode menu.
- Using the up/down and SET/OK keys enter 9 and then 9 again to exit maintenance mode.
The printer should now reset and the level of ink recorded as being present in the waste ink sponge should be reset back to zero. Any errors relating to ‘Unable to Clean’ or ‘Error 46’ should have disappeared and the printer should function as normal.
If the printer is still yielding the same error message then please try going through the routine again from the beginning. If problems persist then please submit the issue to the Igloo Forum and we’ll attempt to tailor our advice to include your specific printer.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If however you have anything to add or any further questions please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.