The Canon “Check Ink 1686” and “Check Ink 1688” are low ink warnings used by an entire series of inkjet printers that take the PG-540, PG-540XL, CL-541 and CL-541XL ink cartridges. Canons official text used to describe the error states “The ink may have run out” (Check Ink 1686) and “The ink has run out” (Check Ink 1688). Whatever error you are receiving your printer will stop when it believes the cartridge is empty and refuse to print without intervention from you. There is however a way you can carry on printing as we will discuss below…
Why am I getting this message?
If you have just installed a new remanufactured cartridge or have just refilled your own cartridge, you may be surprised to see this error message so quickly. This is due to the fact that these Canon printers have no way of looking inside the cartridge or detecting fresh ink. Instead the cartridge just monitors how many pages have been printed and the average page coverage since it was first installed into a printer. From this information your printer estimates the ink level of the cartridge and when it believes the ink cartridge is running low/empty will present you with the “Check Ink” 1686 or 1688 message. As a result of this way of estimating ink levels, even an original Canon ink cartridge will almost certainly have some ink left when your printer warns you it is empty.
Quick Video Guide
Can I get around this error message?
Indeed you can and it is exceptionally easy. This series of Canon printers allows you to continue printing with a single button press and will usually give this prompt in a fairly sizable message once it detects that the cartridge may be empty. Simply hold down your printers STOP/RESET/RESUME button for five seconds and then release. Whilst the name with which the button is referred to may change, the symbol it is represented with will always remain the same.
As shown above the symbol that represents the RESUME button is an upside-down triangle in a circle. It may be grey, pink or even red in appearance depending upon the model of your printer. Holding down this button for five seconds indicates to your printer that you are aware of this low/empty cartridge estimate but would like to continue printing regardless. From here the ink level will still read as being low, but you can continue printing with this cartridge until the ink physically runs out and the quality of the prints deteriorates as a result.
Is there any risk in doing this?
None at all. The continued use of any physically empty cartridge can result in the printhead of the cartridge burning out. However as long as you keep an eye on the print quality produced by the cartridge you can negate the risk of potential damage, leaving you free to refill or recycle the empty cartridge as you see fit. In the worst case scenario that you don’t notice the ink having run out and end up burning out your printhead, you can simply replace the cartridge for a new one with no damage having been sustained by your printer.
What printers does this apply to?
You can use the above advice to bypass the 1686 and 1688 errors with the Canon Pixma MG2150, Pixma MG2250, Pixma MG3150, Pixma MG3155, Pixma MG3250, Pixma MG3550, Pixma MG4150, Pixma MG4250, Pixma MX375, Pixma MX395, Pixma MX435, Pixma MX455, Pixma MX515 and Pixma MX525. These printers take the popular Canon PG-540, Cl-541, PG-540XL and CL-541XL range of ink cartridges.