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Informational Guide: Brother Printer Troubleshooting | Supplies Outlet

Apr 8th 2020

Informational Guide: Brother Printer Troubleshooting

Are you experiencing problems with your Brother printer? Whether it’s poor print quality, a confusing offline status, or the refusal to print in color, printing problems can be incredibly frustrating. This is especially true if you need to print important documents in a time crunch.

No matter what printing issues you’re dealing with, don’t worry. Fixing them shouldn’t take long and won’t require mechanical expertise. You just need to follow some basic steps to troubleshoot your Brother printer.

Use this Brother printer troubleshooting guide to help you do just that.

Troubleshooting Brother Printer: How to Fix a Brother Printer Not Printing Properly

If your Brother printer is not printing correctly, the first step is always to check for error messages. These help you identify the problem, getting you one step closer to solving it. If there are no error messages, you’ll have to do a little more investigation.

Brother Printer Troubleshooting Print Quality

Is your Brother printer spitting out smudges, streaks, or faint, blurry text? These are all signs of poor print quality. To address these problems, you can:

  • Clean your print head
  • Adjust the alignment
  • Ensure adequate ink levels

Start by testing the initial print quality. Your Brother printer has a “Test Print” option under “Ink Management” in the control panel. Use this test sheet to compare print quality before and after each troubleshooting attempt.

How to Clean Brother Printer

Brother printers come with a convenient built-in cleaning system. To clean your Brother printer, simply select the “Ink” option on your control panel. Within that section, choose “Cleaning” to trigger the cleaning cycle. Within a few minutes, your Brother printer will wash away old, dried up ink that may be contributing to poor print quality.

During the cleaning cycle, make sure you leave your printer alone and keep it plugged in. You will know it’s finished when the printer goes back to “Ready” mode on its own.

Once it’s completed, conduct a test print to see if it solved the problem. It may be beneficial to run the cleaning cycle up to four times in a row. Compare test prints between each cleaning cycle to see if the print quality is improving. If it’s not, you’ll have to continue with the following print quality troubleshooting steps.

How to Adjust the Print Alignment

To adjust your print alignment, go back to “Ink Management” on the control panel. Next, go to “Test Print,” and then scroll to the “Alignment” option. Once your Brother printer has produced an alignment test sheet, review it to see if anything is out of line. (It should be pretty clear whether there is misalignment or not.)

To fix the alignment, your printer will prompt you to take the following steps:

  • Look at the 600 DPI and 1200 DPI test prints.
  • Does sample 0 match sample 5? If so, press “1 (Yes).”
  • If another sample besides 5 more closely matches sample 0, press “2 (No).”
  • Provide the number of the sample that is the closest match to 600 DPI.
  • Next, provide the number of the sample that is the closest match to 1200 DPI.
  • Press “Exit.”

Once you’ve finished this process, your Brother printer will know how to adjust the alignment automatically. Conduct another test print to see if this solved the problem.

How to Ensure Adequate Ink Levels

If you’ve adjusted your alignment and you’re still receiving documents with faded text or blurry images, low ink levels may be to blame.

Check your ink levels visually by removing the cartridges and taking a good look at them. You may be able to see inside and gauge how much ink is remaining. You can also compare the cartridge’s weight with a brand new one to see if there is a significant difference. This weight difference would indicate low ink levels.

If you’d rather check the ink status online, you can do so in two ways. The first way is to check it through your Brother printer’s control panel. The second is to open up the Status Monitor utility that’s installed on your computer. Here’s how:

  • Your Printer’s Control Panel: Go to “Ink Management.” Scroll to “Ink Volume” and select that option. This will show you your remaining ink levels.
  • Status Monitor: Open Status Monitor on your computer and go to its Control Center. If you have Windows, the ink levels should be visible at the bottom left of your screen. If you have a Mac, visit the Control Center’s “Device Settings,” where you will find an “Ink Level” button.

Is Your Brother Printer Offline?

In addition to print quality, another common problem is a printer claiming that it’s offline. This can be especially frustrating if you can’t figure out why it’s saying that. If your Brother printer is offline, here are some helpful steps:

  • Investigate your printer: Make sure the printer is properly plugged in, turned on, and connected to the network. Wake it up from sleep mode. Consider restarting it for good measure. Check for any warning lights or an error message. Sometimes there may be a paper jam or your paper tray is not in all the way. It's also wise to check your power cord to make sure it is properly plugged in.
  • Check your printer’s driver: An outdated printer driver will make it hard for your computer to identify your printer. You can find your printer driver on the setup disc or on the Brother’s website as a free download. Update your driver and see if that helps.
  • Inspect your network connection: If your printer uses a cord, make sure it’s plugged in and is free of any damage. If you have a wireless printer, verify that your internet connection is working, as well as your computer’s wireless adapter. Bring your computer closer to the printer and reset your printer’s wireless signal.

If these steps don’t solve the Brother printer offline status, double-check that your printer is set as the default printer for your computer. Do so in the “Devices and Printers” section of your Windows control panel or the “Printers & Scanners” section of your Mac system preferences.

How Do I Get My Brother Printer to Print in Color?

Is your Brother printer printing in color, only to find monochrome documents coming out? If your Brother printer is failing to produce accurate color prints, these are the main causes:

  • The color cartridges are empty: Make sure your color ink levels are adequate. Remove them and take a look or use the online ink status tools. If they’re empty, replace them with new cartridges and try again.
  • The ink cartridges aren’t installed correctly: If your cartridges are not installed properly, their print heads won’t work. You will most likely receive a warning message about this. Printing a test page can help you pinpoint which colors are impacted. Try reinstalling those cartridges, making sure all packaging is removed beforehand.
  • The printhead is blocked or jammed: Using your printer frequently can result in a printhead jam. To remedy this, remove the cartridges. Use a warm, wet cloth to slowly clean the printhead. Next, reinstall the cartridges, reset your printer, and try printing in color again. You can also use your Brother printer’s automatic printhead cleaning process.

These steps should solve any color issues you’re experiencing.

How To Reset Brother Ink Cartridge Chip

Looking to reset your Brother ink cartridge chip? An ink cartridge chip monitors a cartridge’s remaining ink levels. It informs your printer of low ink levels. This allows your printer to share low ink level warnings with you. These can be very helpful. However, in some situations, this feature can actually get in your way.

For example, these chips often indicate an empty cartridge when there’s still a little ink left. Ink cartridges are expensive—you naturally want to use every drop before replacing them. However, Brother printers refuse to print when the chip says there’s no ink.

Furthermore, sometimes your printer may fail to recognize when you have replaced an empty cartridge with a new one. It will still read the cartridge as being empty, refusing to print. Resetting the chip will help your printer get with the program and start printing again.

Steps to Reset Brother Ink Cartridge Chips

Fortunately, you can reset the cartridge chip to circumvent these problems and to get the most out of your cartridges. Just take the following steps:

  • Remove your “empty” cartridge.
  • Reinstall it carefully and slowly.
  • Turn your Brother printer off.
  • Wait a few minutes and then restart it.
  • Open your printer’s cover.
  • Press the “Cancel” and “Print” buttons at the same time.
  • Next, press “+” and scroll down to select the ink cartridge you wish to reset.
  • Press “Enter.”

These steps will quickly reset your ink cartridge chip, giving you the ability to bypass a low ink warning.

Troubleshooting Brother Printers Made Simple

Now you understand some basic Brother printer troubleshooting tips. By following these steps, getting to know your printer’s control panel, and making sure everything is connected properly, you can overcome most Brother printer problems all on your own.

If you’re still unable to solve the problem, Brother Printer Support Center offers a wealth of helpful and specific online resources.

For your other Brother printer concerns, visit Supplies Outlet. If you want to save money on your Brother color and toner cartridges, Supplies Outlet offers affordable, remanufactured Brother cartridges that come with a lifelong warranty.


Brother. Cleaning the print head.

Brother. Check the Print Alignment from Your Brother Machine.

Brother. Is there a way to view how much ink is remaining?

Brother. The printer status is Offline or Paused.

Brother. Replacing an ink cartridge.

Brother. Clean the Print Head from Your Brother Machine.