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Introduction

For Epson, new firmware updates are applied by default as part of the routine software update checks. Although the firmware frequency varies by model, many printers were issued a January 2018 update that effectively disabled the majority of third party ink cartridges. Printers affected by this will suddenly receive notices that one or more ink cartridges are unrecognizedincompatible or non-genuine. The company expects you to replace the ink with their much more expensive name brand format in order to continue using the printer at all.

Luckily, it is usually possible to restore an older version of the printer's firmware and resolve these newfound and self-imposed incompatibilities. The difficult part is figuring out how, since printer companies are notorious for removing old firmware as soon as the new version gets released and they rarely document how to get the printer into recovery mode or transmit older firmware.

Epson Downgrade Firmware Instructions

This guide is for the Epson XP series and should work on any model from 300 through at least 830, and likely many others with minor adjustments in the instructions. 

  1. Connect a USB Printer cable from the back of your printer to a computer or laptop. You must use  a Type A/B printer cable and plug it into the correct USB port on the printer (square) not the standard USB input port on the front. When in recovery mode, a USB connection is required to transfer the firmware to the printer, even if you already have it connected wireless.
  1. Remove all of the ink cartridges from the printer. This will ensure that all cartridge-related errors will be reset after applying the alternate firmware.
  2. Power off the printer. As soon as the printer is completely shut down, perform the following key combination until the firmware update screen appears in white text [if the printer instead boots to its regular screen or IPL mode with red text, you may have to look-up or experiment to find the proper recovery mode combination for your printer model]:
    1. For many series from XP-300 to XP-630: Press and hold the STOP button, LEFT ARROW button, HOME button and POWER button simultaneously
    2. For the XP-440 to XP-446 and XP-640 to XP-646: Press and hold the STOP button, LEFT ARROW button, DOWN ARROW button and POWER button  simultaneously (thanks to Ken for the combo)
    3. For the XP-800 to XP-830 and similar single button models: Press and hold the TOP-RIGHT corner of the TOUCH SCREEN and POWER button simultaneously.
    4. For other models or if you can't get the above to work: Try all of the above and if you still fail to reach recovery mode, you can search for additional combo keys.
    5. Download the older firmware onto the connected laptop or computer. For your convenience, a table containing older firmware for the most common printer models is available below. If you have a different model, it may take some research to find the desired firmware since most printer manufacturers remove obsolete firmware from their site immediately and provide no downgrade instructions. Epson's printers use a self-installing firmware updater that can be run directly from Windows or MacOS
    6. After launching the downloaded firmware installer, step through the wizard by following the on-screen instructions. In the case of Epson, you mostly have to click next through a few pages of disclaimers. Assuming the printer is connected to the PC with a USB cable and powered up to the recovery screen, you should see a single entry in the Model list and it should be checked. Click Start to begin the firmware downgrade, and then click Yes to confirm. The prior firmware will be transferred to the printer, where it will begin flashing automatically. This process can take several minutes, but when it is completed the on-screen display will indicate that it has finished.
    7. Once the downgrade is complete, press OK or unplug the printer to power it off. Then power it on again. When prompted, insert the ink as usual and then let the printer complete the ink initialization.
Conclusion

If all of the instructions have been followed successfully, you should no longer receive errors about incompatible ink when using third party cartridges and will be free to print once again. Make sure to disable or otherwise ignore any prompts to update the firmware again to avoid this happening in the future. For Epson, you can uninstall Epson Software Updater as an extra precaution, or simply remember to always uncheck the firmware updates when prompted (it is safe to update the other software packages).

Epson Firmware Download Links



Alternate Method: Scrape Carbon Band Off Cartridge

This is an alternate method that has been shown to work. We would still recommend to first attempt downgrading the firmware as described above, but if that fails or still gives you error notices you can try this as an alternative:
  1. Locate the carbon film band on the upper right corner of the chip.
  2. Scrape the carbon film band with a box cutter or scalpel (or even a sharp knife if that is all you have).
  3. Install the cartridge into the printer again to check if it is recognized.



0 Comments

Lance

Date 3/4/2020

Do you know how to downgrade the firmware for the XP7100 Epson Printer

christophe

Date 5/14/2020

Hello, I downloaded the firmware for the XP 440 SO10H8 MAC and in fact it is Windows...both of them. Have you the firmware available for a MAC OS 10.15 Thanks, chris

Jodenis Ramirez

Date 8/25/2020

Good Evening, I've tried all of these steps 2x and the 2 of the cartridges are not recognized. The printer was working fine until I had to change the cartridges. What are my options?

Gregory A Dill

Date 8/27/2020

can i get the older downgrade firmware for epson xp-640

Destinee Salomon

Date 12/3/2020

hi, I'm trying to download the Xp 440. series downgrade but when i click on the mac os version it still sends me to the windows dropbox folder. is there any way you could email that dmg to me? thanks

Destinee Salomon

Date 12/3/2020

hi, I'm trying to download the Xp 440. series downgrade but when i click on the mac os version it still sends me to the windows dropbox folder. is there any way you could email that dmg to me? thanks

Sara

Date 12/7/2020

None of the MacOS downloads have Mac compatible firmware - all of the links take you to Windows .exe files.

GLENN T COOPER

Date 12/8/2020

i appreciate your posting and trying to help consumers like myself fight back against unfair corporate BS policies like Epson is trying to pull. That being said, I was able to restore my XP-440 and could not have done it without the information you provided, however, it took me several hours and multiple attempts with variations of your procedure to fix mine. FYI,- I WAS RUNNING 4 REMANUFACTURED 288XL CARTRIDGES ON AN EPSON XP-440 EXPRESSION FROM A 1.1G HP LAPTOP WITH WIN10 64 BIT HOME AND HAD BEEN PRINTING FINE FOR PAST 6 MONTHS. The Error message SAYING THE PRINTER CARTRIDGES COULD NOT BE RECOGNIZED ... WAS ON MY PRINTER AFTER I RETURNED FROM THE STORE AS I HAD STARTED THE FIRMWARE UPDATE ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR. IN MY CASE, NOTHING I TRIED COULD CLEAR THAT ERROR MESSAGE FROM THE PRINTER. I got the printer to UPDATE MODE like your instructions said, using LEFT, DOWN, STOP, AND POWER. I DOWNLOADED THE S010H8 SOFTWARE AND RAN IT. The Printer Installer Started and I got an error message saying something like my printer and PC ARE NOT FROM THE SAME PROFILE or CONNECTION or something to that effect and it said it could disconnect my pc from the network temporarily to fix the problem which i ACCEPTED. THEN IT CAME BACK AND INSTALLLED LIKE YOUR IINSTRUCTIONS SAID ONLY AT THE END THE PRINTER SAID VERIFIED 1 AND SOME CHECKSUM STUFF AND VERIFIED 2 AND HUNG THERE FOR 30 MINUTES, SO I UNPLUGGED IT. UPON restart it said to install printer cartridges (I had pulled them) so I did and got the same old alarm - not recognized. Let me be brief ... I went through this probably 6-8 times making slight changes like readjusting cartridges, uninstalling the printer, messing with setup variables, etc and finally gave up. I went to Amazon.com and bought a set of new Epson cartridges for $39 so I could fix it now and buy me time to replace it later. I got them today and found it was only the color ones ... not the black. I put them in expecting it to fail with the remanufactured black in it but it passed. Inks all recharged and read full so I DID A QUICK Nozzle clean. That worked well and below the printout it said FIRMWARE 20.20.S010H8. Your software update had been installed every time I tried but could not clear the ink errors. Then I noticed the printer saying there is a firmware update ready for download and can only conclude that either the old software was incapable of clearing those errors or (what I believe) somewhere in my PC the updated software resides and somehow is causing this problem. I remember getting one message from the installer SAYING that there are several drivers installed and I should remove any unnecessary software. I tried but bet I didn't get THEM all. Sorry for the long posting but maybe others are struggling. As for the remanufactured cartridges that were in there ... do you think they will work now?? We'll never know cause after all this they can sit in the drawer and dry out for all I care. Or maybe I'LL MAIL THEM TO EPSON CEO for Christmas. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.

Robert

Date 12/10/2020

Followed the instructions and everything works again with non-Epson ink cartridges.

Sonia

Date 12/24/2020

Do you have the Epson XP-4100 firmware for MAC? Yhank you!

MICHAEL BRITT

Date 1/14/2021

WHERE IS THE FIRMWARE FOR EPSON XP-830 PRINTERS

Katelyn

Date 1/22/2021

I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!!! After an hour on the phone with Epson for them just to tell me I need to buy their overpriced ink, this was a lifesaver. I can finally use my printer again no problem. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wizdad1

Date 3/4/2021

Hello. I am desperately looking for a way to downgrade the firmware on my Epson Workforce WF-3640 printer. Can you please tell me what, if any, solution is available. Thank you.

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