What are the causes of the red light blinking on the printer?

Updated: May 20, 2023
6 min read
What are the causes of the red light blinking on the printer?
by Vlad Shvets
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

If the red light on your printer starts to light up, this can signal various problems with the device. To figure out the exact reason, you'll need to examine the printer. The button lights up from a trivial lack of paper, as well as from more serious problems that require disassembly. Therefore, you will need to pay attention to the different parts when searching for a breakdown on your own.

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Purpose of printer’s indicators

A printer is a device designed to print information from electronic media onto paper. The different colors of light indicators – green ("ready") and red ("warning") – are always present on this equipment. They are designed to indicate the status of operability.

The indicators respond to changes in the state of the equipment in different ways: they light up periodically or permanently, or sometimes they are off altogether.

If the red button blinks on Epson, HP, Samsung, or Xerox laser printers, the reasons may be as follows:

  • lack of paper;
  • the device has "chewed up" the sheets;
  • the cartridge is installed incorrectly or is missing altogether;
  • the packaging material was left on the parts of the device;
  • the cover that closes access to the cartridge is not pressed in;
  • improper operation of the paper control sensors, closing the enclosure cover;
  • there is no connection or connection to a personal computer or laptop or other device from which data is printed;
  • software failure;
  • there is little or no toner.

From this list, the most common problems are jammed or missing paper and cartridge malfunctions.

How can you find and fix the problem?

Possible causes for the flashing of the warning light vary greatly. But it is still possible to look for problems in a certain sequence of actions. The algorithm for finding and solving problems is as follows.

  1. Initially, you should check for sheets and cartridges, and if they are missing, insert sheets or insert a new cartridge until it clicks into place.
  2. If sheets were present, you should check the feeding mechanism and if there is jammed paper, take it out by first pulling out the cartridge.
  3. When the paper is all right, it is better to check the connection of the printer to the PC. If there is no connection, connect the devices with a USB cord.
  4. If this does not help, and the cartridge is installed, you should check that it is inserted correctly and that the cover is securely closed. To do this, remove the cartridge from the printer and reinsert it until it clicks into place.
  5. During manipulation with the paper and cartridge, pay attention to the presence of packing material residue: if it is present, remove it.
  6. After these actions, in most cases the blinking disappears, but if it remains, then the problem may lie in the sensors of paper control and cover closing. This is a software failure. To solve it, you will need to reboot the device, and in the extreme case – replace its elements.

There may be a printing condition where two LEDs – red and green – are lit or flashing at the same time. The procedure in these cases is as follows.

  1. When "warning" and "ready" lights are regularly turned on and off, it indicates that the device is initializing or the print queue is canceled.
  2. If the red blinks and the green light stays on and the printer does not work, it indicates that the paper sheets are jammed or the feed mechanism is jammed. The solution is to remove the jammed paper.

When the printer still does not print after performing all the suggested actions, and the LEDs are signaling, then you can try to print the report.

You can do this as follows: Press the large button on the printer and hold it down for a few seconds. The printout that appears may indicate a lack of toner or the need to "reflash" the device. Then the ink should be added, or the counter should be reset using a special program.

Below we will look at why the red light is on, using popular brands of printers as an example, and how to fix it.

The light on the EPSON printer is on

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On an EPSON printer, an LED with a "blob" symbol signals the operation of the cartridges. It has two states that tell you about different problems.

  • LED blinks – one of the cartridges is about to run out.
  • It is continuously lit – either the ink tank is empty or there is a software/hardware malfunction.

LED flashing "blob"

If the "drop" starts flashing, it signals that one of the cartridges is running low. If possible, it should be refilled; if not, the cartridge should be replaced. If this does not help, then the device probably did not realize that the ink cartridge was refilled. In this case, it should be reset – for this, it is enough to turn off the device for a short time.

If the problem endures, it is worth doing the following.

  1. The service responsible for the printer must be started on the PC. If you are printing from Microsoft World, you can press "ctrl+P" directly in the program and click on "properties" in the window that appears next to the printer name.
  2. Now you need to find the "Service" tab.
  3. The next step is to find the "EPSON Status Monitor 3" button.
  4. After you press the button, the printer will automatically check the ink filling level and if there is enough ink, it will indicate that you can continue working and the LED will stop flashing.

If the automatic check does not work, but you are sure that all the cartridges are filled, you will need to reset the counter manually. To do this, go through the following steps.

  1. Install the "Resetters" utility on your PC, developed by a group of enthusiasts specifically for EPSON equipment. Since the program is unofficial, the company is not responsible in case of incorrect operation after using it, but judging by numerous reviews, there are no problems.
  2. After you start the utility, its main window will display all connected printers. You need to select the one with the problem.
  3. After selecting a printer, click on the "ink reset" button and confirm the action in the dialog box.
  4. The readings will reset, you should now restart the device and make sure that the LED has stopped flashing.

Continuous LED illumination

If the LED is on all the time, there can be two possible reasons:

  • the cartridge is not installed correctly or is faulty;
  • the cartridges are not original or do not fit the model.

If the cartridges are installed incorrectly, simply remove and reinsert them – you will hear a click when they are installed correctly. Also, ensure that no foreign object is preventing the cartridge from being properly positioned.

Cartridges should be inserted until they click into place.

If that doesn't work and the problem is faulty ink cartridges, then they should be replaced. Sometimes the LED blinks because the nozzles are clogged. In such a situation, you should remove the cartridge is removed and place it with the nozzles down in a container with water, or better yet, a special cleaner. After a few hours, wipe off the cartridge and put back in place.

LED with lightning icon blinks

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Only EPSON mobile printers, that is, those that can run on battery power have such an LED. The LED is not always on the control panel and can be displayed on the printer's screen. Accordingly, its indication is a signal that charging is taking place. It can respond not only to connect to a power outlet but also to the USB connector of a PC.

If the LED blinks on its own, the cause is either a software failure (the printer froze) or battery death. In the first case, it is sufficient to restart the device, try to discharge the battery, or remove and replace it. In the second case, you will have to address a specialist.

Solution for Samsung printers

Why is the red light blinking on the printer

If your Samsung printer is not printing and the light is red, the first thing to do is to refill the cartridge and reset the counter to zero. To do this, run the following commands:

  1. Without removing the cartridge and without opening the cover on the device, press in turn the buttons: "+", "+", "STOP", "-", "-", "STOP", "STOP".
  2. If everything is done correctly, the "UC" caption will appear on the screen.
  3. Press the plus or minus buttons to select "FC".
  4. Press "start", wait for "07" to appear and press "start" again.
  5. Wait for the end of the reset, which is accompanied by the device turning off.

After switching on the LED should go off.

If the above recommendation did not help, the following is possible:

  • the paper is stuck;
  • the cartridge is installed incorrectly;
  • the toner has run out;
  • physical breakdown.

What to do with the Brother printer

The cause of the red LED blinking on the Brother printer is similar to Samsung – the device forces you to buy a new cartridge. However, an expensive purchase can be avoided by resetting the counter and refilling the cartridge.

The following is required to reset:

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Remove the cartridge and separate the image drum.
  3. Remove the sheets from the paper tray.
  4. Close the printer cover by holding the lever on the image drum.
  5. After starting the engine, release the lever for a few seconds and then press it again.
  6. The lever should be left depressed until the engine is running.
  7. Then the cartridge and the image drum are connected and installed in place.

To reset the image drum counter, do the following

  1. Open the "Menu" on the printer display.
  2. Select "Image drum reset" among the available options.
  3. Press the OK button for 5 seconds.
  4. Click "Up".
  5. Enter the "Menu" again.
  6. Select "Device information".
  7. "User settings".
  8. "OK" and "START".

Then the red LED will stop flashing. If the green and red LEDs flash alternately or together, this is a signal of one of the device states. To understand what this means, just refer to the manual, which explains all the possible combinations.


Most of the causes of the red light on the printer flashing can be corrected with your own hands, without resorting to outside help. Remember that the paper should be inserted carefully, not exceeding the number of sheets allowed for the model you are using. The best course of action is to familiarize yourself with the operating instructions at the time of purchase, not when the problem arises. Observance of the rules of use is a guarantee of the long and trouble-free operation of the equipment.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Printers problem


Mason Wilson
Invalid Date
Just wanted to give a quick shoutout to this article for shedding light on the red light blinking issue. Grateful for the insights!
Invalid Date
Woohoo! Finally tamed the blinking red light on my printer. Victory dance! 🎉💃
Benjamin Scott
Invalid Date
Ugh, my printer's playing the blinking red light game too.
Invalid Date
OMG, guys, I was struggling with the same blinking red light! Thankfully, Howly had some epic advice that totally saved my day. You all rock!
Invalid Date
Just read this detailed explanation on printer red light blinking. Got a clear picture of what's going on. Gonna try the fixes now! 🖨️🔴
Invalid Date
'Here are the causes, figure it out yourself'
Neo Wizard
Invalid Date
Any hacks to reset my printer and stop that annoying red light from blinking? Don't wanna call for help if I don't have to.
Invalid Date
Kinda wish this article gave more step-by-step solutions for the blinking red light issue on printers. Could've been more practical, you know?
Invalid Date
So, turns out the red light on printers blinks for various reasons! Good to know before diving into troubleshooting mode 🤔
Invalid Date
Huge shoutout to this article for saving me from the printer red light mystery! Time to troubleshoot like a pro! 🙏
Invalid Date
Great explanation! Now I know why my printer's red light was blinking.
Turbo Pulse
Invalid Date
Finally solved the blinking red light issue on my printer! Thanks to this article! 🙌🖨️
Jackson Foster
Invalid Date
Can a faulty ink cartridge cause the red light to blink on a printer?
Sapphire Rivers
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I'm facing a blinking red light issue on my printer too. Can't seem to find the cause. Any suggestions?
1 reply
  1. Wren
    Invalid Date
    Sapphire Rivers, Yes, a faulty ink cartridge can indeed cause the red light to blink

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