Can an HP C6180 Printer Run With Only a Black Cartridge?

By Liz Turner

  • Overview

    Most inkjet printers, including the HP C6180, will not run with only a black cartridge in place, even if black-only printing is selected. While blame is often assigned to the printer manufacturers for simply wanting to sell more ink cartridges, the truth is that the mechanics of most printing systems require ink to be in place so as to not damage the printer.
  • About the C6180

    The HP C6180 is part of the now-discontinued C6100 Photosmart All-in-One printer series. It is a six-ink photo printer designed specifically for high-quality photo prints. There are many advantages to a six-ink system in which each color is a separate cartridge; namely, if one color runs out, it does not necessitate replacing the entire color cartridge. However, one of the disadvantages is that, if one cartridge runs out, it is still necessary to replace that cartridge for the printer to print.
  • Print Heads

    The print head is the component needed to disperse the ink onto the media (paper or otherwise). There are two types of inkjet cartridges: those with integrated print heads and those without. The 02 cartridges, which are the ones used in the C6180, do not have integrated print heads, meaning that the print head is a separate component of the printer. While the non-integrated print head does mean a slightly lower-priced cartridge and faster print speeds, it also means that print-head failure can cause the entire printer to fail. Since a print head that fires when there is no ink in place can damage the printer, the printer must have working cartridges in place. The printer will perform self-maintenance if it is not used, to prevent clogged print heads.


  • Black-Only Printing

    It is possible to print in black only, but the color cartridges must still be in place to do so. To print in black only, on the computer, go to Control Panel>Printers and Faxes. Right-click on the icon for the C6180 printer and choose "Properties." Click on the "General" tab, then "Printing Preferences." Choose the "Color" tab and choose the setting for "use black print cartridge only." This should ensure that only the black cartridge is used; although color cartridges with ink in them must be in place, this printing option should not deplete any of the color ink.
  • Printing Options

    It is not possible for an HP C6180 printer to run with only the black cartridge in it. However if black-only printing is desired, simply leaving the color cartridges in place and unused (with the black-only printing option mentioned above) should provide a viable option.
  • Other Choices

    If the price of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer, e.g., HP) cartridge is too high, consider purchasing a remanufactured cartridge. Remanufactured cartridges can cost as little as half the price of OEM cartridges, and the quality is often just as good. Especially if black-only printing is the critical concern, remanufactured cartridges are a viable option to keep the printer running inexpensively.
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