How to fix Error 46 on Brother printers

To fix error 46 you have to reset the purge counter.

  • Enter machine maintenance mode (on MFC210C all four photo/copy/fax/scan lights flash in maintenance mode).
  • FAX models with numerical keypads: Press the Menu/Set, *, 2, 8, 6 and 4 keys within two seconds. (if you fail to complete the correct key sequence within two seconds, press the Stop key to try again).
  • Other (non-FAX) models: Press the Menu/Set and Black Start keys. Next press the “up arrow” key four times to enter the maintenance mode).
  • Press the 8 then 0 keys in the initial stage of the maintenance mode to call up the machine's log information list (function code 80).
  • Press the Black Start key several times to scroll through the log information list to reach the purge counter.
  • Press the 2, 7, 8, and 3 keys in this order to reset the purge count to zero.
  • Press the Stop/Exit key to return to the initial stage of the maintenance mode.
  • Press the 9 key twice to return to the standby state.

If you want to replace the absorber box:


Sean Miller said...

Following these steps without replacing the actual ink absorbers inside the machine may result in ink overflowing the absorber box and running out of the machine.

Brother put the counter there for a reason.

LEH said...

Hi Sean,

You're right... and wrong: the counter is a security to evoid the absorber box to be too full. This could damage the printer.
In reality, it could appears in 5% of the cases.

I've adding the part number of the Absorber box in the post.

Thanks for you comment.

MostllyLost said...

Wow, worked like a champ, you guys are the best.
Thanks a million

sunny bey said...

Thanks guys
I was really worried for my Brother MFC-295CN printer which suddenly started giving error Unable Clean 46 error. No help from any vendor n the mechanic asked for fortunes to repair. But your advise worked like a charm and in just 2 minutes the printer was working like a new one. Tnx a million

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! We are a non-profit and this was a donated machine. So old no longer under any kind of warranty. This saved us tons of money! I fixed it and we don't have to buy a new one. (My boss was impressed, too!)

Anonymous said...

Works on the 2nd attempt with my mfc425cn. On the 1st one I couldn't enter maintenance mode. For the 2nd , instead of the soft power key I used ... the plug. Excellent, thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

worked great. Brother couldn't help me without charging me. And such a simple fix.
Thank you.

GP49 said...

Unfortunately on my Brother MFC-J470DW, these procedures to put the machine into Maintenance mode do not work. Either pushing and holding the MENU button while plugging the machine into power, or pushing the MENU button and * 2 8 6 4 only put the machine into its "normal" MENU function.

Maybe Brother didn't want to lose sales of the ink absorbers, and would rather we throw out our printers instead. Does anyone the procedure for this model?

The process DID work on my older Brother, an MFC-290C.

Jann Lassalle said...

Hi GP49,

Try this: