Dana is out today and I will try and help you.
I just checked your order history and I see that you bought a set of inks and carts from us in 2009 and a new bottle of Light Cyan this month. You are using extremely outdated inks in your printer - so I wanted to caution you against the use of five year old inks. Also, the use of your inks has been very light in a printer this old. So you will have some pigment settling issues to contend with as you begin using this printer again.
Using an empty tank implies that you may have printed without ink? Is that what you meant? Did you print without light cyan ink in the light cyan position? If so you will have some air in the ink line issues to deal with and that may be solved by running three POWER CLEANS after priming the cart. However, printing air can ruin the print head so be cautious about that.
Getting those two important and critical cautions out of the way - your current issue is that your chip is not being recognized on the refill cart. If this is the original cart from the original ink bottle from 2009 installed without frequent removing (and this does sound like the Car Guys stuff...) it may be that the pin reader has been depressed for five years and may now be less springy and have less reach. The Epson cart may be slightly larger than a 3rd party cart (which tries to avoid patents that include dimensions). However, you can not reach in there and bend these pin readers as they will snap off. Perhaps you can reinstall the cart and see if you can apply pressure by hand to push the chip into contact. This will tell you if you need to install a wedge and the pin reader is indeed a little depressed from being in contact for five years.
If the chip reading issue is migrating as you finally remove the carts - then my conclusion may have some bearing.
Still my caution about using very old inks leads me to believe that some other critical issues will soon be hitting your printer. 8 ounces of ink is what Epson recommends that you use as a minimum every six months in this printer. You have used less than that in five years - so my recommendation is to flush this printer and start over with fresh inks. If you can not run the refillable carts any longer - you may need to revert to the slightly higher Epson carts. The half mm or so may be the difference if you can not wedge the older refill carts.
In general - you have a lot of things going on with this printer that are either active or about to hit the proverbial fan!
Let us know if you can wedge the older cart.