Printers Ink

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Nomad
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Printers Ink

Post by Nomad »

Good read if you use allot of pricey ink for your printer.



Take That, Stupid Printer!How to fight back against the lying, infuriating, evil ink-and-toner cabal.

By Farhad ManjooPosted Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008







I bought a cheap laser printer a couple years ago, and for a while, it worked perfectly. The printer, a Brother HL-2040, was fast, quiet, and produced sheet after sheet of top-quality prints—until one day last year, when it suddenly stopped working. I consulted the user manual and discovered that the printer thought its toner cartridge was empty. It refused to print a thing until I replaced the cartridge. But I'm a toner miser: For as long as I've been using laser printers, it's been my policy to switch to a new cartridge at the last possible moment, when my printouts get as faint as archival copies of the Declaration of Independence. But my printer's pages hadn't been fading at all. Did it really need new toner—or was my printer lying to me?

To find out, I did what I normally do when I'm trying to save $60.00: I Googled. Eventually I came upon a note on FixYourOwnPrinter.com posted by a fellow calling himself OppressedPrinterUser. This guy had also suspected that his Brother was lying to him, and he'd discovered a way to force it to fess up. Brother's toner cartridges have a sensor built into them; OppressedPrinterUser found that covering the sensor with a small piece of dark electrical tape tricked the printer into thinking he'd installed a new cartridge. I followed his instructions, and my printer began to work. At least eight months have passed. I've printed hundreds of pages since, and the text still hasn't begun to fade. On FixYourOwnPrinter.com, many Brother owners have written in to thank OppressedPrinterUser for his hack. One guy says that after covering the sensor, he printed 1,800 more pages before his toner finally ran out.

Brother isn't the only company whose printers quit while they've still got life in them. Because the industry operates on a classic razor-and-blades business model—the printer itself isn't pricy, but ink and toner refills cost an exorbitant amount—printer manufacturers have a huge incentive to get you to replace your cartridges quickly. One way they do so is through technology: Rather than printing ever-fainter pages, many brands of printers—like my Brother—are outfitted with sensors or software that try to predict when they'll run out of ink. Often, though, the printer's guess is off; all over the Web, people report that their printers die before their time.



Enter OppressedPrinterUser. Indeed, instructions for fooling different laser printers into thinking you've installed a new cartridge are easy to come by. People are even trying to sell such advice on eBay. If you're at all skilled at searching the Web, you can probably find out how to do it for free, though. Just Google some combination of your printer's model number and the words toner, override, cheap, and perhaps lying bastards.

Similar search terms led me to find that many Hewlett-Packard printers can be brought back to life by digging deep into their onboard menus and pressing certain combinations of buttons. (HP buries these commands in the darkest recesses of its instruction manuals—see Page 163 of this PDF.) Some Canon models seem to respond well to shutting the printer off for a while; apparently, this resets the system's status indicator. If you can't find specific instructions for your model, there are some catchall methods: Try removing your toner cartridge and leaving the toner bay open for 15 or 20 seconds—the printer's software might take that as a cue that you've installed a new cartridge. Vigorously shaking a laser toner cartridge also gets good results; it breaks up clumps of ink and bathes the internal sensor in toner.

These tricks generally apply to laser printers. It's more difficult to find ways to override ink-level sensors in an inkjet printer, and, at least according to printer manufactures, doing so is more dangerous. I was able to dig up instructions for getting around HP inkjets' shut-off, and one blogger found that coloring in his Brother inkjet cartridge with a Sharpie got it to print again. But I had no luck for Epson, Lexmark, Canon, and many other brands of inkjets. There are two reasons manufacturers make it more difficult for you to keep printing after your inkjet thinks it's out of ink. First, using an inkjet cartridge that's actually empty could overheat your printer's permanent print head, leaving you with a useless hunk of plastic. Second, the economics of the inkjet business are even more punishing than those of the laser business, with manufacturers making much more on ink supplies than they do on printers.

Inkjet makers have a lot riding on your regular purchases of ink—and they go to great lengths to protect that market. In 2003, the British consumer magazine Which? found that inkjet printers ask for a refill long before their cartridges actually go dry. After overriding internal warnings, a researcher was able to print 38 percent more pages on an Epson printer that had claimed it didn't have a drop left. Lawyers in California and New York filed a class-action lawsuit against Epson; the company denied any wrongdoing, but it settled the suit in 2006, giving customers a $45 credit. A similar suit is pending against Hewlett-Packard.

There's also a long-standing war between printer makers and third-party cartridge companies that sell cheap knockoff ink packs. In 2003, Lexmark claimed that a company that managed to reverse-engineer the software embedded in its printer cartridges was violating copyright law. Opponents of overbearing copyright protections were alarmed at Lexmark's reach; copyright protections have traditionally covered intellectual property like music and movies, not physical property like printer cartridges. A federal appeals court dismissed Lexmark's case, but manufacturers have recently been successful in using patent law to close down third-party cartridge companies.

In the long run, though, the printer companies' strong line against cartridge makers seems destined to fail. Buying ink and toner is an enormous drag. Having to do it often, and at terribly steep prices, breeds resentment—made all the worse by my printer's lying ways. Some companies are realizing this. When Kodak introduced a new line of printers last year, it emphasized its low ink costs. Kodak claims that its cartridges last twice as long as those of other printers and sell for just $10 to $15 each, a fraction of the price of other companies' ink. When my Brother finally runs dry, perhaps I won't replace the toner—I'll replace the printer.
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Richard Bell
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Printers Ink

Post by Richard Bell »

I have a Canon BJC-2100 inkjet printer from about ten years ago.

It was a Christmas gift, but I think it sold for about CDN$50 back then.

The first time the little ink cartridge ran dry, I made a small hole in it's side with a wood screw, and injected more ink in it with a syringe, then put a piece of tape over the hole.

I'm still using the original cartridge. Just refilled it again yesterday. I buy a package

of two 30 ml bottles of ink for $10, and they will keep my little printer humming for years.

I'll rue the day I have to give it up and buy a new printer.
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CARLA
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Printers Ink

Post by CARLA »

Cartridges and the price of cartridges is robbery plan and simple. Some are cheaper than others overall they all are to expensive. :-5 Buy remanufactured cartridges can work but could ruin your printer and leak they got us, we need ink to print so we buy them.
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WOO HOO!!, what a ride!!!"

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Printers Ink

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

I have an old dinosaur printer, it must be ..gosh ten years old? maybe more? A lexmark. I've just printed off 1000 pages of study notes and readings. If the ink runs out I shake it and it works again :) Cartridge works for around five years
weeder
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Printers Ink

Post by weeder »

Very interesting topic Nomad. I had a HP printer for years. Paid around 80.00 for it at cosco. When it finally quit.......... I was forced to pick up a Dell printer at Walmart ( The big Satan) I needed it, and it was the only place to go at 9pm in my town. I was pleased to see that the ink was 1/2 the price of the HP ink.

Trouble is everytime you turn around the cartridges are dry. I quickly caught on to the fact that they print long after the message says you need ink. Im so pissed at this ink scam that I refuse to buy anymore. I am going to get a lazer printer when I can. Id like to try the solution mentioned of filling your own cartridge with ink.............. but what would you fill the color cartridge with?
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spot
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Printers Ink

Post by spot »

It's possible, weeder, but it's far too messy and horrible to bother with. And the newer a printer is, the harder it is to con it into thinking you put a new cartridge in. A laser printer really is the answer regardless of how much you print. If you're talking about more than a couple of pages a week then the ink's cheaper, if you print less than that then inkjets go dry through under-use and print scabily anyway.

I picked up several of the same model HP Laserjet over the years and kept giving them to the children and acquaintances whenever I set up a computer, I never paid more than £5 for one and always got them locally. I've one left, it's sat on a shelf under my desk, I just pressed self-test and the page says the printer was made in 1996. I've a couple of fresh cartridges on the shelf to keep it through its old age. I don't think I could bring myself to give an inkjet house room, they annoy me so much.
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Nomad
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Printers Ink

Post by Nomad »

weeder;1290072 wrote: but what would you fill the color cartridge with?


Not sure if theyre still around but for a time in the malls kiosks existed that would refill color and black cartridges for 1/2 the price. That was annoying too though. I did a job recently that I ended up not making money on because it took 2 cartridges to print out all of the documents.

Laser....research !
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Bruv
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Post by Bruv »

weeder;1290072 wrote: ............. but what would you fill the color cartridge with?
For no more than ten minutes work you can refill colour and black cartridges of most printers, some are more complicated as the manufacturers find ways of protecting their ink sales, but there is information online how to do it.

There are drawbacks, it can be messy,depending on the person doing it of course, and some inks are less than perfect, but unless you are using them for business purposes, why pay over the top ?

I have a Brother printer that I have never bought new cartridges for about 18 months.
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Nomad
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Printers Ink

Post by Nomad »

I think I have a laser printer. HP Officejet All In One. I only get about 75 pages before ink starts fading. Legal documents are extremely wordy and they pack fine print in.

Any suggestions on fax copier scanners that use less ink?
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spot
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Post by spot »

Nomad;1290112 wrote: I think I have a laser printer. HP Officejet All In One.Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear. No, Nomie, that's an inkjet.



Nomad wrote: I only get about 75 pages before ink starts fading.No kidding!



Nomad wrote: Any suggestions on fax copier scanners that use less ink?How about one with a laser drum and big toner cartridges?
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CARLA
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Printers Ink

Post by CARLA »

Nomie 75 pages Yikes you need to check your printer properties or settings go to "Draft" printing or econo mode printing.



HPlazerJet Black only printers are great I have some at work that are 10 years old and still printing great quality copies. If you go to a Lazer printer in just black printing only you will get more bang for your buck the cartridges are bigger. Bottom line printing in color on any printer is very expensive smaller cartridges less copies per cartridge.



[QUOTE] Originally Posted by Nomad

I think I have a laser printer. HP Officejet All In One.



Originally Posted by Nomad

I think I have a laser printer. HP Officejet All In One.
ALOHA!!

MOTTO TO LIVE BY:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming.

WOO HOO!!, what a ride!!!"

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