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Printer Ink: How Do You Define 'Empty'?

#1 User is offline   PCWorld 

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:00 AM

Post your comments for Printer Ink: How Do You Define 'Empty'? here
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#2 User is offline   mavigozler 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:40 AM

What Brother and other ink cartridge makers are promising you is not all the ink in the cartridge, but instead they are promising you so many pages at a certain print quality.
So what you really need to do is to count pages at a certain print quality. Of course, they know you won't do that, so the onus is on you to attack their claim.
What we should all hope for is more competition in the inkjet market with respect to equipment and consumables.
And moreover, we should ask HP why it used to produce printers with separate yellow, cyan, and maroon ink cartridges and does not do it now, since the tri-color cartridges force us to throw away the cartridge even when only one of the inks has been consumed.
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#3 User is offline   wluck08 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 04:14 AM

I purchased a Hp with the 6 different cartridges, thinking it would save money on ink. Well it does a geat job, but I noticed my color ink was going down even when I was only printing B/W. After some digging in HP's website, I found out that it uses the color ink as well for B/W. The only fix is to set print on Black Ink only. It sure helped with the ink usage!
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#4 User is offline   Northlite 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 04:52 AM

I don't mind a printer telling me I am low on ink what I do mind is the HP OfficeJet Pro, the expensive model I bought for work, locking down until you change said ink - the use of color ink to print black pages is true as more often then not it's a color ink that will stop the printing even tho we print mainly in black. Apparently this is a way for HP to pad it's ink sales, this all in one takes 4 cartridges. It may be a trade off, my cheaper priced model at home lets me go to the end of the cartridges with out locking down and altho I don't run them to empty I do go past the ink low notice always.
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#5 User is offline   SnTholiday 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 05:55 AM

"As mentioned in the User Manual, 'even though the machine informs you that an ink cartridge is empty, there will be a small amount of ink remaining in the ink cartridge. It is necessary to keep some ink in the ink cartridge to prevent air from drying out and damaging the print head assembly.' "

This is true. I had an old Canon printer and let the ink cartridge(s) run dry. I did not use the printer for several months after the ink was gone and print heads were

so clogged I had to get rid of it. There was no way to get the ink flowing again because dry ink cloggd the head and it was impossible to clean.
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#6 User is offline   JimH443 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 05:56 AM

I think the question needs to be: How much ink were you promised? I wish I could answer that, but here's a contrived situation that illustrates my thinking.



Let's say you buy a can of soda labelled "12 oz." You drink every drop you can get to, but at the end you discover that there's still a quarter of a can of soda left. Were you ripped off? It sure sounds like it, but maybe not. If the can had originally contained 16 ounces,your discovery means that there is 4 ounces remaining in the can. By subtracting the 4 remaining ounces from the original 16 ounces, it's obvious that you received the 12 ounces promised.
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#7 User is offline   mikedgolf40505 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:17 AM

Hey folks I have a good friend who is an engineer at a very large printer manufacturer who tells that this practice with the ink is kind of an industry norm. The reason being is that is where they make their money from. They are happy if they are able to break even on ink jet printers and lose money on them a lot of the time. So the trade off would be to pay more for the printer and less for the ink. If you think about it, you can get an incredibly adept all in one machine with fantastic quality and very good speed for a low price. This is a great time to be a tech nerd.
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#8 User is offline   jalbertini1 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:35 AM

I have found that in many instances you can remove the cartridge and reinsert and the printer thinks it is a new cartridge.

It then prints using the remaining ink until the quality drops and you really do need a new cartridge.
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#9 User is offline   dsroelov 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:39 AM

i've had a bunch of inkjet printers over the years from various manufacturers. the first one was an HP850, which i liked because it was fast, had good print quality, and didn't give me any "feed me" messages. you knew it was out of ink when it stopped printing one color or another and the cleaning cycle didn't improve anything. you put in a new cartridge (IMMEDIATELY) and the world was good again. the inkjets i have had since then have not behaved so well. my old epson stopped when it thought it was empty, sometimes with as much as half a tank left. my old lexmark, well, we won't talk about my old lexmark.

in the grand scheme, i don't care how much you're promised. i'm not even sure i care that much about how much i get. but i don't like the idea of wasting anything. so as long as there is ink in the cartridge, i want to be able to print with it.

i also don't need the manufacturer to protect me from my own stupidity. if i run a cartridge dry and let the printer sit there for a month, and the heads no longer work as a result, that's my problem and i probably deserve what i get.

i like the early warning system, so i can go out and buy new cartridges before i need them. i'll have them around for when the printer runs out, i'll put it in immediately, and i'm on my way again.

on a slightly different subject, i also have an HP2600n color laser. the factory default setting on this monster is to stop printing when its internal count says you've run out of pages on any of the four toner cartridges. i didn't know you could change a setting to override this behavior at that time; so out goes a perfectly good black toner cartridge. now that i've changed the setting, i get everything i can possibly get out of each cartridge. i also have one spare for each color on the shelf. BTW, i've been running on three color cartridges that the printer has declared "empty" for months.

bottom line... tell me when you think i'm running out if you like, but don't prevent me from using the equipment because your precisely calculated scientific estimate thinks i'm running out.
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#10 User is offline   guifred 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:11 AM

Checked Abacus site for my Brother MFC240C printer and they offered the LC 51 ink. My printer uses LC 41 cartridges. Wha hoppen?
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#11 User is online   kirbo63 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:31 AM

I have to chime in on the printer ink debate! I purchased several of the "saver" packs of HP ink for my HP Photosmart machine and within about 15 or so pages of print got the Replace Black Ink warning! Ok, a factory oversight is acceptable this time so I bought another "saver" (that's all of the inks in one box) and installed the new black ink cartridge only to have a repeat performance. So I got online with HP and voiced my complaint and was told that it must be my printer and it would need repair or replacement. Printer is only 6 months old and so not buying that explanation. I asked them to replace the cartridges and was told that I needed to supply the serial number of the cartridge, the MFR number, the date purchased, the store where I purchased and the list went on. I had already tossed the plastic wrap and was left with only the cartridges. " No deal" said HP. So now I buy all of my cartridges from a third party all- inclusive ink supplier. Machine works great now.
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#12 User is offline   shousty 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:26 AM

When you want to print black you should be able to print black and don't take from the color ink. And should be able to tell me how ink is in the cartridge.
I printed 20 page and I'm out of black and almost out of color ink. I'm not happy.
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#13 User is offline   qaps 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:48 AM

You really should look into HP's toner practices. My HP Laserjet 2500N turned off all toner cartridges at approximately the "industry date" and when I opened one up, it still had over 1/4 cup of toner left! It would not let me use the other cartridges until this one was replaced and the same with the others until they had all been replaced. My HP 4L is still running and when I have to shake the cartridge to get the last bit out, I go buy a new one. HP decrements the color counters even when there is an all black print job. Anything to rationalize turning off the cartridge and forcing you to buy new. I'm sure this was a "business"printer so I guess they figure businesses don't pay any attention to cost. My next color printer won't be an HP. As a matter of fact, I'm not going to buy any more HP printers. I don't mind paying for what I use. I don't and won't continue to pay some artificial amount. If I don't print "industry 5% standard" pages, then I should be able to benefit form prolonged use of the cartridge. I can't wait for the drum counter to wind down. I'm sure it will be in perfect shape when my printer tells me to buy a new one and shuts the printer down. I'm seriously thinging of joining the throw away society and discarding the printer and buying a new one, not an HP of course.



How about doing an actual cost per page comparison and highlight the companies which shut down their machines to force a new purchase. Had I know this, I would have made a different choice.
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#14 User is offline   mavigozler 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:58 AM

I think I remember this from long ago:

When applications start the print process, there is an initialization process for printers capable of color to be told to go into COLOR mode or BLACK&WHITE mode.

In BLACK&WHITE mode, only the black ink cartridge is used. In the COLOR mode, ONLY the color cartridge is used. So how does it produce black?? By mixing in equal proporitions the cyan, yellow, and magenta dyes. Don't believe me? Try printing a black square or rectangle in a document that like a Word document: create a table with cell whose background color is black. Look at your printer settings and make sure that you have selected printing to be in black and white. Now try printing it again, but with the mode selected in color mode. But maybe the Word application is smart enough to tell the printer to go to black and white mode (use only black cartridge) and print all black-colored objects with the black object. You might try using a paint/bitmap program with a black object, and save it with a multi-color bitmap (4-, 16-, 256- and millions of colors file format). Then see how it prints.

Your ability to conserve inks depends a lot on how smart your application is in telling the printer to switch modes (color vs. B&W) even when it wants to print black-colored objects during the printing of a single page or within a single painted object (it is very unlikely to switch from color to B&W and back to paint a single graphic with black objects/elements). To FORCE B&W printing, use the Print dialog box and look for the tabs in the window/dialog that instruct the application to use B&W or COLOR, depending on how you want to enforce the printing.
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#15 User is offline   Adama 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:05 AM

I have an HP Photosmart Injet All-In-One Printer and when it starts giving me the information that my ink is getting low, I just ignore it.

The reason I ignore it is because I've found out that even after I get the notice, my prints are still coming out really nice and dark as they should be.

So, when the print starts getting lighter and lighter, that's when I know that it's really getting low, and I head for Office Depot to buy more ink. I go to Office Depot because when you take your used cartridges back, you get $3 for each one, (maximum 3 cartridges) which then reduces the price of your new ink! That's pretty sweet, if you ask me.
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#16 User is offline   lilxkid24 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:07 AM

I define ink empty when you cant read the stuff your printing off anymore basically i use up every single drop and i ignore all the warnings low on ink because its not really low
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#17 User is offline   mavigozler 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:29 AM

These low-ink warnings are not intended to mean that you are actually low on ink. The warnings actually mean: "You are not low on ink to point that print quality is suffering, but you better make sure you have on hand---or run to the store to buy---the ink you will soon need if you don't want any downtime as a result of compromised print quality." For a lot of businesses, having downtimes in days, hours, and even minutes might hurt the business. And they may operate their businesses by certain accounting principles in a way that they don't keep large counts of ink cartridges in the stock room, but buy only when they see warnings
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#18 User is offline   cherlimer 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:46 AM

I have a Lexmark all in one and I get messages with "dangerously low ink" hundreds of pages (including full color pictures) before it is necessary. Fortunately it doesn't lock up on me; I just hit the 'ignore' button until I see a problem or unless I have a really large print project.

But if I take the cartridge out to look at it, it can tell it isn't new -- but it DOES print a full test page as soon as I put it back in whether I want it to or not, wasting more of the ink. The argument that you may have gotten what was promised even if some of it is left is bogus -- first because the ink cartridges won't tell you what to expect and second because performance even within brands is extremely variable. The COST of the cartridges is so ridiculous that the manufacturer owes me all the help I can get in milking the last of the ink out of them, not the opposite. And as far as leaving ink in for the sake of the heads - BUNK! If you don't print with a printer or an array (ie the color heads) for a long period, they will dry out and gunk up even if there is ink left in the cartridge. Been there, esp on HP's. And if you did print often with it and the cartridge ran out, it would only dry out afterward if you didn't replace it (which of course you would, in the middle of the night because that is when you are always working on the project that requires the one last page. And the replacement cartridge will be dry even though not expired, because that is what happens at midnight on an important project...and the mfr will only snicker....).
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#19 User is offline   fewiii 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:55 AM

Actually, you know what? Brother is right! The ink heads do dry up. (I have an HP). But you know what else? I use up all my ink anyway and just clean the heads. Now there's a concept.... :D
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#20 User is offline   baygeek 

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:58 AM

I have a better way to beat the printer vendors at their own game - print less. I know it's a revolutionary concept, but the less you print, the less ink you will consume.

I print almost everything to PDF files, and save the files in my My Documents folder. How often do you REALLY need that piece of paper? The only things I actually print are things I need to mail or give to others - coupons, rebate forms, tax forms, airline e-ticket confirmations, copies of my resume, etc. Everything else - screen prints, printouts and confirmations of orders, letters, reminders, emails, etc. - I either do not print at all, or else I print to a PDF file.

You can easily install PDF creator software as a printer driver, and use the PDF creator just like any other printer. Except, the PDF creator prints to a PDF file and not to paper. I have been using PDF995 ( http://www.pdf995.com/ ) for several years, and I have saved hundreds of dollars in ink costs by printing to PDF files, rather than to paper. Not only do I save ink by routing the printout to a file, but I also save paper - all of which is good for the environment, and good for my pocketbook.

If everyone printed less, we could send a powerful message to the printer vendors that they need to change the way they run their business, and charge less for ink. Ink costs more per ounce than Russian caviar. Let's spend our money on caviar, not on ink.
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