What printer companies don’t want you to know

I bought my first printer back in 1998, made by Epson.
After two and a half years of printing quite happily, it gave up the ghost. Flatly refused to work.
On screen was the message: “Parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life.”
After only a few years?

I ran a cleaning cycle, and bought and installed new cartridges, all to no avail.
Then I rang Epson, who told me I could send them my printer (at my own cost) and they would service it, and send it back. The only problem was, the cost of this “service” was  way more than I’d actually paid for the printer in the first place.

So I bought a new printer, then did some research.

This is what I discovered.

Printer companies lure us in with the promise of relatively cheap printers, then sting us when we need to buy new cartridges – pretty much the business model of Gillette, the razor manufacturer.
All printers are made so they deliberately fail after a few years.
All printers have something called a Waste Ink Pad

This is a small brick-like absorbent pad which sits in the bottom of your printer, absorbing ink released every time you start up your printer, or when you run a cleaning cycle.

The problem comes when this pad gets full.

All that excess ink sitting in the bottom of the printer causes the printer to shut down, otherwise your printer would have a bellyful of ink sloshing about causing havoc with the internal electrical parts.

On top of this, all printers have a Protection Counter – an internal component which counts how many pages you print over the predetermined “life” of the printer.

Once a certain limit on the pages you can print is reached, your printer shuts down.
In the case of my second printer, this is set at a limit of 46750:

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Between this counter and the waste ink issue, eventually lights start flashing on the printer, and it inevitably stops working.

What happens next is the average consumer tries everything to bring their printer back to life, eventually gives up, then buys a new printer.

Then the cycle continues.

The second printer I bought was an Epson R220.

And it’s still going strong after more than 10 years.
When I bought this printer, I modified it a little.

Rather than the waste ink going to the bottom of my printer, it is now directed into a bottle outside my printer.

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I have software which resets the protection counter, and have a Continuous Ink System installed, so I’m not paying for overpriced ink cartridges:

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So the next time you purchase a printer, be aware you can do this too.
I use Epson printers as they are the easiest to modify.
I avoid HP printers like the plague (unlike most Epson’s, they use a replaceable print head – the bit that does the actual printing – so more money for you to part with when this part inevitably fails.), as in my experience they go wrong more often.

If you follow the above tips, you’ll enjoy years of printing, just as I have, at reasonable cost.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Right Reserved.

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