Empty Epson "professional" inkjet cartridges are still 20% full

[Read the post]


I just bought some generic cartridges for my epson on amazon. You can get like a dozen XL cartridges for the price of one Epson brand one. I was afraid they would suck, but they actually work great. I am sure Epson isn’t happy about this, but no one is stopping amazon from selling them…


Someone who claims to repair these posted a longish anonymous comment on Slashdot.
It might not be fair to compare consumer-grade equipment with industrial-grade equipment. From what I’ve read, the cost per print is still lower with these printers, despite ‘wasting’ the ink.

1 Like

I’ve been using a Continuous Ink System from RIHAC in Australia for many years now, and it’s not only WAY WAY cheaper than new cartridges or refills (as in only 10% of normal cost), it’s much better quality ink that never clogs the print heads or needs serious cleaning. Then there’s the added convenience of never having to open up the printer; you just pour ink into the CIS tanks sitting on the desk. And since the tanks hold about the same content as 10 cartridges, you don’t even do THAT very often. I do realize that there isn’t a CIS for every inkjet printer out there, but I purposely buy printers that CAN have a CIS.


Epson has been using the justification that the cartridges are overfilled to ensure that the cartridges seals and/or print heads are never exposed to the air for more than a dozen years, so customers are everything they pay for and the left-over ink doesn’t count as part of the expense.

Personally, I’ve stuck with Canon printers ever since that era; my cartridges are cheaper, print more, and get used to the bitter end. Keeping in mind that that also means buying a printer that uses individual cartridges for each color of ink rather than multi-color cartridges.

I am a bit curious why any business that does massive printing these days would use inkjets rather than color laser printers? I assume that there is a need for printing on specialist materials that can’t go through a laser printer?

I read this as ALL printer manufacturers need to do this. Epson, HP, Brother. Those are the ones that I’ve dealt with.

I’ve written off HP as an ink jet printer for me, having to deal with installing software for one of their all-in ones in a small office which required a CD to install, taking about 40 minutes per machine and of course, not asking all the questions up front, so I had to watch the install to answer the questions. Most of the time I watch as it was copying data from the CD, then decompressing it, then finally installing it (which took the least amount of time). OK, I guess the CD had software for both PC and Apple. If you had to compress it (and I’m betting that they only needed a bit more room, and the compression was crappy), but damn, what a an absolute shitty experience, especially for a SOHO printer.

I’ve also written off Epson, after going through the 10,000 printed pages before requiring servicing on an Epson Artisan 801 that technically I could have done myself, but reading the problems of trying to reset the counter, sounded like an absolute nightmare.

The current Brother (bought for the price of the service on the above Epson) still complains at me about being low on ink, when the cartridge itself shows me plenty of ink. Which now has me thinking about buying a cheap monochrome printer for black and white, and a color laser to do the color stuff, because the ink jet printer business is just so damn screwey. You’d think that there would have been some improvements as far as cost goes, but it really seems to be quite the cheap razor handle and gold pressed latinum razors business, which really sucks.

1 Like

You really needed to do a search on what an Epson 9900 printer is before asking that question.

I haven’t stumbled across any laser printers that can print up to 44in wide, it seems the largest can print legal size. As well, can the lasers make prints whose length is “Limited by application, OS, and driver/RIP used” (or, I suppose, the length of the roll of paper).

That is a fascinating claim that I’d love to read more about, but I’ve found nothing in either the earlier bb post or the article it links.I’ve also found nothing directly via Google. Anyone have a source for the claim?


My advice to people printing large format graphics is to switch to Canon. Their system allows the full ink cartridge tank to drain. They use an internal feed tank that the cartridge drains into, so this also allows you to change a cartridge mid print without stopping or losing the print in progress.


There is large format color laser printers from the likes of Oce and Ricoh. Fine for engineering graphics but not as good as inkjet for photos and graphic arts.

1 Like

I deal with the kinds of printers on a day to day basis as an end user- we currently run Canon and Mutoh machine, but the principle is much the same for the Mutoh machines. Yes there is some in left in the cartridge that isn’t used. I would hope that this is to stop air getting in the ink feed tubing, which can really ruin your day. They also use a bag in box style cartridge which would be difficult to completely empty.

The real issue is whether the headline ink figures- the 700ml and 440ml cartridge in my case are the fill amounts or the actual usable amount you can pull out of the cartridge. If the former, then yes it’s a shitty thing to do and they should be pulled up on it- sounds like something for the EU to look in to.

As an aside, the ink cost is typically a much smaller cost than the media which you are actually printing on. An A0 photographic print has figures in the region of 25% for ink and 75% for decent media, more if you want the really good stuff. In terms of running these machines the cost difference between the 3rd party and OEM products is much narrower than consumer inkjets and in our case not worth the saving vs potential risk.

Just out of curiosity which printers can have CIS?

Pretty much any inkjet. The quality of the kits variable and it’s a lot of hassle when you could have just bought a better printer if you are doing a lot of printing.

1 Like

I haven’t owned a printer ever since my HP printer refused to print a black and white document because it was out of yellow ink (I hadn’t printed a single color document, but it still somehow magically managed to run out). It was in a dumpster within 3 minutes, and now I just walk to Kinkos and pay 10 cents if I need something printed.


The ultimate in HP classiness are the ‘all-in-one’ printer/scanner things that refuse to scan if one or more of the ink cartridges is empty.

That, and, of course, their drivers. Somehow those are even worse than their firmware, despite the intense competition.


These things are in desperate need of a Raspi-based retrofit kit.
Keep the body, transplant the brain.

Honestly, most recent HP printers would be a waste of whatever brainial retrofit went into making them work. Time was when HP built their gear to survive(I’m still sad about the Laserjet 4L that I had to leave behind during a move because I couldn’t carry it. Not very fast; but I suspect that anything short of small arms fire, and possibly even a modest amount of that, would not have prevented the job from being finished); but it’s insufferable plastic shit now.

(I also suspect that a beaglebone would be a better fit, rPis are cheap but…tenuous…at timing critical applications. TI’s "PRU"s are sadly ill-documented; but are effectively peripherals designed to make all sorts of bitbanging too obscure for a dedicate interface and too demanding for GPIO very doable. Given that printer design seems to have been moving away from expensive-but-relatively simple high precision stepper designs toward using cheap motors and optical feedback, sloppy timing could get messy.)

1 Like

All my employers have always provided excellent printers at work. And they keep them filled with toner for me. Works nicely. I rarely need to print things out anyway.

Which is nice, because I have never, ever got on with the bloody things. Going back as far as the Star dot matrix thing I had first.

1 Like

brb, rooting my lightbulbs


Check RIHAC’s website. They have them listed by manufacturer.