Review: Epson Artisan 50 CIS (CISS) Continuous Ink System

Review: Epson Artisan 50

with continuous inking system (CIS, CISS).

Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer - about to be put to good use with a CIS, CISS, CI system.

CI System (CISS) and printer bundle here.

Great printer – 6-color photo printer, small form factor, outstanding prints, just a great 4×6, 8.5×11 top quality photo printer.  Will also do legal size paper, and prints to CDs and DVDs with included tray.  Professional quality photos – and when combined with a CI system, a perfect everyday printer for all kinds of documents.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer from the website.

Detailed specifications available on Epson’s website:

The Artisan 50 replaced the Epson Stylus Photo R260, R280 (260, 280) as the only 6-color letter size “just-a-printer” offering from Epson.  Every other 6-color Epson printer  is a multi-function printer (Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810), or large format (1400, R1900).

Epson Artisan 50 with CIS, CISS, continuous ink (inking) system (solution).

The elusive refurbished Artisan 50 6-color printer with CI system – $59.00 at the Epson store.

When you can catch it – man they sell fast.  The refurbished printers include the same warranty as a new printer, and we have been happy with the quality.  You can also purchase new for $93-$99 from Amazon.




Short specs on the Artisan 50:

  • 4″ x 6″ photos as fast as 11 sec
  • Ultra Hi-Definition photos
  • CD/DVD Printing
  • 4.8 ppm black  – 5 ppm color
  • 6 (six) Individual ink cartridges
  • Dye based Claria inks
  • Prints from (4×6) to legal size (8.5×14)

This is just a printer.  There are no multi-function capabilities, and it will not print larger than legal size paper.  Great for what it does, but if you need a fax or a scanner, look elsewhere.

What About The Cartridges:

T078 – T077

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - which one has the most ink, and by how much?

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - the T078 has airspace! The T077 is completely full.

We cracked these cartridges open for a look a while back, you can see pictures and read more here:

Cartridges for the Epson Artisan 50 are priced out of the stratosphere – the printer uses six (6) individual ink cartridges.  Epson plays the same full vs. half-full cartridge game as HP and Lexmark.  There are two cartridges you can use in this printer; the “half-full”T078, or the “full” T077 series.

Epson even puts a sticker on the inside of the printer so there is no confusion.

Epson T078 T077 Cartridge Numbers Printed On Inside Of Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer

T078 series “standard capacity”

– or what they really mean (half-full).  These cartridges contain Epson Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; the T078 series cartridge contains about 7-8ml of ink.  Average price of $13-$14 per cartridge, or $75.00 for a full set.

T077 series “high capacity”

– or the more correct term (mostly-full), available through the Epson store.  You can sometimes find them on Amazon – here. Cartridges contain Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; T077 series cartridge contains about 11-12ml of ink.  Average price of $20 per cartridge.  A full set of the T077 cartridges will run you $95.00 minimum.

Cartridges? Who cares…

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb inkjet printer with CI system (CIS, CISS)

We really don’t care what the cartridge situation is – this printer was born to use a CIS, or CISS (continuous ink (inking) system).  The only thing interesting about the Epson cartridges is how many we will *not* have to purchase over the life of this printer.  This lets us focus on paper – Epson paper is quality stuff, however we think Red River Paper is the same quality and about half the price.

Ink and paper products for the Artisan 50 photo inkjet printer from Epson


Consist of these few steps (all covered in the included instructions):

  1. Equalize ink levels (tilt ink supply reservoir forward)
  2. Remove shipping plugs – (replace with breathers)
  3. Remove printer cartridge cover*
  4. install CIS cartridges and route tubing
  5. Trick “lid-open” latch (q-tip works great)*

*3.) This step is not difficult, however knowing how to remove the cartridge cover saves a few coins from the swear jar. The cover must be removed with a CI system so the tubing can escape, and the cover would not close anyway. The cover is not needed, it gets in the way, and it does not hurt the printer to remove it.  Off it comes.  See our install video for a working example.

Removing the cartridge cover – not hard if you know *where* to pry.  Upper right-hand corner of the print head – remove the hinge with a flat head screwdriver. *Then* the cover is ready to come off.

Where to pry the cover off an Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer for use with a CI System, or CISS, CIS, Bulk Ink.

Epson Artisan 50 cartridge cover hinge, clip and where to pry or place the screwdriver

Press cartridges down firmly to seat. Epson Artisan 50.

5.) This printer is perfect for use with a CI system.  There is plenty of clearance inside the printer for the tubing to run free, and the printer is easily tricked concerning the “lid is open” message with a q-tip.

q-tip open cover hack for Epson stylus photo Artisan 50

Ready to print!

At this point run a few test prints and see if you want the external inks on the left or the right, or maybe you want the ink tank in the back?  By running some test prints we can see how the tubing behaves and decide the best position for the external tank.

This printer has 6 colors, and produces incredible photos.  We ran off 15 or so photos on some Epson and Red River glossy and matte papers, and our prints all looked fantastic.

The Artisan 50, and most Epson 6-color photo printers less than $300, use a dye based ink – so colors are brighter and more defined.  Our CI system has dye inks as well, and they look perfect.  Nice to be able to print without having to worry about the ink price.

Installation video (instructions):

We decided the external tank should go on the left, but we might change our minds.

Installing the system is easy enough…

CD-DVD printing:

Popular choice among CD-DVD printers.

The Epson Artisan 50 6-color inkjet photo printer will also print directly to CDs and-or DVDs.  Make sure to get the “inkjet printable” recordable media, and print directly on the media – no more labels!

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb CD-DVD tray insterted and ready for printing

The coolest CD-DVD printing we have seen was with the Artisan 700-710-800-810 series; so cool we made a video.  The CD-DVD tray is stored inside the printer – much harder to lose this way.

With the Artisan 50 CD-DVD printing is easy with the included CD-DVD print tray.  The media sits on the plastic tray, and once lined up, it is sucked into the printer were the media is printed to.  Works fine, but take your time lining up the tray, and whatever you do, don’t lose it.  Must use the bundled Epson CD-DVD printing software utility to print CDs or DVDs.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer with CD-DVD tray inside printer during printing

Video of the CD-DVD printing process:

Takes about 3-4 minutes to print a CD or DVD, but the results are fantastic!

Plenty of room inside this printer…

Epson ink monitor is still watching you…

Epson Artisan 50 ink monitor image

The Artisan 50 is really perfect for a CI system.  The print head is of the same family as the old R200, R220, R340, R320, RX620, RX600 series.  The quality of prints is fantastic, and the CI system has plenty of room to operate inside the Artisan 50.

What to do when the cartridge runs out of ink?

There are chips on the end of each cartridge – these chips “keep tabs” on your estimated ink usage and will report empty at some point.  There are several ways to reset the ink levels, but with our system there is a button.  Press the red flashing button on the printer to get the print head to the “replace cartridge” location.  Simply press and hold the white button 3-4 seconds.  Now press the red flashing button on the printer  and your cartridges are now reset.

It is important to note – the cartridges cannot be reset at just any point – the Epson ink monitor must report out of ink (for any cartridge), and then a reset of all cartridges can be done.  Once reset, all chips report full cartridges.

Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer Refurbished CIS, CISS Ink System Custom - reset the cartridges when they indicate empty.

Notice these cartridges, the Epson T078, and T077 series inkjet cartridges, also work in the Epson Stylus Photo – R260, R280, R380, RX595, RX595, and RX680 series inkjet printers.

Ink quality:

We also tried some different papers.

Tried some Epson premium presentation matte (double sided) S041568 (it was ok), and some Epson high quality ink jet paper S041111 (not awesome).  We then tried some of our Red River paper sampler – a luster photo satin, and about 15 different glossy photo papers – color adjustments took some time, however we were pleased with the quality of the prints we saw. We have no problems recommending this system, and printer to anyone – the print quality is outstanding.


Get it.  Well worth the price, and flexible.

If you are looking for a solid “just-a-printer” the Epson Artisan 50 is a very good choice – new or refurbished.  Low entry cost ($60-$129) for the printer, and a continuous inking system works fantastically well.  Lab quality photo prints, fast 4×6 photo prints, and when bundled with a (CIS, CISS) CI system the Artisan 50 inkjet photo printer becomes a great everyday use printer.

If you are planning on using Epson brand ink cartridges, all bets are off – the Epson brand ink is a killer.

Here is the refurbished printer link – (or try – $59.99

New printer – website – $99.99.

And there is always Amazon…

Epson Artisan 50 CIS, CISS, inking systems.

Un-Box: Epson Artisan 50 Refurbished – Epson Store

Un box – Epson Artisan 50

Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer - about to be put to good use with a CIS, CISS, CI system.

*Top choice for CIS

We recently received a set of Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printers (5) – part number C11CA45201.  We purchased these printers through the website for $60.00 each – they are hard to find and pop-up only occasionally.

Direct link to printer on website:

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished printer from the Epson store.  What to expect.


List price on a new Artisan 50 is $129, but can be found new on the web for less than $90.00.  There was some noticeable “scuffing” on one of the 5 printers we received, however it did in no way effect the functioning of the printer, and was easily “buffed-out.”  Another printer came with a set of Epson brand empty cartridges installed 🙂  Worked perfectly, after cartridges removed, thanks for the $18.00 Epson.

Refurbished Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer at the Epson Store.


Warranty service is the same on refurbished Epson printers – if it breaks w/in warranty period Epson will send you a new (refurbished) one.  Most all Epson printers include a 1-year warranty – in fact, most all printer manufacturers include only a 1-year warranty.  There are some exceptions, however it is still cheaper (over the long run) to replace hardware on a regular basis.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished printer from the Epson store.  What to expect.

Outside of the warranty period, who cares?

It would be nice to buy a printer and have it last 5 years, but those days are over.  It is more cost effective to replace the hardware when/if it breaks.  With the cartridge savings you can achieve by using a CI system (CIS, CISS), or compatible cartridges, hardware is not the money pit, it’s the ink.  The Artisan 50 is perfect for a CI system and works very well – CI systems for this printer provide easy installation, quality dye inks, and auto or manual reset cartridge chips – when the printer says it is empty, simply press a button, and poof! your cartridge registers as full again.

Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer accessories with refurbished epson store refurb purchase.

Includes all the original materials – ink cartridges, driver software on CD, quick start guide, power cord, and CD-DVD printing tray.

Generic cartridges are an option, but the quality of ink is not as good, and quality compatible or re-manufactured Epson cartridges are $5.00-$6.00 each.  Epson brand cartridges for this printer can exceed $120.00 per set of 6, so that is really out of the question.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished printer from the Epson store.  What to expect.

What does “refurbished mean?”

Repaired? Some body work done? How is the engine? New print head?

Not sure what makes an Epson printer qualify as refurbished – we have a theory – printers sent back to Epson when the waste ink reset message is tripped.  80% of Epson owners have probably never heard of available software reset methods for this error, and there is nothing Epson can do over the phone, so it’s back to the factory for a simple software reset.  Our money is on printers that are returned to the factory for some minor issue.

The print heads sometimes look new, and sometimes look used with refurbished printers.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb from Epson inkjet printer 6-color photo printer.

All-in-all not a bad deal.  When hooked to a (CIS, CISS) continuous inking system this thing is gonna be a printing beast!  We have already printed several hundred 4×6, 8.5×11, and 5×7 photos and the quality is outstanding.  A nice deal at $60.00, and still a good deal at less than $100 for a “new” Artisan 50 photo inkjet printer.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished printer from the Epson store.  What to expect.  When paired with a CIS, CISS, this becomes a printing beast!


Cartridges for this printer will run you $15-$20 each, and there are six (6) cartridges in this printer.  You guessed it, all cartridges must be functioning for the printer to work.  This means if a yellow goes out, and all you want to do is print black – tough luck, Epson says, replace the cartridge Nancy.

T078, and T077 cartridges used.  We took a look at these cartridges, and what they look like inside.

Link to refurb on website:

Link to new on Amazon:

Artisan 50 – NEW!

Link to CIS – CISS:

CI System for the Epson Artisan 50

(CIS, CISS) Continuous Inking System FAQ

Continuous Inking Systems Frequently Asked Questions.

What you can expect v1.1 (updated 2-9-10):

No more cartridges!

Just say no to the ink cartridge

Just stop buying cartridges. Never have one "go out on you." Auto reset, unlimited ink.

CIS for all – kinda.

If you are in the market for a new printer – it is important to know (before you buy) what printers work best with CI systems (CIS, CISS). Maybe you are curious about your existing printer, and want to know if a CI system is right for you. If you want to know the chemical properties of 3rd party ink as compared to the manufacturer original, this may not be for you. The focus here is getting the lowest (quality) cost-per-print with an inkjet printer – period. Using CI systems can result in cost per page prices in the fraction of a cent range (excluding paper) but is the system reliable, and does it deliver a solid print? Aftermarket inks are very good (usually dye based), and while they are perfect for everyday use – if the desired result is to hang in a gallery, or sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars, you are gonna want to stick with manufacturer brand inks, however we think their longevity claims are overstated, but that is another FAQ.

What are requirements?

Not all printers are the same, and not all printer users have the same needs. Be realistic about your printing estimates – we have found that people who can print for fractions of a cent, tend to look for reasons to print more, and this is an easy thing to do in these digital times – share it with the world, hit print. With a continuous inking system (CIS, CISS, bulk ink) you can now afford to print your entire digital lifestyle. Printers are a dime a dozen, and there are literally hundreds on the market – finding a multi-function inkjet printer for the office is easy; finding one that gets the best cost per print can be challenging.

Other options available:

CI systems are not the only option, however in our opinion they are so easy to use (with the right printer), and inexpensive to operate that it just makes sense if you actually need to use the printer. There is also the added bonus of not needing to pick up an inkjet cartridge so you can scan, or send a fax – or <gasp> print. With a CI system, buying cartridges is a thing of the past. Chips on the cartridge that monitor page count auto or manual-reset when the printer tells you the cartridge needs replacing.

What is a CIS?

A CI System, or Continuous Inking System, sometimes known simply as CIS, CISS, or bulk ink system.

How it works:

Ink is delivered from an outside reservoir, or ink supply to the printhead via a set of pass-through ink cartridges. Ink is fed (via tubing) from outside the printer to the ink tanks, to be printed on the page. Works best with Epson printers, however some Canon, HP and Brother printers also work well with a CI system.

Not every printer out there is suited to easily work with a CI system. In our experience, CI systems work best with inkjet printers that have individual ink tanks for each color. It is much easier to deliver ink to 4, 5, 6, or even 8 individual ink cartridges, over trying to deliver all 3 primary colors to a single cartridge (think HP). If your current printer uses two cartridges (one black, and one color), CI systems may not be for you. They are out there, and available, however they can require constant attention and cartridges may need to be replaced every so often (this means removing and reattaching tubing – all 3 colors come from the same cartridge, etc…). The hassle factor is very high, and you could have a mess on your hands.

CIS disaster with a 2 cartridge system

CIS disaster with a 2 cartridge system. All colors are in the same cartridge making a CI system not the best choice in some cases.

So what printers work best?

On the other hand, Epson printers (some Canon, HP, Brother) use individual ink cartridges – exclusively – however within those printer models, some work better than others. CI systems are also available for some Canon, HP, and Brother printers that use individual ink tanks. HP is starting to produce more and more “individual ink tank” type printers, and some realistic CI system options will be available for the HP 564, and 920 cartridge series shortly.

CIS CISS installed into Epson inkjet printer

CI system - ink is fed from outside the printer to a set of dummy cartridges to provide unlimited printing at a price you can actually afford.

Reset the cartridge when empty, but how?

Another thing to consider is the way the cartridges are reset when the printer registers as out of ink. The dummy, or pass-through cartridges that are included with your CI system also have a chip on the end that communicates with the printer, just like an overpriced brand name cartridge. When it comes time to “change” a cartridge, what is the reset method? There is the auto-reset method, where the printer is immediately and transparently fooled – there is the remove and replace method, where the cartridges must be physically removed from the print head, and re-inserted to reset the chip back to “empty” – and there is the “press-this-button” on the cartridge, and everything is reset, method. Each printer is different, so check to make sure what method is used before you buy.

Reset button for CIS CISS inket printer systems

When the printer says your ink cartridge is empty, simply press this reset button on the Epson Artisan 800 inkjet printer.

Make sure to get the right printer:

When purchasing a new printer, it is always a good idea to look at what type of cartridges are used anyway, and how much ink they contain. There are some cartridges you will want to avoid at all costs (no matter what your printing needs are), and some that provide better cost per page rates.

It’s you vs. them.

One thing needs to be understood – printer companies make their money on the ink cartridges, not the printer. CI systems are not sold by the printer companies – this is a 3rd party invention, and in our opinion, quite ingenious. CI systems require some maintenance – clearing up tubing tangles, refilling of external tank after 1,000-3,000 prints, reset of chips via either auto, or manual – but overall if you print more than a ream of paper in a 6-8 week period, CI systems can save you a ton of cash on consumables (cartridges) and even enable you to print even more for pennies on the dollar. They are definitely worth a look.

Still viable for low volume printers:

If you print less than a ream of paper per month a CI system can still work for you, but you literally may never need to buy another cartridge or refill. Systems that contain ink will last on average about 3k pages. You can still save cash by using compatible cartridges, or re-manufactured ink cartridges as well. The typical full manufacturer cartridge set ($80.00) will net about 400 text prints; your mileage may vary.

Identify CI systems by cartridge:

Look for the cartridges – this will help refine your printer search. Then, within that selection, look to see what actual printer works best with a CI system, and from that list select based on your printing needs. Does it need to be large format? Fax capable? Photo Printer? All-In-One?

Most all Epson printers (some exceptions) work very well with CI systems. If you see a CI system listed on our site we can recommend it for use in those printers that use these cartridges. In some cases we will have some (CIS, CISS) associated online content (installation video, CIS in action, reviews, pictures, set-ups, etc.), and you also have the option of purchasing printer and CI system bundles that we have tested in our shop before shipping.

Printers we like with CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink Systems:

Epson is our favorite. We print lots of photos, and we just think Epson printers are the best at printing photos, hands down. A CI system makes the Epson printers even more fun to work with, as printing costs are negligible. Canon has some 6-color and 8-color printers that produce a quality print, but we just prefer the Epson print quality. Not all Epson printers work well with CI systems – think NX series (tight fit for a CIS).

The knock on Epson in the past (for a general purpose printer) has been cartridge price. To expensive to be an everyday printer. This changes when a CI system is introduced into the mix. Print thousands of pages for an initial investment of $95-$179, and refills which are equal to 50-60 Epson cartridges, are available for $30-$50. Save thousands on consumables – there is also the added bonus of never having to purchase another inkjet cartridge ever. Never run out of ink, never replace one cartridge only to have another need replacing the next day. Low hassle printing for a fraction of the cost of manufacturer brand ink. In some cases, a printer plus a CI system may actually be cheaper than purchasing a set of cartridges for your current printer!

Epson Printers we like:

Epson Stylus C120 Inkjet Printer CIS Inkjet Ink System

Artisan 700, 800, 710, 810

Absolute best performer – printer is constructed like a CI system internally. No moving parts, simple to use and operate. Multi-function photo printers. May be the last printer you ever purchase. If you are looking for a deal on this printer, check the Epson store, or Amazon. We also offer these printers as bundles with a CI system, and additional set of refills.

Epson Workforce 30 – Stylus C120

These two are the exact same printer. Just a printer – has 2 black cartridge slots, fast printer and easy installation. Bundle deal here.

Epson Workforce 500

Multifunction all-in-one. Complete with built-in fax, auto document feeder (ADF), color scanner, printer, copier, media readers, 4-color office printer. Get up to 5-6k pages with this bundle.

Epson Stylus Photo 1400

Large format 6-color photo printing. Now you can actually use this printer. With cartridges for the Epson Photo 1400 costing $20.00 each ($120.00 total), a CI system is a no brainer for this printer. Epson cartridges can always be re-installed if necessary. Get this CI system (CIS, CISS) for only $119, or buy the bundle ($299).

You may own one of these Epson Printers:

Other “older” printers that also work well include the Epson Artisan 50, Stylus C64, C66,C68, C84, C86, C88, CX5000, CX6000, CX6400, CX6600, CX7000, CX8400, CX9400, CX9450, CX9475, Stylus Photo R200, R220, R300, R320, R340, RX500, RX600, RX620, and the newer models – Stylus Photo R260, R280, R380, RX595, RX680, and large format Stylus Photo R800, R1800, R1900 inkjet printers.

HP Printers we like:

HP 02 CIS CISS inking system

Thinking individual ink tanks here. You can use a CI system with HP printers that use only 2 cartridges (black, color) however in our experience these type systems do not always perform well, and require more attention.

HP Officejet 6000, 6500, 7000

Uses the HP 920 cartridge. Individual ink tanks for each of the colors and black cartridges. Nice performer, overall gets good grades. Cartridges move along with the print head.

HP 02 Series Cartridge

Why a cartridge and not a list of printers? Because there are to many printers that work with this cartridge. Should be a photosmart series printer. HP Printers that use the HP 02 series cartridge, can take advantage of a very reliable and easy to use CI system. There are no moving parts, and ink is fed directly to the cartridge from an external source. Very easy to install and use. Cartridges do not move. For a complete list of compatible printers, please look here.

HP 564 Series Cartridge:

Another cartridge that gets used in a bunch of printers. CI systems can be had for this cartridge series, and all the printers that work with it. Cartridges move along with the print head. Very nice solution.

Canon Printers we like:

Coming soon…CI systems are under development for the newer Canon Pixma iP series of printers. Check back soon for our recommendations.

Brother Printers we like:

Coming soon…we have started testing on these printers, and we like what we see so far. More to come.

What about the ink quality?

All CI systems we offer contain dye based inks. As a general rule most 6-color photo printers that cost less than $300.00 or so also use a dye based ink from the manufacturer. Dye based inks are common inmost photo printers as they will produce a “brighter” and more “detailed” image. You can find pigment based inks (more durable, but duller image) in 4-color office, or general home use printers. All printer manufacturers have discovered the magic of attaching a fancy name to their inks to increase their marketability – Epson has Durabrite (pigment), Claria (dye), and UltraChrome (pigment) brand ink, and even HP markets the Vivera (dye) brand ink.

Simply put, dye based inks fade – they are water based, and water evaporates over time, just a fact of life. Printer manufacturers will talk about their special formulas, or added ingredients, but unless you are selling your work for thousands of dollars per print, there is no reason to pay the equivalent of $11,000 a gallon for ink. There are steps you can take to protect your prints, and even the printer manufacturers admit that their longevity testing was done with prints behind glass, on special paper, and out of the sun. The most important factor is really paper. If you print to a good quality paper, half the battle is won. For text, or simple document printing – stuff that will not see the sun – the prints will last your lifetime, that is for sure.

HP says:

“light fade testing under glass (as of January 2005) on HP Premium Plus Photo Paper.” Link.

Epson says:

“Ink fade resistance ratings based on accelerated testing of prints, on specialty media, displayed in a glass frame in indoor display conditions.” Link.

Put it in a picture frame. Done.

CI Systems not for everyone?

CIS, CISS, or bulk ink systems do require some basic maintenance, and the occasional cartridge chips that will not reset can be a pain, but if you can put up with a few quirks of the system a CI system can save you literally, thousands of dollars on ink – over the life of the printer. We are confident that with the printers we have highlighted above, your experience with a CI system will be a good one.

Review: CIS Plus Epson Stylus Photo RX595 CI System (CISS)

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 With CI System

Excellent combination – works extremely well. Highly recommended. The Epson Stylus Photo RX580 has an identical print head, and the exact same insides.

Why the RX595?

We like to highlight solid performing inkjet printers that have one thing in common – a cheap printing solution is available.  That is our main criteria when evaluating inkjet printers.  If we like the printer, and we can use either compatible and re-manufactured inkjet cartridges, or (even better) a CI system – you have a winner, and the RX595 is just that, a winner with a CI systemIf you are looking for product specs, please go here.

CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System, Continuous Ink System, Bulk Ink, Extrenal Ink

What are you waiting for? That is a stack of cartridges that retail for $450.00.

Slick 6-color photo printer from Epson:

With the RX595 inkjet printer, a CI system works extremely well, and it is surprisingly easy to install.  Just remove the cartridge cover, plug the scanner unit open latch, and route the tubing.  The system works very well when the scanner unit is completely closed – there is a bounty of room inside the printer so the CI tubing does not tangle or kink at all.  The RX595 is just a great overall candidate for a CI system.

This printer produces incredible prints, even if it is a little poky.  Takes about 2 minutes to print a modestly sized image from the memory card slot (about 4MB) at maximum quality.  Also prints text quite nicely.  The Epson Stylus Photo RX595 is a 6-Color printer, so photos come out looking better than lab quality.  Epson brand cartridges use a dye based ink with this printer, and our CI system was no different – it also uses dye based inks.

Step 1 – Remove the cartridge cover:

Plastic part that holds the cartridge cover on the printer. Epson Stylus Photo RX595 inkjet printer cartridge cover removal. Epson Stylus Photo RX595 cartridge cover removal.

Removing the cartridge cover on the Epson Stylus Photo RX595 could not be easier – one of the easiest of the Epson printers to do.  Simply pry off the small piece of plastic on the bottom right side of the print head assembly, and the cartridge cover will lift right off.

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 continuous inking system (CIS CISS) how-to installation video.

Step 2 – Plug the scanner unit open latch:

There is a peg on the under side of the scanner unit that fits perfectly into a cut-out that contains a latch.  When the peg depresses this latch, the printer knows the scanner unit is open.  To get around this issue, simply take some wadded up paper, or some Styrofoam from the CI system box and stuff it into the hole.  Place a piece of scotch tape over the plugged up hole, and the printer will think it is closed all the time.

This is not an issue during normal printing, however when running a nozzle check with the top open – the printer will prompt you to close the hatch so printing can complete.  Plugging the hole is a fairly straightforward process.

Locate scanner closed latch:

RX595 Scanner Open Sensor, Latch, Solution. Print with RX595 scanner unit open.

Plug hole so latch is always depressed:

We cut a piece off the CI system box and plugged the hole with Styrofoam and a piece of scotch tape.  You could also use a piece of wadded up paper, or other material to achieve the same results.  Use your best judgment.

RX595 Scanner sensor unit covered up with styrofoam, and a piece of scotch tape.

Step 3 –  Install CI cartridges and route tubing:

Now we can install the CI system dummy cartridges (with push-button resetting chips) and route the tubing through the printer.  You can place your external tank wherever you like, however we found that setting the external tank on the outside left of the printer was the best position for us.  The tubing wants to naturally go to the left, so that is where we put the external ink tank.

Routing the tubing was very simple – lots and lots of room inside the Stylus Photo RX595.  This CI system performed perfectly.

The final result.

After about 4 head cleanings – which is really a print head primer cycle – the RX595 was printing perfectly, and we ran off some test prints.  Color was amazing, no streaks or lines, and we highly recommend this system to owners of the RX595 printers.

Epson RX595 nozzle check printout - looks like we need to prime the print heads one more time.

Epson RX595 nozzle check printout - looks like we need to prime the print heads one more time.

We discovered that one of the tubes was not full of ink (black), so we ran a cleaning cycle (priming the print head) and wanted to show the ink as it is being pulled through the tubing.  Pretty neat, and also pretty revealing – think of how much ink is used to clean the print heads on an Epson inkjet printer.  No wonder cartridges go out so fast.

Continuous inking system installed:

There is a reset button on the set of cartridges.  When the printer says it is out of ink – simply press this reset button and the ink levels will be reset to full.  Easier than changing a cartridge.

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 continuous inking system reset button on the outside of the cartridges.

With the system installed there is plenty of room for the tubing to travel safely through the insides of the printer.  No need to worry about tangling, or the tube catching on some protruding corner.

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 inkjet printer with CIS, CISS, continuous inking system installed.

Solid performer:

We like this printer, it prints to CDs, prints from memory cards, no need for a computer – built-in LCD display, and it’s a six color photo printer.  Solidly built, and stylish offering from Epson.  The Epson Stylus Photo RX595 and a continuous inking system make this printer a color laser replacement printer.

Youtube videos:

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 with continuous inking system installed

Installation of a CI system on an Epson Stylus Photo RX595

The Epson Cleaning Cycle – How Much Ink Used?

So how much ink is used when an Epson printer executes a “cleaning cycle?”

You might be surprised.  We connected our recently acquired waste ink kit from Octoinkjet (ink-anarchy in the UK) and ran a single cleaning cycle on our Epson Artisan 800 do-it-all inkjet printer.  The results were amazing to us – there is a ton of waste ink produced with the Artisan 800 inkjet printer when running a cleaning cycle.  If you are using Epson brand inks, you want to keep your head cleaning to a minimum.  Seriously, that is expensive “cleaner.”

Continuous inking systems – no sweat:

For those of us using a CI system, it’s nothing more than amusing – and with an external waste ink bin, it’s kinda cool to watch.

I hate posting videos back-to-back, but we are having fun with a new camera and iMovie.  Plus, it’s all about content right?

Waste-away my ink…

It’s in High Definition! Sorry iPhone users.

Video: CIS And Epson Stylus Photo RX595

Epson Stylus Photo RX595 with CIS:

Video – this is an older printer, however it still works great and it works even better with a continuous inking system.  Look how easy it is to install, and use.  The ink sits outside the printer and is fed to a set of resettable dummy cartridges.  If you still own this printer, and are not using a continuous inking system, get one today.

Review – Epson Artisan 800 Waste Ink Reset Software

Et tu, Artisan 800?

Printer ink pads are at the end of their service life. Please contact Epson support.

for info on the Octoinkjet external waste ink kit click here.

Waste ink error on the Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 series.

Your printer is not broken:

If you simply want to replace the pads, look here.

This error (service request) is common with Epson printers, however it seems to be coming up more lately, and more for the Epson Artisan series specifically.  Owners of the Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, or 810 be on the look-out for the following error message that will cripple any printer use until resolved,

“Printer ink pads are at the end of their service life. Please contact Epson support.”

If you have used the SSC Service Utility for Epson Stylus printers, then this may not be new information to you (about the planned obsolescence of your Epson printer). We highly recommend SSC program for owners of older Epson printers. It is a 3rd party utility for resetting a number of things on your “presumed dead” Epson printer.

This is not a death sentence for your printer.  There is a way to reset this annoying little “error” for the Epson Artisan series, however it will cost you, and it’s not available trough Epson directly.  You can download the actual Epson service application over at for $20.00 and the error is corrected with the press of a button (resetting the waste ink counter).  This software is for PC only, so if you are a Mac user/owner you will need to boot into Windows if possible – if not, better find a friend with a Peecee you can borrow.  The fact that you have to pay $20.00 for the software is no fun, but at least its available for download, and it corrected the issue – the software also provides some other minimal printer intel.  Epson does provide a (software – PC only) reset utility for some printers, however the Artisan series are not listed there as of yet. They want serial number, name, eMail address, etc…

Epson Adjustment Program For Artisan 800. Waste ink pad reset issue.

Welcome screen once the Epson printer utility reset is open. PC only, this will not run on Mac OS

So for now, the only option we know of is to pay (a 3rd party) for the actual Epson Repair Utility.  We paid our $20.00 and the program worked perfectly – did exactly what we wanted it to do.  We also noticed some other neat monitoring features of the Epson software, but we were disappointed that we were unable to turn things off – scanner sensor, ink monitor, chip reset, etc.  There are a few cool utilities to reset the printer to out of the box condition (factory settings) – you can force a print head (ink) charge, check ink levels, but still frustrated with lack of the ability to disable things.  We tried an EEPROM dump, then attempted re-import and we got an error message to the effect, “you need other software.”

Our Epson Artisan 800 claims that the waste ink pads are full.

Waste ink pads say the need replacing. This is not true, however. Our printer only has 519 prints on it. (see below)

Long story short, it did what we wanted it to do, but wish it did more.  Your mileage may vary, and if you have ideas/ways to turn things off please let us know. The 2manuals offering at $20.00 is the actual Epson tech program.  This program is not distributed by Epson, not intended for public use.  Let’s just say we are not asking them where they got it.

After the waste ink reset process - just the push of a button really on our Epson Artisan 800 inkjet printer.

After clearing the waste in pad counters on the Artisan 800 inkjet printer.

It is also important to note that in some cases it may actually be necessary to replace the waste ink pads at some point, however our faulty Epson Artisan 800 inkjet printer only showed 519 prints, so this was an error message caused by something at the factory.  It was covered by warranty, but we had modified this Artisan 800 to work with our CI system, so warranty service was not an option.  Once a printer gets into the 10k-20k page range, it might be wise to either replace the actual waste ink pads, or another less maintenance option is to re-route the waste ink tube entirely.  We have run an Epson Stylus Photo R200 with a CI system for over 5 years, and after 3 resets, we have yet to replace the waste ink pads.

Lot’s of things to look at:

This is a composite image of what the adjustment program will let you adjust, and what it will let you look at.

Epson Artisan 800 Inkjet Reset Waste Ink Pad Software

Complete list of all the things you can do with the Epson utility software.

Printer information check:

We ran a printer information check before we reset the waste ink pads – just to know the totals.  As you can see below, this specific Epson Artisan 800 had only printed 519 pages according to this report.  Why this printer got the waste ink pad error message is a mystery.

Cannot be right?  The printer will not function at all until the waste ink pad situation is reset.

Information about our Epson Artisan 800 inkjet printer with the waste ink pad issue. Notice there have only been 519 pages print.