News: Canon Sues Chinese Copy-Cat Cartridge Makers (Compatibles)

Canon Goes To Court To Help Increase Bottom Line.

Looks like this story is originally from bloomberg, but we saw it on Newsweek:

“Canon Inc., the world’s largest maker of cameras and office equipment, filed patent-infringement claims against China’s Ninestar Image International Ltd. and retailers over technology in printer toner cartridges.”

Looks like Canon is in on the same game Epson played about 2 years ago.  All the more reason to go with a CI system, and get a printer that works well with one.

Ninestar must have a bulls-eye on their back…

Ninestar was the import/distribution company that really took it on the chin when Epson successfully sued them and 23 other manufacturers to prevent the importation of quality 3rd party Epson compatible cartridges.  This action is only being taken in the USA.  Compatible cartridges are “legal” in the rest of the world (Canada, Asia, Europe – where consumer protection laws are better).

Attack on multiple fronts…

Printer companies are not stupid – they are trying to prevent the use of any 3rd party method for delivering ink to the printer.  They want to dictate what you can and can-not put in your printer.  They are attacking on multiple fronts – from designing un-refillable ink cartridges, to pursuing legal action, to using encrypted cartridge chips to make empty cartridges unrecognizable to the printer.

Yet another defeat (future) for the customer.

Link to Business Week article here…

Others covering:

Review: HP 901 Series Inkjet Printer Cartridges – Skip It

HP 901 Series Inkjet Cartridge

*look inside the HP 901 – joke of a cartridge  – here.

HP 901 black inkjet printer cartridge opened and exposed to reveal the internal structure of the ink cartridge

These cartridges should be avoided at all costs.  Not getting very much love over at the HP website either. Could it be because the cartridges are so expensive?  We think so.

HP 901 series cartridges are not very popular over at HP.

This printer uses a single black cartridge, and a single tri-color cartridge (all the colors – cyan, magenta, yellow –  are contained in one cartridge).  Both cartridges must be present for multi-function features to work.

HP 901 Black CC653AN Inkjet Printer Cartridge
HP 901 Black CC653AN – $14.99
HP 901 Color CC656AN - Inkjet Printer Cartridge
HP 901 Color CC656AN – $28.99
HP 901XL Black Inkjet Printer Cartridge CC654AN
HP 901XL Black CC654AN – $31.99

Officejet J4500, and J4600 Cartridges:

HP 901 Inkjet Printer Cartridges - Color And Black

Printers that use the HP 901 series ink cartridge, should be avoided – the Officejet J4500, and J4600 series specifically (full list below).  These cartridge contain a very low amount of ink, and HP states on their website that the cartridge yield is a measly 200 pages for the smaller-ink-volume black 901 cartridge and will run you $14.99.  It has been our experience with HP ink cartridges, that the page yield estimates HP provides are off by as much as 40%.  Realistically, you can expect about 120 full text pages from this cartridge.

Page yields for these cartridges:

*HP estimates – your mileage will vary…greatly.

There is also a “high capacity” black cartridge available – the same cartridge but filled full with ink – for $31.99.  Estimates for the HP 901XL inkjet cartridge are 700 pages.  Figure 400 max.  Finally, there is the color cartridge, which provides an estimated 360 pages (in reality?), and will run you $28.99.  S0 if we want to actually use the printer for serious printing, that will be $60.98 for a set of appropriate cartridges.  That is $100.00 to print a ream of paper (500 pages).

Skip this money pit:

There are plenty of other printers on the market that do not require so much cash for ink – look into individual ink tank printers from Canon, Epson, Brother, or even HP.  If you want to increase the options for consumables, there is really no reason in even considering these printers, the cartridges rule it out.  Houston, we have #cartridge #fail at an estimated .40 cents per text print.

Printers that use the HP 901 series cartridge (so you can avoid buying one).

HP Officejet J4000 All-in-One series

HP officejet J4500.  Don't even think about buying this printer.

HP officejet J4500. Don't even think about buying this printer.

  • OfficeJet J 4500
  • OfficeJet J4524
  • OfficeJet J4540
  • OfficeJet J4550
  • OfficeJet J4580
  • OfficeJet J4624
  • OfficeJet J4640
  • OfficeJet J4660
  • OfficeJet J4680

Review: Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 CI System (CIS, CISS)

Canon Pixma iP4300 With CIS (Continuous Ink System):

CIS - Cartridge Set Canon PGI-5, CLI-8 - Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 Continuous Inking System Pre-Filled

The Canon Pixma iP4300 is a great little printer (same as iP4200, iP4500).  Has a built-in duplexer so you can print to both sides of the page.  When used with a CI system, or continuous inking system (aka CIS, CISS, or bulk ink) cost per page is way below a penny per print, and there are no more hassles with refilling or cartridges at all.  Dual paper sources in the iP4300 (iP4200, iP4500) make it easy to print 4×6 photos, and simple letter documents all w/out changing the paper. Just a great little printer.

Canon CIS system contents:

This CIS, CISS, package includes pre-filled 5 chamber ink system (one chamber is left empty).  Dummy cartridges with auto-resetting chips, and an accessory kit with gaskets, air breathers, and a metal tubing guide.

Canon Pixma iP4300 Inkjet Printer With CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System CLI-8, PGI-5


Hardware included with the CI system – breathers, gaskets, and a guide rail for the tubing.  Very easy to install, and a very logical process.  Cartridges snap in just like the originals.  If you can change a cartridge, you can install the parts in this package.

Hardware included with Canon CIS For iP4700, iP4600, iP4500, iP4300, iP4200

Hardware included with Canon CIS For iP4700, iP4600, iP4500, iP4300, iP4200

Removal of the old cartridges, and replacement with a CIS, CISS, or continuous ink system for the Canon Pixma iP4300.  Much of this process is the same for all of these printers – Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, iP4700.

Canon CI System for Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 Inkjet Printers - Save on ink!

Gasket install first:

Gaskets must be installed in the print head, which is easily accessable after the cartridges have been removed.  Installing the gaskets is easy – simply place over the ink supply seals with the supplied plastic tweezers:

There are 5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4300, iP4200, iP4500 printers, and each seal must be covered.

Remove cartridge covers…

After the gaskets are installed, you can now remove the orange cartridge covers and install the cartridges into the system.

Removing the orange clips from the CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridge set for install into the Canon Pixma iP4300. iP4200, iP4500

Be careful, ink will start to flow shortly - get those cartridges into the printer.

Install cartridges like normal:

The internal optical sensors can get confused if to much light is getting into the “insides” of the printer.  We got this error message after our install:

Canon printer error number 6502 means close the lid!

Simply closing the cover slightly and turning off the lights correct the issue.  This is what prompted us to modify our case to accommodate the tubing with the lid fully closed.

Cartridges installed in the iP4300 inkjet printer - red light indicates we are good to go.

Cartridges installed in the iP4300 inkjet printer - red light indicates we are good to go.

Route the tubing.

We think this way works best (off to the right), but you can really route the tubing to the left or right.

Placing the bracket in the right place - pre-molded for Canon iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 inkjet printers.

Placing the Canon CIS guide bracket in the right place - pre-molded for Canon iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 inkjet printers.

The bracket and tubing do get in the way of the lid closing. If you look closely, there is a latch that needs to be “fooled” and forced into the down position to simulate the lid being closed.  Before and after pictures below – click for larger image.

Canon iP4300 lid closed latch needs to be forced down. We used a plug from the CI system to force the iP4300 lid open latch closed.

The finished product:

Canon iP4300 CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink System Installed.

More help please.

We have also prepared a quick installation guide video and posted to youtube.  You can watch below.  A reliable system can be had for $85.00 – $95.00 including shipping and is available now.  No need to refill cartridges, or buy expensive compatibles and OEM cartridges.  Installation has a few extra steps (as compared to the Epson Artisan series), however it is quite easy and the system performs flawlessly.  We actually like how this printer works with a CI system better than many Epson printers – the Canon CIS printing process, or movement of the print head is not as violent.

Overall this is a great system.  5 stars. Compatible with:

May also work with other printers that use the CLI-8, and PGI-5 cartridges in a 5 cartridge configuration.  We have only tested in the iP4200, iP4300, and iP4500 printer series so far.

CIS for Canon Inkjet Printers - The finished product, iP4300 pictured.

More info here.

Installation video here:

Case modification (mod) for Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 printers here:

New Cartridge: HP 940 Series Ink Cartridge From Hewlett Packard

The HP 940 Series Cartridges:

Hewlett Packard HP 940 Series Black Ink Cartridge Contains 29ml of ink - the HP 940XL cartridge has a hefty 49ml of ink

** Take a look inside this cartridge here **

The quick verdict? Not terrible for small office use (text), and not designed for lab quality pictures.  Still way more expensive than color laser, compatibles, or CI systems. Link to cartridges on HP’s website here.

CISS, CIS, CI System, for Hewlett Packard HP officejet small office inkjet printer.

Hewlett Packard Officejet Pro 8500 & 8000

This series of HP Officejet series inkjet printers are positioned as an “eco-friendly” alternative to color laser printers who have a large carbon footprint –  to use the parlance of our times.  Technically they are right, but its the consumer that pays the full cost of going green – HP just gives you the opportunity to pay a higher cost-per-page with the inkjet printer option instead of the light-dimming “drain on the power grid” laser printer.

Printers that use these cartridges include:

Great printers, but consumables are going to kill you over time. The XL series of cartridges are about $95.00 per set, for 2k pages* (*average of all carts).  That is four (4) reams of paper.  $100.00 for every four reams of paper you use.  Wow.

HP 940 XL black got ink…

The HP 940 XL black cartridge contains a whopping 49ml of ink – it is unusual to see an inkjet cartridge with so much ink.  The 940XL is priced at $35.99, which is roughly $2800 per gallon, and a bargain price in the printer market as other HP, Epson, and Canon will run you upwards of $11,000.00 per gallon (HP 21, HP 22Epson T088, T069 – Canon CLI-221, PGI-30).

Games HP plays…

There are 2 “different” versions of the 940 series cartridges.  The HP 940, and the “more full of ink” version, the HP 940XL.  Prices vary, so keep your eyes open.

There are also versions of the 940XL color cartridges as well, but the difference is much smaller:

If you print mostly black, make sure to set your printer driver to black only – printers will use color ink when printing black only documents unless you tell it otherwise (driver setting).  Obviously if you can get cartridges for less, the cost per ml will change more in your favor.

HP 940 Cartridges:

HP 940 Printer Ink Cartridges And Tanks

The "standard" 940 color cartridges contain 16ml of ink - HP 940 black cartridge contains (has) 49ml of ink. About $75 for a set of these cartridges.

Cartridges contain pigment based inks for durability.  If you want to print lab quality photos, color quality will vary widely with differing paper selections – not recommended for a dedicated photo printer.  They are cartridges, however they could also be easily called ink tanks.  There is no “revolutionary” technology on the cartridge.

  • HP 940 Black (C4902AN) 22ml$25.99 1k pages*
  • HP 940 Cyan (C4903AN) 10ml$19.99 – 900 pages*
  • HP 940 Magenta (C4904AN) 10ml$19.99 – 900 pages*
  • HP 940 Yellow (C4905AN) 10ml$19.99 – 900 pages*

Based on experiences with ink cartridges over the years, it would appear HP is overly optimistic on the page count estimates.  These cartridges are weak – if you do not print very much (ream of paper of less per quarter) these might be ok.  But for just a few dollars more you can have completely full cartridges.

Pay more, get “a little” more…XL = $$

Hewlett Packard 940xl, 940 xl, 940 inkjet printer cartridges, large, jumbo inks

The XL color cartridges contain 16ml of ink - black cartridge contains 49ml of ink - About $95.00 for a full set.

HP also offers the 940 Series “high capacity” series ink cartridges (indicated by the XL).  They are the same basic size and shape as the 940 cartridges.  If you are printing mainly black documents, this is the cartridge you need to be purchasing.  The black cartridge contains a good bit of ink @49ml

Where did we come across this information? We used the “live chat” feature on HP’s website, and the response was very quick.  We searched for hours on the HP website to try and find the information, but could not find it.  We were not pointed to a URL for future reference.

Note: — Does this cartridge look familiar?  If you owned a Hewlett Packard inkjet printer that used the HP 88, or HP 10 series cartridges, they are identical in basic shape, and design.  Printers are the same as well, using both a cartridge-type-printhead, and an ink tank (ink cartridge).

HP 940 INkjet Printer Cartridges Installed Individual Ink Tanks

Individual cartridges do not move.

What about the fine print?

The ink cartridges for this printer are nothing more than complicated ink tanks, or ink holders.  The 940 ink cartridges,  hold the printer ink, and supply it to the printheads inside the printer as needed.  There are two print heads present when using this cartridge series – a combo yellow/black, and a combo cyan/magenta. If they are replaceable, that means they usually will need no be – replacements will run you a cool $59.99 per printhead.  We could not find any information about the expected life of the print head on HP’s website.

HP Print Heads – HP 940.

HP 940 Black and Yellow print head for HP Officejet

C4900A - HP Black and Yellow Printhead $59.99 list.

C4901A - HP Cyan and Magenta Printhead $59.99.

What you might not know about the printheads on this printer series is that there is a warranty usage limit of 560ml.  After that, the printheads are out of warranty no matter the warranty status.  Translation, if you print a bunch, there is a guarantee that HP will not warranty the printheads beyond the 560ml target.

Let’s take the HP 940 black and yellow printhead.  Using the XL cartridges as a benchmark (49ml+16ml = 65ml) that would be around 8-9 cartridges used until the printheads are considered out of warranty (10-17k pages).  You can see HP’s explanation here –

So really consider your printing habits before purchasing any type of “extended warranty” for this printer series.  If you plan on using a CIS, or CISS system with this printer (perfect candidate) the printheads will still need to be replaced at some point.

CI system, the way to go.

Overall you could do much worse. This printer looks to be absolutely perfect for a CI system as the cartridges do not move along with the printhead.  If there are no moving parts, that means less hassles during installation, and also while using the system.  CIS, CISS, CI systems are just now coming out for this cartridge series, and we expect to have some in the shop mid April.  The chips on these 940 series cartridges cannot be reset.  For this reason HP original OEM cartridges are used – You can also supply your own chips (from the included cartridges) with some systems thus reducing the cost.

New: Canon iP4600 – iP4700 CIS (CISS) CLI-221, PGI-220

Canon iP4600, iP4700 CI System:

Complete installation guide and review here.

The Canon CLI-221, and PGI-220 inkjet cartridges are much smaller than their predecessors, the CLI-8, PGI-5.  You can see a comparison here. With cartridges getting smaller, and cartridge prices going higher a (CIS, CISS) continuous inking system is an easy solution to your high cost ink problem.

Canon ip4600, ip4700, inkjet printer low cost ink solution, the CIS - continuous inking system.

Canon ip4600, ip4700, inkjet printer low cost ink solution, the CIS - continuous inking system. Ink fed directly to cartridges from an outside tank.

Easy installation:

This (CISS), CIS includes detailed instructions on how to install the system, and the tubing is easily routed out of the printer.  Cartridge set fully assembled, and ready for installation.  Chips on the cartridge will auto-reset once the printer thinks it is out of ink.

Low maintenance:

Install the system and forget ever needing to replace another cartridge.  When the printer says the printer is out of ink, simply tell the printer you have changed the cartridge, and the system is now reset, and the printer believes the cartridge is full again. Completely transparent.

Unlimited printing:

System comes pre-filled (50-60 cartridges worth) with ink.  Cartridge set, and resetting chips.  The external reservoir can be easily refilled with individual inks costing as little as $5.00 per color – about 15 cartridges per bottle.

Complete Review – Installation Guide:

You can see our complete installation guide, and review here:

Canon Pixma iP4600 Inkjet Printer.

Canon Pixma iP4600

Canon Pixma iP4700 CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System Detailed Info

Canon Pixma iP4700

Wow – Ink Cartridges Are Incredibly Expensive

Spotted At Staples

Ink is so incredibly expensive.  The $3.00 back per cartridge is a good deal, to bad it’s only good for store credit. Limit 10 recycled cartridges per month.  If you would like to see inside a CLI-8 cartridge look here.  If you want to know more about Staple’s in-store recycling program click here.  We are about 45 miles from the closest Staples.  They do not offer a recycling credit by mail.

This cartridge bundle is for large format Canon inkjet printers like the Pixma iP9000 series.  Looking at about 80-120 large size prints here.

Printer ink is so expensive - Canon CLI-8 color cartridges spotted at the local Staples.

Review: Epson Waste Ink Pads – Artisan 800

What exactly are the “waste ink pads?”

If you simply want to reset the error message and resume printing, click here.

Exactly what it sounds like.  Waste ink from cleanings and borderless printing has to have some place to collect, and that place is the waste ink pad. Like a bunch of paper towels wadded up together to trap stray ink.  Here is a picture.

Epson Artisan Waste Ink Pad

Everywhere you see black, or dark – that used to be white.  There is not a sensor here, just an ink collection system.  This is from a printer that was wanting to be reset (we had to reset it with $20.00 utility – read here). That plastic bottle in the middle of the picture has a tube running to it when attached to the printer.  See below.

Why do I care?

If you are getting a “replace ink waste pad, or Epson waste ink pads need replacing” message and the printer has stopped functioning, don’t get ready to toss it quite yet – there might be a quick fix for that.  Try to keep that older printer (less than 3 yrs old) working as long as possible – older printers are great when it comes to compatible cartridges, re-manufactured cartridges, and other inking systems.  These alternatives to overpriced brand name inks are usually more readily available the older the printer is.

Artisan 800 waste ink pad atached to printer via tubing.

There is a constant cat and mouse game going on with the printer manufacturers, and the aftermarket ink manufacturers.  Oddly, it’s not the ink cartridge technology that is changing, so much as it is new engineering efforts to prevent casual refilling, and make reliable professional re-manufacturing more difficult.  Add to that the shrinking of the cartridge, successful litigation against the Chinese compatible cartridge market (near elimination of it), and multiple cartridges for different printers which is confusing the consumer and you have an inkjet printer market which is chaotic to say the least.

Video of the installation or removal.

Been around a while…

The waste ink pads are normally a chore to replace, or bypass, however Epson is making it much easier to re-route the ink waste line on the Artisan line of printers, which is very easy to get to.  Simply remove one screw, pry open plastic cover, and pads and tubing are revealed.  Just a tip, there is a metal plate covering the plastic door – it can get gangly, so try to keep it attached to the plastic pad holder if you can.  Yet another example of some very simplified engineering (manufacturing?) on these Artisan series inkjet printers.  User replaceable parts?

Cart before the horse.

There must be a reset utility available for any of this to work.  You can replace the waste ink pads as much as you like, but without a way to reset the page count (waste ink count) stored in a memory chip inside the printer the printer is just dead.  There might need to be a way to re-route the waste ink flow, or replace the waste ink pads – if – print quality suffers, or paper is getting continuously smeared with ink (and you have traced the problem to this issue).  There are two schools of thought when it comes to waste ink – ignore the error, reset the printer and don’t worry about the pads.  Or, simply re-route the tubing that deposits waste ink – into a container, or bag. We have to admit – we have an Epson Artisan R200 here in the office going on 3 resets, and no seemingly ill effects from the lack of ink pad replacement.  It is possible the waste ink pads can dry themselves out over time, but if you have a high printing volume they may become to wet and need diversion or replacement.

Artisan 800:

As far as the Artisan 800 goes, here is where the ink pads are located.  On the underside of the printer (look for the metal plate).  Remove that one screw (to the right) where the USB, telephone, and ethernet ports are, and that plate levers at the bottom. The waste ink pads pop right out with a twist of a screwdriver (see above video)

Bottom of the Epson Artisan 800 inkjet printer waste ink pad replacement.

Replacement waste ink pads – the one that caused our service error is on the top.

Epson Artisan 800 waste ink pad replacement.  Shown here are two replacement pads - one caused an error, one is pulled from a dead printer.

Review: That other way of routing your CIS tubing

Another CIS success story.

Kristen provides owners of the Epson Artisan 710 inkjet printer  – pictures, and a youtube video link of routing a continuous inking system (CIS) tubing through the back of the printer.  We still like the sensor method better, however Kristen mentioned that “the screw” was ultra-tight, or glued in place on her Artisan 700 inkjet printer.  We believe her and think this method also rocks.

Step-by-step process provided by Kristen.


Epson Artisan 710 CIS, CISS, Continuous ink system - routing of CIS tubing back behind printer.

Tools she used. Pair of blunt-nose pliers, and box cutter.

Where to “grind”:

Epson Artisan 710 grinding required to route the tubing to the back of the printer.

Epson Artisan 710 grinding required to route the tubing to the back of the printer.

Tubing looks very nice:

Epson Artisan 700 CIS tubing routing towards the back of the printer.  Comes out the back of the printer, tube lays flat.

Epson Artisan 700 CIS tubing routing towards the back of the printer. Comes out the back of the printer, tube lays flat.

The finished project:

Epson Artisan 710 CIS continuous inking system connected through the back of the printer.

Epson Artisan 710 CIS continuous inking system connected through the back of the printer. Saving money on ink SUCCESS!

(nice duplexer).  The Artisan 710 includes the duplexer standard (translation, Epson no longer charges $30.00 for this as add-on).


If you work better with video, Kiristen was nice enough to send that link as well:

Epson Ink Types Explained – Durabrite, Claria, K3?

When is generic ink ok?

Types of Epson ink explained.

Generic ink prints as good of a grocery list, or birthday flier, as branded ink.

Epson offers 4 different “ink formulas” or “brands” of ink and this reveals a lot about how Epson divides it’s customer base.  There are basically 4 different Epson “brands” of inks – durabrite (pigment), Claria (dye based), UltraChrome (pigment), and UltraChrome K3 (pigment).  It really comes down to pigment, or dye based inks, and which printer has the functions you need.

Go Generic:

For 90% of us, generic inks are not only cheaper, but they do the job very nicely thank you.  My grocery store list does not need to be printed on $4.00 a page paper, with $6000.00 a gallon ink.  But if I did decide to print that occasional greeting card, or special photo-in-a-frame-instead-of-a-real-gift, “last minute” anniversary present – I want it to look good.  And for 90% of us, generic inks are just fine.  Find a good dealer, and stick with them – refilling-remanufacturing an inkjet or laser toner cartridge is more of an art form than a standardized process.

Now if you intend to sell your work, or want it to last 500 years you might want to keep reading.

Durabrite Ultra (pigment):

Average users.

Epson durabrite pigment based inks.Durabrite Ultra, or as Epson parses it – DURABRite Ultra.  This is a pigment ink which means it is resistant to water, prints will last longer, however colors will be dull in comparison to dye based inks.  Pigment ink is “thicker” than dye based ink, so more clogging may occur.  Pigment based inks are organically based and much of the ink is soaked into the paper.  Good for archival purposes – when printed on the right paper, and kept behind glass (out of the sun), prints can last for decades.  If you use crummy paper, the pigmented ink may have trouble bonding to the paper, and increase the chances of fading, flaking, or missing colors.

Printers that use this ink are normally the 4-color printers that are designed for home use, and maybe small office.  If it’s a 4-color printer from Epson, most likely you are getting the “durable” durabrite “brand” inks.  Nothing fancy here.

Claria Hi-Definition (dye):

Photo enthusiast.

claria high definition ink dye based ink from Epson.Used mainly in the Epson Photo printers, as this dye based ink produces much brighter colors.  However, dye based ink is almost all water, so fading can be an issue.  As long at the materials are printed onto good paper – we cannot state that enough, paper makes all the difference – and kept from the sun and other elements, your prints should last decades as well, if not more. The Hi-Definition part is the “secret ingredient” – sounds like opportunistic marketing to us.  This is nothing more than a common dye based ink.

As mentioned above, this ink is standard with an Epson entry level photo printer – like the RX680, Artisan 800, or Photo 1400.  Most all generic inks we have run into are by default, “dye based” inks.  There may be some exceptions, but we have not seen them.

UltraChrome Hi-Gloss (pigment):

Photo hobbyist/professional/student

Ultrachrome Ink From Espon Pigment Based - Glossy SprayIf you are using this ink, you are a serious about what you are doing.  Maybe not making money at it quite yet, but honing your craft and the occasional paying gig.  Some really good printers use this “brand” of Epson ink.  Epson tries to overcome some of the dullness of the pigment inks (folks at this level can tell the difference) by adding a “glossy” component to the ink.  Designed for high end color photo printers. Included with the R1900, R1800.

UltraChrome K3 (pigment – blending focus):

Professional – printer – resale

Ultra Chrome K3 Inkjet Printer Cartridges From Epson.Three levels of black in these cartridges, so the color tuning has to be perfect.  Epson has engineered an incredible line of printers that will do professional work.  Epson is so proud of this “brand” of ink, they claim it is “suitable for high quality prints worthy of resale or gallery exhibitions.”

You can find this ink in the Epson Stylus Photo R2400, R2880, 3800, or 3880.  If you sell your work, and want it to last, this is the ink (and printers) for you.

Selling your artwork or prints, Epson inkjet printers are the way to go.


There is a HUGE disclaimer for Epson ink on their website – this also applies to any other inks you might use.  Sun will fade your pictures, and the elements will aid in their demise – from Epson’s own website:

“…displayed in a glass frame under indoor display conditions or in album storage. Actual print stability will vary according to media, printed image, display conditions, light intensity, temperature, humidity and atmospheric conditions. Epson does not guarantee the longevity of prints. For maximum print life, display all prints under glass or UV filter or properly store them.”

Well, most anything will last 100 years if you cover it up, or take care of it. Thanks Epson for the heads up.  Think paper.  Have to have good paper to start with.

News: Buying A New Printer Cheaper Than Ink

Buying A New Printer Cheaper Than Ink?

Epson inkjet printer costs are enormus, get smart about ink costs

Is buying a new printer really cheaper than going to the local store and purchasing ink cartridges? Yes. But more importantly, what does it reveal about the entire inkjet printer market model?

Great article by Ian Paul over at PC World about so called cheap inkjet printers, and the way the inkjet printer market works against the consumer.

Read here…

PC World Logo

Review: Continuous Ink System For Artisan 800 810 (CIS CISS Bulk)

Epson Artisan 800 – 810 With CIS System:

Epson Artisan 800 WIth CIS CISS Continuous Ink System Freedom To Print

The Artisan 800 and Artisan 810 are identical in configuration, look, shape, cartridges used, with the exception of one piece of hardware.  The Epson auto duplexer is included with the Artisan 810 – available as a $30.00 add-on for Artisan 800, and 700 owners.

Going to be the last printer we ever purchase – seriously. The highlights?

  1. Wireless – (not a big deal now, but will be a favorite feature quickly)
  2. Six (6) cartridge system that does not move (makes using a CIS a must do)
  3. Really nice quality prints on photo paper or plain paper
  4. No more worries about ink
  5. Fax built-in
  6. Scanner is 4800 dpi – think postage stamp blown up to the size of a billboard
  7. Media readers (mounts accessible networked volumes – nifty feature)
  8. Paper tray is small, but will hold plain paper and 4×6, or 5×7 photo paper in the top section. Holds two sizes.  Can automatically determine what paper is used or selected
  9. Large 7.8 inch display makes using without a computer easier than when connected to the printer.
  10. Optional $30.00 duplxer (prints on both sides automatically)
  11. Prints to CDs – and it looks cool, hidden CD tray

Great printer – but not if you are using Epson’s cartridge.  Incredibly, the Epson Artisan 800 is a perfectly built printer to take advantage of a continuous inking system (bulk ink).  The CIS has no moving parts, and ink is fed directly to the printer as it needs it.  Just a wonderful set-up, and can be had for cheap.  Think cost per page in the .02-.03 range – 4-color photo printing.  The Artisan 800 has 6 cartridges (colors) which makes photos, presentations, or even simple prints look fantastic.

Click here for youtube video

Epson Artisan CIS CISS Bulk Ink System 119.00 And Never Buy Another Cartridge

Artisan Owners $120.00 For CIS

Already own an Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 inkjet printer – no problem.  Kits are incredibly simple to install, and you can kiss buying cartridges goodbye.  Estimate paying in the $95-$120 range (with shipping and taxes) for a good system.  Prints rated at 3,000 for included ink, 5,000 pages after with simple $40.00 full set refill.

Easy installation for your Artisan 800 Epson CIS CISS Bulk Ink System.

Easy installation for your Artisan 800 Epson CIS CISS Bulk Ink System.

Easy installation for your Artisan 800 Epson CIS CISS Bulk Ink System.

Easy installation for your Artisan 800 Epson CIS CISS Bulk Ink System.

Press this reset button when the printer claims it's out of ink.

Artisan 800 Ink Sits Outside The Printer CIS CISS

Prints so cheap…you can print!

The ink sits outside the printer and is easily refilled.  As stated earlier, after the initial 40-50ml of ink that is included with the system is used (about 3,000 pages) – refills will run you $50.00 a box for all 6 colors (120ml each bottle).  Not a bad deal, and most likely the last ink you will ever purchase. A plus from us.

Check out this video and see what we mean about no moving parts.  The cartridges in the CI system do not move.

Epson Has An App For That – Epson Ink Pads Reset Utility

Parts inside your printer are at the end of their service life - Epson Provides A Solution.

We were completlely unaware that Epson even offered this kind of thing, but after spending the better part of two days on Google searching for Stylus Pro 1400 help, we stumbled across this gem.  If you have seen or heard of the following error message, “Parts inside your printer are reaching their end of service life”, or “Parts inside your printer are at the end of their service life” your printer is not really “dead” it just needs a simple reset of the waste ink counter.

High volume printers listen up:

Normally this type of issue occurs after a BUNCH of printing (10k-25k pages) and there may be legitimate parts that may need replacing, however in our experience (with an Epson Stylus Photo R200) a simple reset of the “waste pad counter” was all that was needed.  Actual replacement of the “waste ink pads” was not necessary in our case – print quality was not affected, and we did not notice an abnormal amount of “waste ink” coming out of the printer, or onto the prints.

We are watching you:

Epson wants your information, including the printer serial number as well as usage time, and it’s all required info:

Parts inside your printer are at the end of their service life?  There is an app for that.

Danger Will Robinson!

None really,we just like that show.  Epson does have a hefty disclaimer on the page:

Epson made reset utiity for some Epson stylus and photo inkjet printers.

Warning! For safe and reliable operation, do not use this software without replacing the ink pads. This software is intended to reset the ink pad counters and enable the printer to continue printing after a “maintenance needed” message, but only after the ink pads have been replaced. If this Ink Pad Reset software utility is used without actually replacing the ink pads there is a risk of ink spills within the printer that can cause electrical shorts or ink spills outside the printer causing property damage. Professional service is needed to open the printer and replace the ink pads, so Epson recommends service at an Epson Authorized Service Center. For more information please use the Epson website to locate an authorized service center or call Epson Technical Support at 562-276-1300.

All that information for a simple reset utility seems a bit much for us.  We don’t really like the fact that Epson will have written evidence of the printer serial number, length of ownership, name, address, et al. so we are sticking with the free SSC service utility for now – unless of course your printer is not supported by the SSC utility.

Update: 1-14-10:

We decided to download it:

We have an old Epson Stylus C120 here in the office, and we decided to go through the download process so we could see what this little program was like.  If you own one of the following printers, you are redirected to another page, and your personal info is not required:

  • Epson Stylus C120, CX4400, CX4450, CX7400, CX7450, CX8400, CX9400 FAX
  • Epson Stylus Photo R1900, R280, R2880, RX595, RX680

Epson reset utility screen shot for owners of the Epson Stylus C120, CX4400, CX4450, CX7400, CX7450, CX8400, CX9400, Photo R280, R2880, RX595, RX680

We filled it out, put our Epson Stylus C120 serial number in and got the following eMail:

Epson reset utility acticvation code - possible single use.

See that?  .exe file.  Not good for us Mac Heads.  So we went over to our 8 year old PeeCee to see what we got.

Just ran the program – first w/out printer attached (to see what it would do), and finally attached via USB (Epson Stylus C120).

The Program Info:

SSC Service Utility like functioality from Epson directly.

Disclaimer about actually replacing the ink waste pads:

parts inside your printer are at the end of their life?

Do we agree?

Why is this even necessary?

parts inside your printer are at the end of their life?

Now you tell us?

parts inside your printer are at the end of their life?

Ok, we plug in our Epson Stylus C120.

We don’t need it.

Program returns to the main screen.  We do not need the utility apparently.  So, no information about page count, or waste pad monitor secrets.  The printer either needs it, or it doesn’t.  There is not a program for Mac users. Must do it over a PeeCee.

Review: Epson T060 Ink Cartridge Cracked Open

A Look Inside The Epson T060 Series Inkjet Cartridge:


The T060420 Yellow Ink Cartridge Contains 15ml of ink.

Contains 17ml Of Ink:

Since Epson does not publish the amount of ink their cartridges contain, we took a syringe to this cartridge and discovered it holds a hefty 17ml of ink – it looks almost identical to the T048 series inkjet cartridges.  Compatible “copies” of this cartridge (when they were available) contained the same amount of ink.

T060420 Inside:

T060420 cracked open.  Not much room for ink with all the plastic dividers.

T060420 cracked open. Click the image for a larger view.

What you see above is the inside of an Epson T060420 inkjet cartridge.  The T060 series of cartridges consists of a black T060120, cyan T060220, magenta T060320, and yellow T060420, which are all the same size and shape.

The spring in this cartridge holds the ink in the chambers, and is compressed when the cartridge installed in the printer.  We are still not clear on how the ink-flow is effected by the compression of the spring.  This cartridge series is used in the following Epson inkjet printers:

Epson Stylus C68, C88, C88 Plus, CX3800, CX3810, CX4200, CX4800, CX5800f, and the CX7800.

At Least Its Refillable:

You can still purchase remanufactured cartridges for these printers (professionally refilled), or you can try and refill yourself (good luck).  What is not pictured here is the process to remove the back cover (easy), and our attempt to get the black tape off the thin plastic film holding in the ink (hard to impossible, and not necessary for refilling).  This went horribly and we got ink all over the place, which is why the cartridge pictured is covered in yellow ink.  There is no need to remove the cover or black plastic tape now that you can see where to drill holes to refill.  We are not big fans of refilling cartridges as remanufactured cartridges can be had for as little as $4.00 each. Refilling is a pain, and finding quality replacement ink in quantities less than 5 gallons is not easy.

Compare this cartridge to the “new” Epson inkjet cartridges here:

And the “older” T048 series cartridges:

Deal: Epson Stylus Photo 1400 – $149

Large Format Printing Goodness:

Note 5-6-09: Check out our un-boxing of this deal (now expired) here. has the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 inkjet printer for a low $153.00 including shipping.  We love this printer, and when combined with a CIS system it is a can’t miss deal for graphic designers.  It will print 13×19 large format prints as well as smaller sizes. Good for scrapbookers, designers, screen printers, or anyone who wants to print large format images.  The printer uses 6 individual ink cartridges (T079 series inks).

Newegg site says $199 – Use coupon code:

Use coupon code EMCLRNW44 for a $50.00 discount.  A full set of inks for this printer will run you around $118.00, and contain 11ml of ink each.  Click image for direct link.

This is by far the most inexpensive large format printer we have seen in a while.  We ordered (and posted photos) of a refurbished version we ordered and received last week.  This looks like the full retail version with the pretty box – not much difference otherwise.



Update 5-6-09: ran out, or got wise, as the price is now $249.99.  We received our Stylus Photo 1400 and posted pictures here.

Review: Epson T078 and T077 Compared And Split-Open

A Peek Inside The Epson T078, T077 Series Cartridges:

A little background…

The T078 has 11ml ink, the T077 contains 15ml

The T078 has 11ml ink, the T077 contains 15ml

Epson has employed a 2 cartridge marketing effort with the T077/T078 series inkjet cartridges for owners of the Epson Stylus Photo R260, R280, R380, RX580, RX595, or RX680 inkjet printers.  The T078 series of inkjet cartridges which have 7ml of ink per cartridge and cost $14.00 each, and the T077120* cartridge which will set you back $19.99 and contains 11ml of ink. Think of it as a pay me now, or pay me later type situation.

What is most interesting about these cartridges is what they reveal about Epson’s strategy for defeating or strongly deterring re-fillers or re-manufacturers.  More on this in another article.

Inside the T078 Series Inkjet Cartridge:

Getting into the T078 series cartridge (we used a T078520 photo cyan cartridge in our example below) was a pain.  You must first remove the outside plastic cover (8-tabbed), and then carefully remove a blanket of securely fastened black tape, while at the same time trying to be extremely careful not to rip the clear plastic tape that holds the ink inside the cartridge.  The black tape is not present on some older cartridges (over 1-year old); consider yourself lucky if you can find one of these.

Getting inside a pain…

t078-tabs-clips-cover t078-black-tape peel-black-tape-t078

Inside the T078520 cartridge: web site. web site.

The cartridges are actually quite insulting. When T078/T077 compatible cartridges from China were available they were completely filled with ink, and the part number distinction was not necessary for that simple reason.  Epson prices the smaller capacity T078 cartridge at $15.00 black and $12.99 for each of 5 FIVE colors.  Yes, you will use color when printing black only, so you will need color cartridges in the future.  The ratio of black to color cartridge replacement is about 4-1 on standard out of the box settings.  The higher ink volume T077 cartridges are just about completely full of ink and will run you $18-$19 each…no kidding.  They contain about 11ml of ink.

Cracked open T078520 cartridge.  This is al the ink you will get in a T078 series inkjet cartridge.  About 11ml.

Cracked open T078520 cartridge. This is al the ink you will get in a T078 series inkjet cartridge. About 11ml. Notice all the air space. Thanks Epson.

Lots of air-space inside the T078 series of inkjet cartridges.  So you are basically paying for ink and air. Stay classy Epson.

Inside the Epson T077 Series Ink Cartridge: web site web site

The T077* series of inkjet cartridges are what should come with the printer to begin with.  The cartridge is completely full of ink, with minimal airspace in the cartridge.  The problem is the price.  If you are printing photos, and most likely you are if you purchase this 6-color photo printer, printers use a ton of ink for photos, and replacing the cartridges can get expensive.

Same process as above getting into this cartridge.

T077520 inkjet cartridge cracked open.  Notice that the T077 series inkjet cartridges are just about completely full of ink.

T077520 inkjet cartridge cracked open. Notice that the T077 series inkjet cartridges are just about completely full of ink. The design is similar to the T078 series, but w/out the airspace.

So what to buy?

To understand which is the best deal, we now have to do a little math.  Need to figure cost per ml of ink; not gonna be pretty.  The T078 cartridge has 7ml of ink divided by $12.99 = $1.85 per ml of ink.  The T077* cartridge has 11ml of ink, and will run you $19.99 from the Epson store, so we end up with $1.81 per ml of ink.  This means the effective price per ml of ink in both the T078 and T077 series cartridges is practically the same. But what if we could get two (2) of the T078 cartridges for the same price (or less) as a T077 series cartridge?  This is a much better deal.  14ml of ink divided by $19.99 = $1.42 per ml of ink.  Much better deal.  Moral of the story? Stick with the T078 ink cartridges.  You will change them more often, but the actual cost per ml of ink could be markedly cheaper if you can get 2 of them for the same price as the T077 series.  Don’t you love how Epson does that?

  • T078 @ $12.99 each = $1.85 per ml of ink
  • T077 @ $19.99 each = $1.81 per ml of ink*
  • T078 x’s 2 @ $10.00 each = $1.42 per ml of ink

You can check pricing on Epson T078/T077 OEM cartridges here.

* At this time, T077 cartridges are available from Epson direct only.