Can inkjet printers be hacked?

Ars Technica have an article about something I have long suspected, inkjet printers are filthy, lying thieves!

The article quotes figures from an Epson sponsored study (!) which show that inkjt printers regularly report that they are out of ink when there can be as much as 60% of the ink left in the cartridge.

Not surprisingly Epson printers came out of the study best with figures of 20% of ink remaining when the cartridge reports empty.

The really annoying thing about this is that all the manufacturers are aware of it but they do nothing to fix it. If a cartridge reports as empty, the printer will cease to print, even if there is plenty of ink left.

Does anyone know, is there a way to get around this (apart from buying a laser printer)?

3 Responses to “Can inkjet printers be hacked?”

  1. 1 Paddy

    Hi Tom, with the over-pricing of ink cartridges you think they’d be happy with their margins, but with profit comes greed I suppose.

    Perhaps an answer to your question, I have a lexmark and I’ve removed old cartridges in the past and replaced the with the same old. My printer recognises the change and assumes the ink levels are full and so continues to print blank pages, so hopefully in your case it will continue printing properly.

    I’m not a printer expert however and ink level detection or whatever you may call it :) may be more sophistocated with more advanced/expensive printers.. Either way it’s worth a try.

    Best of luck

  2. 2 Olivier Ansaldi

    The really annoying thing about this is that all the manufacturers are aware of it but they do nothing to fix it.

    Huh… they are more than aware of it, they designed it this way! The manufacturers follow the Gillette model of cheap razor and expensive blades, with the added twist that they can expire your ink-cartridge at will.

    There’s at least one way around the problem: you might be able to use ink-cartridge refills (simply google it!). I decided to give up on inkjets and buy a cheap laser printer. Go for the printer with the cheapest toners. The quality is superior to inkjets for b/w which fits my purposes. Obviously if you’re printing photos, this won’t be an option.

  3. 3 PK

    usually when my printer tell me my ink is low or empty…i will take it and shake like a toner…after some shaking i can still continue printing (not for long thought)

    take a look at my blog on inkjet cartridge.


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