We receive several questions, in person, on the phone and by email, and we've noticed that some of them are recurrent. We decided to answer here those questions about printers as well as toner and ink cartridges. Let's demystify the world of printers and cartridges.
1 Is it worth having my printer repaired?
A few things to keep in mind
► For laser printers, manufacturers provide a selection of parts that may be ordered and replaced in the machine.
► In the inkjet system, only the manufacturers Epson and Brother provide parts for replacement. For all other brands, it's not possible to replace a part that's broken or defective.
► However, for those inkjet machines of other brands, for which it's not possible to replace parts, a mechanical issue can often be fixed without replacing a part. A complete cleaning or the conversion from compatible to OEM cartridge may solve the problem.
► On the inkjet printers, there is no clear error code displaying when an issue occurs. An inspection as part of a cleaning is needed to issue a diagnosis. Also, we're noticing that, for approximately 75% of those cases, a complete cleaning is enough to solve the problem.
Questions to be asked
Did you already stock on cartridges? If you've already purchased a certain amount of ink or toner, there's a good chance it will be worth having the printer repaired.
How much did you pay for the machine? Good quality printers may have a long life-span when they are maintained and repaired when needed.
2 Do I still need to purchase colour cartridges for my inkjet printer, if I only use black?
Yes. The HP 923C is in the bygone days. Today, if one of the cartridges is missing or empty, colour or black, it is then impossible to print.
Not only is it necessary to maintain a sufficient quantity for each colour at all times; it's also essential to use each cartridge on a regular basis to ensure the proper humidity level in the print heads, in order to prevent the ink from drying. Therefore, it's important to print a photo each week.
3 Why buying OEM cartridges if they are so much more expensive?
We could invert the question. Why not? What will happen if I buy compatible cartridges? Since it is said that an image is worth a thousand words, here are photos of our latest misadventures with compatible cartridges.
Yes, OEM cartridges are sold at a higher price than compatible or recycled cartridges, but, for OEM cartridges, this price difference also translates into savings on the cost-per-page and on the components' life-span (Ex. Compatible cartridges reduce greatly the fuser unit's life-span.)
4 What is the difference between "Matte Black" and "Photo Black" ink?
The inkjet system was conceived to print images, poster presentations and photos. Ink is more expensive to manufacture than toner and the choice of paper is important with the inkjet system.
We have seen that certain inkjet printers take more than three colours. It's also possible to have two types of black ink. This is a characteristic of professional printers meant for photos.
The difference between these two types of black ink is in the finish they offer. Matte black needs to be used in combination with matte paper. Its finish is without reflection and it's often seeked for poster presentations, for a smooth, easy to read and non-reflective finish. With this type of ink, it is important to use the proper paper, because matte black ink is ejected in greater quantities to create an image. Therefore, it requires a paper that has a certain absorption capacity, without which ink spill may appear.
The photo black ink was conceived to produce a glossy finish, to match the reflectivity of photo paper. As its name indicates, it's meant for the world of photograpgy. It provides a richer texture and its reflectivity contributes to enhance the darkness of its pigment.
The choice of one black instead of the other depends on the type of work to be printed and on the aesthetic qualities that are seeked.
Good to know!
Only one of the two black cartridges may be "active" at a time when printing. This means that one must configure the printer into "photo black" or "matte black" mode before printing. It is profitable to minimize the frequency of the changes between one mode to the other. It's a way to make savings. Since the printers are equipped with only one valve for both matte and photo black cartridges, each new configuration involves flushing the ink in the valve and refilling it.
5 Why are cartridges so expensive?
We suggest two answers.
First, original cartridges are truly sophisticated products. The polymerization of toner particles, as we have seen, involves a recipe made out of resin and a controlled chemical treatment. In the case of ink, the mixing of solvants with resin and additives at a high temperature is a rigorous process that's performed over several steps. Also, the container (the cartridge) and all its parts. Finally, in order to produce these cartridge that offer high quality textures and images, of course, there is research.
« Inks must be formulated to withstand heating to 300 degrees, vaporization, and being squirted at 30 miles per hour, at a rate of 36,000 drops per second, through a nozzle one third the size of a human hair. After all that it must dry almost instantly on the paper. » (1)
The other reason is the market. Have you notices that rebates are scarce for cartridges? Instead, one will find instant rebates on printers. Consumers tend to "buy a price". While the machine is inexpensive, it does not go the same for its cartridges, which will need to be replaced frequently over the printer's life-spa.
Retailers make the most of this... Finally, that inkjet printer with wireless network, tactile screen and a 1200 x 1200 ppp, that is on sale with 70% off, will it truly save you money?
1. Robert L. Mitchell http://www.computerworld.com/article/2469251/emerging-technology/hp-explains-why-printer-ink-is-so-expensive.html