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Printer Inkjet Strategy
Old 07-26-2009, 09:37 AM   #1
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Printer Inkjet Strategy

Yesterday, at a garage sale, I bought a Brother MFC210C printer for $8. I bought it because it came with no less than 10 new inkjet cartridges (and four more in the printer). Three of the cartridges weren't for that printer, but, coincidentally fit my Officejet G85. IOW, $270 worth of OEM cartridges.

True, the (sealed) cartridges are past their expiration date by amounts ranging from 3 months to *cough* five years *cough*, and it's going to take at least two years before I can use them up. But the printer works fine right now, and perhaps they won't all be bad.

This will be my strategy from now on. For everyday printing, I'll buy a new garage sale printer (with at least one spare cartridge) for a few bucks whenever I'm close to running out of ink.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This will be my strategy from now on. For everyday printing, I'll buy a new garage sale printer (with at least one spare cartridge) for a few bucks whenever I'm close to running out of ink.
I've heard people claim that it's not unusual to find new inkjet printers on sale for less than the cost of a set of cartridges for the printer. These people claim that they use the cartridges that come with such printers until the cartridges run out of ink at which point the printer is thrown out and a search is launched for another deal printer.

I've never tried this, so I don't know if it actually works, but if it does, it seems like an incredible waste.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:21 AM   #3
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Sometimes the cartridges in those new printers are low-capacity "starter" cartridges. By "starter" they mean "get you to buy new cartridge sooner."
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:31 AM   #4
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until the cartridges run out of ink at which point the printer is thrown out and a search is launched for another deal printer.

I've never tried this, so I don't know if it actually works, but if it does, it seems like an incredible waste.
It certainly is a waste, but not as much as the waste caused by printer cartridges no longer being refillable. A new black ink cartridge for my cheapo Lexmark printer (which I don't even like) would cost almost as much as replacing the printer. On top of that, the cartridge was still a third full when it stopped printing, and the color cartridge is more than half full. But what good is a printer that won't print black? It appears to be a case of waste that was deliberately designed and built into the system.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:59 AM   #5
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But what good is a printer that won't print black?
In a pinch, I've taken a document, did a "Select-All" and set the font to BLUE. You get your document, it is readable, and no black ink used.

We also have one printer that prints absolutely nothing in black at the normal setting, but if I crank the "Quality" level up just one step, it prints fine (a bit slower, and probably using a bit more ink, but that's OK).


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It certainly is a waste, but not as much as the waste caused by printer cartridges no longer being refillable. A new black ink cartridge for my cheapo Lexmark printer (which I don't even like) would cost almost as much as replacing the printer.

....

It appears to be a case of waste that was deliberately designed and built into the system.
A couple things - can you find cheap 3rd party ink? I am babying the old Canon printers in my family, an i350, i475 and a iP2000 - I can get ink for them for ~ $2 per cart, and they least me many months. I would scoop any up at a garage sale, but I don't do garage sales, you can buy a new printhead for ~$30. On ebay, these old printers marked "new in box" go for a couple hundred bucks if you can find them.

http://tinyurl.com/3dvreu

And they do need to leave some ink in the carts unused. They can't predict the exact use, and going dry can be bad for the printer.

I think the problem with the "cheap printer" and expensive carts is that they are marketing to a group that values low initial cost over low lifetime cost. So those of us who value low lifetime cost are left out of the picture. I'd go color laser, but they are big and bulky.

-ERD50
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:00 AM   #6
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It is a waste:

A perfectly good machine thrown away
Electronic components that can foul water sources, not recycled

. . . and other ecological issues

But no different than trying to replace razor blades in a perfectly good razor. Ever priced the replacement blades when compared to the cost of a new one?

The manufacturers want you to buy a new machine.

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:22 AM   #7
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If the cartridges don't print, can't you trade them in at Staples or one of the other office supply places for a gift card? I remember hearing about a $3 per cartridge amount.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:25 AM   #8
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Yes, true for Staples. There are some limitations on how many in a month IIRC.

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:51 AM   #9
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Staples wouldn't take my Epson cartidges for trade-in. They excluded certain brands.

Last August I bought a Brother HL-2140 black only Laser Printer. It was on sale at Office Max for $120 with a $60 promo discount = $60. Then there was a $30 gas gift card if you were a MaxPerks member. It took a while to get the gas card but final cost for the printer was $30.

It's a great printer. It had a starter cartridge which is just now warning us that it's low. I shopped around for a new cartridge (standard size) and yes, it's more than the price of the printer - $48-51 locally. I ended up buying it on Amazon for $32.89 with free shipping. This new one should last us for more than a year, we don't print too much anymore.
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:05 PM   #10
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But the printer works fine right now, and perhaps they won't all be bad.
Excellent buy for $8 Al. You may want to only use the back side of paper that you would otherwise discard when printing items. This way your LBYM strategy will be complete.

I'm still using an inkjet printer that is over a dozen years old (Cannon BJC-250). I refill the cartridge at home with a kit I got years ago and puchase the ink alone. I expect it to never die.
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:15 PM   #11
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I'm sure most you already do this, but for those that don't it is an option, we always have our printer set to print Black by default so that on the occasions we actually want to print color we have to undergo a few extra mouse clicks.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:37 PM   #12
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Excellent buy for $8 Al. You may want to only use the back side of paper that you would otherwise discard when printing items. This way your LBYM strategy will be complete.

I'm still using an inkjet printer that is over a dozen years old (Cannon BJC-250). I refill the cartridge at home with a kit I got years ago and puchase the ink alone. I expect it to never die.
I also use a Cannon BJC-250. I refill the cartridges with an ink refill kit. I get 2 maybe 3 refills on a cartridge and then the printing quality goes way down and I need to buy a new one for about $30. Is there anything I can do to make the cartridges last longer?

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Old 07-26-2009, 04:59 PM   #13
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I also use a Cannon BJC-250. I refill the cartridges with an ink refill kit. I get 2 maybe 3 refills on a cartridge and then the printing quality goes way down and I need to buy a new one for about $30. Is there anything I can do to make the cartridges last longer?

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I've used this place before - they have remfg carts for the BJC=250; $50/5pk

CANON BJC 250 Ink Cartridges & Printer Supplies

I get a 10pk for half that for my iP2000/i350/i475s...

CANON Pixma IP2000 Ink, Inkjet Cartridges & Printer Supplies

Mine don't have a "chip", I don't think they are 're-manufactured' they are 3rd party new. Just a plastic tank, sponge, vent cap and some ink.

-ERD50
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:23 PM   #14
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I get 2 maybe 3 refills on a cartridge and then the printing quality goes way down and I need to buy a new one for about $30.
During the last 8 years or so I have used only two cartridges for refill. I'm at about 4 years on the current one so I bet it craps out tomorrow. The last time that I bought ink (4-2-08) I paid $7.98 for 3 "bottles" of the stuff. Each bottle is good for about 3 refills. Unit refill cost is less than $1 each. The last time that I purchased a single new cartridge it was in the $20 range.
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:54 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info. I guess I don't know what "remanufactured" means. I assumed that they just refill one with ink (like I do) and then charge for the service.

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Old 07-27-2009, 02:16 PM   #16
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It is a waste:

A perfectly good machine thrown away
Electronic components that can foul water sources, not recycled

. . . and other ecological issues
Goes back to a thread we had recently about quality and a throwaway society.

The bottom line is that it costs almost nothing to build these things with cheap overseas labor, and it costs a LOT to repair them locally. This tends to result in the situation where something costs as much to fix as to buy new, so we junk the old and buy the new.

It's unfortunate, but that's just the economics of it...
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:54 PM   #17
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The bottom line is that it costs almost nothing to build these things with cheap overseas labor, and it costs a LOT to repair them locally. This tends to result in the situation where something costs as much to fix as to buy new, so we junk the old and buy the new.
The megacorp where my wife used to work threw away a laser printer/fax/copier that looked spankin' new. This was 8-10 years ago, and this machine might have cost $1000 then. "It's broken", the IT guy said, and my wife asked to take it home, figuring I might be able to look into it. Have I written that frugality is one of the characteristics that we share?

One rainy day, for lack of other things to do, I plugged it in. "Paper Jam" was the message. But where? For the life of me, I couldn't find any paper jam. That was until I started to disassemble it.

Deep in the paper path was a wad of paper, that could not be seen and removed without taking the machine partly apart. Once I got it working and printing out the diagnostic and status page, found out that it got less than 100 pages through it.

Went on the manufacturer Web site (this is a premier PC maker), where they admitted that this machine was susceptible to jam, and offered to send a retrofit kit to fix the problem.

My wife is still using this machine as I write this. It is easier to LBYM when one is handy.
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