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Question about cheap printer cartridges
Old 07-19-2011, 02:26 AM   #1
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Question about cheap printer cartridges

I have purchased several cheap color printer cartridges for an old Lexmark printer. They came from vendors with different names and supposedly were new Lexmark (didn't say refilled) tho the prices would suggest otherwise. Just wondering what causes them to change color. They start out printing black as expected. Eventually after a few months of quite low usage, the first 20 or so lines on are page are black (or dark blue) and the rest are magenta.
Interestingly if the printing is stopped for a few minutes (paper jam), the first few lines on the next page are black and then the rest are magenta.......almost like trying to pump too fast from an oil reservoir and some colors can't be replenished fast enough.

I mainly care about being able to read the document so the color change isn't a major problem. I don't know total page output compared to what a
good cartridge would do ........only that the good cartridge costs 3-4x as much. Strange that product from 2 different suppliers does the same thing.....perhaps the supplier is the same operating under different names because of the poor quality or perhaps it is one supplier and 2 importers.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:49 AM   #2
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The problem with ink jets is the printer is cheap and the supplies are very expensive. There are laser printers available for under $100. They can sit unused for months and then print out a nice clean document. The inkjet printers I've owned always seemed to have clogged print heads and the ink would evaporate over time.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:53 AM   #3
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I'm guessing that the printer actually prints black with the black ink plus magenta ink, and what you are seeing is the last gasps of the black cartridge. Or clogging.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:03 AM   #4
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We have tried the cheap cartridges in our Dell All-In-one (scan, fax, print, copy) ink jet printer. The Dell cartridges work much better and are worth the extra cost. We use it every day so there's no problem with drying out.

DW operates a home-based business that requires a reliable, readable paper fax. I know that's primitive, but that's the way it is.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:08 AM   #5
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Clogging or drying is pretty likely. I found a cheap $65 wireless Brother printer/scanner/copier/fax that has small but cheap cartridges. A 10 pack with 4 black and 2 of each of the other colors was $11. I'm sure they won't last too many pages, but at just over a buck apiece I won't cry if/when they dry out. I've had mine for 4 months and haven't replaced a cartridge. This is the first printer I've really been happy with. MFCJ265W is the model.

I looked at laser printers but I think they were black & white for the low price and I preferred to have a scanner, even though a digital camera image works for most uses. Laser printers also require more power to start up, though that's not a big issue for a light user.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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You will get a variety of input on this. Here's one:
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Originally Posted by JakeBrake View Post
The Dell cartridges work much better and are worth the extra cost.
Yet, in my experience, I'v been using the 3rd party carts in my Canon iP2000 since 2004, and it has worked well - no problems. Based on our paper usage, we print ~ 90 pages/mo on average (kids homework, taxes, misc), and a set of 2 carts ( ~ $2 each) usually last about 3 months.

I do have a few more printers like this in the family, I have had to take the print head out to soak/clean those occasionally, but I think that is from long periods of little use. I don't think I ever had to do that with my own printer, that gets a bit more regular use (multiple users).


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Originally Posted by Nodak View Post
The problem with ink jets is the printer is cheap and the supplies are very expensive.
Unfortunately, they don't make the iP2000 line anymore with these cheap 3rd party carts. Most of the new ones are pretty high $ carts. I've seen used printers in this line going for far more than their original price. I should give them my email address at our local good will, if they see one, let me know.

The problem I have with lasers are that they are big & heavy (esp for color, basically 4 printers in one). A complete set of color toner is not so cheap. I'd hat to do w/o color, some printouts need it to make sense (colored, highlighted text, charts, etc). I will consider a laser when this old workhorse dies, but it won't fit where I have it now, so some re-org will be needed, kind of a pain.

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Old 07-19-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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We have a Canon all in one we use for making copies and color printing when we need it (free with DH's purchase of a Mac) and a nice tiny footprint (not much bigger than a sheet of paper) HP B/W laser ($79) we use for everyday printing, as we hardly ever need something printed in color. The laser toner lasts forever and DH just buys Canon color cartridges as needed for the color printer.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Eventually after a few months of quite low usage, the first 20 or so lines on are page are black (or dark blue) and the rest are magenta.
Yup, your printer's nozzles are drying out and clogging.

There's a bewildering array of products designed to help you flush the nozzles and restore them to their original pristine functioning. However the root cause of the problem is that they're drying out from lack of use.

There are two long-term solutions:
1. Use the printer more often... at least every other day.
2. Buy a laser printer.*

* We bought a color laser when our daughter was in high school, and that was a good decision for her last-minute projects. Now that she's out of the house, I'm seriously considering going back to B&W. I print one or two color photos a year, mostly for family photos or coffee mugs, and I don't think the convenience is worth the cost. Wal-Mart & Kinko's can handle that issue.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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My favorite inkjet cartridge is none.

I'll choose laser over inkjet any day. Prices of laser printers have come way down (even for color).

Just walk into a store like Wally World and you'll see an inkjet printer adverstised for about $29. But the fine print is the price of ink cartrdige refills.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:14 PM   #10
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One thing I thought about recently is how much less printing I do these days versus, say, ten years ago. I think the only thing I've printed out in the past two months are boarding passes! I use an H-P inkjet but based on the comments in this thread I may check out laser when it comes time to replace (although I had one H-P a while ago that lasted ages).
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:19 PM   #11
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I've been seeing totally functioning laser printers showing up at Goodwill stores. Picked up a used Lexmark laser printer (B/W) on a 50% off day at a Goodwill for only about $12. Downloaded the driver, and prints out fine (one of the fastest lasers I've ever printed on). But decided to give the printer away to my niece as I already have a laser.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:24 PM   #12
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Thanks all for the input. I can believe the clogging and drying phenomenon.
Only thing that mystifies me is why I never experienced that when I bought
the "real" more expensive replacements years ago. Usage was similar to today....usually 6-10 pages a quarter. Inks are different for the "real" replacements?
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:12 PM   #13
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Been fighting the inkjet battle for a number of years now. Did the cheap refills bit and ended up in a long term battle to get them returned with a refund. So then I was buying OEM cartridges and going broke, since DW does a lot of printing for her business, and also hasn't bought into the PDF printer concept yet. So I found an HP color laserjet for $129. The cost-per-page difference is supposed to be huge, like 10 times more for an inkjet. I just got it in the mail today, so I haven't set it up yet. I hope I'm not disappointed. Hopefully between the laserjet and getting DW to print to PDF when she just wants to keep something, we can cut our printing costs significantly.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:25 PM   #14
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My solution has been to refill the cartridges. Once you get the hang of it, it is fast and easy. Not for everyone.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:10 AM   #15
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We have three inkjet printers; mine, hers and the store's. We end up using all three of them for store stuff and usually in color so inkjet seems a better option for now.

DW's printer started skipping colors after using a local ink refiller/seller. Canon cartridges are not refilled by this company so I bought "new" cartridges from him to try out on DW's printer since she does so much more color stuff than I do. I tried to clean the head using the various methods found on the internet to no avail. I ended up buying a new printhead...it was almost as much as a new printer; in fact, we looked at replacing hers but could not find one that did what her's did in the same footprint and price level. We stopped buying the no-name cartridges.

The shop printer is an HP and I can refill the carts. and have done so for a while. So far no problems other than a few extra purge cycles to get them going sometimes.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:32 AM   #16
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We went to a Cannon B&W only laser all in one years ago ( have two , last one was $99 at frys) anything color we put on a thumbdrive, and have kinkos or officemax print it.

Laser cartridge refills, we refill at home with supplies from " Printer Ink Warehouse " . refill the laser cartridge 3 or 4 times before they break, for the price of one new cartridge. Quite easy , no mess like ink refills. Bought a new cartridge first time ( cost $110 for a $99 printer). now we always have a refilled spare ready to go.

HP laser toner cartridge refills require a chip replacement in the cartridge, not just toner when they run out ( Thanks a lot HP. ).
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:36 AM   #17
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I tried to clean the head using the various methods found on the internet to no avail. I ended up buying a new printhead...it was almost as much as a new printer; in fact, we looked at replacing hers but could not find one that did what her's did in the same footprint and price level.
With most inkjet printer makers, the head is either non-replaceable, or it's a part that can only be ordered as a "service" item (basically, if it needs to be replaced under warranty). Canon is one of the rare brands where you can buy the head as a "supplies" item. Depending on the model, sometimes it comes with cartridges, sometimes it's on its own. They can indeed be expensive, but there can be lots of good reasons to keep going with an existing printer: you may have a stock of ink cartridges to use up, not want to add to landfill, not be able to get drivers for the new printer on your old computer, etc.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
....

HP laser toner cartridge refills require a chip replacement in the cartridge, not just toner when they run out ( Thanks a lot HP. ).
We have had a series of laser printers for the workhorse printing here in Oregon (notices to tenants, etc.). I have an HP color inkjet all-in-one on my desk for the scan and copy functions and so we have color for the odd times we need it. Think HP took some legal flak for having it's chips report out of ink and stopping print function well before the cartridges were really out.

We've another HP inkjet down south and are curious about the best way to maintain function of the cartridges - had to go through the clean and soak with water drill when we got north with this printer. Think we pulled the cartridges and put them in a baggie in the fridge when we left La Quinta - anyone have great methods to maintain function when the cartridges won't be used for six months or so?
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:57 AM   #19
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With most inkjet printer makers, the head is either non-replaceable, or it's a part that can only be ordered as a "service" item (basically, if it needs to be replaced under warranty). Canon is one of the rare brands where you can buy the head as a "supplies" item. Depending on the model, sometimes it comes with cartridges, sometimes it's on its own. They can indeed be expensive, but there can be lots of good reasons to keep going with an existing printer: you may have a stock of ink cartridges to use up, not want to add to landfill, not be able to get drivers for the new printer on your old computer, etc.
Right. We've got a series of the old Canon printers here - a ip2000, i350, i475.

I have replaced one print head, and it was well worth it. ~ $35, and just snaps in. Still getting many years of use out of that printer with these ~$2.50 carts.

My ip2000 has never had a major clog (probably because it gets more regular use), the others have had occasional clogs, but it is easy to soak the head and wipe it down. I also drilled a hole in an empty cart and add isopropal alc and run a cleaning cycle with that for stubborn clogs.

These printers are over 7 years old, ~ $80 when new. OK, got curious and looked at the notes I make on the printer cover when I replace a cart. 41 carts over 7 years, ~ 6 carts/year (replace a pair of clr/blk ~ every 4 months). At ~ $2.50 per cart, that's $15/year in ink. Not bad.

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Old 07-20-2011, 10:33 AM   #20
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I have a bunch of cartridges in baggies in the fridge. I get them at garage sales for almost nothing.

The Brother MFC 210c printer is good because the cartridges are translucent and easy to refill.


I got a spare printer at a garage sale for a few bucks; I bought it just for the cartridges that were in it. It's nice not to think of the expense when printing photos.

Instead of buying a calendar with someone else's photos, we do this, changing the photo each month:



Plus we have a "Photo of the month:"

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