29 September 2011

Inkjet chip resetters

I knew that printers cheat you re ink usage, but I didn't know there was a workaround for the problem.  Here's a tip from Oregon Expat:
So, now we know we’re being scammed. And those of us with an environmental bent are also fairly pissed off about the waste. But what can we do, when the printer locks up due to the “out of ink” message?

We can reset the chip.

Ink cartridge chips are the latest tool used by printer manufacturers to make sure that customers can’t override the low ink warning. The tiny electronic chips monitor ink usage, or, in many cases, simply count pages. Once the predefined threshold of a chip is passed, it will lock up the printer. The warning cannot be overridden.

But it turns out that there is a whole community of irritated printer owners who do not like being scammed. They have started up companies catering to other irritated printer owners, and one of the things they do is take ink cartridges and reverse engineer the chips. Then they build inexpensive “chip resetters” that exist for one purpose only: to reset the chip’s page count or ink level to zero [zero "usage," presumably].
Details on how to do this are at the link.  You learn something every day.


  1. To the best of my knowledge, the first chipped inkjet cartridges were incorporated into Epson's stylus photo printers back in 2000. Chip resetters appeared within less than a year of the chip technology, along with supposedly better inks and continuous feed bulk ink systems.

    Yes, Epson and others charge more than the cost of gold for inks. But modern archival pigment inks are beyond the technical means for third-party ink providers to match (rounded particles "enrobed" in resin in Epson's pigment ink technology). My cost per print using manufacturer's inks isn't worth my the time and money doing printer profiling for third party inks, not to mention the fuss of refilling and resetting. There are people who find the effort worthwhile, and I congratulate them on their tenacity.

    For low end inkjet printing that doesn't require accurate color or print longevity, resetting and refilling can be economical depending on what your time is worth.

  2. But the other point is that these resetters let you get more ink out of the original high-quality cartridge without refilling it (see the link).

  3. Original poster here...chip resetters may have appeared a decade ago, but they must be reengineered for every different ink cartridge model. It's an arms race between the consumers and the manufacturers -- a manufacturer puts out a new, harder to break chip and the refilling community immediately sets about reverse engineering it.

    As for the inks -- from everything I read (and I did a boatload of research, especially in refiller web forums), a high quality third-party ink will definitely color match the manufacturer's ink. It might not last forever, but frankly neither did my Canon ink, as evidenced by the badly faded printouts and photos on my refrigerator. In addition, the refilling itself is not difficult. But you do have to be a tad geeky.

    Lastly, I envy BJN for viewing cost per print as too low to warrant fussing. For our household income, that cost is quite high: replacing all six cartridges would cost 86 euros -- or, at today's exchange rate, $116 USD. We've had this printer less than three months and already three of the cartridges claim they need replacing. So 20 seconds of work with the resetter is totally worth it, and half an hour of refilling will be, too.

  4. I have filled several Dell inkjet cartridges until I got a message telling me to replace it, with no work around.
    The color quality is perfect. If I had a resetter for the Dell chips I would do it again.
    The time involved is minimal and the savings would be huge.
    I guess eventually someone will make a new chip or a resettter for my old cartridges.


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