How to Save on Printing Costs

save-on-printing-costsAre you tired of forking out big bucks for your printer ink? Most people would say yes to this question but have not much of an idea of how to remedy it.

By purchasing the right printer, using good quality generic cartridges and learning to use your printer correctly can stop it from guzzling your valuable ink can save you a fortune in printing costs. By following our advice you could easily cut your printing costs by as much as 300% without compromising on print quality. So lets take a look at the best ways to start saving you money.

1. Make sure you buy the right printer

This is without doubt the best place to start as choosing the correct printer to begin with will not only save you a fortune but also will save you a load of frustration. While there are a huge variety of printers to choose from don’t be conned by the sales person as most of them know little about the techy side of printers and they may even unknowingly lead you to a bad choice.

When shopping for a new printer always look for a printer which uses individual cartridges for each colour. Never make the mistake of buying a printer which uses only 2 cartridges as they are always expensive to replace. Canon Inkjet Printers are by far the best choice when it comes to choosing a new printer.

2. Print using Draft Mode

If you change your printer from whatever mode it is in to “Draft Mode” then it will instantly start to save you ink every time you print. This is because draft mode is a lower resolution to all other modes which in turn means that every time you print only a portion of the nozzles squirt out ink.

Although draft mode will output a lower quality print you will find that it is still fine for invoices or general document printing. By switching to draft mode you could save a whopping 50% of ink immediately.

3. Switch your printer to Grayscale

If you are wanting to print mainly black and white documents then changing the printing mode to grayscale can save your valuable coloured inks by only using the black. Not all inkjet printers however will use only the black as many of them mix colours to produce their own version of black.

Often inkjet printers will use all of the colours for grayscale as it keeps ink flowing through the printhead nozzles which in turn prevents old ink from drying and blocking the nozzles. Try checking your printer manual to see which mode will achieve your desired preferences.

4. Switch to Generic Ink Cartridges or Toner

Ten years ago the quality of non genuine cartridges was very poor. The ink would leak everywhere, often cartridges wouldn’t fit properly or they would Jam up the internals of the printer, toner would leak all through the printer or the ink would dry in the printhead and prints would have lines through them or even complete colours missing.

These days high quality compatible cartridges are equal to the genuine OEM cartridges if purchased from a reputable dealer. The price saving is amazing and the print quality and page yields are equal or greater than the more expensive brand name cartridges.

5. Switch to an Ecofont

An ecofont is simply a font with holes along the centre of each letter. By inserting these small holes into each letter it can actually save you around 50% of your ink use. Not everyone likes the look of the ecofont however when printed in small font sizes there is little difference visually.

I personally wouldn’t bother using the ecofont however if you really want to penny pinch and you do large amounts of document printing then it will definitely save you a heap of ink. You can download the ecofont here.

Ink Cartridges cannot be recognised

epson_not_recognisedAfter installing a new Epson ink cartridge your printer comes up with the following message: “Ink Cartridges Cannot be Recognised“. This is a very common problem with most Epson printers and there are a number of reasons why this can occur. Most people immediately blame the ink cartridge (especially if it is a generic cartridge) however many times the fault lies in the actual printer software which tries to detect either a faulty or non genuine cartridge having been installed in the printer. Epson seem to be hell bent on trying to deny the consumer the choice to use a cheaper “Generic” cartridge rather than using the over priced Epson cartridge. Often a generic cartridge will be used for the first time and the “Ink Cartridge cannot be Recognised” error will occur immediately. The printer software is actually able to detect the difference between the Generic Printer Cartridges microchip and the genuine cartridges microchip resulting in the error message appearing and the printer refusing to operate.

Solutions to the generic cartridge to not being recognised

There are several methods used to overcome this issue. If you experience the above mentioned situation of replacing only one cartridge with a generic one and having the error message appear then try the following solutions. 1. Remove the offending cartridge from the printer, make sure that the small microchip is clean and intact. Replace the cartridge, unplug the printer at the wall for about 20 mins and the turn back on. Often this resets the printers memory and will overcome the error message. 2. Remove all cartridges and replace ALL OF THEM with compatible cartridges. Very often when first changing to compatible cartridges we have found this to work. The reason being the fact that the printer is unable to now differentiate between the micro chips on each cartridge as they are all using the same kind of generic micro chip.

Another method which often works is to remove all of the cartridges and try to just install them one at a time. As stated previously the Epson firmware is very complicated and the user must be willing sometimes to try various methods to trick the printer into accepting the cartridges.

What else can cause the Generic Ink not being recognised

Epson Micro ChipThere are several other issues which can also prevent a generic cartridge from being recognised. 1. a faulty micro chip on the cartridge. Although quite uncommon it can occur as with any mass produced item. 2. an out dated micro chip. This is especially so with compatible inks as often an Epson compatible cartridge will have several version micro chips to keep up with Epson’s software updates which they use to try and combat the use of generic ink cartridges. Without the newest version of the compatible cartridge you may find this occurring.

Will some printers simply not accept generic cartridges?

The answer to this is a definite NO. There is no Epson printer which I have come across in the past 10 years that simply wont accept the use of generic cartridges. In saying this there are some exceptions such as The printer is from another country and is region locked and you have purchased cartridges from a different region. No matter what you do they will not work until you install cartridges from the correct region. This is a very common occurrence when people purchase their cartridges on Ebay as often they are shipped from overseas suppliers.

Another exception is when a cartridge has an out dated microchip. If the printer has installed an updated software version that has been designed to combat the generic microchip on the cartridge then it will not work. The only solution to this is to make sure that you cartridges have the very latest microchip attached.

Final thoughts on Epson Printers

To summarise, more than often the “Ink Cartridge Cannot be Recognised” error message is not caused by a faulty cartridge but is simply the result of a very poor firmware set up in the modern Epson printers. Believe it or not any print consumables retailer will tell you that this is the most common complaint of any printer issue. Epson use it primarily to try and stop the end user from using a generic cartridge and therefore losing them a sale of their overpriced genuine cartridges. Finally don’t think that this error message wont occur using a genuine Epson cartridge as frequently it will. For more advice on printer issues or helpful advice contact our team at Ink Hub. Office: (08) 7324 3065  Mob: 0408 69 1299

How a Laser Printer Works

A Laser Printer is an amazing feat of engineering. They use a Laser Beam to attract toner powder onto a drum which reproduces the image ready to transfer it onto the paper. Then through a series of events the image or toner gets transferred onto a piece of paper. The toner powder then gets baked onto the paper at very high temperatures resulting in a crisp image. Laser Printers are able to print extremely fast and are often used in offices where large amounts of printing is required.

The process a laser printer uses to print

It all starts with either an image or some text being sent from a computer or being scanned by the Laser Printer itself. This image gets transferred to the printers processor which converts the data into an image file suitable for the printer to use.

The processed image is then sent to the printers memory where it is stored ready for printing. While this is happening the drum unit is being charged ready to attract the toner powder in exact duplication as the image waiting to be printed.

Compatible Ink Cartridges vs Genuine

Compatible Ink Cartridges are finally being more readily accepted by the consumer now that the quality of them is improving. For many years the quality of the cartridges coming out of China was less than satisfactory. Nowadays with the fierce competition between the cartridge manufacturers if the quality isn’t there then the company simply wont survive. Let’s have a quick look at some of the advantages.

Advantages of compatible ink cartridges:

1. Price – this is the most obvious advantage. Compatible Cartridges are on average between 40 – 200% cheaper than the equivalent Genuine Printer Cartridge.

2. Page Yield – most (not all) compatibles contain more ink than the genuine equivalent. It is not unusual for a compatible to contain up to 3 times more ink. Typically however it is in the order of about 50% more.

3. Smudge Resistance  –  One advantage which is often overlooked is the drying time of various inks. Almost all compatible inks will dry almost instantly. Genuine, Oil based inks tend to take some time to dry. Personally I find this very annoying when printing invoices all day as the genuine oil based inks smudge as soon as you touch them !

4. High Quality Prints – Nowadays good quality compatible Inks produce similar quality photos and text as do the more expensive genuine. You may be interested in reading this in depth comparison between the two.

5. Genuine Cartridges are not made in China – this is not true! Most Genuine (OEM) cartridges are either made in China, Thailand or Malaysia and are actually made by companies which also specialise in compatible inks as well. Yes that’s right, most genuine ink cartridges are made by companies which also make the generic cartridges.

Compatible Cartridges and Printer Warranties

My printer warranty will be void if I use generic cartridges. This is a complete falsity. The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act, states that it is illegal  for a manufacturer to try and force you to use a specific product as a condition of a  warranty. Printer manufacturers cannot void your printer warranty simply  because you use compatible cartridges. Since 2007 we have been selling generic ink cartridges and we know for a fact that they do not cause any adverse effects which would cause a printer to fail.

No doubt there are many compatible inks out there which could damage your printer due to the very low grade ink used and also the poor moulding of the actual cartridge itself. This however is only the case if you buy the inks from a shonky retailer so make sure you read the reviews from other customers before you make a purchase.

Compatible Cartridges will damage my printer !

This is definitely not true. In seven years of selling Compatible Ink Cartridges we have never had a single case of a compatible causing a printer to breakdown. The only problem to occur with a generic cartridge is if they are a very low grade cartridge which uses low grade ink. This has been known to clog the print head of the printer. For very high quality compatibles visit our Adelaide store where we have been selling the same brand of compatibles for over 7 years.

The future of Generic Printer Cartridges

Due to the downturn in the economy and the ridiculous cost of genuine printer ink cartridges we believe that generic inks will become more and more popular. Another factor which comes into play is the fact that compatible inks are now being made to much higher quality standards. This makes them much more appealing considering the much lower cost. Yes generic inks are here to stay and providing they are good quality compatibles then they represent a huge saving.

Note: In the last 6 months or so the Brother printer company has started to microchip their ink cartridges in an attempt to win back some of their ink sales. They have been releasing regular firmware updates which stop the generic inks from being recognised once the update is installed.

If you have a late model Brother printer make sure that you turn off the software updates otherwise your compatible inks may no longer be recognised by your printer. The same tactic has been used by both Epson and HP for several years however the manufacturers of generic cartridges always find a way around these issues by releasing new cartridges with updated microchips which are compatible with the new firmware updates.

Canon Printhead Cleaning

cleaning a Canon Print HeadCleaning the print head on a Canon printer is a very straight forward task. Up until recently most Canon printers had removable print heads so cleaning was a very straight forward procedure.

If your Canon printer is more than a year old then the following procedure should work for your printer.

1. With your printer turned ON and the cover in the open position wait until the print head carriage moves to the centre of the carriage and stops there.
2. Remove all ink cartridges and carefully place them on a paper towel or similar taking care not to leak ink everywhere.
3. Gently lift the small lever (usually on the left side of the print head) to the vertical position which should unlock the print head from the printer.
4. Remove the print head and place it on paper towling. Take it to the kitchen sink and place it under the sink tap and allow warm water to gently flow through the print head from the top (ink cartridge side) and thoroughly flush out each colour nozzle until all dry ink has been removed.
5. Once fully cleaned allow the print head to dry and then reinstall the print head and inks and run several cleans.
6. Finally print several test pages and make sure that the print quality has returned to normal.

What causes the print head to become blocked?

There are a number of reasons which may contribute to a print head becoming clogged.

1. Infrequent use of the printer.
2. Use of very low grade generic ink cartridges.
3. Constant printing in black and white and very few images.
4. Leaving the printer sitting around for extended periods.
5. Running your inks until they are completely empty and not when prompted.

Best Practices for a healthy print head

1. Print regularly and at least one full page image per week.
2. Use high quality Compatible Ink Cartridges.
3. Don’t set up your printer near a window where it will receive direct sunlight.
4. Remove the print head once a year and flush it out (using the procedure above).
5. If you are running a ciss or continue ink system gently shake each tank on a monthly basis. This stops sediment from forming at the bottom of the tank and flowing into the print head causing blockages.

For more information on ciss and various ink cartridge issues visit the Ink Expresses Blog