back to article HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

A Dutch ink seller is accusing HP Inc of deliberately programming its printers to reject refurbished cartridges with a covert firmware update. claims that the PC and printer half of the HP split-up planned months ago to have its printers spontaneously spit out third-party and refurbished cartridges from September 13 …

  1. Bloodbeastterror

    HP seems intent on committing suicide...

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      And not with any grace, and dignity, like performing seppuku.

      This is more like auto-erotic asphyxiation to goatse pics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This is more like auto-erotic asphyxiation to goatse pics.

        Curse you, Register, for only giving me one upvote :).

        I have an Epson A3 format printer, and it tells me that having non-official Epson ink is not a good idea and have implications for quality and warranty (the latter is not really an argument given that the savings alone insure me for the costs of that risk). But it works. And it keeps on working. And once you have a way to control the costs of the ink you discover just how good the silly thing is because experimenting doesn't set you back half a mortgage. I have printed all sorts of weird stuff on it as the A3 format has even made it possible to print A4 brochures.

        That said, HP *used* to be rather good. The predecessor to that Epson was a HP Officejet Pro (a K550) which I had to move to non-HP ink quite simply because it was so old that it was hard to get original ink for it anyway. But it kept on truckin', and the main reason I kept it was because it wasn't just good quality print, it was also *fast*. It needed a very stable surface to live on because even its own high weight couldn't contain the kinetic energy of its heads flying back and forth.

        But those ink costs. If you can buy a full set of refillable cartridges + replacement ink for £50 and you work out that the same in "official" cartridges would have set you back for close to £1k it is time to ask some hard questions. Nowadays I check out the existence of replacement ink before I ever consider buying an inkjet (I'm wondering if the same market exists for laser/LED printers?).

        I'm all OK with companies making a profit, but there is a point where you pass into rip-off territory and it's bad news when your customers discover this..

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: if the same market exists for laser


          A set of Brother cartridges costs more than a new Colour Laser. The 3rd party cartridges seem to be just as good. It's not that old of a model, Duplex too, though only A4. A3 Plus would be nice. However even the Brother laser cartridges work out about 1/4 price per page of running inkjet. Unless you need "photo" quality, I think now that ink jet is too slow and expensive.

          1. Just Enough

            Re: if the same market exists for laser

            "However even the Brother laser cartridges work out about 1/4 price per page of running inkjet. Unless you need "photo" quality, I think now that ink jet is too slow and expensive."

            We used to use a HP inkjet at home, but it quickly became obvious that the cartridge costs were astronomical, the need for colour in most print jobs was negligible, and for anything over a couple of pages it was just too slow.

            Now we use a 15 year old Brother personal monochrome laser printer. Perfectly adequate for most tasks. The last toner replacement cost me £9, and that will be good for at least six months.

            1. kmac499

              Re: if the same market exists for laser

              We got a 14yo HP Laser upgaded with a few bits of Ebay (network memory and paper tray) 3rd party toner for £10 as our draft printer. For anything leaving the business a new HP multifunction Black\Colour laser. Beats inkjets for quality hands down.

            2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

              Re: if the same market exists for laser

              Instant Ink.

              That's how you are supposed to pay for HP inject printing.

              If you work it out, the cost-per-page is around that of refilled cartridges. However, you do need to keep an eye on your usage, to make sure that you are on the right subscription level.

              That's right, subscription.

              The price of loose cartridges is just to push you on to Instant Ink.

          2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: if the same market exists for laser

            " I think now that ink jet is too slow and expensive."

            You forgot "unreliable"

      2. Wommit

        You owe me a new keyboard.

    2. 45RPM Silver badge

      The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

      Never mind the dodgy cartridge shenanigans, the printers themselves were rubbish. I had an HP multifunction job that cost me the best part of £300 (on the foolish assumption that a more costly printer would be better built). I only used genuine ink in it. Its faults were numerous:

      1. It defaulted to a screensaver which displayed advertising, rather than just dimming or turning off the display when the printer wasn't in use.

      2. When it ran out of ink in any cartridge all functions on the device stopped - including scanning which, last time I checked, didn't use any ink at all.

      3. It died terminally, less than two years old, before finishing its second set of cartridges.

      I replaced it with an Epson - which, so far (four years after purchase), works perfectly (no advertising, scans even with no ink) other than weirdly being unable to remember the time (which doesn't bother me)

      My best printer though is an Apple LaserWriter 8500, the best part of twenty years old, which works perfectly (all functions) even with my home refilled toner cartridges. It sits on my network and happily prints from my Windows, Linux and Mac computers. Next trick is to get it working with iOS.

      I was also surprised by my old Canon bubble jet which I pulled out of the loft a few weeks back (it's been there since about 1998). I turned it on and, without changing the cartridge (in the interests of experimentation), printed a test page. Astonishingly it worked. The printed page was streaky as hell - but perfectly legible. I might get a new cartridge for it - because it's clearly better than most of the shitty printers being pedalled these days!

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

        it's clearly better than most of the shitty printers being pedalled these days!

        There ya go! And I thought pedal-powered printing went out in my grandfather's day when they invented electricity :-)

      2. nijam Silver badge

        Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

        > ... printers being pedalled ...

        I wonder if the firmware update also stops you using the printer as a bicycle? Or did you mean peddled? Difficult to be sure.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

          @nijam - thanks. I knew something was wrong. Serves me right for bashing away on my phone on the train - doesn't make thinkin', let alone typin', any easier.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

        "I had an HP malfunction job..."


      4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

        I was also surprised by my old Canon bubble jet which I pulled out of the loft a few weeks back (it's been there since about 1998). I turned it on and, without changing the cartridge (in the interests of experimentation), printed a test page. Astonishingly it worked.

        The Canon BJ 130 (yes, they were a tad unfortunate in their naming :) ) was the first inkjet I had, and it was simply magic after years of aural assault from dot matrix and golf ball printers. I had it with added tractor feed, and that's something I miss - a long listing on folded is just so much better visually (and you could run a box of labels through it too without any worry of jamming). It was *really* quiet - it didn't do the clunking house keeping modern inkjets do (I'm sure there's a reason for it, but that doesn't mean I like it :) ).

        It was also dead simple, which is probably why yours still works. Wonderful bit of kit.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

          @Fred Flintstone

          Oh mine does the clunking thing too - but only when 'parking' the cartridge over the waste sponge. Other than that, it just makes a soft zhush, zhush… zhush, zhush… noise. It's pretty good. And I'm intrigued to see what the print quality is like with a new cartridge, given that the 18 year old cartridge is still perfectly legible (albeit stripy and a bit spattery). No tractor feed though - strictly friction (It's a BJ-100 FWIW)

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

          My first BJ was 10.

          Small and easy to carry around should you need to get away in a hurry. Could never handle a big load though.

          Hold on, there's a lot of sirens outside and someones banging on the the door shouting "We've got one Theresa"


      5. ABehrens

        Re: The 'quality' of its printers was enough to do that

        > it's clearly better than most of the shitty printers being pedalled these days!

        You must be referring to the ones that use re-cycled ink cartridges.

  2. Herby

    Are the complainers...

    The ones who regularly spam me with all those ink offers? If so, I'd like them out of business. Unfortunately I like cheap ink (who doesn't), and locking out "off brand" cartridges is a bit extreme!! Of course if you are the company supplying things, it adds to the profit statement.

    All of this begs the question:

    Why, why, why can't the ink and the printhead be different assemblies? Then it would be a simple task to fill an ink reservoir and get on with things. Also cartridges wouldn't need to go obsolete. Where is that nice refilled '45' or '23' cartridge.

    *SIGH* Life goes on. It is always good to be in the expendables business. Always a market for TP!! Let's hope they don't make THAT DRM'd!!

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

      Re: Are the complainers...

      I don't usually shill for any company but...

      Try Epson ecotank printers. These ones have huge external ink tanks that are refilled indepently, while the printing head is safely inside.

      I don't even know if the refill bottles are cheap or not, because the one at home has been happily churning prints for over a year with the original load

      1. drewsup

        Re: Are the complainers...

        epson may not lock cartidges, but they can be just as bad with other things, like propiatary waste tank lock up, and they use oodles of ink during calibration, chucked mine afyer umpy cartridges 1/2 emptied during cleaning cycles, went colour laser and never looked back

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Are the complainers...

          went colour laser and never looked back

          Me too -- a Lexmark C543dn. It was a bargain at less than 50% RRP. It's especially handy having the automatic duplexer. Only fly in the ointment: Lexmark Rewards gave you credits towards toner purchases when you sent the empty carts back to them. They've dropped the program before I managed to amass sufficient credits to get any "free" toner. So I won't be buying a Lexmark again. Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the last printer I ever buy.

          1. Reuben Thomas

            Re: Are the complainers...

            I recently switched my Lexmark X543dn to remanufactured cartridges. (Lexmark lost a case under DMCA not long ago, so 3rd party cartridges are now available.) Roughly ¼ of the cost of the originals (£15ish vs £65ish). Easily makes up for the loss of the "rewards" programme, which, like you, I didn't get a single "free" cartridge out of (mind you, my printer's 6 years old, and I don't print that much).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are the complainers...

        I don't even know if the refill bottles are cheap or not, because the one at home has been happily churning prints for over a year with the original load

        You can buy replacement ink systems like that as well, but I am indeed actively considering one of those with original ink (the reason is colour fidelity). I also don't think my load would last for a whole year, plus it would probably gum up the mechanism..

        /tiptoes away..


      3. Floating Sinker

        Re: Are the complainers...

        Brother also have a series of refillable ink tank printers that happen only to be available in developing markets (where pretty much all printers are fitted with a third party continuous inking system from the store you buy the printer from). Identical non refillable cartridge based / champagne swilling models are sold in established markets. Managed to score myself a DCP-T500W whilst on holiday and the genuine ink refills aren't a ripoff.

      4. nagyeger

        Re: Are the complainers...

        I've got an epson L210, inktank printer. It's about 3 years old now. Was really surprised a few months ago to notice the colour ink maybe needed refilling in the next month, after something like 6-7 reams.. (No, I don't print many colour photos). Another (hopefully) two-three years of printing cost me about £25, if I remember correctly. Sorry HP, I've voted with my feet.

    2. ArtFart

      Re: Are the complainers...

      Actually, some HP Photosmart printers do have permanent printheads and the ink cartridges are merely reservoirs--except like the others they still have ID chips. In this particular instance, one might be a little more cautious about using off-brand ink. Gumming up the permanent printheads would turn the printer into a doorstop.

    3. jimbo60

      Re: Are the complainers...

      Um...more than half of the printers in the author's list (at least all the OfficeJet Pro 86xx printers) use ink tanks separate from the print head, and individual color tanks. That series is advertised as "cheaper than laser". I've got one and love it...easily more than 1000 pages of regular office printing per black cartridge, and even more than that for color (I'm not regularly printing photos) so the ink cost isn't a huge hassle. Those also use the newer pigment inks, which are much nicer than dye inks (less smearing, more accurate colors on all paper).

    4. Mage Silver badge

      Re: why can't the ink and the printhead be different assemblies?

      Many Brother and Epson do use separate print heads and ink-only cartridges, sometimes fixed in the body. Long life piezo heads, the HP and others use shorter life thermal heads that make gas bubbles from alcohol to force out the droplets.

      Most A4 inkjets were cost reduced to uselessness over 15 years ago.

    5. Sparkypatrick

      Re: Are the complainers...

      Kyocera laser printer cartridges are just a toner reservoir. The printers cost more to buy initially, but the pp printing costs thereafter are very low, even using genuine Kyocera toner.

    6. Paul Cooper

      Re: Are the complainers...

      The printhead and ink reservoir are separate on large format printer/plotters; we ran a 60" HP job that used 6 ink colours. There was a tiny "ready use" reservoir on each printhead that was refilled as required from ink containers that held around a litre of ink each! Amazing quality, providing you used good paper.

  3. Zebo-the-Fat

    My printer not HP's

    If I buy a printer it belongs to me, I can put whatever ink I want in it, if I use crap ink and it screws the printer up then that's my problem and I would not expect to have it fixed under warranty.

    Why should HP or any other manufacturer prevent me filling MY machine with liquefied dog turds if I want to, what has it got to do with them?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: My printer not HP's

      One word is the answer: profit! There was a time even recently, where HP recommended HP Paper for their printers and using non branded paper voided the warranty. Since paper can't be DRM'd (yet), ink is the only thing left.

      1. Stuart Halliday

        Re: My printer not HP's

        If they could find a way to get you to use HP computers, they would.

        If Ford could force you to buy one brand of petrol, they would.

        Why the surprise?

    2. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: My printer not HP's

      Months go by between times I fire up my HP inkjet, usually to print travel documents.

      If you don't want to use genuine ink products, don't buy HP.

      Nothing prevents HP from rejecting all warranty claims from clogs. If always-borked printers puts HP out of the printer business... Why assume they're powerless to prevent that?

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: My printer not HP's

      "Why should HP or any other manufacturer prevent me filling MY machine with liquefied dog turds if I want to, what has it got to do with them?"

      You might send it back for repair?

    4. PNGuinn

      Re: My printer not HP's

      OK, so you've got some valuable inside information there.

      But what breed of dog - Impoverished enquiring minds etc etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: My printer not HP's

        I was wondering what kind of liquidiser. Would a NutriBullet do?

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: My printer not HP's @wordmerchant

          Well, if a NutriBullet wouldn't do it, I don't know what would. Vicious things, they are. Designed to smash seed kernels.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: My printer not HP's

          > I was wondering what kind of liquidiser. Would a NutriBullet do?

          Water from the lake at my local park would do it - judging by the effect on my dog after he had a little drink from it.

          Took several weeks for the after effects to wear off and a return to proper consistency![1]


          [1] Yum - that nice warm toasty feeling of picking up dog poop without using a scoop. Especially as herself wants to use the cheapest bags[2] possible

          [2] ASDA nappy bags - 0.035p per bag..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My printer not HP's

            "what breed of dog"

            A shitsu?

            "ASDA nappy bags - 0.035p per bag.."

            28 bags for a penny? Now *that's* cheap, no wonder they're not much use. (^_^)

    5. kain preacher

      Re: My printer not HP's

      But crap load of people would, THey would not equated putting crap in the printer as their fault. They would be like HP is crap because it wound not use they cheap defective cartridges.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My printer not HP's

        True, but wouldn't it better if it simply voided the warranty (toggled a bit somewhere) and then worked anyway? It would be less of a PR problem. Personally I have had some non-HP cartridges work and some not, so I think for the most part the recommendation for HP cartridges is not completely without merit. Either way, it's false economics to make money from the ink and undersell the printer.

        1. DonL

          Re: My printer not HP's

          "True, but wouldn't it better if it simply voided the warranty (toggled a bit somewhere) and then worked anyway?"

          A lot of HP printers count the number of non-HP cartridges inserted. The number can easily be seen through the web interface of the printer. I don't know about the implications it will have for warranty, but it can't be good.

    6. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: My printer not HP's

      Why should HP or any other manufacturer prevent me filling MY machine with liquefied dog turds if I want to, what has it got to do with them?

      Money. You'll probably find that the printer is sold at close to cost, whereas the ink is sold at a massive profit.

      Many consumers make their initial buying decision on the up-front costs, rather than recurring costs. Other examples of this business model include mobile phones & razor blades.

      1. Steve 114

        Re: My printer not HP's

        Some printers are sold definitely below cost ('free' from some sources). The 'business model' is to profit from proprietary inks, and that model fails if there are alternatives. It's a legitimate business model (remember Polaroid?), and consumers don't have to like it. They could make other choices (as I do).

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's simply beyond belief that this is the husk of a company with a once unbeatable reputation for quality.

    Fortunately when I bought a colour printer recently I made a conscious decision not to buy HP. My old-school mono-chrome HP just soldiers on, of course.

    HP really needs to haul itself out of this pit if it's to survive. This lark might yield a good quarter now. It will just result in a lot of bad quarters and years ahead.

    1. Wommit

      @Dr. Syntax

      You must remember that HP, and all global companies now, are ruled by the stock exchanges. If they have a 'good' quarter now then their price rises. The next quarter might be crap, but they've still got the extra investment cash to ride over that.

      The lawyers and accountants who now run nearly all companies only look at one thing the "Bottom Line." Neither staff nor customers come into this equation. The 'C' layer are quite happy to screw both if it means that their bonuses are secured.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: @Dr. Syntax

        " If they have a 'good' quarter now then their price rises."

        This is what I hate about about capitalism. Everything has to grow until it ,presumably, eats the world.

        (A bit like the Moore's law discussion the other day)

        If HP made £100 last quarter , and because of this chip DRM scam make £120 this quarter, then the following quarter's £110 will be considered a failure.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vote with your wallet.

    If HP wants to give you the shaft by not letting you use any brand of ink you like in *your* machine, then vote with your wallet & stop buying HP printers.

    You want my money then I want the freedom to choose. You refuse to let me choose then I refuse to buy your shit.

    I hear good things about that Epson EcoTank printer (gives a nod to the previous person whom mentioned it here, then another to the user over on ARS Technica whom did as well) so that would be a good place to start.

    Hell, if push comes to shove then I'll dust off the old DotMatrix printer with the 128 pin impact head & buy a ribbon to get started. So what if I can only print in B&W if it means I get a couple hundred thousand pages per ribbon?

    Fuck HP. Fuck 'em with a bag of printer carts.

    1. LaeMing

      Re: Vote with your wallet.

      I have some nice 10cm diameter by 40cm long cylindrical (rounded on one end even) toner cartridges here you might like to borrow.

    2. DropBear

      Re: Vote with your wallet.

      Just be aware that not even having any chips in cartridges didn't prevent my old Epson printer to suddenly and without warning start refursing to print anything at all "until I take it to be serviced", which turned out to be simply a requirement to replace the waste felt cube - obviously I had no "Epson service center" within a few hundred miles so I just reset the counter with an engineering tool I luckily found on the interwebs; but I can tell you the whole affair pissed me off greatly - without the tool, Epson would just have bricked my printer definitively, on purpose.

  6. Stuart Halliday

    HP are surely protecting their livelhood. They have jobs, mortgages, bills too?

    If they could force consumers to use their brand of paper too, they would.

    What's the big surprise?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "HP are surely protecting their livelhood."

      Not very well.

      In order to sell printer cartridges they first have to sell printers. Their reputation has suffered over recent years. If they don't do something PDQ they'll not be able to sell printers. Nor PCs. Sitting around selling not very much isn't going to give them a livelihood in the long term.

      When this story broke on /. (over the weekend, elReg!) the comentards there were quick to blame Carly but she's long gone. It must be the entire corporate culture there.

      1. Mpeler

        @ Dr. Sytax

        The HP Ink stuff started with Dick Hackborn, who came up with the idea of the ink tank/head assembly, and the idea of expensive consumables on a relatively cheap platform.

        He also gave us Carly. And later, aided in getting rid of her. Kind of the George Soros of HP.....

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: @ Dr. Sytax

          the idea of expensive consumables on a relatively cheap platform.

          The consumables were expensive before the platform became relatively cheap. I purchased a DeskJet 500 when they first came out and IIRC it cost ~$AU1600.

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: @ Dr. Sytax

          Gillette are usually (if only half-correctly) credited with inventing the business model. They patented an easy-swap razor blade. Sold the handle and a first blade, but because only they could manufacture new blades their customers were then locked into them as a supplier of consumables that had a substantial profit margin.

          It's a common myth that Gillette sold the handle at a very low price, or even at a loss, but that part isn't true. There were fears about devaluing the brand. Their real genius was in advertising 'no honing' razors, which spared the user the time-consuming and fiddly process of resharpening the blades - while also greatly increasing the number of blades they would need. In the modern printer world, this is like fitting a printer with mechanisms to prevent refilling the cartridge.

          Gillette didn't sell handles at cost, but some of their competitors did the moment their patent expired in an attempt to lure Gillette customers away. Why buy a pricy pack of Gillette blades when Ever-Ready are selling a new handle and some blades at a lower cost?

          1. Steve 114

            Re: @ Dr. Sytax

            The strange cut-out shape in early replaceable razor blades was the first attempt to defeat proprietary fixtures in patent razor heads, with a 'fits-all-without-infringement' profile..

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        the comentards there were quick to blame Carly but she's long gone. It must be the entire corporate culture there.

        The corporate culture is very much of Carly's making. She got rid of engineers in favour of fashion designers. A very good friend of mine who used to work for HP walked not very long after she arrived.

    2. Your alien overlord - fear me

      I've a HP B9180 (big old A3 photo printer) so I thought I'd see if HP would let me update the firmware - they've a page for it but no working firmware link.

      The killer was that I do need HP paper (4 sheets of Advanced HP Photo Paper no less) to do a fecking firmware update. Decided not to bother. So yes, they do force you to buy their expensive paper.

    3. Mark 65

      What's the big surprise?

      Err, it's illegal - at least in the EU.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        @Mark 65 - I'm a little surprised and troubled that your's is the only comment to point this simple fact out.

        This is the reason why printers such as the HP 8000/8500 series, whilst they could detect the use of non-HP inks and the use of "out-of-date" ink cartridges they had to provide a means where the user could ignore the warnings and carry on printing...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      HP are surely protecting their livelhood. They have jobs, mortgages, bills too?

      HP are protecting the livelihood of senior management.

      They don't appear to give a stuff about the jobs, mortgages, bills of their employees.

  7. Bodge99

    HP are on my shit list..

    HP have been on my "shit list" (i.e. don't buy **anything** from them!) for quite a while now..

    This just reinforces my opinion of them!

    Just... don't! You know it makes sense!

  8. Unicornpiss
    Thumb Down

    Yet another reason to skip HP inkjunk printers..

    ..that is besides them being built like utter garbage.

    Of course all inkjet printers will disappoint, and printers in general are cranky, and all technology will make you want to bang your head on the wall, and life sucks and the universe has an unkind sense of humor and... forgot what point I was trying to make.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Yet another reason to skip HP inkjunk printers..

      ..that is besides them being built like utter garbage.

      It was not always so. When I purchased my HP Deskjet 500, a publisher I worked for purchased an Apple LaserWriter. Both printers were 300 dpi. I printed a page of four thumbnails and showed them to the chap who purchased the LaserWriter and we could read the text with a magnifying glass. The same pages printed on the LaserWriter were illegible.

      NB You paper needs to be of good quality (no loose fibres) and very dry to get the best print quality from an inkjet.

  9. a pressbutton

    No problem if they were clear about this from day 1

    If the printer had a big sticker on it and the box you buy it in saying

    "this only works with HP ink"

    ... and it clearly said it on the web page if you buy on line etc so there is no way you could be unaware of the implied agreement



    If there was no warning, or just some small print on page 123 of a eula, and you can be bothered, send the printer back as non-functional as HP has broken it for you (which they have).

    He said happily using his rather old epson WP-4535 with cheap replacement carts.

    1. Schultz

      If the printer had a big sticker "this only works with HP ink" ...

      then they would be blatantly lying. Because the printer doesn't really care about the ink as long as it fulfills some basic specifications.

    2. HollyHopDrive

      Re: No problem if they were clear about this from day 1

      I bought one of those Epson WP-4535 printers after research on printing costs. While the printer was significantly more expensive than the bottom end of, the official ink cost has more than paid for the upfront investment. Don't get me wrong, it costs best part of £100 to fill it up with official Epson (which I do), but I looked the other day I've had nearly 7000 pages out of that and I'm only on my second or third (black) set of inks and I'm going to easily make 10-12k with the remaining ink. I've had it nearly 3 years so running costs are acceptable.

      I'd never go near HP because I used to begrude just how much the ink costs for so little output. And how unreliable they are too, always seeming to expire 3 months out of warranty.

      Do your research upfront and make a judged decision. Mine has lead me to believe I'll never own another HP product.

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: No problem if they were clear about this from day 1

        You can get a generic set for £10.94....

        The quality looks the same, but I am not sure how durable the inks are.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung emborgified by HP


    I bought one of their cheap-as-chips laser printers three years ago and I've only just replaced the toner cartridge. HP won't appreciate that miserly income so I'm sure they'll be fitting best-before dates and killer chips in the next generation Samsung printers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung emborgified by HP

      Happening NOW.

      My CX Samsung laser all in one had a new firmware release a month or two ago, biggest "feature"?

      The printer now refuses to work with generic toner carts.

      Even the little stick on defeat chips have been neutered.

      Fortunately i have some carts from a stock take we did. (they were stock, so i took 'em).

      But HP have been off my list for the ipaq fiasco.

  11. a_yank_lurker

    Another Option

    Given many inkjets come with ink and are often cheaper to buy than the replacement OEM ink cartridges just buy a new printer. </snark>

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: Another Option

      "Given many inkjets come with ink and are often cheaper to buy than the replacement OEM ink cartridges just buy a new printer. </snark>"

      All (probably) the barstewards thought of that one years ago. Printers - inkjets and Lasers - come with puny little starter cartridges, not properly filled ones.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Another Option

      Given many inkjets come with ink and are often cheaper to buy than the replacement OEM ink cartridges just buy a new printer. </snark>

      Not just snark; I know several people who do just that. While the cartridges supplied with the printer aren't full, they still have very light printing needs and the nozzles clog before the ink runs out.

    3. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Another Option

      I do that with laser printers. $50 for a new laser with a 5k page toner. Replacement 10k page toner costs almost twice as much, so I buy 2 printers (one for spare parts, self repair instead of relying on warranty) instead.

      1. Tridac

        Re: Another Option

        Not a bad plan at all, since the upfront cost of most inkjets is kept low to get the sale, then profit on the supplies. With engineer hat on though, most of them are cheap plastic rubbish these days, but something has to give if the retail is 100 ukp or less. You cannot build a quality engineered product for that sort of price.

        I stopped using inkjets years ago, as they are expensive to run and tend to clog up if infrequently used. Rarely need colour, but recently inherited a Dell 1355 colour laser / all in one and the colour prints are pretty good. Judging byt the weight, plenty of metal in it as well, though the external plastic bits look a bit fragile.. Everyday printer here is an old Laserjet 5000N with network card. Low page count and 80 ukp delivered from Ebay with a nearly full cartridge. Rock solid printer if you have the space. Don't have the duplex unit, though could probably find that for < 25 ukp. Does A3 / A4 and is industrial quality, from an age when HP really did make quality kit, unlike the box shipping rubbish of today...

  12. Long John Brass

    HP ain't the only ones

    Used to love and trust Epson for their printers

    They are now doing exactly the same thing WRT their printers

    To the point where the fricking scanner on my all in one style printer won't go unless ink carts are "good"

    1. Hans 1

      Re: HP ain't the only ones

      >To the point where the fricking scanner on my all in one style printer won't go unless ink carts are "good"

      I had one of those as well ... I did the gravity test with it ... toss it up to the height of approx 2m and watch it fall, clean up, and head off to the tip. The thing was brand new ... we, apparently, had managed to use up all black ink over a week printing less than 100 pages, and when I needed to scan, the bugger went complaining .... none of that shit with me, mate! We did not even buy replacement cartridges, which means that HP, in this case, lost money.

      They sell printers at a loss and hope to make up for it on ink.

      One of my family members got caught in the HP subscription model ... racket seems the sensible word for their activities, thanks el reg.

  13. Crazy Operations Guy

    Tossing all my HP gear

    I've recently tossed out the last bit of my HP-branded gear. Had a couple of their switches, since replaced by some Extreme Networks kit; the servers are now SuperMicro boxes; the desktops, Dell; The printers were the first items to go, replaced by some color-laser Brother paper-stainers.

    I never intentionally used other company's stuff, its just happened that those were the better deal when it came time to refresh.

  14. bogomips
    Thumb Down

    Its not just the firmware...

    The driver package can (and sometimes does) also prevent you from using non-HP branch ink.

    I have an HP MFP, with non-standard ink.

    Worked fine in Windows 7 with their ancient HP driver package.

    Upgraded to Windows 10, and pulled the HP app from the windows store.

    The App STOPS you from printing, cause of non-HP ink!

    Tried to uninstall the app - HA! you can't!

    Tried to delete the app where it is installed on HDD - HA! not even administrator can reach that director (not without some reg hack to allow ownership...)

    Managed to get rid of the app after some research, and installed the ancient Windows 7 driver package... works fine.

    Go HP!

    1. Mpeler

      Re: Its not just the firmware...

      Their drivers, especially for their all-in-ones, have been a constant source of irritation. Sort of like a rabid yappy dog that won't go away.

      That could have something to do with the fact that their printer driver folks (SD) were one of the first groups to get outsourced, and the quality has been the pits ever since.

      Bill and Dave are probably rolling in their graves at what has become of their once great company.

      Invent - my A$$. The fact that Hewlett-Packard used to be on it (instead of just HP) implied that not just inventing, but clever innovation, customer input, intelligent engineering, and fair pricing was the order of the day.

      RIP Bill, Dave, and the HP Way.

      1. Howard Long

        Re: Its not just the firmware...

        The HP way does survive, just not in HP, in spun off companies like Agilent and Keysight, all key technology leaders and innovators in the true sense, unlike the HP of today which is a vehicle for short term casino "investment".

    2. Tridac

      Re: Its not just the firmware...

      Upgraded to Windows 10...

      "Upgraded" ?. Shirley some mistake :-)...

  15. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The odd thing is

    that my ancient Brother laser printer keeps on chugging away, printing its few dozen sheets a month on a generic replacement toner unit (the first lasted about five years) - and running an HP driver.

    Meanwhile, my venerable - mid eighties - HP11C calculator is still cheerfully doing the business.

    HP used to be the go-to company if you wanted reliability and longevity; it seems this has changed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The odd thing is

      that my ancient Brother laser printer keeps on chugging away, printing its few dozen sheets a month on a generic replacement toner unit (the first lasted about five years) - and running an HP driver.

      Maybe you got lucky there. I bought a Brother A3 inkjet for an office in London, and that was returned the next day with a "no, thank you, I need something that works". It took absolutely ages to get a first page out, and when it started printing I could have hired a monk to write the page in calligraphy and it would have been faster (and probably cheaper, given the ink costs). I discovered afterwards that I dodged a bullet: the HARDWARE wasn't the worst of it.

      Whoever writes their drivers and software must have a history or hobby as a virus writer as it took a LOT of effort to get rid of their software afterwards, it kept popping up and it had spread everywhere (as in "not residing in the usual, official places in the OS"). If we had that rolled out over all machines we would have had a major problem. Honestly, in the many years that I've worked with computers I have yet to see worse code, and I include Windows ME in that list. I will quite simply *never* again even consider having Brother software on machines I manage. *shudder*

      1. Tridac

        Re: The odd thing is

        That's not the only problem. Installed a later version of Google earth at one stage, with the installer forgetting to tell me that Chrome, whatever was being installed. After uninstalling it and deleting every related file, spent half an afternoon trawling through the registry deleting all keys related Google. If I didn't ask for it, I don't want it on the system. It's the only way to keep systems uncluttered and secure...

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: The odd thing is

      I've been chugging along for a few years with a Brother laser printer myself (Recently replaced it with a color laser printer). I bought it because it came with a networking card and was only slightly more expensive than the non-networked version, but was far cheaper than the HP one, where they tacked on a $200 mark up just o give it an RJ-45 port... I specifically wanted networking since it spoke PCL/6 and thus didn't need any stupid proprietary drivers to work my various BSD and *nix boxes.

      Ran just fine for years and the toner cartridges were cheap and apparently meant to work with several dozen models rather than 1 or 2 like HP's cartridges...

      1. Timo

        Re: The odd thing is

        Planned Obsolescence is the cause. If a company builds a product that is so good you only need one of them, then their volumes go way down and the cost goes up (paying for the quality.) So if that company designs the product to crap out after a few years they might be able to sell you the replacements too. True for both hardware and software businesses. There is some opportunity to provide more functionality as technology improves, but that value need to be compelling.

        The other scenario is that company B comes along with a substitute product at a lower cost (but with much lower lifetime.) Which one will you go for? If you buy on price you'll buy B. If you buy for "lifecycle cost" you'll choose A.

        Don't shoot me for this - I'm only the messenger!

  16. Daniel Voyce

    I went printer shopping the other day

    $70 for a pretty decent and compact Epsom all in one, price of a full set of standard replacement cartridges - $117.

    Who can blame manufacturers trying to keep this revenue stream? Id much rather spend more money on a printer than them trying to recoup the costs through cartridges, that or keep going to Officeworks here in Aus for 3c per page prints....

  17. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    FWIIW, Rank Xerox figured out that the real money is in selling toner, not selling copy machines some 40 years ago.

    Not that I agree with this sort of business model; it somehow reminds me of the way drug dealers operate. The first hit is free... only that it isn't.

    BTW, Lou Reed's "Waiting For The Man" is the perfect song for running out of ink/toner/paper on a sunday night, with an important piece of work due on monday morning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except that won't get much ink for the $26 in your hand. Even on Lexington.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge

    It's a love hate affair with HP

    For a long time they were the go to guys, now they kind of smell like the old guy with greasy hair who never showers and chain smokes.

    I was a bit sad they day they took all the HP's out of our building, now I'm thinking we got lucky ;-}

  19. Suricou Raven

    The surest sign of scumminess.

    Why the time delay?

    I can only think of one reason: They knew it would be resisted. If they just released a firmware update then it would hit sites like the Register and Slashdot within a day, and administrators all over the world would hasten to disable automatic firmware update.

    But then some executive with HP (Who I like to imagine in a top hat, cape, and very wide moustache) realises the solution: Time delay! By the time anyone realises that the new firmware is not in their best interests, it'll be too late - every printer will have it!

  20. Sir Barry

    Our printing equipment

    The printers, photocopiers and multi-functional devices we manufacture and sell will accept third party/refilled toners.

    The only difference is the quality of the print due to the cheap toner they use. Our own toner is biomass based and has a 30% lower melting point compared to 'normal' toner.

    The ink business model of the mainstream consumer faced printer manufacturers is a poor one and I have not had a printer at home for around4 years.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laser please...

    Well OK laser's not great on photos but good enough, can use cheap paper and ink doesn't run if it gets wet (as I use printed maps outdoors, that's important). My dell 3000cn laser is still working well after over 10 years, (non-dell) replacement toner carts last 3 or 4 years. That said for another office I bought a heavily discounted laser (? Lexmark x543 ?) complete with full size carts and cheaper than a set of refills but the electronics blew up after about a year which explained why so cheap.

    Anyway printers are so cheap these days - I needed to be able to do A3 so got DCP-J4110DW inkjet for £70, no grumbles but if I needed photo quality I'd have made a different choice.

    1. Vic

      Re: Laser please...

      ink doesn't run if it gets wet (as I use printed maps outdoors, that's important).

      I use a laminator. I can print out tables for a specific dive plan and take them underwater with me.

      So far, none of them have leaked...


    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Laser please...

      ink doesn't run if it gets wet

      Ink in my DeskJet 500 was waterproof after it dried. Canon's Bubblejet ink didn't dry waterproof. Nor were the inks in my Epson A3 printer.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This problem

    Happened a few years ago to Lexmark users. A firmware update was described as resolving a toner issue which would make the unit more economical to run.

    So I broke my rule (never update printer firmware) and a few minutes later the machine was beeping and flashing leds like something out of a bond film

    On the phone to Lexmarks helpline, we eventually resolved that the printer would no longer accept remanufactured toner cartridges, and, no, you can't revert to earlier firmware.

    Lexmark were immediately crossed off my list of suppliers I would ever buy from. But that list is getting shorter.

  23. Velv

    I'm in no way defending HP, and I have no connection to any manufacturer or vendor, but I'd like to relay one story for consideration.

    For a large financial services company I was once involved in an experiment in the difference between buying original Lexmark laser toner and a cheaper third party cartridge. We ran two of each across two of the same model of printer until they ran out.

    Much to our surprise the original Lexmark printed twice as many pages despite being only 50% more to buy. What was more surprising was that way more paper jams occurred when printing with the third party cartridge than with the Lexmark wasting paper and time. There was also a subjective quality opinion that the original cartridge produced "cleaner, sharper" prints.

    So across the 500 printers in the business the Lexmark original was by far the lower TCO despite having a higher unit cost in front of the bean counters.

    Clearly it isn't practical for home or small office users to undertake these experiments, but perhaps a trusted publication might? Which? Or El Reg?

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Sometimes you get what you pay for

      There are times when the expensive original is actually worth buying, taht sounds like one of them. And Fairy liquid really does last longer, ditto duracell batteries.

      And never forget the Vimes 'Boots' theory of economics.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Sometimes you get what you pay for

        Quite, however in this case the original doesn't really sound all that expensive in comparison with the third-party alternative - I mean, sure, it's 50% more expensive, but relatively speaking that's peanuts compared with the 30-400% increase you can expect to pay for an original toner versus a third-party equivalent on some printers.

        The cheapest price I've seen for an original toner cartridge for my little Samsung laser is around 45 quid, whereas the third-party cartridges I've been buying for the last 2 years have been consistently around the 10 quid mark, and I haven't noticed any degradation in performance. If I could get an original cart for 15 quid, or if the third-party carts were around 30 quid, I might think twice about using originals, particularly if I also had any concerns about third-party performance. But 10 quid against 45 quid with no concerns about quality... it's an easy decision to make.

      2. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Sometimes you get what you pay for

        Upvoted for referencing Sam

      3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Sometimes you get what you pay for

        .. but not Duracells. They actually deliver only 10-20% more energy than Pound-Shop alkalines, and are outclassed by Aldi Activ.

    2. David Nash

      The experiment is probably worth doing, and perhaps the official version is more reliable. But I'd be unconvinced by a sample size of only 1 of each.

  24. Fihart

    Bullying tactics.

    I was amused when adding a cartridge to my HP laser to receive a message warning that I was using a non-HP refill and risked damage to my printer.

    I call bullshit.

    As with virtually every multinational fiddling tax, Microsoft jamming Win10 down Win7 users' computers, Apple making 3rd party repairs as difficult as possible, our best defence is to withdraw our custom. Which I think many users have done already with HP.

    PS: If manufacturers like this (including phones, cameras) are so hot on protecting customers from fakes -- why don't they pursue e-bay and Amazon where it often seems impossible to spot real ones. Saw Lumix-branded batteries for my camera at prices ranging from £6 to £44 -- one must a fake.

  25. Pen-y-gors

    Obligatory EU thread

    If HP are refusing to allow 3rd-party cartridges (as opposed to warning about them like Epson) they may find they are on very thin ice in the EU, who tend to see that sort of thing as anti-competetive. I remember when they stepped in over car warranties and service - a lot of makers said that servicing had to be done by an 'authorised dealer' to maintain the warranty. That got stopped, and now any competent mechanic can do it. I have a vague memory of something similar over Apple accessories, but I may be wrong.

    <troll mode on>Of course once we go back to having dark blue passport covers we in the UK will be protected fromm that sort of silly intererference in the rights of a major multi-national, and will be free to buy as many branded HP cartridges as we can eat</troll mode>

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory EU thread

      Thinking back 25 years or so, when the first chipped inks came out, wasn't there a EU court case that forced the printer manufacturers to allow third party inks?

      If so, it's not thin ice they're on but more of a rapidly melting patch of sea ice with killer whales circling ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obligatory EU thread

      That got stopped, and now any competent mechanic can do it.

      And very few people take the opportunity to do that. If you want to make a warranty claim after non-franchise servicing you may need to prove that the mechanic had appropriate training for the make/model, had (legitimate) access to the official service document, access to any model specific tools, and used consumables approved by the car maker.

      Of course they may just pay up without this proof to avoid any bad press, but if they refuse then you either pay for the repairs, or end up in court. Maybe at small claims court they'll wuss out and present no defence, and you have judgement by default. But if they defend, their lawyers will ask the same questions in front of a judge to verify that the maintenance has been up to scratch. At the SCC they shouldn't be able to claim their defence legal costs against you, but even so, is it worth the potential savings?

    3. Steve 114

      Re: Obligatory EU thread

      The EU's assault came on 'environmental' grounds - 'cartridges are unGreenie if you can't refill them'. Our own Government could just as well make that decision. (Then we'd be free of 'ever-closer Union' and ECHR nonsenses, and could still torpedo consumer abuses).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anti-trust anyone?

    When I was a wage slave to HP we had compulsory 'standards of business conduct' training which as well as covering bribery, cartels and export of certain technologies, harped on about the 'headline test' I.e. How would you feel if you saw your actions reported in the press.

    Obviously, we all realised that this applied to 'us' not 'them' as Mark Hurd and many of his hapless successors have proved time and again. But I can't help thinking that this kind of protectionism must fall foul of anti-trust laws somehow, else what are they there for?

    Maybe if HP charged reasonable prices for consumables it wouldn't be such an issue.... no, what am I thinking!

    Anyway it seems at least my £19 staff purchase (end of life) Photosmart is not affected by this latest stunt and continues to merely warn me about tpm ink......

  27. Pen-y-gors

    Lucky me

    Thankfully the only HP pinter I still have in use is an old Dekjet 950c, running 'fake' cartridges. It's fifteen years old, and is slow, but is handy to have in a remote office for the occasional quick page or two.

  28. DaveB

    Inkjet printers no longer viable for low volume printing

    Over the last few years I have found that the amount I/we print at home has decreased to about 10 pages a month. Some months there is no printing at all.

    While due to the low volume I use HP ink, I found that getting the printer to start required many cleaning cycles, which requires ink.

    Why you would use the most expensive substance known to man to clean a print head is beyond me but HP do.

    The final straw was when the cleaning cycle used 70% of the ink. Printer next stop was the tip.

    I replaced it with a Dell multi-function colour laser (Xerox re-badge) and some third party toner. In fact the installation toner lasted 2 years.

    Printer prints when required and no cleaning clycles.

  29. The Godfather

    I f*****g hate printers

    Had an HP printer once and never again.... Had a Lexmark printer once and never again. In the case of the latter, had a conforming substitute Tesco ink cartridge that worked but only until a Lexmark update stopped it functioning.

    I consider another rip-off to be the assured number of either colour or black and white prints with each cartridge. It's well below the number assured.

  30. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Some years ago I was foolish enough to buy an HP OfficeJet 9100. We'd used them at work and they seemed "OK", and they were on clearance from some ex-rental/demo outfit so the rpice was reasonable. Then one day it wouldn't work - the ink had expired. Not "run out", but expired. Completely undocumented was that the ink expired 18 months after installation in the printer regardless of how much is used or the fact that it was still working fine (or as fine as the clogged printheads from lack of regular use would allow).

    Surely this is wrong I thought ? I phoned Consumer Direct (because in those days you weren't allowed to contact your local Trading Standards any more) to be met with a "so what" attitude. The person really couldn't see that this was any problem whatsoever - and THAT is the biggest part of the problem. If the authorities won't stamp on manufacturers that do stuff like that (especially without warning) then they'll do it.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This software activated in September 13 to reject unofficial cartridges

    So a workaround would be to set your printer's clock to an earlier date?

    1. MacroRodent

      Re: Workaround?

      So a workaround would be to set your printer's clock to an earlier date?

      Probably impossible/difficult now. Most modern printers connect to the network, and get their jobs from there (at least my HP does). I assume they also get time via NTP, I never had to set the clock. One would have to set up an isolated network living in a time warp.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Workaround?

        May work for older types. Business Inkjet 2300 did not have internal clock, it received the date from host PC. Setting OS clock back allowed to use cartridges that were past their expiration date.

        2300 also had a sweet firmware bug that ruined perfectly good cartridges by setting false 'ink low' flags into their chips. Not reversable of course. 2300's larger cousin 2500C used signals from mechanically flimsy pressure sensors as an excuse to set 'ink low' flag.

        Eh, nothing new under the sun.

  32. ilovesaabaeros

    I gave up on HP when they region coded ink

    I moved from the UK to the US for several years and took a really nice HP photo printer (model escapes me, maybe an 8350?) with me. I bought a genuine yellow ink tank only for the printer to refuse to print since it was from the wrong region! HP offered to reset the region for me, if I shipped it to them at my cost and paid US$85 to have it shipped back afterwards. For a printer that cost me £50...

    It went straight in the bin and I bought a US$50 monochrome Brother laser instead. Piccies get printed at Photobox or equivalent or on a dye-sub postcard printer instead now. Never buying another HP product.

  33. John Sturdy

    Time for FLOSS firmware for printers?

    Perhaps it's time for some people to put together free-as-in-speech firmware for printers, starting with HP printers?

  34. James Hughes 1

    Consensus - never buy HP. OK, won't!

    But my father does need a cheap colour laser, doesn't need huge capacity. Recommendations?

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Last time I looked (2 month ago) the only colour lasers where ink does not cost a fortune started at 1000 Euros or so (happy to be corrected). Reading "... doesn't need huge capacity. ", is printing at a shop a solution? For what one printer (even from the cheap as fuck variety) costs you can print quit a lot at a shop!

      This suggestion because I know a few people who would have done better doing just that.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Shop printing not really an option - living out in the sticks as we do in the fens.

        I'm looking at this one...

        With his printing needs he may never run out of the original toner!

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          > living out in the sticks as we do in the fens

          A real bargain, particularly with the inclusive: "1 Year On-Site Service".

    2. Dave 42

      First rule - don't go with HP - frustrating and expensive - they are not there to help you.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: other business models

    My favourite was, back in the late 50s / early 60s, the CHAD VALLEY slide projector for kids. It was a pathetic little plastic projector. It was nearly free. But the slides cost a fortune. We had one. Didn't use it much!

    I've called it the Chad Valley business model Ever since.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Nice one HP

    Even the London Evening Standard, a site generally only concerned with house prices in your area, the Kardashians, expensive restaurants, and the woeful state of the train service to and from Surrey, has picked up on this one...

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Nice one HP

      Similar for a German newspaper of the non-technical kind.

      Thanks to HP for increasing the general awareness of such tricks! ----------------->

  37. David Nash

    My HP laser, 2600n model, has been going for quite a few years now on 3rd-party toner. Earlier this year (unrelated to this news story) it decided to complain about one particular toner cartridge, and forced us to press "OK" whenever switching on, just to confirm we're using a non-HP toner.

    And the toner lasted much less time.

    I complained to the toner supplier who instantly sent a replacement free of charge. And since then, no more problems like this.

    In this case it seemed to be one particular 3rd-party toner that it objected to. Maybe all the usual (3rd-party) ones I get are refilled HP, with genuine chips, whereas this bad one was not. It was still very annoying having to hang around the printer while it finished its start up routine, to press OK every time we turned the printer on.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had an HP ink jet printer a few years ago - worked OK, but came up with a printer error on occasion - very hard to clear, no explanation available, even powering it down and restarting didn't clear it reliably - so frustrating and time consuming that I literally turfed it into the garbage and bought an inexpensive Epson laser printer - which just sits there and consistently prints what I ask it to - year after year. HP used to be great - not so much now. Felt so good to actually chuck the HP printer in the bin - I recommend tt!

  39. Unicornpiss

    I too gave up on inkjets..

    ..about 4 years ago and got a color laser. (Canon) Of course it still has some built-in aggravation. Good luck getting it to print an envelope the way you want. I'm happy with the print quality and the overall reliability. And unlike the inkjet it replaced, it's ready to go after 10 seconds or so of warm up without cleaning or other fuss.

    I don't print a ton so some of the toner carts (which have good longevity) are still the 'starter' carts that came with it. The printer won't refuse to print, but claims the remaining carts are "end of life." How does dry inorganic polymer powder in a sealed cartridge reach end of life? It's like the expiration dates on bottled water. (is it going to revert into H and O?) I'll be damned if I'm not going to eke every last grain of toner from the cartridges before I replace them. At least it's a little better than some other companies--it will give me dire warnings on the display but continue to print just fine.

    1. Vic

      Re: I too gave up on inkjets..

      How does dry inorganic polymer powder in a sealed cartridge reach end of life?

      Like most dry powders, toner is hygroscopic. Over time, the absorption of water causes the toner particles to clump together, leading to blurring and smudging, if not worse.

      I'm not sure that's a reason to refuse to print, though...


    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I too gave up on inkjets..

      "Good luck getting it to print an envelope the way you want."

      Use window envelopes. Problem solved.

  40. richlaw


    Well one less company to buy from, I''ve black listed HP time to look for another laptop brand and printer brand.

  41. RedCardinal

    I have to ask the perhaps obvious question - If you're printer is working fine, WHY would you want or need a firmware update?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WHY Firmware updates?

      "If you're printer is working fine, WHY would you want or need a firmware update?"

      There are actually several reasons that are legitimate and some that are not.


      Bugs that may cause long term problems, e.g. running fuser too hot.

      Bugs such as errors in the cartridge algorithm that may cause premature end of life reports.

      Bugs in protocols such as SNMP V3 and web interfaces causing security issues

      Bugs generally in SNMP affecting the management information blocks.

      Bugs in the various emulators such as PostScript.

      Improvements to emulators such as additional faces, speed improvements.

      I'm sure there are more but this is just from memory and can't be bothered to use google.


      Ask HP and Lexmark.

  42. agurney

    Getting desperate for news? That article's a year old.

  43. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Y'all seem to know a lot about printers.

    Stop Printing!

    Paper is dead!

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