back to article Canon: Chip supplies are so bad that our ink cartridges will look as though they're fakes

The ongoing semiconductor shortage has reached the point that it's affecting one of the most-hated aspects of printing – copy-protection chips on ink cartridges. That's right, the function that enables printers to scream about foreign bodies if you dare to use a third-party cartridge or potentially prevent the printer from …

  1. Neil Brown

    I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

    I mean, why make something convenient and easy to use (I know, I know, they're printer manufacturers) when you can just blame covid and have your customers click through warnings and get an unsatisfactory experience?

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

      I like your suggestion that any part of using a printer is a satisfactory experience.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

        I have two printers at home. A laser printer because I don't print much and toners last a long, long time. An inkjet because I have a model railway and it's useful for printing out top layers of scenery.

        The laser printer is an HP of some description and is hard wired in. Every time I try to use it I have to fight for five minutes before it finally wakes up and starts printing. If I accidentally tell it to print something in colour it will stall for half an hour before finally rendering a B&W version.

        The inkjet is a Canon of some ilk. A cheap unit that only has a wifi connection. When I want to print something on it it accepts the request immediately and springs into life. On one occasion I needed to scan something (a very rare event) but it did that without bleating either.

        There's obviously something seriously wrong with one of these printers because it's not operating normally. But I'm not going to mention it to Canon in case they fix it..

        :)

        1. jmch Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

          "The inkjet is a Canon of some ilk. A cheap unit that only has a wifi connection. When I want to print something on it it accepts the request immediately and springs into life..."

          Seconded. I have a cheapo Canon inkjet connected on network through WiFi and it prints without complaints from any PC or phone (app required) connected on the network. It scans without complaints, and also prints fairly good photos. Perhaps even more importantly, it accepts third-party cartidges without problems (even detects ink levels - it starts to complain and say it's empty a while before it actually becomes unusable, but I think that's just the software that's set up to 'encourage' more ink consumption).

          As to this:

          "There is no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components"

          I should effin' hope so!!

      2. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

        I used to love the sound of old Dot Matrix Printers.

        Ink Printers are so terrible I went for a laser printer and never looked back.

        1. Flywheel
          Thumb Up

          Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

          You'd love the IBM 1403 printer then! I worked with these beasts back in the day and the noise was incredible. Dot matrix was a welcome relief!

          1. EricB123 Bronze badge

            Software Busts Printer

            When I was in school some bonehead student wrote a few lines of assembly code that took control of the mainframe printer and not only suppressed the CR but kept the printhead at 1,1. The printer's ink ribbon caught on fire.

            I know this because when I went to pick up my batch job I got yelled at. Turned out to be another student with the same name. Honest!

    2. Freddellmeister

      Re: I guess a firmware update to remove the DRM functionality is out of the question?

      Wow this is a very clear-sighted comment. I logged in just to provide a +1

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    hackers can exploit a "vulnerability where the supply chip meets the printer"

    Easily fixed. No chip, no interface for chip, no vulnerability.

    Detecting a cartridge that's run out of ink? Easy. Just look at the output.

    1. Drew Scriver
      Mushroom

      "There is no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components"

      I really, really want to use this quote from HP as the Zoom background for my next vendor meeting with them!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "There is no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components"

        That quote was from Canon, not HP. By all means use it - but attribute it correctly for maximum impact.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not sure about the newer printers, but weren't a lot of HP printers just rebadged Canon?

          1. Snapper

            Unlikely, as you can probably still get HP drivers for them. Canon are notorious for not upgrading printer and scanner drivers after three macOS versions.

            1. Michael Habel

              HPs Takeover of Samsungs printer division, hasn't faired as well either. Given my SCX 32500W lazer printer from ~ca. 2010, (Which is still only on its third Cartrige),. is also not directly surpported under any current macOS either. though it can be massaged into working if only temperaliy before the drivers somehow manage to bugger themselves up again.

          2. Michael Habel

            You are confusing Canon for Samsung, but on the whole yes thats largely correct. Sadly one of the first things to get hit was the Android ( iOS Mobile Print App. Which still prevents you from sharing scaned Documents via WhatsApp chats.

            ...And it was the Samsung Printers that were re-badged as HP's...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Detecting a cartridge that's run out of ink? Easy. Just look at the output."

      Knowing that you're about to run out of ink/toner and should order more is somewhat helpful, though (as is knowing which of the 8 ink cartridges has run out - sometimes it's not obvious from looking at the output) :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "as is knowing which of the 8 ink cartridges has run out - sometimes it's not obvious from looking at the output"

        Every time I occasionally use my Epson inkjet I do its "nozzle check". Sure enough the black is faint - and only "cleaning" fixes it. However I suspect that the process also "cleans" the colours unnecessarily?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Cleaning" cycles

          One of the more notorious "Anti-generics" tactics involved running excess cleaning cycles to drain the chipless items very quickly

          It will be interesting to know how many pages people get out of these consumables vs chipped ones

    3. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "Detecting a cartridge that's run out of ink? Easy. Just look at the output."

      Surely someone somwehere has a clever way for the printer to detect cartridge ink levels without any chippery on the cartridge. Even it's just a transparent window in the cartidge combined with an LED + photodetector?

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        > Even it's just a transparent window in the cartidge combined with an LED + photodetector?

        Just like how brother multifunction machines do it

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Joke

    I should sue Canon

    They're selling me counterfeit ink cartridges! Their own printer says so!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I should sue Canon

      perhaps they sold you a counterfeit Canon printer?! :D

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I should sue Canon

        I would sue Canon under the DMCA for distributing information about how to defeat copy protection

      2. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: I should sue Canon

        It wasn't counterfeit, it was genuine faux!

        1. Swarthy

          Re: I should sue Canon

          DRM is a genuine foe!

    2. Aitor 1

      Re: I should sue Canon

      Quick, we need a class action. Fire the lawyers.

  4. Dwarf

    Print quality test

    I wonder if the print quality of the pages will be lower. Isn't that the standard curse of non-OEM cartridges ?

    If the quality does go down then that would indicate that the firmware is doing this when the relevant ID chip is not detected.

    Rinse and repeat for all the other claimed problems with non-genuine cartridges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Isn't that the standard curse of non-OEM cartridges ?"

      That just depends on the quality of the toner/inks. The only reason to buy OEM cartridges is to have a reasonable assurance the quality is identical across replacvements. If you supply your non OEM cartridges from a supplier that can do the same there are really no problems. If the supplier doesn't control it there could be issues, as with any other product.

      1. Dwarf

        Re: "Isn't that the standard curse of non-OEM cartridges ?"

        I agree that there are different grades of 3rd party cartridges, what I was trying to say is that it would be nice to see if this is real or "helped" in some way by the firmware ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Isn't that the standard curse of non-OEM cartridges ?"

          That could put them in troubled waters if evidences are found. I think they just play the FUD card. People trying to find if that is true or not will found surely someone who used low-quality supplies and complained about that.

          What is really missing IMHO is reputable third party brands - there are some local ones, but not some widespread ones. Probably because many fear some kind of litigation for IP infringement or the like.

          1. Peter D

            Re: "Isn't that the standard curse of non-OEM cartridges ?"

            The majority of remanufactured cartridges in the UK and, indeed, Europe are manufactured by one North London company called Environmental Business Products. If you buy an own brand cartridge from a major retailer it more than likely comes from them.

    2. spireite Silver badge

      Re: Print quality test

      I buy third party printer cartridges all the time for my aging Epson SX535WD from Partridge Ceople. Compared to the official Epsons, I see NO difference. I've had the had color cartridge non-working from the off, but they've been very good at sending a new one in those rare instances.

  5. Hawkeye Pierce
    Thumb Down

    No Driver Update?

    I suppose a driver update with an option to permanently disable such warnings - regardless of whether it's a genuine but un-chipped Canon cartridge or a 3rd party compatible one - is out of the question?

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: No Driver Update?

      Operating system upgrade to Linux and Bob's your uncle.

      1. Rob Daglish

        Re: No Driver Update?

        Unlikely if they're talking imageRunners - these are big MFPs where the warning will generally be on the device control panel, not your PC

      2. Colin Bull 1
        Mushroom

        Linux not the answer for Epson

        I have an Epson multifuction printer that generally works OK with Ubuntu. But recently I could not get it to print (when I was in a hurry of course) .

        I copied the file to the old womens Win10 box and attempted to print. A message box popped up stating non Epson cartridge was I sure I wanted to risk printing with it. Printed OK and since has printed from Ubuntu.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Linux not the answer for Epson

          Some years ago the Lexmark driver software on Linux urged me to "upgrade" the firmware. When I clicked the button for more information it, commendably, told me that the "upgrade" would prevent me from using "non-authorised" cartridges.

          I declined.

          The printer is no less shit.

          Get a laser, or an ecotank.

          -A.

          1. Chunky Munky

            Re: Linux not the answer for Epson

            Bought an ecotank 2 years ago with a spare set of ink bottles - still not half way through them :)

        2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

          Re: Linux not the answer for Epson

          HP mfd148 laser works pretty much perfectly too...

        3. W.S.Gosset
          Trollface

          Re: Linux not the answer for Epson

          > I copied the file to the old womens Win10 box and attempted to print. A message box popped up

          So what you're saying is that Windows is ideal for displaying error messages?

    2. Peter D

      Re: No Driver Update?

      The only reason printers have drivers at all is to nag you about fake cartridges. Windows long ago switched to text file descriptors of printers. There is no technical reason for printer drivers to exist.

  6. Flip

    Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

    It has also said that almost all cloned cartridges end up in landfill, making it an environmental no-no.

    Where do they think the official cartridges end up?

    1. Steve K

      Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

      If they are playing the environmental card, how about suggesting that people print if only absolutely necessary and save paper and ink/ink cartridges too?

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

        Paper is eminently recyclable. Ink cartridges less so,

        -A.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

          I don't think our recycling wants inkjet "glossy" photo-paper.

          The compost bin no longer wants paper or cardboard. However they recommend wrapping kitchen waste in newspaper - yet that ink is apparently toxic.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

            "they recommend wrapping kitchen waste in newspaper - yet that ink is apparently toxic."

            Newspapers have generally used soy-based inks for decades. The days of toxic inks are back in the 1980s

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

              Oh goody - may I again have my fish & chips wrapped with the bonus of reading material.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

          Contrary to assertions, paper is one of the nastier items to manufacture (quite nasty chemicals used) and has a very limited number of recycle uses (the papermaking pul[ing process chops wood lignin fibres up and it can only get "so short" before it no longer works as paper)

          Coated paper is virtually impossible to recycle into anything except building insulation

          In a lot of cases it's virtually impossible to compost too, thanks to the preservatives/dyes/varnishes added

          The mantra is "reduce", "reuse", "recycle" - it's greener to not print at all and jumping straight to the recycling stage is the greenwashing way of assuaging a guilty conscience

          Ink cartridges, on the other hand are just bits of plastic and surprisingly easy to recycle if they can't be reused (most can be refilled)

          That said, the cost and energy expenditure of recycling most plastics (or paper) is so high that you'd usually expend 10% as much oil simply burning the old stuff as fuel and manufacturing new items from virgin materials

          It's complex - and "recycling" only really works for a limited range of stuff.

          In most cases it's a horrendous expenditure of resources. Plastics/paper in particular are extremely low value materials with a very high recycling cost - should we REALLY be spending 20p recycling a soft drink bottle that cost 2p to manfacture and distribute (and constitutes 0.1p worth of raw materials), into another 2p bottle or is it better to find a better way of dealing with it at end of life, or finding a better value proposition for the distribution of the content?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

            "or finding a better value proposition for the distribution of the content?"

            Lay pipes to every house and distribute the water in bulk. If people want to add taste they can buy a flavour concentrate and fill their own container too. There are more radical propositions that flavoured, sugared, caffeine laden drinks are not essential anyway.

          2. Andy A
            Pint

            Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

            Some of us old enough to remember when virtually all computer input consisted of 80-column punch cards might also remember that they were eminently recyclable. They became slightly darker at each processing.

            As a bureau operation, we got through hundreds of boxes of cards. There would usually be a carton (5 boxes worth) of chads by the time our scrap man called to empty the pallets in the loading bay.

            The proceeds paid for various gatherings for staff, all catering and entertainment being fully funded. There were many of these partaken of ======>

    2. imanidiot Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

      They're magically always recycled by HP themselves. Somehow. --> They probably help.

    3. Tom 38

      Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

      I don't know about Canon, but OEM HP ink cartridges include a paid return envelope for you to return the empty cartridge.

      1. Giles C Silver badge

        Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

        Canon do the same, you go onto their website and request return envelopes which they send you free

        https://www.canon.co.uk/recycling/inkjet/

        1. spireite Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

          ...because.....

          there is no environmental cost to producing the packaging to do it

          there is no environmental cost to shipping it

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

            And they will happily pay to help keep used plastic from ending up in the hands of refillers, who would gladly see it re-used several times before it hit's a recycle bin.

            Cannon users may be able to trick their MFP's by transplanting the chip from their old cart BTW. It may not accurately report prints unless you reset it though. But chip resetters would be dangerous circumvention devices that only commie mutant traitors to Alpha Complex would have access to right?

            Fortunately I just happen to have a perfectly legitimate EEPROM programmer right over here...

        2. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

          Now I'm tempted to get return envelopes from them to send them my "fake" cartridges.

          '

          .

      2. Peter D

        Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

        The reason why manufacturers have a "recycle" option is to starve the remanufacture market. Currently many charities distribute postage paid cartridge bags which send empty cartridges to a London company. The company pays the charities a few pennies to the for every filled bag. The company refills the cartridges and re-brands them for major retailers. By offering a recycle option the manufacturers disrupt this market and rob from the charities at the same time.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

      >Where do they think the official cartridges end up?

      If the price is anything like HP - I assume they end up in a bank vault as some sort of currency reserve.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

        "If the price is anything like HP - I assume they end up in a bank vault as some sort of currency reserve."

        Speaking with a (now long retired) university procurement guy, he urged us to consider anything except HP for our purchases

        Paraphrasing his explanation, his department had run a lot of testing of printers of various types and duty cycles and HP consistently came out as the most expensive, worst quality of the big names, with running costs ten+ times higher than several of the competing makers

        This was BEFORE the split into HP/HPE

        It matched what I'd already experienced but it was nice to see it actually quantified

        Unfortunately he'd been unable to set policy on printer purchases because politics. Attempts to ban HP purchases had met with ferocious resistance, as had attempts to ban personal printers (anything smaller than a workgroup printer has eye-wateringly high cost of operation). Some groups had individual cheap inkjets on each desk and were paying incredibly high figures comnpared to using a higher quality workgroup lase, let alone a departmental one

        And of course, people buy cheap printers without considering their print volumes. When I did the sums I found that a few £10k departmental lasers were £100k cheaper over 5 years than buying several more £1k workgroup printers - and then spent 4 years being obstructed by manglement who refused to spend that much on a printer when cheaper ones were available

    5. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Playing the "Enviromentally Responsible" card

      >Where do they think the official cartridges end up?

      I'm not sure about 'landfill' but I can see that third-party cartridges would get discarded as they are intentionally different to the OEM cartridges so as to not infringe design. So a supplier would want to only refurbish and refill official OEM cartridges.

      This is an area where the EU could usefully 'interfere', just as it did with USB phone chargers.

  7. johnB

    It's' MY printer

    If I want to put in cheap cartridges that don't give as good output as the mfr's, well that's my business.

    But in fact I put in cheap cartridges that give better output than Epson's at about 10% of the cost.

    1. fidodogbreath

      Re: It's' MY printer

      It's' MY printer

      To which Canon, HP, et al would reply: "LOL. Next time, read the 20,000-word TOS before you click Accept."

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: It's' MY printer

        To which one would respond "I'm a consumer, I refer you to Arkell vs Pressdram"

      2. Fred Daggy Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: It's' MY printer

        The whole inkjet industry is a bunch of malicious jerks who'll be the second against the wall when the revolution comes. (With apologies to Adams, D).

        Brother in law is looking for cheap-ish replacement cartridges for printer from "well known Highly Profitable company" - we check the specs. Aparently 900 pages of printing - we just laughed. I think I can only get around 100 pages from the bastards. I don't print a lot but in studying an MBA (boo, hiss) I really like to proofread ONE final copy in paper, of a paper. Some mistakes just stand out like dogs bollocks on paper when they parse fine on a screen.

        But the absolute fuckery of NOT letting me print black only when, say, the cyan is empty is beyond the tears of satan. It is not a coincidence that I have stopped recommending that same company for any enterprise computing gear.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: It's' MY printer

          No you don't understand. They need to add a bit of cyan to black to make the black look blacker.

          They also can't just add the cyan to the black ink ahead of time because *mumble*.

          And they can't possibly let you, on your* printer, print off a page of text that isn't a perfect black because that would degrade your customer experience much more badly than not being able to print in the first place because you're out of cyan.

          1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

            Re: It's' MY printer

            Black, like priests socks... not really really dark blue... ;-)

      3. Andy A

        Re: It's' MY printer

        To which Canon, HP, et al would reply: "LOL. Next time, readPRINT the 20,000-word TOS before you click Accept."

        FTFY.

  8. Potemkine! Silver badge

    PR BS removed

    We value you as a customer, that's why we'll push our cartridges through your throat by designing anticompetitive systems and we'll always try to swindle you to get more of your money.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Maybe - maybe not

    'the remaining toner level may suddenly change from 'OK' to 'Empty'. When 'Empty' is displayed, install a new toner container." Mildly inconvenient but hardly the end of the world'

    Unless of course the cartridge is not really empty.

  10. Richard Pennington 1
    FAIL

    Interesting ...

    I have an old Canon A3 printer which has just achieved end-of-life (persistent and repeated paper jams). But before I perform the experiment to find out whether WEEE really is the sound of an A3 printer dropped from several tens of metres until just before it hits a hard surface, I need to source a replacement.

    A3 printers aren't standard consumer fare ... the choices are limited and the prices are (with a few exceptions) high. At the moment the leader is one by Brother.

    Any other suggestions?

    1. Stormy

      Re: Interesting ...

      As the owner of an A3 Brother multi-function printer, I can definitely recommend it.

      I have had no issues with paper jamming,clogged print heads (unlike all the time with previous epson printers), and it doesn't complain about using 3rd party cartridges.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Interesting ...

        In all honesty, I can't remember if the Brother color MFP I bought threw an error when I put non-OEM toners into it, but if it did, it was straightforward to get around, and the output quality is still just fine for me. (if I really need a nice looking color page, I have an ink drinking photo printer that gets fired up on such occasions.)

        1. Chz

          Re: Interesting ...

          Brothers are popular with techies because they don't do that kind of bullshit. They may not be the *best* printers, but they're solid, they take 3rd party toners without fuss, and said toners are cheap.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Interesting ...

            My brother refuses to take toner, though. He says he prefers a fountain pen.

          2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Interesting ...

            When my beloved HP LaserJet 110 died after 20 years (paper feed issues, no spares available) I replaced it with a cheap Brother. It has nothing like the build quality, and I'll be pleased to get five years out of it, but it prints well, plays nice with Linux and cheerfully accepts knock-off toners at well under a tenner each (OEM £31.99).

            Overall good enough that I bought a second one for another site.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting ...

      I have a HP Officejet Pro 7740 (MFM) hooked up to a Mac, and that works well, even with imitation cartridges (provided you follow the warning you get from suppliers: stop updating printer firmware).

      Not only does it a decent job printing on A3, it can do so doublesided and comes with two separate paper drawers. What's more, it also scans A3, and I even managed that through the ADF. It has no need to turn the paper for doublesided scans because like all modern HP scanners it has a scanner strip for each side. I tend to use it for diagrams as A4 doesn't quite cover my needs.

      However, it really doesn't like being inactive for a couple of weeks, then you will have to run one of two cleaning cycles, even when you properly powered it down before travelling so the head was capped.

      And yes, it also does a decent job for A4.

      I tend to switch 50/50 between original and imitation just to compare ink quality and to be honest, even with printing pictures there is hardly any need for colour corrections.

      I can't tell you about the fax facility, though, as I have not used it, ever. Come to think of it, I have not used a fax for at least a decade now..

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Interesting ...

        "However, it really doesn't like being inactive for a couple of weeks"

        This is standard problem #1 with _ALL_ inkjets.

        If you're not printing every other day, don't buy one.

        Lasers don't have this problem, are only slightly more expensive and are generally MUCH cheaper to run

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting ...

          Oh, I know. The problem is that an A3 printing inkjet is relatively easy to find and is cheap to run provided it's either an Ecotank or has alternative ink available (something I check before I even buy a printer).

          A3 size laser printers are *far* more expensive and, due to rarity, also less likely have alternative toner providers available.

          Hence me taking the occasional cleaning hit, and it's also the reason I didn't buy a separate laser printer for A4 - this way, the inkjet gets more to print and thus spends less time inactive.

    3. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: Interesting ...

      If you have the space, look out for an office copier. They're pretty useful and the toner tends to be much more cost effective.

      You can often see second hand ones on Craigslist or the like for not very much money. You do have to figure out how to get it home mind, and better to get something that has had a good service history.

    4. Horridbloke

      Re: Interesting ...

      Could you try fitting a cheap replacement pickup roller from $ONLINE_TAT_BAZAAR? I got my 14-year-old laser printer working again recently using a £3.33 part and a youtube tutorial, though an a3 printer might be harder to source bits for. If the alternative is binning it then might as well have a go...

    5. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Interesting ...

      I think that Amateur Photographer reviewed an Epson A3 printer with ink tanks rather than cartridges recently. My old Epson photo 1290 is still going strong, and I get ink from 'Stinkyink' which seems to work, but I don't do actual photo quality printing.

    6. Snapper

      Re: Interesting ...

      Stick with the Brother, very reliable printers.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Interesting ...

      get yourself a rubber kit. The standard problem with all printers that are experiencing paper jams is worn out rubber pickup/friction rollers/worn springs and almost all of these are replaceable

      The lifespan of most paper drawer pickup rollers is around 50k sheets. If they're smooth/shiny, they need replacing

      search term 'Brother [model] consumable kit' (or roller kit or refurb kit) is your recommended starting point

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have I missed something

    Where is the part about reducing the price to their esteemed customers because of the missing and hitherto very important functionality ?

  12. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
    Trollface

    And here I go changing the ink ribbon of my 70-year-old Remington

    ...with no DRM issues!

    No, really. I reached the end of the ancient ribbon, so it's time to put in a brand-new one. Being a Remington, though, I can't just drop in the plastic spools; I have to wind the ribbon onto the built-in metal spools. But first I had to go buy nitrile gloves because fresh ink.

    I also learned they keys were REALLY sticky. Not the mechanisms; the key caps themselves. Then it occurred to me that, after sitting umpteen years in Grandpa's dental office -- probably in his private back office, that Mr. Heavy Smoker left quite a bit of tar behind. Amazing how a light swipe of a Clorox wipe lifted that away, and they both look AND feel clean again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And here I go changing the ink ribbon of my 70-year-old Remington

      Ah, so you're the guy who keeps TippEx in business!

      :)

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: And here I go changing the ink ribbon of my 70-year-old Remington

        Him and my Chemistry teacher, the one who used to cover up marks on the classroom wall with TippEx. People wouldn’t have minded but he was forever borrowing it from students.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: And here I go changing the ink ribbon of my 70-year-old Remington

          I used to work in the associated cafe of an upmarket furniture shop. "Downstairs" used to sell those very expensive white wicker benches, any defects on them were covered up with Tippex!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting rid of the clone market is simple, but HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox, Lexmark, et. al. don't like it:

    Charge sane prices for ink and cartridges!!!

    Do that, and the "third party" market will mysteriously dry up. Your own greed is what feeds that market.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      A similar cartoon dialogue, but with the reverse problem

      "We are paying millions of credits for the ensuring of unquestionable [objects'] origin."

      "Millions? That means millions of motives for counterfeiting."

      "But we are paying for the removing of the motives!"

      "Money creates motive. At those rates you're probably subsidizing an entire [object] black market."

      --Howard Tayler, Schlock Mercenary book 6 bonus story

      (If it were just one of the 20 years of strips, I'd post a link, but bonus stories are only for chumps who pay for Schlock.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A similar cartoon dialogue, but with the reverse problem

        Its simple supply and demand. If you artificially inflate a price, a black market will rise to skim some of the margin. If you charge a reasonable price, you still turn a profit, but there is little margin for the black market to try to take.

        The world is built on greed, though, not "is it enough?"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A similar cartoon dialogue, but with the reverse problem

          But what about the cyan, yellow and magenta markets?

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: A similar cartoon dialogue, but with the reverse problem

            But what about the cyan, yellow and magenta markets?

            .. aaand there goes my coffee.

            Well done :)

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Printer sellers use the razorblade model - subsidised printers, expensive ink

      If they changed what printers really cost then the devices would cost about twice as much in most cases

      Lasers are so cheap that the only reason to justify buying inkjets is photo-quality printing

      1. Andy A

        I remember heading to the local retailer for replacement tape for my mum's label printer. There it was, on the shelves.

        Next to it, was the exact same product (same length of tape, too), for a pound LESS. To get this deal, all I had to do was carry home a whole brand new label printer and eight batteries.

  14. James 51

    Good ad for the likes of the eco-tank printers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think Epson did indeed do the smart thing here - that ink is about as expensive as imitation ink so there's no earthly reason why you would buy "fake" ink.

      If they had an A3 printer which could do edgeless I'd be interested, but sadly not. That said, I'm moving to laserprinters anyway - less hassle.

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Can i just say Fsck off HP, I won't be buying any of your crappy printers! My 15 year old Epson Stylus is still going strong 3rd party ink carts cost me £1 each from Ebay and thanks to OpenWRT on my router and my printer connected to the routers USB port I can even print to it over the network.

  16. The Basis of everything is...
    Holmes

    Or get a printer that doesn't use disposable cartridges

    Our printer died messily - as in the print head itself sprung a leak somehow - two weeks before the schools shut last year. Took the plunge on a more expensive cannon printer/scanner with ink tanks instead, and apart from one scary moment during setup while it slurped down so much yellow I was expecting to find a very hard to explain stain on the table it has been fine ever since.

    Even better is I'm still using the initial bottles of ink it came with, despite feeding more paper into it for kids worksheets than I ever thought possible and it's already paid for itself.

  17. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Recycling?

    Can they not recycle the chips from spent ink cartridges? Or would that be too 'environment-friendly'?

    Oh, Oh I know the answer, the cartridges were not designed for chip re-use so it would be too expensive.

    1. 9Rune5

      Re: Recycling?

      My guess is that the chips have some tamper proofing on board in a (vain) attempt at making it more difficult for third-party suppliers to recycle these. The irony of this situation is so thick you could insulate a huge building with it.

      I find it interesting that on the Internet there will always be trolls around that will take the other position.

      But when debating cartridge based printers, there is an universal agreement that the printer OEMs are pure evil. They will indeed be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

      BTW: Hey Canon! Care to explain me why a defective print head means the scanner unit cannot operate? Or why running out of ink in the first place immediately fried the print head? (up to that point no streaking on the page had been observed, but I'm sure Canon wasn't wrong in claiming it was empty -- they would not lie, would they?)

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Recycling?

        The irony of this situation is so thick you could insulate a huge building with it.

        This alone deserves my upvote.

  18. bill 27

    Starting to like my B&W laser printers more and more (a really old HP that I was gifted by a law office when Windows abandoned it somewhere around 2000, and oddly enough a Canon I bought several years ago). I actually have an ink printer...I keep it around to scan things with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had an HP LaserJet 2000 I bought in the late 90s or early '00s that printed flawlessly even on the day I got rid of it.

      Unfortunately the old driver I used for it that had survived two windows upgrades failed to make it into Windows 10, so last year it was gotten rid of. Heavy beast. Slow. Noisy. And unstoppable, as most HP hardware was once upon a time...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        You should have passed it on to a Linux user. I still have an old 2030 in operation via a JetDirect box.

      2. Andy A

        I remember listening to the ENRON auction, which was an early Online Event.

        People were snapping up the second-hand LaserJet 2000 boxes for a hundred quid more than the retail price of the 2100 which replaced it, and which came with fresh toner and a warranty.

        It's an AUCTION! It MUST be cheap!

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      How do you get your canon printer to scan with empty ink cartridges? I ask for myself and a poster above. (I currently own a Canon Pixma something or other which demands a complete new set of cartridges whenever I want to print anything, and refuses to scan anything if it hasn't got print capability too.)

      1. Joe Drunk

        Well that sucks - I own and Epson CX9400Fax that refuses to send faxes if ink needs replacement but scan function still works. In fact, I haven't replaced ink cartridges in over a decade since I have a laser for printing. The Epson is a dedicated scanner now since I don't need the fax function anymore.

  19. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Eco-Tank to the rescue!

    No more cartridges.

    Just a quick fill once a year.

    No clogs, no mess and no messages.

    Cheap too.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: Eco-Tank to the rescue!

      I agree. I bought two Epson Eco-Tank printers to replace workgroup printers because we no longer print 500 page plus reports for customers - they accept PDF copies. It was an good move and reduced costs, improved print quality and pleased the users. It also saved the pain in the neck which was discovering that toner cartridges had "caked" reducing the laser print quality and needing cartridges and transfer belts to be swapped out before their scheduled EOL.

      The Eco-Tanks have performed well and their major use these days is for printing paper copies of travel documents and notices for the site where they are installed. Occasionally an engineer will print off a manual so they have a handy reference that doesn't need a device to read.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Eco-Tank to the rescue!

        > discovering that toner cartridges had "caked"

        Erm.... you do know that all you need to do in such cases is apply a sharp tap to the cartridge and shake it about a bit, don't you?

        As for WHY it's caking - reduce your humidity

        1. Andy A

          Re: Eco-Tank to the rescue!

          Shaking the cartridges always gave an extra hundred or so pages. Sometimes this could be repeated half a dozen times without reduction in print quality.

  20. El_Fatguy

    HP? PFFFFT!

    HP can suck my ass. I was in the middle of a 5pg single-sided print job; and the printer displayed "INVALID PRINT HEAD DETECTED!", and wouldn't print.

    This was a 16mo printer, less than 2k pages on it, with co-incidentally brand-new ink in it.

    I'd paid ~$400cad for the printer new 16 mos ago; 4 mos before the warranty expired. HP's spares site (even with a corporate login) told me the print head was no longer available; and the only option was to replace the printer.

    I've had HP printers forever. Been a fan-boi even. But after that; fuck you in your actual assholes.

  21. Dave 15

    Any printer company doing this should be shunned

    I threw away an HP printer because on the day I needed to print a boarding pass it decided the ink cartridge was not kosher and it wouldnt use it. Heap of crap! I also wouldnt buy Canon for the same reason. I currently have an Epson that has ink reservoirs that I can fill from liquid ink bottles... it was no more expensive than the others and operates as a scanner as well.

    If I were HMG and banning people from giving away plastic bags then I would ban the sale of printers that dont use refillable systems like the Epson one. But then again, unlike current politicians and civil servants I wouldnt be accepting the back handers and bribes required to keep this abuse of the public going.

  22. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Why aren't they re-using them?

    The baggy they sent with the toner cartridge said they were going to refill it.

    With the current work-from-home edicts, there is of course far lower than usual demand for toner, so surely there is a large pile of cartridges ready for refilling.

    Or did Canon lie? Perhaps WEEE should find out what's really happening with those cartridges...

    1. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: Why aren't they re-using them?

      The DRM chips are single-use by design, otherwise the resellers would reset them to "cartridge full" and use them instead of buying a third-party chip. (It's 3rd parties all the way down).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open source

    It must be viable now to design an open hardware printer and get us all out of this printer company induced hell?

  24. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Shortages are Our Friend

    Talk about every cloud has a silver lining!

  25. G2
    Devil

    Canon Europe official Europe-wide page to complement the German one.

    fyi:

    Canon has an official Englsh-language page to complement the German one... there's no need to mess with the German tentacle (unless you're into tentacle anime... in which case.... we need pics :p )

    https://www.canon-europe.com/support/business-product-support/interim-toner/

  26. SuperGeek

    Even more weird...

    BMW this week announced due to the shortage of semiconductors they were leaving out the indicator control module on all models...

    No, not April yet, just sarcasm. Although they don't get used anyway ;)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Update...

    "[HP] leverages a globally diverse supply chain to remain agile and adaptable in the face of changing industry dynamics."

    Translation... they buy them on eBay like anyone else, they just can't source the chips that make them 'official'

  28. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    RE: "HP got in touch to say: "HP uses original HP chips in its ink and toner cartridges to ensure the best possible customer experience while protecting against the counterfeiting of its supplies. The company leverages a globally diverse supply chain to remain agile and adaptable in the face of changing industry dynamics."

    Or, they could just allow people to use their own ink. Radical idea, I know.

    I understand their excuse that they subsidise the cost of the printers with the profits from the ink, but even assuming that is true, perhaps they'd be better just setting the printer price so it covers the cost of development, manufacture and a reasonable profit.

    But that isn't the way Printer Manufacturers work.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like