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Author Topic: Ink Costs  (Read 7136 times)
Justinr
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« on: June 07, 2012, 11:11:13 AM »
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I run an Epson R2880 and although ink cartridges have remained the same price for the last couple of years I'm damn sure they are not lasting as long. Would it only be a miserable cynic such as myself that suggests that they are not putting as much ink in them so increasing/maintaining their margin that way rather than an upfront price increase? It would also explain why printer manufacturers have never been clear on individual print costs, that would entail them ensuring a consistent quantity of ink in the cartridge so not allowing this sort of manipulation.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 11:17:14 AM »
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If the cartridge or packaging or product description says how much ink is supposed to be included, it would be illegal for them to put less and I can't imagine a firm like Epson exposing themselves in this manner. This is either a figment of your imagination, or possibly that the kind of images you are printing is somehow different, or that the printer is using more ink for maintenance (ink is used for both printing and maintenance). Different image densities use different amounts of ink. I have seen myself that there is a very large difference of average ink consumption, for example, between winter scenes and other scenes.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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David Good
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2012, 12:08:38 PM »
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The cartridges are "chipped", one of the reasons being so it can warn you in advance that you are getting low on ink. How much is actually left I am not certain, I continue to use mine (although I have upgraded from a 2400 to a 3880) for some time after I get the warning. Some say that with Epsons you can keep printing until it runs out, even mid print, at which point the printer stops, you change the cartridge, and continue printing. I have not let any go that long on my printers though.

Perhaps your impression that the inks are emptied quicker has to do with the chip setting threshold being changed over the years by the manufacturer (just guessing here). If you print certain types of images most times then certain inks will empty quicker, for instance landscapes or portraits. As an aside I can say that the 3880 is much more "thrifty" on ink than it's littler brothers are, the larger formats even more so.
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Justinr
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 12:28:19 PM »
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The Epson does not appear to have any indication of quantity of ink included either on the package or the cartridge itself, the Canon cartridges for the other printer do though. However, this does not mean to say that they can't reduce the amount of ink, just so long as they state the amount supplied. There are probably not many people watching things that closely.

The cost of inkjet prints was quite a hot subject a few years back with my argument being that if a printer can tell you that you are low on ink why can it not tell you how much ink it is using? It is like having a fuel gauge that only starts working when the tank is near empty, a bit nonsensical when you think about it. Is it really beyond the wit of man to devise a standard test for ink consumption? Naturally winter scenes will use less ink because more white paper is left exposed but a test card could surely be devised that indicates how much ink your printer will use in producing it. This can then be used in comparing printers and papers to optimise printing costs.
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Justinr
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 12:40:19 PM »
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The cartridges are "chipped", one of the reasons being so it can warn you in advance that you are getting low on ink. How much is actually left I am not certain, I continue to use mine (although I have upgraded from a 2400 to a 3880) for some time after I get the warning. Some say that with Epsons you can keep printing until it runs out, even mid print, at which point the printer stops, you change the cartridge, and continue printing. I have not let any go that long on my printers though.

Perhaps your impression that the inks are emptied quicker has to do with the chip setting threshold being changed over the years by the manufacturer (just guessing here). If you print certain types of images most times then certain inks will empty quicker, for instance landscapes or portraits. As an aside I can say that the 3880 is much more "thrifty" on ink than it's littler brothers are, the larger formats even more so.

This is the nub of the matter. How does that chip know how much ink is left? If it is counting the number of cycles then surely working out how much ink has been used for a print is just a question of toting up the numbers from each cartridge.

As a rule I find the Epson won't start a print if it thinks there is not enough ink to finish it, or I assume that's why because it won't print until I've changed the offending cartridge. So how does it know?
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kers
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 01:18:02 PM »
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If you do want to lower you ink costs maybe it is good advice to change your printer to a bigger, more professional used one.
Your ink and paper cost will be cut by 60-70%-

The printer will cost more but it is made more robust and you can print larger ( I am talking about 24inch and bigger printers).
I am using a HP Z3100 6 years now and it is very consistent in output; had to repair it once (100 parts)
The way I use it it will go on for a long time ... I am at 25% of use before i have to do a service..
Just an idea



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Pieter Kers
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 01:27:55 PM »
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I can't answer the OP about whether the 2880 carts have changed, but regarding low ink, all Epson printers will stop printing when the cart is depleted, the printer will stop, change the empty with a new ink and it will start right up again with no sign - on the print - that the image was stopped mid-stream. If you change a cart before this, you are certainly throwing away usable ink. In addition, all Epson printers using aqueous ink will lay down ~1.5ml of total ink per square foot, assuming full coverage and little white space. From my personal experience, I've had a 2200, 3800 and 11880 all stop when the cart is depleted and start right up when it is replaced. I once had a customer who ran out of yellow on his 11880 on a Friday, let it sit all weekend, replace the empty on Monday and finished the print. He was happily amazed and happy not to lose a large print in the process.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 01:55:39 PM »
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As a rule I find the Epson won't start a print if it thinks there is not enough ink to finish it, or I assume that's why because it won't print until I've changed the offending cartridge. So how does it know?
Interesting.  As a rule I've never seen an Epson refuse to print a print because it thinks it doesn't have enough ink, only refuse to clean because it doesn't think it has enough ink.  However I don't  use the small cartridge 2880.  The printer will normally stop and ask for new ink when it  runs out, which is often after the indicator has been on 0% for some time.  On the large printers, as much as 10% of the ink still remains, enough for a large number of prints, when the indicator says it is empty.

As far as putting less ink in the cartridges I would be surprised.  Ink consumption is extremely variable based on print subject matter, paper choices and print settings. Epson provides pretty detailed ink consumption expectations ...

"Ink Yield Information:

Epson provides ink cartridge yields based on the ISO / IEC 24711 and 24712 standard for inkjet products, which excludes the first installed cartridges.
Matte Black (T096820): About 495 pages
Light Black (T096720): About 6,210 pages
Light Light Black (T096920): About 6,065 pages
Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, and Vivid Light Magenta (T096220, T096320, T096420, T096520, T096620): About 940 pages per color"
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tongelsing
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 02:45:35 PM »
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There is a simple way to measure the amount of ink of your cartridges.
Weigh a full and a empty cartridge. The difference is your volume. Assuming that the average weight of ink  is about the same as of  water.

I did it, out of curiousity, once with my 220ml cartridges and the results were pretty close.

Ton
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Peter Mellis
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 03:08:38 PM »
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If my memory is correct ( and it sometimes isn't ), Epson settled a class action suit some years back, that had to do with the printers indicating that a cartridge was out of ink, when it in fact. had some ink left. I don't remember the specifics beyond that, but do remember getting a credit from/to be used with Epson, as part of the settlement; I owned an Epson printer during the time period.

That said, I have run my printers until they stopped in the middle of a print and replaced a cartridge, without any noticeable effect.
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MHMG
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 03:28:23 PM »
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There is another factor that adds to increasing irritation with ink usage over time on many desktop and 13" prosumer inkjet models. When the printer is first set up, even with 25% or so of the initial ink set being used to prime the lines, the initial number of prints you can make seems quite respectable. Say you got 30 big prints out of your first set of eight cartridges on your 2880 before the first cartridge went empty, and that with fully primed lines you might have gotten 40 prints total.  Now consider what happens if all eight cartridges eventually get out of sync and become rather evenly distributed in remaining ink levels from 1 cart being brand new, 1 being nearly empty, and the other 6 at various intervals in between. Now on average, instead of 40 prints from all full cartridges, 40/8 = 5 prints becomes the average print session interval where the printer is going to call for a new cart.  The printer really hasn't changed its ink consumption. It's just that you are now witnessing more clearly how many prints can be made from the equivalent volume of just one cartridge, not all 8 cartridges acting in unison. The "new printer honeymoon" is over. It may take several sets of cartridges in your printer before things get significantly out of sync on ink levels, but eventually it happens.

Practical ways around this annoying ink consumption routine are to upgrade to a printer that has higher volumes of ink in each cartridge and can thus make more prints per cartridge, or install a CISS with third party inks (but that's another can of worms).

best,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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AFairley
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 03:52:57 PM »
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One issue in the ink equation is how much you actually print.  For example if I upgraded from my 3880 with its 80ml carts to a 220ml cart machine, I likely would end up replacing some carts before they were empty just because of their age, something that would seriously gripe me given what OEM ink costs.  Fortunately, I have a friend with a 24" printer I can borrow when I want to print bigger.
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Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2012, 04:57:32 PM »
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I can't answer the OP about whether the 2880 carts have changed, but regarding low ink, all Epson printers will stop printing when the cart is depleted, the printer will stop, change the empty with a new ink and it will start right up again with no sign - on the print - that the image was stopped mid-stream. If you change a cart before this, you are certainly throwing away usable ink. In addition, all Epson printers using aqueous ink will lay down ~1.5ml of total ink per square foot, assuming full coverage and little white space. From my personal experience, I've had a 2200, 3800 and 11880 all stop when the cart is depleted and start right up when it is replaced. I once had a customer who ran out of yellow on his 11880 on a Friday, let it sit all weekend, replace the empty on Monday and finished the print. He was happily amazed and happy not to lose a large print in the process.


This one certainly doesn't stop midway through a print, but then I gather its a bit of an oddball machine anyway being the only Epson printer with cartridges exclusive to it, or so I am told. Unfortunately there won't be any upgrading until the economy picks up and folk start spending money again, could be a long wait!
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Moreno Polloni
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 01:13:29 PM »
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There is a simple way to measure the amount of ink of your cartridges.

Ton

I just replaced a 220ml cart yesterday - the old cart had 48ml of ink remaining as measured with a syringe. A previous empty cart measured 57ml remaining. Every time I throw out an empty cart I throw away $25-$35 worth of ink or about 20-25% of the cartridge capacity.

I also weighed a new and empty maintenance tank. Not taking into account the amount of ink that evaporates over the course of a year or so, when I threw out my last maintenance tank I also threw away $525 worth of waste ink along with it. Over the last year waste ink cost me about $52 per month. I've already spent more on waste ink than the cost of the printer itself, and I have a relatively low print volume.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 03:44:41 PM »
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Not to say your calculations are not accurate, but weigh a new ink cart, write the gram weight on the cart and weigh it again when the printer stops printing, due to that color being depleted, and you'll have the total usable ink that was extracted from that cart. Even though there is ink left, you don't know how much ink was in the cart when it was installed. This may confirm your numbers OR there may be closer to 220ml of usable ink in a cart.

Edit - apologies to tongelsing who already made this suggestion - D'oh. Smiley
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 03:46:22 PM by Randy Carone » Logged

Randy Carone
Pat O'Connor
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2012, 04:05:56 PM »
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The numbers in your calculations scared me enough to finally do something with the numbers I gathered over a year ago.
From my own measurements
Difference between full and empty cartridge                    387-179=208g
difference between full and empty maintenance tank         926-365=561g
(maybe someone has the weight of a bone dry disassembled cart?)

if, as you say, there is 48ml remaining in an empty cart (assuming 220ml is actual amount and not 220ml+48ml) then 220-48=172ml which is equal to 208g (1.2g/ml) therefore weight of ink in maintenance tank/1.2 = 467.5ml which is equivalent to just over two 220ml carts (180ish). Still outlandish, but 'tank'fully not as scary as the number in your calculations.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2012, 04:58:57 PM »
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Not to say your calculations are not accurate, but weigh a new ink cart, write the gram weight on the cart and weigh it again when the printer stops printing, due to that color being depleted, and you'll have the total usable ink that was extracted from that cart. Even though there is ink left, you don't know how much ink was in the cart when it was installed. This may confirm your numbers OR there may be closer to 220ml of usable ink in a cart.

Edit - apologies to tongelsing who already made this suggestion - D'oh. Smiley

No - you will have the weight of the liquid that was consumed in printing and in maintenance until the cart declared itself to be "empty" (which it is not). Unless you know the specific gravity of the liquid you cannot accurately translate the grams to ml, and there is no particular reason to assume that the specific gravity of the ink is the same as that of water unless somewhere Epson confirmed this to be so. My understanding based on what I've learned from numerous exchanges on this subject - the total content of a stated 220 ml cartridge is 220 ml. That is, if you were to open and empty a new cartridge into a beaker it would fill to the level of 220 ml if that is the marked fill. However, in order to the protect the integrity of the print head these cartridges are programmed to stop feeding ink before the cartridge actually empties, because if air gets pumped into the head there could be damage. I could not get clarity on exactly how much ink is programmed to remain, so over time when i still owned my 4800 I used to periodically empty the remainder of "empty" cartridges into a beaker and found that with some variance the amount was usually in the range of a liquid ounce or so. That was about 4 or 5 years ago.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2012, 05:22:18 PM »
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No - you will have the weight of the liquid that was consumed in printing and in maintenance until the cart declared itself to be "empty" (which it is not). Unless you know the specific gravity of the liquid you cannot accurately translate the grams to ml, and there is no particular reason to assume that the specific gravity of the ink is the same as that of water unless somewhere Epson confirmed this to be so. My understanding based on what I've learned from numerous exchanges on this subject - the total content of a stated 220 ml cartridge is 220 ml. That is, if you were to open and empty a new cartridge into a beaker it would fill to the level of 220 ml if that is the marked fill. However, in order to the protect the integrity of the print head these cartridges are programmed to stop feeding ink before the cartridge actually empties, because if air gets pumped into the head there could be damage. I could not get clarity on exactly how much ink is programmed to remain, so over time when i still owned my 4800 I used to periodically empty the remainder of "empty" cartridges into a beaker and found that with some variance the amount was usually in the range of a liquid ounce or so. That was about 4 or 5 years ago.
The density is likely to be less than water because of the organics in the ink formulation but one can still do the experiment that was outlined.  Mark, I'm surprised at the highlighted statement.  When I did the patent search, it showed that Epson has the ink inside a pouch that contracts with usage and this design feature should preclude air getting into the line since once the bag is empty, nothing enters the line.  Finally one ounce seems like a lot to be left over (it is roughly 30 ml).  I thought you had a 3800 and not a 4800 but irrespective, how big were the cartridges in question?  The 3880 has 80ml cartridges and if 30ml were left that would be an astounding waste (though I've never tried to empty a spent cartridge to see how much is left.

Alan
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2012, 06:17:17 PM »
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The density is likely to be less than water because of the organics in the ink formulation but one can still do the experiment that was outlined.  Mark, I'm surprised at the highlighted statement.  When I did the patent search, it showed that Epson has the ink inside a pouch that contracts with usage and this design feature should preclude air getting into the line since once the bag is empty, nothing enters the line.  Finally one ounce seems like a lot to be left over (it is roughly 30 ml).  I thought you had a 3800 and not a 4800 but irrespective, how big were the cartridges in question?  The 3880 has 80ml cartridges and if 30ml were left that would be an astounding waste (though I've never tried to empty a spent cartridge to see how much is left.

Alan

Hi Alan - yes the ink is in a poly-bag inside the outer shell. Maybe they don't think the contraction is sufficient to be totally safe in this respect. I'm relating experience with an Epson 4800 which I owned before the 3800. It takes 110 or 220 ml cartridges, therefore much larger and that printer has longer lines from the cartridges to the printhead than in a 3800. Different printers, different ink, different delivery system. Not being a printer engineer I have no idea what impact those differences would have to the ink retention criteria. I can only relate what I researched and found out.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Moreno Polloni
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2012, 06:49:12 PM »
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I weighed some ink with a scale that's accurate to 1/100th of a gram. 10ml of ink weighs 10.78g (slightly heavier than water which weighs 10g for 10ml).

I found another empty 220ml cart and it's leftover ink weighed in at 53.67 grams. The liquid measure came to about 50ml, which is roughly the average of leftover ink in the three empty carts I measured.

I was also curious to see how much ink a cleaning cycle uses - a before and after weighing of the maintenance tank shows that it was 12.33 grams heavier after one cleaning cycle.

As for the difference in weight between empty and full maintenance tanks, IIRC in my case it was about 39 ounces, but thinking back I had a few nasty head clogs and a good portion of that weight was probably Windex that drained into the tank. Still, it would seem that there's about two or three 220ml carts worth of ink tossed out in a full maintenance tank.

This is all with a 4800, BTW.
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