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Author Topic: Ink Costs  (Read 6573 times)
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2012, 10:10:24 PM »
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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.

So did you replace it because the printer said the cartridge was empty, or were you in the middle of a print and the printer stopped and told you it was empty and need replaced?

The printer will always tell you the ink is gone when there is 10 to 15% ink remaining.  But it will merrily print for a long time after wards.  I've  had the printer stop midpoint and ask for a new ink cartridge many times and never once did I end up with a bad print.

I've also opened a couple of cartridges after I've done this, and there isn't much ink left.  I can only assume the printer estimates consumption and records it to the cartridge, but the technology to sense when it needs to change cartridges is different, and isn't based on consumption but something it can detect.  I know many fear getting "air" in the line but I believe the system is designed to purge small air bubbles just before they get to the head. 

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Moreno Polloni
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« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2012, 12:08:21 AM »
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So did you replace it because the printer said the cartridge was empty, or were you in the middle of a print and the printer stopped and told you it was empty and need replaced?

I always print until the printer stops printing. Before the last cart replacement the status monitor showed 3% remaining at the start of a 13x19 and the printer stopped about halfway through the print. Like yourself I've never had any problems or ruined prints doing a mid-print cart replacement.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2012, 06:11:48 AM »
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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.
I'm almost ready to replace on of the cartridges in my 3880.  I'm going to weigh it and compare it to the full cartridge and will also try to dissemble it to see what's going on.  If your 4800 remains was with the 220 ml cartridge, that is over 10% which as I noted surprises me.  However, it depends on the construction of the plastic outer shell.  Having experimented with tetra pack juice boxes when my kids were younger, you cannot get all the juice out if you seal the straw to the opening.  The box will contract so much and then it stops (it was a nifty science fair project).  The same thing can happen with the ink cartridges, depending on the design.
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mfryd
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« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2012, 07:58:28 AM »
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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.
...

The printer does not know how much ink is left.  It knows how much ink the cart started with, and how much ink it has requested.

Normally, the amount of ink requested is the amount used, unless you have a clog.  Print a page when a nozzle is clogged, and it counts the ink that should have printed, not the smaller amount if ink actually used.  Run a cleaning cycle to clear a clog, and it counts the ink it tried to use, even though only a smaller amount was used.

In extreme cases with a stubborn clog, you can have a mostly full cart that reads empty and is unusable.

On the plus side, you can open these carts up, and you get a lot of ink you can use for spotting damaged prints.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2012, 08:18:17 AM »
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..................
Print a page when a nozzle is clogged, and it counts the ink that should have printed, not the smaller amount if ink actually used.  Run a cleaning cycle to clear a clog, and it counts the ink it tried to use, even though only a smaller amount was used.

In extreme cases with a stubborn clog, you can have a mostly full cart that reads empty and is unusable.



Could you please tell us how you know this information?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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mfryd
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« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2012, 09:05:52 AM »
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Could you please tell us how you know this information?

Common sense, agreement with general reports on the net, and looking through various Epson service manuals.

Experience and Epson manuals tell us that the only way to check for a clog is to print from each nozzle and verify that ink hit the paper.  The printers that self test for clogs do it by printing test patterns and then looking at the paper to make sure the patterns printed correctly. 

If the printer was able to measure ink flow, then there would be no need to waste paper on a nozzle check.  The printer could spit ink directly into the spittoon, and verify that the ink flowed for each nozzle fired.  The fact that Epson includes an optical sensor for self checks is evidence that the printer can't measure ink flow.  In fact, the printer wouldn't have to waste ink in order to check the nozzles.  If the printer could measure ink flow, it would know there was a clog anytime the requested ink amounts did not match the measured ink amounts.

If you look at the various service manuals you will see that there is no part of the printer that actually measures ink and reports back to the controller.  Furthermore, there are no failure modes described related to failures to measure ink flow.


If you do a web search, you will find that it is possible to accurately measure the amount of ink in a cartridge by weighing it.  You will find many reports of people who have battled with stubborn clogs, only to end up with mostly full cartridges that are unusable as their controller chips think they are empty.

I would be much happier with a printer that did measure actual ink usage.  It would never require a separate nozzle check.  It would automatically detect clogs during the normal course of printing.  When clearing a clog, it could detect when the clog was cleared, and stop the cleaning process when the clog cleared, as opposed to mindless wasting ink in the hope it had spurted enough.

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Bob Smith
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« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2012, 11:14:50 AM »
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If the printer was able to measure ink flow, then there would be no need to waste paper on a nozzle check.  The printer could spit ink directly into the spittoon, and verify that the ink flowed for each nozzle fired. 

Which I believe is pretty much exactly what the latest generation of wide format Epson models do.  If you leave the default auto checks on, the printer checks itself periodically but does not actually "print" anything to do so.  If it detects a problem it auto runs a clean cycle.  It seems to run a "pairs" cleaning only as it doesn't consistently ask to replace carts that are at 1 percent before performing the clean.  Sometimes it does.  I assume then it that the channel being cleaned is one that is also very low.

A lot of us instinctively turned off the auto checks when we got these printers because of how inefficient checks were on earlier models.  They burned lots of media and time uselessly and there was no such thing as a "pairs" clean so a lot of ink was needlessly consumed.  This new method is quite painless and efficient.

If there's an evil conspiracy plot afoot, it's in the way the ink counters work on the latest generation of printers.  Every ink cart's usage is quite consistent until it hits 1 percent.  At that point, it will sit on 1 percent while it continues the print and print for ages.  I ran 33 feet of heavy ink coverage on 44" wide paper with a photo black cart that had already been on 1 percent for quite a while.  That cart is still able to print this morning.  I'm sure a lot of users see 1 percent and just toss it rather than deal with having to swap carts out numerous time for cleaning cycles.  Do that and you're needlessly tossing out enough ink for a LOT of prints.  Earlier generation printers indicated empty fairly predictably after hitting "low".  These new printers will print and print and print with what you think (based on the counter) are the last few drops of ink.

Bob Smith
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2012, 11:27:29 AM »
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Common sense, agreement with general reports on the net, and looking through various Epson service manuals.

Experience and Epson manuals tell us that the only way to check for a clog is to print from each nozzle and verify that ink hit the paper.  The printers that self test for clogs do it by printing test patterns and then looking at the paper to make sure the patterns printed correctly. 

If the printer was able to measure ink flow, then there would be no need to waste paper on a nozzle check.  The printer could spit ink directly into the spittoon, and verify that the ink flowed for each nozzle fired.  The fact that Epson includes an optical sensor for self checks is evidence that the printer can't measure ink flow.  In fact, the printer wouldn't have to waste ink in order to check the nozzles.  If the printer could measure ink flow, it would know there was a clog anytime the requested ink amounts did not match the measured ink amounts.

If you look at the various service manuals you will see that there is no part of the printer that actually measures ink and reports back to the controller.  Furthermore, there are no failure modes described related to failures to measure ink flow.


If you do a web search, you will find that it is possible to accurately measure the amount of ink in a cartridge by weighing it.  You will find many reports of people who have battled with stubborn clogs, only to end up with mostly full cartridges that are unusable as their controller chips think they are empty.

I would be much happier with a printer that did measure actual ink usage.  It would never require a separate nozzle check.  It would automatically detect clogs during the normal course of printing.  When clearing a clog, it could detect when the clog was cleared, and stop the cleaning process when the clog cleared, as opposed to mindless wasting ink in the hope it had spurted enough.



OK, I see where you are coming from and perhaps your observations are well taken. There are some issues however.

(1) With the Epson 4900, and likely other models too, there is an Auto Nozzle check and cleaning procedure that does not require running nozzle checks or test patterns on paper. I don't know how much ink printer spends to do this. Probably minimal and it knows this volume and accounts for it when it does the checking. The latter is presumption - I'm not a printer engineer.

(2) Service manuals don't tell everything about a machine. They tell what service technicians need to know for repairing them, which would usually be a smaller universe of information.

(3) I agree relative weight (full versus at replacement), complemented by specific gravity data, would indicate the amount of ink the cartridge actually consumed and one can compare that with the stated volume on the label to know the residual. That said, it has become more difficult over the years to easily separate information over the life of a cartridge about ink for prints versus ink for maintenance.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2012, 11:34:13 AM »
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If there's an evil conspiracy plot afoot, it's in the way the ink counters work on the latest generation of printers.  Every ink cart's usage is quite consistent until it hits 1 percent.  At that point, it will sit on 1 percent while it continues the print and print for ages.  I ran 33 feet of heavy ink coverage on 44" wide paper with a photo black cart that had already been on 1 percent for quite a while.  That cart is still able to print this morning.  I'm sure a lot of users see 1 percent and just toss it rather than deal with having to swap carts out numerous time for cleaning cycles.  Do that and you're needlessly tossing out enough ink for a LOT of prints.  Earlier generation printers indicated empty fairly predictably after hitting "low".  These new printers will print and print and print with what you think (based on the counter) are the last few drops of ink.

Bob Smith

Yes this is my experience too - ignore those warnings and print until they won't print any longer.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2012, 12:48:20 PM »
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Quote
(Mark Segal) 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.

Wired magazine periodically "disassembles" various consumer goods like dishwashing soap, WD-40, toothpaste, etc.  Their analysis of inkjet ink resulted in the conclusion that inkjet ink is 95% water. This would be very easy to verify by simply weighing a sample of ink.

Stating that the chips on the carts are necessary to indicate to the user the level of ink in the cart is horse poo.  Transparent carts and bladders would enable the user to accurately monitor ink levels.  Once installed, I don't believe the cart talks to the printer ever again. The chip is a one-time verification device.  Bi-lateral communication between the printer and the cart is unnecessary and expensive to implement.  The printer calculates ink remaining by integrating ink use and could still accurately warn the user of impending depletion.

Chips in maintenance tanks are expressly designed to prohibit their re-use.  This egregious practice is (or was) under investigation by the EU.

It's painfully apparent that proprietary, chipped-cart ink systems are a business model, not an engineering choice. I would happily pay more for my printer if I could fill half-liter-sized reservoirs with bulk ink.  That way, I could afford to use my printer for its intended use: printing.
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tongelsing
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« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2012, 01:42:38 PM »
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I had a "shocking" discovery!! I have opened my recent "empty 220ml photoblack cartridge" and measured the amount of residual ink.
It was 30ml. Quite a lot.  Over ten percent!! I expected much less. I weighted the ink and it was 33grams, so indeed the average weight of ink is about 1,1.
But I rather waste some ink than wasting my prints.

I'm using a 7880 and I always print with a near empty cartridge until the printer stops.

By the way; the inkcolor of my wastetank is very dark cyangreenish (r4-g70-b72).
What are your colors??

Ton
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2012, 01:48:01 PM »
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Wired magazine periodically "disassembles" various consumer goods like dishwashing soap, WD-40, toothpaste, etc.  Their analysis of inkjet ink resulted in the conclusion that inkjet ink is 95% water. This would be very easy to verify by simply weighing a sample of ink.
This is not true.  You can get the compositions of Epson ink cartidges by looking at the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).  I did this last year at some point when we were discussing outgassing and put up the information on a previous thread.  Key components are 1) dyes/pigments, 2) proprietary organics, 3) glycerols, and 4) water.  On a weight basis water is usually between 60-75% depending on the color and formulation.
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Bob Smith
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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2012, 01:49:19 PM »
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Once installed, I don't believe the cart talks to the printer ever again. The chip is a one-time verification device. 

Not true on the larger printers at least.  I can swap partially full carts and the printer instantly knows the level of each.  I can put a partially full cart into a printer that has never seen that particular cart before and the printer instantly knows the amount of ink in that cart.  Ink use is clearly determined by some sort of counter... but it appears that counter is stored on... or at least updated on... the chip on the ink cart itself.

Bob Smith
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2012, 01:51:10 PM »
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Not true on the larger printers at least.  I can swap partially full carts and the printer instantly knows the level of each.  I can put a partially full cart into a printer that has never seen that particular cart before and the printer instantly knows the amount of ink in that cart.  Ink use is clearly determined by some sort of counter... but it appears that counter is stored on... or at least updated on... the chip on the ink cart itself.

Bob Smith

Correct. I've been swapping between 80 ml starter and 200ml replacement tanks in my 4900 and what you say is what I see.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2012, 07:44:48 PM »
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I stand corrected on the chip communications issue. Thank you. It would appear that remaining ink volume is stored on the cart.  I've never substituted a partially filled cart.

As for Wired and water percentage, I can only defer to them.  If the glycerols and "proprietary organics" are of the same specific gravity as water, their presence or absence could not be determined by weight alone.

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dpirazzi
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« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2012, 12:11:55 AM »
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Ink quantities could be stored on the printer vs the cart and still be updated when you swap carts back and forth, the printer firmware just needs to rember multiple cart ids and calculated quantities per color. Easy to store away the data for the last xx carts of each color and load it when the cart reports the id.

I think it is more likely one way communication, with the chip sending an id and the printer firmware doing the rest, but who knows...

A test where a single cart was used in more than one printer would put the question to rest.
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colinm
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« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2012, 01:07:52 AM »
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A test where a single cart was used in more than one printer would put the question to rest.

I can put a partially full cart into a printer that has never seen that particular cart before and the printer instantly knows the amount of ink in that cart.

Epson and Canon cartridges with chips maintain the status information on the chip, as Bob has noted (and as a cottage industry of salty old chip resetter manufacturers will attest). No idea what HP does. It would, however, be incredibly customer hostile and self-defeating to do it any other way. In a production environment, cartridges routinely get moved between machines. After a warranty replacement, cartridges get moved between machines. Nobody wants the earful from the printer owner or the warranty claim for the head that just had 80mL of imaginary ink run through it.
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Colin
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« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2012, 08:56:31 AM »
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A test where a single cart was used in more than one printer would put the question to rest.

As I mentioned above I had exactly that experience due to a printer exchange and the recipient printer read the information from the used cartridge correctly.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2012, 10:16:31 AM »
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No idea what HP does. It would, however, be incredibly customer hostile and self-defeating to do it any other way. In a production environment, cartridges routinely get moved between machines. After a warranty replacement, cartridges get moved between machines. Nobody wants the earful from the printer owner or the warranty claim for the head that just had 80mL of imaginary ink run through it.

HP stores the data on the cart chip too. I can exchange the carts between two printers and the same content is reported. Ink droplets fired is the usual way the ink use is counted for all brands. Both Canon and HP empty the carts at the end based on other information I guess as there is very little left in the carts when empty, between 1 and 3 ML when I use a syringe to pull the rest out. That has been different with epson carts. The HP 130 ML carts often were somewhat overfilled based on the weight of the new and old carts. Not done that lately so I am not sure that is still the case.


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AFairley
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« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2012, 11:10:57 AM »
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Just to add a data point to this conversation, I had an experience when a black cart that was showing ink remaining was bone dry.  This was when I had been having problems on the 3800 with black ink puddle streaks being laid down.  I was baffled at the time, but now I theorize that the printer was calculating the remaining ink using ordinary ink flow rate, but in fact more black had been being laid down because of whatever the problem was -- sort of the flip side of underreporting resuling from nozzle clogs.
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