No, Inkjet Printers Won’t Be Fixed

Inkjet printers are filthy, lying thieves reports Ars Technica, referring to a new German study. They key issue isn’t that printers eat up too much ink; it’s the fact that they are lying, reporting the cartridge empty when sometimes half the ink is still available. The study also points out how multi-color cartridges need to be replaced when only one color is out.

It gets worse: some printers (like my HP All-in-One) refuse to print even using the black cartridge, when they think the color cartridge is out.

In fact it gets a LOT worse: my HP thingie refuses to SCAN, a clearly ink-free operation when it deems the cartridge dead. (Update: not just HP, here’s an EPSON example)

The really annoying thing about this is that all the manufacturers are aware of it but they do nothing to fix it” -says Tom Raftery

Of course they won’t, Tom.  It’s not a defect, it’s by design.  The printer industry has long switched to a subscription-based model, we just don’t call it that way.  Give away the printer (see stupid ad?)  we’ll get you by the refills…

It’s a big scam, and there’s nothing we can do about it. 



  1. Anonymous says:

    I know it is by design Zoli – but if DVDs can be hacked, surely inkjet printer cartridges can too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’d certainly love to find a hack to my HP 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually Zoli, the best answer would be for the manufacturers to produce transparent recyclable plastic cartridges – which warn of low ink but only stop printing when they are actually empty.

    How likely is that to happen in our lifetime!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… my first thought: “They’ve set themselves up for someone to innovate — to create a radically new model that guts their business. I mean trashes it completely. I wonder if it could be me…” 😉

  5. Anonymous says:

    The solution is to buy a laser printer. The ones that have only black ink are cheap and color ones are getting cheaper. In a few years inkjets will be past. I just hope the industry is not going to transfer the subscription based model to laser printers too.

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