Each one of us has, at one point or another, wondered how reliable our printers are. We haven’t really wondered how reliable or durable they are or even whether they can provide consistent quality because there is no doubt that they can. Most doubts concerning Epson printers revolve around ink cartridges. We’ve all asked ourselves questions like how much ink does my Epson ink cartridge really contain, how efficiently does it use that ink, and most importantly, are empty Epson ink cartridges really empty when the printer makes that claim?
In most situations, such questions are asked in the head and then ignored in favour of other more pressing matters. The main reason for this is that most of us don’t change cartridges very often because we don’t use our printers that happen. This combined with the fact that our cartridges aren’t as expensive as the cartridges for commercial printer models means that the financial pressure isn’t that strong either.
When the Validity of Empty Epson Ink Cartridges Warning Becomes Crucial
However, what if you were using cartridges that cost more than $200 each as opposed to $50 or $100 each? A printing company in Seattle, US known as Bellevue Fine Art found itself in such a situation. These guys used Epson Stylus Pro 9900 printing machine. Now, this is a machine that is designed for art level prints and is primarily used by commercial printers.
This is also a machine that requires 11 cartridges simultaneously with each of them carrying about 700 ml of ink and costing upwards of $200. That’s $2200 every time cartridges need to be replaced! In case you were wondering, this printer model, itself, costs a pretty penny at nearly $5000.
For a commercial printer, cost of replacement cartridges is crucial because the frequency of replacement in his case is very high. While individual consumers may replace their cartridges every few months, commercial printers at least need to do it every month if not in weeks.
So, empty Epson ink cartridges not being really empty can result in massive losses for a commercial printer over one year or even a few months. The extent of these losses depends on the percentage of ink that is being left in these so called empty Epson ink cartridges. The people at Bellevue Fine Art apparently realised that a lot of their capital is being drained by their efforts to replace empty Epson ink cartridges.
In fact, according to Bellevue Fine Art, they tried complaining to Epson “many times” but didn’t receive the right response. After complaining to Epson and even sending the offending cartridges back to them for review, they were either neglected completely by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or told that they were simply wrong in their suspicions.
After going through this process a number of times, they decided to check the validity of their Epson printer’s claim of empty Epson ink cartridges. They posted a video of what they found on YouTube and the video has subsequently gone viral.
Did The Findings Show Empty Epson Ink Cartridges To Be Really Empty?
Needless to say, the main reason why Bellevue Fine Art posted its video on empty Epson ink cartridges and why it went viral is that they found a lot of ink in cartridges that the printer claimed to be empty Epson ink cartridges. According to the Seattle Company’s findings, the empty Epson ink cartridges actually contained about 20 percent of ink.
This means that if a set of 11 cartridges would cost $2200, then the money left in those empty Epson ink cartridges was to the tune of $440. The worse bit is that money is being literally thrown into the garbage heap every time the cartridges are replaced!
The actual amount of ink left in the supposedly empty Epson ink cartridges varies on the basis of the type of cartridge being assessed. There are two types of cartridges that were analysed by the Seattle Company. These were the 350 ml cartridges and the 700 ml cartridges.
Inside the 700 ml empty Epson ink cartridges, anything between 100 ml to 150 ml of ink was found. This means that these cartridges still had anything between 14 percent and 21 percent of ink still in them. Inside the 350 ml empty Epson ink cartridges, the experiment found between 60 ml and 80 ml of ink which amounts to 17 percent and 22 percent of their total capacity.
What Is the OEM’s Opinion on These “Empty” Epson Ink Cartridges?
Just because these findings don’t look positive for Epson doesn’t mean that they are fool proof. There could be any number of technological reasons not dealt with in the small study from Bellevue Fine Art on empty Epson ink cartridges.
For instance, the most likely reason why the printer’s system is designed to stop printing even when there is ink in “empty” Epson ink cartridges could be protection of components. Print heads in modern print machines are incredibly sensitive and delicate. They need to be this sensitive because they have to really be precise with their functionality.
What their delicate nature does is that it makes them susceptible to even simple things like drying out. Completely emptying cartridges may result in these print heads getting dried out which could cause serious damage. In the case of the Epson Stylus Pro 9900, the initial investment isn’t small. This may mean that its components are expensive. So, Epson may be completely right to ensure that its cartridges aren’t completely empty.
On the other hand, Bellevue Fine Art seems to have pre-empted this reasoning. They assumed that the cartridges need to have about 15 percent to 20 percent of ink to protect some component of the printer. At the same time, they also assumed that if the first assumption was a fact, then Epson would put more than 700 ml of ink in its cartridges to cater to this extra need.
However, that wasn’t the case. The Seattle Company found this out by dismantling a cartridge completely and pouring all the ink out and checking its quantity. They found the ink to be exactly 700 ml and not a drop more.
What Method Did Bellevue Use To Check Empty Epson Ink Cartridges?
The method used by Bellevue Fine Art was quite simple. They simply took apart a full cartridge to see how much ink it contained. Then, they took supposedly empty Epson ink cartridges, took them apart, and weighed the ink they contained separately. While full cartridges’ ink measured exactly what was on the label, they found considerable amount of ink left in spent cartridges.
The big question is what this evaluation of empty Epson ink cartridges means for home users. While home printers aren’t as sophisticated as the high end Epson Stylus Pro 9900, they also suffer from this same malaise. Most of the time, you can ignore the low ink warning that your printer gives you.
On other occasions, knowing other printer low ink tricks can come in very handy. Also, at the end of the day, buying compatible ink cartridges can be one of the best ways of saving money as they are anything between 40 percent and 83 percent cheaper than original cartridges.