It never fails to amaze me just how stupid some people are when it comes to the issue of the “Service Required” message on their printers. Yes, that’s right, I just called quite a few people reading this stupid… would you like me to spell it for you?…
The reason I say this is not because your IQ has suddenly disappeared into a vacuum, nor has your ability to discern the North Star in the middle of a hail storm disappeared… No? No!… The reason I say this is because a large proportion of you reading this article believe it is perfectly acceptable to reset a printers waste ink counter and then forget about it…
Did the ink just up and walk off?
Erm… Hello people! Resetting a couple of bits of data in a printers memory chip does not remove the ink that’s been slowly soaked into those waste pads you’ve heard about. Nor, despite rumours to the contrary have Epson, Canon or anyone else been lying about the waste ink either. Nope, that ink waste is really there, and it’s a timebomb waiting to strike.
Why? Well you see, when you reset the waste ink counter you tell the printer that you have changed the waste pads. So it thinks that it has all that absorbent capacity afresh so it can merrily run cleaning cycles, prime new cartridges and generally push a pretty hefty amount of ink down that waste tube and not have to worry… Yes, printers don’t worry (unless they happen to be fictional, and called Marvin or somesuch).
You Mean There’s No Sensor?
Ahah! You’re finally getting it now aren’t you… Yes, that’s right! There’s absolutely nothing like a sensor in the printers circuitry that will tell it that the pads are becoming over-saturated. Why? Well, cost for one and there’s something else you need to know too.
Your printer is going to flood!
Oh, forget the drama of a dam bursting and the household being drowned in sticky black goo. Oh, no, this sort of flood is completely unannounced, quiet, totally without fanfare but when you finally catch on, it will be like a scene from the Keystone Kops.
How Bad Can it be?
Trust me, bad enough that it can cost you a new computer when the printer electronics short out and cause a surge because ink gets into the electronics
Bad enough that ink sits in your waste tube allowing it to clog up with waste ink until it finally backs up into the parking pad, soiling the underside of your printhead.
Subtle and sinister enough that backed up ink soils printouts, and clogs the nozzles. Often people don’t notice the increase in cleaning cycles or the increased cost in cartridges whilst actual printing output reduces.
So bad that if you aren’t paying attention when it finally starts leaking out, that your walls, your desk and yes, that wonderful carpet or laminate flooring will need to be repainted, repaired or replaced. Often involving some other form of insurance claim that ups your premiums, and incurs an excess.
Evil enough for you?
So What Can You Do?
Let’s review those options shall we…
Putting the printer on a tray with a lip around the edge will save you from a flood scenario but it won’t stop the internal electronics and the printer workings from failing over time.
Sucking ink out of the waste pads sounds easy but have you ever tried releasing urine from a nappy or diaper? These pads are designed to retain a certain amount of ink so all you’ll ever do is return the pads to roughly a quarter empty and even then you still have to get to them.
Install an external waste kit… Yes, Ok, so I’m biased but in all seriousness do any of the other options sound better??!
So, Which Waste Kit?
Yes, you can indeed build your own bottle with a hole punched in the side and some tape to hold it in place.. It’ll work so long as you don’t have kids, aren’t clumsy and don’t forget to empty it before the ink reaches the hole…
… and yes, you could buy one of the cheap, poor quality kits available on eBay too, complete with the documentation they stole then rebranded because they just want to make a fast buck but don’t understand the actual physics involved.
But, no.. Let’s not beat about the bush. If you have kids, if you don’t want a waste ink grenade equivalent waiting to go off, and if you’ve ever heard the expression “Buy cheap, buy twice” then you’ll be hot footing to the OctoInkjet site and buying one of my kits!…
Yes… I know, I’m biased!, I admit it, but frankly there are two things you have to remember
- Resetting a printer and ignoring the waste ink is like flying a kite in a lightening storm
(It’s not a case of if, but when!)
- The OctoInkjet kits are designed to withstand primary (K12) school environments and my clumsiness. (Not designed to make the seller a ton of profit for little or no work)