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Why don't printers last ??

by henry higgins / November 13, 2005 6:41 PM PST

My last printer, an Epson, didn't even last 2 years.
I now have a Canon S750 printer, about 3 years old. I don't print high volumes, maybe 300 A4 sheets per year, including some photos. I have been quite happy with it, but it has now stopped printing colour correctly. Over the course of about 10 full colour prints it went from perfect to streaky, then to hardly coloured at all. It still prints just fine in black.
I ran through all of the maintenance tasks, including head alignments, deep cleaning etc.,twice but to no avail. I renewed all 4 ink cartridges, but still no good.
Am I right in thinking that my only remaining options are a new printhead, or a new printer?
As far as I can see printheads cost about 60% of the cost of a comparable new printer. so it hardly seems worth it.
Am I missing something? Is there anything else I can try?
By the way, I have tried to economise by not using Canon original ink cartridges. Is that likely to have caused my problem?

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by thought_stazi / November 13, 2005 8:09 PM PST

The root of the problem is the low price of inkjet printers these days. Same goes for computers and virtually everything else you buy.

Every commercial company is out to make a profit. When the product becomes commoditized -- like printers and computers -- competition is based largely on price. This means the profit the company is making per unit gets less and less, so they start looking for other ways to cut costs. Moving jobs to Mexico, then China when Mexico got to expensive, and now they're being moved to Vietnam, Nigeria, and other third world countries, because even China is getting too expensive. In addition, every corner that can possibly be cut on production usually will be cut. The quality of parts going into computers since someone started offering a sub-$2000 computer has plummeted along with the price of systems.

The very simple reality, is that the great deal you thought you got, wasn't so great after all. It's just taken until now for some of the non-monetary hidden costs to show up. This isn't to say you always get what you pay for, but typically higher end items will have higher margins on them, and be higher quality.

With inkjet printers, the printers themselves are sold at a loss usually. Printer companies make it up on the back end with inflated cartridge prices. But the printers are still constructed pretty poorly most of the time, so they will break down. Usually the cheapest route is to just buy cheap printers, and then get a new one once the supplied ink runs out. Inkjet printers aren't worth getting attached to.

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Inkjet Printers
by Levis Ouellet / November 17, 2005 8:35 PM PST
In reply to: Price

Right on thought_stazi!
I've been at this for a long time and do a lot of printing. I print a lot of photos for many folks, print on CDs and DVDs, print my daughters business cards, posters, circulars, gift cirtificates and a small Summer newspaper for the people at the lake ...etc. I have always used Epson printers and they have given me good service over the years. My last Epson Stylus Photo R200 has given up its ghost after a little over a year. Hey! Negative perspiration! Just went out and bought a new one for less than the cost of buying Epson ink cartriges.

In my view, the only negative issue on this is that ''through-away-printers'' and other low-cost and disposible items such as computers are filling up our dump sites and this cannot be good for the environment.

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Heres an idea...
by eslorence / November 18, 2005 2:01 AM PST
In reply to: Inkjet Printers

Rebuild them and sell them back to the third world nations that made them! Happy

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Inkjet printers
by gvhemert_ab / November 18, 2005 7:58 AM PST
In reply to: Heres an idea...

The price of replacement parts does not warant fixing them. By the time you factor in the cost of parts and the labour you can bye a new printer.
You would have a new 1 year waranty and ink cartrages.
The service alone would cost you around $75.00

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Tha's the theory
by Willy / November 13, 2005 10:15 PM PST

Welcome to "inkjet" printers. they work great for awhile and since many are made cheaply or low-cost in mind be happy with what you get. BUT, its important more than anything to try "cleaning cycles" in order to resolve some printing quality issues. Inkjets do get clogged and thier process for printing creates small amounts of dried ink(crud) to accumulate over time. Inkjet jets then tend to become less reliable and simple blockage in any matter reduce print quality. The best inkjets are those that replace the printhead along with the ink cart. In this matter, the ink clogs, etc. get replaced with a new printhead. the models you mention retain thier old printheads and thier cleaning cycles are even more important as the "old printhead" remains after ink carts are replaced. You can with deft care manually wipe printheads with a clean damp cloth/paper shop towel and remove such accumaltions. Plain old damp cloth(water) will do fine, some use alcohol, or even Windex, but try that before giving up. AND yes, sometimes its better to toss and buy another as costs associated with new ink, etc. make that possible to simply replace.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Well Done Willy
by henry higgins / November 14, 2005 1:10 AM PST
In reply to: Tha's the theory

Willy, you are a star!

I'm embarrassed to admit that it hadn't occurred to me to remove the printhead (very easy) and wipe it all down with a wet piece of paper towel. It took a couple of attempts to get all 3 colours working properly again, but it's fine now.

Thanks, from a red faced, inky fingered, but much happier man.


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Willy has the best advice--Read it and Reap
by tnhiker865 / November 17, 2005 9:01 PM PST
In reply to: Tha's the theory

Willy's post is right on target regarding inkjet printers. The clogged/dried-up printheads on ink cartridges are usually the culprit when poor printing suddenly strikes. Clean-up can be a nasty business but if done carefully it can save you the $30 cost of a replacement.

"It's A Tablesaw--Do You Know Where Your Fingers Are?"

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Replace print heads
by chanks / November 18, 2005 2:43 AM PST
In reply to: Tha's the theory

In your message you said: "The best inkjets are those that replace the printhead along with the ink cart." That might apply to sub $100 printers, but not to high end printers. In a $400-500 printers the print head is of much higher quality, where the print head in a cheap printer is also cheaply made. The precision required for the tiny holes in the head is substantial and much higher in the better printers, thus less likely to clog.

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How do you clean them?
by emshore / November 23, 2005 4:00 AM PST
In reply to: Tha's the theory

Thanks for the good advice. I have an Epson Stylus C66, still new. How does one clean the printer head? Does it come out? Honestly, I'm not even sure what it looks like, and which part it is.

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A bit more of factual information on ink jet printers
by mhardye / November 23, 2005 7:15 AM PST
In reply to: Tha's the theory

Many models have the printing heads rest in a special spot within the printer. In this place you usually find a small deposit that receives the extra ink that was not used, so in the long run they fill up and dirty your printing heads. Cleaning this area is useful and most of the time fixes your problem.

Also please don?t forget that the money comes from selling us new cartridges as the original ones usually are not full up to the top.

Bye, Mark

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Dont buy an Epson printer
by eeffis / November 14, 2005 4:11 AM PST

Epson printers are crap. I have worked at a local retailer who sells epsons for over 3 years. We gets epsons back all the time. The printheads on them clog up or dry quite often. I have had an HP printer and a canon both of which I like.

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not entirely true
by steve66 / November 15, 2005 5:07 PM PST

I can't vouch for current models, but my Epson Stylus 860, purchased with a Dell PC almost exactly five years ago, continues to function perfectly with almost daily use. Not heavy, but almost daily. The PC was long ago given to the Salivation Army, but the little Eppy still sits on my worktable, cranking out lovely text and photos.

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inkjet cleaners
by terryfowler / November 17, 2005 6:54 PM PST
In reply to: not entirely true

Has anyone tried the inkjet cleaning cartridges? I have some success with using them on Epson photo 750 bought in Feb 99 but it has just decided to give bad prints and cleaning cartridges did not revive it. I used compatible ink cartridges for Epson but will use originals for the Canon ip4200 that has replaced the Epson until the warranty runs out. I wonder whether the new printer will last as long?

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Compatible inks cartridges?
by Gerald Brimacombe / November 17, 2005 11:55 PM PST
In reply to: inkjet cleaners

You just keep messing around with "compatible" ink cartridges, and I promise that you will have recurring printing problems.

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Compatible Catridges
by drwho / November 18, 2005 3:26 AM PST

L O L ! ! YEAH... you just keep on believing all that HYPE that only the GENUINE MFG's cartridges are good enuf while I laugh all the way to the bank!! . For the cost of ONE overpriced MFG cartridge, I can get TWO compatible cartridges!!

Then we have these HP 3-in-one color catridges which force you to replace them when only ONE of the 3 inks in them has run out.

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Hard to believe!
by Gerald Brimacombe / November 21, 2005 11:50 PM PST
In reply to: Compatible Catridges

I have known too many users of "compatible inks" who have wound up with serious problems with their printers and resulting fugitive colors to give your response any credibility.

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That was 5 years ago
by b8375629 / November 20, 2005 5:00 AM PST
In reply to: not entirely true

Try buying a new Epson today and see what results you get.

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good point
by steve66 / November 27, 2005 12:01 PM PST
In reply to: That was 5 years ago

I hadn't thought of that. well, when I do need a new printer, I'll check out some reviews (and tips here as well)

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by berall-206491421125427681 / November 17, 2005 8:22 PM PST

I know different models of epson inkjet printers, and if you don't use them every day (black and colour) the inner
printhead dries.
with hp no problem you change the head and the cartridge.
My first epson last for 7 years ( i give it to a friend who use it really often...).
now i have a laser printer BW and an hp deskjet that I refill, AND if it last 2 months whitout printing ,it runs
well when i decide to use it.
I try to repair 3 epsons and 1 canon (dry) nothing to do... putting the heads in solvant , sending it with pressure... nothing.

canon&epson inkjet is attractive for low price BUT don't change cartrige, put it in the trash and by a new one it's less expensive.

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printer costs
by rgorman / November 17, 2005 10:47 PM PST
In reply to: canon&epson

I have a 5 year old Epson i740 printer. Rather than pay ridiculous prices for cartridges I buy them from one of the many cartridge sellers. With 4$ instead of 30$ cartridges it is much less expensive

Now I also have had a Canon i960 for 7 months.
I use cartridges that cost less than 3$ and so far the photos look great.

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Don't use solvents !
by altini_s1 / November 18, 2005 8:52 AM PST
In reply to: canon&epson

1)-Use genuine cartridges
2)-Use the printer at least weekly (print test page)
3)-iIf printhead dryes, try putting it over a damp cloth(water, don't use alcohol-solvents), maybe all night!
4)My opinion,HP generally had beter printers .

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Epson printers: another opinion
by twyrick / November 17, 2005 9:08 PM PST

I've been doing computer service and support since long before the first inkjet printer was on the market. I can tell you that a good 50% of the problem with Epson printers and clogs/failures to print are due to people trying to use generic cartridges or ink refill kits.

Traditionally, Epson printers have been built with smaller-diameter print nozzles than their counterparts from HP (and initially, even Canon - though that's changed in recent years). That's one reason Epson kept winning top honors in the "best photo quality prints" contests held by magazines. If you can print smaller "dots" of ink on the page, the results look sharper.

But the downside is, smaller nozzles mean easier clogging (and a tougher time getting it unclogged!). On my old Epson Stylus Photo 800, I had to go through 10-12 cleaning cycles to get black printing properly again (and used up over a 3rd. of a new cartridge doing it!) whenever it clogged up. Using a sub-standard quality ink has always been a sure way to gum them up quickly.

I think Epson has done something to try to address this issue with more recent model printers. I remember older Epson Stylus printers practically *always* needing a few cleaning cycles before they would print properly, if they sat over 48 hours or so without printing something. But the Photo 820 I'm using now has relatively little problem.

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Love mine
by Jerrysr / November 17, 2005 9:10 PM PST

I love my Epsons. Have 2 right now R320 and 6600 had a 880 prior and it is still going. Their service is great. I had a Stylus that died just after the 2 year warranty had expired and they fixed it and sent new ink with it for free.

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EPSON printers
by drwho / November 18, 2005 3:08 AM PST

I have to refute your take on EPSON printers!! They are the ONLY BRAND I will buy!! I have had several Cannon's that all malfunctioned within a few months of average use.

While HP's all have the printhead built-in to the cartridge, that doubles the cost of their consumables. Speaking of which, the GENERIC cartridges you buy from 123INKJETS.COM for all brands of printers are just as good as the MFG's but at a fraction of their bloated price.

As for all those EPSON printers you are getting back, I would guess the people returning them have the IQ of DUBYA and do not think of calling Epson Customer Care first. My most recent experience with them was nothing short of exemplary! They took a STYLUS CX5200 that I had bought at a GOODWILL Store and replaced the Magenta/RED printhead at NO COST TO ME! They even provided the Prepaid Shipping label for FedEx Ground service.

Who knows, did they do it because I have a long history of Loyalty with them (I register every printer I buy) or just because they stand behind their products?? Either way, if people don't pick up the phone and call, they will never know...

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Epson Printers
by bjrp / November 18, 2005 7:02 AM PST

I have had Epson printers in my house for the last 10 years and would use nothing else!! The quality is far superior to other brands, the individual ink tanks are cost effective and they produce great results!!! My daughter received a high end (approximate cost $400) HP printer about a year and half ago for her birthday; it spent 90% of the time in the shop for repairs and finally crapped out for good about a month ago. This was supposed to be a very high end printer and it was a piece of junk! I HIGHLY recommend Epson for home use all the way!

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What do I say?
by jfordorl / November 20, 2005 9:59 AM PST
In reply to: Epson Printers

I had the original Epson Stylus Color since they came out. Paid $510 for it. Yes, the printhead holes were BIG back then, but it worked flawlessly. Two years ago when I just had it up to here trying to find ink for it locally I finally gave up on it when I then bought an inexpensive HP 5550 and the difference in print quality was astounding, but the price of ink cartridges is much more as well - so I now buy a 3-pack at Sam's Club and am a happy camper!

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by Gerald Brimacombe / November 22, 2005 12:04 AM PST

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Epson printers. I've struggled with a couple of them, including the 2200,and found them requiring never-ending adjustments with continuing poor results. It amazes me that so many photographers swear by them, when, in fact, they are cheaply made and undependable. I am currently using the i9900 Canon printer, and it blows anything Epson has to offer right out of the water. I am also using Kodak's Professional Inkjet Paper (luster surface) with outstanding results.

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Epson Loses Ink Scam in Court
by user06 / May 20, 2006 10:01 AM PDT

After realizing my epson cx 6400 indicates color cartridges are running out even though we only print black and white documents, and then makes you replace the unused/still full color cartridges before you can print again in black and white, I posted that news to CNET.

Now comes the Los Angeles Superior Court class action suit in which epson agrees to compensate epson owners with a measley epson credit, which in no way comes near to compensating our office for the color cartridge losses we have and will incur if we continue to use these terrible machines.

This printer is a loser, epson is a loser - and our 6400 is going in the dumpster.

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Mine Never Die
by chrisg53 / November 17, 2005 6:44 PM PST

I'm always giving away printers that are older models. My current "Main" printer is an Epson Stylus CX5400 that I print about 100 sheets a day for the past two years. Have an HP LaserJet 4000, HP OfficeJet T45 with Fax, and an HP DeskJet 940C that won't die. All have printed Ten's of Thousands of copies. I guess you just have bad luck with them!

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I've had EXCELLENT luck
by mac hooper / November 17, 2005 10:28 PM PST
In reply to: Mine Never Die

I generally buy HP inkjets but also like Epson. About 10 years ago, I bought an HP960C. After 9 years and MANY reams of paper, it finally hung up. I went out and got a cheapie HP5740 which works like a charm. The following day, I cleaned the 960's travel track (the bar the head moves back & forth on) and it's again giving me reliable and excellent prints.

I agree with Willy both on the cartridge with integrated head and attention to cleanliness of the printer.

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