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[filmscanners] OT: WARNING: Epson 7600/9600 ink use
I just posted this to comp.periphs.printers, and I know it is off topic,
BUT, since many filmscanner users might be considering the new lower
priced Epson wide carriage printers, I thought I'd provide this heads up.
Boy, was I excited to see the price on Epson's 24" wide printer drop by
thousands of dollars with the introduction of the 7600 (list $2995 US)
versus the older 7000 dye based model (list $3995) or the 7500 pigmented
model (list $4995 US).
Not only that, but the 7600 has a new set of even better pigmented inks
available, a higher resolution inkhead, etc. and they OFFER SWITCHABLE
BLACK INKS for both matte and glossy (photo) paper use with these
WOW, what a deal.
That was until I started looking into the ink situation.
The 7600 uses 110 ml ink carts (up to seven of them), and each has a
lovely "intelledge" smart chip in it, which keeps track of all sorts of
interesting stuff. Each cartridge costs $70 US or $106 CAN plus tax.
The new 9600 which is a wider carriage version (44 inches wide) can
use either 110 ml or 220 ml carts).
Since these printers use the "Intellege" chip, they are not refillable,
and besides, Epson owns the rights to their new ink technology. The
only problem with these new inks is that the formula of the black ink
makes it either work well with matte papers or glossy/photo papers, so
you need two different types to provide a full range of printing abilities.
BUT, no problem... you can switch between the two carts easily (it
takes about 10 minutes according to Epson), One of the features of the
"Intellege" chip technology carts is that they have a valve that shuts
down the cart to keep it sealed when not in use, AND, the cartridge
keeps track of exactly how much ink is in it via the chip. So, at least
there are some advantages to this chip system, right?
So, I take the black (glossy) cart out, buy a matte black cart (about
$70 US for the 110ml version) and install it... simple, right?
Well, unlike the consumer models which have the ink reservoir sitting
right on top of the heads, the larger carriage printers (starting with
the Epson 3000) use a series of plastic tubes to feed the ink from the
ink reservoirs to the heads. Obviously, if you switch types of inks, you
need to flush out the ink in the head and those tubes so the new type of
ink is ready to be used.
OK, so the black head is flushed so the new ink is used. It turns out
that the heads also carry some ink, plus the tube, so it takes about
25-32 ml of ink to be pushed through the system to clear the old ink out
and start the new ink. Well, that's a LOT of ink from a 110 ml cart,
about one quarter, so you would lose about $18 US or $27 CAN (plus tax)
ink for a switch one direction. Switching back to the original black
would double these costs.
So, you say, OK, I can swallow that, or make my client pay or
whatever... not so horrible. BUT.... BUT, Epson didn't design the
printer to work this way. OH no! Epson likes selling ink a lot, they
make a lot of money selling ink, and they want to keep printer prices
down, so more people buy them, so they can ...... sell MORE INK!
Apparently, Epson has designed their 7600 and 9600 printers to use a
system similar to when the printer first is loaded with cartridges when
you buy it (which uses up about 39 ml of ink per color, or about 273 ml
of ink) when changing between black cartridges. Inotherwords, it not
only purges the black line and head, it also purges ALL THE OTHER COLOR
CARTRIDGES TOO to a total of between 180ml to 215ml of ink (according to
Epson's numbers), or $114-$137 US or $173-$207 CAN (plus tax!) per
switch. Or, for a full circle switch over (black to matte black to
regular black again) of $228-274 US or $346-$414 CAN (plus that tax,
again) just to run one print in the matte mode if you have the regular
black in the printer and want to return it afterward. I do not know
many clients that I can add that type of fee onto their "set up" costs [;-)]
Now, I know that companies like Epson have shifted from larger profit
margins from the printer sales, to higher profits on ink, by making 3rd
party inks difficult or impossible to use with the "Intellege"
technology, but doesn't it seem a bit self-serving to advertise these
printers as providing "switchable" black inks as an answer to the
problem of their new inks not being able to handle all substrates well,
when the only way to use that "feature" is to waste HUNDREDS of dollars
worth of ink just to switch between the black inks.
I'm not an engineer, but I can't believe the cost of making the black
cartridge and head assembly having its own unique purging sequence would
be so great as to have made it not worthwhile to incorporate under the
circumstances. Heck, all the consumer printers offer separate black and
colored cleaning stations.
This is the type of intentional "fleecing by design" of the end user
that inkjet companies should be ashamed of. At minimum, this
information should be on ALL advertising of this printer so every
potential client is aware of it.
Epson has certainly lost a great deal of my respect as a result of this,
and I hope anyone considering this printer line is aware of the downfall
of this "feature".
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