PLANNED OBSOLESENCE FOR INK CARTRIDGES

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PLANNED OBSOLESENCE FOR INK CARTRIDGES

 user 2007-02-15 at 12:38:00 pm Views: 63
  • #17705

    Planned Obsolesence Comes to Ink Cartridges
    Some HP, Lexmark Cartridges Shut Down after a Predetermined time
    February
    , 2007 Many Hewlett Packard and Lexmark consumers with inkjet printers
    may find that their ink cartridges are no longer working — not because
    they are out of ink or because they’re broken, but rather, because the
    manufacturers designed them to shut down after a certain amount of
    time.ConsumerAffairs.Com has received a few complaints from consumers
    who say their ink cartridges, although full of ink, just stopped
    working.”I bought my HP ink 3 months ago, used it only twice and now my
    printer ‘doesn’t detect a cartridge!’” wrote Helga of Clearwater, Fla.
    “This is downright crooked. It should last for as long as there is ink
    in it.”The majority of ink cartridges with timers are manufactured by
    Hewlett Packard (HP) and Lexmark, said Alwin Morgenstern, chief
    operating officer of freerecycling.com, a company that recycles ink
    cartridges.A letter from “Beebo” to TheInquirer.net, a news website,
    reported that when he purchased discounted and expired HP ink
    cartridges, they wouldn’t work. When he tried to use them, a warning
    would pop up saying the cartridges had expired.Beebo examined the
    copper connector pins on his old cartridge and the new ones and found
    that the new ones had one extra pin. He removed that pin and sure
    enough, the cartridge printed fine.For years, the cartridges have had
    suggested “sell by dates,” said HP’s senior ink and media scientist,
    Nils Miller. But in 1999, HP installed chips on some cartridges that
    communicate with the printer to tell it how long it has been since the
    cartridge was manufactured and installed in the printer. After a
    certain time, the printer will discontinue use of the cartridge.Miller
    said it is a precautionary measure that prolongs the life of the
    printer’s delicate ink plumbing.”We are trying to maintain control over
    the interactions between the cartridge, ink delivery system and print
    head,” Miller said.HP and Lexmark installed this timing mechanism
    because many manufacturers began to move away from integrated ink
    cartridges, that is, cartridges that contain the ink, the delivery
    system and the print head all in one package. Instead, many printers
    now have all those parts built into the printer rather than the
    cartridge.With an integrated ink cartridge, those delicate parts were
    replaced with each new cartridge.Miller said that over time, ink can
    yield some sediment that could potentially clog the plumbing and the
    print head and that is why there is a timer.Printers with built-in
    plumbing are nothing new, Miller said. But in the past, they were
    reserved for high end office machines that consumed larger quantities
    of ink in shorter periods of time. Many printer manufacturers began
    offering these same printers on the consumer level because the
    cartridges have more room to hold more ink. Miller said HP followed
    suit because of “market pressure.”The lifespan of many of HP’s and
    Lexmark’s expiring ink cartridges is 54 months after they are
    manufactured and 2.5 years after they are installed in the printer. A
    few of the cartridges have shorter lifespans of three years and 18
    months after the cartridge is installed in the printer.Morgenstern
    charged that the forced expiration date is a ploy for the manufacturers
    to make more money.”Most cartridges will work fine at least one to two
    years after they expire,” Morgenstern said.Miller agreed saying that
    it’s likely the cartridge would work fine after it expires.”It doesn’t
    mean those cartridges are filled with sludge immediately after the
    expiration date,” Miller said.But he said that HP has to be
    conservative because it could be very expensive for consumers to
    replace or repair parts in the printer.Miller said consumers should
    strongly considered purchasing printers that utilize integrated ink
    cartridges.”From an engineering and consumer point of view, integrated
    ink cartridges are good for customers who use their printers
    intermittently,” Miller said. “If you’re only going to use your printer
    once a week and then go maybe five weeks without using it, that’s when
    you would want integrated ink.”Miller said non-integrated ink
    cartridges are good for consumers who use their printers regularly and
    will go through the ink faster than it can expire because those
    printers’ cartridges frequently have a larger reservoir.He also
    suggested consumers avoid stockpiling ink cartridges but rather just
    buy one or two at a time.Consumers whose cartridges expire will receive
    no reimbursement, said Katie Neal, HP’s spokeswoman. Her only
    suggestion was that consumers use the prepaid envelope that comes with
    the cartridge and mail it back to HP so it can properly be recycled.If
    consumers would like to receive some reimbursement for their expired
    cartridge, they can send it to freerecycling.com where they will
    receive as much as $3.60. For more information visit freerecycling.com.