BBC INVESTIGATED THE HIDDEN COST OF HP INK CARTRIDGES(VIDEO)

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BBC INVESTIGATED THE HIDDEN COST OF HP INK CARTRIDGES(VIDEO)

 user 2009-09-04 at 2:25:21 pm Views: 57
  • #22675

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8231062.stm
    BBC INVESTIGATED THE HIDDEN COST OF HP INK CARTRIDGES
    CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW TO SEE THE LIVE VIDEO
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8231062.stm
    Of
    all the extras that can be bought to make more of a PC, the humble
    printer is probably the most popular.But that humility might conceal a
    house guest that costs much more to run than most people realise.While
    the device may be very cheap to buy initially, especially if bought at
    the same time as its companion PC, the running costs can, and do, mount
    up. Particularly if a printer is used to produce a lot of high-quality
    colour copies.It is well known that printer ink costs more per
    millilitre than the finest champagne. And it is in the costs of the ink
    that manufacturers claw back what they lose every time a printer is
    sold.

    Long-term costs
    Lizzy Russles, a computer expert
    at consumer organisation Which? counsels people to look at a printer’s
    long-term running costs.The cheaper a printer, she warns, the sooner
    its cartridges were likely to need replacing and the higher the ongoing
    costs.The problem most people face when trying to gauge how economical
    their printer is with that very expensive ink is that the machine is
    not very good at working out when all the ink is gone.An investigation
    by the BBC found that some inkjet cartridges have their ink contained
    in a sponge rather than free flowing – as a result the machine has to
    estimate when the ink is drying up rather than use a defined level like
    in a car fuel tank.”It’s not our intention to have any sort of scam
    involved with this,” says Martin Hurren, business development manager
    for HP Supplies.”A lot of it is down to technology – different
    technology is used with different cartridges.”Many printers err on the
    side of caution and warn when the cartridge is getting empty. There are
    good technical reasons for this because printer heads can be damaged if
    they run completely dry.”Some of the technology we use requires ink to
    remain in the cartridge so that the printer head can have a fluid
    motion and allow ink to pass through the printer when you change the
    cartridge,” says Mr Hurren.

    Warnings ignored
    However,
    the internet is dotted with stories about people who have ignored the
    warnings from their printer and gone on to print many, many more pages
    before the cartridge gives up the ghost.Printer ink costs more per
    millilitre than the finest champagne But, says Mr Hurren, it was hard
    to compare one person’s experience with another because of the range of
    things printers can turn out.”The number of pages varies depending on
    the way you print, photos are different to business documents,” he
    says. “With our cartridges you can get anything from 200 – 2000
    pages.”What also complicates matters is that some makes of printers
    have cartridges that are tagged with ID chips. The printer notes which
    ones are in use as it is printing.When one runs out and an owner tries
    to trick the machine by slipping the same one back in to get more
    pages, the printer will refuse because it thinks that cartridge is
    empty.These identification systems are also used in larger office
    printers.

    However, it is possible to trick the printer in thinking an older cartridge is new.
    In
    some models the memory reserved for the tags can only hold a couple of
    ID numbers so swapping in totally empty ones will clear out the cache
    so the one with ink remaining can be replaced.It is also possible to
    buy chip resetters for some makes of cartridge so the printer is
    totally fooled into thinking that an old one is new.Ms Russles from
    Which says it is definitely worthwhile investigating the running costs
    of a printer before buying one.She said it was probably worth avoiding
    cartridges that combine all colours in one package. This is because
    when one colour runs out, perhaps cyan after printing out holiday
    snaps, the whole thing has to be replaced.

    Wasteful?
    A
    study by Epson carried out in 2007 found that up to 60% of ink in a
    cartridge goes to waste.Up to 60% of ink in a cartridge may go to
    wasteThe tests, carried out by the TUV Rheinland research group, tested
    printers that use multi-ink cartridges and found there was a lot of
    waste when one colour runs dry.The fact that many desktop inkjet
    printers hold their ink in a sponge means that they are eminently
    refillable. In most cases peeling off the label on the top of the
    cartridge reveals handy holes where fresh ink can be squeezed in.But,
    warns Ms Russles, this is not for everyone. The results can vary, not
    all models of printer allow their cartridges to be refilled and it can
    be very messy if something goes wrong.One alternative is a continuous
    ink system that, as its name implies, constantly pipes ink to the
    cartridge so it never runs out.This, says Ms Russles, has a following
    online but is not for the fainthearted or technical novice.