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Phil's Rambling Rants
April 18th, 2006
11:42 pm


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Printer Wars III: Revenge of the Ink
I've done some more research on printers, and now I don't know what to do.

The printer I thought I wanted to get is the Canon Pixma iP6600D.  It is a 6-color printer, a direct descendant of the i960 I've done all of my art photos on.  In my earlier, more cursory research, I thought I had found that it was compatible with the ink and refill kit I already have.  But in my more thorough research, I have learned otherwise.  This printer uses a new series of inks and cartridges, the "CLI-8" series.  The plus side of this is that Canon claims that these inks, when used with their photo papers, will last 100 years, which is at least roughly an equivalent claim to the Epson "archival quality" inkjets that it seems like artists who do their own printing are "supposed" to be using.  The minus side, though, is that the new inks come in new cartridges which have electronics built into the cartridge to detect the ink level, and (I am very upset to report) are a work of pure evil, just like most other company's ink cartridges -- they don't allow you to refill them, they recognize if you do refill them and log that you have and assert that this voids your warranty; and there is a patented chip in the damn things to keep anyone from cloning the cartridges or circumventing the anti-refill technology.  In short, Canon has thrown away everything that made them more honorable than the other printer makers and is playing the same game as everyone else.

I really wanted to get the new printer, so that I could actually have a printer *now* as opposed to at some indefinable future time.  I would really like to be able to claim to be using archival quality printing for my sale prints.  But I really hate this wasteful, greedy, evil technology in principle, and I'm also concerned that my effective ink cost if I only use factory cartridges goes from under $2 per salable picture to over $5.  I am tempted to tell the guy in the repair shop I've changed my mind and I want him to replace the print head in my old printer, but (a) I don't know how long it will take before I have a printer again (I'm 99% sure he doesn't have the print head in stock but would have to order it), and (b) I don't know how long the repaired printer will last; if I knew the replacement print head would last as long as a new printer, I would be more comfortable with getting it.  Maybe this is a sign that I should change brands, but I don't know anything about anyone else's photo printers.

Does anyone have any helpful thoughts?  Does anyone really care?

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(3 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 19th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
That's modern electronics for you. I call it "planned obsolescence". Stuff is designed to last only X years before you have to replace it.

Years ago, printer manufacturers built their equipment to last. The only regular cost would be for consumables -- ink and toner. Printer companies saw that this is where they can make their money, if they're not selling printers.

Then came the brilliant idea of putting all the electronics and such inside the ink cartridges for inkjet printers, thus raising the cost of cartridges. This is when the computer printer industry jumped the shark.

Printers are built cheaply now, so much so that they've become a commodity item. And of course they want you to buy *their* printer cartridges instead of refilling them or buying the generic or office-store equivalent.

This is yet another sign that we live in a materialistic and disposable society. And I don't like it one bit either.
Date:April 20th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
Let me make sure I have the story right
You started this story with a Canon i960 which has died
you are looking into repair / replacing that and in addition are looking into laser printers. ( I was getting confused but now I understand you want a laser and a color printer - got it)

Laser -
you were going to get a HP 2600N but ended up with a Brother HL 2040

Color -
You had a Canon i960 that is dead, but you have ink and refill kit for this
you looked into repair but the print head is dead
There are replacment print heads on ebay

Or look on ebay for an older printer without the technonlogy that works with your refil kit
[User Picture]
Date:April 20th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
To clarify, I need a text printer for ordinary printing jobs, color would be cool and I would hopefully do new and cool things with a color laser, but I *need* to have a printer for ordinary day to day stuff, and I need a top quality more-than-four-color photo printer for my art. My old laser printer died months ago, and because I hadn't gotten off my butt I printed a few regular things I *had* to print on the photo printer, but the photo printer is supposed to be only for photos.

I had talked myself into the indulgence of the HP 2600N in part because it was right there, on the shelf at Best Buy, on special for cheap, but when I went to buy it, they didn't actually have any (except the demo). If I'd *needed* that printer, I could have let them ship it to me, or maybe even talked them into giving me the floor model, but I didn't need it. I was pissed at the store for not having it to the point where I just said "screw you, Best Buy", and went to Office Depot, which has a much better printer department, and got the cheapest thing available that should fill my general printer needs.

It might be worth looking into print heads on eBay for future reference, but part of my problem is that I need a photo printer *now*, because I have procrastinated too much. Lazer's Edge promised they could replace the print head in a day or two when I assumed it would take much longer, so I had them go ahead and do it. They phoned me this morning to say that it's done; I'll pick it up tomorrow.
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