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  1. #1
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    printer ink levels - how?

    Hardly a serious question but: Can anyone satisfy my curiosity on this...How does the cartridge ink level indicators on my Lexmark printer work....is there some kind of physical float mechanism? (surely not) or is it a software programme thing whereby a full cartridge should print so many characters and it just counts off the number after each document print and decreases the image level display accordingly? Hope this question makes sense to someone and they dont mind taking the time to reply.

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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    Correct. Most (if not all) ink jet printers use a page counter. Depending on the sophistication of the printer software, removing a cartridge and reinserting it may reset the indicator or you may be asked whether or not you have inserted a new cartridge.
    John
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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    I don't know if you're familiar with the software tool which HP provide for their posher/more expensive inkjets, but I have been both amused and frustrated by the fact that the "indicated ink level" for the B&W and Colour cartridges always seems to go to zero quite some considerable time before the ink actually runs out - often literally hundreds of pages before! I thought with the number of contacts on the back of the cartridge that a few might be used for ink-level monitoring, but your "page count theory" seems a more likely explanation.

    Obviously manufacturers hope that you will throw away (I mean recycle...!) the cartridge before the ink is finished, thus increasing the cost to the user from "quite breathtaking" to "staggeringly enormous"...

    John
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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    Thanks all, just as I thought then. And disappointing to find it's just an estimated count of usage really. I discovered after my first change of cartridges not to take much notice of the level indicators, rather keep using until the ink has obviously run out. Not a problem with home use in my case when usually only short documents or letters are involved.

    And as an afterthought...we expect to get ripped off constantly with high prices in the Uk now..but how can they justify the price of these ink cartridges!

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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    They don't need to justify the prices; it's a sellers' market, and a device to make loads of money. Witness the effort being put into preventing the cartridges being refilled, and the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt raised about the quality of cartridges not from the printer manufacturer.

    The printers themselves are a loss-leader, in that the cheapest of them are little dearer than the price of a set of ink cartridges, so the manufacturers have to make their money somewhere.

    "How does Microsoft justify the price of Office?", you could also ask!!

    John
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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    Jeff,
    I think it's a little like Gillette - who (practically) give away the razors but charge you a bomb for the blades. The cost of printers are very low, and I would be surprised if there is any profit on those. But they make the big bucks from around 80% of the punters that simply replace their cartridges (and grumble about the price) when they are told. There are lots of info on the web on how to refill (and fool the printer into thinking its a new cartridge) so if you are prepared to spill a little ink you can get the best of both worlds - cheap razor and cheap blades.

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    Re: printer ink levels - how?

    Here is what Epson had to say about accusations that their cartridges cried 'empty' before the actually are. I recall that some Consumer magazine, not too long ago, issued a retraction when they had made similar complaints and publically accepted the manufacturers arguments that it was in the consumers interest that the cartridges behave this way. Prevents damage to the printer head, ensures colour quality etc etc. Something to keep in mind while using a cartridge beyond its 'fill me' (sorry - replace me) date.

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