Inkjet Cartridge Resetters: Friend or Foe?
When you insert an inkjet cartridge in the printer the CHIP (computer chip) that is coded with information makes contact with the hardware. With proper contact the firmware of the printer “reads” the information programmed on the chip and allows the installation recognizing it is for the proper model and slot. It also receives information that the ink level is at 100% capacity for that cartridge size (i.e. 110 ml). Chips are not programmed to control any other hardware tasks such as maintenance operations. That is the job of the hardware’s firmware (internal software).
This information may not be exciting, but it’s important to understand. When the chip isn’t being read upon initial installation the chip resetter may reset the chip’s programming so the printer recognizes and accepts it, so you can begin printing. It’s another story altogether when the printer has been printing and therefore ink has been consumed (ink quantity is not at or near 100% capacity) and then a chip is reset to 100% capacity. As you can imagine, that’s not an optimal situation. We’ll explain more…
Before you make contact (resetter to chip) make sure you understand when to use a resetter and when not to. A chip resetter can save the day, but improper use can leave you scratching your head or make a bad situation worse.
Printer manufacturers set the standard for how their printer uses ink. Ink is sprayed and measured in terms of “droplets”. Epson’s firmware dictates droplets per cart. Each time a file/separation is sent to a printer the computer chip on the ink tank records the amount of droplets sprayed - counting down until it reaches its end of use.
Printer resolution and droplet weights effect the amount of ink sprayed. Higher resolution and droplet weights use more ink than the lower ones do. Since it is a consumable the higher the printer resolution and droplet weight the less prints achieved. All inkjet printers and cartridges work this way.
Inkjet cartridges are also overfilled during production. Imagine you have a spray bottle of glass cleaner. It is impossible to spray the cleaner when the straw is not reaching the liquid. Inkjet cartridge manufacturers sell you a volume of ink (i.e 110 ml) and then overfill it so you can utilize 110 ml of ink. The spraying technology is certainly different from a glass cleaner, but it illustrates the point well. With cartridges the consumer does NOT pay for the unusable overfill. When you shake the cartridge and hear ink after the printer has reported it is time for new ink it is understandable that consumers will try to squeeze out every drop. Consumers do this by resetting chips with a resetter. The chips now report 100% full, while in fact they are out or nearly out of ink. Although that sounds like a smart way to squeeze out some ink, there is a high risk that you will run your printer with empty tanks and possibly damage the printer. You have no valid means to determine how much ink is available and have messed with the system designed to report low ink. You will also get streaks and poor quality films without a proper flow of ink being sprayed so why run the risk.
Now that you know there is no live accounting of ink and the printer is not able to “see” the real ink level, you understand the importance of NOT using a resetter to fool the printer.
The resetter is a tool for initial installation of ink when a chip does not read. There is no worry that the chip is reset to 100% capacity because it is at 100% capacity. A resetter may not always resolve the issue if the cartridge chip is damaged. Resetters also have a battery to power it and the battery can be dead. Try replacing the battery. Most resetters have screws hidden behind the label. Remove the screws to open the case and replace the cell battery.
An electric power surge, printer memory failure or even dust can interrupt communication. You can use a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol to clean a chip. You can power down the printer, pull out the plug for 30 seconds, then press the power button when the printer is not plugged in. Plug it back in, power up and see if the cartridges read. Note that not all printer models can do or would be successful performing a power down memory purge, but it is worth attempting.
1. is a first aid tool for initial installation
2. should be used with new cartridges and NOT carts used.
3. used midstream will rest the level to 100%. If used it is your responsibility to monitor the inks which is a diligent task.
4. Clean or power down to correct communication.
5. With ink systems such as All Black Ink™ the rate of chip failure is extraordinarily small. Do not wait to report the issue to Freehand or your reseller. Tech support can help and will determine if a warranty replacement is needed.
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