Resetting Epson Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges for inkjet photo printers are very expensive. The ink inside is among the most expensive liquids you can buy. Would you knowingly throw any away? Of course not. But if you obediently bin your Epson carts whenever the chip tells you they’re empty that’s exactly what you’re doing. Don’t take my word for it. the UK Consumers Association found that the average empty Epson cartridge is in fact still about 25-33% full. Of course they asked Epson why? The answer from the manufacturer’s point of view is that if any colour runs out, the print heads - which on Epson printers are a permanent, non serviceable, buy a new printer item - may be damaged. So you shouldn’t allow any colour to run dry. Fair enough, but throw away 1/3 of my ink? I’ve tried resetters and if you’re interested you can try my method to save money on Epson ink, but I have to say  : At your own risk.
Epson ink cartridge resetter

an Epson chip resetter - they now come in many shapes and sizes

What should you do?  You don’t want to waste hundreds of pounds worth of ink but you don’t want to waste your printer either! My system is simple. Over the years I’ve reset Epson chips and observed when the cartridges actually run out.  The record goes to my Epson 900 which is essentially an A4 1290 bought because it uses the bigger T009 cart for colour ink rather than the smaller T008. When I bought this it was to save money on ink - except it’s ink carts show empty when they’re actually about 40% full. That printer got me into resetting, and since then I’ve used it with my 1290, 870, 2100 and R1800. Have any of them been damaged? No. But there is a risk - Epson say there is. So it’s your choice.

My System

1/     Never reset the black ink cartridge

2/    When the printer driver says the colour cart is empty take it out, reset the chip, and put it straight back in.  Change it when it reaches the first mark on the status monitor- about the level of the grey ink in the picture below.  Keep a note of which carts have been reset and REMEMBER to change them when they reach this mark.

  epson statusAs I said above - try this at your own risk - but it works for me.

Why not the black?  If you reset and then let the black ink run out it can be quite hard to get going again. Lots of cleaning cycles which waste lots of ink and defeats the whole purpose of the exercise. Also the black does run out sooner -  I’d say at 15-20% - so, to me, it’s not really worth the risk.

What I aim to do is to change the colour just before it really runs out. My experience is that if you change when the ink level indicated reaches the position of the grey ink in the picture it will very rarely run out - but you’ll get a lot more prints for your money. If it does run out, you may need to do a head clean, but so far, I’ve never failed to get it going again.

© David Gold
All text and images copyright David Gold 2006 - 2011
and must not be reproduced in any way without permission.