The battle against printer technology

The battle between printer companies and the generic cartridge industry is ramping up as technology increases. Each printer company have devised their own way of trying to combat the use of 3rd party cartridges and it's only going to get worse. Ink Hub is at the fore front of this dilemma and so far we have managed to overcome all that they throw at us. So let's take a more detailed look at where the printer industry is heading and how the generic cartridge industry is dealing with these new technologies.

HP Printer Technology

HP are without doubt the leaders in technology in regards to disabling the use of non genuine cartridges. Initially back in the early days they would release firmware updates that would block any non genuine cartridge even if it was already installed in the printer. Fortunately HP was dragged over the coals for doing this so legally they were told that they could only block consumables that had not yet been installed in the printer.

The biggest issue for the sellers of generic cartridges was to get their customers to turn OFF the updates on their printers so that HP could no longer block their cartridges. This being said the general public were slow to move on this and usually only got around to doing so after they have actually been affected by the updates and realized that their non genuine cartridges no longer worked. Many of the HP printers manufactured over the past decade released so many firmware updates that many of the resellers of non genuine cartridges stopped selling them.

The problem became so huge that even Ink Hub almost did the same however Unismart released their chip re-programmer which was a huge relief which enabled us to update the cartridges ourselves soon after updates were released. Nowadays HP's updates do not pose as big a threat as most folks have turned OFF the updates that were causing these issues. Many of HP's latest printers are connected to their "e" server via the internet, all of these models are recognized by having the letter "e" at the end of the model number eg: Officejet Pro 9010e. All of these "e" model printers are under 24/7 surveillance by HP and can only work with their own HP cartridges. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT purchase one of these printers.

If you are currently using a HP printer and you wish to use non genuine inks then here is How to disable the auto updates. Once the updates are disabled then there is no issue at all in using 3rd party cartridges and they will save you a load of cash. At Ink Hub as soon as an update occurs we re-program all existing stock before we send them out to our customers. If you are stuck with outdated cartridges that are blocked then you are still able to roll back your firmware version on your HP printer to get them working again. We have the latest files available for many of the HP printers which you can download here and install to get your cartridges going again.

For more instructions on turning OFF HP updates take a look at the links below:

How to make Generic Inks work on an HP printer

How to fix HP cartridges locked to another printer

Epson Printer Technology

For those of us who have been in the print consumables industry for some time Epson have been the "thorn in our side" for many years. Epson were the leaders in releasing updates to combat the use of non genuine cartridges and it would give the most well known and frustrating error message " Ink Cartridges Cannot be Recognized". There were various techniques used to try and overcome the problem however turning OFF all updates was the only sure solution.

The latest Epson printers have actually made the updates optional by default and the onus is on the user as to whether they install them or not. Some folks make the mistake of allowing the printers to automatically install the updates which once again is a huge mistake when using non genuine cartridges. I must say that Epson has gained back some of the market share as the updates being optional to install has caused so few issues with generic inks and resulting in less frustration for the end user.

The latest Epson printers use what's known as a "serial code chip". Each printer series is allocated various serial codes which when recognized by the printer either accept or reject the code which results in either installing the cartridge successfully or rejecting it. The non genuine cartridges use an Apex switch serial chip which automatically changes it's serial code every time it is installed up to a maximum of around 8 times. The only thing that will upset this is if the user installs a new update to the printer as usually they remove the previous serial codes so the generic cartridges no longer work. The Apex chip manufacturers usually have a new chip out within a week or so with the correct serial codes on so it's not usually an issue. 

If you are considering purchasing an Epson printer then consider buying it from Officeworks, reason being is that many of the Epson printers are exclusive to Officeworks and they NEVER update the firmware as they do with the mainstream Epson line of printers. Some of the models I am talking about include XP-2105, XP-4105, XP-2205 and XP-4205. These printers in general are not affected by updates in regards to blocking non genuine cartridges.

Brother Printer Technology

As with all of the other printer manufacturers Brother also play similar games to the rest of them. Usually it is in the form of updates which also stop the non genuine cartridges from functioning. The very latest Brother printers use a system which actually remembers the serial codes of the previously used cartridges and then blocks the next set if the serial number is not different. I personally believe that they are experimenting a little as one series of printers only remembers the chip codes one time whereas another series of their latest printers stores every previous serial code and blocks them if they are not different.

So far this has not proven to be an issue as all of our cartridges come with their individual batch numbers on the packs so we keep a list of which ones customers purchase and make sure we never send the same batch numbers twice. These have been extremely reliable so far without any hiccups. Brother cartridges have certainly come a long way considering that their earlier ones had no chip and a very archaic method of reading ink levels which users would often trick by covering the window on the cartridge with electrical tape etc. I assume that they are no longer using the infrared beams to detect the ink levels as in the old days.

Canon Printer Technology

It's very interesting that Canon had some of the first high tech chipped cartridges in the business that were very hard for the chip manufacturers to crack. Over the years Canon has been the one company that has not tried to stop the end user from using a non genuine cartridge by applying updates. This makes Canon unique and certainly in my mind gives Canon far more credibility than any of the other manufacturers. The fact that Canon freely allows the user to chose if they wish to use generic cartridges without trying to block or render them useless.

Apart from the above Canon's "thermal" or "Bubble jet" print head technology is far less prone to clogging than any of the other printers on the market. Even though Canon's latest cartridges use a very complicated opto-electric microchip to control it's functions the printers accept the generic cartridges without ever an issue. This is the reason I support Canon and promote them to my customers as they are the only printer company with any morals.