Sunday, October 2, 2011

Printer Ink Study

For the next several weeks I will be participating in an HP Ink Challenge.  HP has invited a number of  us to evaluate HP Brand Ink with "Generic" Refill Ink.  They loaded us up with printers and supplies so that evaluations can be based on brand of ink used, not printer or paper.  

Week one involved getting printers set up and filling empty cartridges.  The set up was easier than I expected...getting the cartridges filled, not so much.  I chose a nearby drugstore that advertises ink refills to get the cartridges refilled.  Unfortunately, the  store closest has stopped providing the service  but said I could get them done at the store one mile away. I went there and the clerk looked up the cartridge and told me she could not fill either one but that she thought I could buy HP brand on the rack.

Still needing to get my cartridges filled  I then went to an office supply store. The cashier told me they do a 24 hour turn around. I asked why she could not do it right then and she said she was too busy (she was standing at the register when I came and when I left).  There appeared to be about six customers in the store and I observed three employees besides the cashier. Note to store managers: Perception is everything.

So I went to the next closest office supply store, about 5 miles from home.  There the cashier was quick to offer to refill while I waited.  This cashier appeared very knowledgeable about the process and went through it efficiently.  While she was working she offered that the cartridges can usually only be refilled two or three times.  She also said that if I had any problems with the printer not recognizing the cartridge to keep my receipt as I could return it and get credit on a new cartridge.  After each cartridge was filled the cashier cleaned, labeled it and did a test strip.  She packed them with a rubber band in a special  refill box.  It took about 15 minutes to complete the transaction.  My whole process took almost 2 hours.

The printer recognized that the cartridge was a refill. The initial color tests looked like the other images from the HP ink computer.  I printed the same picture when setting up both printers and it appeared the HP color was more vivid green.

The first print project was to print a number of the same pictures, duplicating them on both printers.  Images were coming out consistent until about halfway through the project when the refill cartridge quit printing magenta. I ran through the cleaning numerous times without success.  After contacting the HP project managers I will be getting a "new" refill cartridge.  Score week 1= HP1 - Refill 0. 

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