The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You buy cheap you buy twice. Jet Tec cartridges.

We have all heard this saying and it's there for a very good reason.  What seems a bargain usually isn't and you end up buying the genuine one and you spend twice as much money.

So this post is basically to save folks that extra money.

I have a printer connected to my Mac and it's a Kodak C310. I bought it because of the smaller cost of ink cartridge. I was going to say "Cheap" but no ink is cheap for home pc's.
My previous printer was a Canon and wonderful as it was the ridiculous price of changing 5 cartridges at £80 was outrageous and so i gave it away.

I've been happy with my Kodak. I don't print photographs on it, just mundane stuff. When my 3rd lot of ink was almost gone i went to my supplier and asked for the 2 cartridges.
Unfortunately he didn't have any in stock but offered me a compatible set called Jet Tec for about the same price but 2 for the price of 1.

I don't usually go for cheap ink, because it's a poorer grade i am led to believe but this guy was convincing without being pushy and as i don't do photographs thought what the hell, i will give them a go.

I changed the cartridges when the red light said empty and put the compatibles in place. Switched on the printer and low and behold. Red light and Error.

I started again and switched on the printer. Message:- Error cartridges not recognisable. 

Always one for not giving up, i tried to logically work out what was different. How does a printer know that they are compatibles and not Kodak.

Well on the back of the cartridge there is a 3mm square bit of plastic with 2 contacts on it. I just thought these were the signal providers which interface with the printer to tell the cartridge that it's services were required. Well it seems that these contacts also have a micro circuit board on the back and this must also provides "Who AM I" information to the mother board of the printer. Just like a Ewe and lamb they know when it's not one of their own. So it pushed me away.

I thought i could get round this problem by removing the circuit board of the my old original Kodak cartridges and attaching them to the new compatibles ones. So with a bit of carful faffing i managed it.

I reloaded the now disguised compatibles and switched on. I thought the Ewe will never spot the difference now.

Wrong! New error message. These cartridges are empty please replace with new.

So even though there was plenty of ink, the mother board remembers the old cartridge signatures and recognised  that they were empty. So even filling them from a 3rd party source would have the same effect. Once Kodak cartridges are empty, that's it. You have to buy new.

Unfortunately for me because i have now bodged the compatible cartridges i cannot take them back for a refund.

I was never aware of this before and have never come across it. My old Canon printer accepted compatibles and refills no problem. I always thought getting an old cartridge refilled was a viable alternative. Well obviously Kodak don't think so.

Be warned.


Nielsen Brown said...

HP cartridges even know which country they came from, so an Aussie cartridge will not work in a printer purchased in Denmark.

AlanR said...

If it was something important I could understand it. But where I get my ink from should be my decision and not big brothers. There will be a way round this but at the moment I don't have the relevant skill set.

Al said...

Perhaps its a Kodak problem...we have several different printers at work Canon, Lexmark and HP to name a few and all seem to accept Cartridge World refills (There next door but one!).
Bloody annoying I would say!

BG! said...

I've no idea if your printer is suitable but have you consider ditching separate cartridges and going for a CIS (continuous Ink System)?

Over six years ago I spent the princely sum of ~£22 on one for our HP Photosmart D6160, it is a "5 colour + black" pre-filled system and it has never let us down. It gives good colour rendition and prints excellent-quality photos (and maps) on photo-paper. That £22 was roughly a third of the cost of a full set of genuine HP cartridges at the time and we reckon it's saving us over £100 a year in over-priced originals.

Maintenance is minimal - we keep the external reservoirs topped-up from dirt-cheap bulk-bottles and if we're not printing often we print a colour test page once a week to prevent any drying-out of ink inside the feed-tubes.

Bought cheap (eBay) and bought once. How often does that work???

Unknown said...

Kodak, by doing this, only create a rod for their own back.
People reading your blog will not buy that brand if they have to use expensive OEM's (which might be out of stock)

AlanR said...

Hi Al, Maybe it's just Jet Tec that have screwed up with the chip but now i am not prepared to buy other cartridges incase its more money wasted. The Kodak cartridges are not as expensive as other makes so i don't mind sticking with them. Just annoying.

AlanR said...

Stef i admit that i have never heard of CIS. I thought it was the Co-oP. It sounds interesting and i will email Kodak and find out. Or maybe i better hadn't email them and email the CIS manufacturer instead.
Either way i will look into it. Thanks for the info.

AlanR said...

Thanks for commenting Anthony. I think you have hit the nail on the head. I think not allowing folk to refill genuine cartridges is a big mistake.
But as i said in an earlier comment, there may be a way round it. I just don't have the answer at this time.

AlanR said...

It seems Kodak is in the wilderness regarding CISS.
The system is available for Brother, Epson, Canon, HP and Lexmark.
If i had known about this system i would have kept my Canon printer which was far superior to this Kodak except for cartridge price.
Hindsight eh. But i know now and printers don't last forever.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan, this is interesting (although you probably have another word for it). My father-in-law has a Kodak printer and for a long time couldn't find compatibles; I think it was because Kodak's patents still had some time to run. It sounds like they've found another way of preserving their captive market, although I believe this 'chipping' of cartridges goes beyond just Kodak.

For a long time we used Epson printers and they accepted compatibles very well, although the life of the non-Epson cartridges could vary quite a bit. We're on an HP printer now and it has been very reluctant to accept compatibles; in the end we gave up and now just shop around for the best deal on HP originals. The colour cartridges are tiny and even HP branded ones don't have much of a life.

AlanR said...

Hi Oss,
Maybe BG's suggestion of using CISS is the answer for you. I have had a look at it and it seems a great idea. I asked about it in Ryman's in Manchester yesterday. The 2 staff at the desk looked at each other as though i was from another planet. It is available on the internet though.

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