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Canon is telling customers how to override counterfeit cartridge warnings (twitter.com/naderman)
237 points by max-m 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 158 comments

I bought extra HP cartridges off of Amazon years ago for my business so we would have extras. Imagine my surprise when, after installing the cartridges about a year later, I learned they were the wrong “region”. Turns out HP region locks ink like they are Blu-Rays or Nintendo games!

I had no idea I was buying “out-of-region” ink cartridges and I also had no idea such a thing could possibly matter. I called HP and the tech support person had the gall to tell me they have different ink for different regions because the climates are different. I nearly swallowed my teeth at the stupidity of such a claim.

They offered nothing until I started telling my story on Twitter, and suddenly a Support person messaged me on Twitter offering free replacements. So not only do they have an indefensible strategy of region-locking ink cartridges, they also train you to whine as loudly as possible to get any sort of recourse.

The entire printer industry appears to be running one scam or another.

I bought an HP Color Laser printer a few years ago to avoid the Ink Jet nonsense.

Turns out it’s not Ink Jet, it’s HP. Lessons learned.

The printer worked flawlessly until I went through my first toner cartridges (the carts shipped with the printer are intentionally smaller so you have to replace them)

I noticed the 3rd party replacements were $80 for a full set whereas 1st party were $200. I got the 3rd party. It’s been such a headache ever since. The MAJORITY of prints from my iMac fail. Google suggests the Mac drivers have a bug that cause OOM errors on the printer. Funny thing is it always succeeds from Windows or Linux. So I half bought it, and just put up with it.

Fast forward a few years (a week or two ago) and my wife points out that there was an HP update and the printer works perfectly! Yay! The color cartridge is basically empty and needs replacing. Worked perfectly for a week until the printer popped up an error message “non-hp chip”.

All speculation and anecdotal, but I just can’t help but feel like they’ve ended their charade and are actually being “honest” with me now…

HP is just awful. I will never buy from them. I bought a Samsung laser printer assuming they were less awful, but now support for Samsung printers is handled by HP.

My next printer is going to be Brother; that seems to be the only honest printer manufacturer out there.

I’ve replaced the mix of HPs and Canons in my house and office with Brothers. They’re like, oh, you made your own toner with crayon and coffee grounds? Ok, I can work with that.

Yeah +1 for Brother. Either they just permit third party cartridges or their protection is so minimal everyone can bypass it. Cheap toner cartridges work perfectly for me.

Only issue is that the printers themselves are really hard to get now. In particular the colour lasers. If I find them it's at a crazy price. So I bought a b/w again. Must be the supply chain thing.

PS the old one was not even broken after 10 years but I got sick of not having network printing :)

You should buy a Raspberry PI and have it act as a network print server for your printers without Ethernet. This is what I do in office environments with similar situations. It works surprisingly well.

I tried that but it was one of those "Win printers" without local processing, and there were no drivers for ARM.

Someone in Germany made some open source drivers but it didn't work properly for me. Eventually I found a networked one on sale and I gave the old one away.

I had the same experience with an old HP 1200n, which was an otherwise rock solid printer, but I couldn’t get it to play nicely with AirPrint for love or money. I tried every permutation of CUPS + strange, half-baked drivers I found somewhere. I bought a little commercial print server that listed it as compatible but printed everything in 1/2 size. It was worth the price of a new printer to have one that Just Worked with my family’s devices.

Probably easily fixed with a Raspberry Pi (probably even a Zero W or something like that) and CUPS?

Tried that but it had too quirky drivers.. Just couldn't get it going properly. It was one of those $50 printers that renders everything on the client. Brother actually did provide Linux drivers (which is amazing compared to the likes of HP, Lexmark etc) but not for ARM, only intel.

Eventually someone made open source drivers but half the time the printer wouldn't respond.

It's now in the hackerspace where they use it for making overhead sheets for PCB printing. So it's still having a purpose in life, I didn't throw it away :)

Yeah, I got a Brother laser printer about 10 years ago. Still works just fine. I think it has the original toner in it.

Mine is 20 years old, it is a HL-1250 with an cheap ethernet dongle on the parallel port. I changed the drum and toner 3 years ago, third party, 30€ for both, works perfectly.

I guess my next printer will be a Brother, if I ever need a new printer.

I have a black and white Samsung laser (SCX-3200) that just went and went. It's in the garage. USB only, generic PS and PCL emulation, $5 refill kit available where the only gotcha was you need a chip that always reads full.

I was really disappointed when HP took their printers over.

We replaced it with a color laser (Canon MF632Cdw) because my wife wanted to print sewing patterns, and I'm not near as impressed with it. No real problems, though, other than the mess that seems to be UFR II on Linux.

Brother is a great choice. My wife had a black-and-white for years, and I bought a color a few years ago, replacing an HP PageWide that had been nothing but problems. Both have been fantastic.

Brothers also reject third party toners. My dad has had multiple occasions that his Brother printer rejects third party cartridges.

i use an hp 5820 inktank printer. i just buy a squirt bottle once a year o so. never use its conected features or warranty account or wifi. just a dumb printer

Yes. I can attest to brother being nice.

Epson is also passable.

My parents got an antique Epson, must have fifteen years or more. Every time I visit, I'm so impressed that thing works totally flawlessly, compared to the PITA that is our Canon which is fuzzy all the time with the inks.

If I was in the market for a printer, I would strongly consider an Epson EcoTank (no cartriges, just refillable ink tanks). If they don't have one fitting my profile, I'd consider another Epson printer because they sell the EcoTanks.

I have an Epson ET-2650 printer/scanner combo. It's OK. The main problem is that if I don't print anything for a week, I have to run the cleaning procedure several times before it will print again.

As for fading, one sheet that's been outdoors for two years has faded about 75%, but nothing not exposed to bright sunlight has.

Runs OK on Linux over WiFi. Used to also work on USB, but that stopped working reliably at Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Also, on WiFi it phones home and tries to download firmware updates.

The problem with ink printers of all kinds is that they dry out. Your laser printer can sit unused for 2 years, then you turn it on and get impeccable print-outs. I'm not going to babysit my printer just to make sure there are no problems when I need a quick print-out, that's just unnecessary hassle.

The nice thing about the EcoTanks is that they come with a LOT of ink. My printer came with enough ink that if I was using it in a fine art print shop, it would have paid for itself 100x over.

... but there's still plenty of room for money-making racket unless you get one with a user-emptyable waste ink tank. (end of advice)

My ET-14000 apparently has 11 ink-absorbent pads in the base which are fed ink used when cleaning the jets. The printer kept track of how much ink was pumped away and then refused to do anything until it was emptied. I found the service manual and to reach the pads I would have had to disassemble the entire printer, including all sorts of tape and instructions as to how many Newtons tight each screw should be. Oh, and if I got Epson to do it, that wouldn't be done under warranty because I had used all sorts of non-Epson inks. Day-glo and invisible UV ink is cool!

Anyways, I got a 'printer potty' which is an external waste ink tank, and a fairly reasonable product: of course I could have made my own, but they had done all my homework for me (including telling me which way the ink flows, which is not obvious, and would have been very messy if I'd done it backwards).

Then here comes the racket: To reset the waste ink counter, which can only be done by special Epson software, I can instead pay €10 per reset per serial number to some clever Ukrainians who have reverse-engineered all that Epson software.

Fortunately I was able to pirate the Epson software and do it myself, but ... sheesh!

The fun part is I'm going to filter all of my waste ink back into the black tanks and then watercolor over wet prints, expecting some neat results there.

Oh, that's still a dick move. I guess I interpreted too much customer friendliness into it.

Still arguably better than the ink cartridge thing though, I guess.

Pretty cool what custom ink stuff you can do with it!

What is needed to repair this printer when they dry out? Every ink printer I had dried out some day. Is this a solved problem nowadays?

I've heard that their ink fades to near-illegibility in only a couple of years. Anyone know if there's anything to that?

I only print a few times a year. I havent seen anything fade, but I do run the clean procedure a couple of times before I print again each time.

I really need to set up an auto job that just prints a test page once a week to save ink on cleaning. But I still haven't had to buy more ink after a purchase over a year ago, even with all that cleaning I've had it do.

The problem with Epson is that their printers are so fragile. I've had two die from a paper jam (one never worked again, one always fed the paper at an skew).

So I ended up with lots of ink in the trash in the end.

I've had similar experiences with HP. Buy a cartridge that is supposed to be HP, but it complains. Plus it says it's empty way before it makes sense.

HP's software is also incredibly slow. I think it asks a server for something when I open it, which is unnecessary.

Is there some brand you can buy where this doesn't happen? Happy to pay up.

Brother printers are also a good "family printer" (the one you buy so you dont have to fix the printer every N months through the phone).

Looks like several other HN readers have had the same lack of drama with Brother lasers that I have.

Yep, my Brother colour laser runs perfectly on coloured sawdust or whatever the eBay cartridges contain.

In fact, it works so well that I almost feel bad that I'm not rewarding Brother by throwing down over £250 on a set of 4 cartridges, but there are limits, when the off brand ones are £5 a throw.

I reward them sometimes by buying the original Brother TN-2320 (for ca. €60) - but this happens once a few years as I print something like 20 pages a month.

We're on our second Brother laser printer (not MFP) at home over 12 years, but I only changed the first printer because we needed colour instead of b/w - first one was otherwise perfectly fine.

Works swimmingly with Linux, mac and phones (both ios and android) without any special software.

3rd party cartridges just work.

It. Just. Works.

HP Toner Cartridges start to complain about low toner when they hit 75% capacity. We just keep printing for months and months ignoring the popups.

Only a few weeks ago, I had a total fuckup with HP. We have been using third party ink cartridges for two years without problems. Suddenly, the printer blocks, saying they have "no HP chip". So what happened? The printer (OfficeJet 7740) sits on the Wifi, since we need to access it from various computers. Apparently, it automatically updates its software (without consent, it goes without saying), and with the latest update they started blocking the ink that had always been working without problems.

I heard good things about Brother, and 2022 will be the year that we get a Brother laser printer. I refuse to buy one single more ink from HP.

The other problem with HP is the crazy EULAs and the spyware.

Right now, my favorite printer is an Epson.

Except Epson does this too. For example, they won't print black and white when the printer thinks (based on counters) that color cartridge is low. There are even "chip resetters" to circumvent this: https://eshop.inktec.cz/product-en/epson-stylus-pro/7800_-98...

Honestly, it's not HP or Epson or Samsung or Canon. The entire printing industry is a giant scam.

The book industry did this too, years ago. They would sell normal books in the West but cheaper versions, with lighter weight paper etc, in Eastern countries. There's no lock of course, but before the internet it was harder to buy a cheap copy of Knuth from India if you lived in US.

The point is, ink extortion seems to thrive on pricing tiers for different markets, just like content extortion does.

Wiley also attempted to make importing those foreign versions illegal, because of course they did. It eventually took the US Supreme Court to intervene on behalf of common sense.

In case anyone's curious, the SCOTUS case was Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


In France many books come in a default format which is a massive waste of space - big size, the paper is very thick, the font is pretty big, and there's a lot of whitespace on each page. And some books get a "pocket edition" which doesn't do any of those. If it were just the font it could be explained by targeting/adapting to people with poor vision, but the rest makes no sense besides to waste paper.

Wasting paper doesn't seem like a likely goal for a business.

Could this format be designed to satisfy some local expectations as to the look and feel of a "quality" book?

No, no. It must be the intentional paper wasting because corporations are intrinsically evil, and so will choose evil solutions even if they are not profitable.

I mean, corporations are intrinsically evil because they will choose evil solutions if they're also profitable.

As someone who vision is not getting better, the bigger font with more whitespace sound good to me! I prefer paper books over e-readers, but many print book have fonts that too small whereas e-readers are adjustable.

> And some books get a "pocket edition" which doesn't do any of those.

It’s not "some" books get one and others get the other. All books get out in a first format decided by the publisher. There’s no "default" format; it can be big or small depending on the author/publisher’s choice. Then, later, you have reprints, which are often (but not always) in a cheaper format, the one we call "livre de poche" and which sells for less money. But this reduced price has little to do with the format; paper doesn’t account much in what you pay for a book. When you do reprints you have reduced costs everywhere because the text is already there: no need for a translator, reviewers, etc; also, there’s no marketing and the author’s fees are usually lower. In fact, in Italy, reprints are cheaper even if they are usually printed in the same format as the first edition.

They like to justify a $10 difference in price with $1 more worth of raw materials. It's like when you go to an Italian restaurant and order a plate of pasta for $17, but are happy with the value because you get so much.

that, and the fact that the default versions look much better on a shelf and at home than the pocket editions :).

Video games are the same there are regions with far lower prices for new titles like Latin America, Russia and some parts of Asia.

A lot of the keys sold on various sites come from those regions, some companies iirc Ubisoft started implementing region locks.

Region locks on DVDs other than due to issues of distribution rights especially for dubbing and subtitles followed the same logic especially in Russia where region locked DVDs were released much earlier and for much cheaper as piracy was far more common there than in the west.

In college, the international book was always disallowed and most of the time, the chapters and pages were just jumbled up. Nothing more.

The professor might benefit financially from the sale of the book, e.g. if they're the author. It's quite common, really.

Yeah, I had to buy one or two really shitty homemade-looking books the prof wrote. On the other side, I had professors that wrote their own curriculum and did their best to enjoy we didn't waste money on unnecessary books.

My experience was different. I bought them in college whenever possible and none of the professors cared. Often they were exactly the same content, although sometimes the questions differed. Probably varies by institution.

I have the Indian edition of Sedra and Smith, the difference being greyscale rather than black/white/blue images and rather worse paper.

And a dire warning about where the book may be sold.

I discovered this when the HP printer I’d just bought from a major UK retailer refused to accept official HP ink cartridges.

Turned out that the starter cartridges that came with it were US region coded and the printer was now permanently locked to US ink.

Hated that thing with a passion - the crunch it made hitting the bottom of the e-waste bin when it finally broke was deeply satisfying.

I’ll never purchase an HP product ever again.

Why not return it, that's clearly not fit for purpose and so contravenes the Consumer Rights Act, UK.

Some retailers care that the products they're selling are conning people; especially if it results in returns.

> the tech support person had the gall to tell me they have different ink for different regions because the climates are different. I nearly swallowed my teeth at the stupidity of such a claim.

Can you explain why it is a stupid claim?

High humidity is known to affect things such as ink drying time which can affect print quality, so it isn't immediately obvious to me that it would be stupid to have different ink formulations for different climates.

Edit: note that I'm not saying that HP was telling the truth. I just wanted to know how the very idea that of different inks for different climates is apparently stupid.

Yes, in most places the humidity varies a good amount. But there are regions where it tends to be high most of the time, and regions where it tends to be low most of the time. It doesn't seem inherently absurd that an ink company might have say low, high, and regular humidity ink formulations designed for areas that are persistently low, persistently high, or neither.

You might expect this to be pointless because humidity often swings a fair amount each day, but that the way humidity affects printing is by changing the moisture of the paper. A place where humidity swings from low to high and back on something like a daily cycle is likely to have much smaller swings in paper moisture content. The paper will remain closer to the some sort of weighted average of past humidity.

A quick search reveals Europe and the US are coded as different HP printer regions, despite having overlapping humidity profiles, and the humidity difference between Louisiana and Alaska is far greater than between New York and London.

It is clearly a bald faced lie, coming from the least trustworthy source. If they told me water was wet, I'd double-check.

Regions like "Americas", "Western Europe", etc often have far more variance within them than is worth accounting for in a printer ink formulation. I can travel within just the state of California and have more humidity variance than could possibly justify region locked printer ink.

It's for price localization - sell at what the market will bear, and different regions have different price points.

The hygrometers in my house swing between 30% and 70% depending on the season, but I apparently don't need to take that into account when buying printer ink. "Uh oh, it's raining! Honey, get the South America ink cartridge, quick! I have a form to print!"

Climates and regions only have a mild correlation. How many regions would you need for a single state like California? If this were true, you would need seasonal ink in Wisconsin. Before selling it to you, they would have to ask a series of questions whether the printer would be in a climate controlled area or not, etc...

> High humidity is known to affect things such as ink drying time which can affect print quality

Sure, but I would assume that the US is a single region for the printer cartridge DRM's purposes, but you can easily find both areas of rather high and rather low humidity in the US.

I don't think the parent you're replying to is saying that the idea that things perform differently in different climates is a stupid claim, but that it's essentially impossible that's the reason why HP region-locks their cartridges, and claiming such is indeed stupid. (Or just flat out rude and disrespectful of the support person.)

> Can you explain why it is a stupid claim?

There is only one US region cartridge and the US includes Alaska and Florida, or the high plains and Florida. The difference in humidity in these regions is massive. I would need different ink in the summer and winter in my upper Midwest state.

It doesn’t pass the smell test. Humidity probably does affect printing on some level, but that is irrelevant to the HP support person’s claim about why cartridges are region locked. They’re lying about why the region locks exist, this isn’t hard to understand.

I've noticed that in Southeast Asia, inkjets (often with a CIS) are far more popular than lasers, and heard it being attributed to the fact that in tropical climates, toner clumps easily but ink stays moist; and in a lot of other regions in the world, ink dries too quickly and clogs printheads, while toner stays dry and usable.

And even if the region-humidity thing was true, the printer could just print a warning. That would not justify a plain refusal to print, would it?

They might have different formulations, but they don’t have any justification for preventing ink from one area from even being usable in another.

That might justify giving a warning, not refusing to print. And it then would make far more sense to offer a setting where you can indicate your typical humidity, not assume humidity based on huge regions and that people won't move.

Even Nintendo has stopped region locking games

I was surprised that the hp printer tool offered a subscription for ink based on usage that is much cheaper than my usual ink shops. I guess the formula of "the cheaper the printer the more expensive the ink" was financially less attractive than the subscription.

The previous hp printer refused to accept new ink. The significant other threw out the empty cartridge needed to bring the cursed thing back to its senses. It hilariously still prints out the test page flawlessly with the new ink.

This is the same for professional printers too. A friend of mine has a side business printing signs and has a large format Epson (I think?) printer. It takes something like 12 inks and has options for chrome and other niche colours.

During 2020 there was a shortage in my country of inks, no local suppliers - official or unofficial - had any. He found some on eBay from another EU country, but when they arrived the printer wouldn't accept them. Apparently the inks are region locked, and the only way around it would be replacing the main board of the printer to change it to the other region.

The only reason they do help you on Twitter is because they're afraid of the visibility to other customers.

It does help to complain there, I've done it to for effect too. It's the only reason I still have a Twitter account :)

That's why nobody I know is buying HP, only Brother.

Very few nintendo games are region locked anymore.

The HN title doesn't do this justice:

Because of the chip shortage, Canon is selling cartridges without chips that identify them as genuine, so Canon is telling customers how to override the warnings that indicate they are counterfeit cartridges.

No wonder we have a chip shortage.

Seriously. I hope one good thing that will come of this is an end to putting chips in things that don't need chips.

Yeah, kind of starting to like this chip shortage now....

If you count "Cartridge can't be detected" as "warning that indicate counterfeit cartrige"...

I don't have a Canon, does the printer say "Cartridge can't be detected" for all other third party cartridges?

It's the gist of the errors shown in the Canon documentation linked as "evidence". The "worst" is suggesting that it might be "a non-Canon cartridge".

Ok, we've updated the title from "Canon sells toner cartridges that register as counterfeit".

Thank you, dang. I struggled to come up with a short-ish title. :(

Ah, sounds like they used the ATECC508A too. :(

This makes me smile. I bought a Canon Pixma inkjet photo printer last year, and upon taking apart the cartridges I was surprised to find the only thing inside was a 6 pin chip connected to nothing else but the printer -- no level sensing at all; I believe the printer just guesses how much ink it uses and records that on the chip.

I too have a Canon POS inkjet printer/scanner. Recently had to change change out the black ink cartridges, because those are the only ones that really deplete. Picture my frustration when all of the cartridges needed to be replaced at the same time (even those full of ink), lest the printer not register the new cartridges.

I will never buy another Canon printer again and think twice about any of their other products. At least they're giving HP a run for seeing which firm can burn their brand the fastest.

I got totally sick of it a couple of years back - I'd had HP, Epson and Canon inkjets over the years, and with all it seemed like every time I just wanted to print something, I had to do a silly dance of "realigning print heads" or "unclogging" or whatever, all of which consumed both time and ink. And invariably after printing more than 3 pages it'd moan about low ink levels.

And genuine ink cartridges are expensive! The practice of locking to prevent using generic cartridges is terrible.

Inkjets are a scam, plain and simple.

So, I bought an inexpensive Brother laser printer. It's black only, but I switched to printing most photos at Costco years ago anyway - the quality is just so much better than you can achieve at home. Anyway, what a revelation! It starts up in a couple of seconds, and when you hit "print", it just does it, again in just a couple of seconds. No moaning about maintenance. No asking me to change a cartridge every 3 minutes - just a printer that works when you need it to!

And it came with a "small" ink tank, that is somehow still going! Even when I do need to buy another ink tank, a full sized one, it'll only cost something like £30 and probably last for at least 5 years!

Epson’s more professional line is (was) pretty decent. The cartridges are big and cheap, and they even have a printer line that takes straight ink (ie there’s a tank you top off).

The printers are more expensive though (at least $100 more for the same functionality - which is probably the profit they estimate they’re forgoing on the ink), and the last one I bought was cheap (still going though).

Never buy a consumer grade printer though.

The HP and Canon ones I had were actually pretty expensive, and one of the HP ones even did A3. So I don't think this is only an issue with low-end consumer models.

I don't know about HP, Ive sworn off HP since Corina brought it to the ground.

Yeah, the consensus view these days seems to be that Brother laser printers are the way to go.

Our Brother color laser (purchased around 2013, I think) cheerfully accepts whatever generic toner we’ve thrown into it, and allows them to each be replaced when they’re actually empty.

Every time some news about printers pops up, I see people praising Brother printers. Not a long time ago, I had to purchase a printer and decided to buy Brother one, since so many praises it. Seller included cartridges, but the printer refused to acknowledge the full black ink cartridge. It simply reported it as empty.

I was unable to find any way to trick it or to bypass that check. I ended up having to purchase a new black ink cartridge for about 1/5th price of the printer. Now I either need to purchase some device to reprogram the chip on that cartridge or throw it away.

Bottom line, Brother printers are no better than the rest of them.

People praise Brother laser printers. Sounds like you got an inkjet. (But that's rubbish regardless.)

I've got a Canon MX920 series printer. I only use third party cartridges (EZ Ink or something). Carts are cheap and I've got no issue only replacing them one at a time. Sometimes the wireless printing gets a little wonky but this has probably been the best printer I've ever owned. It just works and the ink is so damn cheap. One thing that is a little annoying is that you can't print without all of the carts being non-empty and you need both black pigment and regular black but this is typical of any inkjet printer.

HP already burned their brand to the ground. I did pick up an HP color laser printer on eBay — but a model for which the toner-pirates have already hacked the chips. Apparently HP's more recent offerings don't have such a ready supply of 3rd party toner vendors.

Definitely a fucked up world we're living in. I feel bad for those less tech-savvy. Worst still for our planet though as I suspect that rather than lining HP or Canon's pockets, the less sophisticated users are simply tossing out these peripherals faster than an old VHS player.

The original HP is now Keysight. HP the printer company got the name, but Keysight has the engineering.

HP burned their printer brand a long time ago, my last HP inkjet was the HP 720c and was very reliable and had a big ink that can print tons of documents. After that they made the ink so tiny you have to buy ink every month.

This kind of shit is so hilariously anti-consumer... and I don't think there's a consumer brand of photo printers that doesn't try to swindle its users.

Thankfully there are many cheap online photo printing services with rapid turnaround where I live. I just use those instead, and accept that getting a photo printed isn't instant.

AFAIK it was Epson who did it first (over 20 years ago now): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25054177 (you'll need to read the article from the Internet archive, since it has unfortunately disappeared)

The chip is just an EEPROM. The printer presumably has a pretty accurate estimate given that it knows how many pixels were printed, and the volume of each one.

Most if not all inkjet printers with cartridge "chips" do exactly this -- it's why there is a large market of cartridge chip "resetters"; just search around.

The nice thing with the Canon printers is they at least let you override the low ink warnings and still print. Sometimes I get a normal extra print or two, but it's usually pretty accurate.

Some years ago I was on a Civil Protection Excercise as the IT and Communications Officer. Part of my Gear was a small printer (can't remember which brand). After I set up the laptops for the team I put the cartridges in the printer and the printer told me, that these were the "Setup Cartridges" which were only usable in the first few months after purchase. And that I was supposed to buy normal cartridges to use the printer.

I was able to get a replacement printer from the place where we were staying, but this situation still enrages me to this day. What if this had been a real emergency?

On the other hand, this is one of the reasons for having exercises.

I hope you diffused the information and that this printer brand is now known and banned in every emergency service as unsuitable.

I did. But they probably just replaced the setup cartridges in the backpacks with normal ones. Sadly there are only so many manufacturers who make good quality backpack-sized printers.

It depends on what you need, I've been a fan of Brother for years and their thermal printers actually have a full sized printer that fits in a backpack (it's basically a rollthrough printer).

The issue is putting a pack of thermal paper and not forgetting it.

I think the main issue is consumer education, psychology and behavior.

Basically, people don't know how much it actually costs to make a printer and don't know enough about it (not a judgement, they probably have better things to do than spend hours researching printers) to choose based on overall quality and such metrics. They basically just choose based on price.

So manufacturers competed on price until they got to well below the all-in cost of the printer (including R&D, etc) hoping to make it up in the cost of consumables. So now they HAVE to make whatever money they are going to make on the consumables side.

If a company came out with a printer that was expensive enough that they could make money on the printer and not on consumables. How many would they sell? My guess is very, very few, as consumers would just buy the cheaper-up-front option.

Note that this mostly applies to ink-jet and not laser, as the latter have historically been purchased more by businesses which are more likely to know about and focus on overall quality and economics, and take consumable cost over years into account during purchase. I guess now that laser printers are entering the consumer market more and more, and consumers are still they same as they have been, we're going to see this issue pushed into lasers as well (as noted in this tweet).

I think people do know.

Currently very few people I know actually print anything with digital services and email. They use tablets for reading documents. For a covid pass you can show the PDF. For a train ticket you can show the QR code on the phone. Some employment contracts can be signed digitally, maybe this you print?

I'm not sure what you need printing for.

Some of these people buy a printer for a one off because they will never finish the cartridge over time.

The only uses I can think of are public notices like lost cat or printing a handwriting exercise. I have had to print out rental contracts to sign but real estate will eventually modernise.

Why is there no open source printer yet? We have the most cool 3d printing rigs, mounting it to some rails etc is not the problem.. Just a black and white printer, nothing fancy..

My understanding is that the nozzles for squirting the ink are genuinely difficult things to design and manufacture. I so far think too few people have the expertise and resources to make an open source version.

I wonder if one could design open source replacement electronics for an off-the-shelf printer. Keep the mechanical, replace the electronics and the software.

(I'm assuming any moderately successful open source firmware-only effort would motivate manufacturers to start using some kind of "trust management" garbage in future models.)

laser could be easier right?

Technically, we do. Pen Plotters. You can even re-use a large part of your 3d printer frame.

The same reason printers made by large manufacturers break all the time: printing is hard.

Even just open source firmware for an existing proprietary printer would be interesting.

Alternatively (and as a shortcut to not deal with hardware that's actually difficult to build), why is there no FOSS aftermarket firmware?

2d printing sounds a bit less romantic than the 3d kind.

This. 3D printing is a trendy fashion, 2D is boring.

I'm sure the community has enough intellectual ability to create, if not a full printer, at least replacement firmware for existing ones. There just doesn't seem to be much motivation to do so.

If you're willing to waste a stupid amount of plastic you can 3D print a stamp and stamp your letter. You could do multi-color printing if you used a paintbrush instead of a roller to apply the ink.

If anyone wants to create an open source printer I think they would get some sizeable backing. I would take anything that can print text onto random A4 paper and takes reasonably cheap ink. There's not so much already in this space [1]. Just keep the goal simple and achievable.

It's way too dangerous, but I often pondered a "zero ink" solution that burns text directly onto paper. Essentially a high-speed laser engraver. I could imagine given heat and fuel, you would want to limit oxygen, possibly by pulling a vacuum.

I would also like to see what a modern take on a dot matrix printer could be like.

[1] https://www.appropedia.org/Open_source_Inkjet_printers

I would also like to see what a modern take on a dot matrix printer could be like.

They are still being made, but not cheap.

I had a quick look over on Amazon and they appeared to be left-over old stock?

The screenshots in the instructions[0] seem to suggest that the printer warns about a wrong product type and "threatens" that it could cause malfunctions.

[0]: (German) https://www.canon.de/support/business-product-support/interi...

Ink printer is a scam. We've known it for years.

How is this not ripe for disruption?

Honestly, I haven't bothered owning a printer, but if I had to -- I would probably try my luck at a laserprinter.

Epson already disrupted it with cheap refillable EcoTank printers: https://epson.com/ecotank-ink-tank-printers

OEM refill bottles cost around 120 USD per liter when bought from office supply stores in small 70 ml bottles. Large non-OEM 1L bottles with quality ink manufactured in Germany cost 30 USD.

My mom just got one and it was nice to setup, but I read somewhere recently that people were discovering the hard way that the standard ink fades very easily. I think you can find archival inks though.

I have never heard of Wilhelm Research, but this pdf has a comparison of fade times, and the EcoTank is listed around ~2 years under glass, at least dark storage rating is >100 years for all of them

Edit; oops, forgot the link: http://www.wilhelm-research.com/hp/WIR_Ink_Tank_Printer_Comp...

In fact all the major brands have this now. Even HP.

I'm still not buying HP but they do have these.

Printing is a late stage market. Why print when you have a tablet? E-docs and signing have replaced a huge amount of the market printing used to have. Add to that the pandemic that's pushed this even further.

Printing documents is a fading memory for many of us.

Printing photos well at home could have more demand than ever now that almost everyone carries a camera around with them all the time but that camera doesn't produce prints you can frame and put on the wall the way you used to.

There’s a Walgreens down the block from me. It’s cheaper and better quality than a home photo printer, and only a little less convenient.

It's unlikely that the Walgreens would have a better photo printer than a SC-P700 or SC-P900, they might be able to do larger format prints though.

>How is this not ripe for disruption?

good luck getting VC funding when your business model doesn't involve some sort of recurring revenue.

Sad that "recurring customer" is not considered "revenue".

Maybe going the VC route is toxic.

The thing I find disturbing is how hard it is becoming for someone to bootstrap a business without going the investor-led route. Between the regulatory environment and the crazy amounts of money that businesses with big investors can offer to recruit staff even if neither the business nor the staff actually make any money yet themselves, in some industries it is almost impossible to compete simply by building a sound, revenue-generating business independently and from the ground up any more. I don't think this is a healthy trend but the economic incentives in our financial systems today make its dominance inevitable.

Indeed, I’ve never met VC comfortable with being labeled anti-drm around other VC.

There isn't need for disruption - laser printers are almost always a better choice, people just don't know or aren't willing to spend the upfront prices.

Because SV disruption for printers would be Juicero for fax machines.

When I print artwork, inkjet is my only choice. I have an Epson for that.

For everything else, yeah, laser printer.

Oh yes. Epson P900: archival pigment inks, instead of dye inks, on good acid-free paper it's rated to last ~100 years (200 years for black and white) and everything is just absolutely gorgeous, and I can print 17x22" / A2 sized posters. This is what inkjet is made for.

Documents? Reach for the lasers.

>Documents? Reach for the lasers.

Maybe not if you want to print documents with security features :P

> How is this not ripe for disruption?

It’s called a Brother laser printer

From such abundance that we can have microchips in disposable ink cartridges to prevent printer owners from using unauthorised ink...

I've heard it referred to as "affluenza"

For our company we tried three brands of printer in the last year or so. HP, Canon and Brother. Our needs are basic: ethernet and wifi printing, in black and white, laser, A4. Scanner included. Must work on Windows and OSX. Linux would be nice.

Would you believe that this is apparently a big ask? The latest Canon did not work on OSX. Something like >12 months after an OS update they couldn't push out a functional driver. HP I can't recall what the issue was but it was sent back for a refund and this was accepted. Perhaps also lack of OSX support. Finally, our Brother printer worked with the following not insignificant caveats: replacing the toner apparently requires surgery on the prior cartridge to transfer a chip, calling Brother they don't give a shit, scanning cannot be done directly to PDF it must be done to JPG then converted over the PDF or you get garbage pages instead of correct content, and you cannot have both ethernet and wifi active at the same time on a printer purchased explicitly for this purpose in 2021.

Honestly, the printer industry is so bad there's actually room for a new entrant to do it properly.

There's also low hanging fruit like detect if multi-page scans have been inserted the wrong way up, etc. which the idiotic industry has failed to latch on to despite 20 years of opportunity. Also, office label printing. Input to traditional label printers is crap. Try inputting non-roman character sets or engineering symbols on those things. Ugh. A decent driver ("print from excel", "[x] sever tape after label") and embedding this within a standard office printer would surely yield large volume tape purchases.

Brother laser jet printer + scan snap will get you where you want to go

I use imagemagick's convert. But sure. Just be sure you want to retype the wifi password every time you switch from wired to wireless ethernet interface. FFS.

The tweet references a German tweet... anyone have the actual instructions from Canon, in English? (I don't have a Canon printer, I'm just curious).

I wish Canon would tell users of its business lasers how to reset a forgotten admin PIN.

Apparently only Canon Service providers can do a full factory reset due to "data protection" reasons.

Go figure.

Ask on some of the "shadier" forums and you might get an answer. Knowing a foreign East European or Asian language helps.

(There are plenty of Chinese, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Vietnamese forums discussing consumer electronics repair, but very few in English.)

This printer cartridge issue is creating a huge opportunity for some enterprising startup to produce a solid printer with quality cartridges ... I just hope this happens and they refuse to be bought out by HP or anyone else

Brother is already doing it.

Brother does this on their laser printers. Their inkjets seem to follow the dark patterns that are promiment in the industry.

HP did an update around June 2021, I believe the last 4 numbers are 0495. This update is the one that is causing problems with the 3rd party cartridges. I have a HP Envy 5660. Going in the trash soon..

I've been using a HP inkjet printer for a few years and it's happy to accept third party toner. It just randomly ruins the Windows printer driver and printing queue once in a while, nothing hardware.

I bought an Epson ecotank, best inkjet purchase ever. Cost by page is on par with laser, works immediately on Linux (scan and print) even over wifi.

I really like the recent trend of megatank printers that just take a dumb bottle of ink to refill.

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