Ok, where do I start, firstly InkJet Printers, there are two methods used for InkJet Printing,
Thermal inkjet printer, used by hp and Canon In a thermal inkjet printer, tiny resistors create heat, and this heat vaporizes ink to create a bubble. As the bubble expands, some of the ink is pushed out of a nozzle onto the paper. When the bubble "pops" (collapses), a vacuum is created. This pulls more ink into the print head from the cartridge.
Piezoelectric, used by Epson and Lexmark an electric charge is applied to a crystal located behind each nozzle this vibrates, which forces a small amount of ink to be expelled.
Why is this relevant? The Piezoelectric method has a flaw, because it doesnt use the bubble effect air is drawn back into the ink chamber when the electric charge is removed. The only way the printer has to expel this air is to empty all the ink cells and refill them from the cartridge, this is why when you first turn on a Epson or Lexmark printer you will hear it printing but not on paper, they are emptying the ink cells onto a foam mat in the bed of the printer, this has the effect of reducing the lifespan of the cartridges.
Replacement InkJet cartridges / refills
Firstly, around 70% of the technology behind your printer sits in the ink cartridge / toner cartridge, you have to ask yourself was it worth buying this expensive printer just to put in third party consumerables, if you are using a more basic machine then this isnt a concern.
Secondly these dont invalidate your warranty unless their use damages the printer. If the refills dont leak and if the replacement is truly compatible then there is no cause for concern. If you are using a cheap personal inkjet printer, currently available for ~ 35 (~$45) then there really is nothing to lose, however I would have grave concerns about using refills in a more expensive machine, business InkJet or LaserJet.
Refilling Toner Cartridges. There is another point to make here, if you are thinking of refilling your expired toner cartridge you have to understand how toner works. Toner particles are so small they cant be contained within the plastic of the cartridge without the assistance of opposing charge; the container is charged opposite to the toner this has the magnetic bottle effect that keeps the toner inside the cartridge. Furthermore the incredibly small size of the toner particles has an inherent danger, the particles are so small they can pass through pours in the skin giving toner its carcinogenic effect.
Refills / Compatibles, if you are using a cheap machine, especially if it is outside its warranty why not give them a try, there really is nothing to loose. If you are using a more expensive machine then you will have bought it for the features contained within the print cartridge and it would be a false economy to use third party alternatives. Laser technology is the same, if you are using a cheap machine, especially if it is outside its warranty you could give the compatibles a try but I would not advise drilling and refilling toner cartridges.
If you want to print cheaply with manufactures consumerable then Canon is you best bet, if you are looking for a business inkjet to push the cost down then you have to go to hp. Because of the wasteful technology behind the Epson and Lexmark printers I am unable to recommend these machines.
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