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October 14, 2015

Inky Issues

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

You know the story: You buy a printer cheap but pay over time when you restock the ink. And man, do those ink cartridges drain!

Recently, I was asked whether you should remove ink cartridges from a printer that you don’t plan on using for a spell. I’m sure the printer manufacturer would be surprised by such a question: Why would anyone not use a printer for a while!

I don’t see any test cases, so my guess is that the ink cartridges would be fine when left in a printer, unused for an extended period of time. The question is, how long of a time before the ink could leak or become useless?

Like everything on planet Earth, ink is subject to gravity. Eventually, the components in the ink could separate, with the heavier goop going to the bottom of the cartridge and the thin, slimy stuff rising to the top. I don’t know how long that would take, but obviously such a situation would be harmful to the printer should you use such an elderly ink cartridge.

A while back, I rescued a dead inkjet printer from my computer boneyard. I hadn’t used it in years, so I disassembled it to throw it away.

I remember pulling out the ink cartridges and they had some residue on the bottom but they hadn’t leaked. Ever cautious, I placed them into a zip-bag to ensure that they didn’t get inky glop all over.

Many printers today do something to the ink every time they start. The message on my old inkjet printer was “Preparing to print.” I assume something had to be done to either open or warm the ink cartridges before printing took place. Perhaps that action is what keeps the ink inside the cartridges?

Anyway, my advice would be that if you don’t plan on using a printer for a while, go ahead and keep the ink or toner inside the printer. That’s really the best place for it.

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