'Empty' Epson pro printer cartridges still have a lot of ink left

It’s no secret that changing your printer ink when you’re prompted to is as pointless as changing your oil every 3,000 miles. When our US-based sister site PC World took a look at how much printer ink was left in empty cartridges back in 2008, they found supposedly dead cartridges had anywhere from eight to 36 percent of their ink left.

Seven years later, not much has changed.

Bellevue Fine Art Reproduction, a printing company in the Seattle area, recently published a video on YouTube (above) showing that a pro-grade Epson 9900 series printer (below) had as much as 20 per cent of its ink left in the tank when officially empty, as first reported by ArsTechnica.

Bellevue have also checked the capacity of the cartridges in case Epson were putting extra ink in to compensate. This is what it found.

Epson had this to say about its machine's ink reporting: 

"For quality assurance, the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 ink system uses two methods to track ink levels. The first system estimates ink consumption by mathematically calculating how much ink is consumed from a cartridge for each ink droplet fired during printing and print head cleaning ... [The second is the] “Ink Out” notice [which] is triggered by a ... physical sensor in the cartridge ... The sensor triggers when ink volume has declined to the point that further use could cause harm to the print head."

Throwing out ink-loaded cartridges is bad enough when people are buying refills for consumer-grade inkjets for £5 to £20. But when you get into high-end printers like an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 you’re looking at a machine that loads eleven cartridges at once, and each costs between £47 to £175 depending on capacity.

Bellevue Fine Art says it loses hundreds of dollars in wasted ink every month, and so far it says Epson hasn’t been receptive to complaints.

The reproduction company came to its conclusions by weighing full cartridges. Then they weighed them a second time once they were “empty” and divided the difference by 1.08 – the weight in grams for one millimetre of ink, acording to Bellevue Fine Art.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn't affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Read Next...