Printer Tips

Firmware Updates and Remanufactured Ink Jet Cartridges

Printer firmware UpdatesWARNING!

Firmware Updates Related to Using Remanufactured Ink Cartridges in Your Printer

  When it comes to firmware, updating to the latest version can sometimes make things worse. This is most common in the printer industry, where firmware is used to limit the use of third party ink cartridges. However, if you use third party or remanufactured ink cartridges, you may want to avoid updating your firmware. We advise to thoroughly read any update information and on screen information before confirming any updates. Once you accept the update, only original ink cartridges will work with your printer.

What Is Firmware?

Basically firmware is software that is inserted in a piece of hardware, software for hardware if you like. Although you may think that ink cartridges are just pieces of hardware, inside them is software that is programmed into the memory of the hardware itself.

What’s the Difference Between Firmware and Printer Drivers?

Whereas firmware is installed directly to your printer or ink cartridge, drivers are installed on your PC. Printer drivers are there to help your printer and PC communicate. These updates are not critical to how you can use your printer.

What Does Updating Firmware Mean For My Ink Cartridges?

Manufacturers often release regular firmware updates in order to make sure hardware is kept up to date with new media. In this case, the firmware update locks the ink cartridge meaning it cannot be used again, stopping the cartridge from being recycled and generating more waste to be put in landfills. Usually when an ink cartridge is empty, the cartridge can be remanufactured and turned into a usable compatible ink cartridge. With new updates however, cartridges can no longer be reused.

How Do I Know If My Ink Cartridges Have Been Locked?

Once the update has been done and the cartridges are locked, you’ll see messages such as: “Cartridges locked to another printer”, “Cartridges failed” or “Cartridges cannot be recognized”.

How Can I Avoid This Update?

We advise to thoroughly read any update information and on screen information before confirming an updates. Once you accept the update, only original ink cartridges will work with your printer.

TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS!

How Do I Disable Cartridge Protection?

Press the wireless button (or menu option Settings/Wireless) to view status. If the wireless connection is active the wireless light will be solid blue. If wireless is disabled see user manual for connection instructions. Note the IP address at the top of screen (example: IP 192.168.1.999) and type this into address field on browser. This will bring up printers configuration page. On settings tab select Cartridge Protection and choose Disable Cartridge Protection, then click apply. You also need to disable updates to prevent recurrences this will be under web services tab. Select product updates and choose off and apply.

How Do I Disable This Feature?

To disable this feature to be able to use remanufactured or refilled cartridges please use the following steps.
1. Click the START button, and click DEVICES and PRINTERS.
2. Find your printer in the list and double-click it to open the settings page.
3. Find the Printer Assistant tab and double-click it.
4. Click the text for Estimated Ink Levels under the heading of SHOPPING RESOURCES. This will open the Toolbox window.
5. Click the tab for CARTRIDGE PROTECTION.
6. Click the radio button next to the DISABLE CARTRIDGE PROTECTION.
7. Click the SAVE SETTINGS button to save your new setting. Then close the window.
8. You may need to remove and reinstall the cartridges for them to be recognized properly.

What Do I Do If I Already Did The Firmware Update?

Is to uninstall your printer and reinstall it. When reinstalling your printer it gives you an installation agreement. Under the installation agreement you have the option for more info. Under this section you can uncheck Internet Connection Usage and uncheck Auto Software Update. This will not allow them to automatically update your printer.

© Planet Green 2016

 

Save on Ink and Toner with These 5 Simple Tricks

It’s about the most expensive liquid on the planet. Gold, oil, and even human blood cost less by volume than printer ink, so here’s how to squeeze every drop out of each cartridge.

In a 2007 study commissioned by Epson and undertaken by research company TUV Rheinland, it was found that many models of printers could still have as much as 60% ink volume remaining when the printer tells you to replace the cartridge! Epson commissioned the study to back up their claim that multi-ink tank model printers (which mainly only use individual color tanks for each primary color and black, some models taking up to 9 different ink tanks) are more efficient when it comes to wasted ink. In general, they are correct, as a printer with individual tanks typically will usually only prompt to replace the cartridge when it is actually close to empty, and it won’t prompt you that it’s empty if only one of the colors (as in the case of tri-color cartridges) is empty, even if the other 2 colors still have ink remaining.

HOWEVER (I made this big because it’s a HUGE caveat), they did not factor in the automatic cleaning cycles nor the dreaded priming cycle in the case of Epson inks specifically. These 2 automatic and unavoidable processes are done automatically at seemingly random times. There is surely an algorithm for when the printer should perform these things, as in the case of the priming cycle, this is always done immediately after a new ink tank is installed. This is the reason your Epson (or some Canon and HP models) will tell you you’re only empty of one color, and then when you put a new one in, it frustratingly tells you it’s empty of another color.

So what does one do?! We have a few tips that may help you wring out every precious wisp of essential paper-juice from those cartridges.

Tip 1: Spend less money on your ink and toner

“Well Chris, that was stupendously obvious, you think I didn’t already know that?!” Sometimes I wonder… Given how often I hear friends, family, and customers who tell me about their recent hassle-filled trip to Staples or even Wal-Mart where they spent 20%-60% more than they would have paid for equivalent quality ink or toner from us! Then I usually find out they still think the remanufacturing industry is still guys in a dank basement or garage injecting ink into barely usable cartridges.

Nobody selling similar remanufactured inks or toners still does this, the self-refill kit was an early-90’s phenomenon that doesn’t cut it still today. Today, in most cases, inks are re-chipped or reprogrammed in order to work and provide advanced ink level monitoring, and toners are rebuilt entirely with new or refurbished components which renew them back up to OEM standards. This means there is virtually no difference on most of our products how they will function when compared directly to the brand name OEM products, but with the goal of reuse and recycling EVERYTHING rather than building brand new cartridges with new materials. You can see how much you can save easily by checking our online web store here.

Tip 2: Buy high-capacity (XL) sized inks and toners

This may be more costly up front, which always hurts, but when you compare page yields, and calculate the actual cost-per-page, you’ll notice instantly that the high-capacity (or high-yield) cartridges are a better deal. As we touched on before, don’t even bother with the “Economy” sized inks, they are cheaper up front, but give you practically nothing for your money compared to high-yield cartridges.

Follow this formula: (Price of Ink cartridge) ÷ (Estimated page yield) = Your cost-per-page

HP #74 Black: Our price – $13.99 ÷ 200 pages = ~.07 per page
HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page

Clearly the high yield has a huge advantage of being almost half price of the standard yield when looking at the cost-per-page.

When we start to compare black ink as compared to a laser printer that takes black toner we see a larger difference (Tip: laser printers usually have much lower cost-per-page, particularly monochrome/B&W)

HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page
Brother TN-450 (High yield toner): Our price – $39.99 ÷ 2,600 pages = ~.01 1/2 per page

Give it a try yourself! Find your ink or toner here and then use this handy calculator to check how many pages you can expect.

Tip 3: Use a different font for documents you print

Surprisingly, this is an amazingly effective ink-saving choice. With the proper font, you could use as much as 40% less ink on the things you print!

In 2014, a student named Suvir Mirchandani began a science project that turned into a consulting gig for the US government and a published paper in a research journal.  He essentially studied four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. The clear winner was Garamond, saving as much as 24% ink compared to the others.

Another study of note is the University of Wisconsin program which switched its default font from Arial to Century Gothic (a nice little font if I may say so as a typeset nerd/fontophile myself) and it saved them an estimated 30% in ink and toner coverage.

Ecofont (Image Courtesy: Nat Geo Mag Blog Central)

We’ve also discovered a font that is geared toward only one thing: saving ink. It is very readable and uses a unique way of leaving voids in unneeded areas of each letter while still appearing to be a full letter. This font is called Ecofont, and you can discover how it works here. It’s pretty cool.

Tip 4: Avoid unnecessary cleaning cycles

Sometimes it’s unavoidable when the printer decides to do it on its own, but you don’t always need to run that print head cleaning cycle if your prints are looking funky, streaky, or “gappy” (those are all technical terms, wink, wink).

If your printer takes just 2 cartridges (a black and a tri-color), then you have print head-integrated cartridges, which means, as opposed to ink tanks, the print head is an integrated part of the ink cartridge. This makes the automated print head cleaning just an unnecessary waste of ink. Follow this video to see how to manually clean your print head on this type of cartridge:

HP_564XL_ink_jet_cartridges
A set of ink tank cartridges

If you have a printer with a fixed print head that uses ink tanks (see photo to right for examples), in most cases the automatic print head cleaning cycles built into the printer are the only

option to clear up poor print quality. But as ol’ Bennie Franklin liked to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To this end, we recommend printing something out on a bi-weekly to monthly basis.

Sounds simple, but why will that help? The #1 cause for poor print quality on an inkjet printer is due to dried ink clogging up the thousands of microscopic print head nozzles that dispense the ink. Keeping them in use before they have a chance to dry up is an easy way to keep this from happening. YES, printing something simple like Google’s home page will use up some ink, but it uses a smaller amount of ink than a full cleaning cycle, which (almost counter-intuitively) saves you ink in the long run.

Tip 5: Use “draft” or “Eco” mode for text printing (or if you don’t need high-quality images)

While every printer has a different configuration, and some do not have “Draft” or and Eco-mode (sometimes called ink-saver or toner-save mode), choosing this as your default print mode will definitely conserve more ink or toner. These steps should work on most printers to enable this mode on your Windows computer:

  1. In Windows, click on the Start button (Or press the Windows Key on your keyboard) and choose Control Panel.
  2. Choose Printers and Other Hardware from the menu that opens.
  3. Choose View Installed Printers or Fax Printers.
  4. On the window that opens, look for your printer’s name. Right click on the printer’s icon and choose Printing Preferences, sometimes Printer Properties.
  5. On the Print Quality tab, choose Draft or Fast (varies depending on the printer).
  6. If you want to conserve your color ink, choose Grayscale Printing on the same tab (just remember you’ll have to uncheck that box if you want to print something in color).
  7. Press OK. That’s it; now your printer will automatically print in Draft Mode (and in grayscale, if you chose that option) until you change it back. To change it, simply follow the same instructions and choose Standard for print quality.

We are extremely happy you’ve read up on our most coveted, super-secret tips for maximizing the life of your cartridges. Now that you know how to easily get the most out of your inks and toners, I can’t believe you’re not already looking to save even more money on the inks and toners you need! To help you out there, you can click the button below to start saving money buy buying high-quality eco-friendly supplies from us!

Buy high quality inkjet cartridges

If you have your own tried and true method of saving ink or maximizing the life of this very expensive commodity, we’d love to hear them for future revisions, leave a reply below!

How many pages will I print from my Ink Jet Cartridge?

We get this question all the time at Ink & Toner Solutions. It’s extremely frustrating for the consumer to buy an ink cartridge and not have any information as to what they are getting in terms of how many prints they can expect to get from it. Unfortunately that is exactly what the consumer encounters when they purchase their ink jet cartridge. Continue reading

Top 7 Ideas On How You Can Go Paperless In Your Office

As promised in my last post “The Day The Printer Died” I said I would give you some ideas on how you can start to go paperless in your office. It really is a great time to go paperless whether you are working out of your home office or have a small to medium sized business office. Let’s face it, printing has become a real chore what with having to buy the supplies, the maintenance of the printers and finally having to file & store all of that paper.

Did you know that Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster envisioned a “paperless society” way back in 1978, he even wrote a book on it, “Toward Paperless Information Systems” (make this a link). Well as we all know it’s not here yet but hopefully some of these tips will help you get started. But thanks to paperless technologies it just may be possible in the near future. It does clear clutter in your business but it also saves you money and is a great way for you to reduce you carbon footprint.

Let’s start with some of the Productivity Apps out there.

Hello Sign

Ok, so you’ve gone completely paperless, or so you thought. How about when you, one of your employees or your bookkeeper needs to have a document with a signature on it? At these times you find yourself pressing the CTRL+P button to print, sign and then scan or fax the signed document to the proper entity.

This is where Hello Sign (make this a link) comes in. It lets you sign documents through your web Browser or mobile device without printing, scanning or faxing. It’s totally secure and the electronic signature is legally binding and even accepted by the IRS, can you believe that?

Fujitsu ScanSnap

If your anything like me I have receipts, business cards and notes all over the place, on my desk, in my pockets and of course in my car. So of course one of the first steps in going paperless is getting rid of existing piles of paper. The Fujitsu ScanSnap (make this a link) scanner digitizes your paper receipts and anything else you want to save digitally.

What’s really cool about this though is you can connect this to a Shoeboxed Account (make this a link)! Using Shoeboxes will allow you create reports, edit data, label receipts and scan multiple pages at a time.

HelloFax

Why is it people still fax? I don’t get it but until absolutely everyone finally, like finally quits faxing stuff you can bet you will on occasion still have to send or receive a fax.

You can send & receive faxes without paper and without a fax machine. It lets you keep the exact same fax number but switches the entire process to online faxing via email. It allows your customers to still send faxes the old way, while you’ll lead the way with completely paperless faxing.

Using HelloFax (make this a link) the process will no longer be a pain and will be completely paperless!

 

Software Options

Google Docs

Save the trip to the printer when you have to share documents with co-workers not only in the same location but literally across the globe if you so desire. With Google Docs (make this a link) which is a free service run through Gmail, you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. The system will even let you “chat” with others viewing the document. One cool feature is it continuously saves so you’ll never lose your work. You have the option of downloading the files if you need to email them or print them God forbid. You can even compare an earlier version of a document at any time. For a free service you really can’t beat Google Docs to help you take one step closer to going paperless.

Paperless Statements and Bill Paying

Many of us still insist on getting our statements thru the mail which makes no sense anymore. Most banks if not all now offer paperless statements and even provide incentives for customers to manage their account online. Pay your bills online and save on paper, checks, envelopes and the time it takes employees to coordinate invoices, checks and mailings. If you’re a merchant you could use an app like Square (make this a link) to accept payments through your smartphone. You can also email receipts for customers instead of printing them

Take Digital Notes

With the wide range and ever growing note taking apps out there why would anyone want to use another Post-it? It makes one wonder if the Post-It note will go the way of the way of the slide rule, their just comes a time when a product has run its course and something else better takes its place. You have text only options such as SimpleNotes (make this a link) to more sophisticated offerings such as EverNote (make this a link) and Microsoft OneNote. Some have touchscreen and stylus support that lets you enrich notes with sketches and diagrams and all notes are saved to the cloud.

Reduce Where You Can’t Eliminate

The unfortunate reality is that we all face situations where paper printouts are unavoidable or we work with partners and clients who require them. When you’re faced with these situations there are still things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Use duplexing where ever you can, it’s just like using 50% less paper. Find a font that is known to save on ink and set it as you default font, you’d be surprised at how much this can save you in a year. Think about switching to Eco-friendly printer cartridges, these have come a long way from when they first came out. They use the spent cartridges and remanufacturer them to OEM specs, but be away you get what you pay for. You can find fantastic deals on line but it’s the “you get what you pay for” deal. Find a reputable dealer that backs up their product with a rock solid warranty, is easy to contact and has a excellent replacement and return policy.

While the paperless society remains elusive for most of us adopting processes that puts the emphasis on digitization will help us to get closer and closer to the ideal.

Resetting “Toner Life End” Error Message on Brother Printers

If you own a Brother MFC-7420N or MFC-7820N you have in all likelihood seen the message “Toner Life End” after installing a new toner cartridge. This message makes no sense at all for the simple reason that the toner cartridge you just put in is new so how can it be at it’s life’s end? We couldn’t find the fix in the manual which is kind of strange seeing as that is the first place you would think of looking. Well come to find out  resetting “Toner Life End” error message is really simple, here are the basic steps you need to take to rid yourself of this annoying message. Continue reading

Saving Money on Printing Costs

If you own a business then you are well aware of how much printing can cost. At a claimed $4,731 per gallon, printer ink is more expensive than vintage Champagne, rare whiskey or Russian caviar so saving money on printing costs has become an issue that has to be dealt with. This has been a fact for over ten years and instead of this commodity going down over time like everything else does in consumer electronics, ink prices are going up, some reports say as much as 30 percent since 2009. You can easily pay $20 to $35 per ink cartridge that may yield any where from 200 to 1000 pages, if your lucky. It’s easy to see how printing can become very expensive very quickly for business. Continue reading

What Is Cloud Printing?

Most people know that you can store and retrieve documents from the cloud, but did you know you can have your documents printed via the cloud, also? Thanks to the increased functionality of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, these devices have managed to become an important tool for business users. The ability to print documents from these devices is a useful feature that many users would love to have. However, most smartphones and tablets don’t come with any printing system of their own and the ones that do barely support most current printers.

Cloud printing works by giving smartphone and tablet users a way to print important documents from devices that otherwise lack the ability to print. Without any print drivers to worry about, there’s less concern about how to accommodate a multitude of mobile devices or enable support for legacy printers. Business users don’t have to be anywhere near a printer to initiate printing jobs – they can either pick up their documents at a later date or have them printed directly onto a client or associate’s printer for expediency’s sake.
How It Works
Cloud printing is an amazingly straightforward affair that’s being pioneered by efforts like Google Cloud Print. The major search engine giant has been hard at work for years pushing this technology to fruition, leading up to its launch back in late January 2011. Similar to other solutions that are soon to follow, it works on all mobile devices and it utilizes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces, like when you share something on Facebook without being on Facebook’s site) to collect data on custom print options.

The key to this technology’s potential success lies in its simplicity:

  1. Files to be printed are uploaded via an Internet connection onto a cloud computing service that facilitates printing (such as Google Cloud Print).
  2. Using a web-based application, the user initiates a new printing job for documents pushed through that cloud service. A wide assortment of options and special features are available, depending on the API.
  3. The printing job is sent from the cloud service to a cloud aware printer, where the printing job is completed. Non-cloud printers must rely on information sent via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or wired LAN connection to a print server or the printer itself. Jobs can also be sent through a desktop properly connected to a printer.

 

Technical Issues
The technology works best with cloud-aware printers, a new breed of printers that would make it much simpler to print documents directly from cloud share, if they currently existed. In the meantime, users must send their printing jobs through ordinary printers connected to a Wi-Fi connection or an on-location desktop networked to a printer. That means your printer has to be configured correctly for reliable, guaranteed printing.

Some people wonder why business users simply can’t fire off an email and let the recipients on the other end handle the printing. Time is of the essence and every minute counts in intense business situations, so having a quick and sensible solution to common issues is the key to enjoying success. Cloud printing promises to help make it easier and more convenient for business users to get things done even when they’re away from the office.

For an average home user, you can bet this will change our thinking about when we can print something. Haven’t you been somewhere and you find something on your smartphone that you wish you could print so you don’t forget about it? Instead of doing that you’ve waited until you got home instead and looked it up a second time just so you could print it out? Those days may be gone, with this new technology printing anywhere in the world has become a reality.

Can My Ink Jet Cartridge Dry Out?

Question –  What if I neglect my ink jet printer for long periods, will it affect the print quality?

The simple answer is – Not using your inkjet printer for long periods WILL cause the ink in your cartridge to dry out, first affecting the print quality and eventually rendering the cartridge useless. Most of us are trying to save money any way we can. One item in a house hold that can get very expensive is ink for a printer. Many of our customers have told us that they would not print for weeks or months in an effort to save money. Sounds like a good idea but here’s where the problem lies with doing this. Continue reading

How Do I Fix a Paper Jam?

 

We all own printers and we all have run across the annoying paper jam that always seems to happen at the worst possible time. So how do you fix the jam and what in the heck causes paper to jam? In this post we are going to look at those questions and try to give you the information you need to prevent or fix a paper jam without having to call in a printer repair tech that is going to charge you anywhere from $80 an hour up to $180. Continue reading

What’s the Best Portable Photo Printer

Epson PictureMate Charm portable photo printer
Epson PictureMate Charm

Have you ever wished you could take a picture with your camera and turn it into a 4 X 6 photo right on the spot? Well now you can, it’s just a matter of choosing the right Portable Photo Printer to meet your needs and your budget. There’s just nothing like taking a photo at a family event and turning it into a beautiful photo to share with everyone there. Well we’ve done some research for you and narrowed it down to what we feel is a winning portable photo printer. Continue reading