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Compatible Epson ink cartridge FAQ

Read Pigment vs Dye Ink for details on the difference between the formulas. In short, pigment ink lasts longer because it sits on top of the paper and isn't absorbed into it. However, dye ink is usually brighter. This is why after touting their durabrite pigment ink, Epson reformulated their dye-based Claria ink specifically for photographs. The oldest photos I printed with compatible ink are about 20 years old. They were done with an Epson 640 on plain paper. Hanging on my wall, they still look about as good as the day they were printed except that the paper has started to yellow. Photos in my album printed on photo paper and encased in plastic sheets look fantastic. Will they last 100 years like Epson claims their ink will? Ask me in another 80 years :) Take a look and judge for yourself.

Here is a comparison sent to us by a professional photographer using our T098 ink cartridges in an Epson artisan 837.

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Since there are no moving parts to wear out, they have no finite lifetime. We have one set of reusables going on 4 years and a set of refillables more than 2 years old. However, a chip can always go bad. This can be due to stray electricity, getting wet, even being touched by sweaty fingers. So it's a good idea to have a backup set - even a set of disposable cartridges, which can be mixed with reusable/refillable in the same printer. It won't help you to have dozens of tanks or ink bottles if you don't have a complete set of working cartridges.

Epson cartrridges gives you as little as 7 ml of ink (see http://inkdaddy.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/review-epson-t068-t069-t088-split-open/ where researchers actually opened the Epson cartridges and measured the amount of ink supplied). Our standard Epson cartridges give you 13.5 (color) to 15 (black). Our refillable and reusable Epson cartridges give you 18 ml, almost THREE TIMES the amount of ink Epson cartridges contain. However, Epson printers do not accurately measure how much ink remains in the cartridge. That is why the printer often reports the cartridge is empty when there is still 10-15% of the ink remaining. Once a regular Epson ink cartridge is flagged as empty it can not be reused - even if ink remains. The chips on our reusable and refillable Epson cartridges are designed to reset to full upon re-insertion after the printer says they are empty. However, re-inserting an ink cartridge must always be done with extreme caution, since the printer may not detect if the cartridge actually does run out of ink. Your only notice may be when that color no longer prints and if you wait for that to happen, you could damage your printer. That is why it's nice that our reusable and refillable Epson ink cartridges are transparent, so you can see for yourself how much ink actually remains.

We offer a full money-back guarantee of the full amount you paid for your order - including the shipping, even for opened ones (with reasonable limitations - read the warranty). We are taking 100% of the risk. We obviously couldn't do this unless we were certain our cartridges worked.

No and no. First, pigment ink contains particles of pigment floating in solution. Dye ink is fully dissolved. So it is pigment ink which is more likely to clog. In fact, Epson's first pigment printers suffered from excessive clogging, which is why Epson printers still have a reputation for clogging. Second, Epson has always implied that using third-party ink cartridges voids the warranty. They are very careful not to state this outright because this exclusion would be illegal. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states:

Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty.

In other words, they can not insist that you use only their cartridges.

If your Epson printer fails, Epson will fedex you a replacement and pick up the old one at their expense. They instruct you to return it without the ink cartridges. So you get your replacement in advance and Epson never learns you used compatible ink cartridges. Just don't foolishly volunteer this information because they could use it as an excuse not to replace your printer.

No. Epson's ink formula is protected by patent and can't be duplicated. Epson uses pigment ink and our compatible Epson cartridges use dye. We have not seen any compatible Epson cartridges which use pigment ink nor would we want to use these if they did. Read Pigment vs Dye Ink for the differences between the formulas.

No, our reusable Epson cartridges come with special, sealed ink tanks. There is no injection of ink and no mess. Pop out the empty tank and pop in the new one. You must remove the yellow tape at the top of the tank, just like you remove a yellow tape on the top of regular Epson ink cartridges. If you are using a later model cartridge (T069, T078, T079, T098, T125, T126), that's all you have to do. If you are using an earlier cartridge (T044, T048, T054, T060), you also have to touch the chip resetter to it so that it resets the chip to full.

Our refillable Epson cartridges require removing of either a piece of tape or plastic plug, depending on the model. They are filled using special ink bottles topped by an injection tube. Remove the cap from the tube, insert it in the cartridge refill hole, and squeeze gently until the cartridge is filled to near capacity. (Do not overfill. Some air space is needed.) If ink remains in the refill bottle, you can recap it and use it to refill the cartridge later. All our refillable Epson cartridges have auto-reset chips.

That is a personal decision you have to make. The refillable ink cartridges are cheaper and contain more ink but they require a little extra effort and care. You can get your fingers dirty. They are not recommended in a home with young children. Reusable ink cartridges are more convenient and neater. You can bring empty ink tanks to Office Depot or Staples and get $2 in store credit for each one. Empty ink bottles have no value.

Epson keeps changing their printers to better detect and reject compatible Epson cartridges. While the Artisan 800 and 837 both use the same T098 cartridges, the 837 is a later printer and has been programmed to reject most compatible Epson cartridges. Some sellers, particularly on eBay, pick up large quantities of cheap Epson cartridges to resell. These are older Epson ink cartridges whose chips have not been updated to work with the later printers. We get our compatible Epson cartridges directly from the manufacturer. The chips in our Epson cartridges are updated regularly. Over time we went from version 3.0 to 6.1. When a potential customers calls us to say the Epson ink cartridges they bought elsewhere don't work, often they have version 5.0 or earlier.

There are times when Epson releases a new printer which will not work with our Epson cartridges. We will not post this model on our site until we have confirmed that it can use our Epson cartridges.

This is why it is important that you order your Epson cartridges by printer model. A few customers noticed that we did not have reusable Epson cartridges listed under Artisan 837 so they clicked a different printer which took T098 and ordered those. They then discovered those cartridges would not work with their 837. (They work in about 80% of 837s). And they still got their money back.

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