Estimated Ink Levels

Just had a customer today return two bad color cartridges that we sold her.  The first one we got from our supplier and it was electronicly dead.  The second one was a cartridge we had just refilled in house.  She had brought the cartridge in from her printer cause it had just been emptied, 13.99 plus tax she had the same cartridge with ink in it ready to go.

Her complaint was that the one we refilled said it was empty.  I assured her it would and reminder her that according to HP, the Ink Levels are estimates only as they can not tell you the actual amount in there due to the kind of cartridge HP designed.  She still wanted her money back, even after I put it on the scale for her (showing that it was 3 grams above full).

So how do you tell how much ink is in your cartridge?  Well, if you own a Brother or Canon printer that takes the single tank cartridges, you are fine.  Canon and Brother employ an optical sensor to view the levels.  HP, Lexmark, and Dell use estimators.  These estimators go off from page count, paper used,  and quality level.  So how off can they be?  It all depends on the printer, some printers, they are right on, maybe have a error ratio of less than 5%.  Others, especially HP printers that use the 57 color and 58 photo, can be off from 70% to 100%.  While it is rare, we do get people turning in ’empty’ HP cartridges that by weight, are completely full.  Going back to the question posted above, how do you tell?  There are two main ways.

1.  Time – You have an idea on how long a cartridge should last you, couple months or a year, each person is different.  Any cartridge you put into your printer should last as long, assuming your printing habits do not change.

2.  Quality – If what you print starts to look bad, there are only two possible reasons, dirty or empty.  Most of the time it means they are empty.

What about the cartridge that O-ink sells, how do I know they are full?  Every cartridge that O-ink fills in house is weighed two times before we seal it.  Our Factory filled cartridges are weighed 3 times before they leave.  We have the full weights and empty weights for every cartridge that we have the ability to fill, so we can tell you how full your cartridge is.

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