Need that Canon Rebate – Might want to wait

November 20, 2008

Canon announced on November 19th that if you have a rebate check from them dated for November 14th or prior, not to cash it.  I repeat DO NOT CASH IT.  The company sending out those checks for Canon filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  So the checks might bounce.
Canon is supposed to have more details on their website on the 21st.

Read the article here

Empty Cartridges = Cash

September 2, 2008

Every wonder what to do with those empty HP, Canon, Lexmark, and Dell cartridges?  Wonder if there is a way to turn them into cash?

At O-ink, we use to have a program that you could mail in your empty cartridges for cash.  However, our affiliate decided to close their doors.  Now we have started our own collection process.

The process is simple, you collect empty cartridges and then mail them into us when you feel the need.  No rush of course.  There is a small form for you to fill out, to show you how much each cartridge is possibly worth assuming it passes our inspections.  At the end of the month, we issue you a check.

The question is, how much can you earn?  Some cartridges are only worth 25 cents, while others are worth $3.

Here is the link for the program.

We recommend that you send in at least 5 or more cartridges per mailing and recommending using the USPS for the cheapest rates.

College Life and printers

July 30, 2008

In about one month from this post, the colleges across the United States will be filling up with students looking to expand their knowledge while hoping to do it without a lot of debt ( I am still paying mine off). New students are spending money right now to have all of their supplies and needs met.

  1. New sheets
  2. New cloths
  3. pens, paper, etc
  4. shoes
  5. technology (tv, computer, etc)
  6. and more

While some things are needed, not all of them are. Take printers for example. Most college students do not need them. Most of the ones that they do get come with the new computer they just purchased (Thanks Dell and HP). But the question remains, what is the best printer for college students? I am going to narrow the list down a little bit.

First thing first, what not to buy.

Stay away from Lexmark and Dell printers. While they may seem cheap to buy or in Dell’s case you get them for free with a computer purchase, the cost of the printer cartridges is extremely high. Plus, it can be hard to find the printer cartridges for certain Lexmark printers (see our post about Circuit City), and Dell cartridges are limited to Dell and Staples (although Staples only sells the low yield cartridges). Their quality is subpar as well.

Epson isn’t bad, but I still recommend staying away from them. They make great photo printers, like the R800, R1800, R1900, R2400, however, their lower end printers (under $200) have a high cost of ownership, meaning low ink volumes for high dollars.

All of the printers we recommend are based off from economic value of the printer cartridges and overall quality.


Price Ranges $100-$300

Offering’s from Canon – College students do not need a fax, so I am staying away from those. The Canon Pixma MP520, MP610, MP600 or for those wanting great photo quality MP970. You can find them from about $150 to $300 depending on the model you want. They all have individual cartridges (ranging from 4 to 7) along with duplex printing. Cartridges can be found on our site for $10 for the black and $9.25 for the colors.

Offerings from HP – Photosmart C4385, C5280, C6280. All of them offer good quality print outs and low cost of ownership as long as you stick with the XL cartridges.


Canon – Canon Pixma iP3500 or iP4500 $80 and $130 for each. The iP4500 gives you duplex printing and a dye based black for photo printing.

HP – This one is wide open so instead of printers, I will just list some rules of thumb.

  1. Keep the printer more than $80
  2. Stay away from printers that use the 21 or 92 black and the 22 and 93 color cartridges. They are the most costly cartridges that HP makes.
  3. Check to see if your printer will take an XL cartridge, if they do, buy the XL instead of the standard as it is more economical.
  4. If you get a printer that uses the HP 02 cartridges, do not buy the photo pack of cartridges. They are only half full versions of those cartridges so they cost more to run than the standard cartridges. Side note – The HP 02 cartridges that O-ink has are filled to double the capacity of the standard HP 02’s.

Well if you are off to college, good luck, study hard. I hope this helps you in finding a printer that will work for you.

While I did not cover laser printers, if you are looking for a low end laser printer, look at Brother’s HL-2140. It is more economical to keep than any of HP’s low end printers.

Once you get your printer, make sure to keep it loaded with cartridges.  Check out our site to get the lowest prices as well as great quality

Estimated Ink Levels

May 5, 2008

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.

Cartridge is in printer, but where is it?

March 23, 2008

Everyone I know has had it at least one time that they installed their printer cartridge into the printer, only to have the printer fail to recognize it.  So what is a person supposed to do in that situation.

1.  Double Check the cartridge – Is it the right cartridge for the printer.  Some times it is that simple that the wrong cartridge was purchased.  If you can try to return it if it happens to be the wrong cartridge.

2.  Is it installed correctly – Is there anything that needs to be removed?  Some printer cartridge manufactures put a blue tape over the printhead or yellow tape over the air intake, these need to be removed.  Do not remove the copper contacts from the cartridge.  This is not tape, it is how the cartridge talks to the printer.  Think of them like the nerves in your hand, take them out your hand is still there, but it will not do anything.  Also, make sure the cartridge is in the right slot.  I have seen it a couple times that a person has installed the cartridge into the wrong location.  This can possibly harm the cartridge or printer or both.  It can be removed, but is not easy.

3.  Electrical failure – This is the most common problem that happens, with both new and refilled cartridges.  Sometimes the contacts do not want to work.  There is nothing you can do for this.  However, if three different replacements do not work, look at the printer instead.

4.  Software – Does the printer’s software know you installed a new cartridge?  Some printer’s driver need to be told that a new cartridge has been installed.  Lexmark and Epson are the most common with this.  Canon can do this as well, but with refilled cartridges sometimes you have to push certain keys on the printer or AIO.