asked Jul 6, 2003 at 10:59pm
Unknown Printer

Epson Inks vs Generics?

I've searched the site for reference to this question, and not come up with much, so I am posting a new question to the discussion group.

What is the diference in using Epson brand ink cartridges verus the equal generic ink cartridges?
Obviously there is a considerable price difference, but is this all?

Are the Epson brand ink cartridges actually better or not?

Does it do any real harm to the printer to use similar "generic" Epson ink cartridges?

Is there any real noticable "color/quality difference in using either ink cartridges?

Any opinions or information would be greatly appreciated, no doubt by all on this discussion board. Thanks
By my experience, I've been unable to tell the difference between the prints done using original carts and compatilble ones.
Anyway, after the introduction of the intellidge chip, there is a new problem to face: small differences in the construction can cause severe damage to the electric contacts that bring the signal to the small green chip you can see on every cartridge of your C42.
If you had enough spare time, I would suggest to buy a resetter for the chip and compatible bulk inks (for example from www.inksupply.com ) in order to refill your original cartridges: you will obtain the same quality of the original cartridge at a fraction of the cost.
by newuser on Jul 7, 2003 at 1:00pm Add comment
I have been using Generic Inks (G&G Brand), with pretty good sucess over the past few months. Tonight I went out and bought the Epson B&W and Color cartridges to test the Epson brand Ink colors.

From the sample test print out I did with the Epson inks and an ealier one of the Generic inks, there was absolutely no difference in color hue or tone. In fact I think the generic inks where slightly more saturated than the original Epson brand.

I quess if you go with a well known generic, one that comes close to matching the exact cartridge design and all, the only difference is the cost. Generics being about half the cost of the original Epson brand.
by unknown on Jul 8, 2003 at 1:02am Add comment
As an "Epson Authorized Service Dealer", there's only so much information and help that I can legally give. I can tell you that most of the problems people have are caused by something they did, or did not do and are not always the printers fault...SOME EXAMPLES: Refilling your own cartridges, or having them refilled, or buying third party ink [generic ink, non Epson ink, not cleaning and servicing your printer, or not using the printers ON/OFF switch to turn your printer on & off [some people shut down by turning off the main switch on their Power Strip or Surge Protector]...No matter what anyone says, all blacks, or colors are not the same. Thats why all companies patient the formulas for there inks. One thing is fairly constant when Epson Ink is not used: you will have a problem in the printhead assembly/printing system sooner or later, thats related to not using the correct ink in your printer. If you choose to use non Epson inks, you will eventually have problems, because its the wrong ink. I know how much cheeper refilling is and non Epson cartridges are so inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. Remember that I don't care if you use the wrong ink or not, its always your choice. At least you did save a lot of money by refilling your own cartridges or using non Epson inks, so that is some consolation when its your turn to have problems...Epson Printer Techs used to love people who refilled their own cartridges or used non Epson inks. We used to make a lot of money off of those people [LABOR CHARGES FOR REPAIRS], but we always let them know why they were having problems. Thats also why "printer repair sites" like this one are so popular. So many people using non Epson inks, are have printing problems, clogged printheads, copy quality problems, leaking, drips, smudges, streaking problems, waste ink pads filling up to soon, etc. Unfortunatly for printer techs, the prices of new printers have come down so much in the last year or two, that you can buy a new printer cheeper than you can have your old printer repaired for...Good Luck! Denny Conway
by Denny Conway on Jul 10, 2003 at 1:39pm Add comment
Greetings folks..

I get the real sense here someone is more concerned about protecting their job than giving honest and sincere advice. The ole' scare tactic routine to persuade one in using their companies products. Regardless, perhaps it's time for a more thoroughly investigated study by a prominent magazine:

Cheap Ink Probed

"Third-party vendors have already grabbed more than 16 percent of cartridge sales, Forrest says, and that percentage is growing."

In this economy, is it any wonder? Especially relative to the cost of configuring a ink-jet printer with black AND a colored cartridge from their respective company! Further, regarding the "repairs," after competing with the usual clogged print head over time of non-use using EPSON's OWN cartridges - this is not unusual for any ink-jet printer, I find little to no reason not to try the more widely known generics such as G & G or Amazon Imaging. In fact, once the printer goes through the software "cleaning" rountine, all is fine even after a period of weeks (or months) of inactivity. If needed most companies offering these cartridges such as abcink.com or 123ink.com offer cleaning cartridges too if it becomes more of a problem due to inactivity. If one uses their printer on a regular basis; this is usually not a problem.

Cleaning cartridges

Even comparing prices on http://www.comparecartridges.com/ or Dealtime at http://www2.dealtime.com/xKW-s_020189/NS-1/GS.html can be quite revealing regarding the savings. Think of it this way, with as cheap as ink-jet printers are these days, especially at your various warehouse merchandise clubs, it wouldn't take purchasing very many generic cartridges to have saved the cost of purchasing a brand new printer anyway! Something to consider..

by unknown on Aug 17, 2003 at 2:08am Add comment
Yes, everyone can use compatible cartridges or refill his own cartridges with bulk ink, but he is supposed to know what he is doing.
Third party comsumables cannot replicate the original design, since it is often (if not always) patented: this may cause something (just not to use the word troubles) to the printer, and if you don't know what's going on and what to do, you won't be able to print anymore.
Famous examples are the c70/c80/c82/sp950/sp2200 spongeless cartridges, all sharing the same structure. Clone cartridges use a common sponge to store ink, but such a choice can cause several problems if you leave the printer work (or even rest for a long period of time!) with low residual ink level, driving air into the printhead; refilling is an hard task, since over fill will block the cartridge, and under fill will force air into the printhead.
So what? If you are willing to spend some time in solving problems, you can do what you want, like I do (I've been refilling my 777 with bulk ink for three years, no damage has occured), differently you should buy originals and stay away from anything else.
by newuser on Aug 17, 2003 at 11:18am Add comment
Mr.G.: Just to let you know, I do not work for "fixyourownprinter.com" or "Epson Company" or even "HP Company". I do work for a company who is both an Epson Authorized Service Dealer
and an HP Authorized Service Provider. I try to help people when I can and I try to give them my honest opinion and help as much as I am legally allowed too. My integrity and honesty is given to the company that I work for, as it should be. There is a lot of information that I cannot release to the general public, but there is a lot of general information from my own experience that I am willing to share for free, in my spare time. Although I'm not always right in all my help, most of it can usually help and a lot of people are greatful for any help they can get. I know the cost differences between the generic inks and the Epson Inks and I understand why people want to use them. Thats also one of the reasons that so many people need help from "printer repair sites" like this one. I see the many problems that the wrong inks can cause in the Epson Printers and prefer to let people know and then they can make up their own minds. In the end its the printer owners choice and thats the way it should be. For some people free advise is worth what they paid for it. For other people, it helps them to save money on servicing and repairs. I know that I can't make everyone happy all the time, but I help when I can...Denny Conway
by Denny Conway on Aug 18, 2003 at 2:37pm Add comment

Although I appreciate your concern regarding use of printer company based ink cartridges, I believe it's ill founded. Why? For the same reason that was given in the late 70's, early 80's to use a particular brand of floppy disk for personal computers. Do you remember that? The proponents often claimed that if you didn't use a particular brand and ONLY that brand, your floppy disk would probably malfunction and require repair. Many of us laughed at the claim, which has now become a non-issue with the wide proliferation of floppies. Consistent quality across the board is evident. Certainly, anyone will have an occasional bad (new) floppy but it isn't that common anymore.

The same thing is happening with the ink-jet industry. Whether it be ink-jet paper, which is becoming better and better relative to the initial offerings when ink-jet printers were first introduced AND regardless of brand OR ink-jet cartridges. As time marches on, both the cartridges and the ink they hold are exceeding the quality of the companies’ own named cartridges. Which, incidentally, come from places like Mexico, USA and occasionally Japan. Are the companies’ own products consistent in quality and, especially, color - NO way!

Further, these small companies offering generics, if anything, are bending over backwards on guarantees to get the business now days. Which they are getting in increasing numbers as cited earlier in this thread!! Examples:

"Our 90 Day Risk Free Guarantee:

1. If you are not completely satisfied with the performance of our products, FOR ANY REASON, you may return the cartridge(s) within 90 Days of purchase for replacement or refund No ifs, no buts, no quibbles. Simply call or e-mail to get a return authorization number and we’ll make it right. Please check out our Return Policy.

AND - Our One-Year Quality Assurance Guarantee:

2. In addition to our 90-day risk free guarantee we also have a one-year quality assurance guarantee. This guarantee allows you to return any product for a replacement for up to one full-year. Simply call or e-mail to get a return authorization number and we’ll make it right. Please check out our Return Policy."

This is only but ONE example, other companies offering generic ink cartridges are following suit! End result, the consumer wins until which time that the manufacturers, again, come up with a means that cannot be easily bypassed by third party companies, which they inevitably do in time anyway.

If it wasn't for "generics" think about how expensive your prescriptions, auto parts and appliance would cost ONLY being manufactured stateside or from the original company. In fact, the ink used in these cartridges often comes from the USA! The formulas used have become within a gnats-a$$ of that used in the companies own cartridges. And many would argue at this point they are even better than what the various ink-jet printer companies are offering. Again, as cited on many generic ink cartridge company web sites.

In any event, I would certainly like to see factual data reports from labs indicating the result of an ink-jet printers failure was *STRICTLY* due to the use of generic inks. NONSENSE!! Wear and tear happens regardless of what printer you're using and whether it used the companies own ink cartridges or otherwise. The fact that HP cartridges are being used and RE-filled (refurbished cartridges) again and again says plenty on the success and suitability of the generic inks employed these days.

Where there may be an issue here is in persistence of color over time with strong light as a factor, the same phenomenon as Polaroid pictures under strong florescent lighting. As many will be able to attest to, the colors tend to fade over time. The same is true with colored printing. The generic inks do vary quite a bit in this area but, again, it's just a matter of time before THAT issue is resolved too. Will the ink-jet companies ink cartridges do the same in this regard - you bet! Perhaps though not quite as fast. In fact, there is now move afoot to come up with "ink standards" used for the ink-jet industry. Naturally, the third-party generic companies would follow suit with posting the quality of their inks too. Thus resulting in even a closer consistency across the board.

The use of such esoteric items as employing polypropylene cartridges as opposed to standard plastic cartridges (which many printer companies use) is yet another way of exceeding the status quo.

"Gary Miller, Amazon Imaging's sales vice president, says his company makes its inks and uses cartridges made of polypropylene, a high-quality material that printer vendors use, instead of cheaper plastics that can damage the ink if it's stored for several months."

by unknown on Aug 18, 2003 at 9:46pm Add comment

As a follow-up to the previous memos, in spite of the PCWorld magazine article, I sent off for two new generic cartridges from Printpal.com. Five days later they arrived and low-and-behold, they were “OA100” generic ink. The very same generic ink that [apparently] gave the magazine article-reviewing lab fits for clogging print heads.

Unfortunately, I had previously completely removed the Epson black and color cartridges before the arrival of the new cartridges and let the printer sit for several days. Thus allowing the ink intake orifice for black AND color cartridges and the print head itself to dry out. This was a big mistake! This is not a good thing as it is advisable to keep the intake and print head wet (with ink) at ALL times to prevent dry-out from occurring. However, with a couple small dabs (with a toothpick) of 91\% isopropyl alcohol on the ink intake orifices, the ink finally began flowing again.

After several cleaning routines where the ink initially wouldn't flow but slowly began to print again, both the color (3 colors) and black cartridge began to work. As I began to print more, the head began to UN-block even further to the point now where all is well as demonstrated by the print head check software routine for both black and color.

Now that all was looking well, I decided to print some combination black and color pages in high-resolution mode to determine overall quality. Although the characters and graphics was completely filled in as expected now, there were a multitude of extraneous small dots around the characters as viewed under a magnifying glass. What could be causing this, I thought? I proceeded to move the cable and printer away from potentially interfering AC and video cables. Although it seemed to help a bit, the extraneous dots would still show up around each character from time to time completely throughout the page. I finally decided to UNCLIP (leave disconnected & isolated) the cable & grounding restrainers from the 6' parallel cable at the printer side and, like someone flipping a switch, the print completely cleaned up its printing! The ONLY things now that's being printed are the characters and graphics, which look outstanding, absolutely NO extraneous dots whatsoever as viewed under magnification. In fact, I've now had the chance to do an A/B comparison of several combination character & graphics pages printed with the original Epson ink cartridges relative to the OA100 ink cartridges. The graphic involved a Windows application screen capture where the gray border that had a noticeable greenish tint with the Epson ink was totally and completely gray in color with the fresh OA100 ink.

Lessons learned:
1. Don't remove the ink cartridge until you've got another one in your hand to replace it with. Unless, of course, it's a type where the print head is integrated within the ink cartridge itself. In the case above the print head is separate from the ink cartridge.

2. Regardless of the ink you use, keep the ink as fresh as possible. Meaning, don't let it sit for extended periods of time (months and months). Ink-jet ink can discolor and more easily clog over time regardless of the source.

3. If experiencing interference problems utilizing a parallel cable, try unclipping the ground straps (small wire clips) and leaving them isolated at the printer end.

At this point, I've let the printer sit for a week without use and have noticed NO clogging problems whatsoever when I print. So, for this particular Epson printer, $10.71 (black & colored cartridge) delivered is an extreme savings over spending >$57 (or more down at your computer superstore) for both equivalent Epson cartridges. Further, I'm having absolutely no problem at all with OA100 ink in spite of the cautions noted in the PCWorld magazine review. Will I do it again? ABSOLUTELY, although this time I'll leave the old cartridges in place until I get the new ones to replace them!

by unknown on Aug 29, 2003 at 4:53pm Add comment
You'll find that the general consensus is that for text and color printing generics are just fine but for photos and similar purposes only manufacturer ink is acceptable. Most generic inks are not designed for accurate color and photo paper permeation (which accounts for much of the print quality, water resistance, and fade resistance that you get from manufacturer ink). It is very important that ink is not interchangable between a mechanical print head (Epson) and a thermal print head (Canon/HP/Lexmark) so any refill kit claiming to be such will be worthless.
by TJ on Aug 29, 2003 at 10:52pm Add comment

What was your method of determining "general consensus?" My personal experience thus far are the generics will compare favorably with the companies own cartridges even with photos. However, if you like supporting the companies own print cartridges at local prices + tax ... by all means - go for it! I'm sure that Epson/HP/Canon/Lexmark etc. appreciate your patronage!
by unknown on Aug 30, 2003 at 2:59am Add comment
I now use an Epson 777 plus an old Epson 600Q bought in a yard sale which was lying in the sun for an extended period. Prior to this I had long experience with an Epson 800. I have used generic cartridges instead of costly Epson for years without problems, and indeed, with outstanding success for a variety of purposes.

***I was particularly intersted in comments made by Mr G on 8/29/2003 with regard to his printer cable. Not all parallel cables are alike - It is my understanding that "high speed" or superior quality cables make a difference.

I have used a number of G & G brand cartridges successfully, and will shortly try some OA100s which were just bought.

NOTE: There is a Canadian web site which goes into truly exhaustive detail about inks and cartridges. I do not have the name but it is worth researching. One can become an expert very quickly. It makes fascinating reading.
by unknown on Oct 15, 2003 at 9:24am Add comment
While Printing yesterday My Epson ink T009201 was used up.As I wanted to make more print of the same subject I installed yourNET009 ink. The resulting prints were terrible. The black shadows became green one. the red building turned orange,and the darker corner became green. Even shadows on rocks turned green.All colors were off. I removed yourink and today purchased the Epson ink,which I have now made the same prints without any trouble.Have not installed the black
by unknown on Dec 8, 2003 at 8:23am Add comment
I've also used the G&G inks, and the output is great. I've used some other inks (can't remember the company) in my Photo 870, and it clogged right up. I got the G&G inks from http://www.project9designs.com/cart/ and I've had not a single problem. I'm sure they don't have anywhere near the same lightfastness as genuine Epson ink, but until I need that 80years, then I'm sticking with G&G. Besides, I can always reprint my pictures in a couple years if I need to... lord know some new crazy printer would come out by then anyways. =)
by unknown on Dec 18, 2003 at 10:41pm Add comment
I have been using bulk inks on my Epson 1280 for almost two years. Most generic inks I have used look as good to me as the Epson inks. Once I purchased a small number of generics that started out giving normal results but halfway through printed everything with a truly nasty green cast. But then I also purchased an Epson color cartridge once that turned out to be empty in more than one compartment.

One seemingly constant thing I noticed is that Epson inks have more permanence. At least the generic inks I have used so far have produced prints that deteriorated within a year, and they deteriorated most noticeably whereas the Epson prints remained almost unchanged by comparison.
by unknown on Dec 19, 2003 at 12:27am Add comment
I gotta tell ya' that first off, I think, making printers that stop printing if a color is out is just plain arrogant and greedy not to mention, moronic. This industry like so many others, have taken serious advantage of us with what they charge and what you get for your money. I got away from HP because they suck. I have an epsom wf3520. I like the printer but we're going broke feeding it cartridges that are suppose to have high yield. That's B.S.! If there are generic brands to replace the 127 black XL and the 126 tri-color multi-pack or, a crash lesson on refilling them, I'd be all over it!
Looks like we're all in this boat together. Your help would be greatly appreciated. thanks
by unknown on May 24, 2013 at 9:54am Add comment
I've been using NON OEM on both my HP Designjet 500 machines and two Epson photo printers for three year now. I print 300 posters a months at paylessposter.com and NONE with any problems at all.

About the only problem I've had was the CIS I had connected to one of the Epsons, however I went back to bulk cartridges and that solved my problem.

I will admit that I will use one (1) set of OEM every two months or so to CLEAN the system out. YES there is something in the the OEM inks that will clean and make the print heads last longer in the HP Machines. Print heads for a Designjet are not cheap. As far as color, hue, tone....They look the same.
by unknown on Nov 3, 2013 at 7:36am Add comment

Epson inks are usually oil based where as generic in cartridges are water based. They both use dyes and pigments for the actual colouring however the formulas are obviously different.

In saying this I have been retailing generic ink cartridges for Epson printers for 10 years now and as long as the generics are of a good quality they work fine!

Be aware though that Epson printers need to be used regularly as the piezo print heads have a tendency to clog if not used for extended periods of time.

You may like to take a look at an article wrote several years ago on this subject.


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by Veronicaaldaine on Oct 3, 2016 at 6:43am Add comment