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An Intro to Smart Chips

2009-10-01

Determine when you're using a compatible cartridge: Well, more precisely, newer printers can tell if you've installed a replacement cartridge that wasn't made by the printer manufacturer because the smart chip won't be there. In many cases, a scary warning will come up on your computer screen, telling you that the printer has detected the presence of "non-genuine ink." You are then told that your printer will not function as well and that you may damage your printer if you use this "non-genuine ink." This is simply a scare tactic, so feel free to click continue and proceed with whatever you were doing.

Gauge the level of ink in your cartridge (for real): Some smart chips allow your printer to monitor the actual level of ink remaining in your cartridge. In many case, once the cartridge is empty, it will no longer work, even if you add more ink. To get around this, always be sure to add more ink before your cartridge is close to running dry.

Gauge the level of ink in your cartridge (sort of): The latest smart chips represent a much greater effort by the printer manufacturers to stop people from saving money. Instead of monitoring the actual level of ink, the smart chip monitors how many pages have been printed and how long the cartridge has been installed. This allows it to "estimate" when the cartridge will likely be out of ink. And after the smart chip decides you're empty (even if you've just added fresh ink with your refill kit) the cartridge won't work. Pretty crafty, huh? Unfortunately for those who designed these smart chips, other people out there are pretty smart too - they've developed what are known as chip resetters. Essentially, using them makes the smart chip register the cartridge as "full," so it can be refilled and reused again and again.

You would think that instead of spending all of this money to develop these products, the printer manufacturers would simply sell their ink cartridges at more reasonable prices. It appears, however, that's not how it's going to be. Hopefully, those who care about saving people money will continue to outsmart any "smart chips" developed by those who practically give their printers away and then charge us unimaginable prices for the cartridges we need to actually use them.

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