01 How do printer cartridges work?

Two technologies dominate the printer cartridge industry: Inkjet and Toner.

Inkjet Cartridges:
The print-head and circuitry, which perform most of the printing work for the inkjet printer, are sometimes part of the inkjet cartridge, and are sometimes separate from the inkjet cartridge. A print-head style cartridge typically has 48 to 400+ nozzles (jets) arranged in an orderly array on the surface of the print-head on the bottom of the cartridge. Each nozzle is smaller than a human hair. Backing each nozzle is a heating element (resistor), which heats the ink inside the nozzle. When the ink is heated a bubble forms. When the heat is taken away the bubble bursts, propelling the ink out of the nozzle. Ink from the cartridge refills the nozzles. The printer moves the cartridge and turns the nozzles on and off thousands of times per second to print onto a page.

The ink in the cartridge keeps the resisters from overheating. If you keep printing after the cartridge has become short on ink, you can prematurely burn out resisters. Even when managed carefully, these resistors will eventually burn out on their own and then ink will no longer shoot out of the corresponding nozzle, leaving a blank spot on the paper.

One sure rule is that all print head style cartridges will eventually wear out. And they don’t ever seem to wear out at the same time that your cartridge runs out of ink! You will eventually need to buy a new cartridge. On average, expect about five cycles from each print head style cartridge and then expect to buy a new one.

Tank style cartridges have no print-head. Tank style cartridges are simply a box of ink with a communication chip on them. Tank style cartridges supply ink to a print-head that is built into the printer. These cartridges can be refilled over an over again. In most cases the communication chip must be replaced when a tank style cartridge is refilled.

Toner Cartridges:
Laser toner cartridges use high voltage and a very fine toner powder that is placed onto the print paper using a laser beam process, an electro photographic light sensitive drum, and a magnetic developer roller. The electrically charged print image is formed in toner on the paper, which is electrically charged to hold them in place. The paper is passed through a high temperature fuser roller that melts the toner and fixes the print image permanently onto the paper. On some printers, the drum unit is separate from the toner cartridge and the drum unit needs to be replaced once for every three to five toner cartridges.

Exposure to light can damage the drums, especially bright sunlight. Drum shutters (doors) provide some protection on some cartridge types, but others types have a slot where light can readily fall on the drum surface causing damage. Always store and transport toner cartridges and drum units in a bag and a sealed box (save and reuse the ones the cartridge came in).

02 How do you remanufacture a cartridge?

All of our remanufactured cartridges are refilled using the best possible method available for each particular cartridge.

To properly remanufacture/refill an inkjet cartridge, the cartridge must first be cleaned and inspected. Then the cartridge is filled to the proper capacity with the highest quality ink available, using the correct process for that particular cartridge. Print-head style cartridges are print tested thoroughly and all cartridges are backed by a guarantee.

To properly remanufacture/refill a toner cartridge it is disassembled and cleaned. After a thorough inspection, any worn parts i.e. gears, drums, blades are replaced with new parts of the same or better quality as the original parts. The cartridge is filled to proper capacity with the highest quality toner made specifically for that cartridge. Once the cartridge has been remanufactured, it is print tested thoroughly and backed by a guarantee.

Most of the large manufacturers such as Lexmark, Canon, and Hewlett Packard (HP) have recycling programs that allow them to re-use parts. Many of HP's new cartridges contain used and recycled parts. In many cases the cartridge you are buying as 'new' is in fact a remanufactured cartridge.

03 Is the ink you use as good as the original ink? Will my print quality remain consistent? Will I be able to print the same number of pages?

We use only the highest quality inks available. These inks are each manufactured for use in a particular cartridge. We guarantee you’ll be happy with the print quality or we’ll fix it. Whatever it takes. Each cartridge holds a specific amount of ink at the beginning of the cartridge's lifespan. The amount of ink determines printing capacity. We make sure that each cartridge receives the correct amount of ink during our extensive quality control process. You’ll have the same amount of ink in the cartridge as the original, and sometimes more.

04 I am having trouble with a cartridge. Can you help?

For an inkjet cartridge, first look for signs that your cartridge is low on ink or nozzles are clogged:
You might notice white streaks where there should be ink, or you might notice lighter than normal print. Also when using a color cartridge you may see a sudden change of color in the print. These are some of the most common signs, but don’t assume that your cartridge is worn out yet. Many times you can fix these problems.

If you notice a print quality problem:
Complete the print head cleaning procedure and a print test. (See printer manual for instructions specific to your printer) With a print head style cartridge try running warm water right over the print head and the circuitry. Then dry it off with a damp paper towel. This will help dissolve dried ink in the print head and clean the circuitry contacts. Then repeat the print head cleaning procedure and a print test.

If you notice smeared printing, the “wiper blade” in the printer parking station might just be dirty. Wipe it off with a damp paper towel (see printer manual for instructions specific to your printer). This will usually fix the smearing problem.

With a multicolor cartridge, one color always runs out before the others. You may still be able to print with the remaining colors, but you will burn out the print-head components associated with the empty color. Never run a cartridge without ink. That goes for black, single color, or multicolor cartridges. Once you have burned out resistors in the print-head, the cartridge will never print correctly again.

When installing tank style cartridges, the printer may not recognize a cartridge. Turn printer off and unplug from the electrical outlet for 3 minutes, then plug in and power up. The printer will search for cartridges when it powers up.

You should always keep your printer cleaned and maintained according to the owner’s manual.

See www.inkjetcartridgehelp.com for much more troubleshooting help.

For toner/laser cartridges:
Check for signs that your cartridge is running out of toner. You might notice white streaks where there should be black ink, or you might notice lighter than normal print. Also when using a color cartridge you may see a sudden change of color in the print.

Do not continue to print with an empty cartridge as it can cause damage.

If you run low on toner and desperately need to finish your print job, you can lightly jiggle the cartridge, which may work any left over toner to the bottom of the cartridge and allow for a little more printing. This should only be attempted one time.

You should always keep your printer cleaned and maintained according to the owner's manual.

05 What guarantee do I receive from Ricks Refills? Will recycled / remanufactured cartridges void my OEM warranty?

We guarantee all of our cartridges 100% against defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the date of purchase.

Remanufactured cartridges and your OEM warranty:
Hewlett Packard Ink Cartridge Refill Statement ( 20-Apr-95 ) “ The use of refilled print cartridges alone does not affect either the warranty or any maintenance contract purchased from HP for its Ink Jet printers.”

Further more, thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act, a company cannot sell a product under the pretense that the consumer must purchase replacement parts, add-ons, etc., from that particular company.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act
United States Code Annotated
Title 15 Commerce and Trade
Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties 15 Section 2302

"(c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on a consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the commission if:

1) Warrantor satisfies Commission that warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with warranted product, and

2) Commission finds that such a waiver is in public's interest."

What this means to printer users!

This means that the manufacturer of a printer you are using cannot void your printer's warranty because you use a refilled cartridge manufactured by some one other than the printer manufacturer. This prohibition includes use of remanufactured cartridges, compatible cartridges, refill kits, etc. For more information on this act, contact the Federal Trade Commission at (202) 326-3128.

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