A OEM stands for 'Original Equipment Manufacturer' eg Epson, HP, Lexmark etc. These companies make printers as well as the cartridges used in them. We offer the OEM name brand and a non OEM name brand which is cheaper and is either a compatible or a remanufactured product.
Q What is a compatible inkjet or toner cartridge?
A A compatible cartridge is a new cartridge which has been designed to fit a particular printer and is a cheaper alternative to the OEM product.
Q What is a remanufactured cartridge?
A A remanufactured (also referred to as recycled) cartridge is an OEM cartridge which has been used once or more times and has been cleaned, serviced, refilled, tested and repackaged. Generally, in the past, it has only been cartridges with printheads which have been remanufactured but this is not a hard and fast rule. A remanufactured cartridge is a cheaper alternative to the OEM and usually contains considerably more ink.
Q How much ink is there in a compatible or remanufactured cartridge compared with the OEM?
A A compatible cartridge contains as much ink as its OEM equivalent whereas a remanufactured cartridge usually contains considerably more ink than its OEM equivalent.
Q What is the difference between pigmented and dye based ink?
A Ink consists of a carrier fluid (which in most popular desktop and wide-format photo printers is water) and a colorant which is dye or pigment, or a combination of both. In addition it contains glycol or glycerin which is used to control the drying time of the ink. A pigment is a very fine powder of solid colorant particles and these are suspended in the carrier fluid. A dye is a colorant which is fully dissolved in the carrier fluid and will not separate no matter how long it is left. Neither type of ink is waterproof as they are both water based fluids. It is the coating on the paper which determines whether a print is splash proof or waterproof. The main difference between the two is that pigmented ink does not fade as quickly as dye based ink when left for long periods in daylight. However each printer is designed to use one type of ink or the other and you should use the recommended type for your printer to get the best results.
Q What is the difference between thermal and piezo cartridges?
A There are two basic technologies:
The cartridge heats each droplet of ink before squirting it onto the paper. Almost all thermal cartridges have the print head on the cartridge. The cartridges are expensive, but you get a new print head with each cartridge eg Lexmark & Hewlett Packard.
Each droplet of ink is electrically charged before squirting onto the paper (patented by Epson). The print head is in the printer and not on the cartridge. The cartridges are just an ink tank, without a print head, which makes them relatively inexpensive to make. All Epson printers use Piezo technology. Some printers from Canon and Xerox also use Piezo technology.
Q How do I get the best print quality?
A There are four main factors which affect print quality:
1. The quality of the image to be printed. If you do not have a high resolution image to start with then the rest of the factors are irrelevant.
2. The printer. The higher the dpi (dots per inch) the printer can print the better the quality of the printout. At 1440 dpi +, the eye cannot recognise the dots and the print looks like continuous tone.
3. The paper. Uncoated paper (normal paper) the ink 'spreads' when it hits the paper, so the images are OK but are not sharp. Coated paper has a special coating so the ink droplets do not diffuse. The coating can be a matt or gloss finish but you will get a sharp image on either.
4. The inkjet cartridge. You should always use a cartridge which contains the ink which is specific to your printer whether it is an OEM, a compatible or a remanufactured cartridge.
Useful hints for Remanufactured or Compatible Inkjet Cartridges
Most remanufactured cartridges have a printhead on the cartridge. If there is a problem with print quality then it can be fixed immediately by installing a new cartridge or if you try the hints below before assuming that your cartridge is faulty.
* Always store your compatible inkjet cartridge upright ie with the printhead at the bottom.
* During shipping the cartridge gets jolted and shaken around and the air which is normally at the top may have moved to the bottom.
* By storing the cartridge upright the ink is free to settle, the air will rise to the top and the ink will flow freely without any air locks.
* If you install the cartridge as soon as you receive it and you have a problem with the print quality then leave it overnight before attempting to print again. This will allow the ink to settle.
Installing the cartridge
* When installing a new printer compatible toner cartridge always make sure that you remove the protective clip (if there is one on the printhead) and any printhead tape.
* Run the printhead cleaning cycle on your machine 2-3 times in a row to get a good flow of ink.
Problems with print quality
* If there are white lines in the print, faint colours or missing colours after running the printhead cleaning cycle several times, then:
Remove the cartridge from the printer and place it upright in half an inch of warm water so that just the small copper bottom of the printhead sits in the water.
Let it soak for several minutes then remove the cartridge and carefully dry with a soft paper towel. Do not rub the printhead or you may damage it.
Re-install the cartridge into the printer and perform the cleaning cycle before using it again.
If the problem persists then try soaking the printhead overnight.
* If the colours are not full enough or the ink is not flowing freely and you have tried the tips outlined above: - Use a paint programme to draw 3 large boxes. Colour one box Magenta (red), one Cyan (blue) and the other yellow .
By printing the boxes at the highest resolution (DPI) available, the cartridge will push the ink out at a high volume. Once this has been printed you should have no problems with your cartridge again!
* Another great tip:
Take a paper towel and fold it several times to make it thick and soft. Then moisten it with warm water and place it on a hard surface.
Remove the cartridge from the printer and place it on the damp paper towel, with the printhead down.
Whilst applying even pressure by pushing down on the cartridge, at the same time rock it from front to back. Remember not to be too rough or you will damage the printhead.
This should remove dried particles of ink from the printhead and allow the ink to flow freely. If successful you should see several small drops of ink on the paper towel.
Other Useful Hints
* If a light keeps blinking on your printer and it will not recognise the cartridge.
First make sure that you have removed any printhead tape or protective clip from the cartridge.
Ensure the electronic contacts of the cartridge are free from any particles by wiping the chip or copper contacts gently with a damp paper towel.
Try unplugging your printer and removing all the cartridges. After a couple of minutes turn the printer back on and try the installation again.
As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall your printer drivers to completely reset the software.
* Unlike most HP and Lexmark printers, Epson printers have a printhead on the printer instead of on the cartridge. Sometimes the printhead dries out if the printer is only used infrequently. If this happens then try the following:
First check each cartridge and make sure that you have removed the tape which covers the vent hole and the plastic support clip.
Do a printhead clean by following these steps:
Go to PRINT.
Click on PROPERTIES.
Click on MAINTENANCE.
Click on HEAD CLEAN.
Click on NOZZLE CHECK.
If the printout is not satisfactory then go to HEAD CLEAN again followed by NOZZLE CHECK.
If the printout is still unsatisfactory after several head cleans, then turn the printer off, unplug it and leave it for a few minutes. When you turn it back on it should automatically do a deep head clean and this should solve the problem.
If the problem persists you could remove the cartridges and spray a tiny amount of head cleaning fluid onto the spikes which pierce the ink cartridges.
You could also purchase a cleaning cartridge and install it following the enclosed instructions.