Aftershocks from Aftermarket Inkjet Cartridges

Canon MP210 printerGeorge W. Bush was President when I connected a new Canon MP210 PIXMA All-in-One Printer to my primary computer. At the time, I didn’t think much of either George or the printer. I bought the printer because its ratings were okay and it was inexpensive, as were its inkjet cartridges. It filled the bill for a light-duty, backup printer for occasional use.

My opinion of George and the printer improved with time. But the ink cartridges got more expensive as demand for them diminished. When the ink ran low a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to replace the printer or find a source for cheaper cartridges.

Staples MP210 cartridgesI turned to Staples, where I bought a package of Staples Remanufactured Black and Tricolor Ink Cartridges for my printer at about half the cost of comparable Canon cartridges. Yeah!

When I opened the competent Staples packaging, I was glad to find the “remanufactured” cartridges were in fact sanitized and refilled Canon cartridges with their business ends protected by sturdy plastic shields. Nice!

I installed the cartridges and printed the alignment page. Oops! The black was black, but the red, yellow and cyan marks were all blue! Not to panic. Everything was working except that the tricolor cartridge was printing all cyan all the time. I performed a deep-cleaning and printed another sample. Blue, blue, and more blue!

At that point, I decided I could live with my cyanic printer long enough to run off a few needed pages. Oops again! The pages of text printed properly, but there were small ink smears in the upper left-hand corners. The mechanic in my primitive printer cortex prompted me to look under the hood. Ugh! Ugly!

The primary printhead was drowning in ink. I’d rescued drowning printers before, but what was the point? After a messy hour with isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs, I’d be back to the original choice: buy a new printer or find a source for cheap cartridges.

You guessed it. I bought a new printer and wrote this article to suggest you heed the manufacturers’ warnings.

Maybe the 30 or so uneventful cartridge changes before the switch to Staples’ remanufactured cartridges were all okay by luck. But I don’t believe in luck. And maybe the flooded printhead was just a coincidence. But I don’t believe in coincidences either.

Unless you believe in luck and coincidences — Stick to the manufacturers’ cartridges.

Full Disclosure: The author holds stock in both Canon and Staples.


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