No sooner had I finished last months mention of the wide carriage Epson 1160 than I found a source for under $200 at
http://www.refurbdepot.com. They were $187, and with s&h it was $210. And at the Pomona show, they were going for about $225. By the way, factory refurbished is just fine (on the inkjet lists some prefer them ) & you save money -- Epson has checked them out and gives you the full 1 year warranty just like new. I just got the printer and have barely had time to install it -- the OS/2 drivers seem to work fine, although I haven't really checked the printer out at all settings. Stay tuned.
Switching gears totally, after many emails. and much agonizing, I have done it! I have actually gone to the Pomona Computer Fair and bought an ink refilling system for my Lexmark Optra 40 printer. Well, OK, so maybe all that money I spent a couple of months ago trying to do that Partition Magic Article had something to do with it.
As you may recall, I spent around $60 on 400 sheets of printing for the first 2 pages of a Partition Magic review, back to back. Most of that cost was in the ink, at some $40 a whack for a black cartridge. And you just don't find much of a discount for the Lexmark cartridges; maybe $5/10 per cart depending on your source and quantity purchased. If that seems pricey, it sure is. So I thought it was time to risk getting my paws dirty in the quest for article material, & besides, one of the Optra's is way beyond warranty.
After looking at a lot of reinking vendors at the show, I wound up trying the InkTec system (Korean), distributed here by an Oceanside company called California InkJet. They're on the web at
http://www.californiainkjet.com. Why them? Well, two reasons. First, out of all the vendors at the Pomona show they were the only ones who were selling real honest to golly recycled Lexmark ink cartridges -- the 12A1970 Std Black ones, to be exact. For $16.95 a pop. This made me feel a lot more secure about trying their stuff, and the person I spoke to at their booth had personally refilled the cartridges they were selling. Even more reassuring. So I also broke down and bought 3 refilled black cartridges, a black ink refill kit for $6.95 designed to do 2 black ink cartridges, and a color refill kit for $9.95. I don't know how many cartridges the color kit will fill, because I haven't tried it yet. And finally, I have to admit that I chose this vendor because the product packaging was professionally done, and each package came with refill tools that look like my fingers won't get so dirty. Hey, just being honest.
So far I have tried two of the black refills. My initial impression is that they are close to the Lexmark original inks. There were two differences; first, the ink in one cartridge took longer to dry on the page at first & seemed to lay out more ink on the page as well. I suspect that this particular cartridge was simply filled too full, since the second refill did not exhibit these symptoms. Second, until the ink has actually dried (a matter of leaving the page alone for a few seconds) it is more prone to smudging than the factory Lexmark inks, which really are quick drying and very colorfast. In all candor, neither difference seems like a big deal to me, especially when you consider the huge cost savings. Next month, I'll describe my experiences actually using this system to do refills, which takes a bit of time & promises to save a lot more money.
One final note on refills. I asked about the difference between the standard and high-yield cartridges, to make sure that the refill kits would work with both. To my surprise, the answer was that the shells are the same -- the standard cartridges just aren't filled all the way up, while the 'high yield' ones are. HP evidently started this trick a few years back.. God I love capitalism...
Thanks to a reader, I found another on-line source for Lexmark refilled cartridges --
www.inkjetwarehouse.com. They show the remanufactured Lexmark 12A1970 black cart (their part # is LX-1970-RM) for $14.95, and the color 12A1980 (their part # LX-1980-RM) for $19.00. I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but ordered a couple & will report back on them.
Reach me at Tony@scoug.com.
You might want to read last month's Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.