Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HP Inkjet Printer Cartridges - Stop Expiration

For years HP has been adding expiration dates to some inkjet printer cartridges so they can’t be indefinitely refilled. There was even a lawsuit contending every HP inkjet printer since 2001 was affected by the expiration. The problem generally only affects printer users who refill their cartridges, but I’ve run into it a few times in dealing with clients who stockpiled print cartridges on much older models. In those cases, after several years on the shelf, the cartridges are still new when inserted into the printer but aren’t recognized and can never be used.

So far there seem to be three types of solutions to solving the expiring cartridge problem. The fourth “fix” is 100% guaranteed to work: find an HP model that doesn’t use chipped cartridges:

  • Use Microsoft printer drivers instead of HP drivers: The Microsoft-written printer drivers that are included with Windows XP and Vista don’t check for the expiration date like HP-written drivers do. This isn’t a fix for newer printer models, which only have HP-written drivers on the market.
  • Edit the HP driver’s .INI file to NOT check for the expiration date: I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not already comfortable editting the registry or writing windows scripts. This is more relevant to newer printers and cartridges, as they don’t have an expiration date until they’re first used. Older printers with very old cartridges that have a built-in expiration date set at the factory can’t be helped by this fix. (And, remember to make a backup of the .INI file before editting it.)

    Start with a new cartridge. Do not install the cartridge until you do the following.

    There is an *.ini file (hpSomethingOrOther.ini) stored in the system directory (WINNT in NT and 2000) that has a name probably associated with the driver version.

    Search for hp*.ini and edit the ones with the latest dates. If you configure the printer driver first, see below, the file date should read today.

    There are two files, one will list the one you need to change, change the other one, I think it is the smaller one.

    In it there is a parameter something like pencheck. It is set to 0100. I think this is a boolean because I tried other values without effect. Set it to 0000 in the file and save the file and REBOOT.

    You can check the value in the driver configuration dialog box (found through the Help for the HP tool box, open the last entry, I think, and click on configure).

    If the grayed out box for ink check or cartridge check or something like that is unchecked, you are in business. Cancel this dialog. Do NOT click on default or the expiration check will be reinstated and when you print with your new cartridge you will get an expiration date burned into it.

    I wouldn’t trust making any changes to this dialog box without rechecking that the parameter stays unchecked. After making sure this value is unchecked, install your new virgin cartridge(s) and the expiration date(s) will read “UNKNOWN”.

    Link to full .INI-editting article.

  • Remove the printer’s internal battery to reset the memory chip in the cartridges: Removing the battery with the ink cartridge installed erases the expiration date stored on cartridges not set at the factory. Battery location and ease-of-access varies greatly by printer model. Here’s a descriptin of the problem and instructions for the d125xi printerFixyourownprinter.com forum thread with details on many models of printers. (credits:mr.tweak)

1 comment:

Innah | Lexmark Printer Cartridges said...

It is so frustrating to end with a half-full cartridge that you can no longer use because of some issues. Expired cartridges seem like tricks that manufacturers play on consumers.