Update below original story

…Found this on a US website today, which was quite interesting:

“Thank you for visiting our website…

Unfortunately, there are no compatible brand cartridges available for the following Canon printers:

iP1600, iP4200, iP6210D, iP6220D, iP5200, iP5200R, iP6600D, MP150, MP170, MP450, MP500, MP800, MP950

We have recently inspected the new Canon cartridges for the printers listed above and spoken to the compatible brand manufacturers. Canon now has proprietary (patented) parts on the cartridges meaning no one except Canon can make the cartridges or work around the patented parts, at least not at this time.

There is a distinct possibility new non-genuine compatible brand cartridges may never be available for any of the Canon printers listed above. We are still hopeful the compatible brand cartridge manufacturers will find a way to make the ink cartridges in the future.

What this also means is that you can only buy the expensive Canon brand ink cartridges. For example, the Canon iP1600 printer costs about $50.00. One black and one color cartridge cost $45.00, nearly the price of the printer itself. Also, the iP1600, MP150, MP170, MP450, iP6210D, iP6220D have tri-color cartridges, which means if you run out of only one of the three colors in the cartridge you have to replace the cartridge, even though you may not be out of the other colors.

Fortunately, Epson and Brother have not gone this way yet. Epson and Brother printers have inexpensive compatible brand ink cartridges readily available, which we carry.

At this point, we will more than likely be suggesting that customers consider selling or possibly not purchasing the newer Canon printers, if possible and buy an Epson, Brother or one of the few remaining Canon printers that have compatibles available. Depending on how may cartridges you plan on using, purchasing another printer that has compatible brand cartridges available can save a considerable amount of money over the life of the printer.

When they say patented parts, of course they mean the proprietary chip which measures the ink levels. I believe there will be compatibles made for these however they may not have the chip in them. All this would means is that the printer will detect non-genuine cartridges, give you a warning that Canon’s warranty does not cover damage caused by refills, and then disables the low ink warning. You will need to frequently visually check the level of ink in the cartridges because if the ink runs out it will fry the printhead (and of course this will not be covered by warranty as you have acknowledged that you used compatible cartridges!). Watch this space.

Update

Several companies are now offering compatible cartridges for the iP4200 – with one problem. As the chips are still copyrighted, they are not supplied with the compatible cartridges (and they won’t work without the chip) (see update below). This means you have to prise the chips off the empty originals and stick them onto the compatible. If you damage the chip, you will need to buy a new original cartridge.

Also when you change the chip you will get a warning message and the ink indicators will no longer work (which could result in burning the heads out). Be careful!

Further Update

Compatible cartridges with chips are now freely available. If buying compatibles, clarify with the seller whether the chips are included or not.

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