Is this familiar to you? Do you think Epson is trying to rip you off? The answer is no – Epson are actually saving you money! How does that work you ask? It’s simple really.

First, let’s have a look at ink counting via software and hardware. Most Epson cartridges contain a smart chip which measures how much ink is used up in the cartridge. Old type ink measuring systems just counted how many pages were printed and multiplied that by the ‘average’ amount of ink used by the ‘average’ user to print an ‘average’ page – no wonder they were hopelessly inaccurate. The Epson chips accurately measure how much ink is passed through the nozzles. So why, if it is so accurate, would there be a bit of ink left in the cartridge but the printer refuses to print and won’t let you use up the last bit of ink??

Most HP and Lexmark ink printers use cartridges with a built in printhead, so if you run the cartridge dry and damage the printhead, it’s not a problem because when you install a new cartridge you will also install a new printhead. However, Epson’s printheads are fixed in the machine, and Epson’s piezo-electric printhead will suffer damage if allowed to run dry. There is also the possibility of air bubbles being trapped in the nozzles which may be impossible to shift no matter how many head cleaning cycles you run through.

So, Epson add a little extra ink above the stated volume of the cartridge to act as a safety reserve. The printheads are in no danger of burning out or getting air locked. Basically, Epson has given you some ink for free to protect your printer.

Beware of override software which allows the last of the ink to be used up, as well as refill or generic cartridges which may possibly run dry. A new Epson printhead is not a cheap thing to buy or install, and by just staying calm and understanding the reason for the bit of ink left over in the cartridge will save you lots of printing problems and frustration in the future!

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