When you own the type of inkjet printer that uses "tank cartridges" (so, the ones that aren't shaped like an upside-down "L") - ie: Canon 250xl/251xl; HP 950xl/951xl; HP 902xl's: HP 962xl's; all Brother inkjet cartridges; all Epson inkjet cartridges; etc, etc etc........ These kinds of printers have printheads built into the printer itself, rather than having the printheads as part of the cartridges (the aforementioned "L" shaped ones)... The printheads are located underneath the carriage that you install the cartridges into and it's a component of an inkjet printer that is responsible for taking the ink that feeds out of the cartridge and dispersing it onto the paper. When you own these types of printers, you must perform regular maintenance on the machine to ensure that it continues to perform properly. Don't worry - there's nothing manual you have to do (as a matter of fact, those DIY kits online that show people with syringes and liquids being injected into the heads to clean them - AVOID THOSE!!!! Those will ruin your machine with the quickness!). All you have to do is tell your printer to run these required maintenance cycles and it does it for you. It's just a matter of button-pushing on your end.
When these cleanings and maintenance cycles are performed regularly, as they must be, they do use a little bit of ink to do - by shooting some of it through the screens and heads to keep the liquid flowing properly. If you keep up on it, the amount of ink used to do this is a minor amount. But if you neglect this maintenance, you may end up clogging your heads and as a result, you may have to run numerous cycles to get things flowing properly again. I've seen some severely neglected machines require several sets of cartridges to get the ink through the heads and onto the paper again - and that can get mighty pricey! Sometimes, if the maintenance and cleaning is neglected for too long and the heads become permanently clogged - the machine can be damaged beyond repair!
To be clear, if your heads get dirty or clogged - the cartridge has nothing to do with the problem.
The ink comes out of the cartridge and feeds into the heads and then the heads dispense the ink onto the page. If you neglect this cleaning and the ink clogs up the heads - pages will start coming out blank or with missing colors (most frequently: black, as black is the most commonly used color). Once your heads are clogged, you can keep replacing the cartridges until the cows come home if you want - it won't change a thing. You must keep the heads clean and free of clogs to keep your inkjet printer running properly. The only way to do this is to run those required printhead cleaning and maintenance cycles on a regular basis - and running them weekly is the official recommendation. Don't neglect these cleanings or you will end up with a mighty expensive problem on your hands!
Think of printhead cleaning cycles like oil changes for your car. If you keep up on it, it may cost a couple bucks every once in a while but if you neglect it - it's gonna cost you a ton of money to fix your car when your engine explodes on your way home one day!
If you have the type of inkjet printer that uses the "L" shaped cartridges (ie: HP 61xl; HP 65xl; Canon 245xl/246xl's; etc) then the printheads are built into the cartridge itself. You still need to do the cleanings and maintenance cycles but if your heads get clogged on those then worst case scenario - you can replace the cartridge and the problem is fixed. But with the "tank cartridge" type printers, that's not an option because the heads are in the printers themselves - not built into the cartridges.
Just remember to keep up with the cleaning cycles and maintenance on your machine and you'll be in great shape!
Some cartridges have specific installation and opening instructions for them and if your particular cartridge does - then there will be a sticker on the cartridge's wrapper that will give you exact and specific directions that are extremely important to follow!
For example, if you have a "tank type" ink cartridge that has a yellow pull-tab on it and an orange clip that protects the chip and the sponge-spout where the ink releases through - you MUST open those two things in the correct order: which is 1) The Yellow Pull Tab and then 2) The Orange Clip. The reason for this is that ink cartridges contain contents under pressure. With the cartridges full of ink, if you do not pull off that tab first - you aren't allowing that pressure to vent a bit and if you don't relieve that pressure a bit first and try to just take the orange clip off first - you're going to get ink spurted all over you. And that stuff does not clean off easily from your skin and it'll likely ruin your clothes, your carpet, etc. But if you remove the pull-tab first and then the orange clip afterwards, you'll release that pressure a bit and avoid that problem from occurring. PULL-TAB FIRST, THEN THE ORANGE CLIP. You do not want ink spurting all over you, trust me. It's not going to be a pleasant experience.
If there's an orange clip but no pull-tab, you're OK. Those cartridges are filled a certain way to avoid that problem. Some don't have those issues, others do. But if you follow the directions carefully - you'll be fine.
Always check the instructions stickers on the packaging for specific directions that must be followed!
If you own an inkjet printer (especially an HP one) - make sure you turn off automatic updates on your machine to avoid becoming a victim of any potentially malicious firmware update corruption bugs that those types of printers are unusually susceptible to. There are no legit reasons why your printer would need an update. The way it worked when you bought it is the way you should keep it. By turning off automatic updates, you won't have to worry about getting hit with one of those annoying bugs. Those bugs can render your cartridges unusable until you buy new ones and/or roll-back the update to the previous version. This is a gigantic pain in the butt. It's usually just inkjet printers that have these particular vulnerabilities and it's mostly just HP ones that fall victim to it. Don't let this happen to you! Disable automatic updates immediately!
If you fail to turn off automatic updates on your inkjet printer and you fall victim to one of those firmware update corruption bugs that nullifies your printer's ability to recognize your existing cartridges, you'll need to buy new ones. It is not our responsibility to replace your cartridges if this happens to you. All you need to do is turn off those automatic updates to protect yourself and your machine!
When it comes time to purchase a new drum unit for your laser printer, you'll need to tell your printer that you put a new drum in after you do so. The printer won't know you did this until you tell it that you did. To do so, you'll need to reset the drum counter. Every printer model is a little bit different with how this is done but if you email us your particular printer model, at: firstname.lastname@example.org , we'll walk you through it. It's very easy to do.
There are a couple toner models out that don't yet have compatible smart-chips pre-installed on them from the manufacturers. Some retailers opt to sell DIY chip-swap kits and what not, but those are a nightmare. In almost every case, it turns out to be a total disaster. When cartridge models first come out, they are sometimes only available as chipless compatibles and require someone to take off the used chip from their original cartridge and swap it onto the chipless compatible - sometimes this is a simple slide-out/slide-in situation and other times it can require a complicated situation with glue guns, soldering irons and other equipment. It's a gigantic pain
to do and it almost never turns out OK. Handling chips is a very delicate process - even a single fingerprint or piece of dust can render the chip useless. For that reason, we don't mess with those DIY kits and don't deal with chipless compatibles that require the customer to do all the hard work. We just won't sell a particular cartridge model until there are some available that come with the chips already installed.
On a few particular models, there are some that have just come out that are this way but rather than sell the chipless compatible DIY kits - we have opted to sell compatibles that have used OEM chips pre-installed for you by our suppliers. So they do the hard work for you. It's not exactly the same as what we normally sell so we don't really like to do this at all, but on a couple extremely popular models - it's the only option on the table at the moment, so there are a couple that we do offer this way (for now). One is the HP CF258X (58X) model and it's lower yield version CF258A (58A). On these, since they contain previously used OEM chips - they do display an annoying "low toner level" warning message, called a "false error". Normally our product doesn't have something like that but since these chips are used OEM chips - they may or may not give that false indicator. The cartridge is not actually low on it's toner level, it's full. But it may give you that false error. Us selling those is a temporary thing until the regular compatibles come out that have the new compatible chips pre-installed at the manufacturer and although we don't necessarily like to sell those - it does save you $50 or so bucks vs. buying the HP brand name ones and they are an extremely popular model, so we're not passing up the sale on those. So, for now - we are selling them. But as soon as the regular chipped ones become available, we won't be selling those anymore. They work just as well, mind you, they just have that annoying false error message in some cases. Just ignore it and remember how much $ you saved - it makes that irritating false error message a lot less annoying. :-)