I have had my continuous ink system for well over a year now for my Epson Stylus PHOTO R240. The results are excellent and the running costs are peanuts. Installation can be a bit awkward and following the instructions is essential or you will have one hell of mess on your hands. The system I bought was from that wonderful site 'eBay' and it was from Hong Kong. It came with full vessels of ink and at that time cost around £50 (aprox. $99). They seem to have grown now in popularity and the prices seem to have fallen and their availability has increased along with top-up inks.
You can see the tube/ribbon running along the carriage way to the cartridges
This offers a closer view
The outfit came with the 4 cartridges linked together. Attached to each cartridge was a tube system in a ribbon, which was attached to a plastic clear vessel with 4 inkwells and colors. You have to ensure that the tube/ribbon can run freely across the carriage without snagging, with the instructions showing you where to place certain stick-on-clips inside the printer. Once it is all in place and you've managed to negotiate the carriage problem just turn your printer on.
Epson and the other printer manufacturers like to ensure that you buy their inks! So of course the main obstacle is to ensure the chip that is attached to the ink cartridges keeps renewing itself. It does this very well and in Epson's inevitable spirit of ownership it will so often ask you if you really want to use the junk ink as it's not a proper Epson ink cartridge. “Yes, I do, as yours is too damn expensive, my pocket doesn't allow me to spend £200 ($396) in 6 months on inks!” I just think it's an outrage that I should be told what inks I should buy. I know the reasons why and I know the expense! I am not sure how the law stands in the UK or the US about the legality of making chips that work with Epson and other manufacturers' printers or how this information is obtained by ink manufacturers, but if I just make an assumption that I doubt it pleases them. I bet that someone will enlighten me in the comment boxes below. Do the ink companies buy the rights to the chip information? After the Epson alert, I then ran the head cleaning mode, did the alignments on the printer heads and it worked!
Here are the inkwells. I left them nearly empty to show the colors and sizing better.
Nothing to it, or so I thought. This is where I had trouble, I couldn't understand why my ink was running away without using it. Within a day my inks were practically empty. After a few emails to the seller in Hong Kong we established that I had the inkwells too high and gravity was just letting the inks pour out and the bottom of the printer was soaked! Problem was resolved by putting the inkwells at the same level as the printer, on the table. Not where I wanted it, but it had to be and after that it has been running like a dream.
I run a village Photography club and I produce several prints once a month and these are not to be put on a wall or prints for professional show, just printed for that occasion. I also make my own cards, print loads of letters, the occasional email and take information from the internet by the bucket load, especially recipes. Just as an added note the best recipe book you will ever have now is the internet. These inks are not very permanent, therefore photographs only last for about a year before they get too faded. If I need something more permanent then I will get a company to print them for me, but that is rare. You can obtain more expensive pigment inks that will give you that permanence. So, if you are printing a large number of images for more longevity this is still an excellent system that can reduce your costs considerably. I am talking pennies/cents here. I bought 2000ml of refills from eBay at £32 ($63) and haven't touched much of it despite the large amount of printing I do.
There are more professional CIS systems out there and inks. Which is the best one would take a lot of research, buying and trying. I am willing to do this if someone is rich enough to buy me all the equipment.—No contenders then? But, if you are looking to bring down your printing costs this is an excellent way to achieve it. I haven't regretted it.
There is a snag in this and that is if the printer is new, you don't use the proper inks and you do install the CIS your guarantee becomes invalid. The paperwork you get from the sellers tells you to keep the original ink cartridges for this reason. Also there is no guarantee that a CIS system has been made for your model of printer. This must be due to chip problems I guess. Shop around and do your homework before buying. Do you want cheap or professional? I know I have to go cheap and this does the job very, very well. The last comment I will make is that the inks are in a clear plastic container and I put a box over the inks to stop the light bleaching the colour out. That is a tip I hadn't seen on the piece of instruction from the seller, but I did it instinctively and found out later that I was right to do this. There is one big bonus, that is, you will never run out of ink because you can always see the amount you have left.
If you have a CIS on your printer let us know about it and your experiences. Mine is only one experience and I know that there are some different ones out there, good and bad. If you can give the information of where you bought it and costs, it would help others.
5th April 2010 - This is a PS as this is still here and so is my printer and CIS. It is still going strong and I paid for a load of inks back in 2008 and have yet to use half the amount I paid for as you can see from above how much that cost me.
September 12th 2010 - Alas my Epson has given up the ghost and that is very sad. A brilliant printer that NEVER let me down until yesterday. I have now got to look out for another printer. But at the moment money is tight, therefore, it shall have to be put on the back burner. I still have half a box of inks left and the CIS is still working well. The carriage has broken and as all things in the modern age it's cheaper to replace it than repair. It's a stupid attitude the modern society has when the environment is more important.
When(?) I get my new printer I certainly shall be looking for another CIS because it's damn cheap to run. Anyone that doesn't have one has too much money to burn. The environmental impact is less on the CIS as well.
Has anyone else put a system in because of this editorial? Would love to know
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