Toner expiration games

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Toner expiration games

We recently got a call from an irate friend who had bought a case of toner cartridges for the HP OfficeJet printer that he used in his home office. At the time, this seemed like a good idea, because it saved him a substantial amount on each cartridge. Unfortunately, this evening he had tried to make a print, and the printer gave him a message that the toner cartridge had expired.

At first he thought this meant he was out of toner, which seemed unlikely, but possible, so he changed the cartridge. That gave the same message, and a little searching on the Internet revealed that cartridges for this printer had an imbedded chip to track their age, and to not let them be used when, like a bottle of milk, they had expired. This meant that he was now sitting on what was, for him, a very expensive case of unusable cartridges.

A further search indicated a general consensus that there was nothing that could be done, other than buy a new cartridge. Only one, of course, because it was the desire to save money by buying many, rather than pay single unit price, that had gotten him in trouble in the first place.

Fortunately, further investigation turned up a helpful article at (on a Web site called The Lawful Path, with which we were not familiar) which said that one merely had to remove the battery that kept the CMOS alive in the d125xi printer, let it sit for about an hour (presumably to let the CMOS capacitor drain), then put back the battery.

If you look at the attached picture, you can see the battery. It is, according to the article, difficult to find and reach, but worth the effort if the alternative is to have to replace perfectly good toner.

Now, it may well be that this kill-on-expiration feature has a benefit, in that it prevents you from using ink which will clog the print heads, either because the ink has curdled, or because you are using refills that are not assembled in clean rooms, and have greater potential to clog the print heads.

Nonetheless, it appears that a lot of people would prefer to regularly spend less on toner, and risk having to occasionally replace the print heads.

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