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Some Epson printers are programmed to stop working after a certain amount of use

An image of an epson printer with two red x's over the screen

Image: Gizmodo

Printers are still the most attractive in consumer electronics One of the frustrating parts, but it turns out that its craving for expensive ink, and the occasional chewing and choking paper isn’t the biggest challenge of using an Epson printer. As some users have discovered , the hardware may be programmed to stop working one day , if used too often.

The term “planned obsolescence” is widely used in consumer electronics, as the practice of a particular product is designed and built to have a limited lifespan and therefore requires Upgrade or replace in just a few years. Most companies deny using this method, or will cite very specific but questionable reasons why it is necessary, e.g. Mark Haven, A writer and lecturer at the University of New Haven in Connecticut recently discovered.

recently tweeted “very expensive” with their wives @EpsonAmerica Printer”, which appears to unexpectedly display a warning message stating “It has reached the end of its useful life.” Then it stops working and needs repair to bring it back to life, or a full replacement.

So what’s wrong with the printer? crash? Broken circuit board? No. The error message is related to a porous pad inside the printer that collects and contains excess ink. These wear out over time, leading to the potential risk of property damage from ink spills, or even damage to the printer itself. Usually other components in the printer wear out before these pads, or the consumer upgrades to a better model after a few years, but some high volume users may end up getting this error message while the rest of the printer looks very Good and usable.

According to

Fight to Repair sub-stack, since brick issue affects Epson L130, L220, L310, L360 and L365 models, but may affect other models as well, and date back at least five years. There are already videos on YouTube showing other Epson users manually replacing these ink pads to bring their printers back to life. The company does offer a Windows-only Ink Pad reset utility that can extend the life of the printer for a short period of time, but it only It can be used once, after which the hardware either needs to be formally repaired or completely replaced.

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A few years ago, Epson released its EcoTank series of printers, which Printers designed to address the high cost of replacing color inkjet cartridges. These printers feature large ink tanks that can be easily refilled with cheaper ink bottles, and while Epson’s EcoTank printers are therefore more expensive, they will be less expensive to run in the long run, especially for those A person who prints a lot of color images. But that assumes they’ve actually been working long term . Videos of users manually replacing ink pads in Epson printers seem to suggest that the company could redesign the hardware to make the part easy for users to service, which would greatly extend the life of the hardware. But for now, the company’s solution could lead to a growing e-waste problem and force consumers to buy new hardware long before they actually need it.

We’ve reached out to Epson for comment on this feature and asked the company which models are specifically affected by this limitation. We also asked if the service is covered under the printer’s warranty, and if not, what the cost might be, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

Updated 8/8/22 5:10pm EST :

As some readers have pointed out, the blotter pad is an inherent and critical part of the design and functionality of all inkjet printers, including those made by others such as HP, Canon, Lexmark, and Brother. As anyone unfortunate enough to have had an inkjet cartridge leak or an accident while trying to refill it with a third-party tool, you don’t want these things to end up on the printed page.

The problem at hand, as Mark Haven’s tweet suggests, is that printer manufacturers don’t properly educate users that the longevity of the expensive printers they buy can be affected by restrictions, otherwise mandatory services will be required. This is expected from other expensive purchases such as a car. Dealers will explicitly list maintenance you’ll need later, but at least for the average consumer model, printer makers aren’t that aggressive. The first time you hear about this problem shouldn’t come from an opaque and unexpected error message telling you that your printer “has reached the end of its useful life,” especially when most of its parts are working fine.

Epson has taken steps to reduce the amount of e-waste generated by its printers with an EcoTank line that allows ink containers to be refilled without having to buy new inkjet cartridges and Deal with the old ones, each with actual electronics inside. But it can certainly do more, especially on issues like this. For some models, such as those expected to have high usage, the company has implemented hardware designs that allow end users to easily replace ink collection devices through maintenance kits.

But that’s not a feature you see on consumer-facing models. Rather than betting that the printer itself or other components will become obsolete or unusable before the pad needs maintenance, companies can be more transparent about potential lifespan limitations from the start. Inkjet printers are very eager to notify you when ink levels are getting low, so let’s also make information about the potential maintenance needs of the printer obvious, even if users never come close to actually needing it.

As it stands, there are no doubt a lot of users who get an error message like this and just completely replace their printer, and of course they’d love to do it Pay for a $15 maintenance kit to quickly get them running again, keeping more equipment away from recycling facilities or dumps.



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