January 03, 2011
This article uses the HP 940 ink cartridge in the HP Officejet Pro 8500A printer as a reference. My comments regarding Adaptive Ink are only related to the HP8500A printer and their Mini-Pro Series CISS (continuous ink supply system).
The last time I looked, ink was marked up 100 times from bulk ink to the price charged in the retail stores. Ink cost is a concern for most of us. We have considerations here.
* The ink jet printer manufacturer diserves an opportunity to cover the cost of research and development.
* With programmable ink cartridges the manufacturer can extend their profits beyond the patent. Profits can be abusive.
Ink cartridges now have chips in them. Why? Would that be comparable to building a programmable chip in a coffee cup so you know when it is almost empty. Then you would have to buy a new cup if you want more coffee. Thank goodness your coffee cup is not connected to your computer but with wireless technology it could be done. Try using the coffee cup twice and your computer shuts down.
The ink jet cartridge manufacturer and Adaptive Ink are in competition with each other. The ink jet cartridge manufacturer may have an advantage since they make the ink cartridge and program the chip inside the ink cartridge. Therefore in the light of a competitive market it may be necessary for Adaptive Ink to cheat a little. Maybe some of their ink systems work good and others don't. How can Adaptive Ink or any similar company keep up with and circumvent the programming in each cartridge chip or the design of the cartridge?
I have the Adaptive Ink Mini-Pro Series CISS (continuous ink supply system) connected to my HP 8500A printer. After 100 photos (4" x 5") and 400 low coverage prints the Mini-Pro Series system has lost 4.5 grams. So ink is being sucked into the ink cartridge inside the printer. At this point the printer indicates there is 70% ink left.
Keep in mind that the original HP 940 cartridge chip is now part of the Adaptive Ink Mini-Pro Series CISS system. The head assembly is removed from the original ink cartridge and installed on the cartridge that comes with the Adaptive Ink Mini-Pro Series CISS cartridge. So the chip stays with the printer and it will anticipate low ink based on the estimated ink used on the printer by the HP940 cartridge chip. Keep in mind the HP 940XL cartridge holds more ink and its chip will be programmed accordingly.
If the HP 8500A onboard computer is accurate I am getting economical printing and this information has nothing to do with the external ink supply since the information is derived from the original ink cartridge chip. Now if the computer will still use the printer when the low ink indicator activates, we will be doing great. I am not optimistic. There are many things this chip can do. It can slow down the printer to a snail's pace and it force you to hit a few buttons on the printer to complete each printed page. By law HP cannot program the printer to stop but there are many things that can be done to fault the system and force the purchase of another ink cartridge set.
Adaptive Ink was informative prior to purchase but even then, they avoided the question of what happens when the low ink indicator is activated. I have emailed them several times and called them several times and they evade the question. Either they don't know or they are not telling. Once, they returned a call when they did not know what the question would be. When I mentioned "low ink indicator" they said they were busy and would have to call me back the next day. We then continued to talk long enough to have answered the question. They never called back.
So at this point in time I have low expectations for the HP 8500A and the Adaptive Ink Mini-Pro Series CISS external ink supply system. Adaptive Ink is operating under some unique conditions where they never answer the phone and only call back on selective calls. They also only answer selective emails. It appears to me the technology to defeat the high cost of ink is still in its primitive state and any company trying to beat the system cannot survive and be ethical at the same time. So, I ask, are they less ethical than the printer ink jet cartridge manufacturer who is striving to maintain a 10,000% markup on ink.
My advice? I would purchase the HP 8500A and then, when needed, buy the HP 940XL cartridges. This would buy you a lot of color printing and give you time to see what direction external ink supplies go. At this point my cartridge chips indicate I have about 65% to 70% of the ink left.
Hopefully, others will contribute with their results. I will update this review when my printer fails or succeeds.
Date of this review: January 03, 2011