I used to own an HP laserjet IIIp model black and white only laserjet printer. The unit was a tank and lasted for nearly 15 years while only ever having to replace the toner and there was a great deal of toner in those cartridges. I printed a great many pages of print through that printer without incident. I was a great fan of HP printing gear so when I needed a new printer, the manufacturer choice was easy to make. Wow, was I wrong. HP has changed, dramatically for the worse!
I purchased a brand new color laserjet 2840 multifunction device. When the USB cable is plugged in the printer will not even print and keep repeating a "page too complex" error message for any print job. Thankfully, my needs were mostly met utilizing the network printing port. HP has also yet to release 64 bit drivers for use with 64 bit operating systems. After a relatively few number of pages (less than 800) the printer claimed the toner cartridges were empty. I wondered how a laser printer would even determine such a thing and began looking into it.
Practically every printer manufacturer these days is using smart chips to determine when the ink or toner is running low. For the 2840, replacement toner cartridges cost between $100.00 and $120.00 per cartridge. There are 4 cartridges in the unit: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.
After the printer believes that there is no toner left in any one of the cartridges or if it thinks the drum is worn out based on the smart chip on the drum then the unit refuses to print anything and there is no known or documented way to override it. HP support is unwilling to provide any information that might permit someone to override the so-called "smart chip."
The new cartridges that you buy come with a convenient prepaid shipping label so they may be returned to HP and be recycled. On the surface one would think that is great and HP must care about the environment. However, after conducting some experiments I am convinced that deliberate fraud and extortion are the primary motivators.
I managed to find a company that would sell me the smart chips alone for approximately $9.00. I purchased two sets of smart chips for the black toner cartridge, each color cartridge, and the drum. After the printer claimed any of the drum or toner cartridges were empty I simply replaced the chip. This is easily done as the smart chip is simply stuck on the cartridge with some double sided sticky tape and because the printer uses a carousel design, I was able to replace the smart chip on each of these components without even removing the component from the printer.
I was then able to print approximately the same amount with no loss whatsoever in print quality on using the new chip utilizing only the toner that was left remaining in the cartridge after the printer claimed it was empty. I printed double the capacity of the cartridge on the new chip using the exact same cartridge with only the left over toner that was in the same cartridge after the chip claimed it was empty. So then I put a third chip on the cartridge and kept right on printing. After only a hundred or so pages, the printer actually zeroed the chip. I replaced it again, and after only a couple of pages, the printer zeroed the chip again.
So clearly HP has two methods for determining when there is no toner in a cartridge. The one that extorts the money from you and has you returning as much as 60% of the toner in the cartridge back to them when you buy a new, and the one that actually knows when it is empty and conveniently zeroes your chip for you once it really is out of toner.
I can not fathom why this has not turned into a class action law suit. I am sure this is happening with other units and even if it isn't, HP has to have sold millions of dollars worth of these cartridges by now.
I have yet to actually wear out the drum. I just keep replacing the chips and the dang drum is lasting forever. I am done with HP...never another product from them again.
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