Advice for buying a new multifunction home printer/scanner suitable for refilling.

Treby

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Hi,

I'm looking for your expert knowledgeable advice regarding my best options for a basic multifunction home printer.

Probably not the most engaging of questions to ask, as I'm not looking for anything fancy, just the sort of machine the average person might use for general household use, but it must be a question vast number of consumers frequently ask themselves.

I don't do any serious photo printing mainly documents with some colour. I would miss not being able to print and scan in colour.

I have initially decided to look into another inkjet rather than a mono laser or more expensive colour laser printer which would be overkill for my requirements.

I don't do a lot of regular printing, only one or 2 pages of A4 a week. I don't need to print A3.

Sometimes I may print a large burst of documents, but rarely if ever photos.

I would be happy enough with only a rear paper feeder without auto duplex or CD printing.

(Unfortunately, there are times when I do not use the printer for 4 to 6 weeks due to personal circumstances, but this year I have not been using the printer for 10 weeks, again due to my circumstances.
I realise that the longer the period of inactivity, the worse it is for print head "health" and printer lifespan, but I would like to know if some printers may be more tolerant of this than others.



Regarding my past most recent printer history...

I have been using a Canon MP600 over the past 10+ years which I have been successfully resetting & refilling OEM & compatible cartridges. I have reset the waste ink counter once and cleaned out the waste ink absorber pads ... not a job I particularly want to do again.

I am on my second (3rd hand) Canon MP600. It is still working OK but I expect I am on borrowed time as the printer is rather old now, so a print head failure / logic board failure and / or waste ink reset & pad clean must surely be ominously close.

I would like to have a suitable replacement printer in the wings, ready for when I feel is its inevitable demise especially as OEM print heads are not available!

Hence my question "Advice for buying a new home multifunction printer/scanner suitable for refilling"...

In particular I have been looking at the Epson & Canon range of printers, but not looked at the HP range at all yet.

I was very happy with the MP600 so I am tempted by another Canon. I would happily buy another MP600 if I could, but it may be a better printer than I need in some respects.

The most unsatisfactory thing about Canon printers appears to be the probably(?) artificially early end of life "waste ink pads full" Canon "gotcha" which is so frustrating when it happens!
This appears to me to be a design feature of Canon printers... a deliberate designed-in planned obsolescence which is environmentally very unfriendly, but part of the printer business model for all makes as far as I can tell?

Is converting a Canon printer without a front feed cassette so the waste ink tube could be fed from under or out of the side to a waste ink "Printer Potty" type receptacle or sump solution possible? Clearly no point even attempting this if a waste ink counter reset is not possible for the printer in question unless waste ink counter resetting eventually always becomes possible with Canon printers.

I am aware of the Canon "yellow jellow" trap if you are refilling!!

I am also aware that newer Canon OEM cartridges are opaque which makes refilling more challenging, but I do already understand the ways around that like weighing or using a dipstick.

On the other hand, I know little about Epson printers which is where I would really appreciate your wisdom.

Epson printers appeal to me in the sense that the waste ink solution appears to have been dealt with properly by Epson in combination with the WicReset utility. However, I believe Epson printers, due to the nature of the print head use more ink for cleaning/flushing which may make a user serviceable waste ink solution more important. Is this true?
In addition, the WicReset utility appears to offer a lot more end user control and options than any other printer brand at a modest cost which is also rather appealing.

However the Epson printers "gotcha" appears to be that the print heads are fixed into the machines so are not so easily removed for replacement (or cleaning for that matter), and in any case do not seem to be available as a replacement part. Am I correct? Financially not a problem if you buy an inexpensive Epson, but pretty poor for the environment when the whole printer has to be discarded.

I have also heard that the Epson piezo print heads suffer more from blocking if they are not used as opposed to the Canon thermal print heads which may be OK if left for weeks or even months to a year? Can others corroborate this?

Are there any other "gotchas" with inexpensive Epson printers?

I have heard that Epson printers may be more tolerant of refillable cartridges with auto-reset chips as the ink flow is less critical than on a Canon... do you think this is true?

How does refilling Epson cartridges compare to Canon in terms of success & difficulty?

I do wonder if the Epson printers are as well made, durable and reliable as their equivalent Canon competitors? I would be very interested to hear your opinions & experiences in this regard.

I have looked at the Epson ecotank range, but I have reservations about the upfront cost for a printer which may prove no more reliable or durable than an inexpensive basic printer.
I have also read, in an Amazon review of the ET2750, that it would only print on Epson's own very expensive glossy paper properly... other glossy paper ended up having a large black smudge on the leading edge. This may only apply to photo gloss paper, so may not bother me, but I do wonder if printing onto ordinary standard A4 paper might have similar smudging issues unless Epson paper is used?
The refilling & waste ink solutions for the ecotank range appear excellent however.



Regarding HP printers I know even less, but have chosen not to pursue this avenue as they appear not to have a user serviceable waste ink management solution or the advantages of being included in the WicReset utility.

My aim is to refill as inexpensively, as easily & avoid as much waste as possible, or failing that, to use inexpensive compatible cartridges whilst keeping the printer serviceable for as long as possible.

My apologies for the length of this post which I hope has not proved too tedious to read.

Many thanks for bearing with me if you are still reading this, with thanks in advance if you feel able to offer any answers to my questions or make any observations about this post.

Treby.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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Since you are not printing regularly did you ever consider to get a budget level laser printer (color) which is much less sensitive to longer periods of inactivity, they are available in every pricing range.
 

The Hat

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Many thanks for bearing with me if you are still reading this, with thanks in advance if you feel able to offer any answers to my questions or make any observations about this post.
Long post..! I was going to print it out and read it over 3 nights…:lol:

To cut to the Chase... There’s one Canon printer that would fit the bill, it’s the Canon Maxify, it has all the bells and whistles that anyone would need, depending on the model you choose.

It’s ideal for leaving it for ages unused and unloved and will spring back to life without causing you nightmares, it has big cartridges that can be refilled and the OEM chips can be exchanged for ARC chips.

I can go on with lots more about these printers and probably have a post as big as yours, so I won’t, go check them out yourself online and you won’t be disappointed, it’s like having a colour laser printer.. Totally recommended..;)
 

stratman

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Canon Maxify.
  • Small Office / Home Office All-In-One inkjet printers.
  • Seems better build quality over typical home printers nowadays. (Pro printers well made, of course)
  • Larger duty cycles.
  • Fast to first print and fast pages per minute printed.
  • Big ink tanks, especially if using the XL sized ones. Example: the MB5xxx models have the bigger overall ink volume capacities.
  • Refillable. OEM XL cartridges do last along time.
  • Definitely not a dedicated photo printer but decent image quality that is on par with an old MX860 I compared a Glossy Canon photo paper 4x6 print to with same image and paper printed on my MB5120 Maxify. I was pleasantly surprised. Not floored, but pleased.
  • Has Auto-Duplex printing.
  • Has Auto-Duplex copy via the ADF (Automatic Document Feed) on the more expensive MB5xxx models (and maybe the MB4xxx models. I don't recall for sure)
  • Scanner is adequate for my needs.
  • Has FAX capability. What's that? ;)
If you want a better photo printer or a better scanner in the Canon line then you will need to spend more money and buy separate scanner and printer.
 

Treby

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Thank you all for your amazingly fast and very helpful responses ... you chaps certainly have staying power having read through my post & responding already!

Apologies for not thanking you in as timely a way... I've was busy yesterday moving from the north east of England before it went in to "Tier 3 COVID very high alert status" at midnight to avoid the risk of being stuck there indefinitely, back to my home in the east of England which is still "Tier 1 COVID medium alert status" which was a 3 hour journey with a packed car.
Since you are not printing regularly did you ever consider to get a budget level laser printer (color) which is much less sensitive to longer periods of inactivity, they are available in every pricing range.
Yes "Ink stained Fingers", I did consider it & I looked into colour laser printers a little.

I felt that they were perhaps a little overkill for my needs as they seemed more aimed at business needs so I thought I was being a bit daft even considering them. I found out that refilling was possible, but spilt toner could very messy and that it was inadvisable to use an ordinary household vacuum cleaner to clean up. Also there were similar issues with refilling toner like chip protected cartridges or HP toner cartridges that had a limited refill potential.

Thank you for your suggestion, I may look into that option again a bit further.

Many thanks "The Hat" and "stratman" for pointing me in the direction of the Canon Maxify range.

They sound very interesting indeed.

I had already seen a video on refilling the Maxify cartridges which looked pretty straightforward, but I hadn't considered the possibility of auto-reset chips for them on OEM cartridges... thanks "The Hat"
I will take up your suggestion to check them out myself online.

Regarding the Canon Maxify range, do they have an option to somehow change the waste ink absorber pads & reset the waste ink counter?

If you want a better photo printer or a better scanner in the Canon line then you will need to spend more money and buy separate scanner and printer.
This is an interesting suggestion as a decent scanner is important to me, but hopefully it won't be necessary to have 2 separate machines, but certainly an option worth considering.

Any comments about the Canon TS5050? Only £79.99 on Amazon the last time I looked.
5 inks, rear sheet feeder only, manual duplex, very cheap compatible inks (less than £11.00 for a full set of XL), very cheap refillable cartridges with auto-reset chips ( Amazon @ only £14.98), wireless printing, replacement print heads still available, eminently refillable OEM cartridges.
Downside ... no readily available printer potty / waste ink counter option as it's a Canon!!! (So it may have a rather short service life?).

Thank you all for the pointers... I will do some more Googling!
 

palombian

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Canon Maxify.
  • Small Office / Home Office All-In-One inkjet printers.
  • Seems better build quality over typical home printers nowadays. (Pro printers well made, of course)
  • Larger duty cycles.
  • Fast to first print and fast pages per minute printed.
  • Big ink tanks, especially if using the XL sized ones. Example: the MB5xxx models have the bigger overall ink volume capacities.
  • Refillable. OEM XL cartridges do last along time.
  • Definitely not a dedicated photo printer but decent image quality that is on par with an old MX860 I compared a Glossy Canon photo paper 4x6 print to with same image and paper printed on my MB5120 Maxify. I was pleasantly surprised. Not floored, but pleased.
  • Has Auto-Duplex printing.
  • Has Auto-Duplex copy via the ADF (Automatic Document Feed) on the more expensive MB5xxx models (and maybe the MB4xxx models. I don't recall for sure)
  • Scanner is adequate for my needs.
  • Has FAX capability. What's that? ;)
If you want a better photo printer or a better scanner in the Canon line then you will need to spend more money and buy separate scanner and printer.
+ replacement printhead reasonably priced
+ waste ink counter resettable
 

stratman

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This is an interesting suggestion as a decent scanner is important to me
The scanning elements on the Maxify's are adequate for usual home or office use. Scanning documents, bank checks articles were no problem, although you may need to play with settings to get best results just like any other scanner. Scanning my drivers license definitely looked better with certain settings than others. I am not the biggest fan of the scan utility software (Canon IJ Scan Utility) as I think it is clunky compared to what was offered in the past.

The scanning element for the TS5050 appears to have a better Optical resolution than the Maxify's: 1200 x 2400 dpi vs 1200 x 1200 dpi. You can get beeter if needed in a standalone scanner device.

What will you be doing with the scanner that you may want a more robust device?

Any comments about the Canon TS5050?
I know nothing more than I can read on the specs of the printer and then make guesses otherwise. I do not know about refilling or ARC chips for the printer.

The print resolution appears to be better with the TS5050 than the Maxify's. This is to be expected as the printers are designed for slightly different usage environments - home versus work. Images should look nicer the larger the size of the print.

The TS5050 uses Dye-based inks for photos, which may look more vibrant to you than the Pigment ink used in Maxify's. If using 3rd party dye-based refill inks or prefilled cartridges then expect very poor archival qualities. Your pictures will fade fast, faster depending on the paper used and environmental conditions the image is exposed to. OEM inks are fade resistant. The TS5050 does use a Pigment Black ink for text. Oftentimes a 3rd party Pigment Black cartridge works well.

Chances are the build qualities and durabilities are different as well, with the Maxify designed for greater work load. But will this matter for a light usage home environment? Maybe not at all for you.

If Automatic Duplex printing is important then the TS5050 is not the printer to get.

If photo printing is of importance to you then the TS5050 sounds like the better choice than the Maxify based on specs.
 

Artur5

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Good post @stratman..

As a side note, I wouldn’t think much about the extra resolution of the scanner, when comparing a Pixma TS5050 to a Maxify. 1200x2400 dpi is the resolution of the sensor, but the final sharpness depends a lot on the optical system (lens, focusing accuracy..)

2400 dpi real optical resolution is a figure that we find only on dedicated film scanners, nowadays almost discontinued. Those have a much higher quality lens than desktop units and also micro adjustments for accurate focusing.
For a desktop scanner, 1200dpi is more than enough and probably the optics of many of them (including the TS5050 or the Maxify ) won’t reach even that.

Consider that scanning a document of 8x10” at 2400 dpi gives a cumbersome file of 460Mpix. totally unpractical to work with. Personally, I never go beyond 600 dpi scanning letter size sheets, but 400 dpi is already OK for most of them.
1200 dpi might be considered for documents smaller than 4x6”, if the utmost detail is required, but probably we wouldn’t find discernible differences with 600-800 dpi.
 
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stratman

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I never go beyond 600 dpi scanning letter size sheets
My Maxify only goes up to 600 dpi resolution setting. I use primarily 150 or 300 dpi for my scanning needs with documents. If scanning to JPG then I might look at JPEG Image Quality and see how Standard compares to Low or High with respect to both image quality and size of the file (in MB's or KB's).

Just doing my part to be a good steward of electrons so that everyone has enough. ;)
 
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