EPSON T504 compatible ink for a EPSON L4160 printer

mexjuan

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I have an EPSON L4160 ecotank printer, bought in Mexico which uses (came with) T504 inks. I would like to take it back to the US when I move back in the near future. I would sell it here in Mexico before going back if I can't buy compatible ink stateside. I've looked for T504 in on the web and only find sources in Latin America, none in the US.

Does anybody know if T502 ink would be compatible?

Is anybody here on the forum using T502 ink who could post photos of the ecofit keying of the bottles so I can compare with the T504 ones I have?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

stratman

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I do not have Epson printers, so take this with a grain of salt.

Based on my reading from Google, you printer uses 3 Dye-based inks - Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, plus one Pigment Black ink.

The Pigment Black is most likely used exclusively for printing black text. Pigment ink is water resistant, less likely to run when using a highlighter, and may produce deeper black. It is not used for image printing. The CYM Dye-based inks are used for images, including being mixed together to get black, but not when printing simple black text unless the black text is actually a part an image file and not standalone black text like a word processing document or on a web page.

The bottom line here is that you want to only use a Dye-based ink for the CYM ink and only Pigment Black for the black ink.

Printer manufacturers carve up the world into regions and options available and pricing may vary significantly by region. Printers and their ink may be identical in more than one region, which makes sense from a manufacturing point of view. The fewer different types of ink to make the more money saved in R&D and production cost. Also, this saves when producing print heads and firmware - if more than one printer uses the same print head then big savings for Epson. Just change the model number to reflect what region it is to be sold in.

Epson, like Canon, may uses the exact same ink in more than one region but have a different cartridge model number - T502 and T504. For cartridges with chips on them, the appropriate region printer can only use that region's compatible cartridge even if the ink itself is the same. A number of reasons may account for a manufacturer does this. My guess is the number one reason is some financial advantage, for instance, you may be able to sell an ink cartridge for more money in the USA than in India. Always follow the money. ;)

There are web sites that claim their inks are direct replacement aftermarket inks for that use either T502 or T504 ink. I do not know this is true but you can uses any Dye-based ink in place of OEM dye-based ink, though performance of that ink including color fidelity and fade resistance may be significantly compromised. Things can get a little trickier concerning the Black Pigment ink in in addition to the potential issues of Dye-based aftermarket ink, an aftermarket pigment ink may have different sized pigment particles that may increase the risk for clogging of the print head nozzles.

https://www.newegg.com/p/0X6-04KT-0AAG4

https://splashjet-ink.com/product/ink-for-epson-001-t504-t502-101-102-for-l4150-l4750-et-printer/

I am in no way recommending either one of these inks, just using the web page for educational purposes. I do not recommend Universal inks like these as their performance is usually poorer. Like drinking wine, printing is up to you what you consider acceptable.

IF the T502 and T504 are the same inks but have different model numbers, then you can expect the same color fidelity and performance from either OEM ink. Fill 'er up!

Two caveats:

1) I am amusing that there are no chips or a code to enter from the ink packaging when you refill the Epson Ecotank. If there is a code or chip then a different region's chip or code will not work with your printer. It must use the same branded region ink.

2) Is the power supply / electrical plug the same in Mexico and the USA? If not then how trustworthy as converters?
 
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mexjuan

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Thanks Stratman,
My printer uses ink out of bottles, not cartridges and as you assume, there are no chips or codes involved. The closest thing to that is the unique, peculiar keyed shape of each color's bottle neck that only fits the corresponding filler neck on the printer. A clever way to ensure the user does not put the wrong color ink in the wrong tank. Of course if you were intent on doing that it wouldn't be too hard to figure out a way. The same, of course is true if filling with third party ink which I have no desire to do, but might resort to, if a genuine EPSON solution isn't available.

The power supply is 100-240 volt so the printer would work anywhere (I think) as far as the power goes, with the appropriate power cord - which plugs in at both ends, and both ends are pretty standard, so it would be easy to replace if necessary. In any case, outlets in Mexico are exactly the same two or three (grounded) prong types found in the US, with the same 60 cycle 115 volt power, so no problem there.

Specially thanks for the info about the three dye based plus one black pigment based inks. If I were trying to do high quality photo or archival image printing I'd have preferred 4 (or 6) pigment based inks, but for my everyday text and graphics use this system should be just fine. But it's critical info to know when needing to substitute the T504 inks.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Bottles of Ecotank printers are not keyed by any code or serial number, not since years, the made such an attempt at the time of the introduction of the L100 about 8 (?) years ago in Fareast, but soon you could find long listings of such keys on the internet. Epson is playing games with the model and ink numbering in different sales regions to make gray imports etc more difficult, it's similar in Europe , Epson runs different sales regions in west and East Eruope. I still have such serial codes on the bottles for the L805 but the firmware does not ask for it at all.
But back to the T504 ink - you can turn off the coded top of the bottles - with some force the first time , but do it - you can buy any other Epson (compatible) ink , e.g. Ecotank ink in the U.S. for the equivalent printer model and put the Mexican top on that bottle or do a swap over into the other bottle.
If you have the same Txxx number for all colors incl. black the black ink is most likely a dye black ink, if the number for the black ink is diffferent e.g. T105 for black and T106 for the CMY inks the black ink is most likely pigment black.
The driver of all these gneral purpose combos does not make a diffference - it prints with the dye/pigment black when you select normal/copy paper or matte/inkjet paper but does not use black when you select glossy/photo papers.
So if you want to get decent photo prints on glossy paper use a dye black ink and print with the matte paper setting onto glossy paper, if you rather want to print your correspondence with pigment black ink you have the choice as @stratman has explained above in detail. Epson is using a few different print engines in a wide range of printer models, and the same printhead may run with a pigment black ink in one model and with dye black in another model - but Epson does not tell explicitly.
The L4160 is sold in some European countries - it comes here with T101 inks - incl. black so is a dye black ink I'm guessing.
The print mechanism with 180 +3x59 nozzles is in production since about 10 years and used since then in lots of XP - expression home - WF... workforce home office and L...and ET... ecotank series printer models at the lower performance range.
I'm using a WF2010W with this same printhead mainly for tests - inks and such - and this model runs with a full set of Durabrite pigment inks but Epson does not want you to know those details.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You just may buy a T504 ink bottle and try whether the top fits , and if not you swap the ink into your T502 bottle, you wouldn't loose anything
 

stratman

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If you are unsure about the Black ink being Dye-based or Pigment, and you do not find the answer on the internet to your satisfaction, you can try a quick and easy test for water resistance that would connote a Pigment ink.

Print a text document on plain paper. Let it dry completely. If you have a document you printed in the past you can use that as long as you don't mind ruining it. Take the printed document and briefly run water over it at the sink. If it bleeds or smears with no or little effort then the ink is probably Dye-based and not Pigment.

Alternate test: Try a highlighter on the black text. If it smears then it may be Dye-based.

Caveat - the paper used can influence these results. Use a paper labeled for "INKJET" use, not a laser paper.
 

stratman

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From Epson about T504 Black Ink:

Rejoice in exceptional print quality with the use of pigment black ink which produces water and smudge-resistant printouts.
https://www.epson.com.sg/For-Home/P...plex-All-in-One-Ink-Tank-Printer/p/C11CG23501


Epson links to various sellers of their T502 inks. One of them is Amazon. The following are based on Epson's links to Epson inks for sale on Amazon.

T502 Black is Pigment:

Contains Pigment Ink.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074RFMST8?tag=price17574-20&ascsubtag=wtbs_5ee5081d10312fc67bb7d120

T502 Cyan ink is Dye-based:

Contains Dye Ink
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074RFMST7?tag=price17574-20&ascsubtag=wtbs_5ee508a410312fc67bb7d18a

It is a metaphysical certitude that Magenta and Yellow are also Dye-based inks.
 

stratman

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Maybe you can compare the shapes of your T504 caps with these videos of T502 bottles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EIxEU6ULEQ

Here's an example of an aftermarket ink manufacturer's bottle which copies the shape of the OEM. This video also demonstrates how to fill the tanks with with any bottle of ink, either dripping ink in or using a syringe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRR7ey_5wao

Some aftermarket T502 manufacturers do away with the unique shaped tabs that fit into the ink tank slots, at least for this one ink color. Seems to work fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjL0fjifZYg


If the T502 bottle shapes are the same as your T504's then no hassles and no worries.

If the bottle shapes are different then you can try either refilling your T504 bottles with T502 ink or swapping the T504 cap onto a T502 bottle as @Ink stained Fingers said.

Maybe buy another set of T504 bottles before leaving Mexico, if don't have a set already, and experiment on an empty, such as trying to remove the cap or ability to refill such as with a syringe.

Once in the States you can buy one T502 color and then compare the top to your T504. If it matches then the likelihood the other colors will match is high. If it doesn't match up then you can still use that T502 ink to refill but may need to either drip it in or use a syringe as the above video discusses.

If all else fails then you may be able to get ink from Mexico or consider a new printer.
 

mexjuan

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You just may buy a T504 ink bottle and try whether the top fits , and if not you swap the ink into your T502 bottle, you wouldn't loose anything
Thanks Ink stained Fingers.
I've thought about that possibility, but I'm still a bit concerned whether the ink is exactly the same. I wouldn't want to clog or otherwise damage the print heads.
 

mexjuan

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Maybe you can compare the shapes of your T504 caps with these videos of T502 bottles.
Thanks @stratman
After watching a couple of the videos you suggested, and never getting a really clear shot of either the bottle necks or the ecoTank fillers, YouTube offered me this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utDCgY07ULo

Apparently their purpose is printing stencils for applying tattoos - something I'm not the least bit interested in doing BUT, there's a very clear shot of the tops of the tanks of their Epson ET-2750 printer which uses T502 inks, seen in the beginning of the video. I've attached a screenshot. I've also attached a pic of my L-4160 printer, trying to approximate the angle and scale of the screenshot. A close look makes it quite clear that the "ecofit" keys are different. The printer in the video, however, looks otherwise identical to mine, which leads me to the conclusion that it could be identical except for labelling (the "L" in L-4160 could stand for Latin America) or at least very closely related. So... it seems highly likely that inks are also the same, except for the keying on the bottles, which are also identical except for the keying and the shrink wrapped labels identifying them as T504 in their case and as T502 in mine.

Next I will try to remove the top of one of the bottles. I will let you know how that goes.

L-4160.jpg
ET-2750.jpg
 
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