Inkjet printers are absolute scams

How to thrive in a scammer’s market and print for pennies

uNetworking AB
3 min readAug 22, 2023

I bought my printer second hand for $20 and I’ve now printed 8000 pages of flawless text for the cost of maybe $40 in total. There are many layers of scams in the inkjet business and they are not all obvious. Here are my findings for Canon printers.

Rule #1 — If you ever bought a cartridge of ink, you have been scammed. These $50 cartridges are pure, raw, scams. The markup is 99% and you can buy liters of pigmented ink on Amazon for close to nothing. A liter of ink will last you two ice ages. Never buy a cartridge — you shouldn’t have to. Ever. If you believe that Canon has better ink than what you can buy on Amazon then you are simply experiencing psychological denial as a coping mechanism for past trauma. My printed text is absolutely flawless.

Rule #2 — Don’t eject your cartridge when you refill it. Even if it is perfectly possible to refill a cartridge with ink, Canon printers will track every time you eject the cartridge and after 4–5 times it will fry the electronics of the cartridge, producing what looks to be “clogged nozzles”. This is a software scam, the cartridge is not actually clogged but rather it has been fried by software to trick you into buying a new one. I realized this after having suspicious failures right after a refill. Once I started refilling the cartridge while still in the printer, it lasted forever. I’ve printed thousands of pages on this single cartridge by now and it still prints a perfect test pattern.

Rule #3— Inkjet printers have a programmed-in fixed number of pages it can print before it goes into brick mode and requires a hefty “service fee” to unbrick. During this mode, the printer is a literal brick. This is a software scam. They don’t service anything, except for resetting the software counter. You can do this yourself, there are leaked Canon Service Tool programs you can perform this “service” with at home. Your printer will go from totally bricked to fully functioning at the click of a button. My printer went into brick mode at around 4000 pages and I’ve printed another 4000 perfect pages after simply resetting this software scam.

Rule #4 — Don’t buy the printers that have MegaTank, or EcoTanks. These printers have another built-in brick mode similar to #3 but different. There are two software counters in Canon printers; one tracks how many pages you have printed and will brick the printer if too many. The other tracks how much ink has been “flushed” to a certain cotton pad. The software counter that tracks how much ink has been flushed is what is going to get you when you buy MegaTank, EcoTank kind of printers. These printers have thin tubes that clog up easily unless you “flush” them with ink. The problem is that, when you do so, the software counter will reach brick mode very quickly. So you just end up bricking your entire printer that way. Just buy a normal printer and refill the cartridges with a syringe. That’s most reliable and cheap. These printers are very cheap second hand, since people just give up on them.

Just a quick rant from me, summarizing my findings. These printers are mechanically very reliable and environmentally friendly, yet they come armed to the teeth with an armada of software lock-outs and programmed-in scam modes.