DESIGN PROBLEMS with CONTINUOUS INK SUPPLY SYSTEM
There are many reviews of The Ink Place continuous ink supply system. Many owners seem pleased. Those who have something critical to say sometimes point to customer service. Few rate the product after using for almost a year. This review describes several problems which developed [due to deficiencies in design] and corroborates the claims of poor customer service.
It was no problem to order the continuous ink supply system for our Canon MX882 printer from inkproducts.com. Our order to replace CLI-226 and PGI-225 cartridges arrived quickly and in good shape. The instructions were well done and thorough. I was a little confused about why some of the installation steps were necessary, nevertheless I followed them closely. I printed successfully for about six weeks and was delighted with the results. I was about to write a positive review that might encourage others to make a similar investment. But then the problems started.
The first problem was with the cyan and magenta colors. One day they simply stopped printing. I removed the cartridges. There was ink in the feed line. There was plenty of ink in the cartridge. I put the cartridges back in, and the cyan and magenta started printing once again. One day later, they stopped. I repeated the inspection and got one more day of printing out of them. So I called the 1-800 number listed in the instructions. The lady who answered was gruff and unhelpful. I persisted with my question and was transferred to Harold Walsh. Harold told me that the cause was likely that the felt in the cartridge had gotten “pushed up” and was no longer making contact with the print head. He conceded that he had another customer with same symptoms on a yellow cartridge. He offered to send me replacement cartridges.
When the replacements arrived, the same behavior was observed. I thought about the physics of the situation and introduced a small downward force to the rear of the cartridge to push the felt more securely against the print head. A small piece of half inch gasoline hose provided just the needed force. In an email to InkProducts.COM, I wrote:
I have concluded that the problem is most likely due to tolerances associated with vertical placement of the felt on the print head. If that print head felt was a few hundredths of a mm too low then the introduction of the white gasket would prevent contact with the felt of the print cartridge. The method by which the cartridge attaches to the front of print head does not apply enough torque to compress the white gasket. Introducing the short piece of gasoline hose adds the necessary additional compressing force.
Harold Walsh responded.
Hi Doug, I think you are on to something. I will do some tests
With my custom rubber hose compressors, my MX882 worked just fine with its continuous ink supply for the next 9 months.
Then one day after about 11 months of total service, the yellow color quit working. I was all set to get another piece of hose but first opened the printer. Much to my horror, there was yellow ink everywhere. Close inspection showed that there was a small hole in the yellow line. Observations of the print head moving back and forth showed a place where it rubbed against a piece of plastic. Thousands of such rubbings had worn a hole. A review of the installation instructions confirmed that I had installed exactly as described and pictured. Obviously [to me] InkProducts.Com had not life tested their design sufficiently to have uncovered this mode of failure. Had they done so they would have recommended a different mounting, reinforced the plastic line and or padded the plastic part against which the line rubbed.
Since I had the continuous in supply system from The Ink Place for less than a year, I thought perhaps they would make a repair under warranty. I searched my literature and their web and could not find discussion of warranty. So an email was sent. No reply. So a phone call was placed. I was hoping to reach the same Harold Walsh who had cheerfully collaborated on a solution. Instead what sounded like the same gruff lady answered the phone. The problem was explained. Her first response was to tell me I had installed it incorrectly. Her willingness to help deteriorated from there. I was tersely informed I could purchase a new hose assembly for around $10 and repair the system myself. Based on the lack of customer service, I promised myself I would look elsewhere for replacement ink which I was soon going to need. A whole new hose was not necessary, all one had to do was cut a few inches off the existing hose and toss away the part with the leak. What I really wanted was some understanding of how to prevent the same thing from happening again and again.
The hose repair worked fine, except that the printer no longer printed smooth colors. [Later inspection revealed more yellow ink dried on the cartridges and on the print head.] A few weeks later, the cyan color stopped printing again, just like in the beginning. I swapped out the cyan cartridge for an inexpensive aftermarket cartridge and cyan started working again. Then another color stopped printing properly. An aftermarket cartridge cleared up that problem too. If one’s time is money, I was spending far more time futzing with the continuous ink supply system from InkProducts.Com than it would cost to buy aftermarket cartridges.
I uninstalled the The Ink Place continuous ink supply system and have been happy ever since. Oh yes, I buy my ink elsewhere now.