Yesterday I discussed HP’s expiring photosmart ink cartridges and advised pressing “OK” to keep using them anyway. Today we talk about what happens when the ink system really does fail.
Ink System Failure; Error: 0xc19a0035
As I demonstrated yesterday, some (but not all) of HP’s inkjet cartridges have a pre-programmed expiration date. Though no one from HP could explain exactly what was expiring and why some of their other inks don’t expire, their online documents suggest dire consequences from dried-up ink. Presumably, one of those consequences is “ink system failure”, and that’s just what happened to my PhotoSmart C6180 recently.
I have no idea if my use of expired inks was responsible for this error, but it seems likely. Regardless, the message popped up and the printer refused to print any longer.
Following some hard-to-locate directions, I was able to reset the printer by holding down the “#” and “6” keys during a power-on. The printer then came back to life and appeared to be printing just fine. Just to be sure, I printed out a test page and performed a head-cleaning operation.
Death of a Printer
About a week later, my PhotoSmart began acting up again. It started rebooting constantly, not even making it all the way through the power-up cycle before a harsh “click” and another restart.
Again, I followed the online suggestions: Plug the printer directly into the wall rather than a power strip or UPS; try a different outlet; perform a “#6” reset. Nothing helped. The scanner head was mobile, so that wasn’t the issue.
It appeared to me that the power supply had failed, actually. But HP uses a brick with an odd 3-pin Molex connector so there was no way to test or replace it. And a replacement brick would be expensive, so I began shopping for a new printer – witness my “HP AirPrint-Compatible” article series!
What Do You Do With a Broken Printer?
New printers are severely marked down below already-cheap prices, so an old printer has little value and a broken one is junk. Repair and resale is not an option.
Happily, HP offers a recycling program called “Trade-in and Save“, where they will handle the recycling of your old printer and give you a credit towards a new one. The easiest way to use this program is to take your old printer to a bricks-and-mortar Staples store. They handle the recycling and shipping and will give you instant credit rather than a mailed rebate.
When recycling your printer, don’t forget to remove and recycle the ink cartridges! My old Photosmart C6180 had six cartridges worth $2 each at Staples. I also returned some spare unused ink cartridges I had purchased. All together, this reduced the cost of my new HP Photosmart C410a Premium Fax by almost $100!
I have no idea at all if my use of expired inks led to the “ink system failure” message, or if the “reboot cycle of death” was a result of either. But my 4.5-year old PhotoSmart printer expired.
Was this a case of planned obsolescence? I don’t think so. HP would be in serious trouble if they intentionally caused printers to fail based on calendar date or the use of expired inks, as some of my friends suggested. “Never assume malice“, I always say.
I was actually pretty happy with the performance of the printer over the years. Enough so that I decided to buy another HP PhotoSmart rather than switch to Epson, Canon, Lexmark, or someone else. I used the all-in-one quite a lot, actually, for scanning, faxing, photo printing, and standard printing and feel I got my money’s worth out of it.
I still believe it’s logical to press “ok” and continue using expired inks even if an ink system failure can result. The low cost and short warranty of the printer and high cost of replacement ink makes any other course a foolish one.
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