Nick Levinson

asked Oct 27, 2007 at 11:28am
Canon Canon LBP 4

Canon i560 color ink consumption cut

My printer uses a phenomenal amount of ink for those colors that hardly appear on my pages. The solution, apparently, at least for me, is to take the cartridge out of the printer.

Since my printer allows full printing without all of the cartridges having to be present (assuming the page doesn't call for all of the colors), the only problem is that once you've opened a cartridge and then don't keep it in the printer, it may dry out. I cover the opening with masking tape, but that may not work well for all designs or for extended storage outside of the printer. Since masking tape is textured, it may allow air under the edges, so perhaps another kind of tape would be better. Air holes on a cart may have to be found and taped over, too. Use a tape that won't leave gummy residue, not even a mild residue. Some printers might malfunction or refuse to print unless all cartridges are present; I don't know about that.

I was printing thousands of pages in black and red (magenta) only, yet it used up my yellow and blue (cyan) cartridges, too. Almost all the text is in black; only a few words of body text are in red (simple red according to the word processor). Yet I had to replace the red cartridge rather soon. My guess is the printer sucks out a little bit of every color of ink whenever any ink of even one color is needed.

Details, for me:
-- Canon i560 photo printer; native Canon driver. Cartridge brand is Canon at least once each color, not a store brand. Four separate cartridges for 4 colors (including black). The black cart is about twice as wide as any other color cart.
-- Document has no photo or half-tone; Lotus SmartSuite Word Pro 9.1; Win95a.
-- Red is pure in an RGB color-description model but mixes magenta and yellow in a CMYK model, according to Photoshop 3.0.5 and The Gimp 2.2.7 (ignoring alpha). RGB may be controlling my word processor's choice of colors, while CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) is likely controlling my printer. Thus, my red may be using magenta and yellow inks. The absence of the yellow cart doesn't seem to be hurting my output, however; the red on paper looks fine. The absence of the blue (cyan) cart matters even less.

When ink is close to running out, my printer's dialog warns me twice before the impressions start to lose their intensity. It also allows me to override the second warning, but, ominously, it says, ". . . . The printer may be damaged if printing is continued under the ink out condition." For a color I don't need to print, I don't need the risk. If I pretend to replace the cartridge by taking it out and putting it back in, the printer quickly discovers that it's nearly empty, and eventually (dozens of pages later) resumes nagging me. My solution is to take the unneeded cartridge(s) out and leave it out, putting nothing in its place. The printer interprets that as the same as putting in a cartridge full of ink, and it prints without hassling me.