A group of Epson’s popular SureColor P-series photo printers must be updated with new firmware or new ink cartridges that use a new design won’t work.
Epson says that due to the ongoing chip shortage, it was forced to alter the design of the Epson UltraChrome HD and HDX ink cartridges of all sizes. The quality of the ink won’t change, Epson assures, but any Epson SureColor P6000, P7000, P8000, or P9000 printers worldwide will need to be updated with new firmware before any new ink cartridges are placed in them, or nothing will work.
“To use these new cartridges, the printers require new firmware before installing the new cartridges in the printer or running out of ink in the current cartridges. For that reason, it is critical that all customers update their printer to the latest firmware as soon as possible,” Epson urges.
“Epson is committed to the quality and performance of its printing solutions and there is no chemical or formula difference between the old and new inks.”
The printers won’t allow an update to new firmware if they don’t recognize the ink cartridge, and the recognition of those cartridges will only happen once the firmware has been updated. Basically, if users don’t take care of the update before they get rid of old, empty cartridges, they’ll be stuck in a catch 22.
Epson says that the current ink cartridges have a chip that tells the printer to send a low ink warning or to replace a cartridge. The new ink cartridges don’t have this chip but can operate without it — provided the printer’s software is up to date. Instead of a chip, ink levels will be determined by an internal droplet count done by the printer.
“This measurement method may lead to an earlier indication of low ink levels than the previous cartridges,” Epson says. It is possible to continue to print beyond when the printer says it is running low, but users will be flying blind.
The company is aware that this method is less precise and will potentially result in more ink waste — potentially as much as 20% — and is preemptively lowering the cost of the cartridges to compensate customers.
These new ink cartridges will start to appear on the market this month, replacing old stock. A full list of all affected printers and cartridges as well as instructions on how to update a printer’s firmware can be found on Epson’s website.
Image credits: Epson, photo by Elizabeth Carmel