March 19, 2008

Stupid Brother

So I wanted to go Office Space on my fax machine the other day.

It is a Brother 1860C machine that has black as well as color printing. Somehow all four ink cartridges either were out of ink or low, all at the same time. Not sure how this is possible since I have never used the color inks. So I pulled all of the cartridges out, gave them a shake, and put them back in. Now the black cartridge was fine, but the yellow showed it was empty.

This shouldn't matter since I was trying to send an outgoing fax. But apparently it does. The machine wouldn't work. I looked in the manual to see if there was some sort of override, searched the machine menus, and pushed every button I could. I needed to have the fax sent in the next 45 minutes, so I had to go into work. I decided not to mess with it when I came home since I was already pissed off.

Coming back later brought no solution. I went online to see if there was a remedy. There is a remedy if the ink is low, but not when it is empty. So I sent an e-mail to their support group. Their response started with a bunch of unrelated crap about using their ink and information about computer printing (which mine doesn't even do). Their response to the disappearing ink is that the machine uses some when it cleans the printer head.

The best part was the last paragraph that said

"The positive aspect of the Brother ink jet machines is that Brother took into account that ink does get used and has designed machines with an ink jet technology that will save consumers money. Many other manufacturers incorporate the print head and ink cartridges into a one-piece assembly. Even if only one color is empty, the customer is required replace not only the print head itself, but ALL colors contained in the cartridge as well. This usually leads to a more expensive ink cartridge. Brother, however, manufactures the print head and cartridges as separate consumables. With Brother's Print head and Ink Cartridge technology, you replace only the empty ink cartridge, thus reducing your cost per page."

In my response I pointed out that their system does nothing to save money since their machine is obviously designed to waste ink since all the (unused) color cartridges ran out at the same time as the black ink. Now I need to buy four cartridges when I only need one.

I will see if I can refill the cartridges. I have been doing so at Rapid Refill Ink in Edmonds for my printer. I found another place, Eco Cartridge in Kirkland, that looks like it takes care of more models. Refilling cartridges can save you 40%, and of course reduces waste. It also takes oil to produce the cartridge and ink, and of course oil is now $110 a barrel.

I may just sell the %#&* thing. I can't wait until my industry goes all electronic.

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