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Home > Smart Chip

Smart Chip in Printer Cartridges

What is smart chip? What does smart chip do? How does smart chip technology affect the consumers?

Smart chip is a small chip that some printer manufacturers put into their inkjet or toner cartridges.  It lets printer cartridge and printer communicate and informs the user before the cartridge runs out of ink / toner. 

Smart chip records droplet count data and tracks ink usage.  It may have unique ID and brand name signature of which the printer recognizes. Some smart chips set an expiration date (relative to the date of manufacture) and disable the printer cartridge even if it is full.

Printer manufacturers claim that the smart chip technology adds value to their cartridges so the customers will be warned of low ink.  This ensures that print quality can be maintained.  Consumer advocates think otherwise.  The sole purpose of smart chip is to attempt to limit the competition from third party cartridge manufacturers, so that consumers have to buy overpriced OEM cartridges from the original manufacturers.

Smart chip makes it difficult or impossible to refill the printer cartridges.  Even when the cartridge is refilled, the smart chip would tell the printer that it is still empty and refuse to print. 

Smart chip recognizes third party cartridges and gives a warning message when the 3rd party replacement cartridge is installed. It makes the users believe that installing a 3rd party cartridge may damage the printer (but in reality, this rarely happens).

Smart chip also disables printer cartridge on expiration date even if the cartridge is still full.

The use of smart chip technology is highly controversial.  Manufacturers such as HP, Epson, Lexmark and Dell have incorporated smart chip into their printers. Some even expand the use of smart chip to all new printer models.  To protect their market of OEM cartridges, some of these manufacturers have filed lawsuit against replacement chip manufacturers, hindering the use of compatible and remanufactured cartridges.

On the other hand, lawsuit has been filed by consumers too. There are reports that smart chip delivers false messages that ask the users to replace their cartridge when it is far from empty and can continue to print hundred pages of documents.  Some consumers plainly said that they will not buy a new printer that uses the smart chip technology.

The European Parliament also approved a law that directs the printer OEMs to remove smart chips from their cartridges.  Their major concern is not to provide cheaper replacement cartridges to the consumers, but rather to encourage recycling and reduce waste.

Consumers can beat the smart chip technology and keep on buying cheaper compatible cartridges or refill kits instead of the expensive OEM cartridges.  One method is to use chip resetter to reset the cartridge once it is refilled or when the cartridge is close to the expiration date. The other method is to buy 100% compatible cartridges which have a new replacement chip installed**. Without this chip, your printer software thinks that the cartridge is always low which may cause problem when printing. 

**Our recommended cartridges are 100% compatible cartridges with new replacement chip.  So they are good with printers using smart chip technology.


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