[rescue] Phaser ink

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 19 14:39:30 CDT 2008

--- On Tue, 8/19/08, Curious George <jorge234q at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Does anyone know what, if *any*, differences there are
> between the ink sticks for the various (incompatible)
> Phaser printers?  (the solid ink printers, that is)
> I figure the prohibition on using sticks for model X
> in model Y must be one or more of:
> - they want to sell you more/expensive ink
> - the melting point, flow or drying properties of the
>   ink is different
> - the *colors* are slightl different which would result
>   in color distortion in the resulting images

You're right on most counts. They definitely like to sell you ink. From what I have been able to tell, the ink actually _is_ different. It's not much different though.

First, there is the earliest Phaser ink, that worked in the old 300 series Phasers. This is much waxier, and seems to have a lower melting point. It _will_ work, when forced into 800 series priners, but you won't like the output, and it tends to smear and stick to adjacent pages.

With the 840, the ink was reformulated. It's better, slightly harder, and has better color. 

The 850 ink, is, as far as I can tell, exactly the same as 840 ink, only in different shapes. The 840/850 share almost all of the same parts too, and it's possible to interchange almost all the parts of an 850 into an 840. My "850" at home is a weird hybrid, built on the remains of an 840. It uses the original 840 head and power supply, but with an upgraded 850 logic board and some random replacement clutches from other machines in the line, and an 850 ink loader, 850 tray guides and release gates.

The 860 ink is also pretty much the same. I think the cyan got a little brighter, but it might just be me.

The 8200 ink is harder still, and seems shinier. It's more resiliant to remelting once it's on the pages, and the printouts hold up better in hot cars. It works in the older machines, and vice versa. I haven't seen any problems, but don't work with these machines much.

The 8500 introduced new shapes and sizes to the ink. It's possible to break the older ink sticks up and make them fit, but there are extra sensors in the bottom of the ink loader in these new machines, so it's tricky to make it work. Also, the older ink doesn't seem to work very well in these machines, even if you can get it to melt in. It'll be kinda uneven, and seems to discolor. Best not to use the old ink in 8500 and newer.

> E.g., why is 840 black different from 8200 black?

Because the 840/850/860 black ink is free. The 8200 black you have to buy. The free black ink for life program went away after Xerox bought Tektronix, and doesn't apply to these newer printers. The black ink for the old machines is still free, and still available though.
> [as an aside, I think it would be hilarious to meet
> the guy who comes up with the various shapes of these
> sticks at a dinner party:  "What do you do for a
> living,
> Joe?"  "Oh, I make sure square pegs won't fit
> in round
> holes..."]

Yeah, and he also made sure that the square pegs now only fit _one direction_ into the proper holes. The new ink is keyed on all four sides and the bottom, and can only be inerted one direction. The old ink was only keyed on the long sides, and could fit either direction.

As expensive as the ink is, resist the urge to buy the third party ink. It can destroy the print head. I've seen it happen. Even though I've swapped ink between models in the Phaser line, I have never had it damage the machine, although with the 8200/8500 and newer machines, I've done it very little. Your mileage may vary, and I'm not responsible if you screw up your printer. The print heads in these things are pretty sensitive, so take good care of them.


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