HP Printer Cartridges Expiring


Okay, first-off let me begin by saying I’m NOT an HP fan, never have been and never will be because I think their printers are overpriced as most definitely are all their consumables. I’ve always been a Canon fan, and there’s very little out there that will sway me. Don’t even get me started on the crap Lexmark produce regarding printers.

Note that this isn’t actually anything new if you’ve been using HP printers for the last 5 years or so but since a friend has come across this problem I thought I’d share the info with you.

Right, now to the matter at hand. If you’re an HP printer owner, that uses ink cartridges (not laser toner), then you’ve probably seen an error message/light on your printer console which denotes the specific ink cartridge(s) has(have) expired. Now unbeknown to many HP printer users is that expired does not necessarily mean empty! That’s right, you may have inadvertently thrown away (or worse, I’ll get to worse in a second) your apparently empty cartridge because your HP printer told you it had expired.

But my printer won’t use it anymore if it’s expired and won’t let me print either until I put in a new one?

Wrong – most HP printers have a BIOS powered by a battery which stores the number of hours since that cartridge was first put in – irrespective of the number of times you’ve printed and what amount of ink was used on those prints. There is a finite number of hours that can elapse until your HP printer will tell you that the cartridge has expired. Which means you may have inadvertently thrown money in the trash with cartridges that weren’t really empty yet.

Oh, remember earlier I mentioned, “or worse”? Here’s the worse part: in some countries HP provides you with self-addressed and stamped envelopes for you to return your “empty” ink cartridges to HP for “recycling”, which means they can re-use and re-sell your cartridges again (and quite possibly make use of the unused ink left inside).
[Update 14 August 2008Here’s what HP really do with returned ink cartridges]

If you just do a quick check on Google you’ll find easily 135000 links relating to the above topic. If you want, simply add your printer model as well to see if others with your model have come up with the same problem and provided solutions but they should be pretty much the same.

As a quick start I’ve added a few links below for you to look at:

Here’s hoping this can save you a few $$$ and put a few less into HP’s pockets.

[Update 14 August 2008 – Here’s a page on HP’s website which you can see which printers and cartridges have the expiration date feature and whether or not it is overridable through the printer software.]

{Update 4 November 2007 – Lifehacker have just posted an article on “Is your printer wasting your ink and money?” which may be worth a read as well on the same topic as above.


16 Responses to “HP Printer Cartridges Expiring”

  1. Hi Deems:

    Greetings from Vancouver, Washington, U.S.A., and congratulations on the new blog.

    Just wanted to give a bit more info to you and your readers on HP inkjet cartridges re: expiration, recycling, and more. (I am an HP employee, and you should know that this is my personal opinion and should in no way be interpreted as an official response of my company.)

    First, I want you to know that HP doesn’t reuse or refill ink cartridges — ever.

    I’m really proud of HP’s Planet Partner Program, which has been recycling ink cartridges, hardware, and more since 1991 (with 1 billion pounds recycled to date and a new goal of recycling 2 billion pounds by 2010).

    So what happens to supplies when you return them to HP for recycling? They get sorted and shredded. Plastics and metals get repurposed and have been used to make other products ranging from auto parts and fence posts to roof tiles and shoe soles. No HP print cartridges returned through our Planet Partners program are ever sent to the landfill.
    Go here to read more: https://h30248.www3.hp.com/recycle/supplies/overview.asp?__cc=us

    As for ink cartridge expiration dates: I can understand the frustration of getting an alert message when all you want to do is print and be on your way. But I assure you that this technology has no malicious intent.

    Our product engineers are an incredible and dedicated group who design HP printers and cartridges to work together to deliver amazing prints in the comfort of your home and office.

    The majority of HP ink cartridges do not have an expiration date. Of the few cartridges that do have expiration dates, some can be overridden by users to keep printing. However, that may not be the best thing for the quality of their prints and may negatively impact the printheads on their HP printer.

    I talked with some internal experts about this. The small percentage of cartridges with expiration dates have this feature built in because air ingestion and water evaporation can cause ink to change over time. In printers where the ink supply and printhead are separate, the old ink can adversely affect the printhead and ink delivery components in your printer.

    Typically, we’re talking about a range of 12 to 30 months after the cartridge is installed — that’s a long time for an ink cartridge.

    You can learn more about HP ink cartridges here:

    Good luck with the blog! And thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    Angela LoSasso
    Imaging and Printing Group, HP
    Vancouver, WA, USA

  2. Hi Angela

    Firstly thanks for reading my post and secondly for your lengthy explanation. When this topic of discussion came up between a friend of mine and me I wanted to investigate the subject further and I found countless accounts of other people with the same problems and qualms about the HP ink cartridges and I thought I’d share my findings too.

    I’m all for recycling and saving the planet and I’m glad to hear for what and how HP is handling the ink cartridge recycling.

    Interestingly I couldn’t find that page using HP’s search when I was investigating the topic – yet I can find the page you mentioned in your comment today. I’m sure the Ink Expiration page will be very helpful to people to find out if their printer and cartridge are capable of overriding the expiration date feature. One of the big things I’ve heard from others is the fact that it’s not clear on the packaging or from the sales reps that that particular cartridge does have an expiration date and how it actually works.

    I’m sure that all of this is most likely mentioned in some small print somewhere but it’s this kind of thing that frustrates people to no end that they will probably (like I would and did) move to another “friendlier” brand instead.

    Again, thanks for adding your thoughts about the HP ink cartridges.

    Take care

    PS: Post updated accordingly with additional links regarding recycling program and ink cartridge expiration details on HP’s website.

  3. When my cartridge runs out of ink I refill with ink from one of the many refill kits you can purchase. It takes maybe five minutes to do , if you are slow.

  4. Hi Angela,

    I live just around the corner from you. That was thoughtful of you to reply to this blog with helpful information.

    I have an HP 7130 printer and it uses HP 14 cartridges. It looks like I am in the list with no resolution and even more so because the HP14 cartridge has a smaller window of expiration than the rest.

    I have a few cartridges I purchased that are new but will no longer work. I paid a lot of money for these cartridges and it wasn’t that long ago. Is there any solution or am I just out the money?

    Thanks for any help!

    .. Koukla

  5. @ deems: Thank you for the opportunity to join your conversation and provide some info.

    @ suppose: If you have an HP printer, please check out the following info on why we don’t recommend using refill and remanufactured cartridges and why we recommend using Original HP ink with your HP printer.

    @Koukla: From what I can tell, HP 14 cartridges will be good for
    12 months after the “Warranty Ends” date, or 18 months after the ink cartridge is installed, whichever comes first. If you purchased directly from HP or have further questions, try contacting our support department at: http://www.hp.com/go/totalcare

  6. Hi Angela,

    Thank you for your post. As an HP employee, I understand you feel compelled to reply with a standard HP “politically correct” solution. However, it certainly does not help the many people who are sitting out here with expired cartridges and out their hard-earned money.

    It would be interesting to know how many people with expired cartridges actually ordered their cartridges directly from HP as your post referenced. I’m betting .. not many. That’s what resellers are for.

    From what I am reading out on the Internet, the anger reflected by hundreds of frustrated HP consumers is a valid frustration and it appears that HP doesn’t feel a need to accommodate those once very loyal (but now former) customers who feel taken.

    For those out there having the same problem with expired (but full) cartridges, I recommend reading Deems’ blog and follow the links. I resolved my issue by *carefully* sliding a credit card behind the battery on the motherboard of the printer. Deems has a link to a YouTube video which will assist you in locating the battery that might otherwise be difficult to find. My “expired” message is gone for the moment.

    * * * * *

    Let’s see … how does that phrase go …??? “Once burned, twice shy!” This lesson was well learned and I will no longer purchase another HP product.

  7. […] Guess the blogosphere is a great place, anything can happen. What was the hottest topic so far? HP Printer Cartridges Expiring with 122 […]

  8. Interested. thank for info

  9. GOT IT!
    no more printer diassembling, no more chips swapping, no more money for chips or resseters.
    Just a little tiny piny software for FREE (for all of us who bught these damn printers), which just patches the drivers, that I made.
    If you need it, just email me at gikam@yahoo.com, put ‘fixHP’ in the subject.
    good luck

  10. If you’re the owner of an inkjet or multifunction printer from Hewlett-Packard, those little green recycling packets that you find in your replacement ink cartridge packages are about to go away. That’s because the company’s imaging group has begun piloting a new HP Planet Partners print and cartridge return program at more than 1,500 Staples retail locations around the United States. The effort is part of the broader HP Eco Solutions initiative.

  11. The style of writing is quite familiar to me. Have you written guest posts for other bloggers?

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting – no, I’ve not been a guest blogger for any other blog as I’ve only recently (in the last 8 months) jointed the blogosphere 🙂

  12. HP business inkjet 1200 solution for expired cartridges. There is a 9 pin electrical connector located behind the bottom cover, right hand side of the printer (under the ink cartridges). The cover can be removed by prying it off. It is held in by 4 fingers that lock it in place. After the cover is off, there is a plastic barrier that I cut the middle section out of to get access to the connector. I unplugged the connector and removed the white wire. I plugged the connector back in without the white wire and now my expired cartridges worked just fine.

  13. I’m a student and I was basically looking for one thing: affordability. I didn’t want another printer that cost me 7 cents a page in just ink. My old printer was way too spendy to make constant prints on when all I needed was some text documents. This printer is awesome because the XL cartridges make it about 2 cents a page in ink! Which is awesome! Plus this isn’t a horribly expensive printer.

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