There is only one user replaceable component on an inkjet printer and that is the cartridge or cartridges. These inkjet printer ink cartridges are the small devices which contain the ink that ends up on the paper, black in one cartridge, color in another. In the case of color, the cartridge is partitioned to take the three basic colors that make up any color in the rainbow. All cartridges have electronic contacts and a microchip that communicates the commands from the computer to the printer.
The technology of inkjet printer ink cartridges is quite complicated for such a small device. Inside the cartridge is a very small metal plate, upon command, a small electric current runs through the plate which warms up the ink. The ink which is in contact with the plate vaporizes and in doing so the volume of the ink now exceeds the available volume of the cartridge and a drop falls onto the paper. All of this happens in milliseconds, approximately 6,000 times each second a small ink droplet is expelled.
Most inkjet printers that are sold today have two cartridges; one cartridge is exclusively black ink and the other contains cyan, magenta and yellow inks. Although it may be possible that the same cartridge is used on two or more different printers, it will only be of the same brand. Inkjet cartridges never are interchangeable between printers manufactured by different companies.
Although the cost of the printer is quite reasonably when you consider the technology employed, the ink cartridges are ridiculously expensive. This being the case, many users are comfortable with using generic ink cartridges rather than cartridges made by the printer company. These generic cartridges give good quality results at a much lower price. Although there is some who think that the ink used in remanufactured or refilled cartridges will damage the printer, with only four or five refilled cartridges, the savings can pay for a new printer. The printer usually functions just as well with ink refilled cartridges as OEM cartridges.
An entire industry has grown up around the concept of saving people money on their printer ink purchases as well as being a better use of scarce resources and saving space in landfills.
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