Printer Firmware Updates - The Truth

You may have seen warning from ourselves and other printer ink cartridge suppliers about the problems you will face if you allow your printer to update it`s firmware.
Your printers internal operating system is called firmware. Similar to Microsoft`s Windows on a computer it controls the operation of the device.
Printer manufacturer`s such as HP, Epson, Canon & Brother all push out updates to your printers system over the internet. We call this process a Firmware Update.

So Why Are Printer Firmware Updates So Bad ?

I probably don`t need to explain the difference between original and compatible ink cartridges, but in brief printer manufacturers make most of their profit from the ink cartridges they sell rather than the printer it self. They keep the cost of the cartridges artificially high to maximum profits. 
For example, if we can sell a compatible Epson 603 black cartridge for £3.99 and make a trading profit. So how much do you think Epson make from selling the same cartridge with less ink in it for £17.

So the big brand printer manufacturers don`t like compatible cartridges companies like ourselves. Over the years they have tried to stop us via the courts, intimidation and now it`s the printer firmware update. In simple terms your printer is updated so it knows how to reject compatible cartridges.

So What Happens After A Printer Firmware Update ?

So your happily printing using your good value compatible ink cartridges, a message appears saying "Update Available, install Y or N ". 
If you say Yes when your printer restarts it tells you all your cartridges are faulty, invalid, unsupported or similar and must be replaced.
They worked perfectly 3 minutes before !

It`s been updated to reject all compatible cartridges. This is like Ford cars saying you must use their petrol only or the car will stop. And it costs 5 times the price.
I forgot the best bit. This happens a few months after you bought the car. Surely they should disclose this before you buy the car.

Automatic Updates Are Even Worse

Some printer manufacturers even install these updates without asking you first. Out of the box the printer is set to do these updates without ever asking the owner.
Because most printers have wifi built in or can connect to the internet via the pc or mac. This gives the perfect opportunity for the manufacturer to update that firmware.

So What Do We Do About Firmware Updates ?

Very simple really. Our engineers change our newly manufactured compatible ink cartridges firmware so they will work. This won`t help you as the user for a few months and certainly won`t make the cartridges in your desk draw or in the printer come back to life. What a waste of the earths resources in a deliberate act of sabotage.

So What Can You Do ?

Even simpler. Say no to all updates. Check if your printer can do automatic updates and turn them off. 
Also, be prepared to take your printer back to the retailer and demand your money back if this happens to you.

This article is the opinion of a printer software engineer with 25 years experience in the printer industry. On reading the article we asked the author for his permission to share it with you.