The Gadgets Page

January 23, 2013

HP Printer Conspiracy: Is Your Printer Programmed To Kill Itself If You Refill Your Ink Cartridges?

Filed under: Computers and Peripherals — Laura Moncur @ 4:40 pm

It’s commonly known that printer manufacturers make money from selling ink cartridges, not from making the printers. I’ve even heard that they sell the printers at a loss in order to “get you hooked” on their ink.

Of course, there are options for people who want to enjoy their ink jet printers without shelling out the big bucks for the cartridges. You can refill the ink in the cartridges you already own. Here is a video showing you how to do it.

Inktec Refill Kit at I’ve done this on my HP Printer and it has worked rather well. I used the Inktec Refill Kit that I found at with some syringe needles. I inject the ink into the cartridges and the printouts I had were just as beautiful as the ones with the HP ink. The HP ink was never water resistant and neither is this replacement ink, so I’m just as “happy” with my inkjet printer with the refill ink as I was with the original ink cartridges.


Now that the printer believes that the ink jet cartridges are empty, I have gotten rather threatening warnings on the little printer screen.

HP Printer Conspiracy: Will Your Printer Kill Itself If You Refill The Cartridges?

It reads:

ATTENTION: Printer service or repairs required as a result of using a non-HP supply will not be covered under warranty. Replace Cartridge(s) or press OK to continue.

The printer was already out of warranty, so I wasn’t worried about voiding my warranty, but I was kind of offended that HP thinks they get to tell me what I can do with my printer after I buy it.

The warning on the HP utility application was even worse.

HP Printer Conspiracy: Will Your Printer Kill Itself If You Refill The Cartridges?

It reads:

Original HP Ink Depleted – Information about ink levels will not be available.

I was okay with that. The computer readings about ink levels were never accurate anyway. I could easily keep printing for a month after the utility application would insist that I change them because of low ink levels.

It continued to threaten me, however.

The supply may be out, refilled or non-HP. If supply is out, please replace required cartridge with new one. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP supplies. Printer service or repairs required as a result of using a non-HP supply will not be covered under warranty.

If you believe you purchased a new guenuine HP print cartridge, visit us at

HP Printer ConspiracyWhat I found at their website were a lot of threats about counterfeit toner and NOTHING about what to do if I chose to refill my ink cartridges on my own.

Aside from the threatening messages, however, the printer worked really well with the refill ink until it just started turning itself off randomly. I now cannot keep the printer turned on long enough to print anything. It will turn on, run through its ink wasting cleaning process and before it can get through it, the machine will turn itself off.

When I look online to see if anyone else is having this problem, a lot of people are. The forum entry for printer turning on and off repeatedly has over 4500 views. It seems that this is a common problem with HP printers.

It all makes me feel like there is a huge HP conspiracy. I seriously looked online to see if anyone else felt that HP had programmed their printers to self-destruct if they noticed that the printers were being used despite an empty cartridge warning. The only thing I found was a paranoid forum discussion.

hp printer conspiracy theory!! by mmoss111 (4/27/09 2:18 PM)

I can not believe that my replacement hp C6280 has failed the exact same way the first one failed. After a few thousand pages the cyan print head has completely cutoff. No streaks or missing lines. The first one failed the identical way. The cyan cartridge was full of ink and it just cut off printing cyan. I tried all of the hardware resets and all the resets that hp has told a million people to no avail! I must have gone thru 6 or 7 hp printers last year with the infamous “ink system failure” I tried all the resets on the printers and they all failed. hp always wants to sell you a new printer or sell you an upgrade. Could this be a plot by hp to get you to buy a new or refurbished printer by having some software cutoff built into the main uP in the printer so when you get to a certain time or a certain number of pages, it sabotages your printer making it fail deliberately and forcing you to get another hp printer? If anyone has a better theory, let me know….. Better yet, if you have had this failure and have a fix for it, I would like to know about it!

This posting really fit my feelings of paranoia, but at the same time, one of the responses made more sense to me.

Re: hp printer conspiracy theory!! by Bert (4/27/09 5:28 PM)

If HP purposely programed their printers to fail it would eventually leak out and cause the mother of all techo scandals. The mad pursuit of faster, feature rich, and yet cheaper (cheesy) models that are considered throwaways is in my opinion responsible for the problem. There seems to be little regard for the continued production of proven designs. How many times is it necessary to iterate the same basic function other than for increased reliability, e.g. the print mechanism. Folks, we wanted cheap printers and we got ’em.

So that’s my answer. We wanted cheap printers and we got ’em.

On a positive note, I followed the procedure listed here:

  1. While the printer is still turned on, unplug all cables and cords at the back of the printer.
  2. Unplug the power cord also from the wall outlet…
  3. Wait for two minutes.
  4. Reconnect power cord to the wall outlet first.
  5. Press and hold the pound (#) and six (6) buttons.
  6. While holding down the two buttons, reconnect the power cord to the back of the printer and after two seconds, release pound and six buttons.
  7. Turn on the printer if it turns off…

My printer, the D7560, doesn’t have a keypad, so I couldn’t push the # and the 6 buttons, but I did everything else. I also moved the electrical plug to the wall socket instead of plugging it into our surge protector. Other people seem to have trouble with brownouts causing the spontaneous on and off problem. I was able to get my printer up and running long enough to print off the few things I needed, which was better than I’ve been able to do for weeks.

I guess HP hasn’t designed their printers to kill themselves if I refill my printer cartridges, but I have a hard time believing it’s just a power glitch issue based on how common that problem is.

1 Comment

  1. I am a printer cartridge re manufacturer in the UK, we use printers to test ink cartridges once they have been refilled, I have found that the printers do eventually break down but only after we have tested hundreds if not thousands of cartridges. HP printers are quite robust. also if you use remanufactured or compatible cartridges and your printer breaks down whilst still under warranty tell the printer manufacturer that you are using genuine cartridges no more void warranty.

    Comment by JP — January 24, 2013 @ 3:59 am

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