Pourquoi mon imprimante a-t-elle besoin d'encre couleur pour imprimer en noir ?

Why does my printer need color ink to print black?

You are about to print documents for an important presentation tomorrow morning. Luckily, you purchased a brand new HP 63 black ink cartridge to put in your printer. It should be smooth sailing from here; you get your documents printed, present them to your boss and get the big raise you deserve. Out of the corner of your eye, you hear a beeping sound coming from your printer.

breaking printer

There's the dreaded "Replace Color Ink" error message. Being limited by your own printer can be an oppressive experience. You already have the black ink cartridge, but why do you need the color cartridges to print? Just thinking about it can drive you crazy. But before you decide to write off your printer into oblivion, you need to understand why this is happening.

Is there any solid reasoning behind this? Or is it just a marketing ploy to increase printer ink sales? Below you'll find everything you need to know about your printer's color ink consumption.

Color mix

The average consumer doesn't have much in-depth knowledge of CMYK color theory. Granted, unless you're a graphic designer, you really don't need to know much to get through the day. We have all seen the color wheel in our childhood and know that mixing two colors will result in a completely different one. But there is so much more that remains unexplained.

Your printer uses CMYK to print documents. The CMYK color model represents cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (k) and their relationship to each other to create different colors and shades.

Color mixing circles

There are hundreds of shades of every color, including black. So while it may look like pure black ink on the page, it can be made up of black, cyan, magenta and yellow. In theory, these color combinations can be used endlessly to create different color tones.

CMYK uses a sliding scale of 1 to 100 on each of the four color categories. These combinations can produce around 100 million different colors in total. When comparing certain colors to each other, some are so similar that they are physically impossible to distinguish with the naked eye.

There are many shades of black. Again, some indistinguishable to the human eye. Depending on the specific printer model and your settings, the black printed on the page may consume all of your printer's ink cartridges.

Depending on the printer, these ratios may vary. For example, some printer models have been proven to use this exact CMYK formula:

100% K, 33% C, 33% M and 33% Y.

Let's break this down to make it easier to understand

The ratio of 33.3% cyan, 33.3% magenta and 33.3% yellow produces the black color from the color ink cartridge.

They also use the darkest shade of black (100% K) of the black ink cartridge.

Your printer prints black color on top of black color to produce a "different" shade of black. And quite honestly, there is no reasonable explanation for this.

Printer manufacturers have gone on the defensive when asked about unnecessary consumption of color ink when printing black, mainly saying that mixing colors produces a "richer shade" of black.

Although they are technically correct, most of us are not able to differentiate the color black from a richer shade of black. Some printers even have a "Black Ink Only" mode that can be enabled, in which the results look almost identical to the default setting that uses color cartridges.

Maintenance cleaning

Do you ever turn on your printer and hear that loud “humming” sound? Well, it's called printer maintenance cleaning. This is an automatic cleaning process that ensures your printer is ready to use without any technical issues. This process propels the printer's ink through the internal system to expel any dried residue that may be restricting the print head's printing process.

Maintenance cleaning is a useful tool for those who haven't used their printer in a while. This allows them to start it up and running like new, even after months of inactivity. But there is a little catch...

As mentioned earlier, these maintenance cleanings require ink to start. Ink will be wasted performing these cleanings. The problem is that many printers automatically require maintenance cleaning every time you turn them on. Even if you have used your printer in the last hour, turning it back on will trigger this cleaning.

According to HP's customer support page, your printer is designed to perform periodic maintenance tasks to prevent blockages in the print mechanism and other print quality issues. This process requires that all of your printer's ink cartridges contain ink.

The worst part of this practice is that some printers refuse to print anything without first being cleaned. This means that if you are missing just one color cartridge, you won't be able to print at all. This affects a large portion of HP OfficeJet and HP OfficeJet Pro printers, as over 32 models have been confirmed to stop printing regularly without all ink cartridges present.

This has led many people to adopt a new practice of leaving their printer on all the time to undo these cleanings. Some will swear by the results, and others will lament the outrageous energy consumption and high electricity bills.

This is truly a no-win situation with no sensible solution. It really depends on the model of printer you have and the frequency of your print jobs.

Pseudo-monopolized market

We live in a world where predatory practices are often considered normal. If a company sells you their printer, they want to make sure you buy their ink to go with it. The problem with this market is that large manufacturers can charge exorbitant prices for printer ink. As a consumer, you have no choice but to source and purchase these cartridges, otherwise you risk rendering your expensive printer useless.

This problem has prompted the rise of third-party ink manufacturers to step in and help alleviate the pricing problem. Dubbed remanufactured or compatible cartridges, these alternative cheap printer ink options cost significantly less than the brand competition while maintaining the same print quality.

Remanufactured ink comes in the same cartridge as the brand. These are recycled brand ink cartridges that are professionally cleaned, inspected and refilled with the same quality ink. They just cost a lot less than the name brand.

Much like how generic drug brands created an affordable alternative to brand name drugs, remanufactured and compatible printer ink cartridges aim to do the same.

When you buy OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) ink cartridges, you only pay for the brand name.

Printer manufacturers have done everything they can to prevent third-party ink companies from providing affordable cartridges. This case even made it to the Supreme Court in 2017 with Impression Products v. Lexmark, in which the SCOTUS ruled in favor of third-party manufacturers having the right to sell remanufactured ink cartridges.

At soscartouches.ca , we believe in your right to choose a quality product with complete transparency. We have affordable remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges that fit all popular printer brands such as HP , Lexmark , Brother , Canon and many more.

Our ink cartridges can cost less than 85% of some brand competitors. If you're looking for cheap ink and toner cartridges that deliver high-quality results, look no further! With a 100% satisfaction guarantee and free same-day delivery on select items, it's no wonder we've been in the business since 2010. Visit our website at soscartouches.ca