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Epson 3800 - inks - expiry date

Photo Girl , Nov 10, 2008; 10:17 a.m.

hi, earlier in the year i bought the Epson 3800... today while attempting to print, i noticed my LIGHT BLACK ink flashing, low ink. When i opened the ink cover, i noticed that the inks that came with my printer all show USE BEFORE 9/2008. Does this mean they're expired? when i rang my local Epson agent, he told me that the date means it must be INSTALLED before that date.

in any case, i then went to buy a new Light Black ink from them, and the expiry date shows USE BEFORE Feb, 2009. The box also says that the ink should be used up 6 months after installation. I dont do a lot of printing, and i cant imagine any of my inks finishing within 6 months - is this expiry date really an issue with those inks?

any advice, comments etc would be great.

thank you


Peter Mounier , Nov 10, 2008; 10:47 a.m.

Pigment ink contains solids that are suspended in the solution. After some time the solids separate and settle. If you remove the carts and shake them up now and then you will be alright with expired ink. I used to own an Epson 10000, with pure pigments, not the dye/pigment mix that is now Ultrachrome, and I never had a problem, although I routinely used ink that had passed the expiration date.


Photo Girl , Nov 10, 2008; 11:00 a.m.

peter, thanks for your reply - but just to be clear... the USE BEFORE that is printed on the ink box.... is that the actual expiry date of the ink? or is that, as the Epson guy said... the date that the ink must be INSTALLED by?

Peter Mounier , Nov 10, 2008; 11:12 a.m.

I don't think it matters much whether it's installed in your printer, or still in the box when it reaches the expiration date. It doesn't fade, or get sour, or solidify, or dehydrate, or as far as I know do anything except settle. I've opened new carts that have already expired, and used them with no problems. I've also had carts expire while in the printer. If I take them out of the printer every couple of months and shake them up, they continue to perform like new. They continue to match prints that I made with fresh ink months or years earlier.


Photo Girl , Nov 10, 2008; 11:15 a.m.

great, i'll try doing that peter - thank you

ann clancy , Nov 10, 2008; 11:21 a.m.

this question was asked at the recent Epson Printing Academy in Altanta, and the head fellow from Epson, said it shouldn't be a problem unless it is years out of date.

Peter Foiles , Nov 12, 2008; 01:20 a.m.

It helps to understand what an expiration date means. Epson tests their cartridges and then sets an expiration date. If you install the cartridge by the date and use it within 6 months as Epson states they are reasonably certain (close to 100%) that the cartridge will perform as it should. It does not just quit working after the expiration date but the odds of it working start to slowly drop from that near 100% level of an in date cartridge. Experience from users as noted in this thread suggest that you can exceed Epson's recommendations by a fair amount (perhaps double?) and still get good results.

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