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I have an HP Photosmart C6300. I bought brand new colour cartridges half year ago and have not used the printer since then. Yesterday when I tried to print something, the ink levels were about 20% down.

Does ink evaporate or do I have a leak?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Simply put - Ink is a bloody con!

I just checked the specifications and you have an all-in-one... I had an all-in-one Epson and found the same - I bought 4x full cartridges and mainly used it for scanning, I went to print and it had gone down by about 70%.

I found out that EVERY time I turned it on, it would deposit a tiny amount of ink. If you do head cleaning or any of the other maintenance tasks, it does a lot more.

However, I think it was just the chip on mine - I got a chip resetter... enter image description here

And was able to use this 3-4 times before it was really empty - I am not sure if you can get something similar for HPs though.

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I have not heard of chip resetter before, it makes the printer think it's cartridges are full? – iKarampa May 18 '11 at 8:49
@iKarampa - yep... In old days, you would change the inks when it started to fade or nothing would come out - now, the chip tells the printer it is empty even when it isn't... resetting does just that so it thinks they are full. I am able to typically get 2/3 goes out of any cartridge. – William Hilsum May 18 '11 at 8:59
needless to say, unless you are printing colour photos, use a laser. They are about £40 these days and you can refill the toner for £15 to do another 3000 pages. I know alot of people still using inkjets to print documents. – Sirex May 18 '11 at 9:17
+1 for Simply put - Ink is a bloody con! – L84 Nov 4 '13 at 18:17
Hi @jvriesem - I posted this link years ago now and the market has moved on. I recommend you look at Ebay, as for reputable - cross your fingers, but at least you will get money back on problems there. A lot of printers are getting smarter and you can't do this on ones I have seen recently :( – William Hilsum Jun 5 '15 at 20:09

Yes, ink evaporates, mostly through the hole required to let air in when ink is taken out. This is why they are sold sealed airtight.

If this was a perfect world, someone would have added a trivial fix: a rubber pad to close the hole in each cartridge while the printer is not in use. But, alas, it is profitable for printer manufacturers for your ink to evaporate...

P.S. Strictly speaking it's the solvent that evaporates of course; the dye stays behind. If the dye could evaporate too it would leave the paper blank after a while!

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I was not printing all that time in order to SAVE ink! – iKarampa May 18 '11 at 11:56
@iKarampa you would have even less ink left if you printed all this time :) – romkyns May 18 '11 at 14:36
Are you sure it doesn't just dry up as opposed to evaporate? – Bobson Sep 26 '11 at 1:53
Well I suppose the water evaporates, leaving behind the solid dye particles, but saying the ink evaporates as opposed to dries makes it sound as though the ink is leaving the cartridge, leaving behind an empty, clean cartridge. Asking if the ink dries over time, suddenly the answer becomes painfully obvious since the ink cartridges are not hermetically sealed (obviously, otherwise they would not work). – Bobson Sep 26 '11 at 22:24
@Bobson, I did not consider that subtlety in the meaning of the words. I don't think the OP wanted to know whether the dye particles leave the container though, only whether the volume of the complete solution decreases. – romkyns Sep 27 '11 at 10:56

After using my cannon ink jet printer, I remove the cartridges, put them in separate plastic sandwich bags, and using a hoover created a vacuum. Then seal off the bag and presto no air = no evaporation. Ink lasts at least 3 times longer.

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The printheads are even more expensive than the ink. Inkjet manufacturers tell you not to remove the ink cartridges once they are loaded. The reason is the same as why you're putting them in plastic bags--the ink dries out. There is ink that remains in the printhead; enough of it that it turns into a plug that is difficult to clean out. You are likely to need to replace the printhead, if it is even replaceable, or replace the printer. You are better off leaving the cartridges in place and printing once a week to move some ink through the printhead to keep it clean. – fixer1234 Nov 18 '14 at 15:59
@fixer1234: 100% correct. HP says that for IIC printers (separate cartridge and printhead), you should not remove the cartridge from the printer for more than 30 seconds and that the printer must never be turned off with missing cartridges. In addition, dry-firing a printhead in printers that use thermal inkjet technology (HP, Canon) will cause it to fail; see…. – bwDraco Mar 29 at 0:44

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