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“Epson Stylus SX435W”

Written on: 26/01/2013

This all-in-one was easy to set up, initially printed fine and worked well. The problems started when the inkjet cartridges had to be replaced...
Epson firmware in these printers uses a chip which can get fatally corrupted by a number of sequences of events, usually when changing ink cartridges, and usually when using refilled or 'non-genuine' cartridges, many of which are relatively cheaply available compared with the expensive 'genuine' Epson ones. The chip appears to be programmed to 'not recognise' any cartridge that is less than three-quarters full which has been taken out and put back in again for any reason, regardless of whether it is a 'genuine' Epson cartridge or not.

Usually, one empty cartridge can be replaced by a 'non-genuine' one without problems, although it may have to be taken out and reinserted a few times before the printer chip accepts it. But when two or more cartridges have to be replaced at the same time with 'non-genuine' ones, the chip can get confused, and post an error message saying that none of the cartridges are recognised. This can also happen if all the cartridges are removed at the same time, including any 'genuine' Epson ones, and put back in with a replacement 'non-genuine' one or two amongst them.
If a 'genuine' cartridge is taken out when less than three-quarter full it may not be recognised when it is replaced.

The chip can get into a fatal loop, and refuse to recognise any further cartridges, whether 'genuine' or not. This can sometimes be overcome by switching the printer off, removing the power plug from the mains, leaving it for between a minute and half an hour, and then plugging back in and switching it back on. It may then decide to recognise the cartidges, and all will be well for awhile. For awhile because there have been reports of the chip sometimes stopping printing in the middle of a page, and again posting a 'cartridges not recognised' error, which can be very annoying, to say the least.

The problem is compounded because many companies who are 'recyclers' of Epson cartridges do not check the chip on the cartridges before they are refilled and sent back into the domestic printing world. As many as 25% may be defective or in some way no longer servicable. So in these cases the chip in the printer quite legitimately cannot recognise the cartridge, as the cartridge chip is not working properly.

We have tried a number of ways around the fatal loop problem, including trying to overwrite the firmware in the printer; but while the printer is posting a 'cartridges not recognised' error, it will not allow its firmware to be overwritten. Taking out all the cartridges and then retrying to overwrite the firmware made no difference either.

From reviewing many comments available on the Internet concerning these Epson printers, one can have little faith in them. There are complaints of 'genuine' Epson cartridges being clocked as empty by the printer chip, when in fact they are more than half-full or three-quarters full. There are also complaints that when one cartridge is replaced, say for example the most-used black cartridge, that the chip will then decide that the others are becoming empty, even though previously they have registered as half-full or more. So the customer is badgered into replacing cartridges which still have plenty of ink in them, because the printer will not work until they are replaced.

Taking all the above into consideration, these appear to be a good printer to keep away from, as a general rule. Epson appear to be putting the same kind of chip into many of their newer lines of printers, and with much the same result as above.

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