There are several different types of printer ink cartridges
How it Works
Printer ink cartridges are basically replaceable sealed units that contain the specially processed ink that a printer uses during its functioning. The cartridges typically contain one or more partitioned ink reservoirs. Some newer ink cartridges also contain the print head itself as well as an electronic chip that can communicate with the printer for greater efficiency and precision.
There are basically two core designs as far as cartridges are concerned, the thermal and the piezoelectric. Most printers meant for home or business use such as the LaserJet M1212nf make use of thermal inkjet cartridges. The ink reservoirs of these cartridges contain a heating element quipped with a tiny metal plate or resistor in each of their partitions.
Once the printer is started, a minute current starts flowing through the resistor plates causing them to heat up. This in turn causes the ink surrounding the plates to vaporize into a tiny air bubble inside the nozzle. At this point the total volume of the ink will exceed that of the nozzle and an ink droplet is forced out of the cartridge nozzle onto the paper.
It is important to remember that the ink in thermal inkjet printers perform a dual role by also acting as a coolant to protecting heating elements. This makes it essential that the cartridge is refilled or
replaced as soon as the ink supply is depleted to avoid damaging the print head.
In the case of piezoelectric printers, the nozzles contain piezoelectric crystals in place of the heating elements. The crystals change their shape or size when electricity is applied, therefore forcing the ink from the nozzle.
Types of Printer Ink Cartridges
It becomes essential that users know exactly what to buy when their ink cartridge runs out. There are three main kinds of ink refill packs available on the market.
The first is of course the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges that consist of company-produced refills for each printer model. These printer cartridges are directly marketed by the various printer manufacturers including Canon, HP, Epson, and so on. They are the oldest type of refills available and also the most expensive, though the quality tends to be high.
The second type of cartridges is the compatible cartridges. They are manufactured by third-party companies and do not carry the original brand names. Nevertheless, they are specially manufactured to meet or exceed OEM specifications and are largely of the same quality. Best of all, they cost only a fraction of the price of the OEMs.
Last, you have the remanufactured or refurbished cartridges which consist of OEM or compatible cartridges which have been recharged after use. Priced midway between the other two choices, refurbished cartridges are very popular among environmentally conscious users.
In conclusion, customers need to take care when choosing printer ink cartridges as they can end up buying one that is not compatible with their particular model. An HP Printer, for example, will use laser toner
cartridges such as the CE285A or the HP 85A, but one meant for a similar model from another company may fail to take.