Printers are one of the most thankless peripherals in our home. Aside from occasional paper jams inside, the cost of ink is often prohibitive.
Now, to make matters worse, some users have found that hardware can be programmed to stop working one day if used too often.
Mark Haven, a writer and professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, recently took to Twitter to share a frustrating experience with his wife’s “overpriced printer @EpsonAmerica”.
The printer suddenly displayed a warning message stating that “has reached the end of its useful life”.
my wife is very expensive @EpsonAmerica the printer just gave a message saying it had reached the end of its useful life and started to self-lock. Apparently, she can pay to have it fixed or buy a new one, even if it’s working fine. Outrageous, outrageous!
— Mark Tavern (@marktavern) July 22, 2022
Next, it simply stopped working, requiring maintenance to bring it back from the dead or a complete replacement.
The error message was related to the porous pads inside the printer that collect and contain excess ink.
These pads wear out over time, leading to potential risks of ink splatter damage or even damage to the printer itself. Usually other printer components wear out sooner or consumers upgrade to a better model after a few years, but some high volume printing users may end up getting this error message while the rest of the printer looks perfectly fine and usable.
This problem affects Epson models L130, L220, L310, L360 and L365, but it can also affect other models, and goes back at least five years.
Apparently, some users were able to manually replace these ink pads to bring their printers back to life. The company offers a utility Windows-only ink pad reset tool that will extend the life of the printer for a short time but can only be used once, after which the hardware will need to be officially repaired or completely replaced.