Harvest the (mysterious Not-a-sensor) Sensor From an Epson Inkjet Cartridge

Many inkjet cartridges have electronic sensors to monitor ink levels.  The Epson 69 cartridge seems to have an infrared sensor, which might be of use.  I am publishing photos of the teardown for the reference of others who wish to try to make use of them.

*edit* I am now told that this is not a sensor at all.  Imagine my disappointment.  I am changing the title so it does not mislead.



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    7 Discussions


    5 months ago

    Actually it is a sensor. It's an oscillating cavity, with a piezoelectric membrane that is switched on, creating an oscillating pulse, which then reads the force that pushes back.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    ok so then how do those printer refill kits that come with a syringe and ink work then? i mean if you refill the cart and it still thinks its out of ink then those things would be useless right? unledd they came with a reset tool to rest the value on the chip ,and i dont think they do,,although i never have used one before,so is it only a certain small number of manufacturers that use this method? maybe the other manufacturers do use a sensor then, i guess if you read the instructions and compatibility of the refill kit you should be able to figure it out,i eman if the kit is compatin=ble with a particulat cartrige then it must either use a sensor or nothing at all right?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The refill kits work for some cartridges, but some brands will continue to report empty to the printer. Canon, I think, is one of them. I had to purchase a chip resetter for my printer to make it refillable. Some cartridges will report empty even if they still have plenty of ink. It's annoying.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback on this. Kind of a disappointment that there's no usable device, but it was fun to take apart. I have no one else to ask what these mysterious thingies are, so I appreciate your I.D. of it.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    There is no sensor for the ink level inside the cartridges. Nothing gets measured. The reason these chips exist is not to protect your print head from empty cartridges (that's what the manufacturers claim and it is half true) but to stop the standard user from refilling the cartridges with cheap third-party inks.

    There is just an EEPROM with a counter level stored in it. Whenever the printer fires a blob of ink, the counter is decreased. When the counter reaches zero, the cartridge is 'empty' (no matter how much ink is actually left inside).

    Even if you refill the ink, your printer will still say that it is empty and
    refuse to print.

    Hey, Epson subsidized your printer, so please go now and buy their highly overpriced ink! (Just kidding)

    There are special reseter devices that can reprogram the cartridge counter to 'full'.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job getting it out clean for a good pic from which It is evident to me that the black blob is not an IR device but a low cost passivated protective epoxy cover for a micro processor with a number of exposed pins.
    Now we can surmmarize the function of the processor,
    1) Must be the be the remaining ink in the co2tainer
    2) also must be the ink drop mass

    Sorry I fall asleep resume tomorrow.


    function to determine the ink level remaining in the reservoar and it would control the jet ball mass on demand.
    The ink remaining can be done by inferrance