A dependable solution for the USA and Canada versions of the SureColor P800 is finally available. We had to kiss a lot of frogs before we found this prince. Some of these frogs blew up our printers. We even gave some a second chance after getting assurances from the producer. But, patience won out and we believe that the solution we have is stable and dependable.

The Problem:

Epson SureColor P-800 printers that are sold in the North American region can only be used with Epson Brand cartridges. When non-Epson branded cartridges are installed the printer will eventually fail to operate and may also become disabled requiring repair. Epson clearly indicated in their North American marketing that the P-800 printer model is designed to “only operate with Epson brand cartridges”.  In the meantime, customers in Europe and China are using their regional versions of this same printer with their choice of consumables. Where importing a printer from Hong Kong or UK is possible, buying main boards from those regions is impossible without a regional serial# and regional ship-to address. The USA/Canada P-800s are locked down.

The Solution:

We were hoping that a simple 3rd party chip solution would eventually become available as it did with the 3800 and 3880 printers. But, this is not possible with the USA/Canada version of this printer model. The scheme that prevents using non-Epson branded cartridges is practically impossible to circumvent without literally getting around the circuit that prevents the use of non-Epson cartridges.

“Getting around the circuit” means that you will literally need to install an external circuit board that circumvents the Epson printer chip reading process. It replaces the printer’s functions with its own functions that are resident on the external circuit board. This type of circuit board is called a “decoder board”. The decoder board can be used in combination with InkjetMall versions of the Epson 3800 and 3880 refillable cartridges from 2011 and later.  And this is what it looks like when it is installed.

An decoder board attached to the rear of one of our USA Epson SureColor P-800 prinrters.

Decoder boards

When installed, a decoder board bypasses the Epson chip reading functions. All of the reading and writing to chips as well as the resetting becomes a phantom operation that takes place on the decoder board. How you reset a “chip” is by pressing a button on the decoder board.

This decoder board is not that difficult to install. It involves disconnecting the ribbon cables from the Epson printer’s main board, and connecting, in their place, the ribbon cables from the decoder board. And once in place, it’s not something you need to worry about again. It does what it is supposed to do. Initially, all of the cartridges will read 100% full. As any single cartridge empties and requires resetting, a button on the decoder board is depressed and all cartridges reset to 100% full. You’ll need to pay attention to ink levels as a result of the resetting.

There are 30 different combinations of OEM chip serial numbers available to Epson P-800 printers. Certainly, Epson repair depots must have some utility that is used to reset a P-800 printer’s serial# counters after 30 sets of OEM carts have been used. Hopefully, that utility will become available. In the meantime, the reset button on the decoder board can only be used to reset cartridges 30 times. That is a lot of ink, but it is a limitation.

Also, installing the decoder board represents an alteration to your printer that will most likely void the warranty. It takes only 15 minutes to install and even less to de-install. Once it is removed and the Epson cables put back in place, the printer is restored to its normal functions.

We are pre-testing all of our decoder boards here so that we know that what we sell you works. But, we can not be responsible for your installation nor can we warranty the board itself nor any damage it might cause if you install it improperly.

We have been testing devices like this for more than a year. We’ve blown up a fair number of Epson printers on solutions which are not stable. We believe that the version of decoder board that we are selling is stable. Plus, our version allows use of our existing Epson 3800 and Epson 3880 refillable cartridges in P-800 printers. Our 3880 control chips were unique in allowing the use of fully depleted OEM chips. These same controller chipped carts can be used with the new decoder board and the OEM chips are not required.

Therefore, our decoder board offers a good upgrade path to our existing customers of 3800/3880 printers who want to save their inks and cartridges investment as they migrate to the new P800 printer.

How this may affect you

We’re in the middle of producing a step-by-step video to make the task of installation easier for you. We’ll also include a very well illustrated user manual. We will have 20 of these boards in inventory by our Black Friday Sale!

You can use your existing InkjetMall 3800 and 3880 refillable cartridges with this decoder board. You do not need to place an OEM chip under the control chip of these cartridges. If you wish to buy refillable cartridges for the P800 to use with this decoder board, you can purchase a set of our 3880 cartridges.

At $395 this decoder board is not cheap. But, it can pay for itself within one or two fills of ink. More importantly, it will allow you to choose your own Brand of consumables and InkjetMall offers ink products that Epson does not.

  • We’ll initially be offering ConeColor Pro with the new Ultra HD™ Matte Black and HD Photo Black inks for the P-800. An ICC profile library will be available.
  • The decoder board means you can also now use PiezoFlush internally to the printer.
  • You could even run our inexpensive InkThrift dye inks in a P800 if fade resistance is not as important as the need to run economical high chroma inks for short term graphics.
  • Piezography customers are going to have to wait until we release our new printer driver for the Epson P800. Sorry, but QTR is not compatible with this printer when more than three shades of black are used. Undesirable micro-banding is produced because the necessary update to dithering in not available in QTR. But, we have produced our own printer driver with lots of benefits. It is in beta right now. It will not be released until early 2018. So, while we will be ready for color and PiezoFlush – hang on for Piezography in the P-800. It’s going to be well worth the wait (a best ever!!!)

If you’re wondering if a solution for the SureColor P6000-P9000 is at hand – we are sorry to say that the chips/carts currently being sold into USA are not stable (in our direct experience) and may physically damage your printer’s motherboard and printhead control boards. We’ve blown up two printers already at great expense. Things were running smoothly and then blamo! If these chips were stable – we would be selling them. We realize others are selling these chips right now in USA. So, please be prepared if you are considering them. Our experience has been painful and it is not something that we would wish on our customers. While we are not always the first to offer chip solutions, ours are most definitely the most stable! For people in South East Asia who have refillable cartridges available for their un-locked printers, we have verified that QuadtoneRIP works and we are building a set of Piezography curves for these printers.