Epson EcoTank ET-M2140 Refillable Ink Tank Printer

Friday, December 06, 2019

Constantly having to buy new ink cartridges can drive any sane person crazy! With a refillable ink tank printer though, there is no ink cartridges to replace since you manually refill the ink tank reservoir yourself. Compared to continuous ink supply systems (CISS), they are neck and neck but, with a refillable ink tank printer there is no external ink tank and ink mess to worry about.
You can get refillable ink tank color printers, as well as black monochrome versions such as the EcoTank ET-M2140, which is mainly designed for text printing although, you can also use it for black and white photography since the EcoTank ET-M2140 uses pigment ink, which is resistant to UV light and water. Pigment ink is the closest thing to laser toner ink as it also contains fine powdery particles.
If you are a graphic designer and/or photographer looking to print photographs and/or art prints in color, it's best investing in a pigment ink color printer for best results. Alternatively, you could go for the dye-ink color refillable version of this printer, which is the EcoTank ET-2711. The XP-15000 photo printer is also worth looking into as it is capable of printing in A3 format.
Like with all inkjet printers, the brain of the EcoTank ET-M2140 is the print head, which contains the electronics and nozzles that spray the ink onto the paper.
Most inkjet printers use either electricity (piezoelectric print head) or heat (thermal bubble print head) to delivery the ink to the paper. Being a refillable ink tank, you have to manually fill the tank yourself. The refilling process is easy and without mess though, since all you need to do is slot the ink bottle tip inside the ink tank spout and let gravity work its magic.
The EcoTank ET-M2140 uses the same piezo print head found in the EcoTank ET-M1170 which integrates 400 nozzles to deliver the black pigment ink. With most inkjet color printers, you only get 200 nozzles for the black ink; hence you get twice as many with this printer so, you get a richer black color print than you do with grayscale printing from a color printer.
The print output speed of the EcoTank ET-M2140 is adequate for slow-paced settings such as a home office. You can print approximately 23 pages per minute (ppm), using plain 75 g/m2 paper although, you can use various thickness of paper from 64 g/m2 to 256 g/m2. If you are a high volume user, you will need a very fast printer that can deliver 30/40 pages per minute. Paper in the ET-M2140 printer is loaded in a plastic cassette tray located inside the printer and, it is accessed by opening the front panel and pulling out the cassette tray, which can store up to 250 sheets of paper.
Paper is, primarily, fed from the cassette tray but, you can also fed paper through the rear of the printer. That said, you won't be able to store paper on the rear since there isn't a tray to hold the paper in place; hence the paper simply folds over the rear of the printer. There is automatic double-sided printing support available from the output tray, which can hold up to 100 sheets of paper.
output switch lever (grey plastic with ridges)
You can also choose to have paper output to the main output tray or have paper output to the front of the printer to avoid paper jams when printing with thick paper or business cards. Changing the paper output is done manually via the output switch lever located inside the paper compartment.
Being a dual paper feed printer, there is user access to the paper feed motor compartments to remove any paper that may get jammed.
There is an in ink waste reservoir (maintenance box) designed to catch excess ink. The waste reservoir has to be replaced periodically, usually between within 2 years but, the printer will alert you when the maintenance box is full (red white X symbol) and when is becoming full (yellow black exclamation mark symbol). You can read more about this on the ET-M2140 full user manual.
The ink droplet size of the ET-M2140 is very small (2.8 picoliters), which coupled with high dpi resolution support (1,200 x 2,400 dpi) produces a sharper, better quality image. There are downsides to small ink droplets though, one of them being slower print job since more ink dots are required than with larger ink droplets. Also, the smaller the ink droplets the smaller the ink nozzles and that means more chance for them to get clogged up.
Because the ink in the Ecotank ET-M2140 is stored in a refillable tank rather than on a cartridge, there is less change of clogging although, clogging can occur inside the ink tube. Should clogging occur, the printer is equipped to solve nozzle clogging and ink tube clogging via a "head cleaning" setting and a "power cleaning" setting.
In terms of weight and size, the ET-M2140 printer is heavier and bulkier than the average printer, weighing 6.4 kg and measuring 30cm tall, 38cm wide and 35cm deep. Most all-in-one printers have a block-type design where the scanner and printer are closely embedded into one seamless block.
The ET-M2140 printer has a rather spacious feel to it, thanks to its "open plan" design with two clear levels. The scanner is suspended above the actual printer with the user control panel sloping down the front side of the scanner.
The control panel is sizable, measuring 18 cm long and integrating a 3.7cm colour LCD screen and 12 tactile buttons that produce audible and satisfying clicks. The power button has an led ring light around it, making it visible in low light. The ET-M2140 printer is made of hard plastic with a black and white matte finish. The black matte finish does minimize fingerprint markings but it is still liable to fingerprint smudges, including the user control panel, which has a rubberized finish to it.
Setting up the EcoTank ET-M2140 is straightforward but, it is not plug-and-play. You will need to install the require drivers for the printer to work. A software CD is included with the printer.
Alternatively, you can download the driver for the ET-M2140 printer online to your computer, run the file and follow the prompts. This printer has to be tethered to a computer at all times since there is no Wifi support like you get with the ET-M1170 version so, you won't be able to print from a smartphone device.
standard figure 8 port
As far as power consumption, the EcoTank ET-M2140 is much cheaper to run than a laser printer and most inkjet printers, which use up to 40 watts of power when printing. The EcoTank ET-M2140, in the other hand, uses just 12 watts of power when printing and 0.7 watts in sleep mode. Surprisingly though, the printer uses more power when it is powered off then when in standby (sleep mode).
According to the technical specs, the ET-M2140 uses 0.8 watts when turned off. This actually isn't a bad thing because you actually want to have the printer in standby anyways so, the printer can carry out a print head maintenance and prevent the nozzles from clogging. The easiest way to prevent the print head from clogging though, it is by using it regularly. If you aren't going to be using the printer for long periods, you will need to print at least once every week to prevent the ink nozzles from clogging up.
Aside from printing, the EcoTank ET-M2140 can also scan as it integrates a flatbed scanner that uses a standard single-sided contact image sensor (CIS) that scans the side against the glass. Some scanners are capable of scanning both sides of a page.
The ET-M2140 scanner can detect color so, it can scan photos, shopping receipts and anything that can fit in the scanning bed (up to A4 size). The maximum scan optical resolution without any digital interpolation is 2,400 dpi, which is pretty high. Being a black-only printer, you obviously won't be able to print the scan in color but, you can save the scan to your computer, using BMP, JPEG, PICT, TIFF, multi-TIFF, PDF or PNG image formats.
The EcoTank ET-M2140 mono printer has a one-year/100,000-page warranty, which means the printer is covered under warranty up to 1-year but it is limited to 100,000 pages so, if you print more than 100,000 pages, say, in 6 months the printer won't be covered by warranty any longer.
100,000 pages works out about 2000 print outs per week, which is a huge amount of printing that will, obviously, put more stress on the printer. Speaking of stress, the ET-M2140 has a max duty cycle rating of 20,000 pages per month, which effectively, shows how robust the printer is. Some printers can only handle 8000 pages.
Like with most things, the more you use them the sooner they degrade and breakdown. If warranty is important to you, you can extend the standard warranty to a further 2 years at no extra cost. All you have to do is register the ET-M2140 printer online within 30-days of buying the printer.

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