Service for the aftermarket of the printer cartridge chips

What is cartridge chip?

Cartridge chip is a small PCB with main IC and a few other SMD dies that is attached to a replaceable printing supply. Some manufacturers call it CRUM (Customer Replaceable Unit Monitor). Usually chips used on printer cartridges have up to four interconnect pins and use serial data transfer protocol. There are cartridges with the wireless devices (RFID chips) without any physical electrical connection. In this case an information exchange is performed using radio waves.

What is the function of cartridge chip?

In the beginning, cartridges chips were simple non-volatile memory devices to store data of remaining ink level and usage history. Later generation chips perform an important authentication functions. From the OEM's point of view, using authentic supplies has warranty and other service implications.

There is clear trend of OEMs to implement advanced IC technology in their cartridge chips. Examples are standard IC like Atmel CryptoMemory AT88SC series and new custom ASICs like HP CLJ 2600-type and Canon CLI8 chips that contain a high level secure authentication system. Next, chips will appear with the necessary custom firmware code placed in the memory of the chip. When installed to the printer, cartridge containing such chip will update printer's firmware of it's host printer to adjust printing parameters best suitable to current ink supply.

There are the signs that OEMs continue trying to push the aftermarket cartridge makers out of business. Cryptography Research Inc. (CRI) is developing chip technology that can be included in inkjet printers to prevent owners from using third-party ink: http://www.cnet.com.au/printers/0,239035535,339279191,00.htm

Our services for aftermarket chip makers

1. We can extract data from secure chips like AT88SCxxxxC and other similar ICs. List of printer CRUMs with available code of currently available extracted chip data for printers.
2. We are able to perform full or partial reverse engineering of sophisticated ASICs containing high-level secure authentication system. See our reverse engineering service booklet.