Electronic Circuit in Panduit Labelmaker Cartridge

Panduit labelmaker cartridge

I don’t remember exactly where at work I found this empty labelmaker cartridge, but this view isn’t what caught my attention.

Panduit labelmaker cartridge, PC board visible

Here’s what piqued my interest — a tiny PC board inside the cartridge.

Panduit labelmaker cartridge, edge view

I’m aware of inkjet printer manufacturers adding PC boards to their ink cartridges and then perverting the intent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act‘s anti-circumvention measures to prohibit third parties from producing compatible ink refills. Would Panduit stoop to such depths? I had to know. What was that chip???

PC board from Panduit labelmaker cartridge

Easily answered — the sole IC on the PC board looks like a harmless 24C16 I2C serial EEPROM. It probably informs the labelmaker of the label size and shape. No big deal!

And now I have another 24C16 in my parts bin.

3 Responses to “Electronic Circuit in Panduit Labelmaker Cartridge”

  1. Darkith says:

    Hrm….could be….especially if the labeller has *many* fancy features (different print orientations, widths, label foreground & background colors, etc)

    But, the labeller I have just relies upon several contact fingers and various combinations of shorting those fingers. I wonder why a company would justify putting an EEPROM into each cartridge?


  2. Alan Parekh says:

    You should take a dump of the content. If they have it available I bet they are keeping track of how much it was used and will probably die when it should be empty. It seems like everyone who has something replaceable in them these days has gone evil.

  3. Keith Neufeld says:

    Alan, I think you’re on the right track. I talked to the telcom manager at work (from whose trash this came) and he said it remembers how much label is used on a cartridge even when you swap cartridges back and forth.

    For what it’s worth, there was only about an inch of label left in the cartridge, so I don’t think Panduit is being totally evil. :-)

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