Refilling Cartridges: Questions, Troubleshooting & Answers

By: James Kara Murat

The "sticker shock" that a consumer can get when buying a new set of inks for a computer printer can easily send them over the edge. With an eye toward economy and ecology consumers are finding that refills may be the way to solve issues they have with ink cartridge pricing and disposability.

Refills

As consumers quietly grumbled about the prices of printer ink other manufacturers, of all kinds, began coming up with ways to refill an ink cartridge. Refill kits have become a hot commodity with a certain "wink, wink" toward the patent lawyers. Individuals have also taken up the cause by performing plastic surgery on ink cartridges resembling Botox injections.

Plenty of newspaper

Whether a consumer is refilling hp ink cartridge or refilling canon ink cartridge the process is, for the most part, the same. Refill kits will get you half way home but you will need to provide quite a bit of newspaper for covering anything you value. You will also need cloths that can be wasted rather then washed.

Help boards are helpful

The difference that may be found when refilling hp ink cartridge and refilling canon ink cartridge is the location of the fill hole. On some canon cartridges the fill hole may be on the side or on the top of the cartridge. From the help boards it appears that either one will work ok. The idea is to refill the reservoir or sponge with just enough ink so that there is no air within the cartridge when the process is completed.

Tape

Obviously, ink cartridge manufacturers are not all that interested in providing ink cartridge refilling instructions so the process is a learn from others sort of thing. One item that pops up in this regard is the use of tape over the fill hole. Have some good quality tape for this aspect of the process. Also, you may need to use a few layers to make the seal. If there is a message, or several messages for that matter, after you have refilled and sealed, saying "can't find printer" there may be an air hole where the tape is located. This means...start over and tape again.

Happy and sad

While the ink cartridge manufacturers are sad that others are finding ways to refill their cartridges (manufacturers indicate that the nozzles are not engineered for multiple use and Consumer Reports indicates color refill prints are only ok while black is good when refilling) others are warily excited. Research is beginning to show that consumers would pay to have somebody else refill their cartridges if the price were around half the originals cost.

Walgreens has been looking into this process for about 1,500 of its stores. It feels there may have room for refilling hp ink cartridge and refilling canon ink cartridge. The 10-15 minute process is relatively inexpensive and may be a somewhat palatable compromise with original cartridge manufacturers. The manufacturers, however, would need to convince consumers that refilling is only wise for a certain number of refills before they need a completely new cartridge.

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