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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

HP Ink Cartridges Information:
Recycling HP ink cartridges: The best time to recycle HP ink cartridges is either just before they run out of ink or immediately after they run out of ink. Most, if not all, HP ink cartridges use heat in the printing process. Most HP inkjet cartridges have the print head integrated within the cartridge and attempting to print without the ink being present can damage the print head nozzles. The ink acts to cool the print head as it prints so if there is no ink the print head nozzles can be damaged and effectively ruin the cartridge for recycling. So, DO NOT CONTINUE TO RUN THE PRINTER WHEN THERE IS NO INK IN THE CARTRIDGE.
Tips on getting HP cartridges to work after Recycling:
1) Make sure the cartridge you are using is clean with no damage to the print head nozzles or circuitry. You can clean the print head with rubbing alchohol or DISTILLED water (for reduced oxidation compared to regular water)
2) Use ink which is designed for your printer. The characteristics of the ink are important. We do not recommend using "universal" or "generic" ink for refilling all cartridges. The printing technologies used for HP cartridges are different than the technologies for Canon cartridges, for example. There are differences even between cartridges with the same brand. One cartridge may need a pigmented ink and another a dye based ink. The size of the ink particles is also important. High resolution printers capable of the finest quality photographic printing will generally use very fine ink particles in order to reproduce the detail needed in photographic printing. Using an ink designed for use in a 15 year old printer just may not be appropriate for the newest photo printers on the market.
3) Refill cartridges which have been used in the recent past with ink that is not more than 2 years old. It is a lot easier to get a recently used ink cartridge to work than it is a cartridge which has been sitting in your desk drawer for 5 years. Ink nozzles will potentially clog over time as the ink in the cartridge actually biodegrades. As the ink biodegrades over time the ink particles (molecules) will grow in size and be more likely to clog the print head. The larger the ink particles the more likely they will clog the print head. Use new ink and new cartridges when possible. Generally inkjet ink is considered past it's expiration date (effective use date) within 2-3 years of purchase (assuming you purchased it when it was new). Buying from large, high throughput ink companies can help assure that the ink you buy is more likely to be new.
4) Understand that a print head cleaning tool can be instrumental to your success in refilling ink cartridges. It is not unusual to do all the steps recommended in your refill kit and still doesn't work! There are several reasons for this as noted above (the cartridge has failed electrically, or is too clogged to work after refilling...etc.) but a print head cleaning tool for your specific ink cartridge can make a huge difference. One of the most common reasons for failure with refilling a cartridge is just a print head clog, pure and simple. If you can unclog the cartridge, you can probably get it to work. A print head cleaning tool such as those found at and will potentially double or triple your success rate in refilling HP ink cartridges.


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