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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Refilling Epson Ink Cartridges....Not!
Confessions from someone who tried and wouldn't recommend it. Where do we start?
1) Even though it is very easy to put a hole in the top of most Epson ink cartridges and insert the ink into the sponge (most Epson brand and Epson compatible ink cartridges use a sponge) there are problems with that. The first is that it appears that machine filled cartridges may be better at inserting the proper amount of ink, possibly they use pressurized systems to push ink into the sponge. Why is this important? Well, many Epson inkjet printers estimate the amount of ink in a cartridge and if the proper amount is not there this will throw off the ink level indicator and also potentially cause the cartridge to run out of ink before it's supposed to, thereby getting an air bubble in the ink line and causing printer quality problems. If you get air in the ink line be prepared to basically run the cleaning utility non stop to get it to print well again...i.e. 10 times or more possibly.
2) Most new Epson brand and Epson compatible print cartridges have chips on them which of course serve multiple functions but some people think these chips may make it difficult to refill a cartridge and reuse it. There are companies which sell "chip resetters" to help overcome this issue but then the resetters cost money and is another step in the process also.
3) Anyone who has refilled Epson cartridges will tell you that the process itself can result in lower print quality and also potentially damage your print head, which is generally part of the printer itself, not the cartridge. In other words if the print head goes, so goes the printer for many people as it often is not worth it to get the print head repaired for a $100 printer.
What is a good inkjet printer to buy? Well for the high end how about the Canon i9900, which is available for $400 to $500 but....it prints tremendous wide carriage photo in 11" x 17" format and even bigger if you have the paper. Think about this, that 5 Mega pixel camera you may have is rated for photo quality printing of 11" x 17" photos so why not get a printer which can print them?

You can find this printer on the Canon website at: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=117&modelid=9870

You can find ink cartridges for it at: http://www.inkjetcartridge.com/i9900bundle.html
Refilling Lexmark and Dell Inkjet Cartridges:
As with many other ink cartridges it is best to refill Lexmark or Dell ink cartridges just before they run out of ink or immediately after they run out of ink. The Lexmark and Dell ink cartridge print heads will clog if not refilled soon, making a print head cleaning tool very helpful! If you do refill them ontime you can often get recycle a black Dell or Lexmark cartridge 8 - 10 times and consistently get it to work if you have a print head cleaning tool available.
Tips on getting Lexmark and Dell 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 Dell cartridges are different that the technologies for HP cartridges for example. There are often differences even between cartridges with the same brand.
3) Refill cartridges which have been used in the recent past with ink that is not more than 2 years old. Ink nozzles will potentially clog over time as the ink in the cartridge biodegrades. 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.
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 then...it 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. If you can unclog the cartridge, you can probably get it to work.
Great refill kit instructions can be found at http://www.inkjetcartridge.com/refinforlexp.html for your Lexmark or Dell inkjet cartridges. will potentially double or triple your success rate in refilling HP ink cartridges.

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 then...it 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 http://www.icolorsupplies.com and http://www.inkjetcartridge.com/refin1.html will potentially double or triple your success rate in refilling HP ink cartridges.
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