Saturday, 30 September 2017

Refilling the Inkjet Printer Cartridges

Inkjet printers are ridiculously cheap but the manufacturers know they are going to make their money from the sale of replacement cartridges.  We purchased bulk ink more than a decade ago and ever since then I’ve refilled the cartridges.  OK, there was a six year gap when we were on Waiouru but we hardly used the printer during those years.

When we returned to Perth my sister kindly gave us their old HP Inkjet combination printer/scanner.  They had decided to upgrade and the new printer had more features along with being a business expense (never met a poor plumber).  Their old printer is in rather good condition, although the ink cartridges were close to empty.


It’s an HP Inkjet Pro 8600.  It can be used as a network printer with both Ethernet and wireless functionality.  I couldn’t do much about the level of ink until we received our Australian house pack.  Then it was a case of searching through the boxes to find my refill equipment.  I’m going to explain my technique for refilling cartridges.  The required equipment is in the following photo.


L-R  Cheap glue gun ($4.50 from the disposal shop). Tape, Dremel with fine drill bit, Four inks and syringes, Disposable gloves, Empty cartridges, Piece of cardboard to stop ink staining the kitchen bench top.   Not shown – paper towels for cleaning spilt ink and a razor knife.

I’d not seen these cartridges before and after examining them I identified a small breather hole on the label side.


You don’t want ink leaking out the breather hole during the refilling operation so I covered it with a piece of the tape.


These cartridges have a small ‘ball’ valve on one end.  It’s located between two other cylindrical recesses in the body of the cartridge.


A professional refilling shop would have a tool to remove this ball and then replace it.  I don’t have the tool so my technique is to drill a hole through the plastic ball using the Lidl dremel (you can use any drill).  Make sure the drill bit is larger than the syringe needle because you need to have room for the displaced air to escape around the needle when filling. 

I don’t have any photos of the filling operation as I needed both hands for the operation.  SLOWLY fill the cartridge and when it’s full soak up any surplus ink with the paper towels.  Then seal the hole with glue from the hot glue gun.


The glue is likely to have a dome shape on top.  Cut that flush with the razor knife before removing the tape from the breather hole.


When they next need refilling the glue can be easily removed with the end of the syringe needle or just drill through it.

Many inkjet printers have a ‘chip’ in the cartridge which prevents them from being refilled.  Our old Canon printer had this and I got around the chip issue by purchasing a cheap “chip resetter” from Hong Kong.  This HP printer has the ability to turn off the ‘chip’ function buried in the setting menu.  I’ve turn the function off so we can re-ink the cartridges.  The disadvantage of turning off this function is the printer will no longer monitor ink levels which means the ink will just stop at some time in the future.  I think that’s a small price to pay.  Actually if you go back to the photo of the equipment you will notice that after 10 years of use the ink bottles are approximately half full.

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