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An Introduction to Ink Cartridge

Printer ink cartridges mainly refer to the parts used in inkjet printers to store printing ink and ultimately complete printing.

Ink Cartridge Classification

Judging from the composition and structure of ink cartridges for printers currently on the market, generally speaking, they can be divided into: separated ink cartridges and integrated ink cartridges.

Integrated Ink Cartridge

Printer ink cartridges with a built-in print head are called integrated printer cartridges. The integrated ink cartridge integrates the printhead on the ink cartridge. When the ink is used up and a new ink cartridge is replaced, it means that a new print head is replaced at the same time. Using this kind of ink cartridge can achieve relatively high printing accuracy and ensure print quality. Since the printhead is replaced with the ink cartridge, the print quality will not be degraded due to wear of the inkjet head. However, this kind of design structure increases the cost, and the price of such ink cartridges is relatively high. HP and Lexmark products mostly use this type of ink cartridge.

Integrated Ink Cartridges

However, in order to save printing costs, for this type of ink cartridge of ink cartridge HP, users often refill the empty ink cartridge with ink themselves after using it up. Generally speaking, as long as the operation is correct, the filled ink will not cause much damage to the printhead. Even if it doesn’t succeed, what will be scrapped is just an ink cartridge for HP printers that should have been scrapped in the first place, and generally will not cause harm to the printer. Of course, this type of ink cartridge cannot limit the number of times the user can refill the ink. Generally speaking, after using up the original ink, it can be refilled 3 to 4 times. If you find that the print quality has dropped significantly, it means you need to replace the ink cartridge with a new one.

Integrated Ink Cartridges

Split Ink Cartridge

Split ink cartridges refer to products that separate the printhead and ink cartridge designs. The starting point of this structural design is mainly to reduce printing costs because this kind of ink cartridge is not integrated into the printhead. The printhead can continue to be used when the ink cartridge is invalid. It also simplifies the user’s disassembly and assembly process of the ink cartridge and reduces the chance of human damage to the printer. There is a chance of man-made damage to the printer; however, this structure also has obvious flaws, that is, the printhead will not be updated in time. As the printer’s working time increases, the quality of the printer will naturally decline until the printhead deteriorates.

Split Ink Cartridge

Most of Epson’s products are split ink cartridges. In terms of cost, this kind of ink cartridge Epson is lower than the integrated ink cartridge, but this type of ink cartridge does not allow users to fill ink at will. In split ink cartridges, they can be divided into individual ink cartridges and combined colour cartridges according to color. individual ink cartridges mean that each color is packaged independently, and you can only replace the colour that has run out, potentially saving ink, money, and resources. Combined colour cartridges refer to packaging multiple colors into one ink cartridge. If one color is used up, even if several other colors are available, the whole ink cartridge must be replaced. Obviously, monochrome ink cartridges are more economical.

Importance of Printer Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges play a very important role for the entire inkjet printer, especially for some low-end printers, which have reached the price of 2 cartridges of ink = 1 printer. Therefore, when purchasing a printer, you must consider the condition of the ink cartridges.

The ink cartridge is an important part of the inkjet printer. Its quality will directly affect the printing effect of the inkjet printer. At the same time, the ink cartridge is also a component that is prone to failure. When an inkjet printer is not used for a long time or used for a period of time, problems such as unclear printing, breakpoints, and disconnections will occur. In this case, the print head cleaning method needs to be used to solve the problem. Most inkjet printers will automatically clean the print head when they are turned on, and have a button to clean the print head. For example, most of Canon’s inkjet printers have three-level cleaning functions: quick cleaning, regular cleaning, and thorough cleaning. For specific cleaning operations, please refer to the steps in the inkjet printer operating manual.

However, if the printing is still not satisfactory after several consecutive cleanings, the ink may have been used up and the ink cartridge needs to be replaced. It is best not to remove the ink cartridge when it is not used up, otherwise, it will cause ink waste or the printer will mismeter the ink. Generally speaking, printer ink will not harden or deteriorate within a short period of time when placed inside the printer, so there is no need to take out the ink cartridge. However, if your printer is not used for a long time, you need to take out the ink cartridge. This can prevent the ink from deteriorating and ensure the life of the printhead.

Extended Service Life of Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges are really too expensive (excluding printheads), and many people hope to extend the service life of the ink cartridges in various ways to reduce costs. Here are two ways to extend its life.

Fake Ink Replacement

Some printers do not measure ink consumption by detecting the ink in the ink cartridge, but by calculating the total amount of characters printed. To be on the safe side, manufacturers put much more ink in the ink cartridge than the ink consumption rated by this “counter”. We can use the method of “fake ink replacement” to reset the “counter” to zero, so that the original ink cartridge can still be used for printing, as long as there is indeed ink in it.
The following takes the Epson–Color series inkjet printer as an example.
The specific operation method is: when the “ink out indicator” on the printer flashes, press the “ink replacement button” on the printer panel, the ink cartridge holder will slide to the ink replacement position on its own, open the cover of the ink cartridge holder, but do not take out the ink cartridge, then close the ink cartridge holder cover, and then press the ink replacement button on the printer panel. The printer will start to fill the ink. After the ink filling is completed, you will see that the ink level indicator bar in the printer operation interface is full again. Now you can use this ink cartridge that should have been scrapped again. After “fake ink replacement”, all the ink in the ink cartridge can be consumed, which can increase the original printing volume by at least 50%.

The problem that arises after “fake ink replacement” is that when the ink in the ink cartridge is really exhausted, the ink cartridge cannot be replaced by the usual method. But you can press the cleaning button, and when the ink cartridge holder reaches the ink cartridge replacement position, forcefully turn off the printer power, then lift the cover of the ink cartridge holder like a normal ink change, and remove the ink cartridge that has no ink. Do not put the new ink cartridge in at this time, turn on the printer power again. At this time, the printer detects that there is no ink, and the “ink out indicator” will flash. Then just replace the ink according to the normal method.
Epson’s manual states that the ink cartridge cannot be used again after being removed. The reason is due to the special structure of the ink cartridge. If the ink cartridge is removed midway, air will enter the printhead pipe, causing disconnection during printing. Moreover, the disconnection at this time requires several cleanings to extract the air, which will waste a lot of ink. Therefore, in order to prevent this situation from happening and the user does not know how to deal with it, Epson warns the user that the ink cartridge cannot be used again after it is removed. Of course, this method does not work well on some printers.

Ink Refill

(1) Epson printer ink cartridge refill
How to refill black and white ink cartridges:
When the printer’s black ink clean light is on, take out the black ink cartridge and use a disposable syringe to absorb 7ml-8ml of ink. Turn the ink outlet hole under the ink cartridge upward; and tilt it to 45 degrees to prevent ink from flowing out of the balance hole on the top of the ink cartridge when the ink is almost full. Just inject the ink from the disposable syringe into the ink outlet. Pay attention to going fast in the front and slow in the back. Use paper to wipe out the ink near the ink holes, then put it into the printer immediately. After cleaning it once or twice, you can use it.
How to refill color ink cartridges:
If you want to add colored ink, the operating procedures are similar to the above, but more cumbersome; because you have to use three disposable syringes for three operations, and the amount of ink injected may be different. (When the color ink clean light is on, not all three color ink cartridges are empty; the ink filling volume is about 5ml.)

(2) Canon printer ink cartridge filling
There are two common types of Canon ink cartridges with printheads. The one with the ink refill hole (also known as the ventilation hole) on the side: such as black bc-01/02/03, color bc-05/06/09; The one with the ink refill hole (that is, the ventilation hole) on the top is another type: such as black BC-20/23 and colored BC-22/22e/29f. The ink-filling hole is used to add ink during production. There is a small eye on the sealing plug as a ventilation hole, which is used to maintain the balance of internal and external pressure.

The structure and ink-filling method of the two types of printer ink cartridges are basically the same. Insert the drill bit provided into the small eye of the vent hole and turn it slightly twice. Hold firmly and gently pull out the plug on the vent hole. For color ink cartridges, you need to use a toothpick to judge the color. Insert the ink-filling needle into the hole to fill the ink, and press the plug back after filling. Things to note: First, add ink so that it does not exceed the capacity of the sponge, otherwise the ink will easily be thrown away when printing; second, do not add too much ink, and control it to avoid overflow, especially for color ink cartridges. The ink-filling holes of each color are relatively close together. Once they overflow and seep into the ink grids of other colors, the ink cartridge will become unusable due to color mixing. In addition, there are two styles of bc-03 ink cartridges, one is the one mentioned earlier, and the other with a transparent ink storage chamber on the side. The ink-filling hole on the wall of the chamber is sealed with a steel ball. The method is to use the supplied ejector pin to press the steel balls into the ink storage chamber. After the ink is filled, use the supplied new steel balls to seal the ink-filling hole.
Filling the ink cartridge with ink can indeed extend the service life of the ink cartridge, but the nozzles are also very easy to get clogged. Replacing a printhead costs a lot of money! Weigh it yourself! Because doing so will really damage the life of the printer.

Continuous Ink Supply System

Perhaps the easiest, most trouble-free method of refilling ink cartridges is through the use of a CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System). A CISS consists of a set of cartridges that have tubes connected to them, through which the ink continuously flows from ink reservoirs on the outside of the printer. Instead of refilling the cartridges themselves, the user simply refills the bottles on the outside of the printer. Early CIS systems were composed of OEM cartridges that had been drilled and outfitted with fittings to accept the ink delivery tubes, a set of ‘ribbon’ tubes, and plastic bottles with holes drilled in the caps for the tubes and the vents. Today’s CIS systems are mass-produced in China, often incorporating all ink bottles into one partitioned container. They typically utilize auto-reset chips, which means the cartridges rarely have to be removed from the printer.

JOHOPE Technology provides a variety of ink cartridges, dedicated to delivering inkjet printing solutions for you.


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