It’s no secret that the vast majority of home printers today are inkjet printing devices. And no wonder: the cheapest inkjet printer costs 3 times less than the cheapest laser printer. True, there is one “but” here. The cost of inkjet printing is significantly higher. And the cartridges run out very quickly – you won’t have time to look back. But here is their price. in general, you won’t save any money. What to do? Do you really have to buy a laser printer?
In fact, not everything is so bad: it is possible to significantly reduce the cost of maintaining a printer. To do this, you just have to learn how to refill the cartridges yourself. Here’s an example. The cost of a branded cartridge for the HP DeskJet 640 printer is about $30 (printing cost, therefore, 4 cents per page), the cost of a compatible cartridge from a third-class company is a little more than $20 (3 cents per page). A little expensive, isn’t it? But if you refill an empty cartridge yourself, the cost of printing one page can be only 0.1(!) cents. Of course, there is a risk: refueling is not possible every time. But “those who don’t take risks don’t drink champagne.”
What is needed to refill the cartridge?
There may be several options here.
The first method is to use a special gas station
. This refueling method is the easiest. You insert the cartridge inside the machine, fill it with ink and press the button. That’s it, nothing more is needed from you. True, this is not without its drawbacks. Firstly, the price of a gas station is high ($150-200). And secondly, the machines can only refill a certain type of cartridge. In general, this method is perhaps only suitable for organizations.
Second option – special set
, which includes a device for creating an opening, a syringe with a nozzle for refilling and a cartridge holder. All this allows you to achieve good results for just $10. There are also cheaper kits – in them you will find an awl or screw cutter, a syringe with ink and a rubber or plastic stopper. By the way, when purchasing a set, be sure to check whether it contains instructions for refueling. If this option seems too expensive to you, then just buy ink, take an ordinary awl, tape and a medical syringe. However, for the first time it is still better to use the kit.
How does an inkjet cartridge work?
Before practice, it is useful to study a little theory. Let’s figure out what an inkjet cartridge is and how it works. Basically, the print unit of any inkjet printer consists of three main parts. First is the tank
, filled with ink and a capillary system that supplies it to the head nozzles. This design is implemented differently in different models. For example, in some cartridges the ink tank is filled with a special absorbent sponge (something like foam rubber). In other models, ink is held in the reservoir due to the difference between internal and external pressure. Well, in some cartridges this happens due to a special bag filled with air.
The head is the second part of the printing unit. At the same time, in some inkjet machines the head is located on the cartridge and changes along with it, for example, in HP printers). For other models, it remains in the printer, and only the reservoir is changed.
In addition, each cartridge is equipped with its own chip that controls the ink supply. In principle, it is he who implements the printing process. If the chip fails, it will no longer be possible to restore the cartridge.
All this is not very difficult, but for refueling to be successful, you need to know such things. In addition, to get a good result, you need to choose the right ink. The fact is that there are many different inks for inkjet printers. In the vast majority of cases, dye-based inks are used (the coloring substances in such inks are soluble in water). Less common are quick-drying inks (they are not washed off with water, but dissolve in an alkaline environment, for example, in saliva). It is even rarer to see pigment ink (the pigment does not dissolve in either water or alkaline media).
In addition, ink is divided into three types based on functional properties: regular, high-definition and non-standard. The first type of ink uses a simple dye without any additives, so they are the cheapest. True, the print quality in this case leaves much to be desired. High-resolution ink is a completely different matter: the result is visible even on plain paper. This ink practically does not smear on it, which allows us to truly speak of high resolution.
Non-standard inks stand out a little. Finding them is much more difficult, and they are used mainly by professionals. This type includes, firstly, ink for printing on photographic paper (and sometimes certain inks require specific photographic paper), and secondly, inks with a non-standard color scheme.
What ink is best to choose for home refilling? The answer to this question is quite simple. Go to any computer company and see what kind of ink they have that is suitable for your cartridge. The brand of ink must be indicated on each refill kit. Just check the documentation to see if it fits your cartridge.
But don’t be fooled by your hopes – it’s unlikely that you’ll find any ink other than standard ones. Although there are high-resolution waterproof inks and even inks for photo paper on sale, you will have to run around to find them.
In general, the problem of choosing ink should be taken very seriously. When you come to the store, try to take only branded paint. Moreover, it is not at all necessary to take HP ink for an HP printer – it is enough to take “almost branded” ink, for example, from LG, which produces compatible cartridges and refill kits for almost all printers. It’s another matter if in a store they tell you: “I don’t know which company, but it will work for your printer.” Should you trust a company that is afraid to write the name on its products? Well, if you still took a chance and bought this something, then be prepared for unstable, smearing ink and incomprehensible colors (of course, not always, but in more than half of the cases).
Well, now that we have acquired the necessary theoretical knowledge and selected the ink, we can proceed directly to the refill itself. This process is quite different for cartridges from different manufacturers. So let’s take a closer look at it.
Refilling Epson cartridges
Epson replacement cartridges are simply a reservoir filled with ink. The head and mechanism that provides printing are located in the printer and cannot be replaced. More precisely, they are subject to it if they fail, but this will have to cost an amount reaching 75% of the cost of a new printer. And what’s most interesting is that the Epson printing unit most often fails precisely because of the use of counterfeit cartridges or home refilling with bad ink, and the warranty in case of such breakdowns is invalid. So if you are the owner of an Epson printer, you better think ten times before you decide to refill! However, the process itself is very simple.
The most important thing is not to remove the cartridge from the printer for more than a minute: otherwise the print head will dry out and you will have to struggle with cleaning it. And this, believe me, will not lead to anything good. The way out of this situation is quite simple. not very pleasant: you will have to buy another cartridge – take out the empty one, immediately insert the full one.
The refueling procedure itself, as I already said, is extremely simple, and it is the same for color and black models. The only difference is that in color cartridges you need to refill from 3 to 5 different compartments (according to the number of colors). This is done as follows.
As soon as you remove the cartridge from the printer, immediately seal the exit hole with a previously prepared piece of tape. Further actions depend on the cartridge model. If the tank has holes (they should be sealed with film) on the lid, then you are in luck, otherwise you will have to drill them yourself. Having sorted out the holes, insert the syringe needle to the bottom of the cartridge and slowly pump in ink. That’s all. All that remains is to seal the filling holes (be careful not to accidentally seal the ventilation holes).
Refilling HP cartridges
In cartridges from this company, the print head is combined with a reservoir. This is a big advantage, because if refilling fails, the cartridge is simply thrown away and a new one is purchased, and the printer will not be damaged. HP color and black print cartridges are designed differently.
The first ones, like the Epson models, have a reservoir with a sponge, and they are refilled in a similar way. First, we seal all the holes except those located on the top cover. It is through them that we insert the syringe needle and slowly (when refilling almost any cartridges, ink must be injected slowly) we pump in the ink. Then you need to wait a while until the ink dissolves on the sponge.
The process of refilling a color cartridge for HP DeskJet 400/500/600 is a little more complicated. First you need to remove the top cover (this is not as easy as it seems at first glance). Under it you will find 3 holes for different colors. We seal two of them, and pump new paint into the third using a syringe. Then we glue the other two, and so on. At the end, remove all the tape and return the top cover to its place. You can secure it with the same tape.
Now let’s deal with black cartridges. In HP DeskJet 400/500/600 models, pressure inside the tank is created by special air bags. Remember this, because if such a bag is damaged, all the ink will leak out and the cartridge will have to be thrown away. In older models, the difference between external and internal pressure is used, and therefore such a problem cannot arise.