Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Inside a PG-40 ink cartridge - Part 2

In my previous post I was musing about the possibility of refilling a PG-40 ink cartridge as there are no 3rd party alternatives from what I can see.

From that post you can see that the ink cartridge is nothing more than a box with some foam in it, so I was confident about refilling it.

As it turns out it is pretty easy to do, and it works really well too. Here is what I did - please follow these steps at your own risk!

  1. Remove empty cartridge from printer - an MP150 in my case.
  2. Be careful not to touch or otherwise allow things to come into contact with the print head (thats the really inky long metallic looking bit at the bottom of the cartridge!)
  3. "Pop off" the grey lid of the cartridge (see in the video in the post mentioned above) - you can use a vice or a G-clamp to do this. If you dont have either it might be worth trying to drill a hole through the "a" of "cartridge" on the label, but be careful you dont let any of the bits of plastic get in the cartridge.
  4. Using a syringe and needle - like the one that you get with Tesco ink refill packs - push the needle down into the base of the foam and inject the ink.
  5. Place the grey lid back on the cartridge, and secure with some sellotape. Make sure that you attach the tape horizontally on the cartridge - i.e. with the label facing you with the writing the correct way up, put the tape horizontally across the label and use about an inch of tape either side to attach to the sides of the cartridge. Make sure you do not tape it on vertically as you will cover up the gold-coloured contacts.
  6. Place the cartridge back into the printer.
Having done this you can now simply unpeel the tape to refill again next time. Because the print head is integrated into the cartridge, you may find that after a few refills you will need to buy a new cartridge as the head may have become damaged or clogged up.

One side effect of this is the printer still thinks that the ink is low. From what I can gather, there is no way for the printer to actually know how much ink is in the cartridge, and it just guesses by keeping a count of how many times it has printed and how much ink it thinks it used each time. There might be a software work around for this - if I find anything I will make an update.

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