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See BuyingInkJetPrinters.

This page discusses my experiences with refilling ink jet cartridges.

The Canon cartridges I've dealt with (the small ones for their battery powered portable printers, don't remember the number, the BCI-21 series, and the ((BC-34e, BC-33, BCI-3 series)) are simple to refill -- the first two are refilled by simply inverting them and dripping ink on the exposed sponge at a slow rate as it is absorbed by the sponge. The BCI-3 might be refilled the same way (I've never tried it), but that is the slow way -- the alternate is to open a hole into the ink reservoir, add ink (not to exceed the original level) and reseal the hole, airtight (in my case I use a removable rubber BB and a strip of package sealing poly(ethylene?) tape.

UPDATE: Canon is not as perfect as I thought, see PolCanonBJC3000, particularly the discussion about the waste ink tank.

One hint -- most cartridge refillers recommend that you refill the cartridge before it runs dry -- perhaps while it is still half full, to avoid ink in the sponge or the nozzles drying out. Cleaning plugged nozzles is not easy -- I've never really been successful, despite trying some solvent and a jury rigged ultrasonic cleaner.

Most of the rest of this page is quoted from an email I sent, and needs refactoring.

See AboutThesePages.



I finally got my Canon BJC 3000 to print under Linux (with the installation of Mandrake 8.2), but haven't tested it for very long, but (with the foomatic bjc-600 driver) it looks equivalent to what I see when printing under Windows.

The cartridges it uses are easy to refill, you just pust a BB out of the way to create a hole into the ink reservoir, add ink (holding it so the ink doesn't leak out through the sponge and drip somewhere), then reseal the hole by some means. (Like a replacement BB, a small rubber BB, or package sealing tape -- you do have to seal the hole to be airtight -- I've seen another approach with a set screw and package sealing tape.)

Some Canons (like the portable I used for a number of years, can't remember the number) can be refilled just by pulling out the ink cartridge turning it upside down, and dripping ink onto the exposed sponge, slow enough so that it is absorbed. That might even work with the cartridges for my BJC-3000, although it might be a much slower method.

As always, buyer beware -- look at the cartridges in any printer you consider buying -- Canon probably makes some cartridges that are not nearly that easy to refill.

Hewlett Packard

I never had much success with HP cartridges (for example, the HP 51629A and the color partner to that cartridge) -- the instructions call for you to get a slight negative air pressure in the cartridge. Whether because I wasn't getting the right negative pressure, or the nozzles were plugging up, or whatever, only about half the cartridges I refilled worked properly afterwards.


Beware also of Xerox. My uncle bought a Xerox Document 750 partly on my "semi-recommendation" that the cartridges appeared to be as easy to refill as the Canon. They are not. I don't know if they incorporate some electronic gizmo to prevent them from being refilled or what, but I had no luck at all. Half the time after reinstalling the cartridge, the printer did not recognize / accept the refilled cartridge. In addition, this cartridge looks like it might hold a fair amount of ink, but when you peel the paper cover off, you see that only about 1/8 of the possible storage volume is used to contain ink.


The Lexmark Z25 (inkjet) printer is often available locally for as little as $30 (after rebate). It would be a good deal if the cartridges can be easily refilled. I did some searching on the Internet and wrote to a few people.

I got one response (from Neal <neal@epoch2001.fsnet.co.uk>):

I have only refilled twice since I have had this printer. Apparently, you need to refill when there is at least 1/4 left in the cartridge. I didn't do this the first time, so needed to buy a replacement cartridge.

This second cartridge I have refilled once, when the cartridge was 50% full.

Everything seems to be going okay at the moment.

To refill on these, you need to inject ink into the top of the cartridge into a sponge. Really easy to do.

There are no electronics in these cartridges, so need to worry about constantly using it.

I was planning on replacing every 5 refills or so, as I guess the printhead on the cartridge is ideally manufactured to be at its peak for the ink that is in there, and would go downhill. I don't know if this is correct, but i guess that if the printhead was designed to be long term, the cartridges would be more expensive.

Hope that helps, any other information you need, please feel free to ask

However, the following article makes it clear that Lexmark is not above including some sort of anti-refill electronics in its cartridges:


  • An faq from jrinkjet company in the UK. Hard to read on my konqueror installation on Knoppix 3.2, probably because of the colors I applied to my local stylesheet to be able to better see the TWiki tables in other webs -- text is yellow on a white background. I don't think others will have the same problem.

Also, brings up some interesting points (without answering all of them):

  • Says universal inks are dye and not pigment based, because they are intended to be universal (all cartridges can use dye, only some can use pigment)
  • Says their universal ink is not waterproof.
  • Unanswered: does that mean it takes a pigment based ink to be waterproof? Are all pigment based inks waterproof?


Just a few, chosen for various reasons:

  • Inkjet Specialist sells continuous fill systems for at least some Epson and Canon printers (i.e., tanks and tubing that can hold large quantities of ink, and presumbably be refilled without removing the cartrige (after the initial install).


  • () RandyKramer - 08 Jun 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#08 Jun 2002][]]

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