Introduction: Refill a Printer Cartridge for $5

Picture of Refill a Printer Cartridge for $5

Printers are one of the most popular tools in the world, because they are inexpensive, yet highly versatile. The one drawback is the cost of the cartridges. Two of these can cost as much as a whole printer, and they are difficult to refill because of the new "smart technology" which is built into the printers that keep track of the ink level. Once the cartridge is empty, this technology also will not allow you to simply refill the cartridge with ink, because it will still think that the cartridge is empty. But I'll show you how easy it is to refill your printer cartridge and fool the printer into thinking your cartridge is always full, which allows you to refill your own cartridges with inexpensive ink and save a LOT of money!

For better insight on the project you can view a video on how to do it here !

Step 1: What You Need !

Picture of What You Need !

You don't need many things to refill a ink cartridge,

here's the list :
-Empty Ink Cartridge
-Electrical Tape (any color)
-Regular Black Ink
-Regular Syringe

Step 2: Load Ink and Poke

Picture of Load Ink and Poke

Now getting started isn't hard at all ,

The only thing you need to do is to get the amount of ink u want to refill in ur syringe, and then you need to take a lighter or a open flame and heat up the needle until the top becomes red hot, then be really quick to poke the cartridge in the middle or where you think it's best and start filling up until ink drips out from around the hole

Please view all 3 images to understand the hole process !

Step 3: Copper Contacts - Geting Around Smart Tech !

Picture of Copper Contacts - Geting Around Smart Tech !

This part may seem tricky but it's really easy !

Now most new printers won't let you cheat the system just by putting back ink in the cartridges, since they keep track of ink levels !

In Lexmark's case i found what copper contacts to block out directly from the printer cartridge so that the ink reading will not work anymore , and that the printer will always think the cartridge is always new.

Step 4: Well Now, :)

Picture of Well Now, :)

Well congrats

Now you can put your black cartridge back inside your printer and start printing and forget about spending a LOT of money on authentic INK !

I told you it was not hard at all and now if u own a Lexmark you really need to stop payng so much money for something u can get for 5$ or less ... :) how much dose regular ink cost anyway ?

The new tech was beat by electrical tape try it and use it well thank you everybody


JaysonB11 (author)2016-02-13

With today's printers, you no longer need these things. Just buy an ink refill bottle and refill your printers with default ink tank systems like epson. It's easy and mess free :)

snal (author)2015-05-12

snal. I tried this with Parker ink, in my Lexmark 2250 printer. When printing there were large gaps in the printing, it could not be read. I cleaned the cart & got a nice black line on a paper towel. Put it back in & it did the same thing. Any ideas?

22chrisgirl (author)2015-03-29

I've been doing this for years with my hp's. It works well but, can be messy. WEAR GLOVES goofy! and lol a lot until you get better at it! I've used the same cartridges for years. They'll do great if you seal them in a plastic bag until you use them if your filling several at once as I do. Oh and save your shringe & tip:)

cooldudeintown (author)2010-05-21

I see you used the color cartridge for the video.  so will the pins you covered work to reset both color (26/27) and black (16/17) cartridges ? Thanks

lbrewer42 (author)2008-06-26

I have had quite a bit of experience refilling cart.'s First of all - here is a great site (no I am in no way affiliated - I just hate the way the printer co's take advantage of us).
Look at the technical links in the lower left of the page. They tell you how to reset many different printers to accept your refilled cart's.

Wal-mart, etc. inks are not always good b/c NOT ALL INKS ARE EQUAL! There is no such thing as a universal refill kit. It may or may not work - you take the chance. Due to differences in printhead tech, SOME INKS MAY GUM UP YOUR PRINTER/CART and render it useless - especially these "universal" kits.

1. Never touch the copper contacts by hand.
2. Refilling a cart that has been idle for awhile may not work as it has dried ink blocking the exit portals. However, put a little (proper) ink in the cart, wet a folded (into a small square) paper towel with some water and heat the paper towel in microwave for 30 seconds. Touch the bottom of the cart to try to dissolve/bleed the encrusted ink out. When ink consistently bleeds out - it probably will work in the printer - try it before wasting more ink.
If you used "universal ink" for filling - then this may also be the reason why the printer/cart will not work. After repeating this procedure a couple of times - it may have been the "universal ink" that was your problem.

3. A cart will not last forever and ever. I think the most I ever got from one was 4 or 5 times. Then the printer simply refuses to acknowledge it - I think this is wear and tear. However, I also save hundreds of $$ even with this 4-5 time limitation as the black ink I was using cot me very little in comparison - and cheaper than the 9.97.

4. Make sure you do not cover up the entire top of the cart. Only where the label was (if you remove the label). The small grooves in the top are air holes /pathways to allow air to enter as ink exits - simple physics - need to be there.

5. Get any printer but a Lexmark. No, I am not Lexmark-predjudiced - but it is a fact they gobble up ink quickly as compared to other makes. My HP's use about 1/2 (!) the ink as my Lexmark's (did!). Hence less ink used, ergo more $$ in my pocket.

6. A lot of printers have reset codes to accept a re-inked cart. The websire above has a lot of these listed. I know on my HP All-in-one, I had bought an old cart. at a yard sale - brand new in the box. It would not work. I called the HP help line and told them what was going on. Finally, after awhile the tech on the end of the line told me to:

Press "Enter" and "Menu" simultaneously when the “align printer” message shows. Then go to the Self test page by hitting the menu key- then hit 3 - then hit 5.

She did not realize I knew she was giving me the reset code. I asked her if this is what holding "Enter & Menu" did and she affirmed my suspicions. She said since it was a two year old cart., the printer was programmed to reject it, thinking it was re-inked!

beehard44 (author)lbrewer422010-03-13

Agree on the ink efficiency. I had an epson stylus and 1 cartridge will last me 1 month only but i got a Cann. Even though the canon is old model (BJC 1000sp) The printout is the same, speed is 2x faster compared to epson and the cartrige was refilled 3 months ago and i had ~150 printouts and i still have ink enough for 2.5 refills.

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)2008-10-24

I have a brother printer/copier and we go through tons of ink. I have never bought a refill cartridge for it, just the ink refills. The other day I needed black and was out, so I put in the cleaner instead. It's the base minus the color, evidently, because it pulled out ink from the sponge and works great. Side note: you can use the ink cleaner to clean off whiteboards

d1ndian (author)RaNDoMLeiGH2008-12-07

cleaner?.............wht type of?

J@50n (author)d1ndian2010-01-10

 white board cleaner?

beehard44 (author)J@50n2010-03-13

Refill sets contain a bottlefull of ink cleaner, handy to clear clogged nozlles and ink blots...

beehard44 (author)2010-03-13

well, the heat up the needle part, i guess the needle should be full of air cuz bubble jet technology, the one being used by old canon printers, rely on heat to squirt the ink out, so better pull back on the plunger till the needle is full of air b4 heating up....

UltriconConvoy (author)2010-02-14

Where do you get the "regular black ink"?

soonersseth (author)2008-02-12

I used masking tape on my hp now it prints hahaha

MonkaySquad (author)soonersseth2010-02-08

I have an HP Deskjet f2430 ... do you happen to have the same model? If yes what copper parts do I cover?

shooby (author)2007-11-21

Three questions: Firstly, where does one obtain a syringe. I know some cats that hang out on my block who probably have syringes, but they also have guns. What kind of ink did you use, and where can you get it (at what cost). Third, are the copper contacts you showed standardized for all printers, or do these vary from company to company. Great job, can't wait to try it.

J@50n (author)shooby2010-01-10

you can buy ink for stamps that hold ink, search liquid stamp ink in google and you wil lget HUNDREDS of places to buy the ink.

lbrewer42 (author)shooby2008-06-26

Syringes - see my long post above and go to this website - everything you need. Copper contact layout varies greatly from one co. to another.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)shooby2007-11-22

any drug store you can buy syringes (there sold mainly for diabetics). but the ink i have no idea on :-(

tstraub (author)shooby2007-11-22

If you live in a rural area try a farm supply store such as TSC(Tractor Supply Company). Syringes meant for livestock or pet use can be picked up cheap.

FrenchCrawler (author)shooby2007-11-22

Just a thought, but you could probably build one using a Bakery Syringe (or something similar) and one of those inflation needles (modded, of course).

aKaMaKaVeLy (author)shooby2007-11-22

You can get one here in Romania from a Pharmacy, i used regular 2$ worth of black pen ink,the contacts as far as i know only apply to a lexmark.

cotton (author)2008-11-09

ok i cheated the system with a ink cartrage lol it wad revilled and put back on triggering the ink sensor inside and it came up ad new

SebastianMcK (author)2008-04-04

I wasted $15.00 on this project dont do it. I used it on my Lexmark X1170 its screwed up now. DO AT YOUR OWN RISK!

lbrewer42 (author)SebastianMcK2008-06-26

see my post above about universal ink kits - I did this once also!

trogabird (author)2008-06-13

sorry, this does not work. Have a Lexmark AIOX X4270. Filled cartridge and printer said: remove tape from black cartridge. refill kits with 2 large squeeze bottles of ink at walmart are $9.97. It has a drill for a hole and a spout for ink. Also has a syringe if needed. Did not need mine. They also carry color refill kits.

ventsi (author)2007-11-22

i use to buy for my printer not original ones that coasts me 3eur but they broke the printer i might try this one

LDW (author)2007-11-22

Yeah, you can also buy kits to refill inkjet cartridges with syringe and ink included. I've tried a load of them, and mainly got black hands and blocked-up cartridges that won't print. I guess it's OK if you're not too fussed about the quality, but I've reverted to using HP's branded inkjet cartridges. Nothing else gives the quality I need. I hate spending 25 quid every time, but there you go.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-11-22

nice, but what kind of black ink!???!??? like pen ink, octopus ink, what ink!? :-p

GorillazMiko (author)2007-11-21

smart :-)

Flea (author)2007-11-21

This is a good heads up for people who buy OEM ink. It's way overpriced and I'd only recommend OEM for people who need high quality prints and longevity. For most people, it's better to buy generic ink carts. A lot less hassle. Many Epson printers have a chip that prevents ink cart reuse so you'll need a resetter to bypass it. Quality can also vary with the ink you get. And be sure to avoid adding air bubbles to the cartridges. There are also continuous feed ink kits for those who print a lot. Staples sells generic inks. Personally, I get my inks from for aroudn $3 per cartridge and you can send your old cartridges back to them to recycle. is another popular generic ink company.

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