How to get an ink cartridge working again

Written by t.m. wit
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A common reason your printer ink cartridges will stop working is that they are out of ink, have dirty contacts or the ink has dried. With the cost of new ink cartridges rising, repairing old ink cartridges is an easy way to save money on printing costs. The process to repair an ink cartridge is simple and requires just a little time, materials and effort.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ink cartridge
  • Ink bottle
  • Syringe
  • Needle
  • Bowl
  • Warm water

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    Filling your ink cartridge

  1. 1

    Depress the slide on the top of your syringe and enter the tip in to the ink bottle, then pull back the slide to fill it with ink. Make sure you are careful not to spill the ink when filling the syringe.

  2. 2

    Use the needle to make a hole in the top of your ink cartridge.

  3. 3

    Enter your syringe into the ink cartridge and depress the slide to fill it with ink.

  4. 4

    Many computer stores such as Best Buy and Comp USA will offer to refill ink cartridges for a small fee. When your cartridge runs out of ink, remove it and take it to the store. Speak to the customer service department and they will refill your cartridges with what ever colour ink you desire.

    Cartridge contacts

  1. 1

    Another common problem with printer cartridges is that the printer contacts become dirty or obscured by ink. If the cartridge contacts are not clean, then your printer will detect it and give you an error message. Begin by turning off your printer and removing the cartridge.

  2. 2

    Wet a towel with warm water and gently begin to clean the contacts of the cartridge.

  3. 3

    Place the printer cartridge back in to your printer and turn your printer back on.

    Dried Ink Cartridge

  1. 1

    A common problem for printer ink cartridges is that if they are left unused they can dry up. A dried ink cartridge can cause several printing problems including gaps and faded text or pictures. When your cartridge has dried, fill a bowl with warm water.

  2. 2

    Place your dried ink cartridge in to the bowl and let it sit for three minutes.

  3. 3

    Remove the cartridge and allow it to dry for at least an hour.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you run your printer's cleaning cycle a few times after refilling the cartridge to prevent gaps in your printing.
  • When restoring a dried ink cartridge, make sure you allow your cartridge to sufficiently dry or it may potentially damage your printer.
  • Make sure you fill your syringe with ink over a sink to avoid spilling the ink. When cleaning your cartridge contacts, avoid using paper towels, or any towel with a rough surface. The best cleaner is a microfibre cloth because it is soft enough to not damage the contacts.

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