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my cartridge refilling adventure

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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted January 20 2006 - 01:25 AM

I have a nifty HP OfficeJet all-in-one printer and I understand that the way they "get you" is that they sell you the printer cheap, then charge an arm and a leg (and another arm) for the cartridges later. I recently decided to try one of those "refill kits" you see displayed near the replacement cartridges in Staples: little bottles of ink and a needle to insert the ink into your used cartridge. The multi-refill kit cost $11. A single HP replacement cartridge cost $20. At home, I followed all the [poorly written] directions to the letter. I lined my work space with a drop cloth, I assembled the "needle," I peeled the label off the top of my empty cartridge, and inserted the ink till it slightly overflowed, just as the directions said. I even wore vinyl gloves to keep my hands clean; it was very much like a surgical theater, with the sick little empty cartridge under bright lights being administered a life-giving infusion of new ink. I did this for both my empty color and my empty black HP cartridges. For the color refill, I had to inject three basic colors into the empty cartridge [with no direction as to amount of each color to be injected; I winged it]. I reinstalled my new, money-saving, refilled color and black cartridges in my OfficeJet and ran the alignment! Everything seemed fine. Then, the printer started not wanting to print color text on the same line as black text. When it did, the colors were way off. Red was more orange, sometimes neon pink. Blue failed to appear. And then black started to disappear, printing whole lines then half-lines. Then, nothing printed at all. All this, on the same day I refilled the cartridges! So, I did it again, since I had all the stuff for "multiple" refills. Same thing happened. So I went and bought a "real" HP color cartridge, because I figured I needed the color to work correctly, and I could keep refilling the black; I only use one color cartridge per year, while I run thru black cartridges every other month. Everything seemed fine. And then black started to disappear more frequently. Within a day, black printed nothing at all. Where was all the ink that I just injected into the cartridge going? Was it dripping out into my printer's innards? (No, I checked.) Long, obviously boring story shorter: I called the refill company and they told me, "Well, it works for some people, but not for others." Then, they allowed that I should take the whole kit and kaboodle back to Staples and they would give me a refund, even tho the packaging was open and some of the ink bottles had been opened and used. I used the refunded money to buy a couple of "real" HP black cartridges. Now, everything works fine. What have we learned? MC

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted January 20 2006 - 02:23 AM

Jews don't do refill cartridges? Posted Image

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#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted January 20 2006 - 02:53 AM

HAHAHAHA! Nope. Not any more.

You'd think they would, because of the whole "look how much money I saved refilling my cartridges" thing. At least, that's how I felt when I first did it.

But, in the end, I think, it turns out that the twenty dollar HP cartridge is a deal merely because it works.

Sometimes, you have to pay retail.

Posted Image


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#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Jeff D Han

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Posted January 20 2006 - 03:15 AM

Yeah, Micah, I feel the same way you do- printer cartridges seem to be a ripoff. When my cheapie printer needs to be fed, I angrily pay the $60 to get new cartridges. At least you tried to save money through the DIY route.
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#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted January 20 2006 - 03:33 AM

My dad does the refill kits, and if he can do it with good results...
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#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Patrick_S



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Posted January 20 2006 - 03:39 AM

Well the old adage is true, "you get what you pay for". I can't speak for HP but the reason the refill kits doesn't work with some manufactures is because the original carts are filled via a vacuum process. Without the vacuum process the ink reservoir will not adequately fill so the refill kits are useless. Of course with some manufactures they work ok but it's a hit and miss proposition.

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Ridges

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Posted January 20 2006 - 04:39 AM

I used to have an Epson 870. We didn't print that much so what would happen is my wife would need to make a flyer for church or something and the heads would all be clogged. Even after repeated cleaning, it would never work until you replaced the ink. I'd replace the ink ($70 for black and color) and make the print. Then it would sit for a month until the next time I needed it and the cycle would start over. Every time I used it, it would cost me $70 bucks! I finally decided to buy a color laser printer. It was a large investment but it always works whenever I need it. I feel you pain on ink though. I also have and Epson 2200 for photos and ink for it gets expensive.

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Bob Graz

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Posted January 20 2006 - 07:41 AM

I typically can find or get in the mail either an Office Depot or Office Max coupon for $10 off $50 purchase or $15 off $75 and will use them to buy HP cartridges. So I rarely pay full price.

#9 of 15 Guest_Eric Kahn_*

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Posted January 20 2006 - 10:01 AM

this is the very reason I have a color laser printer that I bought used for 65 dollars, I have printed several hundred pages with it and it still works great

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted January 20 2006 - 01:50 PM

I'd do a color laser printer for $65, even tho the toner cartridge or whatever it uses, when you have to replace it, probably costs as much as a small sports car. I've also been tempted by one-color (black) lasers they have now for way under $100. But I like this all-in-one thing I have. I use all its functions in my business: FAX, scan, copy, print. Very convenient, small footprint. I'm pleased with myself that I at least tried to make the refill thing work, tried to save myself some money. And in the end, I got the refund and got a new HP cartridge anyway, so it was a no-cost adventure. MC

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   NickSo



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Posted January 20 2006 - 04:26 PM

a lot of the time the printer recognizes if the cartridge has been tampered with, and just won't allow it to print properly even thought it may be entirely possible physically for it to be able to.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Micah Cohen

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Posted January 21 2006 - 12:25 AM

I noticed that. The refilled cartridge, full up as far as I could tell (altho, I could have been just filling the sponge inside, since removing the label breaks a vaccuum seal, I'm sure), never registered as "full" on the software, and then instantly ran "dry." Something was not connecting inside. Darn technology! Soon, it'll be running our lives! MC

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted January 21 2006 - 05:36 AM

You're lucky the printer still works OK. Sometimes the refills just flow the ink right through the jets. My attempt gummed up the rails.My son repairs HP (mostly commercial) and he goes through a lot of isopropyl alchohol cleaning up after people try ink alternatives. (we gave up and bought a laserjet for B&W printing)

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted January 21 2006 - 06:38 AM

Brother makes a line of excellent all-in-one lasers, and I have been very happy with mine although there are times I have to fire up the inkjet to do some color work. I know that the Deals section of this forum usually has a deal at least 2 or 3 times a week from an ink cart store, and most of the time if you get the compatible carts instead of the original factory carts, you'll save a bunch off the Office Depot/Staples/OfficeMax price. I've never run into quality or lifespan problems with them, since they appear to just be the same exact cart manufactured somewhere overseas and without that factory tag. Froogle and Bizrate also can sort print carts by price and reseller reliability.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 21 2006 - 10:38 AM

That HP Deskjet printers should be avoided because their supplies are outrageously priced? I always check the price of supplies before I buy a new printer. I've been a Canon photo printer owner for quite awhile now (currently using an i860) -- their cartridges are very reasonably priced, and you can also find third party cartridges for even less money (although I do not think the picture quality is as good). We also have a HP Laserjet printer that is used for 95% of our printing, since we rarely need to print in color. The toner lasts for a couple of years (at around $60 a toner).

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