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Overfilling HP Color Ink Cartridges

Written By: Barry Shultz


There is a situation that concerns most HP refillers. In our refilling instructions we use a suggested amount of ink that TYPICALLY will sufficiently charge the cartridge without overfilling it. This is just a guide and sometimes an overfill can occur. What do you do then?

When you overfill a cartridge there is a great risk of one color overflowing into the chamber of the color next to it resulting in cross chamber contamination. It can definitely cause a quick death to that cartridge if it is excessive.

The best thing you can do is try to siphon all the ink out of the cartridge with your injector and inject a cleaning solvent. Siphon out the solvent, rinse and repeat as necessary.

This can be very time consuming so a little bit of preemptive measure may save you a lot of time and frustration. Lets examine some of the things that can be done to prevent this in the first place.

By inserting a toothpick into the refill holes, or vent holes, you can get a better gauge of how much ink is in each chamber. Use a new toothpick in each chamber so you don’t contaminate the ink. Keep in mind that HP “D” cartridges only hold 19ml of ink, half that of an “A” cartridge.

Another gauge would be more difficult but a lot of people report success using it. This is the “page gauge”. You can keep track of how many photos you print (or any print that uses a lot of color) and when you reach a pre-determined number of pages you know it’s time to top off your cartridges. Each user will have a different page gauge depending on their usage and it make take a little while to figure out what it is for your particular situation.

While we’re on the subject I want to point out that cross contamination is not always caused by overfilling. Another effect called “nozzle migration” can also contaminate the colors. Nozzle migration occurs when the print head comes in contact with a non absorbing surface such as a plastic baggie or print head tape improperly applied. Or even a kitchen table.

The inks can migrate across the print head by capillary action contaminating the other color chambers. Before applying print head tape it is ESSENTIAL that the print head is completely dry of any ink build up. Also do NOT store color cartridges in a plastic bag without some protection to the print head. The best protection is a cartridge clip.

I learned this the hard way. One time I had a load of virgin HP color cartridges that I sent off the remanufacturer. I got the whole shipment
back because I tediously wrapped each one in plastic bags without anything protecting the print heads. Every one had nozzle migration and they rejected them all. What a waste!

Actually the effects of nozzle migration may go away by itself by using the cartridge, If it’s not too bad, that is. Printing out a color test pattern a few times can help a lot.

About the Author

Barry Shultz is the author of Atlascopy News, and President of Atlascopy, Inc. Atlascopy specialized in affordable alternatives to the high cost of printer supplies. Sign up for the Atlascopy Newsletter and get 10% coupons every week in your email. http://atlascopy.com/signup_new.htm
Go to Atlascopy to save a bundle on your printer and refilling supplies.
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