Instructions for Refilling Epson Ink Cartridges

By Ryan Bauer

  • Overview

    When an inkjet cartridge runs dry, most people go to the store and simply buy a new one, discarding the old. Most new Epson cartridges cost roughly $35, but they can be refilled using a kit that costs around $10 at most stores and comes with enough ink to perform around five refills. Epson cartridges are equipped with an electronic "chip" that measures the ink level in the cartridge. After the cartridge has been refilled, the printer will still recognize it as being dry, and won't print until the chip has been reset. Epson digital-chip resetters are inexpensive, but unlike refill kits, most stores don't carry them, so they usually have to be ordered over the Internet. These instructions will assume you are replacing the black ink cartridge, since it is the one most commonly refilled. To refill the color cartridges, perform these steps on each of the three color tanks, using cyan, magenta and yellow inks.
    Epson cartridges are easily refilled, but require the use of a chip resetter.
    • Step 1

      Remove the black ink cartridge from the printer. A hole will need to be drilled in the top of the container to allow for refilling. Anywhere on top of the cartridge is fine, but try to place the hole as close to the center as possible. Inkjet refill kits include a small, hand-operated drill that can be used to penetrate the cartridge, though they are often difficult to use. If you prefer, an electric drill with a bit that is slightly than the filler syringe's needle can be used instead.
    • Step 2

      Remove the black ink and the syringe from the box. Insert the syringe into the ink container, gently pulling back until 6ml of ink has been transferred to the syringe. This is the standard "safe" capacity of an Epson ink cartridge. Insert the syringe into the hole that was previously drilled, and slowly inject the ink into the cartridge, taking care not to spill any.


    • Step 3

      Seal the hole using one of the stickers included with the refill set, or simply use a piece of tape of any kind. This seal is intended to prevent the ink from drying up or evaporating over time, not to physically contain the ink inside the cartridge, so keep the cartridge upright at all times to avoid spilling the ink.
    • Step 4

      Reset the cartridge's digital sensor using an Epson universal-chip resetting tool. To use this digital device, hold it up to the chip on the side of the cartridge for several seconds, until the electronic light turns green. Once the light changes, the chip has been reset, and the printer will now read the cartridge as a new one, allowing it to be used again.
    • Step 5

      Replace the cartridge in the printer in the same way it came out. It takes some time for the ink to be absorbed into all of the chambers and pads of the cartridge, so leave it where it is in the printer for 30 minutes before attempting to use it. Once that time frame has passed, simply turn on the printer and use it as you normally would.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Inkjet refill kit
    • Epson universal chip resetter
    • Tip: Working with ink can be messy, and it easily stains any porous material it comes in contact with, so protect your workspace with an old towel and wear clothes you don't mind staining.
    • Warning:
    • Be careful not to overfill the cartridge, or it could leak during use, damaging the printer.

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