How to Refill an HP Laser Jet Ink Cartridge

By Chris Moore

  • Overview

    Cartridges used in Hewlett Packard's laser printers are much different than the ones for its InkJet line of printers. One obvious difference is that the cartridges are much larger. In addition, these cartridges don't use ink, but a powder-based toner. Someone who isn't experienced at using laser printers may feel that replacing these cartridges may be safer than trying to refill one. But these cartridges are also much more expensive to replace. And refilling one is essentially no different than refilling a salt shaker, as long as you know how to do it safely and carefully.
    • Step 1

      Set aside a location to refill the cartridge where there is no breeze, since you are working with a powder-based toner. The toner is very flammable, too, so make sure there is no open flame nearby. Spread newspapers or paper towels around to catch any powder that might spill.
    • Step 2

      Locate a plug near the end of the toner cartridge and remove it. You may need to unscrew and open up the top casing on the cartridge to find it. If it is a color cartridge, there should be three holes labeled, one for each color.


    • Step 3

      Drill a hole somewhere on the cartridge if there is no plug to remove. The hole must be somewhere along a smooth plastic surface on the cartridge, so it won't interfere with the paper path inside the printer. Use the tip of an X-acto knife or drill to make the hole (something non-electrical is recommended). Carefully remove all shavings from the area.
    • Step 4

      Insert a funnel into the hole or opened plug (a plastic or paper funnel will work). Shake the bottle of powdered toner and pour its entire contents into the cartridge through the funnel.
    • Step 5

      Replug the hole with the same plug and replace the entire assembly. If you created the hole yourself, cover it with electrical tape, making sure the hole is completely sealed. (Plug a handmade hole with a plastic plug only if the surface will still be flat and smooth after applying the tape.) Replace the cartridge in the printer and run a test page.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • Replacement toner
    • Newspapers/paper towels
    • Knife/drill
    • Funnel
    • Electrical tape
    • Tip: Refill the cartridge before it completely runs out of toner. Many HP laser printers have a chip that causes the printer to stop printing if the toner runs out. This chip has to be replaced if tripped. Refilling the cartridge early will prevent the chip from tripping.
    • Warning:
    • Don't vacuum up any spilled toner, as the heat from the vacuum can be dangerous. Brush or sweep the toner powder into a small bag or container that you can dispose of.

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