How to Reset the Ink Levels on an HP Printer

By Chris Moore

  • Overview

    Refilling your Hewlett Packard ink cartridges is one issue; getting the printer to recognize that they've been refilled is another. The printer reads the cartridge's ink level through its rear contacts by page count, and won't print when these contacts read a low or empty level. There are two basic ways to reset the printer's memory of the ink levels, since it only remembers the level of the last two cartridges installed. You can manipulate the cartridge contacts to accomplish this, or cycle multiple cartridges through the printer.
  • Manipulating the Contacts

    • Step 1

      Observe how the small, square copper contacts are organized on the back of the cartridge. There are two basic ways in which they can be set up. There may be three columns of contacts on each end, with the outside and middle columns having 11 squares and the inside ones bearing four (see the image). If the contacts are not organized in this way, using multiple cartridges will be easier.
      Look for this pattern on the back of the cartridge.


    • Step 2

      Place adhesive tape over the top four contact squares in the far left column. Place the cartridge in the printer and let it recognize the cartridge. Let it print an alignment page if it needs to. Ignore any message that may say there is a problem with the cartridge.
    • Step 3

      Remove the cartridge and remove the tape. Place another strip of tape over the top four squares in the far right column and run the cartridge through the printer again. Remove the cartridge and tape again.
    • Step 4

      Insert the cartridge back into the printer with no tape covering any contacts. See if the printer reads the cartridge with a full ink level.
    • Step 5

      Repeat the above steps with the bottom contacts if you aren't able to reset the ink level by working with the top ones. This means putting tape over the bottom four squares on the far left first, and then the bottom four on the far right. If you still can't get the ink level reset, switch to cycling multiple cartridges.
  • Cycling Multiple Cartridges

    • Step 1

      Insert the refilled cartridge in the printer. Make sure the printer recognizes the cartridge and prints an alignment page. It should still indicate that the ink is at level it was before you refilled the cartridge.
    • Step 2

      Take out the cartridge and insert a different one. Have the printer print an alignment page to recognize the second cartridge. Repeat this with a third cartridge.
    • Step 3

      Replace the third cartridge with the original refilled one. The memory of this cartridge should be erased from the printer. It should now read this cartridge as full.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Adhesive tape
    • Extra cartridges

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