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QUESTION: As a music teacher, preparing the scores for the small orchestra I conduct, I simply cannot afford to buy a new cartridge every time the ink runs out, especially with the HP 61 cartridge, which has an inside sponge half the size of the 21s I used with my former printer. I've tried refilling, but even when I try to be careful in injecting the sponge, a lot of ink runs out. The last time I tried it, using a freshly used-up cartridge, after I injected the sponge, I propped the cartridge in a little cup to let it drain so the ink would not run all over my computer; but then when I tried to print with it, all I got was this very pale blue print (from a black ink cartridge). Any help and advice will be much appreciated!

ANSWER: Hi,

Thank you for your question. I have actually put together a small guide on refilling these cartridges (along with a host of others) which you can read here:  

http://www.refreshcartridges.co.uk/igloo/how-to-refill-ink-cartridges/

This article concerns refilling technique more than anything else. Don't be concerns about this different codes used, this guide was written for the European market.

For the standard capacity HP 61 I would recommend filling with no more than 5ml for the black and 3ml of each colour in the colour cartridge (9ml total). If however you decided to go for an XL capacity cartridge at any point these cartridges can hold 15ml of ink each.

Sadly when filling at home you will fairly frequently experience the ink not pulling through immediately. This can usually be resolved by performing a few "Clean Printhead" cycles from your printer/printer software. This forces additional ink to the printhead (to dislodge blockages) and is useful for removing any air that may have worked its way in too.

If this does not help I would recommend doing the following to freshen up the printhead and encourage ink flow:

-First off please run any printer head cleaning cycles available from your printer software and check the quality of your prints.
-Fold a piece of kitchen tissue or any other non fibrous tissue and dab it under a tap to make a small damp patch. For best results make sure the water is warm.
-Take the cartridge out of the printer and hold the damp patch over the printhead for 30-60 seconds.
-You should now hopefully have a small ink soaked patch on the tissue with traces of all the relevant colours.
-Then wipe the printhead several times on the dry part of the tissue and you should start to see the colours come through.
-Reinstall and run one more head cleaning cycle and with any luck you should be ready to print.

Sadly if this doesn't resolve the issue it is entirely possible that the printhead has ceased to function mechanically or is irreversibly blocked. In which case the only alternative is the purchase of a replacement cartridge.

If you find you do not get on with refilling yourself you could always save money by getting them refilled professionally. Anyone who offers this as a service should be able to fill the cartridges in a vacuum and maybe even replace the sponges to decrease the chances of blocking etc.

I hope this helps, but if there is anything else I can help with please let me know.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Matt!  This gives me a lot of insight on how my Deskjet printer works, and how to care for the cartridges--which means a great monetary savings. In these times when we are all struggling to save everywhere we can, that's very important. I had been using too much ink, for one thing, and learning more about unstopping the printhead is very helpful. I'm not sure how to run a head-cleaning cycle on this machine, and the new instruction page HP has is not terribly user-friendly in that regard. However, your answer lets me know that such a cycle exists, so I can go looking for it. Thank you for taking the time and effort to help.

Answer
No problem at all, I was just glad to help. To clean the cartridges HP Deskjet 1000 Printer (J110a):
- In the Printer Software, click Printer Actions
- Click Maintenance Tasks to access the Printer Toolbox.
- Click Clean Ink Cartridges
- Follow the onscreen instructions.

Hope this helps.

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Matt Stevenson

Expertise

Questions regarding inkjet/laser printers, whether they relate to specific problems or printers in general. I can also offer in-depth troubleshooting for a variety of issues relating to printer consumables and hardware.

Experience

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have worked for a major UK retailer of printer consumables (Refresh Cartridges) since 2009. I also maintain the company blog and have written on a variety of technical issues. I have also spent time answerring printer related questions on FixYa and Yahoo answers recently. Examples of my answers can be found here http://bit.ly/WCr7Ot or here http://yhoo.it/SQnXbB

Organizations
Other than my work with Refresh I do not belong to any other printer related organisations.

Publications
Our company blog here at Refresh Cartridges: http://www.refreshcartridges.co.uk/igloo/

Education/Credentials
A Levels in English Literature and Media Studies

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