Epson Printer Ink Cartridge Problems

By Steve Smith

Epson printers are among the very best in home printing machines. With multiple capabilities all in one unit, like faxing, scanning, printing and copying, they are a virtual home office. These printers do require ink the form of very expensive cartridges. In fact, the price leads many to search for alternatives like refilling the cartridges. This will save a buck or two, but problems will persist when using and refilling them.

Refilling the Cartridges

The first problem with Epson refill cartridges is the act of refilling them. This is a skilled process that requires a steady hand. A syringe is used to inject ink into the Epson cartridge. This syringe must be filled and then inserted into a tiny hole in the cartridge. The ink must be manually injected into the cartridge. For some, the process is really not worth the effort. It just takes too much time to refill a cartridge.

Spills and Messes

During the refill process ink is invariably spilled. When it is injected, the ink tends to bubble up and splatter onto clean surfaces. Even after taking precautions and covering work surfaces with paper or plastic, you will find ink dots on furniture and your clothes. It also gets on your hands. It must be cleaned right away with soap and water or a household cleaner.

Cartidge Issues

Epson cartridges have no fill holes. So, one must be drilled through the cartridge body. This hole is made with a thumb drill or hot solder iron. The hole must be made in the top of the cartridge in the proper place to provide access to the interior of the cartridge tanks. If not, the cartridge can not be refilled. It is very difficult to tell if the hole is made in the proper location, since the cartridge is not see through. Cartridges also tend to wear out and the parts will break. After several refills, the cartridge may require replacement.

Resetting the Chip

Epson cartridges must be reset or the cartridge will not be accepted by the computer. This is one of the biggest issues with cartridge refills. There is a solution for the Epson line, however. A chip resetter, a simple electronic device that costs about $5, sets the chip back to its original setting. This allows the computer to use the chip as if it were brand new. The problem involves another extra step and additional costs for the consumers.

Print Quality

Several things go wrong inside the printer when a refill is used. First of all, the ink does not always dispense properly due to pressure problems. If the Epson cartridge's refill hole is not closed air tight, this often becomes a problem. The result is blurred images or grainy prints. The refill inks may not be true colors, either. This causes less than photo quality images from your printer. If the cartridge is damaged, ink can leak into your printer and transfer from the print heads to the paper causing large smudges and ruined prints.

Avoiding Problems

Take steps to avoid these problems by closely following your cartridge refill instructions. They vary slightly for each Epson cartridge. Drill the holes in the proper places and take extra care when filling the inks. Finally, use the chip resetter to allow your printer to work hand in hand with your new refilled cartridge.