How to Refill Epson Cartridges
By Gabriel Torres on November 4, 2004
Considering the rise in the price of ink cartridges, several users started to resort to alternative solutions, such as the purchase of similar cartridges (cartridges manufactured by a manufacturer other than the original one, but compatible with the printer), refilled cartridges (used original cartridges, reloaded with new ink) or refilling the cartridges themselves, in a process that consists of manually reloading the cartridge with new ink. That last procedure is the cheapest one, and offers the greatest economy possible for the user, as long as it is done correctly.
The main problem is refilling the cartridges for the Epson printer. Original cartridges from Epson printers have a small memory chip that works as a counter. As the printer uses the cartridge, it updates that small memory. When the cartridge is empty, that circuit knows there is no more ink. Simply putting more ink in the cartridge does not enable it for use, since its chip will still indicate that the cartridge is empty.
Another problem that happens is that the memory of the cartridge may indicate that the cartridge is empty and yet there is still some ink in it. Because of that we may discard a cartridge that still has some ink.
In order to be able to refill an Epson cartridge at home, you will have to reset the counter chip of the cartridge, so the cartridge "knows" it is full. That can be done in two ways: through a special device or through software.
The special device is called Epson Chip Resetter or simply SK168 and costs USD 6.95. It is a device into which you fit the cartridge and in a few seconds the chip of the cartridge is reset. That device is sold at http://www.inksupply.com/product-details.cfm?pn=SK168.
The software solution is even better, because it is free. You may download the software that resets the Epson cartridges from http://www.ssclg.com/epsone.shtml. That software is capable of reseting the memory of the cartridges from most Epson inkjet printer (a full list of the printers the program recognizes is available at its website). The program is extremely easy to be use, but be careful, because it can only zero USB printers on Windows 2000 and XP. For parallel port printers, you will have to use the program on Windows 9x/ME.
Be on alert, because some people sell this program, even though it is freeware.
Some (few) Epson printers can't have their cartridge chip "zeroed" by software. Thus, you won't get to reload the cartridge of those printers as explained last week. The models that have such limitation are Stylus C41, C42, C61, C62, C82 and Photo 830.
To use refilled cartridges in those printers you will have to freeze the printer ink counter. To do so, you will need a new and full original cartridge. Install that cartridge in the printer. Then execute the program indicated (available at http://www.ssclg.com/epsone.shtml) and use the option "Toggle CSIC disabling" from the program. That option will freeze the ink counter of the printer, that is, the printer will always "think" that the cartridge is full. Then, click on "move to exchange position" to make the head go to the center of the printer. Replace the new cartridge with the reloaded one and the click on "move back." Presto! Your printer will use the refilled cartridge for its printing jobs.
Several readers wrote to us complaining that they had download the program didn't understand how to use it. To make things easier, next we explained the main functions of the program.