FAQ / Tips

Printer Ink Cross Reference Sheet
PDF Format
(1.16 MB - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
(Rich Text Format - 564 KB)
Download our latest cross reference guide. This guide will allow you to look up what ink cartridges your printer model takes.

How to select a printer
(Article taken from pcworld.com)

Explaining printer specs and what to look for in a inkjet or laser printer

If your cartridges have been in storage for extended time, not printing the same quality as before or not frequently used, may collect debris and require a process known as blotting to get them running like new. In addition, storing cartridges laying down or if they don't have a protective clip when they are not used tend to dry out the ink around the print head and the blotting technique works great to get them to print. Simply dap the cartridge on a warm, damp paper towel and then on a dry paper towel until the ink starts flow. You should be able to remove most of the debris and the ink will be drawn toward the print head. Try blotting before assuming the cartridge is defective.

• If print problems occur:
Perform up to three cleaning cycles and prime cycle (if applicable) using printer software.

• If the cleaning cycles fail to produce quality print:
Remove debris and dried ink from the printer's cartridge cradle with a damp cotton swab. Clean the electrical contacts in the printer cradle and on the replacement cartridge with a cotton swab moistened with distilled or filtered water only. (Do not wipe the nozzle plate) Reinstall the cartridge and perform the cleaning cycle.

Replacement Cartridge Installation Steps

  1. Remove the empty cartridge from your printer. If applicable, carefully remove the protective tape covering the ink nozzle.

    Caution: Do not touch the ink nozzle or the copper contacts

  2. Carefully install replacement cartridge into the cradle. Note: For detailed instructions refer to your printer manual or software.

Frequently Asked Questions

• What is an OEM ink cartridge?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Usually these ink cartridges are made by one company and then the manufacturer's name (such as HP, Epson, Canon, etc) is put on the product. These are the "name brand" products you find at most computer stores. They are usually expensive, but are generally of good quality.

• What is a remanufactured cartridge?
A remanufactured ink cartridge is an ink cartridge that has been disassembled and its worn parts replaced. The print heads are tested for damage and defects. If the cartridge parts are okay, then it is refilled with ink and is tested in the factory to guarantee print quality. It is basically the recycling of an empty cartridge to meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications of quality and reliability. Remanufacturing is considered more comprehensive than recharging or refilling, and is typically the cheapest alternative to refilling cartridges yourself. Your printer's print head cleaning utility (described in your printer's operating manual) should always be run 1-2 times after inserting a remanufactured cartridge.

• Is there a downside to remanufactured cartridges?
No. Using remanufactured cartridges saves money, helps preserve the environment, provides as high a quality product, and helps support local small businesses. Many state and local governments are now requiring the use of remanufactured cartridges in their own offices.

• How do you remanufacture a cartridge?
Here is a summary of the remanufacture process for toners and cartridges.

• What is a compatible (or generic) ink cartridge?
Compatible (also referred to as generic) ink cartridges are made to meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications of quality and reliability. Manufactured 100% brand new, with all new parts, they are an economical alternative to name-brand ink cartridges.

• Why should I buy remanufactured/generic over new?
You can save up to 60% off the cost of brand name cartridges and you are protecting the environment by keeping unwanted plastic and waste out of our landfills. Also, many cartridges sold to you as new by many manufactures are actually remanufactured cartridges as well. If you look on the sides or bottom of your box, you will see this stated by these brand name manufactures.

• Will using a remanufactured cartridge damage my printer? / Does it affect my printer warranty?
NO! This is a common misperception. The ink does not touch any internal parts of your printer, it only touches the cartridge. As regards to your printer warranty, please read the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act -
United States Code Annotated Title 15 Commerce and Trade Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties 15 Section 2302

(c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the commission if: 1. The warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and 2. the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

The manufacturer of the printer you are using cannot void the warranty on your printer because you use a cartridge manufactured by someone other than the printer manufacturer.

• How can I get ink stains off my hands?
Wash hands immediately with an abrasive soap or a soap containing pumice. If stains persist, a mild solution of bleach and water (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) will remove the ink.

• How can I get ink stains out of clothing?
Immediately rinse the stained area with cold water, then saturate the item with hair spray containing alcohol. Place a white, absorbent cloth or towel under the stain to catch the excess ink. You then need to blot the stain with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is removed, then launder as usual.

Caution: Some fabrics may be damaged by the hair spray solution. If in doubt, test on a hidden area first.

• What can we do if the printer cannot recognize the cartridge?
Take the cartridge out of the print-head and re-install it, again to ensure the contact point on the cartridge would be put on exact position to the print-head. If ir is still not successful, you may turn off the printer and then back on.

• What do we understand from the message "unknown" in your inkjet cartridge dialogue?
Owing to the fact that the utility features of the printer itself are designed to concert with those of the cartridges, you many find one or more messages with "unknown" after you install the generic compatible cartridge. This is caused by the different data input on the chipset, and it would not have impact on the normal operation of your printer and printing effect.

• When should I use my Canon & Epson cleaning cartridges?
White lines in print, broken lines showing up in test pages, ink doesn't come out when printing and not using the printer for a long period of time are all reasons to perform a cleaning cycle using cleaning cartridges. Cleaning cartridges are designed to maintain printers in peak performance, restore heads shows signs of blockage, and preparing the printer for use after a long period of time of no use. It is recommended to perform a cleaning cycle approximately every 2-3 times you use a new cartridge. Below is the suggested method on how to use the cleaning cartridges.

  1. First remove the cleaning cartridges from the packaging and remove the cover as directed. These cartridges are intended for single use only.

  2. Install the cleaning cartridge as you would an ink cartridge. Follow the included instructions if needing to remove a partially filled ink cartridge.

  3. Follow the instructions that are included with the cleaning cartridge and your printer operating instructions. Performing cleaning cycles may differ depending on the printer. You may clean your printer up to five times or until only a clear liquid can be seen on the page.

  4. When finished, replace the cleaning cartridges with ink cartridges.

  5. Print test pages to clear the clear the cleaning fluid from the print head.