Refilling Lexmark inkjet cartridges

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by AntAltMike, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    I've used Lexmark x2600 series printers for years, because whenever I need a printer, I could go out and buy one at Walmart, Best Buy, or, before that, probably at Circuit City for about the brick and mortar store price of a printer cable or regular duty cartridge pair. I recently decided that instead of buying new cartridges for $25 or so each, I'd refill at least the black one.

    I was already aware of the horror stories from earlier in this century about the cartridge manufacturers programming the cartridges to impede refilling by shutting themselves down under certain conditions, but I also saw that the sellers of refill kits on eBay had typically 99% or better satisfied customers, so I figured that it was more practical to spend $5 for a refill kit than to spend more than $5 worth of my time trying to learn from the experiences of others whether I might be successful or not.

    My refill kit arrived, but I was troubled to see in the instructions that it was a kit to refill cartridge 14A, whereas my printers have been purchased with cartridge 14. Apparently. Lexmark readily acknowledges that the 14A is a refillable cartridge whereas the 14 is a "recyclable" one and Lexmark refills it (probably sending an "advance replacement" cartridge) for $5 less than they charge for a new refillable one.

    Looking through some old user posts, I see four different explanations of what might or might not go wrong if I try to refill my Lexmark 14 Black: 1) there may be a computer chip in the cartridge that shuts it down, 2) it may let me refill it but keep putting up a false "you are almost out of ink" warning, 3) it may have an internal fuse that blows, or 4) the warnings are all baloney and it will work just fine.

    Given that these posts were authored over a span of a few years, one reconciliation of them might be that some may have been accurate when authored but then the nature of the cartridge changed.

    Anyway, I went ahead and poked a hole in my, "Lexmark 14" and refilled it and so far it is working just fine, and if it keeps working, the $5 I spend for the refill kit is going to save me about $100. Did I just get lucky or are putative non refillable Lexmark cartridges really readily refillable?
  2. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    E.Mdtrn Sea
    Could be , especially count how it works for you.
    See if it will lasts up to new refill.
  3. PokerJoker

    PokerJoker Godfather

    Apr 12, 2008
    Las Vegas
    You may need to find a new printer maker in the future. Lexmark is exiting the inkjet business. They will still sell ink however, at the usual high prices I assume.

  4. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    Lexmark's cartridge sale site says that their black cartridges have an expected yield of 175 pages, which strikes me as overly precise for such a product. That leads me to suspect that if there is an on-board shutdown chip, its algorithm might even include total number of pages printed.
  5. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    E.Mdtrn Sea
    I've been done exhausted research for same issue with Tektronics Phasers (now Xerox) color printers. That small chip slapped to a cartridge is EEPROM, what could be readed and reprogrammed. It was a challenge to find an algo to calculate proper checksum; yes it is keep number of printed pages.
  6. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule!

    Mar 22, 2004
    Time to replace your printer! Current generation printers are available at throwaway prices, since the manufacturers rely on cartridge sales for profit. Choices for inkjets have declined again with the exit of Kodak. That leaves Epson, HP, Canon and Brother, although I haven't noticed Brother inkjets in the stores of late.
    Although I'm an HP bigot, the experts rate Canon printers highly and cartridge yield is quite high. Aftermarket refills are generally available for both HP and Canon cartridges
  7. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    I'm surprised to hear that, because I am pretty sure that the original firestorm over precluded refillability began with the discovery that HP's cartridges were programmed to interfere with refilling.
  8. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    E.Mdtrn Sea
    You know, these chips what holding the protection still making in China ;).
  9. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Keep an eye out for deals especially around now. 2 weeks ago I ordred with a $40 instant coupon and a $10 hp code so net result was a $49 printer. The seperate color cartridges are nice as it can keep costs down.

    If you want an all in one they have on sale as well. I think the $10 code is still available as well until 10/31/12.
  10. Matt9876

    Matt9876 Hall Of Fame

    Oct 11, 2007
    Back in the day my brother refilled many ink jet printer cartages, the refilling business ended with the explosion of a black ink cartage in a customers master bedroom. :eek2:
  11. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    And I thought dealing with dot matrix ribbon made a mess....
  12. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    As recently as about 2005, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies language lab was using a fax machine that actually used whole ROLLS of carbon paper. I kid you not. I told the office manager there that she could get a discontinued new fax machine for under $20 on eBay, but she said that the school had refused to reimburse her for small items that she had previously bought on her own, so as far as she was concerned, they could have their carbon paper fax machine jam up every day.
  13. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    I hadn't done the arithmetic before, but if the black Lexmark cartridge sells for about $25 is limited to printing just 175 pages, then the ink cost per page is about seventeen cents!

    I just got a new, refillable Black 14A cartridge on eBay for about $16.19 with free shipping and I paid $26.87 plus $6.58 shipping ($33.45, total) for this 15X color cartridge shipped from New York City: . They have since raised their price by eighty cents. There are lots of sellers of the refillable color cartridges and in the same price range, but few sellers of the black cartridge, so if anyone wants one, now it the time to buy it.

    I had an urgent printing need arise before the black cartridge arrived, so I refilled my four non-functional Black 14 non-refillables and while only one of them worked, I got about another hundred pages out of it before it a warning came up immediately after the completion of a 45 page printing job saying it was no longer usable. I didn't even bother seeing if the printer would allow me to attempt to print the next page with that cartridge still installed because I had my 14A in hand and had too much work to do, but I did refill it before storing it so I will probably try it again when my 14A runs out. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that my obstinence basically saved me about $17 versus the alternative cost of those extra hundred pages if produced at normal factory-supplied ink prices.

    I am a low volume printer. I probably don't print a thousand pages a year, so at seventeen cents a page, I must have been been spending under $200 a year on ink cartridges, but cripes, there are people in small businesses printing a hundred times that amount, and they would save $20,000 a year by refilling their cartridges if their alternative was only to use the artificially restricted ink jet cartridges.
  14. Yoda-DBSguy

    Yoda-DBSguy Hall Of Fame

    Nov 4, 2006
    A Galaxy...
    Ink prices are outlandish for the limit print volume they can produce even with high yield/capacity cartidge models. I do alot of printing since I run a business; thus converted to a color laser many moons ago for just that reason.

    Using a color laser has proved to be one of the best invesments I've made in office products to date saving me thousands thus far over prior inkjets experiences.

    As to set cartrisge limits programmed by the manufacturer; I know they do for a fact. Even on laser models such as the brother multifunction unit I have. There are workarounds that defeat or reset a cartriges odometer so to speak. For example several months back my 3 of my 4 cartridges were flagged by the printer as low for several weeks, then eventually completely out which stopped the machine dead in it's tracks. I found a great hidden menu reset which made the printer see them as new toner catriges and have still been printing with them for going on 3 months with consistantly heavy volume.

    This works for a brother MFC-9560CDW; but may for some of their other models as well:

    1. turn on the printer
    2. push the button the front of printer to open the cartridge door (don't remove the cartidges).
    3. Push the Clear/Back button to bring up a reset menu. There are 9 different toner functions (for simplicity, three K's, three C's, three M's and three Y's).
    4. For each of these nine functions, push the OK button and then push it again to indicate "reset". After a few seconds, it will display "accepted" and will then display a message that the cover is open.
    5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each of the 9 toner functions.
    6. When finished, close the door and the status bar will be reset to normal with no error message. The printer will then siaplay a level of 100% remaining for each of the 4 toner catridges.
  15. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

    Jan 25, 2007
    I've had decent luck with Costco's cartridge refill service for about $10 instead of $30 for a new inkjet cartridge.

    Also, my HP printer software warns me that I should replace cartridges long before they run out. I wait until the printing lightens noticeably before changing cartridges.
  16. 4HiMarks

    4HiMarks Hall Of Fame

    Jan 21, 2004
    Laurel, MD
    That's what we've been doing. On Sat. my GF wanted to do some work from home, and I discovered that the spare cartridge I had was actually a color, rather than black ink cartridge. So off I go to Staples to find a black one. They are charging $35 for an HP ink cartridge, but they are also selling an old model of a basic Brother laser printer for $60. It only c0mes with a "starter" toner cartridge, but even that is still good for 700 pages. We're still going to need ink eventually (gotta have something to go with that spare color, and the Brother is only B&W) but I didn't have to venture to Costco or somewhere on the Sat. before Xmas.
  17. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    One of my favorites was the first time I saw a new printer priced under $30, about five years ago. It came with just a starter, color cartridge and it said right on the outside of the box that if I wanted to print black, I'd have to buy an optional black cartridge... which costs about the same as the printer. And of course my old printer cable didn't match that printer either, so between the bargain priced printer, the black cartridge and the printer cable, I wound up paying close to $90.
  18. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    You can probably get some more mileage out of that starter cartridge by removing it and rocking it back and forth to (hopefully) evenly distribute the remaining toner.

    I had very good results with my original HP inkjet (1994 model) but with the recent ones I have tried I always end up with the cartridge drying up long before it is empty. With laserjets going for such low prices, I'm much happier than I was using inkjet printers and the print quality is superb. I had a bad experience with a Samsung which developed some mechanical problems but HPs have worked well for me, since I have no need for color printing (Costco will easily meet my requirements for photo printing at a reasonable price).

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