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Frequently Asked Questions
on Printer Ink
By: Inkreviews.com Editors
What is the difference
between printer ink and toner?
First, printer ink is a liquid. It is processed inside the
ink cartridge and
then applied on the paper. There are several ways of printing with ink. The most
commonly used method in consumer ink jet printers is the thermal ink jet
technology. This technology uses a cartridge with a series of tiny
electrically-heated chambers. To produce an image, the printer runs a pulse of
current through the heating elements. A steam explosion in the chamber forms a
bubble, which propels a droplet of ink onto the paper. When the bubble
condenses, surplus ink is sucked back up from the printing surface.
Toner is a fine powder that is burned onto the
paper through heat and laser guidance. An electric charge is first projected
onto a primary charge roller. The drum has a surface of a special plastic or
garnet. Electronics drive a system that writes light onto the drum. The light
causes the electrostatic charge to leak from the exposed parts of the drum. The
surface of the drum passes through a bath of very fine particles of dry plastic
powder, or toner. The charged parts of the drum electrostatically attract the
particles of powder. The drum then deposits the powder on a piece of paper. The
paper passes through a fuser, which, with heat and pressure, bonds the plastic
powder to the paper. The temperature of the fuser can rise up to 200 degrees
Celsius during printing.
Do printer ink refill kits really
To keep it short, yes, printer ink refills are
a viable alternative to manufacturer ink cartridges. They do save you a lot of
money in the long run and they provide an almost equivalent print quality.
However, they do require more time than simply replacing your empty ink
cartridge and are at a higher risk for faster loss of print quality.
How many prints can I get from a
printer ink cartridge?
There is no fix number of prints you can get
from a printer ink cartridge. There are too many variables to consider when
talking about such an amount. It mainly depends on the manufacturer and the size
of the cartridge itself. In other words, it depends on the type of printer you
However, roughly speaking, the average printer
ink cartridge will provide you with around 800 pages for color and 600 pages for
When Do You Need a
Even if printers today have reached a high
quality level, printer cartridges can get ‘tired’ after a while. The first clear
sign that you need a cartridge cleaning is when your printer suddenly begins
smearing and misprinting. Most printers come with a built-in cleaning system or
the ability to clean the printer ink through your computer.
If you are running Windows, go to your control
panel and select Printers. Choose the printer that you have installed and view
the Properties or Settings. There should be a tab for ‘maintenance’. There are a
few options there, but you are looking for ‘clean printer ink cartridges’. This
will print out a test page and ask you to confirm that it was correctly printed.
If not, repeat the process. If it fails to work again, you may need to replace
your printer ink cartridge. Manual cleaning of your cartridge is not
recommendable as you would most probably damage the writing head.
How to Get Rid of Printer Ink Stains
This is the main problem when refilling your
printer ink cartridge: it’s very messy. You will often spill ink on your
clothes. Most people panic when they see a big black stain on their clothes.
However, the problem is not that bad as printer ink is a water-based ink and
that means it dissolves in water. Furthermore, printer ink takes a while to
completely dry in clothes so you should have no problems if you act quickly.
- First, start running
warm water. Also, get a gentle hand soap or detergent ready.
- Start by gently rubbing
the soap into the garment with a clean towel.
- Do not let the garment
bunch up or the ink may bleed right through to another part.
- Run the warm water
through the soapy area and repeat scrubbing with a clean part of the towel.
- Once you have gotten as
much as possible, put the stained clothes immediately into the washing
How can I get more life from color printer
There are two types of color ink cartridges:
the ones that keep all colors in one single cartridge and the ones that have
separate color printer ink cartridges. Naturally, the second option is better.
In spite the fact that they are more expensive than the traditional ones, these
cartridges will really help you out in the long run.
The advantage of having separate printer ink
cartridges is clear. When you have several prints that will require less use of
one color, that color of toner or ink can be saved for when it will be needed.
If you tend to print the same colors often, such as when printing letterhead,
you may only have to replace or refill one printer ink cartridge at a time.
These printers can be slightly more expensive to purchase. You will save that
money in no time by not having to replace your color printer ink cartridge when
only one color runs empty.
How do I replace my color printer
Color ink in printer cartridges will typically
need replacing fewer times than black ink cartridges. The reason is that you
usually use black on every print whereas the colors are only used in color
prints. Furthermore, you have three cartridges of color and only one of black.
When the time does come to replace your color printer cartridge, and it will,
the steps are universally easy and will only take a few minutes.
- First, get your
replacement color printer cartridge. Make sure you buy the right model for
your printer as there are many variations on the market. Open your printer
lid and remove the empty printer cartridge by releasing the latch that is
holding it in place.
- Now, remove the
protective tape on the head of the new color printer cartridge. This is
there to keep ink from bleeding out in the package. With the tape removed,
insert the new color printer cartridge in the empty slot left by the old
one. It should easily snap into place and be locked in by a latch of some
- Once you have
re-inserted the printer cartridge, go to your printer maintenance program
and align the printer cartridges and clean them. You will be making perfect
color prints in no time.
How to Buy the Right
Printer Ink Cartridge
With so many makes and models of personal and
business solution printers and each of them having their own cartridges it is
only normal that there are a lot of types of printer ink cartridges. Another
reason for this is that there is no standard size for a cartridge, so every
print manufacturer can produce any cartridge that fits their printer. That’s why
you will never find a HP cartridge, for example, to fit an Epson so you really
should be careful about what you buy. You have to make sure your cartridges
match your printer.
The best way to determine your type of printer
ink cartridge is to consult the printer manual as the exact type of cartridge
should be written there. Another way is to access the manufacturer’s website to
look for the cartridge that fits your printer model. And, the final way is to
physically remove the empty printer ink cartridge from your printer and read the
markings that tell you its type. If you take the empty cartridge with you to the
store when you buy the new one there’s no way you’re going to miss.
Conserving Your Printer Ink
Printer ink will always eventually run dry but
there are a few ways to conserve your ink cartridge over time and stretch the
life of your printer ink. Here are a few ways you can help yourself conserve.
- Quality – Always print
in the necessary quality. Don’t overdo it as you will waste printer ink. For
draft work set your printer to print at low quality. These settings directly
relates to the amount of printer ink used in a printing job: the lower the
quality the less printing ink.
- Quantity – Most people
are in a rush when it comes to printing their documents only to find
themselves printing tens of copies of the same text just because they didn’t
spend the necessary time to make all the corrections. So, always check your
print before actually printing it. You should never print more copies than
the ones you need.
Again, printer ink cartridges all run out at
some point so if you never want to run out of ink you can keep an extra printer
ink cartridge around in case it runs out.
Refilling Color Printer Ink
Although color printer ink cartridges will not
be to be refilled as often as the black ink cartridge, the job will be a little
more complicated. When refilling a black cartridge things are clear and easy.
You have one color to put into one cartridge and that’s not very complicated.
However, when it comes to color printer ink
cartridges you have three colors to worry about, three separate pigments of ink.
The actual process of refilling a color cartridge is the same as in the case of
black ink, using a syringe to inject the ink. The only problem is to keep the
colors completely separated. The colors you put into the cartridges need to be
perfect so you’re really going to have to keep it clean. You have to options:
you can either thoroughly clean your injecting device after each refill, or you
can simply use three injectors. Needless to say, the second option is the one
Again, the most important thing is not to mix
the colors. If you let the colors mix inside the cartridge, you will get prints
that are low quality and ill-colored. If you can be careful and keep the colors
separate, you will have no problem getting the job done and having great prints
in the end.
Buying Printer Ink
Cartridges in Bulk
The most efficient way to save money when
buying printer ink cartridges is to buy them in large quantities. If you’re
worried about damaging cartridges if you keep them stored for a long time you
should know that there is no such risk involved. If properly stored, printer ink
cartridges will not go bad. So why shouldn’t you buy as much cartridges as you
need in a year, for example, and save a lot of money?
Most people get scared when they see the amount
of money involved. The secret is to look at the big picture. You will first need
to estimate how much ink you consume every year. Take the resulting number of
cartridges and multiply it with the two prices and get the two results: the
amount of money you would spend if you were to buy each cartridge when you’re
out of ink and the amount you would spend if you were to buy all cartridges at
once. The difference will definitely convince you that buying in bulk is the