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How To Refill Printer Cartridges


Printers are a must-have in any home computer office, but when it comes to upkeep and replacing toner, the cost can become prohibitive. A much more economical option is to buy the toner powder itself and forgo the expensive cost of a brand new cartridge. The idea of an easy "plug and play" method in the world of printer refills is erroneous, though. How you handle your ink refills depends on the type of cartridge you are dealing with and it's not always simple.

Most big name printers incorporate a design comprised of a drum and a PCR (primary charge roller). In this system, the PCR causes a charge in the drum in order to repel toner, and then a laser reverses the charge in a specific pattern, thereby creating an image on the paper that draws in the toner.

Before using your printer refills, check to see if the drum is damaged. If it is, it will need to be replaced as there is no way to clean it. The same goes for the PCR -- in the case that is scratched or that its coating has worn thin, it will have to be replaced altogether, but this is a rare occurrence.

There will also be a wiper blade that squeegees unused toner when printing a document. This wiper also needs to be cleaned and primed with a special lubricant. As with the PCR, the wiper blade will need to be replaced if appears damaged.

Clean out the waste hopper (the vessel that collects the unused toner swept by the wiper blade).

Now, prepare to make use of your ink refills. Take a look at your toner hopper. Different manufacturers will put refill holes in different spots; you may need to use a funnel and carefully refill through a small hole, or otherwise, there will be a slot opening in the cartridge.

There are instances, depending on the manufacturer, where something called a corona wire will be used in place of a PCR. This is the second style of printer cartridge. Clean the wire with alcohol if it looks crusty or corroded. Use a gentle touch for this process as the wire is fragile and sensitive to abrasive treatment. This style of cartridge can be refilled in the same way as the former.

Finally, the third style of cartridge incorporates a mobile part dubbed the developer roller. It is made of rubber and unless it is damaged (yet another part which will require replacement, if it is), it can be cleaned easily using a special solution and put back in its original position. The cartridge can then be refilled.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.