3 Essential Things for Refilling HP, Canon, Lexmark, and Dell's Integrated Cartridges

Today we’re going to be taking a look at what’s inside the HP/Canon integrated ink cartridge. It’s called an integrated cartridge because both the printhead and the cartridge are present in the same unit. When you change this cartridge, you are also changing your device’s printhead.

Taking a look at the cartridge, you should be able to see an ink tank, electronic ribbon, and a printhead (located on the underside of the unit). When your printer works correctly, the electronic ribbon sends signals to the printhead to spray the ink from the ink tank onto the paper.

The ink from the ink tank flows to the printhead throughout this process. You’ll see on the top of the cartridge that there are a few air vents and tunnels to let air flow into the cartridge.

Open it up

Now let’s go ahead and open it up to take a look inside. You’ll see a box inside that limits the amount of ink in the cartridge. If you have the XL version of it, there won’t be that wall there, and you’ll be able to fill the ink tank much further.

Inside the box will be a sponge. This sponge should be dry on top and soaked with ink on the bottom. It's there to keep the ink in place and prevent it from flowing freely out of the printhead.

Don't overfill the tank

For this refill to work correctly, you can't overfill the ink tank. If you oversaturate the sponge, it will no longer be able to generate the force needed to hold the ink. This will allow excessive amounts of ink to flow out of the printhead.

If you look at the bottom of the ink tank, you’ll see a filter that connects to the printhead. While refilling, point the needle sideways to reduce the risk of damaging that filter. Once you reinsert the cartridge, you’ll receive two kinds of warnings. The first will be one of the following:

“Printer ink depleted.”

“Counterfeit or used genuine HP ink cartridge inserted.”

“Cartridge is low on ink.”

Ignore these warnings

Most printers don’t have the option to reset the ink levels. Click yes and continue for the warning. The printer should let you keep printing. Keep an eye on the print quality and refill the inks as needed (typically every 100-150 pages).

The second error message you might receive will be one of the following:

“Cartridge failure.”

“Cartridge cannot be detected.”

“Cartridge needs to be replaced.”

These are caused either by the printer failing to read the cartridge or the cartridge failing the electronics test. Pull out the cartridge and clean the electronic contact points and the printer’s contact pins. If that doesn’t work, the cartridge might be damaged.

Hold down the power button and the X button simultaneously for 15 seconds, and you should be able to continue using the cartridge. This function is not available for newer printers. If the print quality is poor, air bubbles might have developed during the refill process. These will temporarily clog the printhead. Leave the cartridge in the printer for a few hours and then run the printer’s built-in cleaning function.

What if it's clogged?

If the problem persists, you may have a dry ink clog. Fill a tray with ⅛ of an inch of cleaning solution. Soak the cartridge for a few hours, then do a test run. If the problem still isn’t solved, you can blow the clog out.

Start by sealing off all but one of the vents. Next, blow air into the open vent hole on the cartridge. I usually use a syringe fitted with sleeves to do this. Once the ink starts coming out, you’re done and should not continue. Putting too much pressure in may damage the printhead.

I hope this blog helped you solve your problem. For more DIY tips, tricks, and printer help advice, follow me on YouTube at Kevin at BCH. For a video walkthrough of this process, please watch my video on it here. Happy printing!

Aug 9th 2022

Recent Posts