How to add Refillable Ink Tank to Canon PIXMA Printer - PGI 280 CLI 281 Cartridge CIS CISS

How to add Refillable Ink Tank to Canon PIXMA Printer - PGI 280 CLI 281 Cartridge CIS CISS

Having to refill your ink cartridges constantly can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming. In this blog, we’re going to demonstrate how to add a refillable ink tank to your Canon printer so that you no longer need to run to the store each time your ink cartridge runs dry. This works because the Canon 280 cartridges don’t reset the chip. See this video for instructions on how to turn off the ink monitor so that you can use a tank.

Even though cartridges are incredibly easy to refill, you still don’t want to have to do it every 100 pages or so. Having a tank can drastically reduce the number of times you have to refill the ink. In fact, with some tanks, you will only need to refill approximately once every 1,000-2,000 pages.

Required Materials

Before getting started, you will need to purchase this five-color CIS bracket from BCH Technologies. You should also pick up an elbow and plug set, a white ink tank, a priming kit, and any additional ink you may need for this process. In addition, be sure to pick up a flathead screwdriver or butter knife if you don’t already have one lying around the house, and some kind of heating source, such as a stove or a torch.

Protective clips are important to have as well, and these can also be found on BCH Technologies’ website. Get a big one and a couple of smaller ones, and ensure that they are compatible with PGI 280 or CLI 281.

Modifying Your Cartridge

To free the printhead, you can turn on the printer and then turn it off again when you see that the printhead is moving, or you can just turn the wheel counterclockwise a couple of times. You can use refillable, OEM, or any other cartridge compatible with your printer.

Place a silicon pad on the protective clip. For the cartridge, put a tab inside the hole, and then press it down in the front—just remember pad, loop, and press. For the OEM cartridge, you need to seal the air hole. You can typically find this somewhere near the middle of the cartridge. Peel the label off, and you’ll see another hole on the top. This is the refill hole where Canon filled the cartridge. A plastic ball usually blocks it, so you will need to expose that.

You’re now going to fill one hole and open another hole, so grab some super glue to glue the middle hole shut. If you don’t have any glue handy, you can seal it shut with a hot iron or similar tool. Once you’ve closed this hole, squeeze the cartridge to ensure no air bubbles escape. Do the same thing to the other air hole.

To open the refill hole, you can push the ball in or drill through it halfway and just poke it out. Try to put a sleeve in this hole. However, if you find it is not deep enough or encounter resistance, just use a pair of scissors to enlarge the gap a bit. The sleeve should fit into the hole completely.

Installing And Filling Your Tank

Now for the fun part! The small plugs on the tank are called shipping plugs, and you should only use them when you are moving the tank. The bigger plug is the refill plug. Mark the tube on the bottom of your tank. Be sure to mark it at the end and where it comes out.

You will probably want to use double-sided tape to tape the tank to the printer. The tube will run on top of the bar at the front of the printer, so you need to make a hole on the outside and thread the tube into it. Use some more double-sided tape to attach the tube to the bar inside the printer. If you can visualize splitting your printer in half, you will need to extend the tape roughly halfway.

Move the carriage all the way to the left, and then make sure your tube is tight. Remember, though, that the printhead has to be able to touch the left side. Mark where you want the tube to come in. Using your bracket as a template, decide how long you want the line to be, cut the excess, and put an elbow on the end. Repeat this process for the other colors.

Refill your first tank and put the refill plug back. Do the same for the other three colors. Before closing the tank, be sure to dip the tank to allow the ink to flow to the bottom, and then close it against the printer. Here’s a little trick: if you push the sleeve, it could possibly fall into the cartridge, but if you put half of the sleeve on the elbow before inserting it into the cartridge hole, you can prevent this from happening.


Now you can remove your priming clips, so put the front inside, then press the back, and the tab should lock. You can insert a syringe into the hole on the bottom and notice that every time you draw with it, the needle sucks air from the cartridge, and you’re going to see the ink flow in from the tube.

If you’re using an OEM cartridge, you will see how much ink is in the cartridge. Keep going until you stop drawing air and are only sucking ink from the cartridge. As soon as you’re done priming a cartridge, replace the protective clip right away. Once you’re done priming, you can remove the protective clips and put the cartridge in the printer.

Setting Up Your Printer

If you get a 5100 error when you restart your printer, there is likely a foreign object blocking your printhead and preventing it from moving freely. Sometimes it can also mean that the elbow plugs are too high. You have four elbows, so make sure that each one of them can fit underneath that piece of plastic.

It may take a few tries and different troubleshooting methods to resolve this error, so mess around and see what works. Once your printhead can move again, you can close the printer cover and start printing.

Remember that you cannot turn the chip off, so when you receive a message letting you know that you’re running low on ink, just press “OK,” and you’ll notice a red cross symbol next to whatever color you’ve run out of. However, you can just keep printing because you now have an ink tank installed.

At this point, you may encounter a message saying that “printer detected ink out condition.” You cannot select “ok” for this message, so just press and hold down the orange triangle button until this message disappears and the printer starts printing again.

After you’ve resolved the second error, the ink level icon should be greyed out—this is because the printer is no longer keeping track of the ink level. Continue keeping an eye on the tank, and whenever you start running low, just add more ink.

Hopefully, you found this blog helpful! Visit us at or our Greensboro, North Carolina location. Cheers!

Jan 14th 2022

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