A while ago, BCHTechnologies did a live broadcast about how to refill a Canon cartridge, so I’ll be going over that today. The specific cartridges we’ll be going over are the Canon PG243 and CL 244 cartridges. The printer used for the broadcast was a Canon printer found online on sites like Amazon and eBay.
Something we found a bit interesting was that you could get printers shipped to you for $24, but cartridges were selling for $45.
Getting back on topic, Canon started making 243 and 244 model cartridges without filling them up all the way. I won’t say definitively that this is intentional, but since these cartridges aren’t marketed as refillable, it seems like they’re trying to get you to spend more money by buying their cartridges. They go empty very quickly; we’ve found that you can usually only print around 50 pages before they run out.
Refilling HP Cartridges to Save Money
To get around this, we’ll review how to fill or refill these $45 cartridges to their maximum potential. Refilling an HP ink cartridge will have a similar process, if not entirely the same. There is still a separate demonstration on my YouTube channel for refilling HP cartridges.
Looking at the cartridges, let’s review a few basic components. You’ll see a bunch of electronic pins on one of the faces. This assembly is often referred to as the electronic ribbon or electronic component. On another side, you’ll see openings for the ink to come out of, which is called the printhead.
When you have a fresh cartridge for your Canon printer that no one has yet refilled, this is called a “virgin cartridge.” If you’re working with a virgin cartridge, you can ignore this first step, which is to dissolve any of the dry ink left behind on the cartridge.
Rather than using a virgin cartridge, I prefer using empty cartridges that I buy from eBay. They usually get delivered in pretty rough shape, but they tend to be repairable. In most cases, a few little clogs won’t hurt too badly. If you also decide to order your cartridges from eBay, we need to start by removing the clogs. You can buy a bottle of liquid cleaning solution from BCHTechnologies.com.
The cleaning solution is highly effective and will be an excellent first step to dissolving these clogs. You’ll need a big bowl to fit the cartridge and probably some paper towels. Pour the cleaning solution into the bottom of the bowl until it’s about ¼ of an inch deep. You could try using warm water instead of the cleaning agent, but it won’t work nearly as well.
Set the cartridge in the bowl, so the printhead is covered, but the electronic ribbon remains completely dry. Submerging the pins or letting them come in contact with liquid can cause them to short circuit, which is not repairable. You’ll be able to see some of the ink dissolving right away, but you should still leave it to sit in the cleaner for a couple of hours.
Should I Get New or Used Cartridges?
Buying new cartridges can cost anywhere from $20 to $45, but people routinely sell their used cartridges on eBay for less than $10. You can get a used cartridge, clean it, and refill it; it’ll work as well as new.
Now let’s look at what it’s like to work with a new cartridge. The black cartridge is easier to work with, so we’ll start there. You can find something on my website called the BCH ET30S, an ink refilling kit for beginners. I recommend getting one if you’ve never refilled an ink cartridge.
The kit will include a priming clip, accessories, and four ink bottles (one for each color and one for black). You will also need a sharp knife or blade to open the cartridges. Start by very carefully peeling the label off. You’ll be able to see that there’s one tiny hole underneath. This hole is too small for our purposes, but it can be a good place to start drilling. It doesn’t matter too much, though, because you could drill anywhere on that side of the cartridge.
Once you've drillled the hole, take the squeeze bottle with the black ink in it and insert the tip into the hole. Squeeze seven times, and it should be the perfect amount. Put the cartridge back into the printer and test it to see if it works. This process may seem like a lot of work, but remember that you’re saving at least $45 with each refill. The ink bottles in the beginner’s refill kit will have enough ink for 5 or 6 refills before they’re empty.
If the test page you print doesn’t come out right – whether there’s ink dripped everywhere or it doesn’t print the entire image – use the priming clip that came in the ink refilling kit. There are two blue silicone pads with different lengths. One is for the black cartridges, and the other is for the colored cartridges. The longer pad is for the black cartridge, so that’s what we want right now.
Using the Priming Clips
Push the refilled cartridge into the priming clip. You’ll have to push it pretty hard into the clip until you hear it click. Now it’s locked into place. Use the syringe to draw out some of the excess ink on the underside of the cartridge.
Now let’s go over how to do the colored cartridges. The colored cartridge, unlike the black one, has three separate chambers, each containing a different color. When you peel the label off, you’ll see three holes. One will be near the top, and the other two will be near the bottom.
Each hole is a different color. It’s important to know which hole goes to which color, because if you put the refilled ink into the wrong one, it will contaminate it, and the colors will get muddied and blend. If that happens, your printer cannot print colored pictures correctly.
To figure out which color is which:
- Drill each of the holes all the way through.
- Use a toothpick or something similar to stick into the hole you drilled, and you’ll have your answer.
- Use a different toothpick for each hole to avoid cross-contamination.
The colored inks have smaller chambers, so you only need 3-5 squeezes of ink, rather than the seven we did for the black ink cartridge. Too many squeezes will overfill the ink and cause issues while printing. If you accidentally overfill, the process for fixing it is similar to what we did for the black cartridge, but you pull the ink out of only the affected chambers.
Test the colored ink cartridges out and use the priming clip as needed. Keep an eye on the quality of the print jobs you’re doing. If the quality starts to deteriorate, it’s usually an indicator that it’s time for another refill. You should now be able to print as normal without spending nearly as much money on cartridges.