Inkjet Cartridge Refill – Getting My Hands Dirty

Last week, my Canon MP530 printer was complaining about low ink again. So I figured I try out the ink refill service from Walgreen. I went to Walgreen. But the clerk told me that this model (CL-5 PGBK) is NOT one of the supported models. I didn’t know they were this picky about it. While continued shopping at Walgreen, I saw that they offer the 4-time NCR self-refill kit for $14.60. Not a bad deal but I really didn’t want to get my hands dirty. How many times I have done this and regretted every time!

But this kit come in the syringe containers – just need to squeeze out the ink directly into the cartridge. Sounds pretty easy right. I bought the kit. I regretted again that I bought it. First of all, unlike the ink I used to refill the HP cartridges with, these black inks are SOOO difficult to wash off. I should have worn gloves. For the entire night, I nearly soaked my fingers in the 409 fluid (the only detergent that works) and rubbed my fingers with paper towels for hours. The ink stayed on my fingers for more than 2 days. Secondly, the Canon cartridge has a smart chip in it that even after the refill, the cartridge still registered nearly empty. It’s going to be very difficult to tell when the cartridge really runs out of ink. For this type of printer, if the ink really ran out, the printer head (the most expensive part of the printer) may incur damage. Third, I made a big mess on the table due to the leaked ink. As it turned out, it takes some coordination to insert the rubber plug and cover up the outlet, or the ink may leak non-stop. I wasted nearly a bottle of ink due to the leak.

So how much did I save? Assuming I can refill roughly 3 times. 3 brand new cartridges would cost $39.65 from Amazon. My net saving is roughly $25. Considering the mess I made on my table and fingers, the two hours I may need to spend and the high probability of damaging my printer due to the lack of monitoring, this refill gig is not worth it. After using up the refill kit, I don’t think I would do this again. Canon has earned my money.