Printer Ink Hack

A month or two ago my computer printer died.  I was so sad.  I loved the printer.  It was simple and easy.

Kalissa was in town a day or so after it died.  I was watching Carver.  She called and said she was at WalMart.  Did I need anything.   I told her to pick up a printer.  She did.  She came with a wireless printer.  That was fine.  It was actually reasonably priced at just over $50.  I was impressed actually.  Kalissa, being the good daughter that she is, volunteered to set it up for me.

Fast forward to a week or so ago.  I ran out of ink.  Already?  Yes.  I was sure the printer company, HP in my case, only puts in a bit of ink and then it runs out quickly and the customer has to buy more ink.  Well I went on Amazon and found refurbished cartridges that were compatible with the my printer. They came.  I popped it in.  UGH.  I kept getting a message that said the ink cartridge wasn’t compatible with my printer.  The cartridge numbers were right…what’s wrong?  I tried and tried but it would only print about 1/3 of a page and quit.  UGH.

I went online and soon found that HP does things to there printers that makes in hard to use the cheap refurbished cartridges.  UGH.  I had just spent $30 on ink.  I didn’t want to waste it.  This was frustrating.

I continued online to try to find the solution.  No luck.  I tried all the things suggested.  I watched two Youtube videos.  Nothing worked.  I was frustrated.  I had opened the package.  I couldn’t return it.  UGH.  There went $30.

Well..I had an idea and I had nothing to lose.  Why not try my idea?  Here’s what I did….

I pulled the little reader off the old original cartridge.  (Sorry, I have no idea what it is really called!!)


I used a glue stick and stuck it on top of the new cartridge.  I couldn’t get the bottom piece to stick so I cut it off.


I popped my new cartridge that now had the old cartridge’s “panel” on it in the printer.


I printed a copy of a page I wanted for the childcare kids.  Here’s what happened…..

The picture in the back is the one that only partially printed.    The one in the front is the one that printed with the cartridge that I tampered with.  You can see that the ink isn’t as dark.  It’s not perfect but the childcare kids won’t care a bit.  They will still color it.  I’m going to keep the cartridge here.  I’m going to buy a new HP brand cartridge.  I’ll swap out cartridges and use this one for childcare and the HP brand one if we need to print something that requires the high quality looking ink.  It wasn’t the best solution but it’s better than throwing it in the garbage.

Through all this I learned something…
Did you know that printer companies want printer prices to be low to entice people to purchase a printer?  They don’t make a lot of money on printers…BUT…they make LOTS of money on ink.  They have you stuck having to purchasing the ink as each printer has it’ own cartridge number.  It’s a racket.  UGH.  I think from now on I’ll base my printer purchases on the prices of a cartridge of ink and not the original price of a printer.


19 thoughts on “Printer Ink Hack”

  1. I learned this lesson the hard way too. Last time, I spent more on the printer and bought the Epson Eco-tank-refillable ink tank. I have been VERY happy with it. Plus, it holds ALOT of black ink so I am not running out all the time. Just FYI. You had a very clever solution though–they can’t trick JO!

  2. Read about this problem a few years back. Very clever solution! Be sure you put the ink cartridge you remove from the printer in a plastic sealable bag as the air will dry the one not in the printer out. Ask me how I know?

  3. hp has an ink program for $10 per month (up to 300 pages) they will send you ink before you run out (no additional charge.

    1. Yeah I had the HP subscription thing for years. I just canceled today and here’s why:
      I had recently been reissued.A credit card after fraud was detected.
      So I had gotten an email notice about renewing my card on file with the hp subscription.
      I wasn’t sure I wanted To continue this subscription and I just wanted to print out one page at the time, The gift certificate for my daughters birthday.
      The printer sent me a notice that I first Needed to update my payment information.Before I could print a page. There was plenty of ink in the cartridges, But since my Subscription had elapsed, They had taken my printer hostage
      To make matters even worse, this was actually a brand new printer With the original cartridges that came in the box.
      They can’t even give you one complimentary half full set of cartridges when you purchase a printer…..nope! If your payment lapses , you can’t even use the inc any more.
      I called and spoke my mind, canceled the subscription service nd told him I’ll never buy their products again because of their idiotic policies.
      That’s when I found this page.

  4. Then to add insult, the printer companies discontinue making certain cartridges and you are having to start all over with a new printer. We are sort of backed into a corner. Some of the newer printers also sell individual color cartridges so you only need to buy the color you need rather than the combo pack. Last printer we had, we had extra yellow.

  5. Caution! I used to buy refurbished ink cartridges. It worked fine for a bit until the printer died. Upon examination it probably died because there was leaked ink all over the printer innards! I’m assuming it was from the non-HP cartridges.

  6. I too have the Epson Ecotank, with all the quilting I do it was well worth the money at Best Buy, the ink comes in bottles and it is actually cheaper than all those cartridges whether they are redone ones or new. Good luck with yours since I replaced my hp with the Epson and will not go back if I can help it.

  7. I base any printer purchase on the price of their inks. If it is to expensive I won’t but it no matter how cheap the printer is. It is an awful racket and they have us at their mercy for our printing needs.

  8. In the past we had HP printers but the ink is awful expensive. Fast forward a few years, looking for new printer and decided on an Epson based on reviews and price of ink. It was a midrange machine, around $125. Well guess what, it stopped working after 2 years. Now I don’t print an awful lot, maybe no more than 20-25 sheets a month, some color and some b/w. So after a bit of hair pulling, I went back to an HP and joined the monthly ink refill program. I hope it was a better choice — only time will tell.

  9. My HP printer is pretty old and I never had trouble with the compatible inks for a long time, then it started. Cartridges from the co. I was buying from had less & less ink so I switched companies. Several cartridges wouldn’t work at all so broke down and bought an Epson wireless. They come with cartridges that I knew wouldn’t last long so I ordered a set of compatibles that Amazon recommended. When I put a new one in (individual colors) the printer said the cartridge wasn’t recognized. I was able to get a refund even though it was past the return date and bought different ones. That’s when I learned that I couldn’t just turn the printer off, pop in the new cartridge, turn it back on and everything would work. Oh no, there is actually a process where you have to push buttons and follow directions on the little printer screen. I recently had to change another color, used one from the box that didn’t work, followed the printer screen and, wala!, it worked. Why can’t things just be simple and intuitive? Anyway I got some free cartridges because when I got the refund they said to just throw them away, give them away or whatever.

  10. I, too, have had that same experience of buying a printer and then having to buy ink right away. I hadn’t ever tried buying recycled cartridges because I’ve always been told they could damage the printer and that’s stuck in my head.

    In a similar situation, I purchased one if those label creating machines where you print small raised letter labels. The machine was really cheap. The tape refills for it, however, are cost prohibitive. So, although my goal was to label the containers I store things in, I’ve used other methods to do so.

    Sigh, the lessons life brings us.

  11. I have a color HP laser printer. The cartridges to fill up the thing cost about $400. And I have to buy them at least twice a year. I dont know what I would do when the thing fails. Probably after I have just purchased $400 of printer ink. It is a business expense so that is why I have it but in future, who knows.

  12. We bought a Cannon. It was rather inexpensive. I also bought a refill kit for 15-20$ (cant remember right off hand) and it works like a dream!! Have been doing it for a bit over a year now and not any trouble!! Oh, accept I cant figure out how to make the wireless part work! Haha silly me!!

  13. What I loved about my HP was the message: Your ink is past its expiration date. New from a box I’d had on hand as a spare & it would not work in the printer. Expiration date? Give me a break….

  14. We took our cartridges to Costco to get them refilled. Two times, they forgot to replace the little tab so the printer kept telling us it was out of ink. So we had to take them back to Costco and find someone who knew how to refill them properly. We gave up using the refilled ones.

  15. I love my Epson printer but now I am having trouble buying the ink for it..So I have to get a new printer…..The last year, I notice less and less ink in those cartridges…There is just hardly any ink in those units….They just have us…..

  16. Remember having to replace typewriter ribbons? What we won’t do for convenience and decide it is a necessity. And using the printer “at work” unless authorized, is stealing from the company.

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