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Home >> Help >>

Ink and Toner FAQ



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Ink and Toner FAQ

  1. Why is my new ink cartridge not printing?
  2. Why didn't my cartridge print the full amount of pages? Why was the yield lower than what was quoted online?
  3. Why am I getting an error message when I install my new cartridge?
  4. Why does it say my cartridge is empty when I install it?
  5. How can I get dried ink out of my inkjet print head so I can print again?
  6. How should I handle my cartridge?
  7. What is the best way to store my cartridges?
  8. Does the letter at the end of the HP inkjet cartridge part number matter? For example, if the cartridge is a C6656A will the C6656AN work as well?
  9. What is a compatible inkjet cartridge? (Generic Brand, Non-Genuine)
  10. What is a remanufactured inkjet cartridge? (Refilled)
  11. What is the shelf life of compatible brand ink cartridges?
  12. Will my warranty be voided if I refill my cartridges?


    1. Why is my new ink cartridge not printing?

    This can happen to cartridges with attached print heads such as HP, Lexmark or Dell. All cartridges are weighed and tested before leaving the factory so lack of ink isn't the problem. It usually has to do with the print head of the cartridge not having any ink to feed it. This happens because cartridges are kept flat or upside down for weeks or months before being used and the ink settles away from the print head. The easiest remedy is to open the box and stand the cartridge upright for a few minutes before using. Then get a damp paper towel, fold it into quarters and sit the cartridge print head down onto it. Hold the cartridge down to the damp paper towel for three minutes. This will help pull the ink out of the print heads, priming them and getting them ready to print. Finally, install the cartridge into your printer and print a few test pages.

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    2. Why didn't my cartridge print the full amount of pages? Why was the yield lower than what was quoted online?

    Customers often worry about the yield of their cartridges. They often mistakenly try to track yield by time. The amount of time it takes for a cartridge to go empty is a bad indicator of yield. The cited yield for ink and toner cartridges is given at 5% coverage. This is usually not a lot of print on a page. Typically only a short memo is at 5% coverage. If you are printing letters, using legal size paper, printing photos, web pages or doing any kind of graphics your coverage will vary greatly. This will cause the yield to drop greatly.

    There are two ways to properly check for yield. First is to utilize any page count your printer has. Refer the user's manual for instructions. The other way is to count reams or boxes of paper you have used with each cartridge. Both of these methods will tell you how many pages per cartridge you are using.

    Both methods give you a raw number. You should also take into account your typical print coverage. If you only do memos then you should reach the manufacturer's stated yield specifications. If you write full page letters or print graphics your yield will be considerably less. When printing text and full page graphics a 4000 page yield cartridge will run out of toner in around 800 pages.

    Introduced in June 2004, the ISO/IEC 19752 standard method for testing page yield was introduced. It created a comprehensive process to test page yields. This standard method means that from now on all printer manufacturers and cartridge manufacturers will be quoting ink and toner cartridge yields using the same testing process. On the right you can see the sample page that is used to test yield. If your documents have more page coverage you will get drastically lower page yields from each inkjet or toner cartridge.

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    3. Why am I getting an error message when I install my new cartridge?

    The most common error messages are listed below, as well as trouble shooting techniques to help eliminate any type of error message. If you are still unable to get rid of the error message please call us at 877-659-7392.

    • A message asking you to replace your black/color inkjet cartridge
    • The cartridge light blinks on the printer.
    • A message that ask you to check your black/color inkjet cartridge.
    • A message that indicates the cartridge is not seated properly.
    • A message that indicates there is no cartridge installed


    How to fix the problem:

    Cartridges that do not have an internal print head (Epson, Brother, Canon,)
    A lot of times this is caused by the chip on the cartridge not making direct contact with the printer sensors. All you need to do is open the area of the printer where your cartridges are installed. Remove the problematic cartridge from its designated port and reinstall the cartridge to ensure it is properly seated, secured, and that the chip is lined up with the printer censor. Close the printer cover and proceed to turn off the printer. Wait a few a few seconds and restart your printer. Proceed to print a test page and you should be good to go. If this problem still occurs please call us at 877-659-7392.

    Cartridges that have an internal print head (HP, Lexmark and some Canon)
    This is caused by the cartridge not making proper contact with the printer. This may also be caused by unclean contact points on the print head. Open the area where your cartridges are installed and remove the problematic cartridge. Then completely power down your printer for 2-3 minutes by unplugging the printer from its power source. As you wait you can clean the print head on the bottom of the cartridge with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Then power your printer back up, reinstall your cartridge making sure it is seated correctly, and that it's in its designated slot. Your cartridge should be recognized and ready to print. If this problem still occurs please call us at 877-659-7392.

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    4. Why does it say my cartridge is empty when I install it?

    All of our cartridges are inspected before packaging to ensure that the cartridge was filled with the correct amount of ink. The chances of actually receiving an empty inkjet are incredibly rare. A lot of times this reading is caused by the cartridge not being properly seated in its designated slot. We suggest that you remove the cartridge and reinstall it, make sure that it snaps into place and that it is seated correctly and securely. Please take into consideration that your printer doesn't actually read the ink level of the cartridge. In fact the printer software determines the level of ink by remembering the number of pages that were printed when the previous cartridge was installed, which then estimates how much ink is remaining and when it should be replaced. If you install your new cartridge before you let the printer driver reset there is a chance that the printer may think you are still using the old empty cartridge. One way of fixing this issue is to reinstall your cartridge and click on the install new cartridge option; you may have to refer to your printer's manual for further instructions. This will indicate to your printer that a new cartridge has been installed which will then prompt it to reset the internal page counter. This should eliminate that message, if further assistance is needed please call us at 877-659-7392.

    5. How can I get dried ink out of my inkjet print head so I can print again?

    Place the clogged cartridge in about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of warm water for a few minutes. When ink starts to slowly leak out take the cartridge out of the water and dry it using a soft cloth to "Q-tip." Then place it back in your printer and run the print head cleaning utility that comes with your printer software. You may have to run this 2-4 times before printing quality is reestablished. If your print head is damaged you will have to buy a new cartridge as the print head cannot be repaired.

    6. How should I handle my cartridge?

    Never touch the electronic print head with any abrasive material. Use care when setting your cartridges down and do not place the print head in contact with any surface besides the printer.

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    7. What is the best way to store my cartridges?

    It is always ideal to store your cartridges in a room temperature setting. It is also a good idea to store your cartridges in an upright position. A lot of times during shipment these units are not sitting in an upright position and ink will tend to settle at the opposite end of the cartridge which may cause printing issues. Ideally before use you want to have your cartridge sit in the upright position for a couple of hours to ensure that the ink moves to the bottom of the cartridge allowing the ink to pass through the sponge, which will allow the cartridge to print properly.

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    8. Does the letter at the end of the HP inkjet cartridge part number matter? For example, if the cartridge is a C6656A will the C6656AN work as well?

    The letter at the end of HP ink cartridge numbers signifies the volume. Most HP cartridges only have one type such as the #56 which you will also see shown as the C6656, C6656A and C6656AN. HP sometimes shows the cartridge as the 56A or C6656A, but the full part number is C6656AN. All versions are the same product with the same ink volume. Only if the first letter after the numbers was different would it be the same cartridge with a different volume. Other first letters at the end such as 51645G and 51645A are the identical cartridge, but with different volumes. The G is the free starter cartridge that comes with a printer and the A is the regular high volume cartridge that is sold in stores. When our cartridges are manufactured we always fill the cartridges completely. So, regardless of the letter at the end of part number or the letter you are used to order you will always get a high volume cartridge for us.

    9. What is a compatible inkjet cartridge? (Generic Brand, Non-Genuine)

    A compatible ink cartridge is a brand new cartridge (not refilled or remanufactured) produced by a third party manufacturer. A much cheaper alternative to the genuine branded product, if you want to save money your printing costs, compatible ink cartridges will defiantly help you achieve this. You will get the same amount of ink and the same number of pages with most compatible ink cartridges as you would get from a genuine.

    10. What is a remanufactured inkjet cartridge? (Refilled)

    These professionally remanufactured inkjet cartridges are original manufacturer's brand inkjet cartridges which have been through one cycle of service and have been recharged. Every inkjet cartridge has been thoroughly cleaned along with the printhead nozzles. Then the cartridge is filled with the same ink formulation, checked if it has the correct internal atmospheric pressure, inspected for any possible shell leakage, tested the operation of all electrical circuitry and finally ran through an actual print test. If the cartridge passes our rigid standards, it has been remanufactured!

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    11. What is the shelf life of compatible brand ink cartridges?

    They have a three year shelf life.

    12. Will my warranty be voided if I refill my cartridges?

    Often customers have expressed a legitimate concern as to whether the use of compatible cartridges in their printer will void their printer's warranty. The answer is No!

    What follows is a partial quote from the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act, which protects your rights and your warranty.

    MAGNUSON-MOSS WARRANTY IMPROVEMENT ACT
    United States Code Annotated
    Title 15 Commerce and Trade
    Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties
    15 Section 2032


    ... (c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection be waived by the commission if:

    1) The warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and

    2) The Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

    More simply put, this means that your printer warranty cannot be voided just because you choose to use compatible products unless the manufacturer can prove that the compatible product caused direct damage to your printer. No company, associate, salesperson, or service technician can deny you service or warranty work that would otherwise be covered under a warranty program simply because you use a compatible product. Your consumer rights are protected by the United States Government.

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