How many times can I refill my cartridge? What's the lifespan of a cartridge?
Answer: There is not a sure-fire answer to this question.
The average lifespan of an ink jet cartridge is 5-7 refills. Some
customers have received as many as twenty refills of one cartridge and as few as
two. There are many components within the ink cartridge. Any of
these microscopic parts can burn up, crack or break off at any given time.
Pictured at left is a close up of the contacts on an HP 51626A black ink
cartridge. If any of these "lines," which are actually electronically
circulating information to and from the cartridge to the printer, become
scratched or soiled the entire communication system is messed-up if not
destroyed. The natural oils from your hands alone can cause information to
be transferred improperly from the cartridge to the printer. This is why
you should never handle or touch the copper contacts on any printer ink
The contacts are just one point on the cartridge that can malfunction or wear
out after numerous refills. Inkjet printers, using a series of tiny
nozzles located in the print head, spray minute dots on the media sent through
the printer. If any one of the nozzles within the print head gets clogged,
burns out or becomes misaligned, then the cartridge can turn out to be unusable.
There are many other microscopic pieces within a printer's cartridge that can
end up faltering before the rest of the cartridge or before it has been used for
the average number of refills.
For the most success in prolonging your cartridge's life, you must take care of
it. Refill your cartridge before it runs completely dry or becomes empty.
If there is any chance of dried ink on the outside of the cartridge, follow our
soaking instructions. Do not handle your
cartridge any more than necessary. There are cartridge holders available
for use during the refilling process. By using the cartridge clip/holder,
you don't take the risk of getting finger prints or smudges on the contacts.
(Clip holders and other ink refilling accessories are available at
HP Ink Cartridges | Canon Ink Cartridges | Lexmark Ink Cartridges | Epson Ink Cartridges (Not Genuine Epson)