Extend the Life of Printer Ink Cartridges

April 16, 2010 at 12:28 am 25 comments

If you’ve got an ink jet printer then you’re likely spending a lot of money on ink. Most of these printers use expensive and sophisticated ink cartridges. These cartridges monitor usage and estimate the amount of ink remaining. The estimate is usually conservative, meaning it indicates you are out of ink before you’re really out of ink.


If you reset this memory then you can keep printing until the cartridge is actually empty. Depending on the brand and model of cartridge, this reset is actually really easy. If you look above the small circuit board on the cartridge, there is sometimes a pinhole reset button, kind of like the paperclip eject hole on most cd rom drives.

Check out the following video to see a demonstration.

I should also note that not all cartridges can be reset in this way. Here are a couple of sites that show other methods of resetting some cartridges.

Doing a cartridge reset is also useful if you refill your own cartridges, since the cartridge may report that it’s empty even after you refill it. If you do a lot of color printing, you may consider generic cartridges or even a continuous ink system:


I should also mention that laser printers have become extremely cheap. I rarely print in color, so a black and white laser printer is very cost effective for me. When I need to print photos, there are lots of drug stores or department stores that do a great job for a low price. If I need to print color documents, there are many great places to get that done at a reasonable price too. With a $100 laser printer, you’re often able to print thousands of pages of text on the toner cartridge that is included.

Big thanks to Derek Santos for sending the video and inspiring this post.

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Entry filed under: Be Efficient, Be Frugal, Be Green, Computers and Internet, Hacks. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julian Foley  |  April 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll give you my vote for a nice website.

    Prey tell me though how to use “the kind of like the paperclip eject hole on most cd rom drives”.

    I have the hole but it doesn’t open the stuck tray.



    • 2. Vulpis  |  July 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      If you’re refering specifically to the CD-ROM thing…it partly depends on how it’s ‘stuck’. The main purpose for this method is for an electrical fault, either in the drive itself or in the system supplying power to it–depending on the drive, it either unlatches the drive tray from the mechanism and pushes it forward allowing it to be pulled open manually, or ‘forces’ the mechanism to operate (which includes turning the motor and the gears attached to it) a small amount, again enough to allow the tray to be pulled manually the rest of the way (which does have the same forcing action and requires a bit more force–you can see this same amount of force needed if you’ve ever manually closed a drive tray instead of using the ‘close’ button). Of course, if your drive tray is literally ‘stuck’–that is jammed or some similar mechanical fault, this might not help you that much. Hrm. It might almost be worth it to submit this as a site article, presuming it’s not already there in the archives. :-)

  • 3. SLY  |  April 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    This is such a great tip. Thank you for sharing!

  • 4. antoinette wilson  |  February 17, 2011 at 2:56 am


  • 5. tan  |  July 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    does anyone know why the cartridges “expand” and also how to avoid this, as i have just put a new cartridge in and its saying its expanded so i cant print!! grrrr! its a genuine epsom cartridge as well.. any help would be appreciated1 Thanks

  • 6. kk  |  December 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    hey can you please give me a solution how to reset Epson 73N catridge…..

  • 7. la  |  April 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Can’t find a reset button on the Epson T0485. Would love it if you knew.

  • 8. im going to murder my printer.  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

    […] this- Extend the Life of Printer Ink Cartridges Broken Secrets It may or may not work on yours. __________________ Official Secondhand Snake Build Thread […]

  • […] Press your printer cartridges into extended service: A good number of ink cartridges tell your computer they’re out of ink before they really are; you can verify that you’re truly out of ink with help from this post. […]

  • 10. Tammy  |  June 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Is there a reset button on the ink cartridges for an office copier, Kyocera K-C4035E?

  • 11. German Herrera  |  August 4, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Is there a reset button in Epson cartridges T133 y T135 whichare Used by the Epson T25 ?

  • 12. German Rodriguez  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I can`t find any hole to reset Epson cartridges 133 and 135.. Is it possible to reset their chips and how ?

  • 13. Lyvonda Garrison Jacks  |  September 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Can’t figure how to reset my hp j6480 all in one ….any ideas? It doesn’t want to recognize refilled cartridges….grrr….

  • 14. brandi  |  October 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    is there a reset on lexmark?

  • 15. Kellie  |  December 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Is there a reset for the Kodak printers?

  • 16. Cathy B  |  December 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Can you help me do a reset on an HP CC644W tri-color print cartridge?

  • 17. Imu  |  December 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I can’t figure out how to reset my hp 920 cartridge Can anyone help???

  • 18. dry mouth and diabetes  |  January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Bless you!

  • 19. Angelo  |  February 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    How do you do it for an Epson Workforce 600, there is no reset button that I can see on the 69 cartridge or for C, M and Y either.


  • 20. lasertekservicesmm  |  May 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Oh, I was not expecting it to be that easy. I could have spend a lot not just in buying new cartridges but as well as inks. Such a great help.

  • 21. jessica  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    does this work for the epson xp300 series????

  • 22. C  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Grrr, I have the same cartridge shown and can’t find the button. The circuit board is slightly different; Epson must be onto it!

  • 23. Maria Lignor  |  August 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I have canon Cartridge 118 can some one tell me a trick for tha one?

  • 24. Marie Gilman  |  October 3, 2014 at 6:18 am

    I have HP 364 inkjet cartridges but there is no re-set hole beside the copper strip. Also the link to the HP guide says the page does not exist. Advice please?

  • 25. 5 Amazing Technology Ideas – BizzFinder  |  May 15, 2018 at 10:57 am

    […] of the sophisticated cartridges and keep it going for a many pages more. Here’s a more detailed article that goes into the process behind the […]


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