Being part of the top-performing printers, Ink cartridges can be somewhat mysterious to certain consumers who have not taken the time to understand a printer’s internal components fully. Don’t fret. That’s why we are here.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Ink cartridges generally include one or more ink reservoirs and a microprocessor that communicates with the printer itself.
  • Ink cartridges tend to be made from oil or petroleum distillate, along with the various dyes and colorings needed for individual colors.
  • If you want to improve the overall lifespan of your ink cartridge, try regularly running the printer’s auto-clean functionality.

How Does an Ink Cartridge Work?

An ink cartridge features one or several ink reservoirs and a microchip for communicating with the printer. The printer will send print job information to the cartridge, which will then release tiny droplets of ink that can be manipulated by the print head to create text and images. Some actual ink cartridges contain a print head, a nozzle plate, a cover plate, and a common ink chamber.

Of course, this procedure is complicated when it comes to reproducing colors. Most ink cartridges can handle black, as it is made by mixing together a common varnish, but creating other colors will require the use of various dyes and substrates.

Insider Tip

The printer will send print job information to the cartridge, which will then release tiny droplets of ink that can be manipulated by the print head to create text and images.

Tips to Keep an Inkjet Cartridge Working Properly

Ink cartridges can be expensive. To make the most out of your cartridge, we recommend following these steps to increase the ink’s overall lifespan and general efficacy. You can also learn more about how laser printers work as they can use ink cartilages for printing.

Use a Printer’s Autoclean Function

Most printers feature some kind of self-clean or automatic cleaning function. This process will flush the ink cartridge, removing stubborn blockages and the like. You can typically access this feature by pulling up the printer’s driver software on your computer, though some models allow you to instigate a self-cleaning process via the printer itself. As a warning, you may need to run the self-cleaning procedure twice before all issues have been resolved. Additionally, this will deplete some of the ink from the cartridge.

Insider Tip

You need to know how to adjust and use the headrest,seat depth, seat height, tilt, tilt lock, full-swivel movement, armrest movement, and more.

Manually Clean the Cartridge

If you have been running the printer’s self-cleaning function with little or no success, it may be time to manually clean the ink cartridge. Remove the cartridge from the printer and soak a cotton swab or paper towel in hot water or isopropyl alcohol. Wipe the print head until it comes out clean, with no visible ink present. On printers where the cartridges connect to internal ink tubes, wipe off the connection points using the above method. Let all parts dry before reinserting the ink cartridge.

Soak the Cartridge

If manually cleaning the ink cartridge did not clear out all of the blockages, you may need to soak the cartridge in warm water for a few hours. After it has finished soaking, repeat the manual cleaning process once again. If you are using a laser printer, knowing when to get rid of the laser printer toner is essential.

Warning

Most ink cartridges can handle black, as it is made by mixing together a common varnish, but creating other colors will require the use of various dyes and substrates.

F.A.Q.

Can you use remanufactured ink cartridges in HP printers?

It is illegal for a printer manufacturer to disallow the use of remanufactured or third-party ink cartridges. So, yeah, you can use remanufactured ink cartridges with HP printers. Be aware, though, there may be some hoops to jump through.


What’s different about inkjet printers?

Inkjet printers tend to be relatively inexpensive and efficient. Additionally, they excel at making full-color images and reproductions.


What does a laser printer do?

Laser printers shoot out highly focused beams of light that work to shape toner dust that has been included inside of a toner cartridge.



STAT: Dried ink can be cleaned from a cartridge print head using 91% denatured isopropyl alcohol (not rubbing alcohol). (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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