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Epson, Canon and Kodak ink cartridges generally come with an electronic chip attached to them. The manufacturers will have you believe the chip measures the ink levels of the cartridge, it does not, the printer estimates the ink levels by the amount of printing you have done, it then records the estimated levels on to the chip, when the chip has been told the cartridge is empty, the printer will stop printing.

The electronic chips fitted to the compatible Ink Cartridges look different to the Chips found on the original cartridges, this is because the compatible manufacturers ARE NOT allowed to copy them due to copyright laws, and so need to make them slightly differently. They are designed to perform and work in the same manor.   

Installing Epson ink cartridges

Most Epson ink cartridges can be installed by following the instructions below; ONLY REPLACE ONE CARTRIDGE AT A TIME, AND ONLY THE COLOUR AS INDICATED!

1. Hold down the ink button for 3 seconds. The printer will indicate which colour is in need of replacement, by displaying the colour on it’s screen, or if it doesn’t have a screen it will stop the cartridge carriage at a certain point indicating the empty colour. (either at a pointer moulded into the case, or in a position where you will only be able to remove the empty colour).

2. Remove the old cartridge.

3. Remove yellow tape and the orange clip from the new cartridge.  Insert the cartridge into the machine and as you plug the cartridge in, apply a very tiny amount of pressure towards the electronic chip.  This ensures a good electrical connection.

4. Press the ink button again.  If another colour is empty the printer will indicate this, as describe above.  When all ink cartridges are full enough to print, the printer will start ‘charging’ the new ink cartridges. THIS MAY TAKE SEVERAL MINUTES, and will also perform a ‘Head Cleaning Cycle’.  After the charging process has completed, the new ink cartridges will be shown as full.

The head cleaning process may cause the printer to show the cartridges that

have not been replaced as empty. The head cleaning process will have used


Head cleaning is a necessary part of replacing your ink cartridges, as it will remove any air trapped in the system, and will draw the ink from the cartridge into the print head.

Other problems that may occur.

Occasionally the cartridges will not charge properly, and the printer will show the

ink cartridge as unrecognised. This is due to a bad electronic connection between the chip and the printer.  Take the cartridge out, give the chip a rub, and repeat the installation process.  Repeat this process (it may take 2 or 3 attempts) until the cartridge is recognised. If after 2 or 3 attempts the printer

refuses to recognise the cartridges, remove the unrecognised cartridges and

TURN THE PRINTER OFF AND WAIT 10 MINUTES. This will allow the printer to

reset itself. Repeat this installation process and this time the cartridges will


The printer may show some ink cartridges as unrecognised when it really means the ink cartridges are empty.  Keep a note of how much printing you have done with each cartridge, and see the yield guide below.

Poor Print Quality

Poor print quality is generally caused by a blockage in the ‘Print head’, and NOT

poor ink quality.  Although the printer performs a head cleaning cycle while

charging the cartridges, it is sometimes necessary to perform extra head


This can be done directly using the menu on the printer if it has a screen, or if

your printer doesn’t have a screen refer to the owners manual. (Usually you can

perform a head clean by holding down the ink or paper feed button for 3 seconds).

Alternatively run a head cleaning cycle via a computer.  Go to the PRINT menu,

Select PROPERTIES, then enter into the Utilities Menu, there will be then a

Head Cleaning Facility in this menu.

It may be necessary to perform several head cleaning cycles, depending on how

blocked the print nozzles are.  There are several reasons why print nozzles get blocked. Sometimes from lack of use, sometimes too much air gets trapped into the system  while replacing ink cartridges, sometimes from paper dust when a volume printing has been done.

PRINT HEAD CLEANING USES A LOT OF INK, so only run head cleaning when necessary.

If you have run several head cleans and you are unable to remove all the blockages try running your machine on a higher quality setting for a few prints. This really gets the print head nozzles working, and should help to get the blocked ink to flow out of the nozzles.  It also makes use of the ink, instead of just flushing the ink to a foam pad at the bottom inside the machine.

If all the above head cleaning doesn’t work the I use the PDF file below to really work the ‘Print Head’ The pages consists of the solid primary colours, I just print the colour that is blocked, and use the highest quality setting.

Click here to view the PDF of the Head Cleaning Page

Printer Needs servicing Message.

Yes when you perform a head cleaning cycle, the ink gets flushed down into

the bottom of the printer, where a foam pad is situated to soak the ink up.

After many head cleans, you may get a message saying the printer requires servicing. This generally means, the printer thinks it’s foam pad in the bottom is full.  Although the pads can be replace it is not always necessary and can often cost more than the printer is worth.  You can reset the warning levels by downloading a FREE piece of software from the link below:


This software is downloaded at your own risk, it is from a independent site and not part theinkbox.com.

Print Yields (The amount of prints you can expected from your cartridges)

This can vary considerably depending of what you are printing.

Based on a A4 Sheet of paper with a 5% in coverage Epson Ink Cartridges should be printing approximately 200 pages.  It will be considerably reduced when printing pictures, and when printing using a higher quality setting other than normal.

Ink Cartridge Installation Guide We have written this guide to help you install your ink cartridges, please read and follow it before installing your cartridges. Installing Your Compatible Ink Cartridges