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Refill Instructions
Most Canon Cartridges

  • BC-30, BC-31 Cartridges
  • BCI-3BK, BCI-3C, BCI-3M, and BCI-3Y Cartridges
  • BCI-3eBK, BCI-3eC, BCI-3eM, and BCI-3eY Cartridges
  • BCI-5BK, BCI-5C, BCI-5M, and BCI-5Y Cartridges
  • PGI-5 Cartridges
  • BCI-6BK, BCI-6C, BCI-6M, BCI-6PC, BCI-6PM and BCI-6Y Cartridges
  • BCI-7BK, BCI-7C, BCI-7M, and BCI-7Y Cartridges
  • CLI-8BK, CLI-8C, CLI-8M, CLI-8PC, CLI-8PM, and CLI-8Y Cartridges
  • PG220, CL221 Cartridges

Different Canon Printers

  • Canon 3000, 6000, 8200
  • Canon S400, S450, S500, S600, S750, S800, S900
  • Canon i750, i800, i950
  • Most Canon Pixma Printers
  • Canon Multipass Multi-Function Printers
  • And many other Canon printers
Updated April 7, 2006


The ink in this cartridge is retained because the cartridge has an internal sponge. However, the sponge only fills the lower half of the cartridge. The upper half is an open ink reservoir.

On the CLI-8 and PGI-5 series cartridges, there is an electronic counter embedded in a small computer chip/board. This counter starts at a high number and decreases for every character printed. Eventually, the counter reaches zero. At this point, an error message is generated by the printer. If you click "OK" to the error message, the printer will continue to print. However, the ink level display will not show correctly with that cartridge. But that is something we have to live with. For most people, it is a small price to pay for a vastly lowered cost of printing.

On some Canon printers, simply click through the error message and the various warnings. The printer should then print fine. Notice that you will need to do this again when the other cartridges run out of ink.

On other Canon printers, hold the RESUME or RESET button for about 10-15 seconds. This should reset the printer so that it will print with the refilled cartridge.

On still other Canon printers, do the following:

  • Turn off printer
  • Hold RESUME button then press and hold POWER until it BEEPs.
  • Hold POWER and release RESUME
  • Press RESUME twice
  • Release POWER button
  • When the indicator light is steady, press RESUME three(3) times. The indicator should be orange.
  • Press POWER to set data
    • It is important to avoid air bubbles from forming in the lower sponge.
    • It is important is that the seal be air-tight when you finish -- otherwise you'll have a slow leak.
    • This cartridge does not have a printhead -- only an ink reservoir.
    • This cartridge can be refilled typically 8 to 12 times.

    Required Supplies and Tools

    You will need the following:
    • A standard luer-type syringe (20 to 30 cc is best) or one of our syringe bottles. No needle is necessary.
    • A replacement Ball. These can be ordered from us.
      Part number for a set of 10 Balls: Balls-10


    Simplified Instructions for Advanced Refillers

    Step 1) Put the cartridge on some paper towels in an area where you can tolerate a spill.

    Step 2) Look at the cartridge. This cartridge has two chambers. The Lower chamber is filled with a sponge. The Upper chamber is an empty ink reservoir.

    Step 3) Put enough ink in the Lower chamber to saturate the sponge by injecting some ink through the ink exit hole on the bottom of the cartridge. Be sure that you do not push the sponge into the cartridge, or it will not make proper contact with the printhead when installed in the printer.

    Step 4) Temporarily tape over the ink exit hole to keep the ink from dribbling out.

    Step 5) Make a hole (by drilling or melting)into the Upper chamber. We suggest making the hole on the top of the cartridge.

    Step 6) Inject ink into this new hole to fill the Upper chamber.

    Step 7) Seal the new hole air tight using hot glue or black electrical tape. Do not use ordinary masking tape, duct tape, or scotch tape, since these will not make an air tight seal.

    Step 8) Remove the temporary tape on the ink exit hole and insert in the printer.

    Instructions for Beginners

    Step 1) Put the cartridge on some paper towels in an area where you can tolerate a spill.

    Step 2) Locate the ink exit hole and turn the cartridge so that this hole is facing up. Dribble some ink into this hole to fill the sponge area.

    Step 3) When the sponge area is full, tape over the exit hole with black electrical tape.

    Step 4) Locate the original fill hole under the black dot labeled "PUSH".

    Step 5) Peel off the label and either remove the ball plug or push it into the cartridge. If this is a 2nd refill, we suggest removing the ball by jabbing a pin into the ball and prying it out. Otherwise, the accumulation of balls will gradually fill the cartridge. Our part number for ten of these balls is, amazingly enough "BALLS-10". You can order them in the Accessories section of most order forms, or indicate you need them on the Special Orders section.

    Step 5A) Alternatively, you may make your own hole into this chamber by using a hot paper clip and melting a hole, or by drilling a hole. The important thing is not where you make the hole, but that there is a hole.

    Step 5) Take your syringe. Fill the syringe with ink.

    Step 6) Take the syringe and insert into the hole.

    Step 7) Inject the cartridge with ink. Fill S-L-O-W-L-Y to fill the entire cartridge. Stop when the ink comes out of the ink exit hole.

    • The Black cartridges should require about 20 to 25 ml (cc) of ink. This is about 3/4 of a syringe bottle. BCI-6 cartridges may require a bit more.
    • The color cartridges should require about 12 to 15 ml (cc) of ink. This is about 1/2 of a syringe bottle. BCI-6 cartridges may require a bit more.

    Step 8) Seal the hole with a new ball plug. Alternatively, you may use hot glue, hot wax, silicone rubber, or (if desperate) electrical tape. You need to get a good air-tight seal or you will develop a leak. You also need to get the seal flush with the surface.

    Ordinary scotch tape will not give an airtight seal.

    Step 6) Set over a paper towel for a few minutes as a drip precaution. Do not let the cartridge touch the paper towel, or the towel will draw the ink out of the cartridge. Expect a few drips -- the ink must drip for the sponge to be full. Cover all holes with electrical tape during storage to prevent leaks and evaporation.

    Important Notes regarding Photo Paper

    The black pigmented WJ-1010 or WJ-1020 inks which are suggested for use in the 4-cartridge system black cartridges are matte finish blacks, ideal for text printing and most graphics, and are very similar to to the original Canon ink. However, in photo printing, this black can result in a matte appearance for black in a sea of glossy color.

    4-cartridge BCI-3e systems have a special setting in the printer software which should be used when printing upon glossy photo papers. This "Photo Paper" setting changes the way the printer prints. In normal mode, the printer naturally enough uses black ink to print black. This works great on ordinary paper. However, to get a good glossy appearance, the "Photo Paper" setting makes black by printing a heavy dose of each of the 3 colors, and turns off the pigmented matte black.

    In a 6 cartridge system, good photo production is made by using the Photo-Black WJ-1008 in your black BCI-6 cartridge. No "Photo Paper" setting is used in these printers.

    If it Leaks

    The most likely problem is that the seal over the fill hole is not air-tight. Check this seal. Also check for small cracks in the plastic.

    If it Won't Print

    The most likly cause is an air bubble trapped in the sponge, or between the sponge and the printhead. Remove the air bubble and you'll probably fix the problem. Remember: an air bubble is another name for "lack of ink".

    Another cause can be froth forming in the sponge. This froth is a collection of hundreds of tiny bubbles of air which forms when a small bit of ink is left behind in each sponge cell. When you refill, this froth may move into the printhead and form a vapor lock situation.

    To cure either big air bubbles or froth, simply put a single drop of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on the sponge through the ink exit hole, ideally before refilling. (Any concentration of the alcohol from 70 percent to 100 percent is fine.) The alcohol will collapse the air bubbles and allow for normal printing most of the time.

    To Clean the Printhead

    Do not clean the printhead unless you get poor print quality.

    Follow the directions in the printer manual.

    Run the printhead cleaning software.

    Common Clogs

    1. This printer is a sponge-filled cartridge. Because of this, it is susceptible to a common problem: Froth.

      When you use ink from a sponge-filled cartridge, a little bit of ink remains in each cell of the sponge. When you later add ink to the sponge, some air is trapped in some of the sponge cells. Then, when you print, this air/ink mixture, which we call "froth", begins to move as a mass of tiny ink-coated bubbles into the printhead. The printhead cannot print something which is mostly air -- it needs ink. Thus, the printhead vapor locks on the froth and appears to be "clogged".

      To fix the problem, simply put a single drop of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on the sponge through the ink exit hole, ideally before refilling. (Any concentration of the alcohol from 70 percent to 100 percent is fine.) The alcohol will collapse the air bubbles and allow for normal printing most of the time.

    2. For a real dried-ink clog, unplug the printer from both the wall and the computer, and clean the cartridge or printhead with plain, ordinary warm water. The ink will dissolve quite well in water. Unlike ball-point pen ink, this ink will not dissolve well in alcohol or paint thinner. Use ordinary warm tap water to clean this ink. Be sure to dry an electronics completely before applying power.

    To Clean Your Sink

    The ink is water-soluble. Use plenty of soap and warm water. You may also need to use Comet or a similar cleaner if the stains persist.

    To Clean Your Hands

    On hands, the best substance to use is Ink Be GoneTM, a specially developed hand cleaner available from ACSI Bulk Inks. (To place an order, Click Here.)

    To Place An Ink Order

    You can telephone us at 1-888-728-2465 (USA Tollfree) or 1+740-374-9949. You can also Order Online or by other ways including by Fax, or by Postal Mail, or by EMAIL.

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