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Refill Instructions
Epson SO20108 and SO20189 Cartridge

Epson Color Stylus 800/840 and 1520 Printers

Updated May 13, 1999

Epson Color Stylus 400/600/800 and 440/640/840 Printers


The ink in this cartridge is retained because the cartridge has an internal sponge.

For best results, never leave your Epson printer without an installed cartridge -- even an empty one -- for more than an hour or so, because the ink -- the original or our refill ink -- will begin to gel to the consistency of honey, which will require multiple cleaning routines to clear.

The most common problems when refilling this cartridge are air bubbles trapped in the sponge because:

  1. Air has filled the exit tube.
  2. You refilled too quickly.
  3. You did not angle the syringe needle properly.


Step 1) Put the cartridge on some paper towels in an area where you can tolerate a spill. Wear old clothes. You may wish to wear rubber gloves if you don't wish to temporarily stain your fingers.

Step 2) Locate the ink exit hole(s) on the bottom of the cartridge.

Remove the old black rubber plug(s) by peeling them out with a knife.

Replace the plugs with our Epson-compatible plugs which are available for purchase (see below). These plugs install into the ink exit hole and are particularly good if you plan to store your cartridge for a few days before using.

Alternatively, you may wish to tape over the ink exit hole with black electrical tape, but this is not as effective at avoiding air bubble problems.

Step 3) Place the cartridge so that the ink exit holes are flat on the surface in front of you. There are six vent holes under the label on the top surface of the cartridge.

Step 4) Locate the vent holes on top. They may be under the label or taped. Locate the second row of vent holes nearest the ink exit hole. You may need to peel off the label.

Open the holes if they are under the label or taped and place the cartridge back on the table surface as in Step 3.

Step 5) Check each hole with a toothpick if you are not certain of which color goes into each hole.

Step 6) Fill the syringe bottle 1/3rd (10 ml) full with the correct color of ink and insert fully through the hole on top which is closest to the exit hole. Angle the needle toward the exit hole. It is very important that the needle penetrate deeply and get under the sponge.

Step 7) Important Angle the needle toward the exit hole and inject the ink very S-L-O-W-L-Y. Too fast and you will "vapor lock" the foam because air bubbles will form. You must get the needle to the bottom of (under) the sponge and fill to remove all of the air from the cartridge.

Repeat the procedure for the other colors.

Step 8) If you chose to use the plugs, wipe off any spilled ink and put the cartridge into the printer. Remove the tape from the top holes to print.

If you chose to tape the ink exit holes, go to the sink. Remove the tape from bottom. Leave the top hole open to print, but you may wish to seal it with tape during long term transport or storage.

Step 9) Let the cartridge drip over the sink for 2-3 minutes. Do not set the cartridge on a paper towel as this will suction too much ink from the exit hole.

Step 10) When preparing to insert the cartridge, take a paper towel and remove the ink from the exterior of the cartridge. Use the paper towel to remove the last hanging drop -- but do not dry the inside of the cartridge. (You need just a little bit of ink ready to fill the print head.)

At this time, we also recommend taking a cotton swab and cleaning any ink from the well where you will insert the cartridge.

Caution: If ink is spilled on the circuit board below the cartridge holder area, it can cause a short on the circuit board.

Step 11) Quickly insert the cartridge in the printer.

Step 12) It may be necessary to run the software printhead cleaning routine a few times to prime the printhead.

If further questions, check our Frequently Encountered Problems page at:

If the Printhead appears clogged

The most likely problem is that you have an air bubble in the exit tube of your cartridge. Remember that the absence of ink is the same as an air bubble. You can confirm that this is the problem if the printhead cleaning routine actually makes the problem worse.

What is happening is that a small air bubble expands under the vacuum of printing to form a large air bubble, which blocks the flow of ink to the printhead. This problem usually occurs after printing 1 or 2 good pages.

To clear the problem, you may wish to let the printer sit without printing for several minutes, while tapping on the top of the cartridge. This may get the air bubble to move to the top of the cartridge. It may not.

Another idea is to remove the cartridge and try again. Also, try putting a single drop of ink directly into the point where the cartridge is plugged into. But be very careful not to spill the ink!

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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Copyright 1999, Automation Consulting & Supply, Inc.
Contact us at 1-304-622-5086 or email us at Order Email.
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