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Refilling Canon PGI-525/CLI-526 and PGI-225/CLI-226

The new Canon printers (eg: iP4850, iP4820, MG6150) were released some months ago along with a brand new cartridge set.

Unfortunately for refillers, these new cartridges seem to have been developed in a way that make refilling more difficult, thanks to their totally opaque design.

The problems this new design provide are:

  • Massively increased potential to overfill
  • No longer possible to visually check ink levels
    (A big problem given the lack of ink monitoring once the printer detects refilling)
  • Increased risk of cartridges running dry, flooding printhead and subsequently damage to the printhead

To say that Canon are being "awkward" with this new design would be putting it mildly but as per usual it only takes a bit of ingenuity and the collective will of those with time on the hands, to get around the problem.

Three viable solutions to the problem have been identified.


1. Replace cartridge with a Third party refillable (not recommended)

While this option might appear preferable initially, the value and quality of the sponge and cartridge design of Canon originals has long been recognised so, as a stop gap option these will work but are not ideal as they do have a habit of breaking down, causing ink starvation or simply flooding the printhead. As with all things, your mileage may vary.


2. Use the top-fill method to refill your Canon originals (works, but not for tech challenged)

The top-fill method is by far the most sensible to avoid overfilling compared with the German/Durchstich approach. The reason for this is simply down to the lack of ink level checking provided by the German method*.

With the top-fill approach you have to add ink in small amounts, using a toothpick or similar to act as a dipstick in the same way you check oil levels in a car engine.

If you wish to fill using cartridge weight as an indicator of volume contained, this reference will help further

*Some success has been noted with non-black cartridges, involving shining a light source through the top of the cartridge toward the small prism but label removal is required (never a good idea) and residue in black ink cartridges is too effective at blocking out the light so the approach doesn't work on 2 out of 5 cartridges.

Note: A version of the Top-fill refilling guide to cover this approach is available from the "SquEasyFill Tips" page (see bottom for attachments)


3. The PGI-520/CLI-521 cartridge swap (Best option)

It turns out that the physical dimensions and design of the new cartridges do no differ greatly from the older 520/521 (220/221) cartridges and some testing has confirmed that these cartridges can be used (with a suitable chip swap) in place of the opaque versions.

So, the recommended approach is to locate a source of the older original cartridges and carefully transfer the chips from the new versions to your older set. The obvious benefit of this is that the 520/521 cartridges each have the window that makes all the established refilling approaches viable again.

OctoInkjet has located a source for empty cartridges of this type and these are available as supplies allow.



More information on these approaches, alternative solutions and more besides will be included as it's developed.


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