For Canon s series, i series, and others



Review, October 2004

and CANON (and other) Printer Info



by Neil Slade

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If your situation calls for refilling cartridges, here is some additional information regarding Canon Ink Refill procedures, as well as a free solution to the "Waste Tank Full" dilemma. BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.

This was inspired by one fellow who was having a bit of a problem with refilling his Canon cartridges for his i950 inkjet printer. It applies to many others including the Canon S750, S800, S900. i960 printers and others.

The information below may seem to be a lot- don't be overwhelmed or discouraged by this info. Having tried all available printers, this is a fraction of the trouble other brands will cause you- and the Canon's just plain work the best AND problems CAN be fixed when/if they occur.

One of the GENIUS features of the Canon printers is the CLEAR SEE-THROUGH ink jet cartridges. This allows you to actually see the condition of the internal parts of the cartridge and address them. Other brand printers don't even allow this- and you can't even diagnose a cartridge problem except to replace it- often not necessary.



Canon INK REFILLING (some of this info duplicated on previous Ink Info page)

FIRST OPTION: DON'T REFILL AT ALL-  get ink online from one of the reputable after market ink vendors for $2.79 a color as opposed to spending $12 a color at your local Office Depot.  We tested this ink and it actually looked BETTER than the official factory Canon Ink- gave what looked like more accurate flesh tones-- maybe we were hallucinating- maybe not. There ya go!  Easy and cheap.

I have found that the PHOTO CYAN and PHOTO MAGENTA colors are used up two to four times faster than any other color. On top of this, if the cartridge goes completely empty before refilling-- nine times out of 10 you are screwed and you will never be able to get that cartridge to work properly again. Why? Air inside the sponge ink filler inside the cart will block the flow of ink, and there is NOTHING you can do to remedy this once it happens except replace the cartridge.


I have noted that after thousands of Canon prints and many many refills, the print head will invariably clog up requiring cleaning maintenance using the Canon program to do this. AND, on certain occasions (we are talking MANYYYYYYYYYY prints), programmed cleaning will still not unclog the heads. The only solution was to get a can of compressed air, remove the carts from the print head, remove the print head from the printer and spray air into the little white sponge receptacle under the cart delivery hole on the print head tray. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: When a color failed the NOZZLE TEST PRINT, even when the cartridge had ink, and I had not run that many prints on my newer printer, taking the print head tray out (on the i960) and spraying compressed air through the white sponge inlet on the inside of the head tray, wiping the outside reverse nozzles (copper plate where the ink comes out) carefully with a Kleenex, then replacing it all-- THIS FIXED the problem, and replacing the faulty ink cartridge color was not necessary then. 

You may find that even though you THINK your printer is up to par, doing the above once in a while may improve your prints significantly, even when you can't tell that anything is wrong by looking at the nozzle check pattern, which seems to be okay.



Be aware however, that the most common problem is

1) You need to clean the nozzles- do a regular light cleaning 3 times in a row, then do a test print.

2) You need to replace the cartridge- even if you are refilling. If you let the cart go empty, and even sometimes not, you'll get air in the sponge, and then the cart will not flow ink properly to the head- and you get uneven prints. COMPARE the cart in the printer to a brand new unused cart. LOOK at the spongy compartment- the cartridge you are using in the printer should have the same uniform dark ink color as the unused cart- otherwise you have AIR in there. Replace, and then refill as needed. Your cart should take a good number of refills before it fails and gets air in it- perhaps even dozen(s) of refills.

3) Never ever ever boil or soak the print head-- this should be totally unnecessary. Don't use any solvents on it either- blow it out with air from the white filler sponge side (shown below) and wipe with a dry paper towel or kleenex, perhaps with a small dab of denatured alcohol on it. That's all.





My experience is that Computer Friends has a better initial system for refilling at least the Canon brand cartridges, with easier to manage cartridge plugs- I recommend the first refill kit from them. Once you've gone through the ink, MIS sells the same ink at a better price. I'm NOT that crazy about the MSI own brand of Canon refillable cartridges which have teeny tiny black rubber plugs that are a bit hard to manage. Either way however, you can make do with each company. Don't let the ink cartridges go completely dry before refilling, or they will give you some trouble- monitor the levels.

The Computer friends blue tab plastic plug is far superior to the MIS rubber plug and their refillable cartridges, no doubt about it. I use my S900 and i960 for COMMERCIAL use, i.e. I have reused cartridges DOZENS of times using the Computer Friends plugs and syringes with original Canon ink tanks. I've printed THOUSANDS of 8X10s at this point.



Has a cartridge ever leaked after refilling?

Yes,- once I think. Maybe twice.

In that case, I simply went to Office Depot and bought a new Canon cartridge for $11, then used that to refill-- without problem.

If you punch out the refill hole too big-- that's your problem right there. If you've ripped too much tape off the little air hole maze on the top side of the cartridge- yeah, that will do it too. The plug must fit tight to keep the air pressure constant, or everything will come running out. Same for the big of tape on top, if you uncover the entire maze air slot- you've goofed. When you remove this little bit of tape on a new cartridge, stop at the perforated spot and don't remove all the tape from the top. It's fairly obvious if you look at it before yanking.

Sometimes you'll let a cartridge go too long without refilling, and the internal sponge gets too dry, and then even with the ink refilled full, it won't work properly. Solution? Take $11 down to Office Depot and start again. No biggy.  and Computer Friends sell excellent, easily plugable replacement empty carts. You can also just buy another aftermarket full cart.  I don't recommend the MIS carts for refilling as previously stated, although their ink is SUPERB.

The alternative is to spend 10 times as much and use a new Canon cartridge each time.

The success rate for refill seems to be about 95-98% for me, a HUGE saving, though not perfect. It is a great improvement over the Canon ink major rip-off.

For refill ink, go to MIS again, as I suggest on my web page.

Leaving the door open on your printer won't affect anything- however, leaving an empty or almost empty cartridge loose in the printer head tray, or out of the printer will more often then not allow it to dry out-- when this happens, often the internal sponge won't recover, so, if you run out of ink, leave it in place till you get ready to refill it. Leaving an empty spot in the ink tray will also allow the printer heads to get clogged easier. Leave cartridges in the tray.

Yes, you do have to tweak and fiddle from time to time if you do a lot of printing as I do. The photo Cyan and photo Magenta cartridges are the toughest to keep reusing-- I am certain it has to do with the different formula of ink for these colors-- the photo cyan being the very worst-- I've had to replace this cartridge maybe four perhaps five times, the photo magenta two or three, the yellow once, the black once. Again, remember, this is after thousands of prints, so a very good record.

Leaking is not the biggest problem- and almost never happens- since this is always do to a leaking of air into the cartridge from an improperly punched hole or torn air-maze tape. The biggest problem is that the internal sponge dries out or gets clogged. To avoid this, just refill when you have a 1/8 to 1/16 inch of inch in the reserve front portion of the cartridge (not the sponge part)- or at the latest, when the warning pops up. Beyond this, you are playing Russian Ink Roulette.

I would STRONGLY suggest that you run the light clean cycle (uses air only) fairly frequently, especially after you do a large run of prints. The printer head will clog after a lot of heavy printing-- and Canon doesn't even suggest this routine cleaning. fortunately, I just took my clogged printer back to Best Buy and they gave me a new one-- experience is the best teacher.

If you do get a clogged head, a color refuses to print (again, this will happen if you print a lot and/or if you've waited too long to add ink to a cartridge) just run the light clean cycle 3 times in a row, and if necessary followed by the heavy cleaning cycle. Note, heavy cleaning will use A LOT of ink, maybe half a cartridge.

After cleaning run the test nozzle pattern to see that the ink is flowing again.

If you can't get a color to print after cleaning even with ink in the cartridge, it is almost certainly a clogged cartridge-- just bit the bullet and buy a new Canon cartridge or other third party cartridge, and watch the levels and light clean regularly after that.

 I have gotten a clogged head to recover after running a couple of heavy cleaning cycles- but prevention is worth a cartridge of ink-- don't let these suckers run dry, or leave an empty spot in your ink tray- always have a cartridge in place, even if its out of ink.



NEVER EVER EVER put a different color cartridge in one for another color to see if the cartridge is the problem. Always replace a questionable cartridge with the SAME COLOR.  Why? If you put a different color in the wrong cartridge slot, it will contaminate the flow-through sponge that delivers the ink from the cart to the ink-jet head nozzle. Once you do that, it will require running a gallon of ink through the delivery sponge to get the wrong color out.


Here is the MIRACLE CURE for clogged BRAIN and YOUR Head!

Click link to Unclog Brain Permanently



This is how I do it on my Canon. You might be able to pull this off on an Epson. You can't on an HP.

If  you've put in a new cartridge and cleaned the nozzles several times, and the nozzle check STILL shows a clogged nozzle-  I have found that after THOUSANDS (okay, maybe HUNDREDS) of prints, it may be necessary to spray compressed air through the WHITE flow-through delivery sponge. This is the little circular inlet that sits directly under the bottom ink cartridge hole in the print head. I.e.: Take out the ink cartridges and remove the print head.

You'll see 6 1/4" holes into which the ink is delivered from the cartridge. Get a can of compressed air and spray from the cartridge side a few short bursts. HOLD A KLEENEX or toilet paper on the outside of the print head where the copper nozzles are- otherwise, you will get ink all over everything as the air cleans out the sponge inlets. Wipe off the outside copper nozzles, because ink will have poured out. No need to use any solvent, just a dry lint free paper. I've used 100% denatured alcohol at times- I don't suggest any other solvent for printer cleaning. Clorox, however, is the only thing that will remove totally inkjet ink stains from plastic housing, counter tops,  your fingers- but don't use on important printer parts.

Put your cartridges back in, run a clean cycle to get the ink running again, realign the nozzles, and VOILA- your printer will magically work again.

If  you have a big AC powered air compressor- (like for working power tools) this works even better- just CONTROL THE AMOUNT OF AIR- don't get crazy or you'll destroy the sponge inlets.


In rare cases, this will not be enough- and you'll still have a color that may be partially clogged resulting in uneven printing or stripping, which appears after a couple of prints. In worse cases, the head is still clogged. Be aware, when you don't get ANY color coming out at all, its usually a bad cart.

Here's a couple of options:

1) Hold the print head under reasonably hot running tap water for a minute. This will flush out the nozzles. You can hold both the metal nozzle side and the sponge side under the water. Shake out the excess water when done. It will take a print or two to get ink to fill in the sponges again after you do this. BE CAREFUL not to hit or touch the nozzles themselves with the metal faucet tap. If you bang on the nozzles- you will ruin them, they are delicate microscopic holes. Be careful.

2) If THAT doesn't work, you can use ONLY DENATURED ALCOHOL and with a syringe, squirt some into the sponge side, a good amount to flush dried ink. DO NOT EVER USE ANYTHING ELSE (except water), because stronger solvents will melt the sponge, and that will totally ruin the printer head.





This is true with many Canon Ink Jet Printers: Eventually, you'll get an error message "Waste Ink Tank Almost Full, Contact Your Canon Repair Center". Canon is totally sly about this, and is actually a pretty ridiculous design flaw that they should be ashamed of- planned obsolescence. Anyway, don't let this problem discourage buying an otherwise fantastic Canon printer. 

This problem will also be indicated by flashing orange lights on  your printer. Different flashes for different models.

LOOK IN YOUR PRINTER MANUAL TO KNOW WHAT NUMBER OF FLASHES INDICATE. In any case, your computer printer software will also tell you exactly what is going on.

You need to do this after you get the WASTE TANK ALMOST FULL message and the printer continues to work, but BEFORE the WASTE TANK FULL message and the printer completely stops. I think.  ;-)

Here's the fix:

The waste ink take is actually just a felt pad that sits under the printer mechanism inside the case and absorbs the ink from your cleanings. From what I gather, its both a time consuming and expensive proposition to take to Canon to fix. And they won't tell people how to do it themselves. Well, I WILL. And this works.

Remember of course, you've got to cycle the cleaning process a huge amount of times to get this to occur.

But when it does, there is a fix-it-yourself solution that is both safe and effective for the printer, and free. You have to be slightly mechanical to do this. If you get this message and you've never used a screwdriver and are all thumbs, well, Canon gotcha. But give it a shot even then, or give it to someone halfway coordinated to do this for you.


You may RESET the printer code first if you like or do it after you clean the pad

In some cases you may need to REMOVE THE PRINT HEAD FIRST or the reset code will not work. This was true of the S900 and i960  so, remove the print head first before doing this reset.


This is the correct code for the S and I (like i960) series of printers. (M series below this)

  • 1) Power off printer
    2) Hold RESUME button then press and hold POWER. (The beeper MAY sound once, or may not depending on your model.)
    3) Hold POWER and Release RESUME.
    4) Press
    RESUME twice then release both POWER and RESUME buttons.
    5) When the indicator lights steady, press RESUME 4 times (for the S900, 3 times for the 8200 apparently).
    6) Press power to set data.
    7) Print away!

For other codes for other printers and more info go here to this big forum (but try the above first) Fix Your Own Printer  Generally many of Canon's models use exactly this same code, the i models use the same code, all the s models use the same code.



  • 1) Figure out how to open the printer by removing the side and inside top plastic panels. Just look at the thing and use your brain. Its all pressure clipped in place, no screws (at least on the S900 and similar models, probably still the same on this years models.) Look for slots and triangles on the 960.  

  • On the i960 you'll have to remove the power buttons assembly on the front- take out the two screws, unplug the internal white electro connector plug CAREFULLY, then you can undo the last clip that holds the top in place.

  • 2) No need to remove the ink cartridges in this process- so don't. The mechanism is held down in place in the case by two screws at the very bottom on the outside bottom of the metal chassis inside. Remove these screws then lift up the mechanism. It should lift out fairly easily, but remain attached by wires-- just place it on the top edge of the case.

  • 3) You'll see the blackened (from waste ink) felt pads on the bottom. WEAR GLOVES-- this is skin indelible ink, the only thing that will get it off your hands is CLOROX. Period. There are two skinny pads that sit on top of a larger pad. Note how they fit together.

  • 4) Lift the pads out and rinse out thorough in a sink until very little or no ink comes out. There's no need to use chemical or soap cleaners, just use plain water from the tap and the spray nozzle. Keep rinsing and squeezing the pads, but don't twist them like a towel, squeeze and fold in half however to really get the ink out.

  • Lay flat in the sun for a few hours to dry. Use a hairdryer to get the last bit of moisture out then replace in the printer, and put everything back together.

  •  5) RESET the printer electronics, so you won't get the stupid "waste ink tank full" message any more. Do an online web search if this doesn't work for your model, although this works (or slight variations0 for many, including the 8200, the S800, and S900, and the i-series like the i869, i950, i960, etc.Two main buttons on the top of the printer- Power and the Resume:

If you've reset the code first, then cleaned the pad, you're now ready to print again.

If you've cleaned the pad first, go back and reset the printer, and then print away.


It is NOT recommended to continue printing (although you could for a while) after just resetting the code, because you will over-saturate the waste tank pad, and eventually destroy your printer.


This is the correct code procedure for resetting the Canon MP370 

(and hopefully other similar designated models 


  • 1) Printer on, press Additional Functions, Scan, Copy, Scan. Now you should be in service mode from there for waste ink tank reset it is simalar to what has already been posted

  • 2) Select Test mode which is like the last available selection

  • 3) Select #8 Printer Test, it will do something here like cleaning or something then it will come up with some other option this is where it gets a bit confusing cause now all it says is like 8-2 or 8-3 push the + or - button until it says 8-3 then hit the select button

  • 4) The menu will now say EEPRON Clear. Select Ink count which is option (0) and press set

  • 5) Select Ink count which is option (0) and press set.



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