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Troubleshooting Troubleshooting
There are few things more frustrating than buying something new, installing it, only to find there is some issue and the product is not working. This is especially true if you need to print something in a hurry! We understand your frustration and we want to get you working as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, however, that inkjet printers are sophisticated pieces of equipment, and in some cases the problem is with the printer (or the print head) and not the refillable cartridge. We will do our best to help you figure that out. In the end, if we cannot get you operating, we will gladly send you a replacement or refund your purchase under the terms of the warranty.

While looking for your issue below, it is important to understand that the printer manufacturer does not really want you to be able to use these refillable cartridges. When you think about the price of your printer versus the price of new factory cartridges, it is obvious where Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP are making their money. To make matters worse, manufacturers, usually HP, will occasionally send out software updates on their newer printers that can cause your product to quit working. As a general rule, if you want to continue using refillable cartridges, it is highly recommended that you DO NOT DOWNLOAD NEW SOFTWARE UPDATES FOR YOUR PRINTER.

WARNING: Always remove your cartridges while refilling them and make sure to re-install the fill plug when you are finished filling. Not re-installing the fill plug might cause the ink to run will freely out of the bottom of your printer.

The following is a list of some of the more common issues. If none of the recommendations below solve your problem, please go to the CONTACT US page and send us an email. A DatatekUSA/Stratitec representative will normally respond by email within 24 hours.

ISSUE 1: One or more of the cartridges I just installed is not being recognized, or this cartridge that has been working just fine all of a sudden is no longer being recognized.

This normally means the cartridge is not making good contact with the print head terminals (the two components must be able to communicate with each other). In many cases, this is because the chip on the cartridge and/or the area where the cartridge snaps into the print head needs cleaned. In other cases, the attachment mechanism in the print head has started to wear out and no longer provides a tight connection between the cartridge and the print head. Here are some known solutions:

A) First verify the alignment of the cartridges. Confirm that the alignment of the refillable cartridges is consistent with the alignment of the original cartridges.
B) Remove the cartridge that is not being recognized and use a lint free cloth or pencil eraser to clean the chip.
C) Visually inspect the inside of the print head where the cartridge makes contact (the cradle). Remember, the cartridge chip must be able to make a proper contact with the print head terminals, and a dirty print head terminal can prevent this. Clean the print head terminals with a pencil eraser. For a really dirty terminal/cradle, a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol might be required.
D) In some situations, and with some cartridge models, the chip on the cartridge is not properly aligned and can be adjusted by hand. You will quickly know whether or not your cartridge model has a chip that can be adjusted with a quick visual inspection. (Some are not able to be moved because they are held in place with small plastic tabs, some are simply glued in place and can be pulled off and repositioned) Compare the chip positioning of the refillable cartridge to the OEM cartridge and adjust accordingly.

NOTE: The chip on the cartridge, like any electrical component, is subject to electrostatic discharge. We recommend discharging any electrostatic energy by touching a metal object before touching the chip.

E) Turn your printer off, disconnect it from the wall for at least two minutes (this clears its short term memory), plug it back in, and then turn it back on.
F) In some instances, the issue has been with a poor connection between the print head cable and the print head. The cable could be loose, unplugged, or even dirty. For those printer models that have lights on the print head, a poor cable connection is often evidenced by changes in light intensity or variable signals when manually adjusting the cable.
G) If the refillable cartridge is noticed by the printer when you apply pressure to the cartridge, but releasing the pressure causes the cartridge to not be recognized, it may be possible to shim the cartridge into place.
H) If this is the first time you are using your cartridges, none of them are being recognized, and none of the recommendations provided here have worked, please contact us for further information.

ISSUE 2: The cartridge is very slow to fill up the sponge is not completely soaking up the ink.

Some refillable cartridge models take longer to fill than others, but as a general rule, it should not take longer than a few minutes to initially fill a cartridge with ink. If your cartridge is a model that has foam, it can take a little longer, but the cartridges should still fill rather quickly. Here are some known solutions:

A) Make sure that the vent hole is not obstructed. In some rare cases, the vent hold was not properly punched at the factory. Push a stick pin through the vent hole to un-block any obstruction.
B) If after a few minutes it is obvious that the cartridge foam is getting saturated with ink, you can speed up (or force) the saturation process using the technique demonstrated at minute two of this DATATEKUSA VIDEO. This is a common issue with some of the larger cartridges that have foam, such as the pigment black cartridge.
C) If the vent hole is clear, try sucking out excess air from the top of the cartridge using the syringe in reverse (suck air into the syringe like a straw).

ISSUE 3: I get a message that the cartridge is not supported, incorrect, or incompatible.

This is not uncommon. Remember, the printer manufacturer does not want you saving money by using refillable cartridges. They only want you buying their products, which is where they make the greatest profits. These refillable cartridges will not hurt your printer. Bypass the error messages to begin using your refillable cartridges.

ISSUE 4: The ink levels are not reporting correctly (shows empty or low when not).

With some printer models, the printer software must think that the cartridge is empty before it will correctly read the levels of the newly installed refillable cartridge. Resist the urge to top off your cartridges. If your printer does not recognize they are empty, they will not reset. In some cases, the printer must be finagled into recognizing the proper ink levels. Here are some possible solutions:

A) With many printers, this is solved by simply taking out the cartridge that is being misreported, waiting a full minute, and then plugging the cartridge it back into its cradle.
B) Pull the refillable cartridges out and use a pencil eraser or lint cloth to clean the refillable cartridge chip.
C) Turn your printer off, disconnect it from the wall for at least two minutes (this clears its short term memory), plug it back in, turn it back on, and then restart your computer.
D) Refer to your owner's manual on how to reset the ink levels to full through your printer's software interface.
E) If all else fails, many printers allow the low ink messages to be bypassed by holding the stop, reset, or resume button for up to 10 seconds (refer to your manual for the proper steps). Although this is not an optimal solution, you will know it is time to refill your cartridge when a particular color no longer prints on a document.

ISSUE 5: The print quality is not good (streaks, missing colors, etc.).

This means the print head is unable to properly suck enough ink through to the paper. Assuming there is nothing wrong with your print head, this could be because there is trapped air in the cartridge, the sponge is no longer saturated (for cartridges with sponges), or the cartridge was not properly filled. Although it is possible that your print head is failing, if your printer was working fine just before you installed the new refillable cartridges, then try these suggestions:

A) Verify that you have not overfilled the cartridge. There must be a 5-10% gap between the ink level and the top of the cartridge to allow the vent hole to properly vent. If necessary, use the syringe to suck out some of the ink.
B) Make sure that the vent hole is not obstructed and that you have removed the vent plug or sticker. In some rare cases, the vent hole was not properly punched at the factory. Push a stick pin through the vent hole to un-block any obstruction.
C) If your cartridge has a foam/sponge portion, verify that the sponge is completely saturated with ink. Some sponges are much denser than others. If your sponge has not soaked up the ink effectively, or appears to have used all the ink it it initially absorbed but is no longer absorbing ink, remove the cartridge, put the orange clip back on, and remove the fill plug temporarily. This will break the vacuum and allow ink to flow back into the sponge. After the sponge is saturated, put the fill plug back in and re-install the cartridge. If this procedure does not work, please follow the steps demonstrated at minute 2 of this DATATEKUSA VIDEO, which demonstrates a technique to force the ink into the sponge.
D) Run the cleaning cycle on your printer and print a test page. The cleaning cycle is designed to purge/unclog the print head and to get things flowing again. Most printers will have two cleaning cycles, one cycle being more thorough than the other. If the short cycle does not work, try the longer cycle. Initiating the cleaning cycle is done through your printer's menu (refer to your owner's manual).

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