Unlike genuine Epson, our cartridges are filled to capacity. Changes in temperature and air pressure can cause pressure to build up inside the cartridge. Make sure the cartridge is at room temperature before removing the tape or plug. It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves or wrap your hand with a paper towel and open cartridges over a sink. You should also insert the cartridge in the printer - which will puncture the seal on the bottom and reduce pressure - then wait a minute before opening the air hole.
Before printing, you must open the air hole on top. If air can't get in, ink will have a hard time getting out. Depending on the model, on some cartridges you peel off a piece of yellow tape. On others you unplug a plug on top. If the cartridge does not have tape to remove, then it is a plug. There will be two holes at the top of the cartridge and two plugs, one clear and one colored. One hole will be at the edge of the cartridge farthest from the clip. That is the air hole and that plug must remain off. It is typically a clear plastic. The other will be an inch or more from the end and lead directly to the ink reservoir. That is the fill hole which is typically a colored plug. No harm will come if you remove both plugs. I have done this on mine so I can refill without taking them out of the printer. Note that the factory has occasionally put the clear plug in the refill position and the refill plug in the air hole position. If so, toss the clear plugs and put the colored plugs in the fill holes since they are easier to remove
Someone reported that after removing the tape on some T273XL refillables, there was still a glue coating over the air hole, so check to make sure the hole is not obstructed. You can poke a pin in it to make sure.
Epson printers dont like mixing epson and non epson cartridges in the same printer at the same time. You should replace all epson cartridges with compatibles and not one at a time. Though most of the time the printer will recognize the cartridges even if mixed, the different ink formulas can cause streaking and the black can look grayish or greenish. After you replace the cartridges, it may take a few pages for the old ink to be completely replaced by the new ink. The first few pages may look grayish or greenish.
Don't worry too much about the ink level shown on the printer. Epson printer ink levels are notoriously unreliable and even worse with non epson cartridges. Because the cartridges are transparent, you can see how much ink remains. If the printer says the cartridge is empty and it isn't, you can go through the cartridge replacement procedure and put the same cartridge back in. The chip will be reset to full - something which doesn't happen with ordinary cartridges. But make sure you have at least 1/3 of the ink remaining. Don't re-insert a cartridge with a low ink level. If you run out of ink and the printer keeps going, it can burn out the print head, even if you have black ink and are only printing in black.
Don't wait until the ink is empty to refill. Since the chips can get reset to full even if you don't refill them, it's possible to print with an empty cartridge which can damage the printer. Keep an eye on the black, since this usually goes fastest. When the black is down to about a third or when the printer warns that it's low, take it out and refill it. Then check the other colors and refill if necessary. One customer said he gets best results refilling them while still in the printer. This is easy to do with our small refill bottles with long nozzles and Artisan printers which dont need the cartridges to be moved into position.
You may want to put on plastic gloves or cover your hands just to avoid the possibility of getting ink on them. Do the refilling over a sink or newspaper. A small number of people reported the cartridges leaking from the bottom (where the printer punctured the cartridge) while refilling. A few drops leaking is normal. If it is more than that, you might also want to cover the hole on the bottom with a small piece of scotch tape, being careful not to cover any portion of the chip on the front. If you do this, do not remove the tape before re-inserting the cartridge in the printer. Let the printer puncture it for a better seal. When refilling for the second or third time, peel off the old tape first.
Our large ink bottles have a two-piece cap. The first time you use them, you may need to remove the entire cap and puncture a small hole in the foil seal (puncture - dont remove completely. You want a small hole so ink comes out slowly. Otherwise you will have a hard time controlling the flow and it will make a mess). Screw the cap back on and then remove just the tip which unscrews separately. This will reveal a nozzle which can be inserted about an inch into the cartridge.
If the cartridge has a colored plug, this is what you remove to refill. If there is ONLY a clear plug, this is where you refill. Remove the plug from the cartridge and insert the nozzle of the ink bottle. Gently squeeze in the ink. Be careful not to overfill. There must be some air space above the ink level or the pressure can cause it to leak or spew ink. When refilling any cartridge, check the others to make sure they are not low, because it is possible for them to get reset to full when you change a different cartridge.
The following tip was sent in by Jan R. Toubl, President / CEO of TOUBL ENTERPRISES INC. in Beloit, Wisconsin, www.toubl.com and a long-time customer.
If the ink level in the cartridge is already low (more AIR than INK), and there is already some ink removed from the refill bottle, this can cause a problem. As you squeeze the bottle, you are forcing more air into the cartridge which causes ink to spurt back out of the refill and air holes. The solution is to first cover the air hole with tape. Remove the colored plug. Before inserting the ink bottle in the cartridge, hold it upright and squeeze until the ink is as near the top as you can get it (without spilling) to remove the excess air. Insert the nozzle in the cartridge and gradually stop squeezing. The ink bottle will suck the air out of the cartridge, creating a vacuum. Since the ink bottle is inverted, the air moves to the top. Gently squeeze the bottle and fill the cartridge to about 7/8 of its capacity.
After refilling, replace the plug you removed. (This is optional. I don't replace mine.)
Simply adding ink to the cartridge will not reset the level. The printer doesn't know how much ink is in the cartridge. The cartridge will first have to be seen as empty before it will reset to full. It may happen automatically or you may have to go through the replace cartridge procedure. Taking the cartridges out and putting them back in, running head cleanings and nozzles checks will have no affect on the ink level displayed.