How to Replace an Epson Inkjet Cartridge

Many people who have an inkjet printer in their homes or businesses use an Epson printer. The printer is popular because it can handle a wide variety of media types including business card stock, greeting card paper, photo paper, transparencies and occasionally paper as thin as tissue paper. The Epson printer is capable of printing, on average, a maximum resolution of 2,880 by 720 dots per inch (dpi).

The Epson is an affordable type of printer. But like all printers, it requires maintenance. One of the main maintenance requirements is replacing the ink cartridges. There are a few editions of Epson printers but they generally have two ink cartridges: one for color (the three primary colors of yellow, magenta and cyan) and another cartridge for black. Here are some general instructions for how to replace an Epson inkjet cartridge.

Find the Problem Cartridge

Before you can replace the cartridge, you need to determine which one requires replacement. The colors are easy to figure out, but sometimes the three basic colors can create a black (albeit a less intense and rich black) which can give the impression that there's still ink left in the black cartridge.

Determining which ink cartridge requires replacement is simple. All you have to do is turn on the printer and examine the flashing lights on the printer's control panel. Where the panel is located will depend on which edition of the printer you have. Generally there will be a single ink drop with a light beside it to indicate the black cartridge. The color cartridge will be represented with three ink drops. The light that's flashing will be the cartridge that needs to be replaced.

Once the printer is on, raise the printer cover. Hold the cleaning button (usually marked with four ink drops) for three seconds and wait for the cartridge to move into sight.

Replace the Cartridge

The process to replacing the inkjet cartridge was briefly touched on in the previous step. The ink cartridges will be in separate receptacles. Generally the black ink will be in the left receptacle and the color ink will be in the right receptacle. The right receptacle will be larger so it's impossible to mix the two up.

The flashing lights will show you which cartridge will need to be replaced. After you've opened the print cover and moved the cartridge you need to replace into sight, you'll need to open the print cartridge lid. Simply remove the empty cartridge and insert the replacement ink cartridge into the receptacle. You may need to remove a tab from the new cartridge. A tab is usually placed on a new cartridge to prevent the ink from drying out before it's used. Removing it is easy and only requires a firm pull.

After you've inserted the new cartridge, lower the receptacle lid with a firm downward pressure. Make sure the lid locks into place. You'll hear a muted clicking sound.

The Finishing Touches

Now that the cartridge has been replaced you'll need to close the print cover again and press the cleaning button. This will allow the fresh ink to run through the ink delivery system so that your first document print will be clear and not streaked. It'll take about 30 seconds for the printer to finish charging the ink delivery system.

Now you need to double check to make sure everything is in working order. Insert letter-sized standard stock paper into the paper tray. Turn on your computer and log into its operating system. Find the control panel and access the printer settings. Under the "Utility" tab will be a "Print Head Alignment" option. Follow the prompts to complete the replacement.

Dispose of the used cartridge or keep for recycling.