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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Canon Pixma iP4200 Refilled and Compatible Cartridges

Canon has introduced a new range of Pixma printers, one of the most popular of these is the Pixma iP4200. Just like the older series Canon printers it has individual ink tanks, however there is a difference – these new cartridges have an onboard chip to measure the ink level of each individual cartridge. The new cartridges are the PGI-5 and CLI-8 cartridges. The cartridge numbers are...

PGI-5BK - Black pigment ink

CLI-8BK - Black dye based ink

CLI-8C - Cyan dye based ink

CLI-8M - Magenta dye based ink

CLI-8Y - Yellow dye based ink

Unlike traditional dye based inks, these inks from Canon are highly resistant to fading from light and gases in the air. Canon claim a 100 year life from these Chromalife inks if used with Canon paper, which is a great achievement.

These cartridges are also suitable for Pixma iP5200, iP5200r printers, MP500, MP800 and MP950 multifunctions.

Lots of people would like to know if these can be refilled, or if compatible cartridges are available. At the time of writing, February 2006, compatibles are not available for the PGI5 or CLI8 inks, probably for 2 reasons:

1. The ink formulations are quite complex - refill ink manufacturers need to make sure their inks will perform equivalent to the original Canon inks; and

2. The on-board chip has a patent from Canon on it so compatible manufacturers will have to be very careful not to infringe that patent, which could leave them open to litigation. Canon has recently won a lawsuit against a company in Japan which was refilling Canon cartridges and reselling them, so this will set back any plans for compatible cartridges.

There are refill inks available however. Refilling instructions are available from ink vendors. Canon has very cunningly adapted their printers – if you refill these inks and re-insert them into the machine, a warning message will appear on your computer along the lines of:

"You are using refill ink in your cartridges, if you continue your printer warranty will be void", and you are prompted to press OK. If you press OK, the low ink warning facility on the printer no longer works. If this is the case, you must be very careful never to let the inks run dry as this will burn out your printhead.

James Sodor has been an expert in the field of printers since 1999, and is now kept busy at - the world's largest free database of printers and supplies.

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