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How to Refill Brother Ink Cartridges: A Helpful Guide

Feb 13th 2020

How to Refill Brother Ink Cartridges: A Helpful Guide

Everyone knows the feeling: You’re midway through printing several papers when your computer suddenly halts. The dreaded message of doom pops onto your computer screen, “you’re out of black ink.” You may be wondering how long inkjet cartridges last but nonetheless, if you’re trying to finish printing off that presentation for work or photos for your child’s science fair project, you’ll need to change the ink in your Brother printer.

Refilling the ink cartridges is sometimes easier said than done, so the experts at Supplies Outlet are here to help make your printer a little bit less of an enigma. With this helpful guide, you’ll learn how to refill Brother ink cartridges, so that you can get back to printing as soon as possible.

A Quick Note: Ink Versus Toner

Your local office supply store is selling toner at a considerable discount. Not thinking anything of it, you pick up the toner and attempt to refill your Brother ink cartridge. Unfortunately, if your printer uses ink cartridges, not only will the difference be noticeable, but it’ll also be damaging and costly.

So what is the difference between printer ink and printer toner?

The type of material used to print. Toner cartridges contain a powder used for laser printing, while ink cartridges use liquid ink needed for inkjet printers. So before you go refilling ink for the office printer (or your own), double-check the kind of cartridges that are compatible with the printer.

Choosing an Ink Refill Kit

The most crucial step in refilling your Brother ink cartridges is making sure to buy the right ink refill kit. Not only should your refill kit include the correct ink, but it should also have the right tools to make the process as smooth as possible.

When purchasing an ink refill kit, there are two routes that you can take: either buy a generic kit or go with the name brand. A generic kit will not only get the job done, but it will be a lot more cost-effective. However, if you’re concerned or particular when it comes to refilling your Brother printer, you’ll probably want to go for the refill kit sold by the original manufacturer.

If you choose to go the generic route, make sure to purchase a universal inkjet refill kit. A universal kit will work with any inkjet printer while still giving you amazing results.

General Refill Guidelines

Ink and refill kit in tow, you’re finally ready to refill your Brother ink cartridges. Whether you want to learn how to refill Brother ink cartridge lc103 or lc38, the process for refilling any Brother cartridges is similar.

Here are some general installation guidelines that will work across most models.

Step 1: Prep Your Workspace

Before embarking on your ink refill journey, make sure you have all of the necessary tools to properly refill your ink cartridge. To refill your Brother ink cartridge here is what you’ll need:

  • Ink
  • Ink cartridges
  • Refill manual
  • Refill tools
  • Syringe
  • Blunt filling needle
  • Sealing plugs or scotch tape
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels or newspaper

Refilling your ink cartridges for the first time can get messy, so make sure to wear eye protection and clothes that you don’t mind getting stained.

Step 2: Identify the Ink Refill Spot, Ink Outlet, and Air Vent

When learning how to refill printer ink cartridges Brother, you’ll first need to identify the critical areas located on the cartridge. On one end of your cartridge, you’ll find the air vent, which has a white column in the center. Beneath the air vent, you’ll find the ink outlet. Directly opposite of the ink outlet will be the refill spot, which may need to be punctured in order to inject the fresh ink.

Step 3: Puncturing the Refill Spot

Your kit will most likely come with a small tool needed to access the refill spot on your cartridge. You may need to either create a small hole through drilling or widen the hole to make it more accessible. If your kit doesn’t include a tool, you can use a thin, sturdy tool such as a knife to pry open the outer shell. You may also need to pierce the cartridge shell with the help of a pen or screwdriver.

Step 4: Inject the Ink

Once you’ve found the refill spot, these next steps will be a breeze. First, fill up your syringe and then slowly inject it into the refill hole. While injecting the ink, make sure to press down on the white column in the air vent to ensure proper ink flow. When the ink starts leaking, stop and remove the syringe.

Step 5: Clean and Seal

Only one more step, and then you can get back to printing! Simply clean around the refill spot lightly with a paper towel and seal the hole. Most kits will come with a plug, but if you can’t find yours, you can use a piece of scotch tape.

Troubleshooting Tips

After refilling your ink cartridge, you are finally ready to finish printing out that report. Unfortunately, you look down and see that the first few pages are less than perfect—black ink is streaking everywhere.

When you go to refill your cartridge for the first time, you might unintentionally create a few problems along the way. Fortunately, there is usually a simple explanation for why your ink is misbehaving.

Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you get your printer back on track:

  • Unwanted Ink Streaking – This is the most common, and arguably most frustrating, mishap that can occur after you refill your Brother ink cartridges. Sometimes this problem goes away after printing a few pages, and sometimes it doesn’t, indicating that your ink cartridge wasn’t adequately sealed. In the latter case, take out the offending ink cartridge and double-check the seal. If your scotch tape cover isn’t cutting it, consider looking into sealing plugs.
  • Decrease in Quality – Unfortunately, refilling your ink cartridges is not a permanent solution. Continuing to use a worn-down cartridge can damage your printer and create irremovable clogs. When you notice the quality of your printing going down, consider purchasing new cartridges.

An Alternative to Refilling: Purchasing Ink Cartridges

While refilling your ink cartridges can be extremely cost-effective, you’ll eventually find yourself having to purchase new cartridges. Thankfully, Supplies Outlet has an array of affordable alternatives that won’t break the bank.

Selecting Your Ink Cartridge

Finding the correct ink cartridges for your printer can be a daunting task, especially when faced by the endless wall of options found in most stores. Whether you purchased your printer yesterday or five years ago, you should look up your printer’s model number to find the right cartridges for you.

Figuring out your printer model can get tricky, mainly since printers are categorized by both family (PDP, HL, DCP, etc.) and model. If you don’t know the type of printer that you have, you can find it by looking at your computer settings in just a few quick steps.

Once you have the printer model deduced, you can find your ink cartridge options by entering the model number and family on the Supplies Outlet website.

What is “Yield” and Which Option Should I Choose?

It’s important to note that with most Brother printers you can choose between standard, high, and sometimes even super high yields. The higher the yield, the greater the printing capacity. If you print a lot or are purchasing ink for a work office, consider purchasing high or super high yield ink. If you just want to print out a few pages every so often, choose the standard option so that you don’t end up wasting ink by having it dry out.

While purchasing ink cartridges, you will most likely run into the term OEM, or “original equipment manufacturer.”

OEM refers to products that are made by the original manufacturer, which are generally more expensive than non-OEM choices. Thankfully, while non-OEM products may look slightly different than their commercial alternatives, the quality and efficiency of the ink is exceptionally comparable. Supplies Outlet’s non-OEM options come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a LIFETIME performance guarantee.

Here is an example breakdown for the black toner cartridges Supplies Outlet offers for the Brother MFC-J4320DW printer:

Whatever printer you have, you’ll be able to find the right option with Supplies Outlet. And if you think a high yield ink cartridge is what your workspace needs, you’ll be happy to know that the installation and size of the cartridge are similar in size to your standard ink cartridge.

Don’t Let Ink Get in The Way

Whether you’re trying to print out your next manuscript, or a stellar presentation for work, you don’t have time to get frustrated with your printer. So the next time you find yourself tinkering with your ink cartridges, pull up this article to get your printer back up and running in no time.


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