Canon 640, 645, 660 series & other ink cartridges - How to refill

You can save over 90% by refilling your Canon cartridges. It's easy, convenient and eco friendly as a bonus. All you need is a refill kit from InkBank and few minutes of your time. This page explains what's involved...

Note: If your Canon printer uses individual ink tanks, (one cartridge for each colour), the info on this page doesn't apply.  Find instructions for filling Canon ink tanks here.   

Canon ink cartridge - refill steps

Most late model Canon ink cartridges (with printhead) refill the same way and the process described here can be used with any cartridge of this type including black PG-37, PG-40, PG-50, PG-510, PG-512, PG-640, PG-640XL, PG-645, PG-645XL, PG-660, PG-660XL and colour CL-38, CL-41, CL-51, CL-511, CL-513, CL-641, CL-641XL, CL-646, CL-646XL, CL-661, CL-661XL (or whatever the numbers are in your country/region).

1) Remove Canon cartridge from printer and peel the label off. This should expose one to three miniature hole(s) in the top casing. There is one hole in the black and three in the colour cartridge. Each hole is connected to a separate colour ink reservoir inside and it's there to let air in. Same holes can also be used to inject ink.

Following pic is a Canon CLI-641 colour cartridge with the label peeled back.

          Canon cartridge remove label


2) The air holes are way too small to fit a filling needle through, so have to be enlarged first. Few clockwise turns using a hand drilling tool (like this)..and you have a neat ink fill hole


           Cartridge drill tool


Note: A drill tool is supplied with Inkbank refill kits or you can order one separately. This is a pic of a PG-640 black cartridge being drilled.


         Canon cartridge drilling          

3) Work out which colour ink goes into each hole (if filling a colour). The cartridges in pics below are PG-510 and CL-511, but the same colour positions are used with all Canon cartridges of this type (to date).
                Black                             Colour    

      Canon black and colour fill holes


4) Securely attach a sharp needle to a syringe and fill it with ink by using the syringe in reverse (drawing on plunger). How much ink depends on the cartridge volume, how empty it is and what condition the internal sponge is in. For completely empty cartridges, use up to:

 Black cartridge  ml  Colour cartridge  ml  
 PG-37  4-6  CL-38  1-2
 PG-40  6-8  CL-41  2-4
 PG-50 8-10  CL-51  4-6
 PG-510  3-5  CL-511  1-2
 PG-512  6-10  CL-513  3-4
 PG-640/660  4-6  CL-641/661  1-2
 PG-640XL/660XL  8-12  CL-641XL/661XL  2-4
 PG-645  3-5  CL-646  1-2
 PG-645XL  6-10  CL-646XL  2-3

4) Insert the needle inside appropriate fill hole. You should feel some resistance as it enters the internal sponge. Push it in another 5mm and slowly inject the ink. Don't rush it and don't overfill the cartridge. It's not meant to be filled all the way to the top unless high capacity (XL) version and may accept less ink than indicated above. If the ink is overflowing, you've put in too much!

Tip: Pausing injecting and inspecting the printhead (metal or plastic strip on underside) after every few ml injected, is the best way to avoid overfilling. The cartridge sponge can only hold so much ink and any excess will leak out - through the printhead. So...if you check the printhead during and after adding ink, you should see it starting to leak and know when to stop adding ink. Then suck 1 ml or so of the leaking ink colour (or until the leak stops) back out using the syringe.

   Canon 510 injecting ink


When finished filling (all colours if filling colour), turn cartridge upside down and gently tap it against some folded paper toweling or tissues few times - to drain any excess ink. Keep tapping it, until no more ink drips out. Then clean the cartridge up with tissue or damp cloth and fit it back in the printer.

Don't fit a leaking cartridge in printer hoping it will stop leaking! It will, but only 
after all the excess ink drains out into the printer. And the leaked ink will not only make a mess, but can also cross over and contaminate the other ink colours. So don't!

Don't leave cartridge sitting on paper towels (upright) after filling. The tissues or paper towel will wick all the ink out - if left long enough.

Don't seal the fill holes after filling! They must stay open !!!

You can replace the top label if you like, but there is no need to. The cartridge will work perfectly well without it.  

Note: A Canon cartridge (of this type) leaking is never caused by the fill holes being left open or missing the top label. Too much ink is the most likely cause by far - when filling a standard size (not XL) cartridge.

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