Canon 37/38, 40/41, 50/51, 510/511, 512/513, 640/641, 645/646 ink cartridges - How to refill

Canon cartridge out of ink...again?

You can save a fortune by refilling your empty Canon ink cartridges. It's easy - if you know how and all you need is few simple refill tools and some ink.

Learn how and find all you need to refill your Canon black or colour ink cartridge on this page.

Following ink has run out Canon PG-510 black

Canon ink cartridges - how to refill?

All late model Canon ink cartridges (with printhead) refill exactly the same and the process described below 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 and colour CL-38, CL-41, CL-51, CL-511, CL-513, CL-641, CL-641XL, CL-646, CL-646XL

Note: If your Canon printer uses individual ink tanks, (one for each colour), the info on this page doesn't apply. You can find refill instructions for refilling various Canon ink tanks here.

Canon ink cartridge - refilling steps:

1) Remove Canon ink cartridge from printer and peel the top label off. This should expose one or more miniature hole(s) in the top casing. There are three holes in colour cartridges and one in the black. Each hole is connected to a separate ink reservoir inside the cartridge and serves as an air vent. This is a pic of a CL-641 colour cartridge. 

Note: Don't stress if you damage or rip the label...it's ok.

Canon CL641 refilling

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

Drill tool

Note: Drill tool is included with Inkbank refill kits or you can order one separately. You could use electric drill instead, but be careful. Canon cartridges are filled with a spongy felt material and drilling into it can damage it. It's only the plastic top you're drilling through!
 

CL-641 drill fill holes

3) Work out which colour ink goes into each hole - if filling a colour cartridge. 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) including: #37/38, 40/41, 50/51, 510/511, 640/641, 640XL/641XL, 645/646 and 645/646 incl. XL. 

               Black                       Colour

Canon ink cartridge colour positions

If you get this step wrong and inject colour ink in the wrong hole - you may have to replace the cartridge. It is practically impossible to remove the contaminated ink if you make a mistake - without pulling the cartridge apart.

3) 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 8-12  CL-51  4-6
 PG-510  6-8  CL-511  2-3
 PG-512  8-10  CL-513  3-4
 PG-640  4-6  CL-641  1-2
 PG-640XL  6-10  CL-641XL  2-4
 PG-645  4-6  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 or 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 ink  (or until the leak stops) back out using the syringe.
Don't fit a leaking cartridge in printer, hoping it will stop leaking! It will eventually - but not before any excess ink leaks out into the printer. And the leaked out ink will not only make a mess, but it can contaminate the other ink colours as well. So...don't.

Canon cartridge inject ink

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

Don't leave cartridge sitting on paper towels/tissues after filling. The towel will 'wick' the ink out if left long enough.
Don't seal the fill holes! They must stay open for printing.

Note: You can replace the top label if you want, but there'is no need to. The cartridge will work just fine without it.

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