How to Change the Chip on Ink Cartridges

By Jeff Grundy

The chip in inkjet printer cartridges informs the printer when ink levels are low.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

As of the time of publication, virtually all major printer manufacturers offer budget models costing less than $100 – and even printers priced below $50. However, with many budget printers, the cost of ink cartridges quickly out-paces the price of the hardware, if you print a lot of documents. By refilling cartridges yourself, you can save a considerable amount of money versus purchasing new ones, or even remanufactured units. Before using a refilled ink cartridge, though, you may need to change or reset its "smart chip" before the printer will accept it and print documents again.

Replace Smart Chip

Purchase an ink refill kit and smart chip compatible with the cartridges used in your printer. You can usually find kits that include smart chips at office supply stores or online retailers (links in Resources).

Power off the printer and remove the cartridges according to the directions in the user guide or the labels on the inside of the maintenance door cover.

Refill the cartridge according to the directions in the ink refill kit.

Orient the cartridge so that you can access the smart chip on the bottom. Use tweezers or a utility knife to pry on the smart chip gently until it disengages from the plastic tabs that hold it in place. Alternatively, use the tweezers to pull the chip out from beneath the tabs if it has an access opening that allows you to slide it out of the casing. Remove the old smart chip and set it aside.

Insert the new chip into the slot or beneath the tabs on the bottom of the cartridge. Push the chip down into the tabs gently or slide it into the slot until secure.

Insert the ink cartridge back into the cartridge carriage of the printer. Power on the printer and use it as you normally would.

Reset Cartridge Chip

Purchase a stand-alone chip-reset device for your model inkjet printer or buy a refill kit that includes one. You can buy reset devices at some office supply stores and from many online retailers (links in Resources).

Remove the cartridges from your inkjet printer according to the directions in the user manual or the labels on the inside of the maintenance cover or panel.

Orientate the cartridge so that the pins and smart chip are visible. Align the pins on the smart chip with the metal leads or pins on the chip-reset tool. After aligning the leads or pins, press the chip reset tool against the smart chip and hold it. Press the button on the reset tool, hold it down for approximately five seconds and wait for the LED light on the reset tool to stop flashing. After the light stops flashing, disengage the chip-reset device from the smart chip on the bottom of the cartridge.

Reset the smart chips on the other cartridges used in the printer as needed. Reinsert the cartridges into the printer according to the directions in the printer user guide or the cartridge instruction labels on the printer.

Power on the printer and use it normally. After you use the tool to reset the smart chip on the cartridge, the printer application will no longer display "cartridge empty" or "cartridge near empty" warning messages.

Items you will need

  • Ink refill kit with smart chip or chip reset device

  • Printer user manual

  • Tweezers


With a few printers, changing or resetting the smart chip may result in warnings indicating the cartridge is not compatible or genuine. If this occurs, you can disable the cartridge monitor in the print application to disable the warnings and print normally. To do this, first launch the print application, and then select "Configuration," "Tools" or "Utilities" on the menu bar or toolbar. Alternatively, click "Estimated Ink Levels" or another similar link or button, if the utility has one. Wait a few seconds for the print application to retrieve cartridge information from the printer and determine its current ink-level status. Click "Advanced Settings," "Advanced Configuration" or "Warnings," and then enable the "Do Not Show Me Low Ink Level Warnings" or other similar option. Click "OK" or "Save" to save the changes, and then close the print application.