Tech tips & solutions

what is inside Ink cartridge and how does it work:Teardown of inkjet cartridge

You were printing your important office documents and your printer showed up low ink cartridge warning, it made you crazy that again need to buy this expensive cartridge . This may also have made you wonder what actually is it inside inkjet cartridge and how does it work? so where i am to answer your these questions and let you know how does it work and types of ink cartridges.

Inkjet printers are like cows for manufactures ,once sold to consumers, manufactures will continue to get milk in form of money spent on buying inkjet cartridges.

Types of Inkjet Cartridges

THERMAL: Most manufactures like HP, Canon and Dell use thermal types of cartridges. As its names suggest it uses heating method to perform printing function. There is little metal plate on each cartridge reservoir with nano sized print nozzles. And some manufactures also have chip and electronic contacts built onto cartridge that helps in  communication between cartridge and printer.It also helps printer know ink level of cartridge. When we give printing command to printer, it sends electrical signals to cartridge. Tiny current flows through metal plate and produces heat, heat forces tiny ink drops to dispense out from print nozzles. Ink in cartridge also works as coolant for metal plate, once ink level becomes low and we continue to use printer, this can burn the metal plate and damage it permanently. Then you must have to replace cartridge. So it is better to stop using printer immediately when we start seeing missing lines on printed documents and refill it immediately. Once cartridge is completely empty,in most cases it will refuse to print even after refilling.  which forces you to buy new cartridge rather than refilling. It is better to refill cartridge before printer shows empty sign. Also when ink level becomes low, there is also risk of air entering into print nozzles and drying remaining ink and block the print nozzles. Inkjet cartridges can also become jammed if kept unused for long periods of times like few months. . You can use distilled water and lint free cloth to clean print head  if blocked. Check the this link if you want to learn how you can unblock inkjet cartridge.      Best methods for unblocking cartridges.

PIEZOELECTRIC: Piezoelectric technology is used mostly by EPSON. In EPSON Cartridge there is piezoelectric crystal inside each print nozzle, it changes it’s shape or size when current is applied to it and creates pressure, pressure forces tiny ink drops to dispense out from print head onto paper.

More Information About Inkjet Cartridges

  • Ink is stored in foam inside cartridge reservoir.
  • Most  Colour cartridges have 3 reservoirs inside one cartridge for 3 different colours. These 2 colours are CYAN, MAGENTA & YELLOW. It is also called tri colour cartridge. Printer makes all another colours by mixing these three colours.
  • Some manufactures like EPSON have 6 colour for better and more accurate colour reproduction usually used in high end Photo printers.
  • Black ink Cartridge only have large single reservoir as black ink is used in higher quantity than.
  • HP, canon and dell have print head built right onto cartridge ,whereas EPSON printers have print head separately installed rather than onto cartridge.

Following are the pictures of teardown of cartridge.



As  we all know, no matter what manufactures say, replacing cartridge every time is costly affair. In case of cheap printers, mostly cost of cartridges are even almost equal to cost of printer itself. But now many manufactures have introduced Ink-Tank types printers that are actually very good. Stay tuned to know more about Ink-Tank printers.

About the author

ramandeep singh

I am tech lover who is passionate about learning new things and sharing with people. I am owner of business named PC SOLUTIONS where i provide computer,cctv,printer,networking related services to our customers. Whenever i learn something new,i love to share it on my blog.

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