Ink Cartridge Refill Help Center

Canon 250, 251, 250XL, 251XL, 550, 551, 550XL, 551XL Refill Tips & Usage


Remove protective cap and insert cartridge into your printer.Canon-250-251-&-250XL-251XL-Cartridge-Set

Your printer/computer may display ink alert messages, such as “remaining ink cannot be correctly detected”. Press “OK”, “Yes” or “Close” to dismiss alert prompts, or press “OK” on the printer. If you refilled your ink cartridge at one of our retail refill labs then the Canon cartridge chips should have been reset via the Canon C2 Resetter (special photo lab equipment) and ink level monitoring will be available – you may disregard the information below unless you observe flashing lights or low ink error messages. If you need to manually bypass the alerts then perform the following steps.

NOTE 1: “Empty” and “Low Ink” alerts are COMPLETELY NORMAL for all Canon 250, 251, 250XL, 251XL, 550, 551, 550XL & 551XL ink cartridges which have been refilled!  While at first this may be an unusual workflow, it does allow print operations to proceed.



Ink Cartridge Activation & Usage:

  • After refills, the printer cannot track the ink level; ink level indicator will falsely signal empty. If ‘Support Code: 1600/1683/1688’ alert messages are displayed or the low ink indicator blinks and stops printing.
  • PRESS AND HOLD the “Stop” or “Stop/Resume” button (down arrow/triangle-circle) on your printer, for 5-8 seconds, until the low ink indicator goes out and printing resumes. Refer to pictures below.

NOTE: For printers that feature a LCD/Touchscreen display, refer to ‘Touchscreen Printer Reset Procedure’ button below:

Touchscreen Printer Reset Procedure


Stop-Reset button press prompt


    • DO NOT select “Cancel Printing” if prompted by computer.
    • Ignore printer ‘damage’ or ‘malfunction’ warning prompts; select ‘Yes’ to release the function to detect remaining ink level and continue printing.
    • Continue to print until the print quality fades; various nuisance messages may appear at random when using refilled cartridges.

 Nuisance Messages_sm


NOTE 2: If the printer is allowing copies to be made, it should mean that the tanks are not at the “ink out” level that requires the clearing of the ink level indicator by holding down the Stop/Resume button.

NOTE 3: Received faxes which are stored to memory will not be printed – though you can manually print out any fax contained within memory. You can change this setting to forcibly print all incoming faxes.

Cartridge Activation Instructions & Additional Usage Tips:

Canon 250/251 - Low Ink Warnings



Cartridge/Printer Care

For refilled Canon cartridges which are not in use, ensure the protective cap is securely attached to bottom of cartridge to prevent cartridge from leaking or drying out. Install a new ink cartridge immediately after removing an expended one. Also, leaving cartridges uninstalled (in the printer) can dry out the PRINTHEAD and may prevent the product from printing.*

Canon 250-251 with protective cap

Cartridge Error Recovery Steps (NOTE: assumes the ‘Stop/Reset’ button has already been depressed for 5-8 seconds and printer still rejects cartridge):

1) Remove cartridge from printer and thoroughly clean gold contacts of cartridge chip (pictured below).

Canon 250-251 underside_polished with circles_sm

2) Inspect printhead electrical contacts, to which each ink cartridge mates with, for cleanliness (it is suggested to use a flashlight). Ensure no ink residues are on contact surfaces.

Canon MG5320 (225-226s)_Printhead-Carriage contacts_sm

Canon 251BK/251XL BK/551BK/551XL BK (Photo Black) Refilling Tip: 

You will need to ensure the Canon 251BK /251XL BK/551BK/551XL BK (photo black) ink cartridge is really empty before bringing in for refilling, otherwise the cartridge may be ‘rejected’ by your refiller. Photo Black is only used when printing photos so this color will typically last much longer than the other colors.  If the cartridge is not completely empty, an accidental overflow of the photo black ink cartridge may occur during refilling. Under the printer’s Maintenance menu, activate the internal self-test print (i.e. Nozzle Check) to verify which color, or colors, are missing.

Canon 250-250XL-Photo Black (BK)_empty check

You may activate the Nozzle Check from either the printer’s LCD maintenance menu or from the Windows printer driver menu (iP printer models):

Nozzle Check_Windows prompt_with circle


NOTE 4: Canon does not allow an automatic reset of the electronic chip on the cartridge after a refill, so the ink level indicator is sending a false message that the ink level is low. Your cartridge is not low on ink, and nothing is wrong with your printer or cartridges. The ink level indicator usually cannot be manually re-set, so the ink level indicator is often not usable. However, losing this feature is not necessarily significant, because the ink level indicator usually has substantial usable ink remaining when it shows “low on ink”. Ink level monitoring is primarily for planning purposes only – it is not required to support printing.



The Canon PRINTHEAD will eventually fail over time with usage and age (may or may not be replaceable – refer to User Manual)*

Possible Printhead Failure? 


PRINTHEAD FUNCTION AND FAILURE (select your Canon 250-251 ink-series printer model)  

Canon Pixma MX922 Printer, Canon Pixma MG5420 Printer, Canon Pixma MX722 PrinterCanon Pixma MG5450 PrinterCanon Pixma MX725 PrinterCanon Pixma MX925 PrinterCanon Pixma iP7220 PrinterCanon Pixma iP7250 PrinterCanon Pixma iP8720 PrinterCanon Pixma iP8750 PrinterCanon Pixma MG5520 PrinterCanon Pixma MG5550 PrinterCanon Pixma MG5620 PrinterCanon Pixma MG6320 PrinterCanon Pixma MG6350 PrinterCanon Pixma MG6420 PrinterCanon Pixma MG6620 PrinterCanon Pixma MG7120 PrinterCanon Pixma MG7150 PrinterCanon Pixma MG7520 PrinterCanon Pixma iX6820 PrinterCanon Pixma iX6850 PrinterCanon Pixma MX922 PrinterCanon Pixma MG6450 Printer  



Canon 250/251 Compatible Printers (select your printer): 


*Typically the Canon PRINTHEAD (which is customer replaceable) should not reach it’s end-of-life until after a minimum of 10 or more complete sets of cartridge changes. While some printheads may last 15,000+ pages others may only last 3000 pages, actual results will vary. The printhead will eventually fail in time from an internal micro-electronics failure due to the following leading factors: general customer print usage and printer care, printer duty cycle (i.e. # pages printed per month), printing frequency (i.e. time between each print job), print mode (i.e. draft vs. normal) and content printed (i.e. photos vs plain pages) and color mode (black and white only vs. color/greyscale printing). Paper types used (i.e. plain paper, photo papers & matte/heavy bond papers) and paper edge curl (due to age in printer or low relative humidity) can also quickly lead to premature printhead failures due to physical ‘head strikes’ of the paper edges making repeated contact with the printhead nozzle plate.

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