Ink Cartridge Refill Help Center

HP 901, 901XL Ink Cartridges


NOTE: Empty” and “Low Ink” alerts are COMPLETELY NORMAL for HP 901/901XL ink cartridges which have been refilled!  While at first this may be an unusual workflow, it does allow print operations to proceed.

Many of the HP 901/901XL ink cartridge alert and error messages you may encounter using refilled ink cartridges can typically be overcome using the steps provided below.  However, in some cases a marginally performing cartridge might be considered faulty by the printer. In this event, printer error bypass and HP diagnostic test procedures have been provided to help you correct and/or diagnose the cause of failure.

HP 901 Clipped Cartridges_sm

Support Documentation: HP 901 Problem Resolution (pdf)

Low Ink Level or Empty Warnings: Following ink refilling, the printer cannot track the ink levels. The ink level indicator will falsely signal as empty. In many cases nuisance alert messages may also be displayed, including ‘counterfeit cartridge’ or ‘non-genuine ink cartridge’…these are normal nuisance alerts that can just be ignored by pressing continue/dismiss/Ok. You should be able to continue with print operations until the print quality begins to fade.

Refill carts_estimated ink levels

HP 901 (901XL) Ink Cartridge Refills – Solving Errors & Warnings:

Cartridge Errors where NO printing is allowed: The informational videos below can help you quickly self-diagnose most HP 901/901XL cartridge related issues – please refer to your printer model.

OJ J4680c Print Cartridge Error (bad 901 tri-color)_inset2

HP Officejet J4500/J4600/4500 Printers – Cartridge Error Bypass Procedure:

Cartridge Error Bypass Steps:

  1. At the Officejet J4500/J4600/4500 printer’s control panel, press the * (star) and # (pound) keys at same time and release.
  2. Press 123
  3. Use arrow keys to find Information Menu and press Ok.
  4. Use arrow keys to find ‘Checksum for relock data input’ and press Ok.
  5. A 5-digit number should be displayed after few seconds.
  6. Attempt to send a print job to printer [NOTE: with a marginally performing ink cartridge, this typically results in allowing 1 entire print job to be printed at a time].
  7. If this does not permit any print operations then the cartridge has severe internal electrical damage and will need to be replaced.

NOTE: To diagnose the cartridge’s electrical health further, refer to the diagnostic test procedure below.

HP Officejet J4500/J4600/4500 Printers – Cartridge Diagnostics Test:

Cartridge Health Diagnostic Test Pattern (‘tap 41’):

  1. Load Letter/A4-size paper into paper feed tray.
  2. If any lights are blinking, first press Cancel to attempt to clear.
  3. Press the * (star) and # (pound) keys at same time and release.
  4. Press 124. The Underware menu should be displayed.
  5. Press the right arrow key until the System Menu is displayed. Press Ok.
  6. Press the right arrow key until the ‘print-mech button tap’ menu is displayed. Press Ok.
  7. code = 0 should be displayed.
  8. Press the right arrow key until code = 41 (or enter 41 on keypad). Press Ok to activate the diagnostic test print. Use the Left Arrow if you need to decrease numerical count.
  9. The diagnostic ‘Tap 41’ test print should begin to print.

NOTE: If the printer attempts to print the diagnostic test pattern then the printer is generally considered operational and functional, if nothing is printed then the tri-color ink cartridge is either empty, clogged or electrically damaged (black ink cartridge is not used to print the test pattern). The Tap 41 test pattern is printed using CMY ink from the tri-color cartridge only. Replacing the ink cartridge is the best way to verify cartridge/printer performance.


Poor Print Quality or Missing Colors:

If any streaks or missing colors appear on prints, thoroughly clean the cartridge’s electrical contacts and printer’s flex driver cable surface. If the cartridge is clogged then a warm water flush may be necessary to recover all colors. Click here for instructions.

Ink Cartridge & Service Station Cleaning

Partially Jetting Nozzles


Advanced Diagnostics

To view advanced diagnostics tests for your Officejet printer, click here:

HP Printer Diagnostics



NOTE 1: Replacing the ink cartridge is the best way to verify cartridge/printer performance.

NOTE 2: All integrated ink cartridges being repeatedly refilled eventually do fail.  Some cartridges/printers may encounter an unavoidable mechanical or electrical failure which is unrelated to refilling.  Check for physical damage on the cartridge.  Look at the print cartridge and see if there are any cracks, tears or missing elements.  Any one of these can cause a failure.  In these cases, you will need to purchase a new cartridge and start the refill process again after it has run out.



Refill Center Locations: 

HP Ink Refill Services



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