Inks for Canon Pixma PGI-x25, CGI-x26 cartridges

ludens

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Hi all!

I'm Manfred, living in Chile, new to this forum, and OF COURSE I'm joining just to ask questions... Like almost everyone! But I will try to also give back what little experience I have with inks.

About two years ago I got a Canon iX6510 printer. It's the same as the 6520, 6550, etc - just different area codes. It uses the PGI-125 and CGI-126 cartridges, which again are the same as the 225/226, 525/526, etc, with a different area code in them.

When I decided to buy this printer, I did so because aftermarket cartridges with auto-reset chips are widely available. It was very clear from the beginning that I would NEVER buy original inks, at their outrageous prices.

So I bought two sets of refillable, self-resettable ink tanks, via eBay. Here in Chile I can buy bulk ink easily, in many stores, but it's all no-name, unknown origin, universal all-brand ink, and it fades while you watch. So I ordered some ink online.

The photo ink I bought was the Durafirm Unikit universal all-brand ink, because it is advertised for having good fade-resistance, and because I could actually get it... And since Durafirm makes no pigment black ink for my printer, I ordered some Hobbicolors pigment black ink for Canon.

I'm an occasional user, sometimes I will print several 13x19 inch photos in a row, at other times 50 pages of text, or just one shopping list, and then again I won't print anything for two months.

My experience so far:

The Durafirm ink works technically well, I have had no clogging problems, the performance is repeatable, but the colors are very different from the original ink, darker and with a very strong magenta cast. So I created color profiles, one for plain paper and one for the glossy photo paper I use. I used Argyll to create those profiles, using a good quality color-corrected DSLR camera as input device. Using those ICC color profiles, my prints look good, and they haven't visibly faded so far, in about a year and a half, unprotected, exposed to normal room lighting. So I'm reasonably happy with the Durafirm ink, although I think that some inks with better color matching to the originals might give a wider gamut.

Another matter is the Hobbicolors black pigment ink. If it prints at all, it prints nicely, with deep black tone, and crisp and sharp too. The problem is just that it rarely prints. Most of the time, the head is clogged, so clogged in fact that no deep cleaning manages to unclog it, forcing me to remove the head and soak it in head cleaner for several hours. A quick soak will not do. It really takes hours. I force some head cleaner through the passages from the cartridge side, then let it stand, then again, then try printing, and often I have to repeat the action until I finally get all nozzles to print - for a while at least, because then they clog again.

So I got sick and tired of this, and yesterday I flushed out a PGI-125 tank and filled it with Durafirm photo black ink, just so I could print some documents I needed to print! But of course the print nozzles intended for pigment ink work poorly with the dye ink, printing light and with lots of bleeding.

So, my big question is: What black pigment ink can I buy, that really works well with the PGI-125 tank in an iX6510 printer, without clogging?

I have looked into old messages in this forum, and have searched online, but it's hard to make up my mind. I see many people recommend KMP ink from OctoInk. But I see two types there, one rated for one specific cartridge, the other rated for several different cartridges - but not including mine! Instead for my cartridge OctoInk has another black pigment ink, not KMP. Also it's called "Pigment (equivalent)". Is this a pigment ink equivalent to the original, or is it a dye ink that has a performance equivalent to pigment ink?

Then I see people recommending precisely the Hobbicolors ink that doesn't work for me! By the way, the exact Hobbicolors ink I have is PMT-26020-A, and I suspect this ink is suitable only for older print heads with wider passages. It might work fine with them, but not with the newer heads that print smaller droplets.

So, I would love to hear from people who are using some pigment ink in PGI-125, 225, 525 etc cartridges, in the iX6520 printers or some equivalent (1 picoliter nozzles), with good results and no clogging. Specially if they can tell me where I can actually buy that ink, because many ink suppliers won't ship to Chile, or will do so only by excessively expensive carriers. Just a while ago I visited a well nown ink provider's web site from the USA. I can buy a small bottle of apparently suitable pigment ink for 6 dollars there - but then I have to pay 49 dollars for shipping!!! That's totally crazy.

I wish modern color printing would be as convenient as black printing was in olden days. I also have an old HP Deskjet 520 printer, which must be about 20 years old now. It's still printing perfectly - on its original cartridge! I bought a half liter bottle of ink for it, from inkjetsaver.com, soon after buying the printer, and that bottle still lasts, because that printer uses ink just for printing, not for throwing it away, AKA "cleaning"... And that ink gives better print quality than the original HP ink did, which was somewhat violet. I still use that printer when I need just black text, because it starts printing immediately after switching it on, while the modern Canon first spends five minutes pumping ink through the head and discarding it, thinking it's making money for its creator! ;-) By the time the modern Canon printer is done with the self cleaning and finally starts printing, the old HP has completed the print job and gone back to sleep!

Manfred
 

stratman

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Welcome to the forum, Manfred. Excellently composed and detailed first post!

I do not know the Durafirm inks. These may be perfectly suitable, both the dye-based and pigment-based, concerning clog risk as long as you like the output and longevity. However, one thing you mentioned may be the root of your clog issue with the pigment black:

I'm an occasional user, sometimes I will print several 13x19 inch photos in a row, at other times 50 pages of text, or just one shopping list, and then again I won't print anything for two months.

Canon printers, in general, do not like to be ignored for too long. They really are demanding mistresses who enjoy being used but not abused. The forum consensus is to print something once a week (or so) that uses all the cartridges such as a nozzle check. Doing this seems to decrease clogs significantly and would be my single greatest piece of advice for you at this time.

Concerning inksets... Most Canon refillers on the forum seem to use Image Specialists inks for bulk refilling. Hobbicolors, OCP, KMP (for pigment black especially) are popular as well. I use Image Specialists because it closely profiles with OEM Canon inks. I have not tried KMP pigment black yet but those who use it rave about the deepness of the black text.

My second recommendation for you, after printing more often, is to contact an Image Specialists ink seller and inquire on what inks for your printer. Both of the following internet business are trusted sellers and forum members who have provided superb service and excellent information over the years. Their websites can provide shipping information, but an email to the owner with your questions and needs will optimize your purchases.

1) Precision Colors based out of Canada. Owner is forum member mikling. Has an inkset for the
Pixma iX6520 but I do not see your specific printer model. No KMP pigment black inks.

2) Octoinkjet based out of England. Owner is forum member websnail. Has an inkset for the Pixma iX6520 but I do not see your specific printer model. Has KMP pigment black inks, but I would ask websnail which of the KMP pigment blacks would be suitable before trying one if you were wanting something other than the Image Specialists pigment black.

Others will need to help you concerning other brands of bulk ink and potentially less expensive web sites to purchase.
 

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Hi Manfred and a big welcome.

That was some first post; I bet you feel better after getting that lot off your chest, Phew..

I am glad you were able to get some dye ink that you’re happy with even dough it’s not a great match for OEM but still it works for you.

The pigment ink can be a bit more difficult as you have found out for yourself, I only use KMP pigment in all my dye printer and have found it the very best because it doesn’t clog at all, it’s really black and prints as sharp as OEM ink.

The next best thing you could try is the HP black that you have already that may work better than anything you have used before like Hobbicolor it may not be suitable for the cartridges you’re using.

You can get a OEM set of 120/121 carts or any of these 220/221 520/521 or just the 120 pigment cart, you can remove the chip from your compatible cart to this cart and try filling that, it may have much better ink flow than the compatibles..
 
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PeterBJ

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The PGI-x20 and PGI-x25 cartridges are similar in design, the important differences are the chips and that the PGI-x20 cartridges have windows to the ink reservoirs making them much more refill friendly and the PGI-x25 cartridges are opaque making refill more difficult.

The windowed cartridges are often used instead of the opaque cartridges with the proper chips attached. See this instruction for chip transfer.

Octoinkjet UK lists both the KMP ink for PGI-220 and the Image Specialists WJ1128 as suitable for PGI-x25 cartridges.

Your ink flow problems with pigment black could could be caused by the ink, but could also be caused by the cartridges. Some after market cartridges develop ink flow problems after a few refills. For that reason refilling Canon OEM cartridges is recommended. You should also buy a resetter for your cartridges to avoid disabling the ink level monitoring and risk ruining the print head by running the cartridges dry.

The Hat wrote:
You can get a OEM set of 120/121 carts or any of these 220/221 520/521 or just the 120 pigment cart, you can remove the chip from your compatible cart to this cart and try filling that, it may have much better ink flow than the compatibles..

I think this is a very good idea.
 

ludens

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Stratman,

I noticed pretty soon that this printer has trouble when not used often enough. If I had known this in time, I wouldn't have bought it. I hate being the slave of some machine, having to tend it like it was a baby. My idea is that machines are here to serve us humans, and not that we humans are here to serve the machines. Having used that old HP printer for so many years, without ever having head clogging problems despite having let it sit for months without use sometimes, I just assumed that a modern printer would be no worse than that. Big mistake!

About "my specific printer", it doesn't matter whether some ink is for the iX6510, iX6520, iX6530, etc, because those are all the same machine, just with different area codes programmed in them. Same thing for the ink cartridges. Mine uses the PGI-125 and CLI-126, but they are the exact same as the PGI-225 and CLI-226 used in North America, and the PGI-525 and CLI-526 used in Europe. Only the code in the chip is different, deliberately making them incompatible. Since Canon has found no way yet to embed an area code in its ink, the ink is the same in cartridges for all areas.

I had a look at both Precision Colors and OctoInk, before finding this forum. From all I can tell from their websites, Precision Colors doesn't ship to Chile - at least Chile isn't mentioned in its list of shipping destinations. And the KMP ink available at OctoInk comes in two types, none of which lists the PGI-x25 tank as its target. Instead OctoInk lists a different pigment ink for the PGI-225 tank, which is not made by KMP. Maybe that's what I should buy, but I would like advice from actual satisfied users, rather than from the sellers, who obviously _must_ be convinced that their products are excellent!

I went to the KMP website too, and found no bulk ink there at all, and no PGI-x25 compatible cartridges. Lots of advertising, but almost no technical information. Maybe I just didn't search in the right place. I hoped to find detailed compatibility lists, at least.



The Hat,

yes, indeed I feel better after blowing off some steam! ;-)

----
The pigment ink can be a bit more difficult as you have found out for yourself, I only use KMP pigment in all my dye printer and have found it the very best because it doesn’t clog at all, it’s really black and prints as sharp as OEM ink.
----

Do you happen to use KMP ink in any printer designed for PGI-x25 cartridges? If so, and if you can confirm that it works well, that's the info I need! But the same ink used in printers with less finicky print heads wouldn't give me peace of mind that the ink will not clog in mine.

I wouldn't really like to buy any OEM cartridges of any type. I don't enjoy throwing money at printers. A set of those cartridges would be around 80 dollars. And the compatible cartridges I'm using seem to work perfectly fine. I don't see evidence of any ink flow problem. The head doesn't clog while printing - it prints fine, and then it clogs while NOT printing for a while. The only way how I see the cartridges could be involved in that is by allowing excessive evaporation through too large air holes, compared to the long thin air duct of OEM cartridges, drying up the ink in the cartridge. To reduce this effect, I put self adhesive tape over the air holes, and punched just a very small pinhole in each. Anyway I have seen absolutely no such problem with the Durafirm dye inks, so I don't think evaporation through the vent holes can be very high.


Peter,

Do you know by any chance whether the ink in the PGI-x25 and PGI-x20 is exactly the same, or is different?

To me it makes little sense that Canon would bring out a different model of cartridge, if both the fit and the contents is the same! That's what I'm basing myself on to think that it might not be a good idea using PGI-x20 ink in PGI-x25 cartridges. For the same reason I think it's a bad idea to use the Hobbicolors pigment ink I bought, which is just rated generically "for Canon thermo bubble jet printers". Maybe the pigment particles in such ink are small enough for older printers with coarser nozzles, but to large to get through the finer nozzles of printers that use the PGI-x25 and newer cartridges.

-----
Your ink flow problems with pigment black could could be caused by the ink, but could also be caused by the cartridges. Some after market cartridges develop ink flow problems after a few refills. For that reason refilling Canon OEM cartridges is recommended. You should also buy a resetter for your cartridges to avoid disabling the ink level monitoring and risk ruining the print head by running the cartridges dry.
----

As stated above, I don't think I have any ink flow problem! I can print a large area of solid black, without it washing out. That proves that ink flow is fine. I did have ink flow problems when I tried to use a CISS. It would print text and light graphics well enough, but solid areas would wash out. I never got the CISS to deliver the ink at a steady enough pressure. Depending on how high I placed the tanks, it either washed out, or it dripped, or both. The pressure pulses from carriage acceleration, yanking the ink hoses forth and back, seem to be too much. So I removed the CISS again, and went back to refilling the tiny cartridges after every few large photos... And the only problem that remains is that when using Hobbicolors pigment black ink, that head dries up and clogs far too fast when not in use, such as in a few days, and will not unclog with a cleaning cycle or two. That's the only real problem, and that's why I'm looking for an ink better suited to my intermittent use.

Instead of a resetter, which wasn't available a year ago, I got those non-OEM cartridges with self-resetting chips. That works well enough. Refilling the black OEM cartridges is less convenient, and I just checked for resetters again, which now are available, but for 20 dollars for the resetter plus 59 dollars shipping. Since I don't like throwing money out, I will keep using the non-OEM cartridges, which I got for something like 25 dollars, for two sets, including shipping!

So, can anybody tell me which specific pigment ink works well, and doesn't clog, specifically in printers using the PGI-x25 cartridges? That's what I need to know!

The other advice given, like that for inks that match the OEM colors better, is always welcome, and I will consider it when I'm about to run out of those Durafirm inks. But what I need now is just a black pigment ink that doesn't clog in printers using specifically the PGI-x25 cartridges.

If absolutely necessary, I'm willing to make the printer throw away some ink once a week when I haven't used it that long, but I would certainly prefer ink that doesn't dry up so fast.

Manfred
 

The Hat

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I use KMP pigment ink in the 520 cartridge which is the same as the carts you’re using and there has never been a single clog in them, the 120 and 126 are the very same cartridge except one is totally opaque.

But and there is always a but, I print regularly so I don’t leave the printer idle for more than a couple of days and that’s the way you should use a Canon printer.

You just need to print a nozzle print once a week to keep the print head in good condition and if you don’t do that then you run the risk of getting a clog in the heads; it’s the nature of the beast..
nozzle-check-png.1454

stratman said:
Canon printers, in general, do not like to be ignored for too long. They really are demanding mistresses who enjoy being used but not abused. The forum consensus is to print something once a week (or so) that uses all the cartridges such as a nozzle check. Doing this seems to decrease clogs significantly and would be my single greatest piece of advice for you at this time.
 

ludens

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I use KMP pigment ink in the 520 cartridge which is the same as the carts you’re using and there has never been a single clog in them, the 120 and 126 are the very same cartridge except one is totally opaque.

Okay, fine, but what printer do you use it with? How clog-sensitive/finicky is that printer's head, compared to that of the iX65x0? That's the question! My problem isn't clogs in the cartridges - it's clogs in the print head, probably at the nozzles themselves. And I suspect (without having any certainty) that when Canon introduced the PGI-x25/CLI-x26 cartridges instead of continuing to use the PGI-x20/CLI-x21 for the newer models, they did so because they changed the ink formulation to fit some change in the new print heads, and the ink for the older models would clog in the newer heads. And that's why I think that the Hobbicolors "Canon compatible" ink I bought might work perfectly with printers that nominally use the PGI-x20 cartridge, but not with those that should use the PGI-x25.

Given that the cartridges are physically compatible, if it were not for a change in ink formulation, then THE ONLY reason Canon could have had to introduce the new ink cartridges would be to make life more difficult for users of non-OEM ink, by making the new cartridges black, and perhaps by using a higher level of encription in the chips. One part of me thinks that this is quite possible, but the more benevolent part of me leans to the idea that the inks actually are different, and that so Canon had a respectable reason for introducing new cartridges!

So, what printer(s) are you using that ink with?

Anyway the whole issue is probably moot, because if I really exercised the printer at least once a week, probably the Hobbicolors ink wouldn't have clogged, or at least not so much. If you or anyone else prints something every day, then a report of "this specific ink works perfectly for me" doesn't mean that it would also work perfectly for _me_, when I neglect the poor touchy Canon lady for three weeks, or, well, two months!

I would love to know from someone who knows of a pigment ink that clogs no more easily than the dye inks. Because the dye inks in my printer don't clog, even when I leave the printer alone for months. It's only the pigment ink.

I know very well that just printing a nozzle test is enough to flush the heads. But if I print a nozzle test after having the printer standing around for a week, that nozzle test invariable makes the printer start a cleaning cycle on its own mind, which I understand wastes around 0.5cc of each photo ink, and 1cc of pigment ink. So, just about a dozen "maintenance" printouts would drain a freshly filled set of cartridges. Sure, with ink bought in reasonably sized bottles, the cost of that is no problem, but still the work of remembering to start those test prints will be increased by extra refill operations.

My Very Big Question to printer manufacturers is: Why can't modern printers work just like old ones, which never ran self-induced cleaning cycles, and still hardly ever clogged? Reprimanded be the evil mind who thinks it's just to make people waste and buy more ink!
 

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OK let’s start again, Hi Manfred..

No small desktop Canon printer will work properly when left unattended for long periods, this is a fact and you got to live with than full stop !

The iX65x0 series print heads are not any different than any other heads in the Canon printer range; it uses the QY6-0080-000 head which is the same as a dozen other printers so your argument doesn’t hold up at all.

Now as for the cartridges, all of the small cartridges perform exactly the same but look different, one is opaque and the others are semi opaque, the chips can easily be transferred to omit the regional difference.

Canon introduced this smaller cartridge to prevent the use of CISS systems, and for no other reason, they also change the ink formulations, but the inks are still the same just slightly different shades that is all.

You asked about a pigment ink that doesn’t clog easy and you have gotten your answer, but if you’re still not prepared to do any printer maintenance then it’s a total waste of time; just revert to using dye ink in the pigment cartridge to solve your problem.

Lastly only OEM cartridges can perform satisfactory over long periods of refilling (Fact) this goes double for the pigment cartridge, did you never ask yourself why Durafirm won’t supply pigment inks ?

Your very Big Question was: - “Why can't modern printers work just like old ones”
The thing is they do but I’m afraid you are unable to see the forest for the trees here; and they have always wasted your ink, so nothing have changed..
 

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Hi again, The Hat!

While I don't mean to be stubborn, it happens that I just am, and can't help it! ;-)

Okay, I have chiseled in stone now that my modern Canon printer requires me doing slave duty to tend and clean and caress it, so that it MIGHT work, if it fancies so, and that this has to be considered a feature, not a bug.

Since I haven't gotten ANY answer from anyone telling me about any specific pigment ink that doesn't clog in this specific printer (or any using this specific head), I will assume that such an ink doesn't exist, and will take your advice and just use dye ink in place of the pigment ink, despite the lower print quality.

About all heads being the same, I don't buy that. Sure, a given head is used on several different printers, but very clearly there are many different heads on the market, and they are different, having varying amounts of nozzles, and specially ejecting varying droplet sizes. And typically printers using a different head also use different tanks, so I can't help thinking that the ink inside them is also slightly different, in terms of viscosity, particle size, and maybe other aspects.

Also I don't buy that black pigment ink can come in different shades! As far as I know, ALL black pigment inks use powdered carbon as pigment, so there can hardly be different shades of black. The inks may have different particle sizes, different viscosity, different additives, though.

It's not that I'm not willing to do any printer maintenance. I have no problem doing that, but the question is the amount of maintenance that's acceptable. What I don't like is having to take out the print head, soak it in cleaner solution, reinstall it, realign it, and so on, essentially every time I want to print something! The comparison with my 20 year old printer is inevitable: That one just works, every time, immediately, without any kind of cleaning, and the only "maintenance" it has ever required in 20 years has been refilling its cartridge, and that's only about once every two years, at my rate of use! It uses a 40ml cartridge, and the ink can be used to the last drop, because it doesn't have any foam insert. It doesn't even have a pump to suck ink out and throw it away.

I will remember your comment about non-OEM cartridges having ink flow problems. In case I get any such problems, I will refill the OEM cartridges that came with the printer. But as long as I don't see any ink flow problems, I will use the non-OEM cartridges, simply because they are far more comfortable to refill and reset.

So, I will go back into lurking mode, keep dye ink in the pigment ink tank of the Canon printer, get used to having to remove and soak the printhead every time I need to use the printer, and use that printer only when I need color or large papers, and keep using the ancient HP for all of my printing work that doesn't require color or large papers.

And I will keep my eyes open for any new A3+ printer that has large, easily refillable tanks, open, clear technical specification for the ink needed, that does not throw away any ink, doesn't clog when not in use (maybe through better capping?), and generally just works instead of asking for attention.

And probably I will keep waiting for that, until grief sends me into my tomb.

Melodramatic Manfred
 

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I think the problems could also be caused by the purge unit. The purge unit contains two pumps that clean and prime the nozzles by sucking out air and ink from the print head, it contains two pumps as there are two sections in the print head, one for pigment black and one for colours. The purge unit also locks the print head in place and caps the nozzles to prevent drying when not in use.

If the pigment black section of the purge unit is not functioning properly you could get just the problems described. Your flushing of the print head then might prime the nozzles by filling the print head with a water/ink mixture, and the print head works again.

Normally a priming of the print head is done when switching on the printer if the printer has been switched off for more than a certain amount of time. This is necessary to keep the print head in good working order.

So I suggest to test the purge unit as described by turbguy here. You should also check that the porous plates on top of the purge unit are properly positioned and that the rubber gasket holding the plates is not damaged. The gasket and plates can be seen here.

If the purge unit passes the tests, then I suggest to buy a new Canon OEM cartridge to try if that also cause the problems. This will tell if the problems are caused by the refill ink and/or the refillable cartridge.

I am using the KMP-U pigment ink from Octoinkjet UK that is recommended for the BCI-3e PGBK, PGI-5 PGBK and PGI-x20 PGBK cartridges. I have printers using these cartridges and have had no problems with the ink. I am sure it is also recommended for PGI-x25 cartridges. I am also sure that the special KMP ink for PG 220 cartridges is also suitable for the PGI-x25 cartridges, but you could send an email to support@octoinkjet.co.uk and ask.

I have more than one Canon printer but only one is in daily use. I intend to print nozzle checks from the other printers every fortnight or so but often forget, so it has sometimes been more than a month between maintenance prints. I have had no ill effects from that, using the KMP-U ink.
 
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