Promax Imaging Ltd

14-16 Uttoxeter Rd

+44 (0) 1538

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Plug Valve Overview
Plug valve group plug valve fitted T0484

The Promax Plug Valve* was designed primarily to provide a solution for refilling Epson ink cartridges. Anybody who has tried to refill these later design single colour cartridges knows it is virtually impossible to achieve a successful result. That is until now!

All the later design Epson cartridges are spongeless in construction, which showed a departure from the previous conventional designs.  In fact it would be fair to refer to them as the MkII Epson cartridge. So let’s do that from now on.

To be fair to Epson they make a good reliable product of high quality. They have also invested an enormous amount of money in R & D to invent new and better ways of producing high quality desktop printing to photographic standards. Their peizo-electric is a prime example. Without that there would be no dye sublimation printing as we know it. All this investment has to be protected, mainly by filing patents: - that’s what Intellectual Property rights are all about.

However, like all printer manufacturers they sell the printers cheap and the ink cartridges dearly. They probably lose money on the sale of a printer, but they sure make up for it on the replacement cartridge cost.

Empty opened 484

The clever design of the MkII Epson cartridge has been a stumbling block to our industry. If you have ever taken the MkII Epson cartridge apart, then you will see it closely resembles Hampton Court maze with traps and pockets that hold air where you do not want it. These prevent complete refilling.

In order to refill these cartridges it is necessary to perform several actions all at once. 

  1. Remove the residual waste ink.
  2. Remove all the air, (most of it anyway, even Epson leave some inside the cartridge).
  3. Get the ink to all parts of the cartridge without getting air in as well.
  4. Attaining the full OEM fill weight…VERY important, too little ink will mean air gets into the print head. When air enters the printhead it ruins it instantly.
  5. Ensuring the cartridge is properly primed, or again air will get into the printhead.
  6. Seal the fillhole whilst preventing any air entering the cartridge.

Not easy to do with only two arms and perhaps a vice as a dumb assistant.

The Promax Plug Valve* enables you to do all that in a couple of easy stages.

These little devices are designed to become a permanent fixture to the MkII Epson cartridge which can be used to refill it many times over. Only physical failure of the cartridge body or the chip will end the lifecycle of the cartridge once the Plug Valve* is fitted.

Only having to fit the Plug Valve* once means that on subsequent refilling your only cost is the ink.

Further benefits include the potentially huge savings by reducing stock levels of replacement cartridges.

Valve SprigJ

Promax Plug Valves* are supplied in sprigs of 20 valves together with 20 o-rings. Before installing the Plug Valve* in the cartridge, you assemble the unit by slipping the o-ring over the point of the Plug Valve* until it snaps into place within the groove.

The Plug Valve* is then installed into the fill hole of the cartridge by pushing it all the way home as shown in figure 2. There is a point on the end of the Plug Valve* which is designed to pierce the sealing membrane on the base of the MkII Epson cartridge.

Once installed, it provides a permanent airtight and leakproof seal.

All you have to do now is place a waste pipe leading to a small container in the delivery orifice of the cartridge, and fit a syringe full of ink into the hole of the plug valve. Just slowly, but firmly discharge the ink into the cartridge. Watch the waste pipe carefully.

1st stage fill

First you will see all the waste residual ink being expelled from the cartridge followed by the air.

 Then you will see a mixture of air and ink being expelled, followed shortly by pure ink. When this is seen, your MkII Epson cartridge has been completely refilled and primed.

2nd Stage Fill

 Remove the waste pipe and the syringe, wipe with a paper towel and reset the chip with any suitable chip resetter.


Job done.

The cartridges in these pictures have been partially stripped to allow you to see the insides of the cartridge. The ink used to fill them has been specially prepared to give a clearer view of the process, and is not a true ink.

OEM Fill

All Epson MkII cartridges contain air. If you get a brand new OEM cartridge and shake it, you will hear the ink sloshing about quite clearly. In this picture you can see a partially stripped OEM with its seals intact. Note the amount of air at the top of the upper chamber.

Full Filled

In this picture you can see that using the Promax Plug Valve it is possible to virtually completely fill the cartridge. This however means that the cartridge will contain more ink when the printer gives the cartridge empty message. This is due to the chip controlling the amount of ink dispensed.

22nd February 2007

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