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Review of Sponged CIS and Spongeless CIS

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Old 12-10-2004, 04:27 AM
Lulu Lulu is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Review of Sponged CIS and Spongeless CIS

Many of the CISs are based upon a similar system to the way the original
cartridges function. That is, they have the ink sitting in a sponge or
batting material in the base of the modified-cartridge, and it slowly drains to
the ink outlet and drains by demand of the head.

The reasons for this design in the original cartridges are to control
the ink flow, so it doesn't just drip out once the ink outlet of the
cartridge is punctured and to keep the ink from sloshing around as the
head goes back and forth, which could cause vibration in the head
carriage movement.

In the CIS system, there are similar concerns if the system uses
standard cartridges which have a hole drilled into each color
compartment, into which is a tube that carried new ink.

The main problem with this modified-cartridge system is that the surface of this sponge or
batting can slowly either dry, or it can become an "early filter" in the
system, and the material can get filled with residue, particularly if
you are using pigmented inks, which can impede ink flow. Secondary
problem can be air bubbles can be temporarily trapped in the sponge or
batting, which might end up in the head and could a gap in the ink flow.

Even Epson recognized there was a problem with this cartridge design.
The intellege cartridges were, of course, mainly designed to make them
difficult to refill, but Epson also made several other changes. They
got rid of the batting/sponge material other than a small filter. They
added a bunch of baffling to keep the ink from getting too much air
surface, which can cause drying and oxidation, and it also slows the
flow so they don't leak, and they added a spring loaded valve at the ink
outlet, and the air vent, again to remove air flow, and leakage.
Basically, the new cartridges seal when they are removed.

Now, there are problems with just using a pure ink cartridge, as
mentioned above, and Epson's more complex design has potential problems
for a CIS as well. That's where ink dampers come in.
They are designed to allow for ink feed fairly evenly, but without a problem with
siphoning ink or leakage. I believe it is a revolution of CIS.

The CIS systems that have been out there were jury-rigged, and although
they were better than buying individual cartridges each time, they were
not designed from the top down. As a result, I hear about many of these
installation users, either when they first get installed (and the
difficulties in getting them to work) or more often, about a year after
they have been installed, when all the problems with the cartridge
system comes out of the closet.

With dye inks, they work fairly well for most people. With inks that
tend to be either corrosive or have a lot of residue, those systems
often become subject to intermittent clogs, etc.

One of the reasons some 3rd party inks have a short installed life is because CISs tend to
use a air replacement systems for the ink to move. A much better design
would be ink dampers on the head end, and these collapsible ink sacks on the other.

But for my own experience toward using iINK, their
system is pretty well done besides, it is pretty flexible. Which means:

1. I can always apply the same system to most of my Epson printers without purchasing another "whole" unit. I can just buy the new chipsets, that's it. This is big saving.

2. I can always use pigment and dye ink based on the printout.

3. No clogging, no leaking.

4. The best thing is, I dont have to "stick" with their ink, I can always use the ink from any other 3rd parties along with their system. does not enforce their customers using their ink. At least they are more customized and customers oriented.

Regarding the price and the function and environmental consideratioins, I would suggest you guys use a really good CIS that can last longer and can be more flexible, just like the one from

Here are more reference for you:
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