Review: Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 CI System (CIS, CISS)

Canon Pixma iP4300 With CIS (Continuous Ink System):

CIS - Cartridge Set Canon PGI-5, CLI-8 - Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 Continuous Inking System Pre-Filled

The Canon Pixma iP4300 is a great little printer (same as iP4200, iP4500).  Has a built-in duplexer so you can print to both sides of the page.  When used with a CI system, or continuous inking system (aka CIS, CISS, or bulk ink) cost per page is way below a penny per print, and there are no more hassles with refilling or cartridges at all.  Dual paper sources in the iP4300 (iP4200, iP4500) make it easy to print 4×6 photos, and simple letter documents all w/out changing the paper. Just a great little printer.

Canon CIS system contents:

This CIS, CISS, package includes pre-filled 5 chamber ink system (one chamber is left empty).  Dummy cartridges with auto-resetting chips, and an accessory kit with gaskets, air breathers, and a metal tubing guide.

Canon Pixma iP4300 Inkjet Printer With CIS, CISS, Continuous Inking System CLI-8, PGI-5


Hardware included with the CI system – breathers, gaskets, and a guide rail for the tubing.  Very easy to install, and a very logical process.  Cartridges snap in just like the originals.  If you can change a cartridge, you can install the parts in this package.

Hardware included with Canon CIS For iP4700, iP4600, iP4500, iP4300, iP4200

Hardware included with Canon CIS For iP4700, iP4600, iP4500, iP4300, iP4200

Removal of the old cartridges, and replacement with a CIS, CISS, or continuous ink system for the Canon Pixma iP4300.  Much of this process is the same for all of these printers – Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, iP4700.

Canon CI System for Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 Inkjet Printers - Save on ink!

Gasket install first:

Gaskets must be installed in the print head, which is easily accessable after the cartridges have been removed.  Installing the gaskets is easy – simply place over the ink supply seals with the supplied plastic tweezers:

There are 5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4300, iP4200, iP4500 printers, and each seal must be covered.

Remove cartridge covers…

After the gaskets are installed, you can now remove the orange cartridge covers and install the cartridges into the system.

Removing the orange clips from the CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridge set for install into the Canon Pixma iP4300. iP4200, iP4500

Be careful, ink will start to flow shortly - get those cartridges into the printer.

Install cartridges like normal:

The internal optical sensors can get confused if to much light is getting into the “insides” of the printer.  We got this error message after our install:

Canon printer error number 6502 means close the lid!

Simply closing the cover slightly and turning off the lights correct the issue.  This is what prompted us to modify our case to accommodate the tubing with the lid fully closed.

Cartridges installed in the iP4300 inkjet printer - red light indicates we are good to go.

Cartridges installed in the iP4300 inkjet printer - red light indicates we are good to go.

Route the tubing.

We think this way works best (off to the right), but you can really route the tubing to the left or right.

Placing the bracket in the right place - pre-molded for Canon iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 inkjet printers.

Placing the Canon CIS guide bracket in the right place - pre-molded for Canon iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 inkjet printers.

The bracket and tubing do get in the way of the lid closing. If you look closely, there is a latch that needs to be “fooled” and forced into the down position to simulate the lid being closed.  Before and after pictures below – click for larger image.

Canon iP4300 lid closed latch needs to be forced down. We used a plug from the CI system to force the iP4300 lid open latch closed.

The finished product:

Canon iP4300 CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink System Installed.

More help please.

We have also prepared a quick installation guide video and posted to youtube.  You can watch below.  A reliable system can be had for $85.00 – $95.00 including shipping and is available now.  No need to refill cartridges, or buy expensive compatibles and OEM cartridges.  Installation has a few extra steps (as compared to the Epson Artisan series), however it is quite easy and the system performs flawlessly.  We actually like how this printer works with a CI system better than many Epson printers – the Canon CIS printing process, or movement of the print head is not as violent.

Overall this is a great system.  5 stars. Compatible with:

May also work with other printers that use the CLI-8, and PGI-5 cartridges in a 5 cartridge configuration.  We have only tested in the iP4200, iP4300, and iP4500 printer series so far.

CIS for Canon Inkjet Printers - The finished product, iP4300 pictured.

More info here.

Installation video here:

Case modification (mod) for Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 printers here:

Canon CI System (CIS) For Pixma iP4500, iP4300, iP4200

Canon CI System iP4200, iP4300, iP4500

(CLI-8, PGI-5 Cartridges)

Get one here.

These Canon printers work great with a CI System, and while the cover must be kept open partially, this is a small price to pay for an unlimited ink supply.  Compatible cartridges for these printers can be had for $5.00-$7.00 (original Canon cartridges are $15.00 each!), and refills are possible with special chips (or by turning off the Canon ink monitor), CI systems provide a hassle free way to print thousands of documents or photos for pennies on the dollar.  Here is a video we compiled of a complete install of a CI system into a Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500 (CLI-8, PGI-5BK) printer.

Main things to watch for:

  1. Equalize ink levels – easy as pie
  2. Gaskets must be used in order to prevent leakage – no problem
  3. Careful with those cartridges – they can make a mess on install

CIS – Canon Pixma iP4200:

New: Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 Cartridge CI System (CIS, CISS)

Designed for use with the Canon Pixma iP4500

CI system for Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer (and those others that can use the CLI-8, and PGI-5 cartridge series). This system has 5 individual ink cartridges, and ink is supplied to the printer via an external tank containing all inks.  Chips on the cartridges can be reset when printer thinks the cartridges are full.  Must disable the canon ink monitor – don’t need it as you never run out of ink.

Canon CIS, CISS, system bulk ink, for Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridge sets.

Cartridges getting smaller:

With cartridges getting smaller by the day, and prices for replacements going up as well, a CI system, or CIS (CISS) can save you tons of money on consumables.  The Canon Pixma iP4500 is a great printer, and very durable.

Cartridge set close-up:

Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer CIS, CISS

Canon CLI-8, PGI-5 cartridges for the Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer CIS.

Wow – Ink Cartridges Are Incredibly Expensive

Spotted At Staples

Ink is so incredibly expensive.  The $3.00 back per cartridge is a good deal, to bad it’s only good for store credit. Limit 10 recycled cartridges per month.  If you would like to see inside a CLI-8 cartridge look here.  If you want to know more about Staple’s in-store recycling program click here.  We are about 45 miles from the closest Staples.  They do not offer a recycling credit by mail.

This cartridge bundle is for large format Canon inkjet printers like the Pixma iP9000 series.  Looking at about 80-120 large size prints here.

Printer ink is so expensive - Canon CLI-8 color cartridges spotted at the local Staples.

Deal Or No Deal? Canon Pixma MP970 $100.00

Refurbished Canon MP970 Is A Super Deal?

From offers the factory-refurbished Canon PIXMA MP970 Network Multifunction Printer for $89.99 plus $9.99 for shipping = $100.00. Features include 30 ppm black, 22 ppm color, scanner, copier, Ethernet and USB connectivity, and PictBridge printing. A 90-day Canon warranty applies.

First things first, what cartridges does it use?

Canon MP970 looks very similar to the new Canon MP980

Canon calls the Pixma MP970, the ultimate Photo All-In-One.   Overall rating on the Canon web site is 4.7 out of 5 stars.  Independent reviews for this printer can be seen on here, and the best review we have seen over at Steve’s Digicams.  Seems to get very good reviews.  The MP970 is a 6-color photo printer, that takes 7 cartridges!  There are all the CLI-8 cartridges present; black, cyan, magenta, yellow, photo cyan, photo magenta, and then the additional black PGI-5Bk cartridge.  Purchasing these cartridges from Canon direct will run you a cool $107.19.

CLI-8BK $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8BK $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8C $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8C $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8M $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8M $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8Y $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8Y $14.99 Retail.

Canon retail $14.99

CLI-8PC $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8PM $14.99 Retail.

CLI-8PM $14.99 Retail.


PGI-5BK $17.25 Retail.

Old Model Has To Go.

The Canon MP980 will replace the MP970.  Looks very similar to the MP970.

This is an older printer, released in 2007, however its not like there have been any revolutionary technological advances in bubble-jet printing in the past decade. Replacing this discontinued printer is the Canon Pixma MP980 which uses the CLI-221, and PGI-220 cartridges that are half the size of the ones that come with this printer and cost the same.

There is also a $50.00 print head in the box, in addition to the above mentioned $107.19 worth of ink.  This means that current MP970 owners should get this printer simply as a source of replacement parts and a new set of ink.

Excellent 6-Color Photo Printer.

If you are currently looking for a nice photo printer that is also packed with extras, the MP970 is a solid choice.  Built in LCD display, ethernet networking built right in, memory card readers, scanner/copier, and we are starting to agree that this is the ultimate photo all in one printer. Noteable missing items would include a fax machine, and the ability to print on CDs or DVDs (there is an eBay solution for the latter).  Overall a very nice choice for a photo printer.  The 90-Day warranty provides a good enough “burn-in” period, and if you are purchasing just for the ink/print head the warranty is last on your list.

thumbs-upGood deal approved!

This is a super deal on a 6-color photo printer.  It has all the necessary features, and most importantly, compatible inkjet cartridges are available in the $5.00 each range.  With a user replaceable print head (available direct from Canon for around $50.00) for when the printer gets worn out, and the super photos you will get with a 6-color printer, wwe like this deal.  A solid choice.  Click here for Newegg.

How To: Turn off the Canon Print Ink Monitor

Windows – Turning off the ink monitor for the CLI-8, PGI-5, and CLI-220, PGI-221 inkjet cartridges.

Printer Used: Canon Pixma iP4200

After removing the chip from the OEM cartridge and securing it to your compatible cartridge, it can be put back in the printer and you will get a series of dialog boxes from Canon.  You will also get these if you simply remove, and then reinsert a so called empty Canon cartridge.

Info box 1:

This will be your last warning.  You will not see these messages in the future if you reset the chip. The ink monitor is disabled, but that is really no big deal.  You can either look at the ink, or when a print is missing a color you will know for sure.


Info Box 2:

In our case, the ink tank was never empty; we have simply moved the chip to a compatible cartridge with no chip.  This is a message to you cartridge refillers.


Info Box 3: We will be watching you

Blah, blah, blah…this is exactly what we want.  Yes already.


Info Box 4: Instructions

Finally after three warning screens, we get the real info on how to reset the chip to not report its ink status.


Chip reset, cartridge installed, ready to go

From now on, the chip on the Yellow cartridge must be moved from the old cartridge to the new cartridge.  This can be done an unlimited number of times.  The ink monitor will not report te ink levels from this point on.  This has to be done for each cartridge one time only.

Review: Canon CLI-221, PGI-220 Inks Shrink Compared To CLI-8, PGI-5

Filed under less ink for more money

Check out our Continuous Inking System review and installation guide here. No more cartridges!

Spotted this on Amazon and wondered why:


The iP4300 printer has been discontinued by Canon for a while now, and its replacement is the Canon Pixma iP4600 which cost a mere $87.00. Why does the new replacement cost less than the old model?


We found the answer when we saw the new CLI-221 and PGI-220 ink cartridges that the iP4600 uses.  Canon has halved the size of the inkjet cartridge on the newer CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges; we also assume that the print head assembly has changed as well.  This would explain the rush on old technology.  Having tested an iP4300 we can testify to the quality of the printer, very good.  Two paper trays in a consumer inkjet printer is worth its original $99.00 price alone.  But $295.00 is stretching it a little.

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

The new cartridges also have a new chip to deal with, so that is also an issue.  Copies of the cartridges (available as compatibles) are available, however these copies do not include the chip attached to the end of each cartridge which is required to register the cartridge in the printer.  The Canon print monitor can be turned off, and you find out you are out of ink when the page you printed is missing a color.  A quick look inside the printer to check the ink every now and then cures this.

Chipless compatibles are available for CLI-220 series inks, but requires a chip swap.

Chipless compatibles are available for CLI-220 series inks, but requires a chip swap.

If you want a cartridge with a reset chip, they are not currently available.  The previous Canon cartridges like the CLI-8, and PGI-5 series, which were released in 2005-2006, and it took over a year and a half until the code on the chip was broken and reset systems were made widely available.  Canon locked out third party cartridge providers when they used 128-bit encryption on the ink monitor chip as to stymie remanufacturers.  It took a long time to crack the original Canon code, and I would guess this would be the case this time around as well.  Compatibles with chip for the CLI-8, PGI-5 series ink cartridges are readily available today, however this was not the case over the past 2 years.

Printers that use the “new” CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges are:

  • PIXMA iP3600
  • PIXMA iP4600
  • PIXMA MP620
  • PIXMA MP980
  • PIXMA MX860

So if your printer uses the newer CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges, it looks like you will have to do the chip swap in the short term.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

This deal on a Canon MP960 looks even better now.

Update 4-14-09:

Canon compatible cartridges with a reset chip will soon be available.