Review: Opening The HP 99 Photo Print Cartridge C9369W – Inside HP Ink Cartridge

Inside the HP 99 photo inkjet print cartridge.

Wanna print 6-color photos on your HP 4-color printer? HP has the answer, the HP 99 cartridge is designed to give the user 6-color photo prints when combined with a tri-color inkjet print color cartridge.

HP 99 photo color ink cartridge for (HP) Hewlett Packard inkjet printers.

A look inside the HP 99 ink cartridge – internal structure:

The HP 99 ink cartridge is a strange bird – designed to be used with a tr-color cartridge (like the HP 97 – opened here, or the HP 95 cracked open here)  to print 6-color photos with your HP printer.  This cartridge contains three (3) colors – black, photo cyan, and photo magenta.  This is *not* the cartridge you want for printing large volumes of text, or black only documents – since the black ink is inside this cartridge shares space with two (2) other colors, the back ink will run out quickly.

Removing the cartridge cover on the HP 99 photo color ink cartridge from Hewlett Packard - inkjet print cartridges.


Color: Black
Part Number: C9369W- HP 99 Photo
Ink Type: Dye based ink
HP 99 Ink Volume: 21ml*
Page Yield: 130 4×6 photos**

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $28.99
Street price: $13.18

*7ml per color (black, photo cyan, and photo magenta)

** that 130 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are always on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 95, or HP 97 tri-color ink cartridge to offer 6-color photo printing.

For You Refillers:

Don’t remove the label – there are air channels on the top of the cartridge that need to be maintained – best way to refill is to just stick a syringe (needle) full of ink into one of the pre-drilled holes that are in the cartridge.

A look inside an HP ink cartridge - the HP 99 photo color ink cartridge. A look inside the internal structure of the (HP) Hewlett Packard ink cartridge - HP 99 photo ink. Hewlett Packard (HP) photo ink cartridge 99 - inside the ink cartridge, or where to refill your HP ink cartridge.

Refilling is easy if you know where to put the refilling needle.  There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid which are covered up by the cartridge number sticker.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only three (3) of the holes. We suggest using one of those three (3) holes since they are closer to the ink exit point.  All the other two holes  are there to confuse refillers.  This cartridge will hold around 18-21ml of ink, which is a good amount for a modern ink cartridge.

Where to refill the HP 99 photo ink cartridge.

Contact! – Contact!

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head.  Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves.  If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer).  If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again.  If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

Inside the HP Hewlett Packard - 99 picture photo ink cartridge.

The Print Head:

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the cartridge (for most of their consumer printers).  This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new printer.  This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion.  As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon.

Inside HP inkjet printer cartridges - a look inside the sealed ink cartridges from HP 99 photo color.

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge.  So that is 3 total on a single cartridge.  If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason.  HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges.  Read more about it here…

HP 99 photo ink cartridge - expiration date, and serial number of the cartridge.

When to use this cartridge (HP 99):

Use this cartridge when printing photos only – the HP 99 photo cartridge is rated at 130 4×6 prints.  At its current price, this cartridge is not a bad deal for printing photos, however the photo quality will not be professional level (fine for home use).  If printing 130 photos at a time sounds daunting, try and preserve the cartridge for future use (using a cartridge clip, available on eBay or Amazon – or here) by removing it from the printer.  Easily refilled, but not practical for everyday use.

Note: cartridge clips are included with some refill kits like the InkTec brand.  Good kits in our experience.

Specifications for the HP 99 (C9369W) photo ink cartridge:

Information about HP cartridge page yields here:,st=cartridge,ss=99

Hewlett Packard HP 99 sponge sponges ink cartridge cartridges.  Internal structure of the HP 99 ink cartridge.

Compatible with the following HP printers:

You can use this cartridge for photo printing, however avoid using this cartridge for everyday printing.  As mentioned above, this cartridge is only one-third (1/3) black ink – the other two chambers are for photo cyan, and photo magenta.

CIS (CISS) for Canon InkJet Printers Coming…iP4700 CIS

Testing in bunches.

We have been testing a bevy of printers and will have reviews posted shortly.

Test printing with the Red River Paper sampler -20 different inkjet printer papers

We have been using the super cool sample printer paper packs from Red River Paper to run a full set of tests on not only the printer and the CI system (CIS, CISS), but how 20 different papers (light glossy to heavy matte) work with the printer/CI system combo.

Canon items we are posting shortly:

Canon Pixma Alternative Ink Solution CIS, CISS, Inking System iP4200, iP4300, iP4500

We can say that both systems work as advertised, and we are quite impressed with the performance of these printers when equipped with a CIS, CISS, or CI system.  You can stop refilling ink cartridges, and go CIS easily, and for less than $100.00.  Cartridges used are the PGI-5bk, and CLI-8 series, as well as the newer, and smaller, CLI-221, and PGI-220 series cartridges.

No more cartridges!

Video: Epson Workforce 500 With CIS, CISS, Bulk Ink System

The Epson Work force 500 with CIS:

A continuous inking system works quite well with this model.  When all you want to do is print, and print a bunch – a CI system (CIS, CISS) is the answer.  Functions quite well with the Workforce 500.  See if you agree.

Review: Epson Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810 Auto Duplexer

Epson Artisan 800 Auto Duplexer:

This duplexer is now standard on the Epson Artisan 710, and 810, so this add-on will work with the Artisan 700, or Artisan 800 only.  It can be had from Epson and other retailers, however availability is always an issue, so check around.

Be aware, the duplexer cannot handle paper sizes other than 85″ x 11″ – we tried to print some double sided post cards, but the duplexer tells you it will not work:

Epson Artisan Double Sided Printing Solution For Artisan 800 and Artisan 700 Series Printers

Our duplexer was ordered directly from Epson – we had a coupon.

Epson C12C802522 Auto Duplexer For Epson Artisan 700 And 800 Inkjet Printers

Ok, admit it – you have always secretly wished you could print on both sides of the paper.  So we are suckers too.  We tried it to see, but you need to use a higher grade of paper than just “copier paper” which looks great, but there is some bleed through if the paper is to thin and the text is not readable unless it is stored in a folder or folio – then it will be fine.

Trouble With Installation?

Putting it on is easy (see below pictures) – but we had trouble with our wireless set-up, and we came across this nice blog, and a solution that worked.  Check it out.

C12C802522, Epson Artisan 700 800 Duplexer Duplex Printer Print Both Sides

Remove the back "paper jam" cover...

The duplexer snaps right in:

C12C802522, Epson Duplexer Inkjet Printer Add On Print On Both Sides Of Paper

But Where Are The Instructions?

On the box. Scanned with an Artisan 800 btw.

Epson Artisan 700 and 800 Double Sided Printing, Print On Both Sides of the Paper for only $40.00

Don’t Be A Sucker – Samsung CLP-315 $89.00

How Not To Shop For A Printer:

Samsung color laser printer.Low on the entry price, get’s you thinking…Fry’s offers the Samsung CLP-315 color laser printer for $89.00.  Sounds like a good deal right?  I mean, for $89.00 how can this be a bad deal?  Well it is a bad deal, and apparently it is not that great of a printer.  Reviews are mixed over on Amazon, and this printer garners a 3 out of 5 star rating.  Looks like a clear case of, “you can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

Since its a color laser printer, it will have 4 toner cartridges – one each for black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.  Additionally, the printer ships with a set of the dreaded “starter toner cartridges” – take a look at the fine print from Samsung’s web site:

average continuous black cartridge yield: 1,500 standard pages (ships with 1,000 pages starter toner cartridge).

average continuous yellow/magenta/cyan cartridge yield: 1,000* standard pages (ships with 700 pages starter toner cartridge).

So that is a nice color laser printer, with cartridges that will get you 1,000 to 700 prints on your initial print job, and the best you can hope for when a replacement set of cartridges is purchased will be 1,500 pages black, and 1,000 pages color based on Samsung’s estimates here.

Toner cartridge prices:

So there are 4 toner cartridges for this printer. The Samsung Color Laser Printer CLP-315 also has a removable (replaceable) drum that will last for 6,000 pages color, and 24,000 pages black and white, as well as something called a waste toner container which is rated at 10,000 pages black and white, and 2,500 pages color.  So once you get through the initial 1,000-700 pages, get out the wallet.  Here are the “hidden costs” you are looking at over the life of the printer:

Final Analysis:

So there you have it – if we use 10,000 pages as a benchmark for use over the life of the printer here is what your total will be for that $89.99 printer.  6.6 black cartridges, 9 cyan, 9 magenta, 9 yellow, and a possible $12.99 for a new toner waste catcher – which equals a grand total of $1389.00 for consumables to get to 10,000 pages.  If we add the cost of the printer into the equation we are closer to $1500.00 for 10,000 pages, or .15 per print – and that is any print.  Compare that to the Epson Artisan 800 (with CIS) that will print 10,000 pages (plus) for at most $325.00, or .0325 per print – and you get full color prints, plus more flexible paper types can be used. We haven’t even mentioned the energy savings (love your planet) – when our laser printer fires up, the lights flicker.  Get smart, or get ripped off.

Review: The Myth Of The Epson Starter Cartridge

No such thing as an Epson “starter cartridge”:

Not really a review, but an observation.  There seems to be some out there that think Epson ships “starter cartridges” with their printers, when this is just not the case. Hewlett Packard, and most other laser printer resellers do engage in this type of short changing, however it is noted in their product literature for legal reasons.  Epson gets a bad rap for the assumption that starter cartridges are included with their printers – the first set of cartridges included with Epson inkjet printers is used to prime the print head, resulting in more than half the original cartridges being used up in this process.  Therefore people seem to jump to the conclusion that Epson must include starter cartridges with their printers.  The head charging process is a one time deal with a new or refurbished printer from Epson.  Regarding the HP “starter cartridge”, the rumors are true.

From here, if you read the fine print you will see this HP printer:

Includes introductory print cartridges: average continuous composite cyan/yellow/magenta cartridge yield 750 pages and average continuous black cartridge yield 750 pages.

Epson also includes a  disclaimer, but of a different sort:

For print quality, a small amount of ink remains in the cartridge after the “Replace cartridge” indicator comes on (they got sued, class action style – and lost –  for not telling consumers this).  This [printer] all-in-one ships with full cartridges and part of the ink from the first cartridges is used for priming the printer.  See for more information about cartridges.

Two important things to get out of the above Epson statement:

  1. There is ink left in the cartridge when the empty light comes on.
  2. All printers shipped from Epson come with full cartridges.

In our experience, we have seen some printers that actually ship with cartridges that are “more full” to compensate for the print-head priming process that every “new” Epson printer goes through on first use.  With our Artisan 800 here in the shop there is a 5 minute process while the printer primes the print head –  and the process uses lots of ink.  Here is what the Artisan 800 ink monitor registers after the head charging process – in a new printer. (Note: refurbished Epson printers are considered “new” because they most likely have a new print-head that needs to be primed on first use):

How much ink your bundled Epson inkjet printer cartridges use to prime the print head onfirst use.

How much ink your bundled Epson inkjet printer cartridges use to prime the print head on first use. We guess this is why there is an extra (T098) black cartridge included with this printer.

How much ink used?

So just eyeballing it, it looks as if the “priming process” used about 60% or more of the ink included with the printer.  You can also see below – from this included T099420 yellow cartridge – that it was quite full before we put it in the printer. After the print head priming process, the level is about 60% less.

Inside the T099 series discount Epson inkjet printer cartridge showing the insides of the printer.

A look inside a bundled T099 yellow ink cartridge that came with our Artisan 800 inkjet printer.

After testing bundled Epson inkjet cartridges in an Epson C120 inkjet printer (T068, T069), the original cartridges that were provided by Epson printed about 200 pages, and they all seemed to go dead about the same time. When we installed a new set (pulled from another C120 printer) we got about 400 pages before we started getting the Epson monitor prompting us to change the cartridges.  Your mileage may vary.

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.