Canon Pixma iP4700 and iP4600 CI System (CIS, CISS) Review:
Hot off the truck – iP4600/iP4700 CI systems with Canon CLI-221, PGI-220 series auto resetting ink cartridges.
When using a CI system, or CISS there are few important things to remember. Most important is to never, ever, ever put the external ink supply higher than the cartridges. Keep the cartridges and CI system at the same level. Setting the system next to the printer (on the same level) is the best, and recommended, way to ensure proper operation.
Read through the included directions, go slow. Basic premise is that ink is fed from an external source to a set of cartridges that pass ink through the printer. The cartridges must be there for the printer to function, so tubing is used to pipe-in-ink as needed. No more needed cartridges, and no more refilling 5 cartridges at a time.
Quickly becoming a staff favorite.
iP4600 Pictured – Identical to iP4700:
Been waiting for this one for a while. This Canon “just a printer” series is awesome (no all-in-one features). The Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, and iP4700 are basically the same printer from a print quality and technology perspective, and the differences are really just cosmetic – these are solid performers with either compatible ink, refills, or CI systems.
To top it off, all these printers include an auto duplexer feature so you can print on both sides of the page – all from a relatively compact printer. Uses a standard power cord (unlike HP, pet peeve).
Step 1 – Set-Up:
Detailed instructions on this step are included with the system, and it is pretty self explanatory once you see the actual external ink tank.
First step is to equalize the ink levels in the external ink container, and then remove and replace the shipping plugs and included air breathers. The system is shipped with the external tanks full of ink, so the system is sealed up for shipping as not to leak. When removing the shipping plugs, make sure to watch the splatter – use a paper towel, tissue, or cloth to remove the shipping plugs and absorb any microscopic ink splatter.
To keep proper pressure, the external ink tank must be leveled off. There is a chamber inside the chamber that has an opening at the bottom. Tilt the external ink tank forward, and the ink levels in the rear chambers will start to lower. You will want to keep these levels low to ensure proper ink flow. When you refill the external tank, you might have to repeat this process.
Again, this step is covered in greater detail in the included instructions, and we only mention it first because it is much easier to do with the shipping plugs installed.
Shipping plug – vs. Ink refill plugs.
The shipping plugs are the smaller plastic plugs located along the back of the external CISS tank. The larger refill plugs are not to be removed until an ink refill is required.
System includes all necessary materials
- External ink supply – no more refilling small cartridges
- Dummy “pass through” cartridges, with auto reset chip
- 5 individual gaskets – must be placed inside the print head (sounds harder than it actually is)
- Tweezers for gasket placement
- Metal tubing guide
Gaskets, Step 2:
Before the cartridges can be installed in the print head, a set of gaskets must be placed on the ink inlets.
This process (placing the gaskets) is the same for the Canon Pixma iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, and iP4700 series. After removing the installed cartridges (if present) simply place a rubber gasket over each of the five (5) ink inlets – this must be done before you install the new CIS, CISS cartridge set.
Gaskets have an obvious orientation with the wide side to the back, and the smaller rounded edge to the front. The gaskets will prevent the ink from pouring through the printer, so they are a necessary part of the installation.
Installing Cartridges – Step 3:
Remove orange covers, install as normal…
Cartridge covers should be removed slowly – do not break cartridge locking tab, and watch out for ink spilling out once the covers are removed. It is a good idea to hold the cartridges together in a bunch. Also the orange covers detach from the cartridge in the front (non-chip side), and then just move off the locking tab. You will know it when you see it.
Watch out here:
Be careful with this step. Ink seems to run through the cartridges very easily – and we mean very easily, and we made a big mess on our first install attempt with this system. You want to make sure you hold the cartridges up-side down when removing the orange cartridge covers - it would not hurt to hold the cartridges above the external ink tank to keep ink from running out of the cartridges. Try to hold the cartridges in one hand and install the cartridges in the print head as a bunch. The quicker you can get the cartridge set in the printer, the better.
(pressure builds up during shipping, and the ink is just ready to pop out once the orange caps are removed, just be aware.)
Look out for “Error Number 6502″
Once you get the cartridges in the printer, look out for this error message:
“Error Number : 6502
A problem has occurred with the printer mechanism. Cancel printing and turn off the printer. Wait a few moments, then turn the power back on. If the problem persists, contact one of the service centers.”
This happens because there is an optical sensor inside the printer, and if there is to much light getting inside the printer (via the open or cracked lid) this error message will pop up:
You can easily remedy this issue by modding the case, or by using a piece of cloth to cover the exposed area. If the lights start flashing like crazy at you, the printer must be restarted with the excess light eliminated. Do your best to get the lid to close at least partially.
Press down on the cartridges until you hear an audible “click” – or at least feel one. All the red lights should be lit up showing a good connection.
Routing Tubing – Cartridge Cover Trick – (Final) Step 4:
Now simply route the tubing out of the printer as you see fit – we think the natural fit is to the right of the printer, but you can experiment to see what works best for you. You may have to mold the included metal bracket to suit your needs. In this configuration the lid almost closes completely.
Making the printer think the cover is closed…
The “printer cover latch” needs to be fooled into thinking the printer cover is closed (since the lid cannot be closed with tubing coming out of it) – simply take one of the shipping plugs that was removed from the external ink tanks and insert it into the latch area with the included tweezers. The printer will now think the printer cover is all-the-way closed, and your printer will function normally. There is the added benefit - a partially closed lid protects the under-side of the print head by keeping dust and particles out of the “print-track”.
Now start printing. You might need to make some color adjustments in the printer driver software, and you might want to experiment with different print settings (like glossy setting for plain paper). Print quality of both photos and text documents were solid. Use good paper and photos will last forever.
We know that compatible cartridges are cheap for this print series ($5.00 each, $25 a set), and refilling is one way to go, but if you print more than a ream of paper in a 2 month period, a CI system is a great alternative to buying cartridges repeatedly, and dealing with refilling hassles are a thing of the past. This system just sits there and works.
No more cartridges…
Suffering from “cartridge confusion?” Well, no more!
No more late night, or weekend trips to track down an ink cartridge (included chips auto reset) when one runs out. Canon makes it so the empty cartridge must be replaced before the printer will function (think of it as holding your printer hostage). Gone are the days when you could print your report (that is due in 15 minutes) in simply blue ink.
Overall this system is an excellent value and will pay for itself quickly. If you can follow directions, and are mildly proficient at problem solving, installation can be done by anyone.
If you would rather use Canon brand ink cartridges, or compatible 3rd party alternatives, get your cartridges here.
Full video on installation:
Filed under: Canon, Cartridge Info, Continuous Ink Systems, Inkjet Printers, Reviews Tagged: | bulk ink, Canon, Canon CIS, Canon CISS, canon ip4600, Canon ip4600 CIS, canon ip4700, Canon iP4700 CIS, Canon Pixma iP4600, Canon Pixma iP4600 CIS, Canon Pixma iP4700, Canon Pixma iP4700 CIS, cheap ink, CI System, CIS, CISS, CLI-221, cli-221 CIS, CLI-221C, CLI-221M, cli-221y, cli221, continuous ink system, iP4600, iP4600 CIS, iP4700, ip4700 CIS, PGI-220, pgi220, pixma