Review: Inside The HP 94 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C8765W) – Cracked Open

Inside the HP 94 (half-full) ink cartridge.

Internal structure of the HP 94 black ink cartridge.  The sponge is large, but it is only half filled.

HP 94 black ink cartridge retail price on the HP website.

HP 94 black ink cartridge retail price on the HP website.

Run of the mill cartridge released back when HP was experimenting with small (HP 92), medium (HP 94), and large (HP 96) ink volume sizes. The HP 94 black is the mid-range cartridge (*note, not all HP printers can use the HP 96 high yield – full –  black inkjet print cartridge; in some cases, the HP 94 is the best you can do).  Try to shy away from printers that can only use this cartridge (for black) and look for printers that can also use the HP 96 black ink cartridge for maximum value.

HP 94 ink cartridge exploded view.  There are five refill holes present, and one giant sponge.

Removal Of Top Of Cartridge

We managed to get this top off with a screwdriver (normally, and usually it takes a dremel).  There was much prying, and it took some real force, but we managed to get it off in one piece.  It will not go back on the cartridge without glue, and that may not be enough to hold, so this cartridge is no longer usable for refilling or re-manufacturing.

Hewlett Packard (HP) 94 Black Ink Cartridge Open And Exposed

The HP 94 has a full sponge. Good for refilling.

HP 94 cartridge highlights:

Uses durable pigment based inks.  Pigment inks will clog inkjet printers – a fact of life – so basically replacing the print head with every cartridge is a good application.  Pigment inks are noted for their longevity, and resistance to smearing, however they will eventually hopelessly clog the print head.  Since the print head is on the cartridge, the “heads” are replaced every time you replace the cartridge with a new one.


Color: Black
Part Number: (C8765W), HP 94
Ink Type: Pigment based ink
HP 94 Ink Volume: 11ml
Page Yield: 480 pages*

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $23.99
Street price: $19.68

* that 480 page estimate is (impressive) from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 93 tri-color ink cartridge, or the HP 95 tri-color ink cartridge, or the HP 97 tri-color inkjet print (color) cartridge which we cracked open here.

For Refillers:

Refilling is easy if you know where to drill.  There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only three (3) of the holes. We suggest using the top most holes since they are  closer to where the ink will exit the cartridge. Refill kits can be a hassle, but are worth it if you are on a tight budget.

Where to refill the HP 94 black inkjet print cartridge - refill holes for the HP 94 ink cartridges

Bottom two (2) holes can probably be used, but were not when cartridge was filled by HP

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.

HP 94 black ink cartridge contacts.

If these contacts become damaged, the cartridge may not work.

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, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

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

HP hewlet packard 94 inside the black ink cartridge from HP

If the printhead becomes damaged, the cartridge may not function correctly.

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 94 black ink cartridge expiration date.

Is the expiration date a self-destruct code for the HP 94 black cartridge?

Compatible With:

Specifications and warranty info:

Page yield info:,st=cartridge,ss=C8765W

Compare prices here.


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