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Replacing Cartridges or Filling Converter Pumps

Whether you are filling a converter pump or replacing a disposable cartridge, the process is basically the same. If you're filling a pen that has an internal filling system (and doesn't come apart), the procedure is similar, but requires a few additional steps and precautions. See the note for those at the bottom of the page.

Step 1. First, remove and set the cap aside.

Step 2. Next, grasp the pen barrel with one hand, then the section (the part piece above the nib), and rotate the parts counter-clockwise until the parts become separated. You should now have the barrel in one hand, and the nib, section and cartridge or converter in the other.

Step 3. The next step depends on whether you're using a disposable cartridge, or a converter pump (also called a reservoir):

a. Disposable Cartridge: If your pen was shipped with an standard disposable cartridge and you're going to replace it with a new one, simply pull off the old one, then press the new cartridge onto the feeder nipple located inside the nib assembly. If you look into the back end of the section, you will see a round black "tenon" recessed inside. The narrow end of the cartridge needs to be pressed securely onto the tenon so it seats securely. The end of the cartridge that will seat onto the tenon is sealed, and will take a little pressure to seat fully.

b. Refillable Converter Pump: If your pen was shipped with or you want to replace the disposable cartridge with a refillable converter pump, you will need to have a bottle of ink on hand to fill / refill the pump. To refill the pump, first make sure the piston or o-ring inside the pump is moved all the way to the BOTTOM. If it's not, twist the top knob at the top counter-clockwise to move it to the bottom. Then to fill it with ink, simply insert the pump partway into the ink bottle, and turn the knob clockwise this time to PULL the ink up into the reservoir. Continue twisting the knob until the converter is full. Once full, pull it out of the ink and wipe the excess from the outside.



NOTE: Filling a converter pump can be a messy endeavor. So if you've not done it before, or don't want the ink to stain your fingers, be sure to wear latex gloves, and do the filling over something you don’t mind throwing away afterwards. Also make sure to have a few tissues or paper towels on hand to help with the clean up.

Step 4. CHARGE THE NIB. Before reassembling the pen, you need to "charge" the nib. Basically what you are doing here is making sure the ink is starting to flow down the feed and to the nib. If you're using a disposable cartridge, just squeeze the cartridge to push some ink into the feed to get the ink flow started. If using a converter pump, twist the top knob counter clockwise slightly to push ink down into the feed.

CAUTION: Sometimes it takes a while for the ink to flow, so don't hurry the process by trying to squeeze too much ink into the feed. Once you've started it (by squeezing the cartridge or twisting the converter knob) set the pen aside (uncapped) for a few minutes. Then come back later and try writing with the pen. If it still doesn't want to come out, see the "Additional Steps" below.

Step 5. After charging the nib and the ink is flowing, reattach the section (with the cartridge or converter pump installed) back into the main body or barrel of the pen.

Additional steps... If the ink doesn't seem to want to flow, then try these additional steps:

1. Sometimes I find you can help the process along by softly wiping or dabbing the top of the nib with a tissue or paper towel to check if it's getting any ink at all. If it has a little ink on it, the ink is starting to flow, so just give it a little more time. If not, then go to the next step.

2. Dip the pen nib point into some room temperature water to help prime the feed mechanism. You will know the feeder mechanism is primed when colored ink appears in the water.

3. If you installed a disposable cartridge, you will need to make sure when you pressed it onto the tenon, the tenon penetrated the plastic and the ink will flow. After you go through steps 5 & 6, if the pen doesn't write, you may need to remove the cartridge to check that the seal in the tenon broke through.

4. You may need to check the alignment of the nib to the feed. This requires a very good eye, or better yet (especially for us old guys) a magnifying glass or "lope". The goal here is to look into the tiny circle at the bottom of the slit on the nib to see if the feed groove is lined up vertically with the slit in the nib. If you don't see a line through the hole, then the feed is not lined up. Twist the nib slightly to one side or the other (you can look at it from the underside (feed side) to help tell which way you need to twist it). Once they are lined up, the ink should start to flow again.

Filling or Refilling a pen with a built-in filling system (bulb, button, piston, lever)...

Fountain pens with internal filling systems (bulb, lever, or piston), take a little different approach, but is somewhat the same as filling a converter. But here instead of taking the pen apart, you're dipping the nib and part of the section into the ink (bottle).

How deep... I often get inquires from people that say they have trouble filling their pens. Usually it's because they aren't dipping their pens deep enough into the ink. You MUST dip the lower end of the SECTION into the ink in order for it to create suction. If you don't the feed will continue to suck air, instead of ink. There's no way around it.

How long... Once you start filling the pen, continue pumping (bulb), pushing (button) or turning (piston), or flipping (lever) as long as you're seeing air bubbles coming up in the ink. Once the bubbles stop, the internal reservoir is full.

Clean up... Once filled, you want to wipe the section and nib to remove any excess ink.

Other Related Links:

General Fountain Pen Maintenance

Cleaning Converters

Fountain Pen Help Line

Fountain Pen Page

If you need further assistance, send me an email.


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