Knowledge Base and Forums/Livescribe Forums/Livescribe Product Information

Ink refills - quality doesn't last the distance

Robert Hind
posted this on May 13, 2012 14:59

I'm very disappointed with what seems to be very poor quality with ink refills available for the Live Scribe pen. For example ..today I put a new refill in (my last couple of refills hadn't run out but the ink flow was so inconsistent and far from smooth) and it started out beautifully smooth with crisp lines but after five pages of writing (A5 lined journal) the quality had deteriorated to the extent that I just about need to replace the refill even though it clearly has not run out of ink.

Is this a known issue? Is it being addressed? Is there an alternate refill available. For other writing purposes I've found that Monte Verde (?) produce very smooth reliable refills. [I have no connection with Monte Verde other than having bought their products].

 

Comments

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Jeff
Livescribe

Hi Robert,

Sorry to hear about your experience with the ink refill.  Please contact cs@livescribe.com.  They should be able to assist you with your issue.

Thank you,

Jeff

May 14, 2012 10:01
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Richard Wilson

Hi, Robert:

 

I have complained to Livescribe about this problem as well, and it applies to all of the ink refils they had on the market as of Fall 2011. Customer Service has called (and they were very polite), and we've talked about it -- but I know of no "in-house" solution at this point. My solution was to order from Starminen. Swiss made refils fit and work perfectly, with a very smooth flow of ink. DigitalStar refils work perfectly: http://www.starminen.ch/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=13&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=4&lang=en.

Rich

May 22, 2012 12:07
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Greg Gearing

I was having a similar problem and I think that it is the oil from my hand that was making the paper slightly slicker causing the pen to skip.  I found that if I place another piece of paper under my palm/wrist so that I was not touching the Livescribe paper that the skipping problem was eliminated.  This is really only a temporary fix, so thanks Richard for a source for better refills and better ink.  LiveScribe, I hope you can fix the problem and sell better quality ink refills.

June 06, 2012 18:24
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Robert Hind
Livescribe very kindly provided me some replacment refills. The refills are fine rather than medium which I'm pleased about (why are the fine refills normally only available in the US?). So far the quality appears ok ...but I've only written about 5 pages with the new refill and the old ones started to deteriorate after about 6 (journal) pages. While oil from my hands may be a factor with the combination of Livescribe refills and stationary I don't have problems with other pens and other stationary so if this was the case it is still (as far as I'm concerned) a product issue. I've ordered and am awaiting supplies of an alternate product. In the meantime I'll monitor the perfromance of the fine refills that Livescribe supplied.
June 06, 2012 19:59
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Robert Hind

Sure enough even the replacement fine refills haven't lasted the distance although they have lasted longer that the medium refills. Once the quality started to deteriorate I tried cleaning the nib and using paper under my wrist, as suggested by Greg Gearing, but it didn't help and when the paper was too close to the nib caused some writing not to be recorded.

June 09, 2012 00:47
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David Seese

I was able to solve the problem by using a Cross mini ballpoint refill meant for the Cross Tech 3 pen. This refill is too long for the LIvescribe pen, but I cut it to the correct length and it fit perfectly. The smoothness and ink consistency is far better.

August 05, 2012 07:31
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Robert Hind
Based on a suggestion from another LiveScribe user I ordered Smartminen refills and I've been usin them since June. I'm very happy with them. I won't be buying LiveScribe refills again although I'm very happy with other LiveScrie products.
August 05, 2012 13:51
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi David and Robert,

Thank you very much for posting your suggestions here.  I'm sure other users looking for ink alternatives will be quite appreciative as well!

Best,

Priscilla

August 06, 2012 13:42
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Damona Sain

Starminen doesn't have refills for Echo:

DigitalStar for PULSE SMARTPEN from Livescribe

 

Price: 3,00 €
5 pieces in packaging

Anoto zertifiziert

Special Ball Pen Refill - Authentic and durable digital pen refill in well proven StarMinen quality

Digital Refill only applicable for

  • PULSE SMARTPEN

 

Just thought you folks would like to know.  Also, they are in Switzerland and Germany, so I'm assuming shipping is pretty steep? 

August 10, 2012 14:43
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Damona Sain

This is a question for David Seese (or anyone who knows an answer).  Other than online, where do you find those Cross mini refills?  What do you use to cut them?  Thanks!

August 10, 2012 14:54
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David Seese

I don't know where to get the refills other than online, sorry. I got mine from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KPR7YG/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00).

I cut the refill to length with wire cutters, which flattened the end of the tube as expected. I then used pliers to open up the tube again and  inserted a mini screwdriver into the end of the tube to make it round again. I also used a metal file to smooth the edge. Other than getting lots of ink all over the screwdriver, it seemed to work okay.

August 10, 2012 15:17
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Jenean Mason

I'm wondering if the Starminen will work in the Echo. Since the refills are similar to Livescribe's refill and their refills are for both pens, I thinking that the Starminen digital pen (anoto) refills will work in the Echo.  I'm hoping they have a US distributor (locally is even better).  Does anyone know of a US distributor?  Thank you.

August 28, 2012 07:29
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Anand Ghody

It took three days for the Ink to start having problems. 

The ink issue should be the cheapest and easiest thing to resolve.

If you can't write with the pen what good is it?

smart pen - dumb ink.

August 28, 2012 16:13
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Robert Hind
Just as the refills you buy from Livescribe are for either the Pulse or the Echo so are the StarMinen refills. There is only one size that fits both. In terms of finding as US distributor ...why bother? They're available online at a good price and not that expeensive to have sent to you.
August 28, 2012 19:12
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Jenean Mason

@Robert Hind  I'm thinking that if I have problem with the product it would be easier to return to a US distributor than ship it back to Switzerland.

August 29, 2012 04:45
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Tom Karasmanis

I also find the Livescribe refills not up to par. They are equivalent to a mediocre quality ballpoint, although on really nice paper, they write smoothly. I'm going to give Starminen a try!

August 29, 2012 23:03
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Claudia Morgan

I also went to Starminen and bought a refill -- EXCELLENT !! Really. 

I also purchased a couple of dozen refill packs (5 pens to a pack) and am offering them on eBay.  Just in case you don't want to have to cover the shipping cost from Switzerland.  Just go to eBay and search Starminen livescribe and you should find it.

October 03, 2012 19:17
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Jenean Mason

@Claudia M.  I'm glad the Starminen worked for you.  I have some questions.  Are you in the United States?  If so, how long did it take for the order to arrive?  What was the total in US dollars? I want to ask my employer to consider ordering from them.   Thanks!

October 05, 2012 07:12
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Claudia Morgan

I **am** in the United States and Starminen is in Switzerland.  I don't recall how much the refills sold for as the price was in Euros and there was tax and shipping costs attached as well.  The hassle of it all (cost and shipping wait) is what prompted me to buy a few dozen and sell them on eBay, so that it would be quicker and easier for other folks who did not want handle international finance and shipping.  Surprisingly they have sold faster than I had imagined.

October 05, 2012 16:46
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Tom Karasmanis

I bought the Starminen refills ... ordered right from Germany ... and I love them. They write very smoothly. I bought 4 packs of 5 and the shipping to Canada was 6 euro, so about $7-8. A bit pricey, but looking at the total cost, it was worth it. They were sent by mail and took about 2, maybe 3 weeks. If you are tired of the LiveScribe ones, get these.

October 05, 2012 18:57
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Tom Karasmanis

er ... right from Switzerland ... sorry ... I think they are made in Germany!

October 05, 2012 18:57
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Claudia Morgan

The refills that I am selling on eBay are going surprisingly fast.  Since the demand doesn't seem to slow down (a sale or two a day), I am continuing to reorder from Starminen. 

So if someone reads these postings and doesn't see the refills listed, it is probably because I am awaiting for the shipment from Switzerland to arrive.  You can contact rhythmgrrrl (my eBay handle) and I will let you know when the refills are available.

Someday Livescribe will get their ink act together and we won't have to go to a third party. <sigh>

October 25, 2012 08:02
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Anja Presson

I am having a horrible experience with ink refills.  First I tried refills from a third party (cheaper) and I went through about 1 a week.  Frustrated with those results I tried livescribe ink refills and they are even worse!  I just put a new one in yesterday, and I have to stop my work and scribble like heck for a few minutes, after nearly every sentence!!  

This is very embarrassing and annoying in meetings.  Needless to say, none of my clients want to buy an echo smart pen because while they do all kinds of fancy things, they lack in their fundamental purpose.  They can't write!!!  

Because I'm constantly trying to get the pen to write, I have ended up breaking my pen by trying to shake the ink down.  Bleh!!!  Guess it is back to the fujitsu tablet laptop for me.

January 18, 2013 13:18
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Damona Sain

Anja,

 

Hope you will read all the older posts about this...the Starminen refills work very well and fit both the Echo and Pulse (don't know about Sky--anyone here know for those who are brave enough to adopt Livescribe new technology--not me!).  I do prefer the fine point, but they are only available through the Livescribe website and Starminen does not have them.

January 19, 2013 08:22
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Илья Кудрявцев

There are excellent quality (and even cheap!) gel refills
(of the D1 size that fit Livescribe pens)
in Rakuten internet shop (Japan),

for example this:
http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/atn/item/r4c7p/
http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/bungle/item/936261/
http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/menet/item/lhrf-20c4/
To ship items worldwide from Japan stores I use Tenso.com
(but some sellers may ship items to USA)

 And the same items but 3-4 times more expensive in GB  
http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/D1-Multipen-Refills.html

You need to cut off end of D1 refill because it is a bit longer then Livescribe.  

OHTO refills (0.4 mm) is the best and extra-thin,
Zebra 0.5 is good too (I found Zebra 0.4 mm is the same as 0.5)
Unfortunately, I don't try Pilot refills.

Happy shopping Smile :)

March 11, 2013 16:57
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Generic Refills

You can use D1 refills if they are cut-down to 57 mm length.

As several posters have noted, standard D1 ball point pen refills (2.3 mm diameter, 67 mm length) will work in our Livescribe pens if they are shortened to 57 mm.  Some care must be taken not to get ink spillage and to make sure that the shortened refill does not interfere with the pressure transducer that turns on the IR light for the pen's camera.

Livescribers deserve to have access to smooth-writing ball point pen refills!

 I used to put up with the sub-par refills from Livescribe because having my writing automatically sync to the cloud is ... awesome!  (I recently upgraded my Pulse to one of the new Sky WiFi pens).

But,  I prefer to write with nice refills.  The way a good tip glides across your paper... that is your primary experience while writing.   So I've been shortening nice D1 refills for my Pulse & Sky WiFi pens for a while.  Then it occurred to me,

"Can't someone manufacture a nice D1 refill that is 57 mm long?"  

The short answer to that question is, "Yes! Buy the Swiss Starminen refills with the smooth-writing German ink that everyone is talking about."  

The longer answer is "Yes, but...

  • you have to buy a wholesale lot and
  • pay extra for a custom manufacturing run,
  • pay for premium German ink,
  • figure out stuff like escrow,
  • and the Harmonized Tariff Code of the United States (import duty),
  • and take the chance that the actual production run will be the same quality as the samples you've acquired and tested.  

Well, I took a chance and did all that!  

I asked the manufacturer of the standard D1 refills that I'd been using, "Can you make them for me with German ink but make them 57 mm in length?".  So now I've got a good number of smooth-writing, refills with blue German ink in both Fine (0.8 mm) and Medium (1 mm) tips.

I've checked them out with my own Pulse and Sky Wifi pens and  having German ink refills makes writing with my Livescribe pens actually enjoyable!

Smooth-writing generic refills with premium German ink are for sale on eBay.

Just search for, "Livescribe Generic Refills."   My eBay name is: "genericRefills"  

The smartest pens on the planet deserve to have smooth-writing refills.  

Don't let anyone tell you that you, "just have to write slower and press harder..."  Some people just don't care how their pens write but for me, its a quality of life issue!  You know what I mean! or else you wouldn't still be reading!

If there is enough interest (and I recoup enough of my initial investment) I can also order these refills with black or red German ink.  I hope you'll give them a try!

Sincerely, genericRefills

 

 

July 23, 2013 20:12
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Rebecca Garcia Marwig

will you be selling medium refills in Black?  I would like to try your "generic refills"

September 20, 2013 12:46
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Generic Refills

Rebecca,

Medium or fine tip Generic Refills with premium BLACK German ink are available from me at eBay.  Just search, "Livescribe generic refills" and you'll find them!  Check out our feedback, customers love writing with these refills.  These are also available directly from me,  check out my blog: genericRefills.org

Sincerely,

Generic Refills

October 04, 2013 07:47
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Scott Dyer
I have also been on a very frustrating journey with the skipping problem. Having read the other posts I purchased the cross mini refills for my Livescribe 3 pen. They are definitely a marked improvement over the Livescribe refills, but I am still having issues with skipping and I'm now thinking maybe it has to do with the paper. I did a test by using the cross refill on standard printer paper and had no issues. When I went back to the Livescribe paper it would start to skip again. I have found that writing lighter seems to help and the cross refills certainly have reduced the skipping significantly. However, it still happens enough to be frustrating a seriously detract from the writing experience. Next I am going to try it on some paper that I print myself and see if that makes a significant difference. If it does then I will know for certain that it has to do with the quality of paper in the LS notebooks as well as their low quality refills.
December 08, 2013 22:46
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April Emigh

After reading all the horror stories about Livescibe ink refills I bought some fine ink refills for my echo from  Starminen and unfortunately after using one of them for 5 classes it has now almost completely stopped writing. I really have to bear down hard just so I can see the imprint of what I am trying to write. What a pain. I spent over $100 on this pen just to be foiled by the ink. Shame on you Livescribe.  

January 23, 2014 11:12
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi April,

Some customers have reported a better writing experience with medium-point ink.  If you like, we might be able to send you a couple.  Please contact us at cs@livescribe.com to see what we can do for you.

Best,

Priscilla

January 23, 2014 15:23
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aljabri.aj

I bought blue medium-point and the ink quality still very disappointing. 

Unhappy

February 09, 2014 02:48
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April Emigh

Livescribe found my unhappy comment and sent me some medium point refills. I've only tried one and it worked GREAT. for about 5 pages. then it would stop working and I would have to scratch it really hard on the corner of the paper to get it to come back. then it would write very nice for a couple of paragraphs and then it'd stop and I'd have to scratch it again. Its a never ending loop. What a PAIN!!!

February 09, 2014 15:23
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Larry Dallen

Has anyone tried the Starimen or Cross refills in the LiveScribe 3 stylus? 

March 07, 2014 10:10
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Scott Dyer
I use the Cross refills and they work well.
March 07, 2014 12:01