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Zebra V-301


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#31 shamankl

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:16

i thing they fixed this problem by now, the on e i bout like a week ago as a temporary pen didn't have this problem anymore. I didn't leave it out for like 20 min but a good 5 min and it didn't dry up.

Luck me i guess?

#32 Chthulhu

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 04:30

I washed and flushed the second one, filled it with Waterman blue-black, and it's been working for about ten days. It does seem to have trouble keeping up (ink stops flowing after a paragraph or thereabouts), but storing the pen horizontally with the barrel end elevated seems to help.

Edited by Chthulhu, 22 July 2011 - 04:31.

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#33 Andy M-S

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 18:04

The Sheaffer pictured does not have a hooded nib, and I've used their school pens off and on for a long time (my first had the slightly "conical" ends, and I picked up an even older round-ended one that had the same open nib). It's been a long while (my spouse-to-be bought me a Mont Blanc in 1986), but I recall these as being excellent pens with a good feed.

Unfortunately, neither of the Zebras I've purchased write worth a darn. I guess I'm picky; I love how the Sheaffers write, and my Mont Blanc, but the Parker Vector I had was terrible, the Zebra is terrible, and I've also had some Lamy Safari-type pens that were poor on this count. Give me the old Sheaffers (I'm fond of 440s) for pens that always write.

As an interesting side note, the Zebra *does* write reliably (and with a fine, if slightly dry, line) IF you write with the back side of the nib. Who knows?
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#34 kurazaybo

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:46

The Sheaffer pictured does not have a hooded nib, and I've used their school pens off and on for a long time (my first had the slightly "conical" ends, and I picked up an even older round-ended one that had the same open nib). It's been a long while (my spouse-to-be bought me a Mont Blanc in 1986), but I recall these as being excellent pens with a good feed.

Unfortunately, neither of the Zebras I've purchased write worth a darn. I guess I'm picky; I love how the Sheaffers write, and my Mont Blanc, but the Parker Vector I had was terrible, the Zebra is terrible, and I've also had some Lamy Safari-type pens that were poor on this count. Give me the old Sheaffers (I'm fond of 440s) for pens that always write.

As an interesting side note, the Zebra *does* write reliably (and with a fine, if slightly dry, line) IF you write with the back side of the nib. Who knows?


Sorry, as i mentioned the pictures is of a look alike pen, the difference is exaclty the nib. There are (were?) some Sheaffer´s that have the same cap and barrel but the section and nib are different. Notably, the nib is hooded and semi closed around a fibrous wick feed.

Also, I forgot to mention that the world famous and incredibly awesome line of Pilot Varsity fountain pens use a wick feed.

I am also a big fan of the old Sheaffer 440 but, and this is a big *but* the section/nibs (keep in mind the inlaid nib is a single unit attached to the section) is famously unreliable. Some pens write like a dream while others are very unreliable. I have three and, though I have not had issues with intermitent ink flow, I have the opposite: excessive flow, which gives any ink a *double saturation* look. The revised 444 pens are, for me, the definition of pen perfection.

I will try my V 301 upside down, I really want to like it!!

#35 KrazyIvan

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:49

I bought one on Saturday to try for myself. It came with the black ink so maybe I will have a different experience.

#36 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:03

Mine works all right. I don't mind the color of the blue ink; the nib seems to write smoothly enough.

No broken tines yet. :P

#37 Chthulhu

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:42

My second one's still going strong with the Waterman blue-black. :-)
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#38 79spitfire

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:49

I did hack the feed and it did help. I opened up the air vents that run up the bottom of the feed with a pocket knife and carved a bit of plastic from the cartridge nipple and from the wick it self. I detailed it in this thread Other Zebra thread If your getting these cheap enough it could be a good victim for experimenting with inks. The nibs aren't remarkable, but they do work, and are smooth.

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#39 Bill32164

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:24

Well, I came across this review while looking for ink cartridges for my V-310. Great review. I found one of at Walgreen's tonight when I stopped to buy a notebook that I found on FPN in another forum. I guarantee the quality of these pens is typical Chinese quality. Cap hold/release is bad, nib is very basic plain nail nib. After testing this pen for awhile and tiring of the skips I decided to start the pen right. I removed the cartridge and soaked the nib in alcohol. Then I cleaned the entire nib in hot water and scrubbed it with a soft tooth brush. I dried it and let all the water wick out by propping it up in a small container stuffed with paper towel. After about an hour I reinstalled the cartridge. It took about as much writing to fill a 3 inch by 5 inch card until ink to flow. I could write immediately, but the ink was very watery from being mostly water. Now the pen writes fine. I filled a steno pad sheet with letters, numerals and doodles. So far the pen writes fairly smoothly on junky kind of paper and it does not skip. I tried it on good paper and it writes about as easy and smoothly as my old Shaeffer's. It is no Waterman by a long shot, but for an everyday work pen as I hope to use it I think it will be fine. If I remember tomorrow after I come home from using it at work I'll post the results. For $3.00 it is still better than a ball point (IMHO). I know there are BP and gel users out there and there are some gels I like, but I like the fountain pens better.

#40 Bill32164

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 22:33

I used this pen all day at work writing enough to fill about 3 pages of a legal pad. The pen wrote flawlessly all day and pretty darn good for a pen costing less than $5.00! I do not like the charcoal grey color of what Zebra calls black, but it will do for everyday writing. I do not need worry about ruining a Waterman. I do not need to worry about someone who thinks they can write with a FP and pick it up to use and bend the nib. I only need keep it filled with ink and if it does get damaged, $5.00 for a new one ( the price of about one Starbuck's cup of caffine).

I can feel a bit of nib scraping or scratching on the paper and it does make a small scratching sound,, nothing major. I even tried it on a Moleskine. I really like that this ink will not bleed through the pages like my Waterman and Pilot inks do. I can go on about the over rating of Moleskine's; that's a post all of it's own. Moleskines are great notebooks, but I am also trying others. Everyone has their favorite pen and notebook.

I will not hesitate to purchase another one or 2 of the Zebra V-301 fountain pens for every day use. For now I need to find a cartridge supplier.

Regards,
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#41 dannyt.33

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 02:12

Great review! And I must say, where I live I've never seen a fountain pen in a store to date, especially not in packaging like that :glare:

#42 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 14:25

For now I need to find a cartridge supplier.

Regards,
Bill


This is where pipettes and syringes are our friends.

#43 Chthulhu

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 17:27

This is where pipettes and syringes are our friends.


Agreed. The ink in the OEM cartridges is far from wonderful in any case.

You can also pick up the rollerball and highlighter pens in the same series and you'll have two refillable cartridges for each pen you acquire, and in spite of their different stock numbers, they will all fit all three types of pen.
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#44 Bill32164

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 23:21


For now I need to find a cartridge supplier.

Regards,
Bill


This is where pipettes and syringes are our friends.


I thought about the syringe method. That way I can use my Waterman ink.

#45 Easy Writer

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 17:54

I put a converter into my Zebra 301 and it works great! I wanted to be able to use a better quality ink (Parker Quink in black) which would flow better so instead of trying to find a cartridge, I found an extra Chinese converter and it installed without issue no more skips and I can put more ink than what the cartridge held! I suppose a platinum converter would work, but I haven't tried it yet, though I am ordering several platinum converters for some of my fountain pens. I will try a platinum converter when I receive them and let you know whether they fit or not? Someone on here may have already tried it, but I haven't read about it yet? Cheers! :thumbup:

Edited by Easy Writer, 09 October 2011 - 17:59.


#46 79spitfire

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 18:12

I use a syringe to fill mine with Noodler's black. Works good. Pen isn't worth the $$ for even a cheap converter. If it wrote better, perhaps...

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#47 KrazyIvan

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 15:43

Mine has been skipping quite a bit on Rhodia Dotpad paper. I looked at the nib undel my loop and it looks like it has a little baby's bottom. With more absorbent paper, the pen does not skip as much, so it seems to confim the factory baby's bottom built in. Where are my buff sticks?

#48 jhazelwood

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 22:50

I picked up one today at Walgreens, I tossed the ink and cleaned the cart with bleach and water. I filled it with Baystate Blue and it is running fairly well, still some water dilution in the feed but otherwise it is about the same as any other cheap pen. I think it will get better as the ink fully saturates the feed.

#49 chris redfield

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 00:13

Honestly this pen is worth a try for a $3. Many people complain of much more expensive pens not working well. I bought one at Walgreens yesterday, and my experience has been nothing but positive. It wrote instantly after inserting the cartridge with no skipping. The nib is smoother than some Lamy pens I have. The cap is loose when posted. However the pen body may be long enough to write with unposted.

Possibly they have improved the quality since the initial production run. If not, this would not be the only fountain pen with poor Q.C.

#50 AlexandraM

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 03:02

I was very disappointed with this pen when I found it in Staples. It seems to require a lot of pressure to start and keep writing; though when it is working, it lays down a nice, think line reminiscent of a much more expensive pen.

I am happy to hear that some have had success with using a converter or simply refilling the included ink in the cartidges. Soon I'll dig out that pen, flush the nib and feed and try a wetter ink. I would love to be able to use the Z-301, it's a cheap but sturdy pen with a nice think nib flow.
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#51 jhazelwood

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:51

Mine worked for about an hour with the BSB, this pen is a POS. Zebra should be embarrassed by this product.

#52 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 13:02

Mine was just a little skippy - but only at first. Without changing inks or flushing, with some use it got much better, and now starts right away, even after being neglected for days.

#53 WayTooManyHobbies

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:04

Call me crazy - but I've been using mine as a dip pen to try ink samples. I'm just getting in to fountain pens, and it's nice to have one that I don't need to be concerned about.

Eventually, I may empty the cartridges and fill them with interesting ink (thanks, Goulet samples!), but for now having something cheap that I can rinse off to try another color has been very convenient.

#54 mindlinks

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:33

Hi all, this is my first post. I thought i'd chime in with my experience with this pen. I bought it today, not having read any reviews. The very same problems occurred that seem to have plagued most of the posters--i.e. very difficult to start any ink flow, when it did start it skipped, laid down a very dry line, in other words very unsatisfactory. This was quite unexpected, because judging from my positive experiences with zebra ballpoints (I'm now reformed in terms of eschewing ballpoints when possible) I was excited to see the pen in the drugstore i was in. I had expected much more out of the fountain pen, and after half an hour of frustration and cussing I looked up the review here and saw the same problems mirrored. Anyway, I recalled the advice I read elsewhere about flushing new pens; apparently some have some residual oils left over from the manufacturing process. So I soaked the nib in warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid (not automatic dishwashing soap), followed by flushing, followed by soaking in alcohol and further flushing. Voila! the pen is now functioning very well, lays down a moderately wet line, starts every time. The whole process only took about 30 minutes.

Hope this is of some help for those still having problems. It's too bad to see a decent product go down the tubes if it's not warranted. If anyone has any luck with improving the Zebra's performance, I'd love to hear about it.

#55 chris redfield

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:10

It's a shame that this pen is not better. It could have been a good opportunity to re-introduce fountain pens to the general pen user.

Many people who are otherwise not pen nerds are huge fans of the Zebra F-301 ballpoint. I work at a hospital and plenty of doctors, EMTs, nurses, &c refuse to use anything else. These people occupy the the midway point between FPN users and people who never give pens a second thought.

I really did not have any problems with either of my V-301s. Evidently many people have though. Unfortunately the average person is going to try pen for 2-3 minutes and then never try another fountain pen.

#56 lovemy51

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 08:16

well, i had mine for a couple of months now. the first thing i did was flush the cartridge and refilled it with PRDCSSB. nothing but good things to say about this little pen. starts every time (even after sitting for a long period of time -i mean, i don't use it in my rotation, only when i'm sitting at the desk and reach for any pen around that's around-, no skipping, i like the funny looks of it...

i guess if one uses the ink that comes with it, then u'll have all the issues mentioned here.

yet, i don't recommend this pen to anyone -i figured one can buy a cheap (real or fake) Hero 616 pen that writes just as well, if not better, and cost a lot less... and has a nice retro look!!!... :happyberet: ... unless you are like a lot of us and just want to own another piece of stainless steel tube with a nib and a reservoir.
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#57 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 16:41

What did the Zebra cost again--- three bucks? You can't get a genuine Hero 616 for less, only the fakes.

Both the Hero 616 and the Z-pen are decent cheap writers. The Z seems a little bit finer and dryer, and then there is the difference in look and finish. I guess that's where esthetics come in.

#58 lovemy51

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 06:50

What did the Zebra cost again--- three bucks? You can't get a genuine Hero 616 for less, only the fakes.

Both the Hero 616 and the Z-pen are decent cheap writers. The Z seems a little bit finer and dryer, and then there is the difference in look and finish. I guess that's where esthetics come in.

hello Sailor. i find my Z wetter and wider than the Hero 616 (the real jumbo one) :hmm1: .

edited to add: the Z cost me almost $5 american at Walgreens.

Edited by lovemy51, 14 November 2011 - 06:51.

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#59 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 16:21


What did the Zebra cost again--- three bucks? You can't get a genuine Hero 616 for less, only the fakes.

Both the Hero 616 and the Z-pen are decent cheap writers. The Z seems a little bit finer and dryer, and then there is the difference in look and finish. I guess that's where esthetics come in.

hello Sailor. i find my Z wetter and wider than the Hero 616 (the real jumbo one) :hmm1: .

edited to add: the Z cost me almost $5 american at Walgreens.


Interesting! Is this with the original ink? Do you have the black or the blue?

I have the blue, which really does write in a hairline, as opposed to my somewhat wetter 616s.

But how cool is it that you can buy a fountain pen, no matter how cheap, at WALGREEN'S? :vbg:

#60 Messmer

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 23:14

The Zebra FP is a (bleep). I got two several month ago at rock bottom price. First, it is a nail to write. Second, it does not take international cartridge. Third, if I can't put a cartridge converter to it... I is no use.

A selectum FP work better for 1$... Selectum is a horrible design but it work.
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