Cleaning out a Canon printhead

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I have a couple of Canon 4-cartidge printers, a S400 and a BJC-3000. On the BJC-3000, it will not print black. There is black ink in the cartridge, and the other colors print OK.

Rather than spend $57 (CompUSA price) for a BJ-33, which contains a new printhead and 4 cartidges, I would like to attempt to somehow clear the printhead of whatever is blocking it.

Any suggestions on how to do this without totally screwing up the cartidge?

Just a note: The printer was $7 at a local thrift store. It would not feed paper, but I found the cause of that - a leaf in the paper input tray. I know that you can get new printers for $40 or so, but they use 2 cartidges - color and black which are about $30-40 each. On these Canon printers, individual color carts are between $10 and $14.

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
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Try cleaning the printhead wi

Try cleaning the printhead with a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol.

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dankephoto's picture
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soak your head?

Doc W. suggests isopropyl alcohol on a swab, but if the heads are separate from the tanks couldn't one dunk and soak the entire heads assembly? (in isopropyl alcohol, or even distilled water?)

Just an idea for which I welcome feedback, I have no experience with such a technique. I've only ever used inkjet printers with ink tanks integral with the head(s) and I'd be rather reluctant to dunk-n-soak one of those. Heck, a quick google should turn up some useful infos . . . too lazy . . . must instead cuss out . . .

@%^*I)*&%)**(^^*& inkjet printer heads!!! I normally only use toner-based printers, the hassle factor is so much lower! Heh heh, of course I'm still printing only in monochrome, haven't ponied up the requisite $$$ for color yet.

dan k

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eeun's picture
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I just found [url=http://www.

I just found this site a couple days ago, when I was trying to get my ancient Stylus Colour 600 working with some new ink carts.

Isopropyl has worked for me in the past, but I have had better results (especially after visiting the site above) with ammonia-based window cleaner.

After an hour's work, and $7 worth of new ink from ebay, my eight year old Epson prints like new.

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Fortunately

Fortunately, the printhead is separate from the ink tanks on these two printers.

Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: soak your head?

dankephoto wrote:

...couldn't one dunk and soak the entire heads assembly? (in isopropyl alcohol, or even distilled water?)

Distilled water would be fine, but isopropyl would be out. Inside the cartridge carrier (the shell with the ink heads that the tanks snap into) are rubber gaskets that seal between the ink tanks and the heads. Isopropyl would dry out those seals, and potentially cause an inky mess inside the printer.

I've also seen special ink tanks, at least for Epson printers, that are filled with head-cleaning fluid instead of ink. Supposedly you print a couple full sheets solid color, and your heads end up clean. They might make a similar product for Canon printers.

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The Czar's picture
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Windex

If possible, spray some Windex in the heads and let it sit for, oh, 10-15 minutes. Then try to print. Any dried ink guck will be dissolved by the Windex.

Plus, if you use the scented kind, all your printouts will smell like Windex! Wink

Cheers,

The Czar

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Use only pure alcohol. Anyth

Use only pure alcohol. Anything else may leave a chemical residue. Rubbing alcohol won't attack rubber very aggressively, but I wouldn't soak it either.

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Brownian motion

I have had pretty good luck with soaking those inky bastards in some pretty hot water and leaving them in overnight. The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownian_motion will take care of the rest.

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The cleaning action of the un

The cleaning action of the universal solvent is not in question, it's getting the water OUT of the print head afterwards that's the problem. Alcohol will evaporate on it's own just fine and there's very little risk of corrosion.

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rck
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cleaning black print head

I had a problem with the black print head in a canon i850 printer.
I cut a small square piece of sponge just large enough to cover the black print head of the removable print assembly. I soak the small sponge in the black ink that is used to refil the black catridge.
I place this sponge over the print head. I then use the side of a small metal rod (eg a metal nail) to gently press and then release the pressure on the sponge. The effect is to alternately squeeze ink into the print head and then to soak the ink back into the sponge.
I repeat 50 times. Remove sponge. Do not wipe dry. Replace the print head and ink cartridges. Voila ! It print well in black.

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Posts: 13
cleaning Canon printhead

I have a Canon ip3000 printer. After a lot of use over the past year and a half, the printhead clogged and deep cleansing cycles didn't fix the problem. A new printhead did. I felt that I had nothing to lose in experminting on cleaning the old printhead.

I recharge the tanks using a syring and rarely get through the process without getting ink on my fingers. I'd found that Clorox, if used immediately, is a very effective cleaner. So I reasoned that it would clean the print head as well. I dabbed some on the unit with a cotton swap avoiding the print head itself. I then ran hot water through the print head from the cartridge side until the water ran through clean of traces of ink. I then shook as much water off as I could and set the printhead aside to dry. Later, I shook of some more water until none came out.

This seems to have worked as the nozzle checks are now just as good as when the printhead was new.

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cleaning canon print head

I just found this at http://www.maxpatchink.com/canon-tips.shtml.

Canon Printer Tips

Unclogging The Printhead - Three Methods

Canon printers have a semi-permanent printhead. It's the 'holder' that the ink cartridges (tanks) fit into. It can be removed fairly easily. Over time, it can and does become clogged, mainly from letting the printer set without use. You need to print both black and color at least once per week in order to prevent clogging and keep the ink flowing.

Normally you can clear up minor clogs and streaking by running the cleaning cycle found in your printer's software utility. For quick access to your printer's utility (drivers): In your browser's address bar type: control panel\printers and hit 'enter' on your keyboard. This will bring up a page with your installed printer's icon. Place your mouse cursor over the printer icon and 'right-click' on it. When the dropdown menu shows, click on 'properties'. This will bring up the printer utility. Look for the 'maintenance' tab and follow the cleaning prompts.

If the cleaning cycles don't do the trick in clearing up poor and incomplete output, don't give up and assume you'll need to buy a new print head (they often cost more than a new printer!). You can try the following as it will cause no harm: (we and many others have succesfully done this)

Remove the ink tanks from the printhead (tank holder) and seal them in a ziplock plactic bag. Set them aside, preferrably propped upright. Next remove the print head, it snaps out. Use the kitchen or other sink and turn the water on so that it is running slowly and that it is warm. Hold the print head, bottom facing down, and cup your hand under the running water so that the water fills it up and flows into the the print head. This will flush the ink out of the printhead. You'll need to turn the print head over, bottom side up, and flush it that way as well. You'll see when there is no more ink being flushed out.

You WILL need to do a final flush/rinse with some distilled, or purified water. This ensures that any risidual minerals or impurities of the tap water are flushed out of the print head. Set the print head on a paper towel to dry, drying time will vary. TIP: To expedite the drying process, shake the printhead vigorously as there is a fair amount of water retained after rinsing!

Place the printhead (tank holder) back in the printer and reinsert the inks tanks. The printer should automatically do a print head alignment. If it doesn't, manually perform a "Printhead Alignment" through the printer's utility. Next, run the "printhead cleaning" cycle and print a nozzle check.

Here's another, similar method:

Open the lid of the printer and when the print head moves to the left, remove the cartridges (tanks). You should then be able to easily remove the print head. It has the circuitry on it and on the bottom are the outlet nozzles.

Get a small, shallow pan and lay a couple of paper towels in the bottom. Heat up (via microwave) enough purified/bottled water to cover the paper towels. Set the print head on the towels. You should see ink 'bleeding' out. Move the print head to several different spots (about a minute each spot). This will dissolve the ink clogs. Remove the print head and gently dab it dry on fresh paper towels.

Place the print head back in the printer and insert the ink tanks.Run a print head alignment and a regular cleaning followed by nozzle check and test print(s). That should do it. If not, repeat the above procedure(s).

If the above two methods don't quite do the trick, try this:

Remove the ink tanks and printhead (cartridge holder) from the printer as instructed above. Get a small bowl, dish or pan, large enough to accommodate the printhead. Lay down a layer or two of paper towels in the bottom of the container to protect the printhead circuitry from contact damage.

Make up a 50/50 mixture of ammonia and distilled water, about a pint will do. Heat the mixture up in the microwave for about a minute or so, not boiling. Slowly pour over the paper towels so that you have approximately 1/2 inch mixture total. Set the printhead (cartridge holder) into the container and pour some of the remaining mixture over the top, just enough to wet it good. Let it soak for several hours (3-4) or overnight. You can move it slightly to a different spot every hour or so.

Remove the printhead and rinse thoroughly with distilled water. Shake it dry, set it on folded paper towels to air dry. Reinsert the printhead and ink tanks. The printer should do an automatic "Printhead Alignment", if not manually do so and run a cleaning cycle or two followed by printing a nozzle check pattern to check your progress. Repeat as necessary.
-------------------------------------------------------------

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Joined: Sep 30 2006
Posts: 1
Cleaning Canon mp700 print head

Thanks to hsweet for his "third solution".
I can confirm that it works for me with a blocked(black) Canon MP700 printhead.
I post this as a thanks and also to provide my input.
Since I got the printer I have filled it myself with
ink refill kits.
My modified hsweet 3procedure:
I observed, the self-earthing proceedures,avoided touching or wtting the contacts on the side of the unit,as descibed in the
canon manual.Dont know whether it is important here.Maybe not.
I find that the Canon manual in general is no use at all for print-head problems.Doesnt even tell you how to remove the print head or show a picture of it.
We all know why.
Being a chemist I have added some variations on hsweet that may help others.
Many hours of different approaches of my own and found on the net tried without anything really helping.
I modified hsweets approach as follows.
Placed the print head unit, outlet down on some dry folds of toilet paper(good stuff toilet paper).Using tap water, somewhat hard here in Denmark.(this was a mistake-use destilled water)
Boiled the water, added 50% concentrated(nominally 24,5%) ammonia.
Poured this over each print-head inlet. There is a rim that functions as a resevoir around each print head inlet. so that a slow stream of liquid filtered through the print-head and was absorbed by the paper at the outlet.Every few minutes moved the printhead to dry section of paper. Continued to add more solution. After 5-6 moves, no more ink was coming out of the outlets.
I then observed a precipitate in the ammonia water mixture.
So its probably important to use destilled water.
So I decided to do a 2 or 3 rinses of the printhead as before with 10% acetic acid to remove any possible precipitate I may have introduced.
After this I rinsed with water couple of times and then with cleaning solution for the printer which comes withsome refill inks I buy.
After printhead alignment, the black worked fine.
Thanks for your really useful info on this page.Saves time & megabucks

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Posts: 13
canon printhead cleaning

Gough & group

I am glad to see that you have had some success. And I suspect that taking the time to pour the solution through the printhead would be more effective than just a soak. I'd be cautious about heating the solution too much as the plastic might distort. Not good to breath in the heated amonia either!

By self earthing, I presume you mean grounding. I hadn't thought of that but avoid touching the electrical contacts simply by getting a good grasp on the frame of the printhead. After cleaning, I dry with a hairdryer being careful not to put too much heat on the unit.

I just had another problem that I thought was due to my printhead but it was just the red tank. You can only reink them just so ofter before the sponge no longer works.

Another problem that eventually has to be dealt with is the way that used ink from cleansing cycles is handled. Canon says there is a 'used ink reservoir' that has to be replaced (by them). It is actually just a sponge. But to get to it, you have to disassemble the case. There is some discussion of that at this website:
http://www.neilslade.com/Papers/inkjetstuff11.html The best way to put this off is to keep cleansing cycles, especially deep cleansing cycles to a minimum.

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Generic "stuff" Names

I imagine we all know names like, Windex, maybe even Isopropyl's < i.e. rubbing alcohol)- but "pure"ammonia??? Denatured??? "acedic" acid??? < which is, white vinegar).

Please, offer over-the-counter example 'brand names' along with your "science titles" for otherwise common household (cleaning) products.

Thanks

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Posts: 13
aftermarket Canon printer tanks for new models

When Canon started putting chips in their tanks, the tank competition either quit or became Canon tank resellers.

Well that is changing now. Swift Ink is selling tanks for the newer Canon printer models (i.e. CLI-8) with instructions for removing the chip from the Canon tank and putting it on the Swift Ink tank. Check it out at Swiftink.com. The prices are about $4 per tank. I'd be interested in hearing someone's experience in making this chip fix.

If this becomes a widespread countermeasure, it wouldn't surprise me to see Canon introducing a 'new model' where the change is to rivit the chip to the tank!

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Joined: Apr 22 2004
Posts: 379
Finally got the S400 working!

After replacing the printhead some time ago, it started to not print black again. After searching for a replacement printhead locally and not finding one, I bought an Epson Stylus Photo CX3800 all-in-one printer. Of course after we got the new printer, I found printheads for it at CompUSA. Sad

With some idle time over the last few days, I tried cleaning the printhead in the S400 again. I ran hot water in through the ink inlets and through the printhead several times over the course of several days. After each time, I sat the printhead with the nozzles resting on a paper towel to wick out the moisture. This afternoon, I placed the printhead back in the printer and installed 4 fresh third-party ink cartridges. After a couple of cleanings it prints pretty well.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and feedback!

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Posts: 2
Inkjet Woes

I got this idea the other day, about putting my clogged Canon i550 printhead into a jewelry cleaner (one of the vibrating ones), but what man has one of them laying around. Well I have a vibrating pad sander and an empty Blue Ridge Farms 1 pound Potato Salad container. They have a great potato salad. I get mine at ShopRite.

I'm gonna place the printhead into a solution of Isporopryl Alchol, and tape the thing to the sander. I will keep youze all posted.

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Posts: 13
how much shaking can a printhead handle?

Considering that the printhead dimensions are measured in microns, one should approach any shaking with caution. Perhaps some buffering between the sander and the printhead would keep things under control.

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Joined: Nov 15 2006
Posts: 2
Sh-Sh-Shakin

Yo! I'm thinking that the ink has weapons grade magnetic alloys that allow the print nozzle solenoids to move the ink thru the head. It is probably similar to the process that launches the roller coaster rides.
If the clog is inside the solenoid body the process will never work.

The Shaking in Isopropyl Alchohol has proven to be a failure. I secured the printhead inside the potato salad container with sponge material.

I amgoing to locate an older printhead and shake it with vinegar.

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Posts: 13
cleaning

Alcohol has been denegrated by others in favor of Amonia. But even amonia can be too strong. I have used 50% amonia with 50% distilled water and then just let it sit overnight.

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Posts: 1
how

i have an mp700 printer how do i remove the 'holder'that the ink cartridges fit into please?

cs
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Posts: 1
canon s750 printhead

I have a canon s750 photo printer and I have been unable to clear my print head. I printed a card and then did not print anything for a couple of weeks and then the black would not print, just the black. I have tried cleaning several times with 70% isopropyl alcohol and still have not been able to get the black to work. So should I let it soak for a day or so?

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Posts: 13
canon s750 printhead

Check this out:

I have a Canon ip3000 printer. After a lot of use over the past year and a half, the printhead clogged and deep cleansing cycles didn't fix the problem. A new printhead did. I felt that I had nothing to lose in experminting on cleaning the old printhead.

I recharge the tanks using a syring and rarely get through the process without getting ink on my fingers. I'd found that Clorox, if used immediately, is a very effective cleaner. So I reasoned that it would clean the print head as well. I dabbed some on the unit with a cotton swap avoiding the print head itself. I then ran hot water through the print head from the cartridge side until the water ran through clean of traces of ink. I then shook as much water off as I could and set the printhead aside to dry. Later, I shook of some more water until none came out.

This seems to have worked as the nozzle checks are now just as good as when the printhead was new.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.maxpatchink.com/canon-tips.shtml

Canon Printer Tips

Unclogging The Printhead - Three Methods

Canon printers have a semi-permanent printhead. It's the 'holder' that the ink cartridges (tanks) fit into. It can be removed fairly easily. Over time, it can and does become clogged, mainly from letting the printer set without use. You need to print both black and color at least once per week in order to prevent clogging and keep the ink flowing.

Normally you can clear up minor clogs and streaking by running the cleaning cycle found in your printer's software utility. For quick access to your printer's utility (drivers): In your browser's address bar type: control panel\printers and hit 'enter' on your keyboard. This will bring up a page with your installed printer's icon. Place your mouse cursor over the printer icon and 'right-click' on it. When the dropdown menu shows, click on 'properties'. This will bring up the printer utility. Look for the 'maintenance' tab and follow the cleaning prompts.

If the cleaning cycles don't do the trick in clearing up poor and incomplete output, don't give up and assume you'll need to buy a new print head (they often cost more than a new printer!). You can try the following as it will cause no harm: (we and many others have succesfully done this)

Remove the ink tanks from the printhead (tank holder) and seal them in a ziplock plactic bag. Set them aside, preferrably propped upright. Next remove the print head, it snaps out. Use the kitchen or other sink and turn the water on so that it is running slowly and that it is warm. Hold the print head, bottom facing down, and cup your hand under the running water so that the water fills it up and flows into the the print head. This will flush the ink out of the printhead. You'll need to turn the print head over, bottom side up, and flush it that way as well. You'll see when there is no more ink being flushed out.

You WILL need to do a final flush/rinse with some distilled, or purified water. This ensures that any risidual minerals or impurities of the tap water are flushed out of the print head. Set the print head on a paper towel to dry, drying time will vary. TIP: To expedite the drying process, shake the printhead vigorously as there is a fair amount of water retained after rinsing!

Place the printhead (tank holder) back in the printer and reinsert the inks tanks. The printer should automatically do a print head alignment. If it doesn't, manually perform a "Printhead Alignment" through the printer's utility. Next, run the "printhead cleaning" cycle and print a nozzle check.

Here's another, similar method:

Open the lid of the printer and when the print head moves to the left, remove the cartridges (tanks). You should then be able to easily remove the print head. It has the circuitry on it and on the bottom are the outlet nozzles.

Get a small, shallow pan and lay a couple of paper towels in the bottom. Heat up (via microwave) enough purified/bottled water to cover the paper towels. Set the print head on the towels. You should see ink 'bleeding' out. Move the print head to several different spots (about a minute each spot). This will dissolve the ink clogs. Remove the print head and gently dab it dry on fresh paper towels.

Place the print head back in the printer and insert the ink tanks.Run a print head alignment and a regular cleaning followed by nozzle check and test print(s). That should do it. If not, repeat the above procedure(s).

If the above two methods don't quite do the trick, try this:

Remove the ink tanks and printhead (cartridge holder) from the printer as instructed above. Get a small bowl, dish or pan, large enough to accommodate the printhead. Lay down a layer or two of paper towels in the bottom of the container to protect the printhead circuitry from contact damage.

Make up a 50/50 mixture of ammonia and distilled water, about a pint will do. Heat the mixture up in the microwave for about a minute or so, not boiling. Slowly pour over the paper towels so that you have approximately 1/2 inch mixture total. Set the printhead (cartridge holder) into the container and pour some of the remaining mixture over the top, just enough to wet it good. Let it soak for several hours (3-4) or overnight. You can move it slightly to a different spot every hour or so.

Remove the printhead and rinse thoroughly with distilled water. Shake it dry, set it on folded paper towels to air dry. Reinsert the printhead and ink tanks. The printer should do an automatic "Printhead Alignment", if not manually do so and run a cleaning cycle or two followed by printing a nozzle check pattern to check your progress. Repeat as necessary.
-------------------------------------------------------------

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Joined: Dec 16 2006
Posts: 1
Thanks - 5 minutes under the

Thanks - 5 minutes under the tap and the printer is as good as new! Now if I can just print off my Xmas cards.....

Cheers

Wink

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Joined: Mar 21 2007
Posts: 2
I'm About To Test It All...

O.k. good members of the "I have a clogged printhead and I'm too cheap to buy a new one club", here are my two cents. My black inkjet was 100% clogged and the magenta was about 30% on the way there. Personally, I suspect sabotage. I'm certain some creature dumped a tube of fast-dry epoxy in the cartridge just to spite me. Whether that's true or not, previous attempts at clearing it with warm water failed miserably.

First and foremost, I wanted a quick fix. Since numerous suggestions in this blog apparently proved successful, I decided that my expedited remedy would come from melding all the chemicals aforementioned into one great solution. In essence, I created my own little concoction (which I should probably look to patent). Second, I am lazy and did not want to drive the block or so to pick up the isopropyl-glycerin-methylchloride-pcp-peanut-based oil that was recommended (or something like that). So I pulled from the cupboard a little distilled vinegar, pine-sol floor cleaner, and Windex, combined them roughly into equal parts, and then dumped it plus the printhead in a ziplock bag. I shook the bag violently, which I felt the clogged jets deserved considering the emotional turmoil I've gone through since this nightmare began. I then let the treatment sit for an hour or so, followed by some more therapeutic shaking, followed by more sitting, etc. Eventually, I tired and left the second bag sitting over night in a pale (the first bag succumbed to the gaseous reaction and ruptured).

In the morning, I was amazed that my printhead was bleeding like a hemophiliac. For hours, I pressed a lint-free cloth (actually, I was lazy here too and just used a folded up paper towel that probably had more lint in it then a dryer screen) onto the jet, doused with pure Windex, and watched the endless black ink flow. I also took a plastic straw that fit perfectly over the micro-fine filter and blew into it, hoping that the block of epoxy would shoot out like a &%#@ from an @#&*%#@. After doing this for what must have been the recommended 50 iterations, I decided to hang it up and give the newly baptized printhead a go.

And the result, after so much time, grief, and eager anticipation, is...

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
The concoction

And the results is that after mixing up the randomly selected chemicals, you blew up?

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Joined: Mar 21 2007
Posts: 2
...The Results

COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE!!! Well, not entirely. The 100% clogged black jet is printing about a 1/4 of what it should. So that's an improvement from 0/4%. I guess I'm looking at being $57 poorer.

-TheRule

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Joined: Apr 18 2007
Posts: 2
Problems with a new printhead

I have just joined this forum. Thanks for the interest suggestions already submitted.
When I saw mention of "solenoids", I got worried about what damage I might do ... however, some internet searching and I find that these heads do not contain mechanical parts. Most use heat to "spit" the ink out. Epson use piezoelectrics (like some loudspeakers) to force the jet.
Now the problem. My canon printer stopped printing blue. It seemed odd to me that the blue suddenly failed completely - every single nozzle. Doesn't seem like blocked nozzles?
The replacement didn't print at all.
The replacement of the replacement so far has only managed blue and a bit of red.
After all the deep cleaning cycles I suspect I have now clogged the clean pad?
Since these are new heads, they surely can't be blocked?
Any ideas?

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
Problems with a new printhed

Neil, have you replaced the blue ink tank as well as the printhead?

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Joined: Apr 18 2007
Posts: 2
Re: new printhead

Oh yes, more than once. After the first couple I took to doing my
own refills to save money. The deep cleaning cycles empty the tanks fast - or at least the printer thinks they are empty?.
I am also getting problems where the print starts the page ok but progressively loses patches further down the page. Looks like insufficent ink getting through, but could be the jets or their power source is getting tired?

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Joined: Jun 28 2007
Posts: 1
Hi guys I had a problem with

Hi guys I had a problem with my canon printer it was not printing black. I search the internet and I saw it is a common problem with canon printers and the solution is to clean the head. I found a great tech support site that explain how to do it. Here is the page for the solution - canon wont print black

Hope it helps

good luck

Lee

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Joined: Jul 2 2007
Posts: 1
When my ip3000 print head is

When my ip3000 print head is clogged I take it out and clean it with a waterpic. The thing you clean your teeth with! I shoot water through each color until clear water flows through. Works everytime.

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Joined: Aug 28 2007
Posts: 1
Cleaning Caonon S820 Printhead

Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. I decided to go with the alachol. Held the printhead over the sink and poured alachol inside and let it run through. Then I blew it dry with canned air.

Worked great! Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback!

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Joined: Sep 7 2007
Posts: 1
MP700 Printhead

Did you ever learn how to remove the printhead from your mp700? I'm having the same problem with my unit not printing black (although it does print black when it does a test print?? Anyway, I'm afraid I'll break the thing if I do anymore trying to take the printhead 'carrier' (the part that you snap the ink cartridges into). Let me know if you were successful in removing yours? Thanks!

Joined: Sep 24 2007
Posts: 1
Printing problem with i850

I thought I had a printer head issue but after doing all the cleaning to the printer head, the color has improved except the problem I have still exists.

When I print a 4x6 pic, the pic has pink and blue lines 2/3 of the way into the printing. It happens with every pic we print. I replaced all colors to eliminate that as a problem.

So, as I am writing this I wonder, what if I print a full 8.5x11. And voila, no pink and blue lines. Although I did print in draft to save printer color, but I don't see how printing in higher quality would create a terrible print.

Any ideas?

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
streaked picture

Have you tried printing the file on a different printer?

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Joined: Feb 4 2008
Posts: 1
Try this Print Head Cleaner

Hi, I had a similar problem with my Canon print head, it started printing bands across all the photos... but usually only when I printed in landscape, but for some reason not in portrait!
Must admit I was ready to throw the printer away! Anyway my local computer shop recommended I try a print head cleaning kit on Ebay.

When the kit arrived... I removed the print head and sat it upright onto a special ´Magic Pillow´ (10 came in the kit) then added about 1/2 oz of WARMED MAGIC and left it overnight to soak.

Must admit that spam link removed, thank you very much stuff worked brilliant ! The problem has now gone, so I think that probably just some of the ink jets were probably clogged up and needed cleaning?

Heres the Ebay link I used edit by eeun: I don't mind people recommending commercial products, but I have a pet peeve with advertisements masquerading as legitimate posts

Steve

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Joined: Feb 17 2008
Posts: 1
Canon iP3000 Clogged Print Head

Having had problems with my printer I did a search and found this sight. I then read all your useful tips. My black was ok but 2 colours were totally blocked and 1 partially. Being that it was Sunday and my local printer shop was closed, also I was getting pressure from Her indoors. I then did a search in my shed. I came up with a syringe and a lenth of electrical earth sleeve. I stretched the ends of sleeve so that one end fit over the syringe and the other the filter on the print head. I filled the syringe up with Mr Muscle window cleaner and squirted it through each nozzle in turn. I then repeated this with clean water. Finally I repeated this again but with an empty syringe (Dry Air). So far all is well and Her indoors is happy again.

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Joined: Feb 26 2008
Posts: 1
clean canon print head

I got a canon i850 on ebay and the black was about as totally plugged as you can get. I tried the print head cleaning and deep cleaning in the menu repeatedly and it didn't do much. I tried soaking in windex and this helped a little, then I soaked it in isopropyl alcohol and that seemed even more effective. Then I poured some inside the printhead and set it in a little dish and heated it up some by setting it over my steam humidifier, and it kept getting better but a lot of line were still missing on the nozzle test printout. Then I took an empty black tank and opened it up( I use a pushpin stuck into the rubber stopper and turned sideways to pull the rubber stopper out - you need to plug the outlet until the inlet is resealed with the little rubber stopper - I just used my finger, and filled it with isopropyl alcohol and printed with it. I was amazed, the black ink left in the sponge was enough that it printed just like a regular black cartridge, and the alcohol finished the job of cleaning out the plugged jets. I bought this old printer as a backup to the one I have after reading about the chipped tanks in the new printers. The greed of large corporation never ceases to amaze me. I suspect the majority of people just go to best buy or wherever and buy the genuine canon cartidges for close to 10 times what you pay for generic if you have the ambition to get online and find them, but canon seems to think no one should escape their inflated prices. It's funny when you read the customer reviews of the newer canon printers, a signifcant percentage hate the poor quality and customer service and say they will never buy another canon product again, but it's the same story when you look at any other brand.

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Joined: Apr 15 2008
Posts: 1
printhead cleaning and avoiding having to

Excellent discussion of cartridge cleaning. I have heard of one more method which might prove helpful to people. Heat water in a teakettle and hold the printhead in the jet of escaping steam. I have a Canon i9900 printer and love it so much I just bought another. I avoid problems by running a printhead test at least once a week if I don't print. In the past 18 months I have yet had to even run a cleaning cycle. I refill my own cartridges and never have had any problems. I get my ink from cfriends.com. I have two sets of cartirdges and replace low ones with full ones before they become empty and the sponges dry out. One of the beauties of Canon cartridges is that they are transparent so one can see when they are running low but not empty. Following advice from the net I prepare new cartridges to be refillables as follows: first, I remove the filler vent ball by cutting away the plastic label with an exacto knife, drilling a small hole in the ball using a small drill or pin, and then screwing a very small screw-eye (found in framing shops) into the hole in the ball to allow me to extract the ball. I then tap the filler hole for 8-32 nylon screw and o-ring (available from Tacoma Screw Co.). Before filling I reinstall the outlet cap that came with the cartridge and hold it in place with rubber bands. During filling I make sure that the outlet is held above the inlet hole until the nylon screw and o-ring are replaced. I also allow cartridges to sit overnight before using. Following advice from the net I also rigged up a device to allow me to backwash cartridges with hot water from the kitchen sink to clean the sponges. I am told this may need to be done every so often. One last thing; I have found that if one is going to refill cartridges, it is best to start with original manufacturer's cartridges. I have been printing a lot of 13 by 19 inch prints recently and so am considering a continuous ink system. Anyone have experience with them? I have heard that they can clogg and be a real pain.

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Joined: May 31 2008
Posts: 1
Excellent Results!

Very good post. Excellent results. You cleared up my problem quickly.

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Joined: Jun 8 2008
Posts: 1
Several issues

I want to respond to several points raised by others here, by example of my experiences with a Canon MP780 (sim. iP4000):

1. Some inkjets use piezoelectric printheads. Most, including Canon bubblejet, heat the ink to boil a tiny bubble to propel the ink. Most color inks are dye-based, and will not easily make hard clogs. Pigment inks (most water-resistant black inks) can accumulate the suspended particles into a hard cake that fills passages. Conventional cleaning, after a point, will make it worse.

2. Isopropanol (Isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol) is a fine solvent to use with even the most usual seal materials. Propanol is probably an ingredient in the ink itself. A great reference for seal material compatibility: http://www.efunda.com/designstandards/oring/oring_chemical.cfm?SC=none&SM=Neoprene
This does not mean that other materials and epoxies are OK, but if the alternative is to throw it away...

3. Ammonia seems to be equally OK, but is more chemically active, and is unpleasant and less safe to work with even in low concentrations such as you can buy. It might work better than alcohol though, I haven't tried it. Hydrogen peroxide in retail concentration behaves just like water, and is likely to oxidize vulnerable materials in the long run. Windex makes me worry; mixed surfactants, enzymes, acids or bases, who knows. Still better than throwing your cartridge away I suppose.

4. WHEN AMMONIA IS MIXED WITH CHLORINE BLEACH, A TOXIC FLAMMABLE GAS IS PRODUCED. Never mix cleaners unless you know all ingredients are compatible.

5. 50% isopropanol (usual rubbing alcohol) got out a lot of pigment black ink (BCI-3eBK) from the clogged printhead of my MP780. 90% got out more, or faster. You can clean the other (dye) inks with plain water, but 90% isopropanol will work and dry better.

6. You can open up the printhead for many printers to get at the passages inside. That's where the pigment particles will cake up. You can use a needle point to speed things up. This may be necessary for a thoroughly clogged passage to improve solvent access. I can't locate the site I found before, but it's apparent enough when you look at the print head; just be gentle. I remember I had to grind the point off of a small phillips screwdriver.

7. You might buy and try an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Harbor Freight Tools has them for $30-60. I intend to get one soon, but I haven't tried it yet.

8. Your printhead will not function until thoroughly dry.

9. I have refilled Canon and G&G brand cartridges repeatedly. The G&G were great at first, but have stopped flowing properly in two cases, while the original cartridges are still working. You will need to extract plastic plugs from the Canons and replace them with something. The G&G come with reuseable silicone plugs and storage clips; use them on the Canon cartridge when the G&G is dead: hardly $2 at http://www.supermediastore.com.

10. My best experience for supplies has been http://www.inkjetsaver.com/tools.html, including the cheapest ink, which works well for me so far, although I am suspicious of the pigment black. I use the following:
- reservoir-top bottles
- cleaning cartridges and fluids
- one syringe with blunt tip
- small eye-hook to remove the plug ball(once)
- plastic plugs or set-screw to plug fill holes (once)
- storage clips
- sewing needle to remove recessed silicone plugs
- Ziploc freezer bags or similar
- paper towels and newspaper
- isopropyl alcohol, 50% and 90%, or propanol, depending on severity
- filtered water (distilled would be safer)

11. People say lots of things about continuous ink supply systems (CIS(S)), which can be found for $50. I haven't tried one yet, but I certainly will. Ink flow and pressure balance will be the trickiest parts, and the Chinese vendors on eBay won't help you. You might buy some good hardware, but you should worry about killer details. One fellow in Oz has acquired and offered up great expertise, apparently using Chinese components with custom improvements:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=85858&forum_id=40&page=10
http://www.rihac.com.au/index.php?cPath=26

12. The new chipped cartridges (BCI-8) do not monitor ink levels after refill or after CISS is installed, so they do not protect you from running empty. For these, a CISS might protect your printhead, being less likely to stop flowing (if effective and well installed).

13. Remember to run you printer regularly. Run a cleaning cycle if you don't use it for > 1 week. Run cleaning fluids on occasion regardless; it's easy once you have them on hand.

14. All of this is a small investment, considering what you would pay for cartridges. The nature of the business forces your hand to "cheat", or else not get appropriate use of your printer. The manufacturers made that choice, now you have to respond in kind. Greed is bad for everyone, and false economy (cheap printers with high total cost of ownership) is worse. Don't be too cheap while you are circumnavigating the system; your time is valuable.

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Joined: Oct 29 2009
Posts: 4
Cleaning ipf610 printhead

Hi Guys
Can anyone tell me if this idea of cleaning a printhead using tap and distilled water will be OK on a Canon ipf610 printhead? I'm pretty certain we have clogged nozzle(s). In a test print, all colours print fine except Cyan. But in regular printing there are streaks. Caused by lack of use for a few weeks I reckon.
It's an expensive and not very old piece of kit and of course the printhead is not covered by the extended warranty, it's considered a consumable, so I don't want to cause more damage.

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
cleaning printhead

check out my post 9-2--06 4 PM

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Joined: Oct 29 2009
Posts: 4
Re: cleaning printhead

hsweet wrote:

check out my post 9-2--06 4 PM

Hi hsweet, thanks for the response.
I guess you mean the one on the 20th Sept.
I read it through and it seems to make good sense.
However, I was wondering if the info only applied to less expensive printers. The ipf610 cost £1400. It still prints fine in B&W and I don't want to drop myself in it with my boss by making it worse.
Or is it a case of one inkjet head is pretty much the same as any other?

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
canon ipf6100

baythemoon -- I looked up your printer. I assume that it is the ipf6100. Well that is some piece of industrial equipment. I have no experience with that having only used ip3000, ip5000 etc.

Well, if the printhead is replaced, you can't get into any trouble by cleaning the old one. After all, you're cleaning the removed printhead and not monkeying around with the printer itself. If you reinsert the cleaned printhead and it works, then you are ahead by the cost of one printhead.

Just be sure not to use bleach to clean the printhead. If you do that and then reinsert it into the printer, you'll destroy the printer! Bleach does do a wonderful job, BTW, of getting ink off of your fingers -- as long as you get to it within a few seconds.

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Joined: Oct 29 2009
Posts: 4
ipf610

hsweet
Good of you to take the time to reply.
It is a plotter used for architectural drawings.
A new printhead costs £600! Same price for replacing the inks.
Ridiculous costs, but as we all know, that's how they make their money.
As I write, our printhead is basking in a small bath of warm de-ionised water. I will let you know the result.

Regards
BTM

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Joined: Sep 20 2006
Posts: 13
expensive stuff

I am hardly surprised to hear that there are separate price schedules for industrial and consumer uses. I guess it's much like free software vs paid software. Companies have to make a living and so charge what the freight will bear. But there are always ways to get around things and usually so few know those tricks that it isn't worth the trouble to go after them.

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Joined: Oct 29 2009
Posts: 4
ipf610

And the result is... not good. No change at all, and it turns out you cannot run water through the printhead because it has a lot of circuitry inside. Glad I didn't. Decided to try something else but prevented because as a result of all the head cleaning and nozzle declogging the Maintainence Cartridge is full! And when it's full, the printer cannot be used at all. Waiting for a new one. (another £50)
What a saga!

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