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Taking apart a print head?

Discussion in 'Canon InkJet Printers' started by Stumped2, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Feb 8, 2011
    Stumped2

    Stumped2 Getting Fingers Dirty

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    A few years ago I had a Canon iP3000 which started printing a rusty orange color instead of yellow. However it would print yellow after a nozzle clean cycle or printing a lot of yellow. As if running some yellow ink through the printhead flushed out possible contamination from the magenta. Eventually I resorted to cleaning the printhead with water then later with alcohol. Each cleaning solved the problem, but for only a few days. My last resort was taking apart the printhead by removing the 2 tiny screws on the bottom & seeing if there was some type of internal leakage between pathways. I was warned this would probably create a printhead error, and it did. I knew this before taking it apart but felt there was nothing to lose.

    I was thinking about using the iP3000 again & either buying a new printhead or taking it apart again. Perhaps an electrical connection broke that I was not aware of.

    What supposedly breaks or goes wrong when taking apart a printhead? Has anyone ever took one apart & put back together & had it work?
  2. Feb 8, 2011
    stratman

    stratman Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    You must have a steady hand and a good microscope to deal with picoliter ink drop dimensions and computer aided electrical tracings. :)

    Never heard of anyone having a happy conclusion by taking apart a print head. There is a possibility of frying the printer as well.
  3. Feb 8, 2011
    Stumped2

    Stumped2 Getting Fingers Dirty

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    I did not fool around with the nozzles. I just removed the 2 screws attaching the white nozzle assembly to the main black plastic printhead housing. A ribbon type flex cable connects these two pieces. You can gently pivot the nozzle assembly out of the way & see inside. There are some seals in there but nothing looked obviously wrong, such as a pool of magenta ink that might contaminate the yellow. Then I just screwed the two parts back together. I was extremely careful not to force anything. And the flex cable is of course somewhat flexible.

    I knew the odds were against me. I did not do a lot of color printing, but was using an excessive amount of OEM Canon yellow ink in order to keep purging it.

    But I would like to know what goes wrong when opening up the printhead. I did some research before doing this & find it difficult to believe that the several people who did this all broke something, & recall only one person had no problem after reassembly. Maybe there's something tricky in aligning the parts when putting back together & one person just got lucky. I dunno. But it would be nice to get this printer working again without buying a $60 printhead.
  4. Feb 8, 2011
    PeterBJ

    PeterBJ Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Partly from my own sad experiences I know three things that can go wrong when taking a print head apart.

    1. After reassembly the rubber gasket inside the print head does not seal properly, causing cross contamination.
    2. Some conductors in the flexible cable might break causing some nozzle permanently missing or print head can fail completely.
    3. The tiniest amount of water where it is not supposed to go can cause a short that destroys the print head , and even worse it might ruin the printer as well.

    I have had had success in cleaning a couple of print heads, but I have ruined more. The worst experience was ruining the logic board in a Pixma 5000 by installing a print head that was not completely dry.

    Before it became known on this forum that a bad print head could ruin a printer, I thought like you did that there was nothing to loose trying to take a print head apart.

    If your print head has failed, I think there is no way it can be saved. If you want to buy a new print head, consider that the logic board might be ruined and cause the new print head to fail. Is it worth the gamble ?

    If you want to try out a new print head you should check the printer for other causes of cross contamination. See this link: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=6224

    Peter
  5. Feb 8, 2011
    emerald

    emerald Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Stumped2:

    I had the same problem (contamination of the yellow) with a Canon i560. The i560 and ip3000 use the same print head. I was successful in taking apart the print head and putting it back together. It worked fine for a couple of months before the trouble returned. I replaced the print head. See this thread, post #25.
  6. Feb 8, 2011
    Stumped2

    Stumped2 Getting Fingers Dirty

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    emerald -

    I'm glad your disassembly/reassembly worked for you. Obviously the procedure can be done. When I looked into this a few years ago everyone except one person got a printhead error when putting it back into the printer. I'm just guessing that one of those flexible wire traces must break most of the time. I don't know what else would cause the printer to issue an error code. I'm going to look at mine again.
  7. Feb 10, 2011
    Grandad35

    Grandad35 Printer Master Moderator

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    I taken two i9900 print heads apart and they worked fine after they were reassembled. You have to take extreme care with the flexible cable at all times (especially where it connects to the ceramic head), locating the rubber seals correctly and proper alignment of the ceramic head with the plastic cartridge carrier.
  8. Feb 10, 2011
    mikling

    mikling Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    I've taken a few heads apart and my success rate is around 50%. The process looks simple and it really is except that one needs to be very gentle on certain parts....those fine wires.
    Given that there really are few things that taking apart a head will accomplish, anyone contemplating such a procedure needs to go with the attitude that it is the last straw and even if the procedure fails nothing or no real loss would be incurred. In other words, this is the last thing you would want to do.
  9. Feb 26, 2011
    nanosec

    nanosec Printing Ninja

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    I've had some really bad clogs that even tubing hooked up the printhead would not clear. I ended up dismantling the printhead and blowing the holes on the ceramic clear of any obstructions.
    [A flashlight is handy for this as you can shine the light through one side to see where your clogs are]

    But as you have stated, this really is the last resort before giving up. I've used this method two times with success, but it really is the last thing I do before giving up clearing the clog any other way.

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