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Unclogging Canon Printheads

Discussion in 'Canon InkJet Printers' started by wilko, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. Apr 6, 2009
    wilko

    wilko Printing Ninja

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    This forum is brilliant for anyone who has any interest in printers. However, there comes a time when our printers give us some problems. I only have experience of Canon printers so I don't know whether my experiences are of any value to owners of other printers. However, clogged prinheads must be the bain of all printer owners and I hope my experiences may be of help to others.

    I have searched for a magic elixer to unclog Canon printheads & it is suggested that either/or isopropyl alcohol & amonia diluted with distilled water work. I am not sure whether tap water in soft water areas cannot be used instead but I prefer to play safe. In my experience neither are 100% successful.

    The secret, in my opinion is HEAT. Remember if you get ink on your fingers. Doesn't the ink come off better with warm water?

    My preference for unclogging Canon printheads is to heat up the solution (water based) inject it into a blank cartridge and do a cleaning cycle. There are various printhead cleaning cartrtridge/solutions out there but in my experience only heat will dissolve stubborn blockages
  2. Apr 10, 2009
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    Wilko,... Several of us have use the HOT cleaning solution for over a year. To provide more information about this technique, I would suggest that you should not do any printing while such a WATER base cleaner is installed, as this my overheat the printhead. I never print anything but a nozzle check while I'm attempting to clean a printhead. I also make sure I add about 1 ml of color to each test cart. The real advantage to this HOT SOLUTION cleaning is that it uses the best cleaning tool inside the printer,...ie, the Purge unit. This will suck the HOT fluid down through the printhead and is a far better method of cleaning than try to rinse the head under water. It also has one other VERY benificial effect, it cleans the Purge unit and the Pads at the same time. There is no real fear of filling up the waste ink pads, as this is mostly water that is passed through and it will eventually evaporate. If the waste ink count gets to high it is easily reset to 0.0. I want to warn people not to get over aggressive and heat the solution too hot. I remember one fellow that put his printhead in about 1/2" of hot distilled water on the stove and almost boiled it. The head was ruined. The internal seals between the input filters and the ceramic nozzle plate broke down under the excessive heat and ink would leak from nozzle to nozzle. Therefore every color was contaminated with some other color. Typically Cyan contaminated everything.

    I have also used this same HOT cleaning process on HP ink carts that have built in printhead. Once the hot solution cleans out the ink cart, I remove all the excess solution and refill the ink cart with good ink. The bad news about HP printers is that there "Service Stations", as they call their cleaners, do a terrible job of cleaning. They really don't have anything like a vacuum motor to suck ink, it is more like a rubber suction cup that mates and then pulls away and create a very tiny suction action. Not very effective.
  3. Apr 14, 2009
    nanosec

    nanosec Printing Ninja

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    I hit the intake and outlets with one of those cheap steamer cleaning tools with great success. I even use it to soften up a cartridge that's not outputting properly after flushing it.

    Of course because it is very hot steam you need to be careful applying it, and only should use it if you feel comfortable.
  4. Apr 14, 2009
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    nanosec,... I believe several people have mentioned how dangerous it is to apply excessive heat to the bottom of the printhead, especially myself. I destroyed one printhead testing it with just very hot water, and steam is WAY beyond that. There are two items that can be damaged. The first is the flex cable that provides all the connections. If just one connection comes loose, the head is dead. The 2nd item is the laytex or silicone seal between the filter screen housing and the white ceramic carrier that contains the nozzles. That seal has to be perfect or inks will leak from one channel to another contaminating all colors. I have a printhead that works, but the seal is damaged and the Cyan will contaminate all other colors within 1 or 2 pages of printing, and it even wicks back up into the ink carts and ruins them. So overheating can not only destroy the printhead, it can also ruin the ink carts. That is double the money.
  5. Apr 14, 2009
    nanosec

    nanosec Printing Ninja

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    Advice taken and duly noted, I won't be using a steamer on my print heads anymore!
  6. Aug 3, 2010
    aaronthink

    aaronthink Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Hi! My name is Aaron and I'm from Spain. im quite new in the refiling and fixing clog problems.

    I have a clog problem in my canon pixma ip4500. For a month I have been trying to solve it by severals ways, all of them found in internet. I've washed the printer head sevelar times (at the end always i've rinsed with distilled water).

    I have tried several times with hot distiled water, with a dilution of water amonia 50/50 all night long , getting hot the water, cold water, 100 % amonia for an hour...., I've washed the print head detaching the porcelanic part. after some processes I've found some improvement, but never a prefect print. The color that fails more is the cyan one.

    Now I've just learnt how to refill the carbidges by the german method and I have done it. I have made a couple of cleaning carbridges with a solution that I've bought special for cleaning printheads. Today I have been printing with those cleaning carbridges for lots of A4, trying to disolve all the clog, but STILL remain some that i can't take away.

    For today its ok, I just done a deep cleaning (by software) with those cleaning carbridges, and we will see tomorrow if there's some improvement.

    If not, I'm going to try the method that wilko said. 50% amonia 50% distiled water (hot) inside a carbridge (i use the german method to refill it), and I will do the deep cleaning process (software) another time , and pray a little ;)

    If you have some ideas they are really welcome! At least Im not alone with this problem.

    Many thanks!
  7. Aug 4, 2010
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    aaronthink,..You have already done most of what we would suggest. I would ask that you print a nozzle test pattern and post that on this site. You may be trying to fix a damaged head.
  8. Aug 4, 2010
    aaronthink

    aaronthink Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Hi! I'm posting a nozzle test that i 've just done:

    [​IMG]

    It isn't better now. I did a deep clean process (software) llast night (with the homemade clean carbridges) and this morning i tried to print a nozzle test pattern, and a photography, but it doesn't come any improvement.

    Now Im going to try to refill (german method) a carbridge of Cyan and another of Magenta, with a solution of 50/50 distiled hot water and amonia.

    What should i do after? I should run a deep cleaning process and let it rest for some hours? or I must print something pushing to work the cyan carbridge?

    for the moment, the main problem is in the cyan, and a little in the magneta. the yellow and black are in perfect printing shape. the Pigment black it give me an error now (in the pattern, but i don't care so much because i use de printer only for photography, so the most important think is to fix the C M Y and Black colours.

    Its weird because at the begining I started with a clog problem just for the cyan, and after all the solutions i have aplied the thing is getting worse for the other colours. may be I did something wrong, but I always take care in all the clean processes that i aply. Anyway Im learning lots of thing with this problem. I hope to solve it one day, if not it might i have to buy another canon ;(

    Many thanks for the answers!
  9. Aug 4, 2010
    aaronthink

    aaronthink Getting Fingers Dirty

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    this is a print form yesterday:

    [​IMG]
  10. Aug 4, 2010
    duncan22

    duncan22 Getting Fingers Dirty

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    for what it's worth, I Just remove the printer head, made up a solution of tepid distilled water with a few drops of amonia and slowly (and I emphasise the word slowly) squirted (Using a 20ml syringe) this through each print head where the cartridge sits. I do this until the water coming through is clear, then I do it again a couple of times with distilled water only.
    On refitting the head and then the cartridges I go into the maintenance tab and do a nozzle check, this has always worked for me & I guess most other people use some variation of this.
    My first attempt a cleaning a head I soaked the base of the cartridge in a mixture of Distilled water & 5% ammonia overnight but that didn't work for me.

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