Canon iP4200 "operator error"

lbs129

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Sweden
I have a Canon Pixma iP4200 which I've been pretty happy with. I've had one problem with it before, a clogged print head, but thanks to you on this forum I solved it with windows cleaner with ammonia. After that the printer worked just fine for more than two years, but recently it has started showing some errors.

Once in a while I've gotten a error dialogue saying "operator error" and the yellow light on the printer blinking five times in sequences. When this error is displayed the printer refuses to print anything. However, I've been able to resolve the problem by resetting the print head and the ink cartridges. I could print as recently as yesterday. But not any more... I keep getting the error all the time and when I first insert the ink cartridges, the red light are not lit up. If I close the lid and open it again, the do lit up but the error persists. Two of my ink cartridges were empty so I bought new ones, but to no avail.

Do I have to buy a new print head? I can get one on eBay at around 420 SEK (64 USD) but I can buy a brand new Pixma MG5250 for around 790 SEK (120 USD). What do you suggest? Is there any way to "repair" my iP4200 without buying an expensive print head?

Thank you in advance!

Best regards,
Johan
 

Emulator

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
1,675
Reaction score
1,307
Points
277
Location
UK
Printer Model
Canon Pro9000 II
Hi lbs129

I have no knowledge of the iP4200 or its error codes, but your description of the way the error occurs, suggests that one of the many electrical contacts on the printhead or printer may be intermittent, so don't give up hope yet! I am sure someone with knowledge of the printer will respond soon.

Regards Ian
 

lbs129

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Sweden
Thank you for your answer! I have looked in the iP4200 service manual and the yellow light blinking five times means that the print head is not inserted properly. I have, however, inserted the print head the only way I think is possible and the contacts look clean... I do not think that the print head is broken, as I have occasionally been able to print after I got the "operator error" message the first time.

Best regards,
Johan
 

PeterBJ

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
4,206
Points
353
Location
Copenhagen Denmark
Printer Model
Canon iP4300 + Epson scanner
Hi lbs129

I think the printhead might be close to failing or there might be other bad electrical connections, maybe in the ribbon cables leading to the printhead carriage. You could try to gently push and pull the cables and move up and down, taking care not to tear the cables from the connectors in the printhead carriage. Movement of less than a millimeter might suffice to improve the contact.

Replacing a Canon printhead is a gamble as a defective printhead might ruin the logic board, and a defective logic board might ruin a new printhead. In newer Canon service manuals it says that the printhead and the logic bord should both be replaced in case of a printhead failure.

The pixma 4200 uses large, easily refillable transparent cartridges. The MG5250 uses smaller opaque cartridges that are more difficult to refill. The Pixma 4200 might also have a better build quality than the MG 5250.

The price of the printhead looks reasonable, so if it is a new unused unit in a sealed bag, I think I would take the gamble and order it, if a bad electric connection is ruled out. I would not buy a used printhead.
 

The Hat

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
13,551
Reaction score
7,189
Points
433
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Printer Model
Canon/3D, CR-10, CR-10S, KP3
lbs129 said:
Thank you for your answer! I have looked in the iP4200 service manual and the yellow light blinking five times means that the print head is not inserted properly. I have, however, inserted the print head the only way I think is possible and the contacts look clean... I do not think that the print head is broken, as I have occasionally been able to print after I got the "operator error" message the first time.

Best regards,
Johan
Going on your description of what is happening to your printer (5 Orange Lights)
I can say without a dough that your print head is definitely dead.

So the only answer is where to get a new one as cheaply as possible,
dont just take the first web site price shop around more.

A new MG 5250 is a good printer but no way as good as your 4200 is and a new print head
will probably give you another 5 years of good service..:)
 

lbs129

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Sweden
Again, thanks for your answers! I checked the flat cables to the print head but they seemed to be fastened properly and it didn't make any difference. I guess replacing the print head is the only thing to do to save my iP4200, but it feels quite risky since PeterBJ points out that a defective print head might have ruined the logic board, and a defective logic board might ruin a new print head.

It is also difficult to find a iP4200 print head at a decent price. I found this on eBay and the seller seems to have gotten good reviews but it still feels risky. Since the seller is in Hong Kong it will also most likely take a lot of time before I get the print head. If I order a new printer (for example a MG5250) from a Swedish store I will get it in one working day. Then it also has a scanner and wireless LAN connection which can be quite useful.

The iP4200, which I got from a friend when the print head was clogged, has served me well and it wouldn't feel right to scrap it if only the print head is broken. I also have a lot of ink cartridges for it, one brand new of each model/color, actually, plus some more with more than half left. Anyone interested in acquiring it? ;)

The Hat: You write that the MG5250 is no way as good as my iP4200. In what ways? I mean, the iP4200 is several years old and technology has evolved, right?

Best regards,
Johan
 

The Hat

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
13,551
Reaction score
7,189
Points
433
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Printer Model
Canon/3D, CR-10, CR-10S, KP3
lbs129 said:
Again, thanks for your answers! I checked the flat cables to the print head but they seemed to be fastened properly and it didn't make any difference. I guess replacing the print head is the only thing to do to save my iP4200, but it feels quite risky since PeterBJ points out that a defective print head might have ruined the logic board, and a defective logic board might ruin a new print head.

It is also difficult to find a iP4200 print head at a decent price. I found this on eBay and the seller seems to have gotten good reviews but it still feels risky. Since the seller is in Hong Kong it will also most likely take a lot of time before I get the print head. If I order a new printer (for example a MG5250) from a Swedish store I will get it in one working day. Then it also has a scanner and wireless LAN connection which can be quite useful.

The iP4200, which I got from a friend when the print head was clogged, has served me well and it wouldn't feel right to scrap it if only the print head is broken. I also have a lot of ink cartridges for it, one brand new of each model/color, actually, plus some more with more than half left. Anyone interested in acquiring it? ;)

The Hat: You write that the MG5250 is no way as good as my iP4200. In what ways? I mean, the iP4200 is several years old and technology has evolved, right?

Best regards,
Johan
Yes Peter BJ has a point but if you lodge board was fried then you wouldnt get any orange flashing light at all, commutations would cess.
The site you found is in Hong Kong but so what, buy with a credit card and you money is safe anyway.

Your right about the time lag in delivery but your customs will probably hold it longer than it takes to get to Sweden anyway.

Again I will say it the MG5250 is really a great printer and as you say the latest technology
but its nowhere near as well built as the 4200 is with its larger cartridges its the perfect printer for refilling.

Also If theres a real hurry for a printer then get it and keep the 4200 as a spare
when the print head arrives later that way you can have both its a win win situation.. :)
 

PeterBJ

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
4,206
Points
353
Location
Copenhagen Denmark
Printer Model
Canon iP4300 + Epson scanner
Hi lbs129

The seller of the printhead from your link promises a money back guarantee even if the printhead is ruined by a defective logic board (main board) , scroll down to see it. It is in big red letters. So I recommend to buy it, all you risk is the return postage.

I don't know the MG 5250 but if it is like other newer Canon printers, the build quality is lower. See this thread by Smile: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=5609&p=1 . Sadly, in some cases evolution goes backwards. I think it is no secret that the printer manufacturers make a significant part of their profit from selling OEM ink cartridges. Long life, easily refillable printers with a decent capacity cartridges might not be good for business. I think the PGI-5/CLI-8 generation of printers were the best Canon ever made for home use. I have an iP5200 that I like very much. I also have MP540 and iP3600 printers of the PGI-520/CLI-521 generation, and in my opinion The Hat and Smile are right about build quality.

If you buy the MG 5250 you could search the forum for refilling the PGI-225/CLI-225 cartridges. These cartridges are the same as PGI-525/CLI526, the only difference are the chips, which are for different regions.

Some buy virgin empty PGI-x20/CLI-x21 cartridges and transfer the PGI-x25/CLI-x25 chips to them. These cartridges are same dimensions and fit perfectly in the printer. Their great advantage is that they have windows to the ink reservoir, making refill much easier.
 
M

MiniMe

Guest
I agree that the build quality of the newer Canon models seems flimsy compared to the older models and there is no dispute that the older high capacity clear sided carts are better for refilling. Who is to say that that newer models won't provide as much service/purchase price as the older ones? They have not been on the market long enough for anyone to make general assumptions on that.

The new models offer perks the old models don't such as wireless printing, Apple Airprint, etc. In my humble opinion this forum is stuck in the past with little foresight for new solutions to the problems that these new models pose to efficient and cost effective refilling.

I have an old 70's American car and it is well built but a flimsy new Camary is what gets me where I need to go!
 

PeterBJ

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
4,206
Points
353
Location
Copenhagen Denmark
Printer Model
Canon iP4300 + Epson scanner
The Hat wrote
Yes Peter BJ has a point but if you lodge board was fried then you wouldnt get any orange flashing light at all, commutations would cess.
This is sadly not always true:

Here is a thread describing how a defective printhead burns out the logic boards of more printers. In these cases the printers appeared normal except for pigment black or colors not printing. No error messages or blinking yellow lamps were telling about the defective logic board: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3975

As far as I know the most likely cause of both printhead and logic board burnout is water left on the circuit board of the printhead after cleaning the printhead outside the printer. If your printhead failure has no connection with flushing the printhead with water, I think the risk of a damaged logic board is much less.

I have burned out a logic board and a printhead on a Pixma 5000 by installing a printhead that was not completely dry after flushing it with water. A new printhead only prints color, no pigment black. If the new printhead is ruined I cannot tell. Apart from the lack of pigment black the printer behaves normally. Nothing else indicates a logic board failure.
 
Top