Canon MP540 - PGBK doesn't print anything

Dubak

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Dear all, I was given a printer - Canon MP540, which works mostly correctly with one exception, the pigment black (PGBK) doesn't produce any output. Printer doesn't print any error messages, ink level for all cartridges is reported correctly, other colors (CMY+photo black) prints correctly, just pigment black doesn't show on the paper (it is missing from the nozzle check pattern too). The guy, who has given me the printer bought new print head and also bunch of cartridges. I tried to replace the head as well as PGBK ink, but it didn't solve the problem. As I have some experience with electronics, I wanted to try to repair the printer. My first try was to check ribbon cables for the bad connection, but I didn't find any problem there. I checked the connection between motherboard and carriage on pins which I believe are for PGBK cartridge with the voltmeter - it seems to be ok. I have a basic cheap usb logic analyzer, which I could use to check if motherboard produces correct signal, but I'm afraid to connect it to random pins, as I do not know which voltage to expect there. I can rule out head + cartridge as a source of the problem as both were already replaced.

So I'm here hoping that somebody can point me to right direction. My questions:
Is there some relatively common problem (SW or HW), which I'm not aware of, which could cause one ink not to produce output (except of head and ink cartridge)?
Would you guys have some suggestions, how to troubleshoot such problem (I have a multimeter, logic analyser + I could build some Arduino based analyzer to check signals)?

Thank you very much for your kind help.
 

Artur5

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If the printer works without giving errors but no there’s no pigment black in the paper, in 95% of cases the problem is clogged/burned nozzles or electrical malfunction of the chips controlling the output of ink, black pigment in this case.
Given that there’re no traces at all of black pigment ink in the nozzle checks, I’d discard clogs or randomly burned nozzles.
Then it‘s probably electrical damage in the printhead, but you say it was replaced to no avail.

This is where the remaining 5% of probabilities enter. In some cases, burned chips in the printhead propagate the damage to the logic board of the printer, therefore changing the printhead won’t fix the problem. The new printhead that you installed may be perfectly OK or not, because it may have been damaged by the logic board.
Printhead partial failure -> logic board damage -> new printhead partial damage,
This domino effect is a rare occurrence, but it happened once to me with a Pro-9000.

Anyway, all this is theory, the problem might be something else because we know nothing about the previous history of this printer. For how long it performed OK ?, Which ink was used ? (OEM, third party..). How/when the problem started ?. Did your friend try to fix it by repeated cleanings/deep cleanings ?.
 

The Hat

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the pigment black (PGBK) doesn't produce any output.
The black nozzles on the print head are kaput, and the only thing you can do now is to go into printer propertied and change the Media setting to Matte photo paper, this will allow you to print text documents in black once again, the printer can still print photos too.

This problem is not fixable so don’t waste your time on it, but you may have to buy a new printer sometime in the future.. The printer can last with this fix for quite some time..
 

Dubak

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Anyway, all this is theory, the problem might be something else because we know nothing about the previous history of this printer. For how long it performed OK ?, Which ink was used ? (OEM, third party..). How/when the problem started ?. Did your friend try to fix it by repeated cleanings/deep cleanings ?.

Thank you for your answer! I have asked the previous owner. The printer might be 12y old and the PGBK was out for some years already (7-8). There was a CIFS installed for some time, but he was not sure, if the problem started while with CIFS or only after he returned to normal cartridges (but third party). I have to say, that for me this troubleshooting is more of a hobby project to learn something new. I could find a use for the printer, but I do not want to invest any money nor much of a time. But if somebody would have an advice how to verify if MB sends correct signals, I'm ready to try it. :)
 

Dubak

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The black nozzles on the print head are kaput, and the only thing you can do now is to go into printer propertied and change the Media setting to Matte photo paper, this will allow you to print text documents in black once again, the printer can still print photos too.

Thank you The Hat - yes, this is exactly how the previous owner used the printer for past few years. I hoped, that I might be able to repair it, but it finally doesn't appear to be the case... Cartridge and print head were replaced, so it points to some electronic issue.
 

PeterBJ

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The MP540 uses the QY6-0073 print head that can still be found at some regular dealers of canon spare parts. But as also mentioned by @Artur5 replacing a canon printhead is a gamble. A defective printhead can but does not always damage the logic board. A logic board damaged in this way can damage a new print head.

You find a service manual for the MP540 here. For testing the print head with the multimeter and logic analyser you need the pinout for the QY6-0073 printhead. Sadly the link in this post is no longer active.

Maybe the best solution is to dump the printer instead of gambling an expensive print head?
 

Callistemon

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The MP540 uses the QY6-0073 print head that can still be found at some regular dealers of canon spare parts. But as also mentioned by @Artur5 replacing a canon printhead is a gamble. A defective printhead can but does not always damage the logic board. A logic board damaged in this way can damage a new print head.

You find a service manual for the MP540 here. For testing the print head with the multimeter and logic analyser you need the pinout for the QY6-0073 printhead. Sadly the link in this post is no longer active.

Maybe the best solution is to dump the printer instead of gambling an expensive print head?

It’s not a gamble if Canon provides it, but they refuse to. Therefore, purchasing a Canon printer is a gamble, only that purchasing another brand like an HP is jumping off a bridge.
 

PeterBJ

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It is a gamble, especially with an expensive genuine OEM printhead, because: " A defective printhead can but does not always damage the logic board. A logic board damaged in this way can damage a new print head. "
 

Dubak

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I think, that I might have found the issue. I cleaned the head thoroughly with tap wanter and then by distilled water to avoid deposits, put it back together and performed deep cleaning. After that, I removed it and found out, that the pgbk ink was not sucked into the nozzles. The pgbk ink path was completely clean. It means, that the purge system doesn't work for pgbk ink, only for die inks. My plan now is to dismantle printer, get to the purge unit and find why it doesn't suck pgbk. And repair it. :) Being it a hobby project I'm already happy, that I learned something new. The information, which pointed me to the (probably) right path was this thread: https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/pgbk-doesnt-print.9121/#post-71495 Thanks!
 

stratman

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The information, which pointed me to the (probably) right path was this thread: https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/pgbk-doesnt-print.9121/#post-71495 Thanks!
First, follow the instructions for testing the purge pads that the print head parks over when not in use.

Flood the pads with water till it beads up and then close the cover, wait for the machine noises to stop and then lift the cover and look at the purge pads. Some perform a regular cleaning cycle but it should not be necessary to complete the test.
  • If the water is still there on the pads then there is either a block in the purge pads or tubes or the electrical purge system is not working.
  • If the purge pads are devoid of water then the purge system is working. The pads may look a little whiter or less colored as well.
  • If you could not get the water to bead up on the pad(s) then there is a leak somewhere in the purge system, probably a disconnected hose.
After the purge system flood test, you can also try removing the purge pads and washing them out, reinstall them, and then retest flooding in case it is just a blocked purge pad.

Easier to try all this first before taking apart the printer.

Let us know your findings.
 
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