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Inkjet Printhead Cleaning Method

Discussion in 'Everything Else InkJet Printer Related' started by barrie3223, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. Nov 21, 2009
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    Darth,... It's beginning to sound like you have a problem with the Black section of your purge unit. There is a simple test you can do to prove, or disprove that your Black Purge unit has a problem. I have a document that explains how to do this test but it is just too long to post to this web site. I believe you can send me an email with a copy of your nozzle test print. Once I get that I can send back the instructions and you can test your printer.
     
  2. Dec 23, 2009
    SpideRMaN

    SpideRMaN Fan of Printing

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  3. Sep 20, 2010
    lffoar

    lffoar Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Hi all,
    I have a Canon ip4700 which is mainly used for printing DVD labels and is a couple of months old. I got a streaky magenta print so suspected a clog as the printer hadn't been used for over a week. I changed the cartridge and have deep cleaned and rinsed the printhead a dozen times but the nozzle check has lines all over the darker of the magenta printouts, the medium is very pale with lines and the lighter of the three is virtually blank, ie no print at all. I have been refilling and have had no trouble previously but bought some new cartridges with the same result. I'm suspecting a faulty printhead! Is there any way to check it.......and if it has gone troppo on me it will be the last Canon for me! Thanks for any help.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2010
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    iffoar,....It would help if you posted a nozzle check. You indicated you have done several "Deep" cleaning cycle, and if so what changes did you see in the nozzle test print. To get a real understanding of what is clogged I need to understand just what you mean when you say you have "Rinsed" the printhead. Also, it would help a great deal if you could go into the Service Mode and force a test print there. This will give you a true printout of each and every NOZZLE in the head so you can see exactly which ones are clogged. You may have to get much more aggressive in clean the head and soaking it in warm to hot water. Since you have no email listed I can not send you a test I have created that will isolate these kinds of problems between clogged heads and defective purge unit.
     
  5. Sep 22, 2010
    lffoar

    lffoar Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Thanks to Trigger for his advice and sending me info on printhead cleaning, the problem has been solved. He gets my vote for prime Minister!!!
     
  6. Jul 15, 2011
    inkadinkado

    inkadinkado Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Someone had asked earlier if printheads are lubricated when they are packaged. Recently, I received a new (free) printhead for an MP990 printer. When I opened the package it had a lubricant of some kind on the printhead as well as on all 6 nozzle inlets. What was also interesting is that there were traces of ink in the nozzles as well because when I touched the nozzles my finger became the beautiful color of whatever was in that particular nozzle.

    The lubricant was not a heavy oil, in fact, I'm not sure it was an oil at all, but maybe glycerin because whatever it was wasn't greasy.

    I did place that new printhead in my machine, took the other one out and cleaned it thoroughly until no ink dispensed out of the printhead and I've placed in into a ziploc bag and have stored it for future use.

    If this printhead is dry now, I would be grateful to hear what the proper procedure is for using it in the future: should I lubricate it somehow?
    Thank you for your advice.
     
  7. Jul 15, 2011
    inkadinkado

    inkadinkado Getting Fingers Dirty

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    On a cleaning solution suitable for cleaning printheads and carts: I KNOW Windex with ammonia works and works well.

    My cleaning methodology for the 30 OEM carts I bought from Ebay was to purge the carts with warm running water (using a jig my spouse made me that allowed the inlet hole to fit right under the trickle of warm water and dump the ink right into the sink drain).

    When the water draining from the cart looked clear I wicked this water from the cart but the wicked water on the paper towel still had some ink on it. So, I ran a cycle of warm 1/2 Windex 1/2 distilled water through the cart and to my surprise, more ink came out. I wicked this out as well still seeing a bit of ink on the wick towel.

    Then, I rinsed with warm distilled water and even though the water draining from the cart was absolutely clear the sponge may still had a slight pale color to it. I again wicked the cart. I continued rinsing, wicking, until the paper towel wick was clear of ink coming from the outlet hole. Even with this, the sponge would still have a slight color to it. Finally said, "I'm done with this, this will have to do."

    I used a similar process on a printhead only I never used water from the tap, only warm Windex and warm distilled water to clean and continued cleaning persistently until everything that came out of the printhead was clear.

    Everything, so far, is working GREAT!!!

    I have designated 6 cartridges (of the 30 OEM carts that I bought from Ebay) to be cleaning carts, filling them with a solution of 1/2 Windex, and 1/2 distilled water, with a few drops of ink in them. I will use these to clean the printhead occasionally, or when I think a clog has occurred, by cleaning the printhead and placing these carts into the machine, running a deep cleaning cycle, and by printing a sheet of paper containing 2 inch bands of each color for my own little nozzle check. The ink droplets in the carts will give just enough color to see what's going on with the printing and any liquid dumped into the waste ink tank will evaporate rather than adding to the sludge of ink just waiting to do my printer in.

    Anyway, I'm always open to new ideas,....but these have worked for me thus far.
     
  8. Feb 8, 2012
    Nifty

    Nifty Printer Master Administrator

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    After some very stubborn streaking and clogging problems with my magenta nozzles, here is what I did:

    1) Pulled the carts and the printhead
    2) Used my syringe / needle and warm distilled water to flush the inlet ports on top and outlet nozzles on the bottom multiple times
    3) Let the printhead dry overnight
    4) Flushed 3 yellow carts and filled them with a mix of 80% distilled water and 20% alcohol (I didn't have the other ingredients mentioned in this inkjet printer cleaning solution thread).
    5) Used these "cleaning carts" and ran a few cleaning cycles and nozzle check patterns
    6) Inserted my color carts, and ran a few cleaning cycles and nozzle check patterns

    Everything seems fine now!!
     
  9. Apr 1, 2012
    Trigger 37

    Trigger 37 Printer Guru

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    I want to add a word of "CAUTION" so that everyone should be aware of the risk. As with those that have posted above, I have had many printheads get clogged and have always looked for a better way to unclog them. I think several years back I, among others, posted a similar suggestions on how to build cleaning ink carts and how to use them. I also used a similar mixture of water and windex and I printed strips of what ever color was giving me trouble. The bad news is that I ended up "BURNING OUT A PRINTHEAD" doing this. The viscosity of the solution is not close enough to that of ink and while printing a full page of a single color of strips,.,,the head overheated and burnt out some nozzles and that of course stopped all printing. I must also warn everyone with a Canon printer,...NEVER EVER PRINT ANY DOCUMENT AS LONG AS YOU DON'T HAVE A GOOD NOZZLE TEST. Any one nozzle that is totally clogged can burn out if you continue to attempt to print. The reason is simple as the nozzle depends on a large resivoir of ink to keep it cool and recover from the last bubble of ink ejected. The bubble is eject because the nozzle was hit with a high current pulse that heats the ink rapidly and as it expands it is ejected out of the nozzle and the vacuum that was created sucks in the next drop of ink. If all of the ink in and around the nozzle is dried up (clogged) and you continue to pulse the nozzle with high heat, it will eventually overheat and burn out.

    So here is what I do now for MOST clogged printhead;

    1. BASIC CLOG. Rinse the head over and over in medium hot water. Focus the stream on the input filter screens and on the bottom nozzles. Keep this up until you can turn the hear over and not see and visible signs of color on any filter screen. Install and test the head with ONLY A NOZZLE TEST PRINT. If it is not perfect go to #2

    2. Difficult Clog. Repeat everything in step #1 but soak the head overnight in windex and then repeat all of #1 in the morning. It it is not perfect go to #3

    3. Bad Clog. Build a set of cleaning ink carts just as if they were going to be filled with ink but now fill them with a mixture of 10% ink and hot water. You don't need to use clean carts, just any cart will do just so long as it is the correct color. You must have a full set of cleaning carts and they all have to be installed at the same time. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO PRINT ANYTHING WITH THESE CLEANING CARTS except nozzle test print. You will use them to do internal DEEP CLEANING CYCLES and then print "1" nozzle test print. Examine the test print and compare it to previous test prints to see if there has been any improvement. Repeat the Deep Cleaning cycle again and print the nozzle test print. You can continue to do this until one or all of the ink carts go dry. If you haven't seen good improvement by the completion,.. then you need to go to #4

    4. You can either buy a new head or get really agressive and build yourself a pressure cleaning unit. This takes very special tools and parts that some hardware stores don't have. If you want more information about this just send me an email. I also think that there is one person on this web site that has built one and provided detailed instructions. The problem with this kind of high pressure applied directly to the input filter screen you have to control it very close or the over pressure will blow out the silicone rubber seal that seperates the ceramic nozzle side to the plastic filter side. Once that is blow the head is dead.

    Final comments: Many people believe that "Ink Clogs" are caused by ink drying up in the head,.. and if the printer sets around for a long time the ink will eventually dry and "Bang" you have a problem. This is partially true,.. ink does dry eventually,..but that is NOT what causes bad clogs. Bad clogs are ONLY CAUSE BY CONTINUING TO PRINT when the ink is low. Bad clogs are the result of small amounts of ink being "Burned" on the walls of each nozzle as it is heated over and over with insufficient ink. As this is repeated the buildup happens rather fast,..just as if you were cooking something in a pan and the small amount of liquid is burned just like "Rock Candy" on the bottom of the pan.

    I know this because of the testing and cleaning I have done on 50+ Canon printers over 7 years. As a further proof that ink drying by itself is not the "BAD" clog,.. today I brought down one of 10 iP4200 printer I have in my attic. It has been setting up there in a box through winters and summers for 3 years,..with the printhead install and a full set of ink carts install. It had a broken cover and I'd never got around to repairing it. I hooked it up and did one cleaning cycle and then a deep cleaning cycle. The nozzle test got all 4 colors almost perfect. The black pigmented ink was about 75% blocked. So I pulled the head out and did my #1 cleaning step above and air pressure dried the head. I reinstalled the head and inks and did 1 deep cleaning cycle to prime the head. The nozzle test was perfect. My point is that simple clogs that are the result of ink just drying out will dissolve rather easy in hot water. Ink that is burned on will not come out. It is just like that stuff that burns on the bottom of a pan,..you have to have a scrub brush or a screw driver to break it up. It will never dissolve by it self.

    ADDENDUM; I posted the above not late last month and several people have asked about it and in doing some more work today I was reminded of another key factor that really affects a lot of what I said. Another critial item that should have been included as a "Major Cause of clogs" is the ink carts. Many people have taken up refilling and many are just buying very cheap "Compaitble ink carts". I have always said that I believe in and use refilling but I only use OEM Canon ink carts for this,...because they are designed to "Manage Ink Flow", and the other compatible ink carts are poor copies at their best. When you combine with them VERY CHEAP INK you can see how those ink carts can create problems. Ink carts are the first place where ink begins to dry,...why,..becuase it is the only place the ink is exposed to air. The exit port of ink carts is the first to become clogged not only with dried ink,..but with all the impurities that are in the ink. After all it is a filter. The more the people refill the more they will experience clogs. All of this happens with both the Canon ink carts and the Compatible. Have you seen many people talking about how their printer sometimes streaks across the page. This is a symptom of "Ink Startvation",...which means the ink cart can't supply the ink fast enough to maintain the flow. How could this happen,.. the cart is not empty,..my gosh,.. there is a 1/16" of ink in the bottom. The answer is not the printhead is clogged. The answer is the ink cart is getting clogged. Now what do you think just happened to the printhead when it made that streak across the page,... well it continued to try and print,.. and suck more ink to replace the ink it just spit out,... but it got no ink. That didn't matter, it kept on trying to print and it keep heating up the nozzles and since there was NOT ENOUGH VOLUME OF INK INSIDE THE NOZZLE TO MAKE A BUBBLE,..it just overheated the ink and dried part of it on the walls of the nozzle.

    So here is my added "Caution",.. When you see you're having problems printing,... don't just blame the printhead,... start looking at those cheap ink carts you've been using,... or count the number of times you have refilled that ink cart,... and ask yourself "When was the last time you cleaned ANY INK CART."
     
    PeterBJ likes this.
  10. Apr 1, 2012
    panos

    panos Print Addict

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    Good posting, Trigger.

    When you reach the 4th step there is also the option of dismantling the printhead for a more thorough cleaning of the parts.

    It's easier than it looks. I recently done it for a second time with a good level of success.
     

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