iP4200 BK disappeared

elenhil

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If cleaning the print head didn't bring back the pigment black in the nozzle check and in a new stamp test then more print head cleaning is needed.
OK, I will try to repeat the procedure. It just didn't occur to me that it could possibly make the issue worse.

How did the new iP4200 print before starting cleaning the print head?
I don't know. It successfully ran out of ink, so I guess it was okayish. I am admittedly just hoping to find a random intact head and join in the fabled luck of the Irish.
 

stratman

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Buckle your seatbelt. this is going to be a long post.

A clear, concise and accurate history is lacking.

Is the following summary reasonably accurate?

  1. A print head using third party inks stops printing PGBK. Several Deep Clean cycles performed. A nozzle check shows a funnel-like loss of PGBK in the center of the Lattice work printed area. Print head was then soaked and nozzle check shows PGBK completely missing.
  2. Print head issue unexpectedly resolves after "months". Unsure when PGBK may have returned to function as you were not printing with that cartridge.
  3. Some time after "normal" printing, funnel-shaped missing ink during Plain Paper text printing but with normal nozzle check.
  4. Cleaning cycle(s) performed without resolution.
  5. New PGBK cartridge used without resolution of the funnel-like missing PGBK ink on Plain Paper, though PGBK is still printing otherwise.
  6. Print head soaked. PGBK now no longer printing at all.

The timeline above seems to follow a pattern from no issues, to funnel-shaped loss of PGBK ink issue, to complete loss of PGBK ink issue. That the complete loss of PGBK ink on two occasions follows your soaking routine would seem to point that your soaking routine is related.

However, if the issue arose from an electrical short due to inserting a still moist print head into the printer then I would not expect a return to use of the PGBK as happened before.

If this issue were due to overuse of cleaning cycles, easily done with more than 2 Deep Clean cycles in a 24 hour period per a Canon Tech I spoke with long ago as I wrote in an earlier post - than I would think any self-repairing would have taken place in much less time than "months" (the time you said it took to go from not working to return of working).

However, we do not know when the PGBK returned to function because you had switched to settings other than Plain Paper to make black text for months. If the issue were one of overheating due to multiple Deep Clean cycles (plus whatever else adding to the issue) AND the print head just needed a rest THEN maybe the same thing is occurring now. Again, I would expect a faster resolution of the issue after a day or two of rest.

It is possible that if some component was damaged in your manipulations of the print head (or the carrier) and over time "straightened" itself out to make proper contact, but I would think this quite rare without a concerted effort on your part to "realign" whatever was disrupted.

As to a complete clog occurring during your soaking session -- well, we need more information on your exact procedure - all the steps as best you can recall -in order to say more. Possible cause does not mean probable cause of your issue. The timing of your soaking, though, cannot be overlooked.

If you are using the same ink that you were refilling with when you first had a problem a year ago then this might increase the potential for new or more clogging. A sudden complete loss ink loss despite sufficient ink and a new cartridge usually points to an electrical malfunction in the print head, logic assay board or both. In the realm of other possibilities are a connection issue between cartridge and print head (take out cartridge and reseat in print head) OR a print head contact issue (take out print head and clean electrical contacts on both the print head and print head carrier with a soft pencil eraser or a lint-free cloth and isopropyl alcohol).

I wrote you could try a PGBK Deep Clean cycle, not several, if you thought this might be a massive clog, because you have little to lose at this point. A single deep clean in 24 hours is generally OK. Just follow the guidelines I wrote, which include resting the print head afterwards. However, as your print head may be "sensitive" to changes, I might only try flushing/soaking/drying, cleaning electrical contacts, and nozzle checks for now. I might use one or two Regular Clean cycles only to see if some ink printed or if there is some ink printing and clean to see if that could be improved. I would also let the printer sit over night to see if time, gravity and dissolving properties of the fluid ink can melt away any clogging.

(when the funnel-shaped loss of ink occurred - stratman said he found it surprising that the could be loss of ink followed by a normal-looking nozzle check).
Go back and read my post on this. Not so surprising if the ink loss was due to ink starvation from either an "empty" cartridge or, despite sufficient quantity in the cartridge, ink that poorly transits through the cartridge's sponge for one reason or another.

Now that I have reviewed this thread, you once had an abnormal PGBK nozzle check that exhibited the same funnel-shaped ink loss as we've seen in an image of a document you printed. Repetitive intermittent patterns of funnel-shaped ink loss would be an odd event if caused by an electrical failure IMO. Electrical failures are either OFF or ON. The loss would be consistent line to line, at least in one direction of the print head pass if not both directions across the page. Instead we see an intermittent funnel-shaped loss consistent with temporary insufficient ink flow to that nozzle(s) that recovers. This could be due to poor ink flow through the sponge plus or minus a budding clog.

I don't know. It successfully ran out of ink, so I guess it was okayish.
This is confusing. Please be more specifid/detailed in your reply if possible.
  • Did the printer have any issues?
  • What does "It successfully ran out of ink" mean?
  • What does "it was okayish" mean?

The real question is: I have just acquired another second-hand iP4200, and its head is currently soaking away. Perhaps I may be able to restore it to life. @PeterBJ's stamp test seems to suggest it's not the logic board that's at fault. Should I try inserting the 'new' head into my original printer?
Did you try printing with the "new" 4200? If so, what happened?

I advise you detail your soaking routing, including how you will prepare the print head to be dry before inserting in a printer.

Unless there is a reason NOT to use the printer the "new" print head came from, then I advise you first try it in its original printer, not your current problematic printer. Then report back results on the thread and include a scanned and cropped nozzle print. Do not print anything other than nozzle prints until it is normal or advised otherwise. Do not do any cleanings until advised otherwise.

As to warnings about cross electrical malfunctions between a print head and a printer's logic assay board... these appear to be quite rare events per reporting on the forum. Possible but not probable from the forum's collective experiences. Still, we state the caveat to more fully educate members of potential additional issues.

For now, do not swap print heads until further advice.
 

ninj

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Just a thought - and apologies if this has already been mentioned (or considered irrelevant) - but could the gasket around the PGBK inlet have been damaged or lost during the initial soaking?
 

elenhil

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Just a thought - and apologies if this has already been mentioned (or considered irrelevant) - but could the gasket around the PGBK inlet have been damaged or lost during the initial soaking?
Can you please post a picture of this gasket? I'm afraid I don't quite know what it is.
 

stratman

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could the gasket around the PGBK inlet have been damaged or lost during the initial soaking?
Excellent thought, ninj! :thumbsup

But now how to explain the sudden return of PGBK function after the same sequence of events the first time? Or was the gasket still there after the first loss of PGBK following soaking and now it isn't after another round of soaking?

Alas, this doesn't get easier!

@elenhil -- The gasket ninj refers to is the darker black circular O-ring that surrounds the silvery, circular, button battery-like shaped ink port of the print head where the cartridge contacts the print head. This gasket provides a seal against air leak between the cylinder-shaped ink ejection port of the cartridge and the print head.

 
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elenhil

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No, the gasket is in place. Though I do not know how to check it for non-apparent damage.
 

stratman

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Maybe the gasket has degraded over time and does not seal properly. Unfortunately that does not explain why printing function completely returned only to eventually demonstrate the same printing errors again.

A thorough flush/soak/flush/dry and retry seems the best option outside of trying the "new" print head in its original printer first. After results are known then devising a further plan of action.

*What is your procedure for cleaning and drying the print heads?*
 

elenhil

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Is the following summary reasonably accurate?

  1. A print head using third party inks stops printing PGBK. Several Deep Clean cycles performed. A nozzle check shows a funnel-like loss of PGBK in the center of the Lattice work printed area. Print head was then soaked and nozzle check shows PGBK completely missing.
  2. Print head issue unexpectedly resolves after "months". Unsure when PGBK may have returned to function as you were not printing with that cartridge.
  3. Some time after "normal" printing, funnel-shaped missing ink during Plain Paper text printing but with normal nozzle check.
  4. Cleaning cycle(s) performed without resolution.
  5. New PGBK cartridge used without resolution of the funnel-like missing PGBK ink on Plain Paper, though PGBK is still printing otherwise.
  6. Print head soaked. PGBK now no longer printing at all.
Almost. No. 5 should read 'Print head soaked. PGBK now no longer printing at all.', and no. 6 'New PGBK cartridge used without PGBK appearing on nozzle check or Plain Paper printing'.

As to a complete clog occurring during your soaking session -- well, we need more information on your exact procedure - all the steps as best you can recall -in order to say more. Possible cause does not mean probable cause of your issue. The timing of your soaking, though, cannot be overlooked.
Well, the first time (a year+ ago) I did it I wasn't following your instructions. I seem to remember flushing the head with warm tap water until no ink was coming out, then drying it with a hairdryer (won't do it again, I promise!).

This time I first flushed the head a bit with cold tap water aiming it at the ink ports, then soaked it in cold water with a drop of Fairy added (well, actually, Amway) for 12 hours, maybe lifting it a bit and lowering it back a couple of times. Then I changed the water, added some more Amway and let it soak for 12 more hours or so, perhaps doing the same lift/sink thing some more. After that (the water was now free of ink) I must have flushed it some more or soaked it yet again for some time to get rid of the washing liquid and placed it upside down in a warmish place (above a row of small lamps over my bathroom mirror, actually) where it stayed for 12 or so hours.

If you are using the same ink that you were refilling with when you first had a problem a year ago then this might increase the potential for new or more clogging.
Well, I'm using the same 3rd party ink, but obviously not the same bottle. And - this probably should've gone to no. 1 above - the original problem (the one that started this thread) occurred after my using up the 'dregs' of a PGBK bottle to refill it. There had been no prior issues.

This is confusing. Please be more specifid/detailed in your reply if possible.
  • Did the printer have any issues?
  • What does "It successfully ran out of ink" mean?
  • What does "it was okayish" mean?
I honestly don't know. I just saw a secondhand iP4200 being sold for a buck not far from my place. The previous owner is not tech-savvy. Says it had simply ran out of ink and was abandoned.

By 'successfully' I meant, if it broke down, they wouldn't've used up all the ink, would they? They would've been offering an 'old printer, still some ink left, check it out yourselves'. I suppose.

Did you try printing with the "new" 4200? If so, what happened?
Will do once its ('new') head is soaked and dry. So far I plugged it in to remove the cartridges and the head. It did squeak awfully at startup, though. They definitely haven't been looking after it for quite some time.
 
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stratman

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Almost. No. 5 should read 'Print head soaked. PGBK now no longer printing at all.', and no. 6 'New PGBK cartridge used without PGBK appearing on nozzle check or Plain Paper printing'.
OK. You soaked the print head BEFORE trying a new OEM PGBK cartridge.

All we know at this time is that following soaking the print heads your PGBK nozzles completely dissappeared, just like the first time a year ago or so. Now we know that even a new and never opened PGBK cartridge does not resolve the issue. But, if you had tried a new and never opened PGBK cartridge before soaking we might have been able to rule in or out ink starvation. Maybe that was all you needed to do to resolve the funnel-shaped missing ink. :idunno

Concerning cleaning the print head...

Overall it sounds OK.

Warm water is OK. Lukewarm is fine. Hot is not. If it's too hot on your arm/wrist, like checking a baby's bottle, then it may be too hot for the print head. Warm water also helps in cleaning due to the physical properties of a warm liquid over a cold liquid. Eventually when soaking the print head will become room temperature. That's OK. I used fresh warm when I changed out the dirty water.

I use a paper towel crumpled up below the print head and will pump the print head up and down onto to help gently move the soaking solution into the nozzles.

I don't know what is in "Amway". Do you have a link where I can read the chemical ingredients? There are chemicals I wouldn't soak a print head in, for instance too much ammonia.

I flush before and after soaking. If you see no more ink drops on the nozzles or the fine mesh of the ink entrance ports (those silvery buttons that the gaskets surrounds) of the print head then I consider moving on to drying.

Gently blow drying has been used successfully by members. The trick is being gentle. Damaging temperatures can occur rapidly. I gently pat dry with a lint free cloth or paper towel, maybe even a gentle shake or two, and then let the print head dry over night. No lights, heaters or ovens required. Just make sure the PCB board and electrical connections are dry to the best of your knowledge. It's OK if the nozzle have water in them. I might take a slightly different drying approach if I was living in an extreme of cold or humidity.

the original problem (the one that started this thread) occurred after my using up the 'dregs' of a PGBK bottle to refill it. There had been no prior issues.
This is another topic in itself. Suffice to say it is good you are not using old ink any more.

The previous owner is not tech-savvy. Says it had simply ran out of ink and was abandoned.
And they couldn't buy another cartridge? :ep

In general, if you want to trust the seller, OK, but always verify function, even if it means a guarantee it isn't DOA once you get home and test it out. Even if it were grandma. Maybe especially if it were grandma. ;)

But, for a buck, who cares! You might have found the deal of the year. :ya

Let us know how it goes with printer #2. :pop
 

PeterBJ

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Well, I'm using the same 3rd party ink, but obviously not the same bottle. And - this probably should've gone to no. 1 above - the original problem (the one that started this thread) occurred after my using up the 'dregs' of a PGBK bottle to refill it. There had been no prior issues.
I think the "dregs" in the ink ruined the print head. I think it was some kind of biological growth, algae or fungi. I have also lost Canon print heads to this "killer fungus". It can grow inside the fine ink passages in the print head and block them. It can begin as a problem with ink starvation, and next day the nozzles can be totally missing for the affected colour.

I think no cleaning can save a print head blocked from biological growth.

See this and this post. There is written much more about this in the Canon Inkjet Printers forum. You can try searching for algae, fungus or clogged magenta.

It is not recommended but maybe your only chance to get the "old" iP4200 working again with PGBK would be to install the print head from the "new" iP4200 that seems to suffer from mechanical problems. Any comments to this idea @stratman?
 
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