Trouble with print quality on Canon iP2872

AbdullahTrees

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Hello everyone!

I have a Canon PIXMA iP2872 Printer, and after refilling the OEM cartridges with extra ink myself, everything was working perfectly (perfect prints). But about a month of inactivity later, I see some unsatisfactory prints that I'd like to get to the bottom of. Can someone help out and explain what the print tests I've done mean and how I can restore the Black Cartridge to print a perfect square pattern?

For now my main complaints are: Black Cartridge creates 'broken' straight lines that are wavy, see example graph paper in attachments for understanding. This is currently hindering the look of all black and white documents I'm producing.

Once I fix this problem I'd also like to learn what I can do to ensure these cartridges remain in good shape for a long time. Thanks
 

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stratman

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Welcome to the forum, AbdullahTrees. Sorry to hear you are having printer issues.

Were you having ANY issues with the printer BEFORE you let it sit for a month?

Last question first. Print something every week or two that uses all the cartridges. A nozzle check usually suffices.

The Pigment ink cartridge nozzle check latticework lines are irregular. This may be a timing strip issue.

First thing is to clean the timing strip. Then print a nozzle check on a sheet of paper that has nothing printed on the back, scan, crop and post. Print nothing else until fixed or asked to do.

http://downloads.canon.com/cpr/software/mf/MP620_TimingStripCleaning.pdf

The vertical black bars in the nozzle check are missing ink in a horizontal orientation. Also, there is missing ink in a horizontal distribution in the color and grey scales at the bottom of the first image.

I have no idea if the second image of black boxes is printed using the Pigment Black cartridge or the Dye-based ink cartridges. When you use something that is non-standard or unknown then it's utility decreases. This is why we may ask for specific images to be printed.

First try cleaning the timing strip and posting the nozzle scan.
 

AbdullahTrees

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Before the 1 month break, I had no issues with the Black-Only Cartridge, full solid rich blacks, and a perfect pattern on the paper indistinguishable to the digital pattern shown, and fully WYSIWYG Black-and-White printer. However the color cartridges were empty. (I filled the color cartridges after a 8-10 months break. Initially I lost all hope but after seeing that the cartridge heads were wet and sapped ink into a tissue paper when pressed, I refilled them and saw that it was working)

After this break, I saw that the Black Cartridge was showing signs of low ink (too light color, entire fragments in the pattern missing), so I refilled it with Black ink again. This caused the pattern to become whole again, but had wavy lines in the pattern as can be discerned in the lower bottom section of the black pattern.

The second image is a 5mm X 5mm array of black squares printed by MS Word, and was printed using the Black-only cartridge. This is meant to resemble real-world performance issues across a piece of paper and shows that there are wavy lines between every vertical stepping of the cartridge head on the paper.
 

stratman

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black squares printed by MS Word, and was printed using the Black-only cartridge.
How do you know this? Depending on the application and paper selected in the driver you may or may not be using Pigment ink.

Based on your story of long periods of no usage, empty cartridges and refilling with continued print issues, the steps for you are

1) Clean the timing strip as per above. Post nozzle check as per above.

2) Either buy new cartridges - OEM or aftermarket - or thoroughly flush and then refill the OEM cartridges.

The point is to remove cartridges that may not be working properly consistently or at all. Maybe all will be well after Step 1. Otherwise, the only way to continue to diagnose and resolve is to then do Step 2.
 

PeterBJ

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I also think the problem is caused by clogged cartridges. I think that with a set of new cartridges the printer will be OK again. But cleaning the cartridges is worth trying.

The combined sponge and printhead cartridges are not always easy to refill and get working reliably after refill. Some times an air bubble in the nozzle chamber is blocking the ink flow. A priming tool can then get the ccartridge working again. But the combined cartridges are more difficult to refill and get working reliably than the single ink tanks.

It looks to me like the black cartridge has dried nozzles after being left for a month, but normally a month without printing should not ruin the cartridges.

Here is a post with links to problems caused by unsuitable ink and cleaning the cartridge/printhead. This thread might be worth reading.
www.papersnake.com has got a lot of technical papers for download as PDF. I think the grey, red and blue engineering papers are good as test images. You can test both the black and the colour cartridge using these images.

I think the test will show that the black cartridge is the problem and the colour cartridge is OK apart from a little banding,. Partly clogged nozzles can cause a delay in printing and so cause the wobbly vertical lines in the vertical black test print. This means that the timing strip is most likely OK
 
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AbdullahTrees

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How do you know this? Depending on the application and paper selected in the driver you may or may not be using Pigment ink.
I had 'Black Only' enabled from Printer Settings that allows you to choose what cartridge to use when printing, also pure Black is somewhat noticeably different from 'Color Black' made by mixing CMY colors.

1) Clean the timing strip as per above. Post nozzle check as per above.

2) Either buy new cartridges - OEM or aftermarket - or thoroughly flush and then refill the OEM cartridges.

The point is to remove cartridges that may not be working properly consistently or at all. Maybe all will be well after Step 1. Otherwise, the only way to continue to diagnose and resolve is to then do Step 2.
So I did Step 1, and I see perfect color printing, however my main issue of Black line patterns being wavy/weird is not gone :( Here are the results now...

IMG_20210210_0002.jpgIMG_20210210_0004.jpg

One thing I should add is that the timing strip had a LOT OF dirt on it. Even after wiping it 4-5 times with alcohol, it was still leaving behind brown residue. Taking out the timing strip and seeing it under a light, I noticed a black dot in the middle of the timing strip(left side of the strip), and certain other whitish marks that don't go away upon scrubbing with alcohol. I gave up on trying to clean that and restored it back. It looks like they aren't having an impact on the operation of the printer, seeing how color printer is working properly...

Here's how much dirt came out, lol. Based on your recommendations, I can continue cleaning until all the residue is gone.

IMG_20210210_0003.jpg

I feel like now the color issue has been fixed, although you may suggest more options. Now I am trying to fix the wierd problems on the lower bottom section of the black patterns on the printer nozzle check. Please and thanks!
 

stratman

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Taking out the timing strip and seeing it under a light, I noticed a black dot in the middle of the timing strip(left side of the strip), and certain other whitish marks that don't go away upon scrubbing with alcohol.
Yes, there are timing marks on the timing strip. If you damage the marks or the strip then your printer will n ever print properly unless you replace the timing strip. If something won't come off with gentle cleaning then it might be there for a reason.

Since you have manipulated the timing strip, perform an alignment. Do this AFTER the following...

On to Step 2.

So I did Step 1, and I see perfect color printing, however my main issue of Black line patterns being wavy/weird is not gone
You still have issues with BOTH color printing and pigment black printing. Yes, the nozzle check appears good for color but note the lines in the color gradient and grey scale swaths in your second image. As you said, the pigment black nozzle check is still poor.

Your printer uses cartridges that have the print head on the cartridge, not as a separate and expensive part. Your cartridges are relatively inexpensive. They are also refillable but notoriously so. You may be able to refill a handful of times but reports I have read are they fail rather quickly compared to other cartridges used in printers with standalone print heads. (Thanks to @PeterBJ :hugs)

Retire the old cartridges. Get a new set of cartridges. Don't let your printer sit idle for months. Print something that uses all the colors, like a nozzle check, every 2-4 weeks. You might be able to go for longer, depending on the environmental conditions, but only you will know as you try.

Let us know how it goes.
 

PeterBJ

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I think the timing strip is now OK, I see no white vertical bands in the coloured nozzle check stripes. Even if there is a little banding in the rainbow coloured test stripe I think the colour cartridge is OK for plain paper documents. The colour balance is OK as the vertical bars besides the CCMMYY lettering in the nozzle test are neutral grey.

The black cartridge should be cleaned or replaced. In stead of opening the cartridge try cleaning the nozzles by pressing them alternately on a soft paper handkerchief wetted with a window cleaner with ammonia or pharmacist's cleaning solution and a dry paper handkerchief.
 
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AbdullahTrees

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You still have issues with BOTH color printing and pigment black printing. Yes, the nozzle check appears good for color but note the lines in the color gradient and grey scale swaths in your second image. As you said, the pigment black nozzle check is still poor.

Your printer uses cartridges that have the print head on the cartridge, not as a separate and expensive part. Your cartridges are relatively inexpensive. They are also refillable but notoriously so. You may be able to refill a handful of times but reports I have read are they fail rather quickly compared to other cartridges used in printers with standalone print heads. (Thanks to @PeterBJ :hugs)

Retire the old cartridges. Get a new set of cartridges. Don't let your printer sit idle for months. Print something that uses all the colors, like a nozzle check, every 2-4 weeks. You might be able to go for longer, depending on the environmental conditions, but only you will know as you try.
Thank you. I live in Bangladesh where cartridges are quite expensive so I'd like to see how far I can take each cartridge before it becomes apparent that I must replace them. I do not mind taking a small compromise on print quality as I don't really print personal photos on photographic/glossy paper, if it's good enough for illustrations then the printer is ready to go.

I think the timing strip is now OK, I see no white vertical bands in the coloured nozzle check stripes. Even if there is a little banding in the rainbow coloured test stripe I think the colour cartridge is OK for plain paper documents. The colour balance is OK as the vertical bars besides the CCMMYY lettering in the nozzle test are neutral grey.

The black cartridge should be cleaned or replaced. In stead of opening the cartridge try cleaning the nozzles by pressing them alternately on a soft paper handkerchief wetted with a window cleaner with ammonia or pharmacist's cleaning solution and a dry paper handkerchief.
Excellent, thank you. I guess I'll start by cleaning the black cartridge. The problem is that raw chemicals like Ammonia and Propylene Glycol is really hard to find here (people here usually make do with Alcohol/Alkaline detergents), so I'd like to find out if there are other alternatives available that could be used.. How about water?

Many YouTube tutorials also discuss using a cartridge primer/ink suction tool to pull out all ink from the printheads of a printer. Initially I want to try this out, but I see no recommendations about this from you guys, what are your opinions on this method of cleaning?
 

PeterBJ

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Excellent, thank you. I guess I'll start by cleaning the black cartridge. The problem is that raw chemicals like Ammonia and Propylene Glycol is really hard to find here (people here usually make do with Alcohol/Alkaline detergents), so I'd like to find out if there are other alternatives available that could be used.. How about water?

If you cannot get the chemicals used in preparing "pharmacist's cleaning solution" then a window cleaner, preferably with ammonia is a good substitute. Car wind shield sprinkler fluid is also good. You can also use plain water, but the window cleaner and the sprinkler fluid are more efficient.

The suction or priming tool is also very good for cleaning the nozzles and removing trapped air.
 
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