Unclogging Canon Printheads

SteveG

Newbie to Printing
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Points
6
The Hat said:
SteveG
Question:- You said that you used island ink for years in Epson/Canon, Its not the same batch of ink by any chance.

The problems you are having with only the magenta sounds like a bad formulation,
bad batch or wrong ink and the print head obviously doesnt like it..:hit

Also your refill ink may not be mixing very well with the OEM ink,
try purging the magenta cartridge and refilling it again..
Re different or bad inks: I am careful to ask for the right ink, in this case for my canon ip4820. This same problem happened with the new magenta cartridge so I'm assuming it is simply a very clogged head. Anyone have thoughts (or experience) on this theory:

Can print heads dry and clog in a dry/heated/hot room? I realize the printer should be used at least weekly but could lack of humidity result in print heads clogging? If so, would keeping a small dish of water or damp cloth inside the printer be helpful (when not used)?
Thanks.
 

leoo

Newbie to Printing
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
6
stratman said:
1) If the printer is still under warranty then contact Canon tech Support.
No, it is not. However I phoned and they basically suggested buying a new printhead.

2) Do you refill the cartridges? If so, what ink and what method of refilling?
No, always genuine Canon ink.

3) You can try cleaning the electrical contacts on the print head and the printer with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or use a soft pencil eraser.
I will try to do that when I put the print head back.

4) What happens when you print images of solid colors? Is there banding with either missing color(s) or alternating light/dark colors? Does the printout begin fine and then gradually or suddenly have missing/less color(s) after a while?
I printed a test photo print to check and see if the colours are off after a long time after the last colour print. The colours were waaaaay off from top to bottom, basically showing that probably no yellow ink was actually used in places and colours that should have partially used it and so parts of the image looked like bleached or similar. Not exactly sure about magenta as I do not have the print handy now.

5) This could be anything from a clog, a print head malfunction, a cartridge issue such as ink starvation or a combination of issues.
The cartriges are fine - I replaced "low" catriges to new ones (genuine) and did the nozzle chack after that with the result I have posted with an empty yellow block.

What puzzles me most I have not found anywhere that a bad test result could be a a block of 2, darker and brighter shades of the ink colour. I have bought Service manual and had a glance at it but have not found any information regarding such problem, only regarding white lines.

6) One way to narrow the possibilities of what is wrong is to try a new OEM Canon Magenta and Yellow since these appear to to be the problem colors. Report back what happens when you try these new cartridges. If new OEM cartridges correct the problems then your old cartridges either need to be flushed to clear the issue or discarded entirely.
I had changed the to brand new ones with no result before the nozzle check without a possitive result.

7) Do not print anything else but nozzle checks for now. If cleanings have not improved the nozzle checks so far then you might want to hold off on more at this point until you try the above suggestions.
Thank you, noted.

8) There are many versions of cleaning solutions and methods to unclog a print head and flush a cartridge. What is best is a matter of opinion, but usually people use either straight water or water plus an alcohol of some type and/or ammonia. Some use Windex with Ammonium D (original Windex). For one certain ink clog, a little liquid dishwashing detergent was added to water. The following are links and text of various methods.

20 ml isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol)
80 ml distilled water
10 drops of propylene glycol (Ed. - Used to recondition the cartridge's sponge or for long term storage of print head)
(optional: 5 drops of concentrated ammonia)

Ammonia Concentration: if used in cleaning cycle stick with 5 drops per 100 ml and when used to soak printheads externally increase it to 20-25 drops.

Fold a paper towell into a nice thick and even strip and drench it with the cleaning solution and put it under the printhead and let it soak for about 1 hour. After that, execute one cleaning cycle.

25-30 % ammonia: this is concentrated ammonia. If you use household concentration, increase accordingly. Standard household ammonia in the UK is 9% w/w (weight for weight)
http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=49137#p49137

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=7022&p=1

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=49410#p49410

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=38244#p38244
Thank you for detailed information!

At the moment I tried some methods but before I return my print head into the printer I am trying to be sure I did fix the printhead. I have looked at the printhead and noticed the yellow line was kind of more prominent than others - much more vivid in colour while others were of rather muted colours except for black one but that worked fine on the test.

So I

flushed with almost hot tap water
put some paper towel in a container, put the prinhead on the paper, and poured around 1 % ammonia solution and put in an oven to up the temperature. Initially made a mistake not checking the temperature closely with digital thermometer (thermocouple) so it went higher than planned 40-50 C, to probably 60+. I could not exactly measure the temperature of the bath because I put everythink in a transparent plastic bag to keep the ammonia smell from filling the kitchen and evapourating :) And then I left it overnight to cool down.

After that I still saw the yellow a little irregular line on the printhead and opted for izopropyl alcohol and dropped using a syringe on intake ports of different colours on the printhead. Also took paper napkin which seems to be quite soft and rubbed gently the printhead with the izopropyl alcohol. I noticed that particularly slow to absorb the drops were cyan, yellow, magenta - these also remained a tiny bit coloured - and grey intake ports. Apart from yellow, inks of these colours seemed to work OK at least on user level nozzle check test. So time to time I droped the alcohol on these and other ports. Some ink went out on the paper but very litlle evidence of yellow marking mostly black ink marking.

So I thought these ports do not transfer ink well because they are slow to absorb it in comparison to the rest of ports. I have seen a method of connecting a kind of hose or adapted syringe so the ports to push the water or other liquid through. So probably I could make an adapter for a syringe from a used Canon ink cartrige or simply make cleaning catriges from used cartriges (I have 147 (!) :)))) ). The slow ports show no to little improvent in absorbing alcohol (ammonia solution is way slower to be absorbed at any port). So now I am tempted to try option of making cleaning cartriges but I have to decide what should I opt for as fluid for a pigment ink based printer. So at the moment I am doing a research on which one is the best and before I decide.

I put the prinhead in a similar bath at room temperature with isopropyl alcohol untill tomorrow afternoon (no heating this time).

Your formula seems interesting - thank you very much for it! I just do not have propylene glycol at the moment and I am not sure if it is equally suitable for both cleaning cartrige and bath or should it be modified.

BTW, used cartriges had 2 to 3 ml of ink left.

Thank you very much for your help!

P.S. It might print OK by now as the other ports for grey and cyan seem to print OK but I want to try maximize the result as I suspect some nozzles might eject less than they should if a problem solution merely gives a rough possitive nozzle check result and... I am not eager to waste ink in priming and flushing ink each time I would try another method. So to speak, "One shot, one kill" :))
 

The Hat

Printer VIP
Moderator
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
12,097
Reaction score
5,755
Points
413
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Printer Model
Canon ? + 3D, CR-10.
SteveG
Re different or bad inks: I am careful to ask for the right ink, in this case for my canon ip4820.
This same problem happened with the new magenta cartridge so I'm assuming it is simply a very clogged head. Anyone have thoughts (or experience) on this theory

Can print heads dry and clog in a dry/heated/hot room? I realize the printer should be used at least weekly but could lack of humidity result in print heads clogging?
If so, would keeping a small dish of water or damp cloth inside the printer be helpful (when not used)?
Thanks.
Your original problem was a clogged print head and using a new OEM magenta cartridge should have solved that after all of your cleaning.
As you have not being able to get the magenta to print at all again since, I suspect you have cooked your print head, your printer can cope with most temperature and humidity in the average room.

Reading back through your previous posts one of the reasons that I can see for your problem
could be down to your refill methods and the use of opaque cartridges,

I think the magenta cartridge may have ran out of ink inadvertently and permanently damaged your print head.. :(
 

The Hat

Printer VIP
Moderator
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
12,097
Reaction score
5,755
Points
413
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Printer Model
Canon ? + 3D, CR-10.
leoo

Ok one of the things you could try is to leave your print head soaking in about 2cm of warm water
mixed with standard washing up liquid say 20% /and 80% water for one to two hours.

Then just dry the bottom of the print head with a kitchen paper towel and pop in back into your printer
and run a Ink Quality Maintenance first followed by a cleaning cycle on only the colours in group two
and then print a nozzle check and see if that has improved the output of the yellow colour..:)
 

stratman

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
4,636
Points
373
Location
USA
Printer Model
Canon MB5120, Pencil
Leoo:

Sounds like you have just about thrown everything at the print head including the kitchen sink. I am skittish about heating a print head up in an oven. 60 Centigrade may be OK, I just don't know. I also have never used hot to the touch water, as in "ow that hurts". My thoughts are you might cook the clog and make it harder or you can destroy seals, electronics, or plastic.

The Hat has experience with pigmented ink printers. His recommendation for dishwashing detergent follows the second link I gave you above. It sounds like it is worth a try.

The one thing that is required in these instances of potential clogs, and the one thing that is the most difficult to do, is to be patient. It may take several days of soaking for a clog(s) to be dissolved or softened enough to be flushed out.

Concerning propylene glycol -- as I noted previously, you do not need this for trying to unclog a print head.

Yours is a cautionary tale in that even if one uses nothing but OEM Canon ink, a clog can still happen if one does not print regularly enough. What is "enough"? The consensus on the forum is once a week and it must use all the colors. A nozzle check is usually referenced as sufficient. The best thing you can do is use your printer often. the old adage "Use It Or Lose It" is never truer than with inkjet printers.

Because I have suffered clogged and malfunctioning print heads in the past, I keep a spare print head in storage. You never know when it might come in handy. Purchasing from Canon Sales directly is the most cost effective choice for me, but I suggest you shop around to make sure.
 

leoo

Newbie to Printing
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
6
stratman said:
Leoo:

Sounds like you have just about thrown everything at the print head including the kitchen sink. I am skittish about heating a print head up in an oven. 60 Centigrade may be OK, I just don't know. I also have never used hot to the touch water, as in "ow that hurts". My thoughts are you might cook the clog and make it harder or you can destroy seals, electronics, or plastic.

The Hat has experience with pigmented ink printers. His recommendation for dishwashing detergent follows the second link I gave you above. It sounds like it is worth a try.

The one thing that is required in these instances of potential clogs, and the one thing that is the most difficult to do, is to be patient. It may take several days of soaking for a clog(s) to be dissolved or softened enough to be flushed out.

Concerning propylene glycol -- as I noted previously, you do not need this for trying to unclog a print head.

Yours is a cautionary tale in that even if one uses nothing but OEM Canon ink, a clog can still happen if one does not print regularly enough. What is "enough"? The consensus on the forum is once a week and it must use all the colors. A nozzle check is usually referenced as sufficient. The best thing you can do is use your printer often. the old adage "Use It Or Lose It" is never truer than with inkjet printers.

Because I have suffered clogged and malfunctioning print heads in the past, I keep a spare print head in storage. You never know when it might come in handy. Purchasing from Canon Sales directly is the most cost effective choice for me, but I suggest you shop around to make sure.
Thank you Stratman and The Hat!

I am leaving to soak untill tomorrow, dry it - it should dry pretty quickly as it is in alcohol now, btw, no trace of colour on paper under the print head now - and probably then I will make full set of cleaning cartriges from used ones and see if results of nozzle check test have improved - used cartriges should have enough ink to color the watar or solution (btw, thank you for mentioning the cleaning product, however I do not see it on sale locally. I am cautious of using unknown product so probably I will just skip unknown products and maybe if by any chance I get some glycol I can add it to the cartriges pretty easily).

Ink Quality Maintenance - I will have to check what that is, as either I do not remember doing it as I bought the printer maybe 3 years ago, or I have not seen this name at all.

Regarding the OEM inks and clogging - yes, I have noticed before that after a longer period of no printing there used to be a colour shift which slowly went away once I printed significant amount of prints, probably tens of similar to 8"12" or larger format photos.

So far the printer has worked fine, I have had maybe a couple of faulty cartriges but that is about it. Therefore I had never thought before I should have a spare print head. I was among the first to get this printer when it was released for trade and for the most part was a happy user. Well, now it is my ignorance to blame but I still hope to fix it as they the local service can order the print head but they say I might not receive it before Christmas.

The Hat, thank you for the idea of testing only one ink group.

Probably I will see how successful cleaning was tomorrow :) And if the colours will show I will try enetering service mode and print a test from there to have more deatiled information about the actual printer status.
 

gigigogu

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
May 7, 2011
Messages
150
Reaction score
2
Points
49
I would like to share my experience at unclogging Canon printheads as a succession of actions to be taken.
If the nozzle check shows missing nozzles or whole bands, after ruling out cartridge, electrical or purge unit problems:
1. execute cleaning (2) an deep cleaning (1) from printer software. If not solved or improved then,
2. drip cleaning solution on purge pad, printhead mesh screen and cartridge outlet. Let it rest for half an hour. If not solved or improved then,
3. soak the printhead in warm cleaning solution for a couple of hours. Myself I am using a shallow vessel and 2 Q-tips as support for printhead, in such way the nozzle plate wont touch the bottom of vessel. I pour warm cleaning solution to cover mesh screens and in vessel until the liquid is in contact with nozzle plate. This may need to be repeated many times over 2-3 days. If not solved or improved then,
4. apply negative pressure at mesh screen while the printhead is in the vessel with fresh cleaning solution. Keep doing it until the aspired solution is clean.

With 1 and 2 I solved most mild and recent clogs. 3 worked for stubborn dyes clogs. 4 worked excellent for PGBK - I was able to recover 100% PGBK for one IP3600, one IP4200 and one IP4500.
 

stratman

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
4,636
Points
373
Location
USA
Printer Model
Canon MB5120, Pencil
gigigogu:

1) What is a "recipient"?

2) How are you applying "negative pressure"?


Very nice compact post in describing your methodology. :)
 

gigigogu

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
May 7, 2011
Messages
150
Reaction score
2
Points
49
stratman

1. I was lost in translation. Now I changed it to vessel.

2. For negative pressure on PGBK I cut the tip of a thin (2-3 ml) syringe that fits over mesh screen. As the cut was not straight enough to ensure a good seal on rubber I melted a bit the edge then pressed it on a flat surface. For dyes I cut the distal end of a needle sheath, melted it, then pressed over the tip of a syringe.
 

stratman

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
4,636
Points
373
Location
USA
Printer Model
Canon MB5120, Pencil
Sorry to ask again, but, what do you mean by a "vessel"? Is it a plate, saucer, bowl, can, shoe box, etc?

Nice touch using a flat surface to mold the end of the syringe. :thumbsup
 
Top