Saturday, November 21, 2009

Printer fix

Earlier this week Jane's printer stopped printing black even after we changed the cartridge.  We looked and couldn't see any reason why it would not print.  The only two things we could think of was clogged print heads or the printer was broken. I hoped that the problem was a clogged print head as the alternative was to look for a new printer that was fully supported in Linux.  Several years ago she received the Canon IP3000 as a Christmas gift from her father and I don't see it for sale in any store now.  The closest model was the IP4700 which runs about $100 (Canadian).  I did a bit more research and if I wanted to buy a new print head it would run me over $100.  As a new printer was going to cost me the same as fixing the existing printer I figured that trying to do a fix myself would not be extremely expensive.

With nothing to lose I did a Google search for clogged printer IP3000 and found two sites that had step-by-step instructions on how to take apart the head and clean it.  I followed all of the steps and then put the printer back together.  When we did a test I was happily surprised that the printer was still working.  I didn't totally dry out the head assembly and we can see wet spots on the paper when it prints, but, I figure if I print out 10-15 pages of images that it should clear up.  Total time to take apart the printer, clean it and re-assemble was 30-45 minutes.  I would recommend you use disposable plastic gloves as it is a somewhat messy process.

The only thing I could think that caused the print head to clog up was I used a generic black cartridge in the spring.  After this I will be using Canon cartridges only.  Right now I am happy that we didn't have to go out and buy a new printer and my wife thinks I am a genius on cleaning the printer without breaking anything.

Update 2009/11/26:

The printer is working, but, the photo quality is not working properly.  It appears that I didn't completely clean out the alcohol from the portion that prints black.  I don't know if it will ever clean up, but, the black is splotchy and smears when printing.  We don't have a problem if we don't use photo paper.  I will probably keep the printer for normal jobs, but, I will probably have to get my wife a new printer so that she can print off her photos. Lesson here is to completely follow all directions and to thoroughly clean up before putting the parts back together.

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