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Advanced Techniques For Unclogging Print Heads

Aug 17, 2007
WE will begin with the simple easiest methods and then get into some of the ways the professional printer tech gets them unclogged.

Dealing with a clogged print head can be frustrating but this is no time to get into a hurry. Cleaning solvents can take many hours to do the job. And remember your trying to save the life of a printer. If all fails you printer may be ready for the printer graveyard. I'm talking about printers with the built in print heads here. It's probably best to explain the different types of printers now.

There are two rough categories of printers one with the print head built into the printer. For example Epson some Xerox and Canon .The other are Hp and Lexmark, which have the print heat built into the cartridge.

On most of the printers with built in print heads it is a major job to remove the print heads so all of our cleaning methods are with them left in the printer.

Most of the clogs that occur while you are printing aren't severe. The ones that are in many cases tough are when the printer has been sitting for a long time without being used. In this case the ink can dry as hard as a rock.

The first thing to do is to run the print head cleaning cycle 3 to 5 times. If you don't know how to do this check your manual or check online for a manual if you don't have one. After running the cleaning cycles, check the print out for the slightest change for the better. If it's getting better let it cool for a few minutes and continue. If it stays the same or gets worse move on to the next method.

Epson recommends running the cleaning cycle several times then printing a test page. Don't print a test page after each cleaning cycle on a tough clog. It does waste more ink this way but is necessary when you have one that is badly clogged.

If you still have problems its time to move on to more advanced methods. On Ebay you can purchase a Cleaner Called E.K.S. in small quantities. I'm in no way affiliated with this company by the way. Just type in Epson head cleaner and it will come up. This cleaner will work for all other brands also. I recommend that you keep some of this on hand if you have this type of printer.

Normally if you open the printer cover you can't move the print heads around. So here's what we do. Turn on the printer and watch the print heads move around while they are still moving unplug the power cord. Now you can move the print heads back and forth with your fingers. Take a piece of paper towel and cut out apiece about 3 inches long and 1 and a half wide. Fold this accordion style until you have a strip about one half inches wide. This isn't critical.Put some of the head cleaner on the paper towel and lay the paper down flat and move the print head until it's over the paper. You may have to work at this there's not too much extra room to get the paper under there. The wet towel will stay moist for several hours and keep the head wet with solvent. This is one of the most powerful ways of getting the job done.

Check the towel every few hours and if it's dried out apply a little cleaner with a syringe. Let it sit at least overnight for a real stubborn clog. Leave the printer cartridges out because it can wick all of the ink out of the cartridge. Apply a little of the solvent to the little pins that go up into the cartridge to keep this area wet also. Use the cleaner sparingly as you don't want to get this cleaner down onto the circuit boards. This would cause a short and maybe ruin the printer.

When you get ready to run a print test remember that it may take awhile for the print head to get filled with ink so it might not print on the first tries even if it's unclogged. There is one other method that techs use. Get a short length of one-eighth inch clear plastic tubing at a hardware store. Hook this onto a syringe. Slip the plastic tubing over the little pins the ones that go into the cartridge. Then push in on the plunger to try to force air through the print head. Always push the air through don't try to suck air through by pulling on the plunger.

If the printer is under warranty you could just send it back for repairs instead of going through this. But if not under warranty it will probably cost you more than it's worth to send it to the factory, as they will many times replace the print heads. If you don't have any of the recommended cleaner and it's an emergency you might try a solution of 50% distilled water and 50 % ammonia. Well good luck I hope this helps.
About the Author
Richard Sherland has been in the cartridge refill business for six years.He is affiliated with Global Inka factory printer cartridge and computer accessories manufacturer he also has an ezineFree information on many subjects
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