How to Recover a Dry Printer Head

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Introduction: How to Recover a Dry Printer Head

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How many time do you have found your inkjet printer dead after a standing idle long period? Because of the low durability of inkjet prints I usually send them to a web print-shop, so my colours, althought I try to remember to keep them making exercise, often get dry. This happens more certainly if you go on printing after the warning of ended ink (whoops...).
Anyway... it's not a big problem if you know hot to solve the matter.

Step 1: Remove the Cartridges

Some cheap printers have the head attached to the ink-cartridge, but those cartridges are much more expensive and the quality is worse. My Canon IP4600 is a not very expensive printer, but with a good quality and CD printing too, I love it. It has 5 cartridge which you can extract without moving the head, I've already removed them in the picture.

Step 2: Remove the Head

To remove the printer head you have to pull up the gray lever. The head will come out with no resistance. Pay attention to not touch the rear contacts and the bottom side where you find the ink nozzles. These last are very delicate, don't  scratch them with rags or other, also if you see they're covered of ink, anyway it might not dip..

Step 3: Find a Proper Suction Tube

Now you need some luck, but also a good equipped maker shop will be useful. I've searched among the rubber tubes I had, to find one which has the right diameter for the cartridge joints on the printer head. These tubes are not essentials, because probably it's enough dip the head (the printer one, not your!) in water. But I think they'll guarantee the success.

Step 4: Dip Into Water

Set up a plastic flat cover with some millimeters of water. it is important you don't use ceramic plate, or anything else made from an hard material. This because the nozzles borders are ceramic and they break very easily. I know it because I've broke my old IP4200 printer head tapping it on the plate, don't ask me why... I asked myself it a lot of time! probably I didn't want to accept the more obvious reason
;-)
Put the stuff to soak for a while... The water will dissolve the dry ink. Meanwhile with the rubber tube try to suction some water from the plate into the nozzles. To do that you don't necessarily suck the tube, it's better you keep it in place, push the sides, close the open end, and let it sucks for you resuming the original shape. Now you can wait an hour, but if you have time you can leave it all the night.
At the rear side of the printer head, the contacts should be waterproof, but don't wet them too much.

Step 5: Dry the Head

When you have time to reinstall the head on the printer, dry it gently pushing it on a paper napkin, don't rub it, and let the water coming out for a few minutes. It's better use microfibre cloths, so they won't clog up the nozzles with fibers. You should see some coloured lines as in the picture, one for each nozzles line.

Step 6: Almost Done

The printer head is now clean, it still has some water inside, but don't worry about it.

Step 7: As Brand New!

Install back the head into place, close the lever, put the 5 cartridges on, close the printer and turn it off.
I've waited a few minutes now, because I think the ink need time to mixing up with the water inside the head nozzles.
When you turn on the printer again, probably it will want to make the nozzles cleaning, and its right ;-) if not tell it to do that. After the cleaning, which will waste a few quantity of ink, you'll can print the check sheet to verify that all the nozzles are clean and working!

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    user

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    92 Comments

    Hello,

    I'm not sure if water is the best fluid to do this,
    since more and more ink is water resistent, and water can corrode
    contacts. I cannot wash ink of my hands with water and soap.

    Instead
    i use Isopropyl alcohol. What also could help is filling empty
    cardridges with isopropyl alcohol and do a few cleanings with it, so it
    will flush the heads with it. The ink become thinner. Afterwards i
    replace the isopropanyl cardridges with the good ones and i print the
    test page a few times, so the stuff is out of it.

    Hi. I Need some help guys.
    I replaced the DX7 printheads on my Mutoh VJ1638 sublimation printer (due to end of life). I'm using Onyx Rip and sensient inks with them. New heads, after the installation, are printing much lighter than the original file. The profile, media and inks are all the same, but the colors are coming out much lighter and much less saturated. Red is coming our as pink etc. Tried everything but couldn't solve out the issue.
    Help and guidance will be much appreciated.

    Fahad Habib

    I soak the printhead of Epson L350 in water for 2-3 hours and let it dry overnight. The next day I put it back and power it on, it runs for a few minutes and suddenly power off. It won't power on anymore. Any idea what happen to my printer?

    i found this is easy fix . you may just need to do some adjustments to fix your printer head

    please just clean the print head carefully and make sure the ink is not dry and and follow

    this steps by step Guide to fix the Print Head Step by Step and this may help yo

    I was also facing same issue with my kodak printer I tried a lot to fix that at last I just visited http://www.printer-techsupport.com/kodak-printer-support.html and made a call on their toll free. I got great help from a certified technician to fix kodak printer only in a single call.

    look up the word: "SHILL" in a dictionary.

    user

    I just find the sponge where the printhead sits when in cleaning mode, soak it with windex, and clean the windex off it with a paper towel. I do that about 30 times, clean off the rubber "wiper", and the other sponge beside the main one. (both sponges, and rubber wiper on all the way on the right on an epson small in one) The the sponges get soaked with windex and the printhead pushed into place, and let to soak for about 20 minutes. This only gets done when I get tired of doing several cleaning cycles and it still doesn't print correctly. Its saved me from buying a new printer 3 times now.

    is English your first language ?

    Hello, here my video to show how i unclog my canon printhead!

    it work!!!!!!!!!!!! thank u so much, i was ready to buy a new one .. but not anymore, and my printer is been sitting in a closet for 3 years ! it was so dried .. now it works perfect! thank you again!