KEEP YOUR PRINT HEADS CLEAN!
What am I talking about? Every inkjet printer uses these microscopic ink jet openings to lay ink down on the paper. The same ink that dries nicely on your paper will also dry nicely in the orifice that the ink flows through to get the paper. When this happens, it's like a clogged toilet. Sometimes you can "clean" the print heads with some printer maintenance program-- but OFTEN it is next to impossible. Many many times I had this problem with my otherwise excellent Canon printer. I had plenty of ink in the cartridges, but it would not flow through the print head completely.
The problem happens most often because you JUST DON'T USE YOUR PRINTER EVERYDAY.
PRINT AT LEAST ONE BIG COLOR PRINT A DAY TO KEEP THE HEAD CLEAN. If you can't do that, simply run a cleaning cycle or two (or worst cast scenario three) when you get back from vacation. Save the "Heavy Duty" cleaning cycles for real problems as this uses a ton of ink. You can also run a test "purge" print that prints simply a big block of each color.
[The one advantage (and that's about it) of HP printers is that their ink cartridges contain a brand new head and nozzles every time you replace the cartridge. However, I don't think this justifies buying an HP printer. Just less chance of a clogged head in the long run of you use an HP.]
Trust me, prevention is worth a TON of cure when it comes to ink jet printers. Not only will "cleaning" or "heavy cleaning" take time, but it is expensive, because cleaning generally uses a LOT of ink in printers. Canon will clean the head with air in the regular cleaning setting, but often this does not work and you have to resort to heavy cleaning-- and ZIP!!! half the ink in your cartridge has been used up to get your printer to work right. $36 worth of ink down the drain, literally.
The cure is simple--- print one full color print every single day, whether you need it or not. This will keep your print heads flowing and clean. You can download and use either of the following JPG files to do your "cleaning" or "test" print. Printing these images, especially the Standard Blocks should get the ink flowing. Set your printer to fill the image to page size of Neil's Test Print , or print at half a page size of the Standard Test Block.
Please note: even standard cleaning or heavy cleaning may not keep your printer working the best it can. If you own a Canon printer, please read all of the Canon maintenance information below.
Note, you can also check your printer accuracy by comparing the look of Neil's Test Print on your monitor, and comparing with the actual print out of your printer. Please note, although the text on the print is very sharp, the photo itself is not REALLY sharp although it has excellent color value representation- note the croquet balls in front. the Standard Blocks give you INK color, and should not be used to judge primary color representation, unlike the Neil's Print, and are simply used to make ink flow through your printers ink jet head.
MAKE SURE AND CHECK OUT OUR AIR-CLEANING
PROGRAM BELOW on this page WITH COMPRESSED AIR FOR CLEANING CLOGGED
PRINT HEADS-- air is almost free, and is a sure fire
cure for clogged nozzles.
The MIRACLE AIR CLEANING CURE
for CLOGGED PRINT HEADS.
is how I do it on my Canon. You might be able to pull this off on an Epson. You
can't on an HP.
you've put in a new cartridge and cleaned the nozzles several times, and the
nozzle check STILL shows a clogged nozzle-
If you've put in a new cartridge and cleaned the nozzles several times, and the nozzle check STILL shows a clogged nozzle-I have found that after THOUSANDS (okay, maybe HUNDREDS) of prints, it may be necessary to spray compressed air through the WHITE flow-through delivery sponge. This is the little circular inlet that sits directly under the bottom ink cartridge hole in the print head. I.e.: Take out the ink cartridges and remove the print head.
You'll see 6 1/4" holes into which the ink is delivered from the cartridge. Get a can of compressed air and spray from the cartridge side a few short bursts. HOLD A KLEENEX or toilet paper on the outside of the print head where the copper nozzles are- otherwise, you will get ink all over everything as the air cleans out the sponge inlets. Wipe off the outside copper nozzles, because ink will have poured out. No need to use any solvent, just a dry lint free paper. I've used 100% denatured alcohol at times- I don't suggest any other solvent for printer cleaning. Clorox, however, is the only thing that will remove totally inkjet ink stains from plastic housing, counter tops, your fingers- but don't use on important printer parts.
Put your cartridges back in, run a clean cycle to get the ink running again, realign the nozzles, and VOILA- your printer will magically work again.
If you have a big AC powered air compressor- (like for working power tools) this works even better- just CONTROL THE AMOUNT OF AIR- don't get crazy or you'll destroy the sponge inlets.
In rare cases, this will not be enough- and you'll still have a color that may be partially clogged resulting in uneven printing or stripping, which appears after a couple of prints. In worse cases, the head is still clogged. Be aware, when you don't get ANY color coming out at all, its usually a bad cart.
Here's a couple of options:
1) Hold the print head under reasonably hot running tap water for a minute. This will flush out the nozzles. You can hold both the metal nozzle side and the sponge side under the water. Shake out the excess water when done. It will take a print or two to get ink to fill in the sponges again after you do this. BE CAREFUL not to hit or touch the nozzles themselves with the metal faucet tap. If you bang on the nozzles- you will ruin them, they are delicate microscopic holes. Be careful.
2) If THAT doesn't work, you can use ONLY DENATURED ALCOHOL and with a syringe, squirt some into the sponge side, a good amount to flush dried ink. DO NOT EVER USE ANYTHING ELSE (except water), because stronger solvents will melt the sponge, and that will totally ruin the printer head.
But I pass on
the info below just as a matter of options....