Printer Trouble?

If you are having problems with your printer have a read through the following information.
You never know, it may solve a problem for you.

Helpful Advice

The following information is meant as a general guide only. No guarantees are made or implied as to its accuracy or effectiveness.

Look after your printer

Looking after your printer - yes it's a big one. Keep your printer in a dust free environment or at the very least cover it when not in use. Dust collects on the printhead and will cause scratchy or fuzzy print as well as blockages. Your printer has a built in squeegee blade that cleans off built up ink and dust on the printhead but the blade can and will get caked with it over time making it ineffective. Carefully take a look inside your machine and try to clean the blade. It is usually a thin clear strip (it won't be clear anymore) placed at one end of the printhead path. Always use water as your first cleaning agent. Use cleaning agents very sparingly as some chemicals may attack what ever you are cleaning. Always try water first.
Most manufacturers recommend that you use your printer once a week, once a fortnight at the least. Inkjet ink is designed to dry quickly. Your printer has a printhead that contains many tiny nozzles that fire ink droplets onto the page. These nozzles are susceptible to several issues including ink drying in them. Although your printer has been designed to seal the printhead from the air when not in use, a certain amount of drying occurs regardless. Using your printer regularly ensures that ink does not have enough time to dry inside the printhead nozzles.
Never leave the printhead exposed to the air for more than a few minutes for the same reason above.
Never return an old cartridge to the printer. The ink viscosity may be increased (become thick) and cause blockages in the printhead, intermittent printing or it may introduce air bubbles to the nozzles.
Never shake your cartridge. By shaking your cartridge you create bubbles of air in the ink and they may pass into the printhead. Air in the nozzles causes broken print and may also damage the nozzles.
Never continue using your printer if it is running out of ink or the image is poor for any reason. The ink that passes through the nozzles acts as a coolant and a lubricant. If the nozzle is doing work without ink it may burnout or fail. Clear the blockage with a printhead clean or replace the cartridge. Printhead cleaning does not use the nozzles. It is a mechanical action that draws ink out of the cartridge and through the nozzles by way of a vacuum.
Do not touch the contact points that connect the printhead to the printer. Acids and oils in our skin can effect the performance of these points. If you do touch these points clean with alcohol immediately.

Printhead problems

If you have a problem with the quality of the print, use the printhead cleaning option in your printer settings window to clear the problem. Although printhead cleaning uses a lot of ink it is the safest way to clear blockages and air from the printhead.
If several printhead cleans fail to fix the problem and you do not want to change the cartridge or printhead we recommend several options below. Remember that these are just suggestions. You must use common sense to avoid damaging your printer. To reduce the cost of cartridges and due to improvements in technology, printheads are increasingly permanent parts of the machine. Meaning that, they are not easily or cheaply replaced. Therefore any damage to the printhead may be expensive to fix. We recommend you find out what solvent is used in your printers ink as this will make the best cleaning agent to use. If you are unsure you can test the suitability of a particular solvent. Place several small drops on a white rag . This can be done by blowing into the air inlet hole that can be found on top of all cartridges. It doesn't take much air pressure so blow gently at first. Once you have your ink spots you can drip different solvents on to each one to see its effect. A suitable solvent will cause the ink stain to run even further. Start with water then methylated spirits, ammonia and then turpentine. The stronger the solvent the more likely it is to damage your printhead. Always use any cleaning agent very sparingly.
All printheads have electrical contact points that connect the printhead to the printer. Do not touch the contact points that connect the printhead to the printer. Acids and oils in our skin can effect the performance of these points. If you do touch these points clean with alcohol immediately.
Using a dust free rag or similar and Methylated Spirits gently clean the area where the nozzles are. Be careful not to introduce excess liquid to the nozzles. Capillary action will quickly take up any liquid into the cartridge and contaminate the ink. This includes other inks/colours.
Another option similar to the machines printhead clean operation is to use different ways to force ink out of the printhead. There are 2 ways to do this. Both require placing a rag over the nozzles to catch any ink. You can check the rag to see what inks are coming out freely. 1. Hold the covered cartridge in your hand with the printhead furthest away from you. A swinging or whipping action with the cartridge will force the ink to move toward and out the nozzles in the printhead. Do not shake back and forth. 2. On top of every cartridge is an air inlet hole. This hole allows air to replace the volume of ink that has been used so that a vacuum is not caused. It also allows air to escape if things warm up. With the printhead covered and turned so that it is at the lowest point, blow into the airhole. Do not blow any moisture into the cartridge. Both these methods will force ink out through the nozzles and hopefully push out any blockages with it.
If you can separate the ink tank from the printhead it may be possible to sit the printhead in a bath of the appropriate solvent. Do not use this method if the ink tank is not separateable from the printhead as solvent will be drawn into the ink and contaminate it. Depending on the solvent this method has the greatest chance of damaging the nozzles.
Some image problems look like printhead issues but are not. If the print error is repeated exactly the same numerous times it is highly likely you have a software problem. The first thing to do is try another image as bitmaps and any file for that matter can contain corruptions in the code and cause weird printing effects. It's best to start a whole new file rather than replacing the image in the same document.
Also from time to time the print driver you installed when you first got your printer may have become corrupted. If you are thinking about reinstalling the driver be sure to check the web for the latest driver. This is a last resort option in my opinion as programs like these are becoming very stable these days.