Printing photos

Inkjet printer maintenance

Written by Gail Bjork

When an inkjet printer needs occasional maintenance, such as minor cleaning of the printer nozzles and print head alignment, it can usually be done by via the printer driver.

Inkjet printerEvery printer needs an occasional tune-up. Neglecting to do so can cause clogged nozzles that may require replacement or professional repair.

Some maintenance, such as minor cleaning nozzles and print head alignment, can be done via the printer printer.

The signs of clogging are when lines or poor colors appears in prints. To bring the nozzles back to normal, do a nozzle check or clean the printheads.  Both maintenance processes consumes ink, so don’t use them unless necessary.

Maintenance tools are accessed through the printer driver or via you computer systems printer control panel. Once a maintenance procedure begins, let it run full cycle before shutting the printer off.

Nozzle check

nozzle checkWhen printouts become faint or certain colors fail to print, test whether the print heads are working properly.

First use the utility that performs a nozzle check pattern. It prints out a test pattern to show if there are gaps, which may indicate a specific ink cartridge is clogged. Faint lines usually indicate that some of the nozzles are clogged.

Cleaning print heads

If the nozzle check indicates that a cleaning is needed, or if the printer is completely clogged, clean the print heads. The process removes blockages in the nozzles. Run additional nozzle checks since sometimes cleaning must be performed more than once to be successful.

Some printers have more than one mode to clean the heads.  If so, use the deep cleaning mode if the standard cleaning mode isn’t sufficient. Don’t do unnecessary cleanings, as the use up ink.

Print head alignment

If the nozzle test indicates that lines and colors are out of kilter, or there is banding, align the print heads. The process aligns the heads correctly. It is usually run after new print heads have been installed.

If cleaning and alignment do not solve a problem, contact the manufacturer for the cost of repair. If your printer is no longer covered under warranty, assess whether repair costs are worth it. Sometimes buying a new printer, particularly those that come with a full set of ink cartridges, is the best option.

Some manufactures will exchange your non-working printer for a refurbished one at a significant savings. They may also give you the option of buying a new printer at a discount.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

13 Comments

  • I own an epson 1400 and always wondered if I can setup my computer to do a “daily task” of running a nozzle check every few days to prevent clogging. I use sublimation inks; not OEM inks, so I’m looking for a task manager that can accomplish this when I happen to be out-of-town and not using the printer for 3 or more days.

  • deer Gail Bjork
    thank you but Problem in copy mode and not in any print mode if the printer is separate from the computer

  • bahaa, this has worked for others and hope it does for you.

    1- Remove the printer driver. Check your computer help files for instructions how to remove the driver if you don’t know.

    2- Restart the computer.

    3- When the computer is back on, connect the printer USB cable and turn on the printer.

    4- The computer will install new hardware. Hopefully, this will fix the problem. If not, contact Canon tech support or visit one of the many Canon printer forums.

  • Canon model: Multifunctional 4010    
    the problem (error system 225 )
    can you help me
    thank you

  •  
    Here is a tip on your printer heads.  I know that canon or any other manufacture would not recommend it, but my canon printer is going on seven years old and it is still working fine, after doing what I am about to suggest here.  I had my print nozzles clog up really bad once that even doing a deep cleaning several times did not help at all.  I took a clean towel and put fairly warm water in it, just enough to contact the bottom of the print head.  I removed all the ink cartridges form the print head and took the head out of the printer and put it in the bowel of warm water.  I let it soak for about five minuets or so.  Then removed the head and used a lint free cloth and patted the head dry.  I reinstalled the head and ink cartridges into the printer and what do you know the printer worked like new again!  Something else, I also have tried using 70% rubbing alcohol and it does just as good a job.  I now do this about every two or three months and like I said above my canon printer is going on to its 7th birthday now!

  • I believe you are asking about the Canon PIXMA MP198. If so, you should do a Nozzle Check via the printer driver. That way you can determine which color may be causing the problem. If the Nozzle check indicates a problem, do a cleaning in the Maintenance portion of the driver. If that doesn’t work, do a Deep Cleaning. If that doesn’t work, replace the ink cartridges one at a time to see if things improve. If not, call Canon tech support for their recommendations.

  • halo,,,all
    saya punya masalah dengan printer mp 198,
    setiap saya print lebih dari 3 lembar hasilnya malah tintanya putus2….mohon bantuannya…
    thanks

  • Digicamhelp is an educational site and can not offer technical advice. For accurate information about maintenance and other problems you listed, contact the inkjet printer manufacturer for technical support.

  • i work for a co. that owns an inkjet printer and run the machine. i was trained by someone who is now retired and we got the machine brand new then and he did not know a lot persay about maintaining the inkjet. Now i am in charge without a lot of knowledge. i would like to know what is the regular maintance for an inkjet. [Printer model number and several problems listed]. thank  you very much.