How to Troubleshoot Printer Printhead Problems

One of the telltale signs of printer trouble include a change in the quality of output. You will notice that letters start to fade out, you see signs of banding, and no printing when the printer totally runs out of ink. Problems with the printer head will also lead to problems such as faded colors and lack of color even though the computer is telling you that the cartridge still has ink in it. The most likely culprit for problems like these is a blocked printhead. Here’s how you can solve this problem and restore the quality of your prints.

printhead
Printer Head. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Reasons for Blocked Printheads

Printheads often become blocked when they are not used on a regular basis because the ink can dry on the nozzles and block the passage of new ink when you do use the printer. You can easily troubleshoot this with the built-in cleaning and maintenance function that is present in most printers, from Canon to HP and Lexmark. With this function your printer can force new ink through the nozzle to dislodge the dried ink and get the ink flowing normally again. However, manufacturers warn that this feature should only be used three times in a row to avoid damaging the printhead.

Working with Different Types of Printers

It is also important to look at what kind of print head you have. Printers where the printhead is attached to the cartridge tends to be harder to troubleshoot and you may end up having to replace the entire thing altogether. Canon printers are easier to work with since the print head is separate from the cartridge.You can try removing the ink cartridge from the print head and wrap the print head in a paper towel soaked in warm water or cleaning spirits. This will hopefully dislodge any traces of dried ink. Replace it and try the built-in cleaning mechanism again. If this does not do the job you may need to replace the cartridge itself. This is often the case if you have Lexmark or HP printers.

If you have a printhead that is part of the ink cartridge, you can still remove the cartridge so that you can access the ink receptacle area which is where the cartridge connect with the printhead. Carefully separate the cartridge from the printhead. Add a few drops of cleaning spirits onto the ink receptacle area and run the maintenance feature of the printer again to dislodge any dried ink that may remain.

Final Tips

Use the printer on a regular basis with high quality ink to avoid the problems mentioned above. Use high quality printer ink to avoid getting gunk and debris on your printhead since low quality printer is often not as purified as OEM ink. OEM ink is formulated to work perfectly with the right printers so you can expect more pages printed, high printing quality and better printer performance compared to if you used a generic ink. Using OEM ink can help you prolong the life of your printer and give you more high quality printing output the more you use it.

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