What Canon calls the "waste ink
is really several very thick felt pads stacked on each other.
Cleaning cycles pump ink out of the heads and a hose sprays it
in a pad so it soaks into the felt pads from the bottom up. The
printer simply counts the number of cleaning cycles it has performed
and when it hits a certain count it warns you, when it hits a
higher count it stops printing. Good news, bad news: you can reset
the printer, but if you don't replace or clean the waste ink pad
you run the risk of overflow.
This is straight from the CANON
Australia service manual.
Follow the steps carefully to reset the Waste Ink Pad Full condition.
Note that when I say left and
right, I mean -your- left and right, not the printer's left and right.
After you have done this and
confirmed that it is reset and printing again, it's time to remove and
clean the waste ink pad, and the rest of the printer as long as you
have it open. Following are instructions based on the BJC-6000. Most
Canon printer cases seem to be built along the same lines.
First, get the cover off. You'll need to remove
parallel port cover first. There's a slot at the bottom of the
parallel port cover, stick a flatbladed screwdriver in there and
gently pry it out. Most Canon printers are very similar.
There are 4 Lights! Er, there are 4 plastic tabs
the top on. You can reach the front ones by reaching inside the
printer and gently bending them back while lifting the top.
The other two are on the sides near the back.
are slots, press a flat bladed screwdriver gently in the slot
to push the tab back while gently lifting the top. DO NOT PRY!
All the Canons I've taken apart
then have four screws that hold the entire printer mechanism on the
plastic base. Some models do have a power supply module that slides out
of the rear of the case, remove this first. -Only- remove the four
screws holding the printer mechanism onto the lower case. Some models
may have more screws, but becareful not to remove any other screws! It
just lifts off. Set it up on a couple of boxes or chunks of wood under
the tabs so the mechanism is reasonably level.
Now is a good time to take it
outside and use dry canned air to blow out the paper dust in the back
of the printer. Do -not-, repeat NOT use an air compressor! It is too
much pressure, and air from a compressor or air tank is full of
moisture and oil. And stay away, AWAY from the print head and the park
pad and cleaning pump under it. Stay away from the paper path under the
print head groove. If you don't, you can end up blowing ink sludge
around the printer or blow air into the heads or inadvertently create a
suction that pulls ink out the heads and blows it around the printer.
If you aren't wearing rubber
gloves by this point, put them on now. The waste ink pad can hold an
-incredible- amount of ink, partially dried so it is a lot more color
than it looks. Do -not- do this in your bathroom sink! If your
porcelain is worn at all or has any invisible mineral deposits, the ink
can permanently stain it. Open a couple of windows and set up a fan as
you'll be working with ammonia and alcohol. I know from experience that
the fumes can sneak up on you.
Mix up a liter of cleaning
solution in a clearly labeled, resealable container:
Take the waste ink pads out and
lay them down on some newspapers by the sink. Chances are, it is no
more than 50% color, as the waste ink warning is conservative so you
don't end up with ink running out on your table.
Take the bottom printer case
and run hot water over it to wash the ink out. You don't need to get it
like new, just get the big blobs of goopy ink out. Pour some of the
cleaning mixture in to help break it up. Dry it out with an old towel
or paper towels and set it aside to dry.
Set the waste ink pads in the
sink. Pour some of the cleaning mixture into them to dissolve the ink,
then gently run hot water through to rinse it out. It will never look
clean, don't try, just get it so there is little ink left in the wash
water. It is a rather fragile felt-like substance so if you try too
hard, you can end up destroying it.
Squeeze out as much water as
you can. Do -not- twist it like a towel! You'll have to let it dry for
several days. Put it over a heat vent if you have central air heating,
or just in a sunny window. If you don't put it somewhere warm or with
some air flowing, it will stay damp a long, long time. You can even
lean it up against a box fan on low. I caution -against- putting it in
front of an electric heat fan because of the fire hazard.
I have considered running a
tube out from the park pad's waste tube to a bottle outside the
printer. However, if you do this you run the risk of the bottle getting
knocked over or leaking.
Look over the printer
mechanism. You'll see some areas of ink build-up. Ink and paper dust
mix to make a viscous mud that stays wet for a long time. I use cotton
ear buds (aka Q-Tips or cotton swabs) to pick up the blobs, it is
better if you can get some of the absorbant foam swabs. Then a
premoistened window wipe to wipe off the rest.
Note: Don't use paper towels!
Paper towels are horrible things that shed little bits all over. Any
little bits that get on the bottom of the head, or on the park pad will
cause ink to wick out or block a nozzle. Test the premoistened window
wipes you intend on using; tear one in half. If it looks a bit like you
tore a sheet of paper it's good; ie, a ragged but basically clean tear.
If it looks like a cotton ball exploded it's bad! IE, threads or
I use Coralite brand window
wipes. Ironically, cheap is better. No lemony scents, no vinegar wipes.
Just plain old ammonia based premoistened window wipes.
After everything is dry,
reassemble everything but the top of the case. Locate the lid detector
switch, it is usually somewhere near the hinge of the lid. Use
something like a small piece of vinyl electrical tape to hold it down
so the printer thinks the lid is shut. After confirming that everything
is back in place (except the top case), plug it in. Turn the printer
on, confirm that everything moves as it should on power-up (basically
nothing sticks or bangs).
Take the tape off the switch so
it thinks the lid is open, this should cause it to move the print heads
to the Cartridge Change position. Unplug the printer! This is
important, so it doesn't suddenly decide you are taking too long and
move the heads. If you have a holder for the print heads, take them out
and put it in it. If not, set the print heads on top of a folded up
premoistened window wipe. Ink will wick out, so you don't want to leave
it too long this way.
Using several of your lint-free
premoistened window wipes, carefully wipe up around the park pads.
Careful! The park pads "float" in their holder and if you are not
gentle you will knock it out of it's mount and it won't seal to the
print heads properly. You may use a cotton swab moistened with cleaning
solution to get the clumps, but don't touch the foam inside the park
pad with it. That foam is really a hard plastic and will grab bits of
cotton fiber and cause ink wicking.
Use an eyedropper to put
cleaning solution into the park pad foam until it is visibly wet and
wick it back out with a window wipe. Repeat. Again, you aren't going
for spic-and-span, just the bulk of the ink. Put a few drops back in so
it just looks wet.
There is a rubber and felt
wiper just to the left of the park pads. It is probably retracted
(towards you) but don't try and force it out. If it slides out easily,
fine, again get the blobs off with dry swabs. Then wet the swabs with
cleaning solution to get most of the ink off, and to get some of the
ink out of the felt that is on one side of the wiper blade. Be gentle!
It is very easy to accidentally knock this off of its mount or pull it
out all together.
Without flipping the print
heads upside down, wipe off the excess blobby ink around the edges. It
is imperative that you do not touch the heads anywhere with cotton
swabs, cotton cloth, or paper towels! Use the lint-free premoistened
window wipes, and do -not- press against the bottom of the heads at
all. I fold up a window wipe into sort of a cushion and wipe gently
across the bottom. Do this only after cleaning around the edges or
you'll just wipe that ink/paper sludge across the print nozzles. Again,
it does not have to be spotless.
Reinstall the print heads, put
the tape back on the lid switch. Plug the printer in, turn it on, let
it finish it's cleaning cycles and gyrations. Turn the printer off
On my BJC-6000 and several
models, you can get it to print a nozzle check by holding down the
Resume/Paper Feed button while turning it on. It beeps once when you
turn it on, let go of the Power button but keep holding the Resume
button. If you let go after one beep, it does a quick head clean, if
you let go after two beeps it prints a nozzle check and alignment
check. Three and it just feeds a sheet of paper. Or just connect it to
your computer and use the driver Maintenance menu.
Confirm everything is printing
correctly again, power off and reinstall the top case. Your Canon
should now work for many more years.
If the printheads are badly
clogged and the printer driver cleaning cycles aren't fixing it, you
may try the following:
First effort: put a
few drops of cleaning
solution onto the park pad "sponge". This is that sponge-looking thing
(actually a hard plastic foam) where the head sits when not printing.
Just do whatever it takes on that printer to unpark the heads as if you
were going to change cartridges, then close it up and let it sit for a
day before you run a cleaning cycle and nozzle check again.
Extremely Thorough Cleaning: Take the head out, remove the
If you've saved the orange seals, tape them onto the cartridges, if not
then wrap black electrical tape around so it covers the ink outlet and
the little air inlet on top. Only pull it snug across the ink outlet,
not tight, and fairly loose on the cartridge body to prevent tape creep.
I then just stick the head under a stream of hot tap water. I use a
soft plastic eyedropper to squirt the above cleaning fluid into the ink
inlet meshes on the head and to flush ink off the bottom of the head.
Careful not to touch the nozzles!
As you squirt cleaning fluid into the screen, a lot will rush back out,
that is fine as it is flushing ink and gunk back out rather than
forcing it through the nozzles, which are far finer than a human hair.
When you see little or no more color in the water or cleaning solution,
force some of the straight filtered/distilled water into the screens.
Rinse the outside of the print head with straight isopropyl alcohol
(99% is better than 50% for this) and pat dry with a clean cotton towel
(-not- paper towels) and again, DO NOT TOUCH THE NOZZLES.
Patience is a virtue. I've bought a lot of Canon printers in thrift
stores with full cartridges because the heads clogged, they bought new
cartridges, that didn't fix it so they tossed it at Goodwill. I clean
them up and for $12.95 I get $45 worth of brand new cartridges and a
backup printer. I only had two heads be unsaveable, those would print
on all nozzles but had sprung internal leaks between two colors, cyan
and yellow. The symptom was yellow nozzle checks print green, and the
ink inside the yellow cartridge slowly turns green.
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