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Anyone Successfully Revived Printhead on Inkjet Printer
Old 08-17-2019, 10:30 PM   #1
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Anyone Successfully Revived Printhead on Inkjet Printer

I have an old Lexmark inkjet printer. I don't know if I was unaware that you're supposed to print regularly to keep it running or if my reality suggested that was only for others. For nearly 2 decades, I'm guessing, I would print 6 pages or so quarterly and very little else. The ink would last several yrs and then it would not print.......I assumed because the ink ran out. Usually the color would change from black to (usually?) maroon and then get fainter before it ran out.

This time, it printed one complete line in black and then printed nothing else.
I bought a new cartridge but no printing. I believe these cartridges have the printhead built in so a bad printhead should be fixed by a new cartridge......
unless the new cartridge is re-used and is bad . I have had mixed results from Amazon.......some are good, some are bad.........if I return the bad ones, the replacements may be good or not.

I have seen these videos where you soak the printhead in water for several minutes and up to overnight if necessary. I have done that but so far no difference. Some use warm water..........have not done that yet.

Wondering if anyone has had success in reviving these things and any special tricks you needed to do.

I also have a newer Canon printer MX700 which has the printhead separate from the cartridge. It prints the colors but not black and a new black cartridge did not help...............I guess text and spreadsheets print in black so nothing is printed for those kinds of documents. Any way to tell it to print those in color?
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:00 PM   #2
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When I had a Lexmark printer, I had so-so results by soaking the cartridge face in isopropyl alcohol, sometimes I'd rub it a bit with a cotton ball soaked with isopropyl. It would work occasionally.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for that tip.......the online advice is all over the board.........one says to soak in 50/50 mixture of water/iso ; others say water only and that iso is corrosive; worth a try tho since the water alone isn't working. Even if it doesn't work well, it would be useful to have proof that the printer still works. Right now there is nothing at all.

In a prior experience w/ the same dilemma, I had purchased 2 that didn't work. Sent them back and bought from another company that was the cheapest so I wouldn't lose much if it didn't work............but it did work.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:18 AM   #4
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I have revived several old Canon inkjets with an Iso-alcohol soak - they have a separate print-head from the cartridges (IIRC, our HP B&W had the 'print-head' built into the cartridge). I also drilled a hole in some old carts and filled them with alcohol, and ran the head cleaning routine with that.

A couple times I was able to find a reasonable price on a new print-head.

But years ago, I switched to a cheap Brother B&W laser, and I don't miss fiddling with ink carts. I've found cheap toner carts that seem to work well. I miss color every once in a while, but I can send those out which isn't too inconvenient for the few times I need it. The newer color lasers are smaller and cheaper, so I may go color when this one bites the dust.

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Old 08-18-2019, 10:53 AM   #5
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But years ago, I switched to a cheap Brother B&W laser, and I don't miss fiddling with ink carts. I've found cheap toner carts that seem to work well. I miss color every once in a while, but I can send those out which isn't too inconvenient for the few times I need it. The newer color lasers are smaller and cheaper, so I may go color when this one bites the dust.
This is exactly where I'm at. On the few occassions I need color, it's off to Kinkos Fedex, but that's rare. I refill my own Brother toner cartridges and they work very well.
If you really want a color laser printer, I'd recommend you not wait until the B&W Brother dies--they seem to last forever. It's among the best $100 I've spent.
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Old 08-19-2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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I have revived several old Canon inkjets with an Iso-alcohol soak - they have a separate print-head from the cartridges (IIRC, our HP B&W had the 'print-head' built into the cartridge). .........................

-ERD50
Tried the iso alcohol soak on the Lexmark cartridge..........2 hrs, and then overnight. Nothing.

When you cleaned the Canon printhead............did you turn off power before removing the printhead? The few videos I saw apparently did not say you had to do that.
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:01 PM   #7
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Tried all of the above. Partial success, or none. But problem will come back the following week.

Solution: Bite the bullet. Purchased color laser printer, when I need color copies.

Use my other black/white laser printer for black printing.

Laser "toner" carts print forever, and do not dry out.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:48 AM   #8
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Tried all of the above. Partial success, or none. But problem will come back the following week.

Solution: Bite the bullet. Purchased color laser printer, when I need color copies.

Use my other black/white laser printer for black printing.

Laser "toner" carts print forever, and do not dry out.
I've traveled the same path in the past. Laser well worth the initial cost and none of the inkjet clogging aggravation.

I bought a color laser printer recently also. During my decision process I seriously considered tank type inkjet printer . One reviewer that owned the inkjet printer I was looking at scheduled a page to print out at least once a week to keep the ink flowing. A waste of ink and paper I know but I guess more chalked up to regular maintenance.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:51 PM   #9
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...Laser "toner" carts print forever, and do not dry out...
Is this actually the case? I would think that if you did not use a toner cartridge for some time, humidity would eventually infiltrate into the cartridge and cause it to cake up. Maybe you then just take it out and shake it around a bit? I don't have toner cartridges, so I genuinely don't know how you maintain them.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I miss color every once in a while, but I can send those out which isn't too inconvenient for the few times I need it. The newer color lasers are smaller and cheaper, so I may go color when this one bites the dust.-ERD50
I miss color too and I'm buying a new color laser all in one as soon as my new filing cabinet arrives. Part of the office redo. The old mono laser will go to the sidewalk with a "free and works" sign on it.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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Is this actually the case? I would think that if you did not use a toner cartridge for some time, humidity would eventually infiltrate into the cartridge and cause it to cake up. Maybe you then just take it out and shake it around a bit? I don't have toner cartridges, so I genuinely don't know how you maintain them.

FWIW, I have a laser printer* in my Florida snowbird condo which sits idle for ~6 months a year at ~70% humidity. It prints "first time, every time" for the five years I've had it. (My sis & bro-in-law have had their snowbird condo for 8 years and their laser printer toner* experience has been the same.)

*And we buy the "high yield" cartridges (more toner = more pages printed = changed less often) which last for several seasons, unless we have some unusually heavy printing to do. So they readily survive several cycles of summertime high humidity. (The "regular" indoor humidity runs around 55-60% in season).

I'd NEVER go back to an inkjet -- too much hassle and cost.

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Old 08-28-2019, 03:04 PM   #12
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Is this actually the case? I would think that if you did not use a toner cartridge for some time, humidity would eventually infiltrate into the cartridge and cause it to cake up. Maybe you then just take it out and shake it around a bit? I don't have toner cartridges, so I genuinely don't know how you maintain them.
Just print. Toner does not need shaking. (I've used this trick on my black/white laser printer to get a few hundred more pages to print).

Never had the problem of "dried" toner carts.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:08 PM   #13
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I have had two HP inkjets that had the printer heads go bad. I ordered new print heads, (good deals on Ebay), each time for the printers. The first time...the print head worked OK for about a year and then went bad. I decided and bought another HP printer and after a couple years it went bad. I ordered another replacement print head and it worked for about a week. I then decided to trash the printer and the HP brand. I now have a nice Brother that has worked flawlessly for the past two years.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:09 PM   #14
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Ok, all this sounds good. I think I will seriously consider a color laser printer, next time I am shopping for a printer.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:23 AM   #15
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I have had two HP inkjets that had the printer heads go bad. I ordered new print heads, (good deals on Ebay), each time for the printers. The first time...the print head worked OK for about a year and then went bad. I decided and bought another HP printer and after a couple years it went bad. I ordered another replacement print head and it worked for about a week. I then decided to trash the printer and the HP brand. I now have a nice Brother that has worked flawlessly for the past two years.
Problem is the ink cartridge "drying" out, when not used frequently.
The Printer is OK. This is a very "common" problem. Google it.
Cure: Is Laser printer.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:57 AM   #16
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My experience –
1) Keep the ink flowing with regular use.
2) Evaporation concentrates the ink making clogs more likely.
3) Black ink is denser and more likely to clog.
4) With printer-head on cartridge type, it’s best to replace the cartridge unit.
5) Remanufactured is less reliable than OEM.
6) A small amount of distilled water can be injected into an aging OEM cartridge with a hypodermic needle to extend it’s life (once).


7) Unclogging an Ink reservoir type printer head is more involved -
8) Remove the target ink cartridge.
9) Locate the ink inlet port.
10) Use a MityVac or similar tool with the clear hose and tight fitting rubber tip (modify a tapered tip by cutting) to suck out the old ink – go slow and clean the hose/tip often.
11) Use a hypodermic syringe and the above rubber tip to slowly inject an 80/20 mixture of isopropyl alcohol/distilled water.
12) Let sit overnight with the syringe still attached.
13) Repeat the MityVac suction routine.
14) Reinstall the ink cartridge (new is better) and make sure the vent is clear (use a needle).
15) Give the ink enough time to reach the print head.
16) Test

PS - This is just an outline and may need to be modified to the end users specific application.
Re - #'s 11/12, if the print head is so clogged as to not allow any fluid bleed-through, start with an empty syringe and remove the plunger. Attach the body and half-fill with the alcohol mix and let that sit overnight (longer is better). Then push the plunger in enough to make a seal and quickly remove. Turn upside down and push out the air. Re-install and give a gentile back and forth washing action. Too much pressure risks blowing the ink-line off the print head.
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