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Troubleshooting Tips

IF no ink is coming out of the cartridge.
Don't push the panic button yet...

There are several reasons why this might happen. Following the solutions below should solve your problem

Potential problems:
1. Clogged jets
2. Air in the cartridge
3. Foamy Ink
4. Ink did not reach the bottom of the sponge material.
5. Contact Point are fatigued
6 Print Head fatigued or damaged

1. To remove a clog at the print head.
Take a paper towel and wet thoroughly using distilled or filtered
water. Put the paper towel in the microwave for 20 seconds. Remove paper towel from microwave. Place cartridge on paper towel - put print head directly on the towel. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Do not scrape the cartridge along the towel, this will damage the print head. Ink should be seen on the paper towel. The more, the better. This shows that the potential clogs are clearing and that the print head can distribute it.

2. Air in the chamber.
The easiest way to remove air in the chamber, which can reside just above the print head when a cartridge 'runs out of ink'. Place cartridge in cartridge clip to protect the print head and contact points. With the print head facing down smack the cartridge on your hand. What you are doing here is forcing ink down. When you smack the cartridge on your hand, the heaviest thing inside (ink) goes down and air is forced up.

3. Foamy Ink.
When dealing with foamy ink, there are three things you can do. The first and most common solution is to allow the cartridge to sit for a day. This is an awful thing to have to do, but foamy ink is thick and contains a lot of air pockets trapped throughout the cartridge. The second thing you can do is to perform the cartridge smacking as listed above. The third solution is to take the cartridge and place in cartridge clip. Put cartridge in a zip lock bag and swing the cartridge in a circular motion. The print head should be on the outside of the circular motion so that ink is forced down towards the print head.

4. If ink did not make it to the bottom of the cartridge.
Any of the solutions above should assist in bringing ink down to the bottom of the cartridge.

5a. If contact points are dirty.
Clean contact point with a soft, non abrasive cloth (CD cleaning cloths are excellent for this).  You can use a small amount of filtered or distilled water. Never use tap water.

5b Contact points are fatigued.
Obviously we assume that you have not come into contact with the point with your fingers or any other abrasive material. If for some reason you have touched these contact points then we recommend cleaning them as mentioned above. The problem though with skin contact is oil from finger tips and salt. These can easily damage the cartridge. There is no solution other than cleaning.

6. Print head is fatigued or damaged.
If the cartridge ran dry for any length of time and was allowed to print, then damage to the print head may have occurred. Lexmark, like Hewlett Packard uses a thermal process for dispensing ink. It literally heats the print head and ink to dispense. Printing without ink in the print head can 'burn-up' the print head. To see if the print head can transfer ink properly use step one for wicking the print head. This is a good indication that the print head assembly can be used.

IF there are White streaks in print

The information above applies not only to refilled cartridges, but new OEM cartridges. As a matter of fact the information seen here is what Hewlett Packard recommends for cartridges that print with streaks on rand new ink jet cartridges.

Common causes for white streaks in text or images are:

  • Ink cartridge has poor electrical contact with the printer.
  • Ink cartridge needs to be cleaned.
  • One or both of the cartridges are out of ink.

Cleaning the Print Cartridges
(this applies to ink jet cartridge with built-in print heads)
The steps are broken into 4 procedures of cleaning. If the first step does not adequately clean the cartridge, try procedure 2, and so on.

Cleaning the cartridges through the printer utility.
Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Xerox and additional companies that carry cartridges with built in print heads have some type of cleaning routine that the printer will perform to clean the print heads of the cartridges.

Because of the sheer number of printers and different software versions for the printers we can not supply all of the commands used to clean the cartridges in all of the printers. The easiest way to locate this information would be to access your printer properties and locating the help file.

Cleaning the electrical contacts.

(this is an HP solution that works with all built-in cartridges)
1. Remove problem cartridge from printer.
2. Using a clean, dry lint free cloth wipe the copper contacts using an upward motion. Do this one time. The contacts are very sensitive and repeated rubbing can cause them to wear out.
3. Replace cartridge into cartridge carriage and latch down.
4. Run a test print. If no change in quality occurs try the fourth procedure.

Note Hewlett Packard recommends a dry cloth while Lexmark recommends a damp cloth on the contact points. You may wish to try it both ways.

Cleaning the nozzles with a damp cloth.

(this is a Lexmark solution recommended for all built-in cartridges)

Dampen a clean, lint free cloth with water (use distilled or other 'clean' water - do not use tap water). Gently wipe the nozzles of the cartridge in one direction.

NOTE: Lexmark does not mention the use of filtered water. Probably an 
oversight on their part. Regardless, never use tap water on your cartridge!

Cleaning the cartridge with hot water. 

(this is a solution we have been using since we first started using the HP 560c printers - and we bought them when the technology was brand new)
1. Thoroughly saturate a clean lint free cloth with distilled or filtered water.
2. Place paper in microwave for 20-30 seconds. (allow water to get very hot)
3. Place print head of cartridge directly on paper towel and leave for a minute.
The idea here is that the hot water will break up any dry ink whether it is on the outside of the cartridge or in the jets. The water will additional wick the ink and start drawing it out of the print head.
This is one of those 99% no fail routines that seems to always work provided that the print head is still useable. If for some reason this does not work we have to recommend something that Hewlett Packard and Lexmark recommends after the first two procedures: replace with a new cartridge.

If you get Partial Print
We have been recommending the following information for years. Interestingly enough, only recently Xerox has added this to their tech support section for inkjets. Obviously they have learned something over the last several years.

The Situation
You have either inserted a new ink tank or have refilled on and you are receiving partial print.

Answer: (According to Xerox)
You may be encountering an ink tank deprime condition. Try the following procedure to correct this condition:

1. Remove ink cartridge from printer.
2. Dry the port and vent area of the ink tank with a paper towel if ink residue is present.
3. Tape port and vent of ink cartridge. This is to prevent the splatter of ink onto the user during the recovery process. Place tape on the ink cartridge in the same orientation as the original removable foil. The tape should be pressed in place firmly to insure a good seal.
4. Place a paper towel or newspaper on a table top surface to protect it during the deprime recovery procedure.
5. Hold tank so that the foot is up and the vent end is at the bottom. Place the index finger over the end with the Ink Logic feature. This helps maintain a firm grip on the cartridge during the next step.
6. Firmly rap the vent end of the tank on a table top three times. This causes ink in the free ink chamber to saturate the foam so that the 
print headcan pull ink from the foam.
7. Remove the tape carefully. There may be ink on the tape.
8. Insert ink cartridge into machine.
9. Go to the Maintenance screen in the print driver. Click the Clean button, select Color, then click the Clean button.
10. After the cleaning procedure make a test print. If the problem is still present replace the ink tank if you have an extra cartridge and contact us and we'll make the appropriate arrangements for a replacement.