REMEMBER – INKJET PRINTERS ARE MACHINES WITH MANY MOVING PARTS. LIKE MOTOR CARS, IF YOU USE THEM ALL THE TIME, VERY LITTLE EVER GOES WRONG, BUT PARK THEM UP FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME, RELIABILITY CAN BECOME A PROBLEM. A FEW TIPS….
IF YOUR PRINTER IS USED VERY INFREQUENTLY:
1) Leave it switched on although not in use. It consumes only a tiny amount of power, but the electronics will keep the print-heads closed, thus stopping the air getting to the inks. This reduces considerably the risk of ink drying-up inside them, causing a blockage.
2) Create a simple word document containing some pink, red, light blue, dark blue, green, yellow and black, and try to get into the habit of printing it every 7-10 days. It uses very little ink, but keeps the heads in-use and lubricated, making any blockage even less likely.
3) When storing ink cartridges, always keep them away from direct sunlight and UPRIGHT rather than laid down. Gravity will keep the liquid toward the bottom of the cartridge - where it's immediately needed upon installation.
If you are absolutely certain the cartridge is full but you are missing one or more colours, (having made certain any pull-off tab has been removed) consult your printer manual and run a “print-head cleaning cycle”. Printer manufacturers are aware of ink drying within print-heads and this programme is built in to most modern printers to combat the problem. If one cycle doesn’t clear the blockage, try running it 2, 3 or even 4 times if the problem persists. If there are still inks in the cartridges, the blockage should clear and all colours should be accurate.
Provided printhead cartridges (HP, Lexmark & Canon PG/CL models) are stored correctly for no more than about 6 months they should work quite normally as soon as they are installed.
If you find a printhead cartridge doesn't work immediately it is installed, there are a couple of things you can try: 1) Gently wipe the micro-electronic copper strip with a few drops of spirit-based liquid on a tissue (nail polish remover or meths is ideal). If there is an impurity blocking just one connection an error message can result. A wipe will often clear it - then carefully dry and re-install. 2) If ink isn't flowing stand the cartridge upright in about 10mm of warm (not boiling) water for 15 minutes on a saucer or in an old ash-tray. Then wipe the print-head with a tissue - this may loosen up any dried ink that has caused a temporary blockage - then re-install.
Remember – printing photo’s, pictures and maps consumes ink very quickly. A typical letter or page of text is only 5% covered with ink. When printing a picture, every square millimetre is covered – 100% - with ink. Allowing the kids to print internet pictures, maps etc can dramatically increase your printer’s ink consumption.
The on-screen indicators of remaining ink levels are not always accurate. To avoid suddenly running out just when it’s most inconvenient, always keep spare black and colour cartridges in hand.
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