Fix a dried out printer cartidge head, when there's lots of ink inside?
August 25, 2005 2:20 PM   Subscribe

How do I fix my dried out print cartridge, when "clean cartridge" won't do it and I know there's plenty of ink in there?

I left my printer all alone for a few months, and when I returned to it, the color cartridge won't make pretty colors (or anything at all, for that matter). I know it's basically full of ink, and I vaguely remember some way of coaxing that precious ink out of those dried out heads, but I dont remember where I read it. My printer is an HP 930c, though my girlfriend's printer did the same thing over the summer, and hers is an Epson. Any ideas?
posted by sdis to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Well, this page includes this advice:
Place the clogged nozzles in warm water and soak them until the dried ink begins to flow from the nozzle. After a few minutes of letting the dried ink flow, remove the nozzle from the water and gently dry it with a soft tissue or cotton swab. Reinstall the cartridge and run the print head cleaning mechanism (described in your inkjet printer's manual). If this does not work, repeat the procedure. If your cartridge still does not print after repeating, you will need to purchase a new cartridge because the print head is probably damaged.
I have no idea if this will work, or destroy your ink cartridges, or have no effect whatsoever, but it sounds like it might be worth a try.
posted by cerebus19 at 2:34 PM on August 25, 2005

You can try that, but if the print heads on the cartridge are hosed, they're hosed. I tried to refill a co-worker's black cartridge after the heads dried out, and it refused to print properly, even with the cartridge full of ink. that's not to say that you *shouldn't* try cleaning it out (i believe the "head cleaner" we got with our refill kit is some kind of alcohol-based solution), but you may be disappointed by the results.

it's recommended to not let your printer sit idle for too long lest this happens.
posted by fishfucker at 2:37 PM on August 25, 2005

( i should mention that I left said cartridge in the solution overnight, after trying to soak it for shorter periods of time as per instructions. no luck. we just ended up buying the generic -- still crazy expensive -- replacement cartridge).
posted by fishfucker at 2:38 PM on August 25, 2005

I've had mixed success reviving print cartidges. Alcohol doesn't work so well. Water no very well. Best luck I've had is with Goof-Off or similar "dissolve everything ink-like" products.
posted by plinth at 2:43 PM on August 25, 2005

If the Epson has the DURABrite ink, she's got a doorstop.
With the HP, the old-style Windex with ammonia might work, or an ammonia, alcohol, and water mixture.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:40 PM on August 25, 2005

Unless you really need color, laser printers are getting really cheap these days! I picked one up and saved a lot of these headaches.
posted by knave at 12:00 AM on August 26, 2005

My HP printer has on option to "Clean Print Cartridges". And it works.
posted by webmeta at 8:37 AM on August 26, 2005

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