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How to clean liquid ink printers including deskjet inkjet photo printers


 
How to clean liquid ink printers including deskjet inkjet photo printers
Models: Inkjet/Deskjet/Workjet

NOTE: These instructions are simply a guide. First Choice assumes no responsibility or liability for any damages caused by user while working on there printer during this repair.

This directional guide was written by the technicians of First Choice.


WARNING & SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS:

FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE WARNINGS AND PROCEDURES COULD RESULT IN PRINTER DAMAGE AND OR PERSONAL INJURY.

  1. KEEP CHEMICALS AND CLEANING PRODUCTS PROVIDED IN THIS KIT OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.
  2. AVOID CONTACT WITH MOUTH AND OR SKIN WHILE USING CHEMICALS.
  3. MAKE SURE TO UNPLUG PRINTER OR DEVICE FROM POWER SOURCE.
  4. WORK IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA.
  5. REMOVE PRINTER FROM ANY ENVIROMENT THAT MAY PRODUCE SPARKS OR INTENSE HEAT DURING THE
    USE OF THIS PRODUCT.
  6. BE SURE TO WEAR THE PROVIDED LATEX® GLOVES DURING THE DIRECTED REPAIR PROCEDURES.
  7. DO NOT WEAR CLOTHING THAT MAY BE AT RISK OF BEING DAMAGED.
    FROM INK OR CHEMICAL SPILL.
  8. DO NOT PERFORM THIS PROCEDURE ON OR AROUND ANY FURNITURE OR PROPERTY THAT COULD BE
    DAMAGED THROUGH INK AND OR CLEANING CHEMICALS.
  9. DISPOSE OF ALL PRODUCTS INCLUDED IN THIS REPAIR KIT AFTER PROCEDURE IN THE PROVIDED
    ZIP LOCK BAG FOR DISPOSAL.
  10. FOLLOW ALL PROCEDURE STEPS THROUGHOUT THIS MANUAL FOR ADDITIONAL WARNINGS AND NOTES.
Step 1
Cleaning the encoder strip

TECH NOTE: Some models do not have encoder strips.
If your model does not (skip this procedure) WARNING: Do not pull or press too hard on the encoder strip. It is only held on by small tension clips and can easily become unhooked.

IDENTIFY THE ENCODER STRIP
The encoder strip is a thin plastic band running the length of the printer, with very small lines running vertically through it.

HOW THE ENCODER STRIP WORKS
The purpose of the encoder strip is to help the (ink station or carriage assembly) identify its position using a sensor located on the ink station. The sensor reads the small lines on the encoder strip and determines where it needs to print. Say for instance the encoder strip has 350 vertical lines through it, (some printer encoder strips have more) the printer can always tell where the ink station is located, this is how the printer judges distances, 1 inch or 5 inches or the small spacing between letters etc. You can see that it is very important for the printer to have a clean encoder strip because ink will build up on the encoder strip over time causing the printer to misalign spacing along with potential printer failure. Because of this, many perfectly good printers are thrown away, yet this problem is a very simple fix.

TECH NOTE: The encoder strip may be difficult to reach on some models.

CLEANING THE ENCODER STRIP
The cleaning of the encoder strip will require the use of
(1) pre-saturated alcohol cotton swab ( kit includes a 3 pack)
Take the cotton swab and slide it from side to side (the length of the encoder strip). Be sure to take your time, perform this approximately 3-5 times (rotate the cotton swab to a clean side periodically). If you can get to the backside of the encoder strip this would be beneficial, but not entirely necessary to achieve desired effect. You will be able to see ink build up on the cotton swab when finished. Remember not to tug or pull on the encoder strip, please use care when cleaning.


Step 2
Cleaning and lubricating of the platen shaft

IDENTIFY THE PLATEN SHAFT (CARRIAGE ASSEMBLY SHAFT)
The carriage assembly shaft, or the platen shaft, will run the length of the printer and be located behind the carriage assembly; the round metal bar should be easy to identify.

WHY CLEAN AND LUBRICATE?
The platen shaft is what stabilizes the ink carriage assembly as it moves from side to side in the printer during the print cycle. When the printer was produced the manufacturer used lubricant on the shaft. This lubricant serves as a cushion between the carriage assembly and the platen shaft. Over time this lubricant wears off and the carriage assembly will start sticking, causing the carriage drive belt and motor to wear. Inevitably, this will cause noise and chattering problems.

CLEANING
Begin by removing (1) alcohol wet wipe to clean the platen shaft Rub the platen shaft from side to side, this will remove built up ink and debris. Also, be sure to clean the back side.

LUBRICATING
Begin by opening the oil bottle and locating (1) large foam swab. Put a few drops of oil on the swab, rub it onto the platen shaft front and back and on both sides of the carriage assembly. At this point you can move the carriage assembly with your hand back and forth to work the oil into the bushings of the carriage assembly.
TECH TIP: It is recommended that you clean and lubricate the platen shaft periodically. This will help extend the life of the printer.

NOTE: Do not over oil the platen shaft or drip oil into the printer. The oil container provided has an orifice-reducer to control drops.
NOTE: The platen shaft may be difficult to reach on some models.
NOTE: The oil provided is of synthetic quality, which is the same as the manufacturers use. DO NOT USE PETROLEUM BASED LUBRICANTS

Step 3
Cleaning and maintenance of the ink cartridge carriage assembly, also known as an ink cradle

IDENTIFY THE INK CARTRIDGE CARRIAGE (INK CRADLE)
The ink cartridge carriage assembly is the housing that holds the inks. This assembly slides from side to side on the platen shaft. The encoder strip goes through a slot located at the rear of the assembly. This assembly should move to the center of the printer when you open the cover (on most models). In most cases the ink cartridge carriage assembly is usually parked in the home position on the right side of the printer.

WHY CLEAN THE INK CARTRIDGE CARRIAGE ASSEMBLY?
The ink cartridge carriage assembly is what houses the ink cartridge and/or print head. The ink cartridge carriage assembly has a very important function. Its purpose is to signal the ink cartridge and/or print head to print and what color to print. It accomplishes this by sending small electrical currents through the contacts between the ink cartridge (print head) and the carriage assembly, in which the inks sit. Over time these contacts will become built up with ink or dirt and debris and can start to create copy quality problems such as void lines through print or misleading ink cartridge errors.

The bottom of the carriage assembly is just as critical to clean because paper fiber and debris will build up and drag across the wet ink (like a paint brush) during printing, causing poor copy quality. The use of recycled paper makes this more common due to the composite of the paper (meaning it has a poor surface quality for ink jets).

CLEANING THE CARRIAGE ASSEMBLY CONTACTS
Start by removing the inks and identifying the contacts in the carriage assembly. Once you have identified the contacts: Use (1) of the supplied pre-saturated alcohol cotton swabs to wipe down the contacts, making sure not to leave any fiber from the swab on the contacts. When finished, let air dry for a few minutes before returning the ink cartridges or print heads.
Save the cotton swab for cleaning the bottom of the carriage assembly.
Some printer manufacturers suggest the use of distilled water or purified water with a lint free cloth for this procedure. We have found that with the newer ink technology the pigment of the ink that can build up on the contacts does not come off as well when only using water, alcohol works best and is provided in your kit.

CLEANING THE BOTTOM OF THE CARRIAGE ASSSEMBLY
With the inks still removed, now is a good time to clean the bottom of the carriage assembly, or ink cradle. Do this by looking underneath the carriage assembly or ink cradle and working the cotton swab around the bottom of the carriage assembly. This may be difficult and may require you to move the carriage assembly to a new location for a better view (or use a flashlight). Look for paper and/or fiber build up, some printers will allow you to move the ink carriage assembly without the inks being installed. Try not to leave any left over cotton swab fiber on the bottom of the carriage assembly. If after cleaning you find your printer is extra filthy with ink build up, then you can use a normal cotton swab with a little alcohol on it. Remove any excess water first. This will help you clean your printer more effectively. The repair kit only includes (3) pre-saturated cotton swabs . If the carriage assembly does not slide back and forth freely, do not force it. Your printer has plastic gears and a clutch, which can be damaged if it is not disengaged properly first.

Step 4
Cleaning and maintenance of the ink cartridges and print heads

IDENTIFY THE INK CARTRIDGE (S) AND PRINT HEAD (S)
The ink cartridges are easy to recognize because most likely, you have already replaced them. They sit in the carriage assembly. There can be as few as one or as many as four. The print head may be a little more difficult to identify. In some models the ink cartridge is seated in the print head. On these models there is usually a release lever (some print heads cannot be removed from the printer). Release the print head, if your model allows, and it should slide out. Some printers have up to four print heads. Sometimes these print heads are located in a separate place from the inks. These types of print heads sometimes have a cover over them that need to be released and then the print heads can be taken out.

WHY CLEAN THE INK CARTRIDGE AND PRINT HEAD?
The ink cartridge (s) and or print head (s) are the heart of your print quality. Periodic cleaning will help your printer’s performance. By performing a routine cleaning you can eliminate problems such as poor copy quality, streaks and voids in text. Over time ink can build up on vital parts and create problems. Many perfectly good ink cartridges and print heads have been thrown away simply because they have not been cleaned or maintained properly.

CLEANING OF THE INK CARTRIDGE OR PRINT HEAD
At this time use the last pre-saturated alcohol swab. Clean the contacts of the ink cartridge or the print head assembly. First, swab the electrical contacts down on the cartridge and let air-dry. Next, clean the surface area AROUND THE PRINT HEAD, NOT THE NOZZLE PLATE, to remove ink build up and other debris. By cleaning the surface of the ink cartridge you can improve the printer’s print quality.
NOTE: If your printer is not printing ink or little is on the paper, you most likely have a clogged print head, unfortunately Epson® and Canon® print heads are separate from the ink cartridge and may require the print head to actually be replaced.
Some techniques used to clear a clogged print head have been; boiling water, placing the hot water in a saucer dish and soaking the print head for a few seconds, or some recommend a syringe filled with hot water without the needle, attach tubing and inject hot water into the print head until it clears. We don’t recommend either of these due to the low success rate of repair.

TECH NOTE: If your printer has more than one print head, then you will have to perform this procedure to each print head. Some printers can have up to four print heads and four separate ink cartridges, one for each color (black, cyan, yellow, and magenta).

If more cotton swabs are necessary, then you can use standard household cotton swabs with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Be sure to squeeze excess alcohol off cotton swab before procedure.

WARNING: DO NOT CLEAN THE NOZZLE PLATE, ONLY THE AREA AROUND IT. THE NOZZLE PLATE HAS MANY SMALL CHAMBERS THAT CAN BE EASILY DAMAGED, EVEN BY BEING TOUCHED LIGHTLY. SOME INK ON THIS PORTION OF THE CARTRIDGE IS NORMAL.

TECH NOTE: Be careful not to leave the print cartridges out of the printer For more than 30-60 minutes. The printer has rubber grommets that insulate and protect the print head from drying out while in the printer.
This is especially important when using refilled ink cartridges. Some ink used in refilled cartridges lack the lubricating agents that the manufacturers use in their ink cartridges. Lubrication keeps the ink cartridges from drying out and clogging the nozzles when not in use.

TECH NOTE: A great way to keep your ink cartridge or print head in good working order is to print a color picture periodically. Long periods of non-use are what dry the print head or ink cartridges up.

TECH NOTE: It is never a good idea to have your printer located near an air vent, such as a furnace. This is a guaranteed way to dry up your ink cartridges fast.

Step 5
Cleaning and maintenance of the feed-rollers
Rubber rejuvenator should be used on printers that struggle to feed paper.

If you cannot reach the feed rollers or choose not to use the rubber rejuvenator, step 6) will efficiently clean the rollers.

WARNING: When using rubber rejuvenator wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, rubber rejuvenator and plastic don’t agree, so be very careful not to get it on any part of the printer that is plastic.

IDENTIFY THE FEED-ROLLERS
The feed-rollers are the wheel-shaped rollers that grab the paper and feed it through the printer. You can usually access them by removing the rear door. However, not all models have a rear door, so you may have to access them through the front of the printer, where the paper sits in the tray.

WHY CLEAN AND MAINTAIN THE FEED-ROLLERS?
When the rubber feed rollers become worn, dirty or contaminated you may experience paper jams, poor lead edge alignment, or skewed prints (prints that are uneven from side to side). Over time the feed-rollers tend to lose the traction they had when they were new. The rubber rejuvenator helps clean and restore these rollers back into working order for optimum performance.

TECH NOTE: This step is only meant for the main set of feed-rollers on the printer. Some models have additional sets of rollers, usually on the front of the printer where the paper comes out. These rollers cannot be cleaned with rubber rejuvenator due to the volatile nature of the chemical.

CLEANING AND MAINTAINING THE FEED-ROLLERS
For this step you will need (1) foam swab from the kit, (2) are provided for this procedure and the bottle of rubber rejuvenator. First, put on your latex® gloves and make sure you are in a well-ventilated area away from any open flame or heat source. Apply a couple of drops of rubber rejuvenator to the foam swab. Then apply this to the feed-rollers in the rear of the printer, or through the front of the printer depending on your model. Sometimes you can turn the rubber wheels by hand, but be careful not to get any rubber rejuvenator on any other part of the printer. This can cause serious damage to the printer because the rubber rejuvenator can damage the plastic in the printer. Make sure to turn the feed-rollers in the same direction as they would turn when feeding paper through the printer. (LET AIR DRY) before repeating this procedure as necessary until the whole surface of each feed-roller is covered.

NOTE: Be sure to let rollers air dry before using the printer.

TECH NOTE: Sometimes, if the printer has trouble, such as pulling multiple sheets of paper, you may have a dirty or worn separation pad. Most printers have one rubber or cork pad, usually rectangular shaped that is often located directly below one of the feed-roller tires. Sometimes the separation pad is on the paper tray, and sometimes it is located inside the machine. To clean it, apply a small amount of rubber rejuvenator on the foam swab and apply to the separation pad. This will clean it and restore traction, helping the paper feed one at a time through the printer.

Step 6
Cleaning and maintenance of the paper path

Before performing this step reconnect your printer

(power supply - inks - computer cable etc.)
you will need to print for this procedure.

WHY CLEAN THE PAPER PATH?
Ink, paper fiber, and other small pieces of debris can accumulate throughout the paper path. This can cause a variety of problems over time including skewed paper, poor feeding, and poor print quality (smudges and spots on the paper). The paper path cleaning procedure is designed to be an easy and effective way to clean the paper path without dismantling the entire printer. When the paper feeds through the printer, it picks up all the little particles of debris and ink while simultaneously cleaning the various other inaccessible parts and rollers of the printer within the paper path (such as idler rollers etc.). This procedure may have to be repeated several times, but you will be amazed at the amount of build up that comes off after the sheet has been printed out.

CLEAN THE PAPER PATH
For this procedure use a standard 20lb-24lb bond paper.
WARNING: DO NOT USE GLOSSY OR PHOTO PAPER.
This step requires the use of the paper path cleaner. All you need to do for this step is lightly mist a piece of paper (4-6 sprays) except the top 3 or 4 inches or so, and run it through the printer. Insert the lead edge of the paper that is not moist or damp into the paper tray, send a print job of a blank page and set your printer settings to best quality. This will allow for a slow print speed and maximize cleaning. You should be able to see ink buildup and debris from the printer on the sheet when you are done. If you like, you can repeat this step and do the reverse side, you can perform this as many times you feel necessary. After you are done, run a few sheets of white paper through the printer to clear it.

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