A Printer Question...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Lighthorseman, May 21, 2003.

  1. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Since this is "General Discussion", perhaps I can ask this here. Let's face it, you folks have answers for everything else...:)

    I have a Lexmark 3200 printer that has 2 ink holder thingys. I very rarely use the thing, and the other day, I went to print out some signs for my layout, (hence the MR tie-in...) only to find that the ink will not flow properly. :eek: I wound up with horizontal strips of nothing in my printouts. I removed the cartridges and wiped them with paper, then an alcohol-dipped Q-Tip, wiped them again, and re-installed them. Tried again, but saw no serious improvement. :(

    Is there anything I can do, or do I have to just pitch the cartridges? I do have a new pair, but these ones are still about 95 % full, and it would be a shame to just chuck them out.

    Sure would appreciate any help.:)
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Steve,

    Although I use Canon and an HP printers, the following might help...

    Have you tried the printer "interface" on the computer? It's the dialogue box where you can force the printer to print a test page, among other things. It may allow you to choose options like "clean print head", and "align print head", both of which you should try. Also, if the ink cartridge and the print head are separate, you may not have actually cleaned the print head.

    Unfortunately, sometimes letting things sit for too long means that you will have to try new heads and/or cartridges...:(

    Good luck.

  3. philip

    philip Guest

    try soaking them in hot water....might work long enough to print a few pages.

  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    If you got to "printers", select your printer from the list, then right click and select "properites" there should be a "maintanence" tab. Under that you should have a "clean print head" button. Try that a few times and then print a test page (also a button under "properties") If that doesn't show a little improvement, soaking the heads might help, but I can't give that much hope. I have a bunch of cartridges for a cannon 5100. Both the black and color print heads have all dried out. After cleaning and finally putting them in an ultrasonic cleaner, I got a few to print one or two colors, but not the third. The cost of replacing the cartidges and print heads exceeded the cost of a new printer, :eek:so now I have a Cannon 5520.:rolleyes:

    Good luck:)

  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Steve, ezday's tip is right on the money with clearing print heads. HOWEVER, inkjet cartridges do have a tendency to dry out if they're not used frequently enough. So you may be out of luck.
  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  7. Paul Davis

    Paul Davis Member

    I used to work for hp technical support, during my training we used a bunch of old inkjet cartridges which pretty much just sat in a box in a cupboard the entire time drying out. Needless to say the usually barely worked if at all. I could get most of them to work eventually though.

    First of all I'd clean the contacts on both the printer and the cartridge. Often all it would be was a bit of dust stopping electrical contact.

    Secondly rub down the nozzle area with a piece of corrigated cardboard. The harder you press the better. The cardboard is somewhat abrasive so it helps to remove dried peices of ink. You may have to rub the cartridge on the cardboad for as long as 15 minutes to restore proper ink flow.

    Finally, shake down the cartrige. It'll help force any air bubbles out as well as any dried ink stuck deep in the holes. it's a good idea to do this over a bit of scrap paper as, if you're doing it right, when the ink starts to flow fairly well you'll splatter ink out.

    Not all cartridges can be saved though. Maximum life of a cartridge in a printer is about 1 year. I used to have to deal with people who had bought the all-in-one printers who only did black and white scans and faxes but still had to replace the full colour cartridge once per year because it would dry out but the printer won't let you use it without.
  8. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    I think you answered your own question.

    Ever try to pry the lid off a paint can ya used once and then decided to...

    I'd suggest you buy the new cartridge and see if that works- if it doesn't- then I'd be wondering. Kinda like other posts here- you didn't exactly describe what "very rarely" means- 1 week, 1 month, 1 year?

    Good luck.

    Stripes- YIPES!

  9. Wyomingite

    Wyomingite Member

    Hi Steve,
    I had the same problem myself. At the time I used my printer very little. I went thru all the tests and things mentioned to no avail. What happens is the ink dries up. Go to Walmart and buy one of those do it yourself kits. There easy to use and you get lots of it. Hope this helps. Ron :) :)
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My first inkjet started to give problems after I used compatible cartridges for a while--there were white lines where one jet wasn't working. I couldn't clean it and the shop wanted such a large fee for even looking at it that I bought a new printer for less.
    Run the diagnostics.
  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I use those refill kits, and they work fine, but that only works if you use the printer a lot and you run out of ink. And when the print head clogs up you're really screwed.

  12. CPRSD40-2

    CPRSD40-2 New Member

    Here is another printer question, I was wondering if anyone has used thier printer to make loads for centerbeam flat cars, or bulkhead flat cars? I thought if you took a picture of the lumber load on a real car, then scanned it, printed it out, you might be able to cut the paper out and glue it to a block of balsa wood? I just don't know how good a normal printer would look trying to get the scale down to 1:160. If anyone has done this, let me know if it works, thanks.
  13. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Steve, I have a Lexmark 3200 in my school office, too. You say that you rarely use that thing - I guess I know that same problem, since we had dried out printheads after the long summer holidays. :(

    Whenever I turn on this computer, the printer also switches itself on. (Their power cables are both connected to one switch.) You see that the green control lamp is lighted and the mechanism makes quite a lot of noise - Lexmark's way to tell you that it's ready for printing. This automatic startup is quite practical, BUT...

    When switching the computer off, I discovered that the printer just 'dies' without any noise at all. The printer heads simply stay in the 'ready' position. So their print jets are hanging in md-air and start drying out! :eek:

    But when you switch the printer off by pressing its power button BEFORE killing the power line, there's another noise telling you that the print heads are moved into a 'parking' position. Then the printheads are pressed against rubber pads which prevent the jets from drying out.

    Morale of the story: IF you use a common main line switch which kills computer, printer, scanner... all that stuff at once, make sure to switch off that Lexmark printer before you turn off the power line. Since I started doing this I didn't have any more dried-out printheads. :cool:

    Hope this helps. :)

  14. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I haven't tried it, but plan to once I got my layout running smoothly and I got a couple of centerbeams. My wife has them on her "presents to buy hubby" list:) But, I have made N scale signs small enough so I can't see why it can't be done. Just use a printer with decent resolution and be sure to use the right paper.


    Agree, My Canon 5100 would go to sleep and turn out it's green light, but my 5520 sleeps with the light on so I don't know when it's asleep. But even the manual tells you to turn them off either from the computer or from the on/off switch, not by dropping power. It doesn't say why, but I'm sure it's because it is the only way to insure that the print heads are in the "home" position. I have a main power switch too, but I always make sure the printer's green lights are out before I turn everything off.

    Also, the best clue to ink drying out should come from the way they pack cartridges and print heads, in vacuum sealed bags with tape or plugs across the heads and outlets.

    Gee, how else are these guys going to make money. They sell you a printer dirt cheap and I'm sure they're just waiting for the cartidges to dry out.:mad:

    D:D N
  15. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Well, I'd like to say thank you very much for all the help! :) I tried the "clean cartridge" option, and the colour cartridge cleaned very nicely. The black one, however, just wouldn't unclog. From now on, I'll make sure that the printer is turned off before the computer, and will likely run something off here and there just to keep the jets clear.

    Once again, thanks to you all!:)

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