From time to time you may experience some poor print quality from your printer in the form of broken text lines or half printed images. This is usually a problem caused by the print head that is located either in the printer or in the ink cartridge itself. The majority of inkjet printers manufactured by Brother, Epson, Samsung, Dell and Advent have print heads located in the printer. These can become clogged with dried ink if the printer has not been used frequently and can lead to poor quality prints. For those of you who only print the occasional boarding pass this will be more of a concern than those who print regularly either daily or weekly.
For the majority of HP and Canon inkjet printers, the print head is integrated in the ink cartridge. The theory behind the logic in locating the print head in the cartridge rather than the printer is that every time you replace the ink cartridge you are in effect replacing the print head. This obviously makes the ink cartridges more expensive to buy and you will usually find the printer will take 2 cartridges, one colour and one black.
In order to clear the blocked print heads you need to perform a simple head cleaning procedure and this can be achieved either through the printer, (if the printer has an maintenance facility) or from your PC or MAC. If you have an interface on your printer you should be able to access the maintenance > Tools > head cleaning. If you have a more basic model of printer that doesn’t have a user interface on the front of the printer simply go to file > print > properties >> maintenance >> head cleaning. It is recommended that you print out a test page following each head cleaning procedure as this will give you the result of your clean. If for some reason the clog on the print head is very sever it may take 5 or 6 attempts at the head cleaning before the blockage is cleared but you should see a gradual improvement on the test print as you progress.
If you have an ink cartridge with an integrated print head it is also possible to remove the cartridge, take a piece of kitchen town and damped with luke warm water and manually gently wipe the area where the ink exits the cartridge. This can help the flow of the ink if there is a blockage that the head cleaning procedure won’t shif but is only worth a try on the intergrated print head ink cartridges.