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.
Replacing your printer can be as small or as large, any investment as you like. But, ultimately it should depend on what you need your printer to print and how much it will cost to run. The cost of running the printer means obviously the cost of the inkjet cartridges and typically how much per sheet it will cost. Firstly if you are a home user, that is to say a family with several school-attending children using the printer then the printer is in for a lot of use. Because the printer will be used to print out colour as well as black and white images then a colour inkjet printer will be sufficient. You would do well to pick an all-in-one printer that has additional features as well as being a printer/copier/scanner such as wifi or cloud-print. In fairness, most printers come wifi enabled these days but many people still prefer to connect them via the USB cable. The print speed of these printers is not that fast but considering the option is a high-speed laser toner printer, the cost would not warrant stepping up in cost for the average family.
The running costs of the printer have to be the next and some will say the most important consideration. If the cost of replacing the ink cartridge is going to cost as much as you paid for the printer, which is highly likely given the low cost of some printers on offer on the high street, then it’s time to think again. First of all check if this wonderfully inexpensive printer will accept a non-genuine brand ink cartridge, i.e. a compatible cartridge, if so what is the cost? If you can find an affordable set of compatible ink cartridges for the printer then you have hit the jackpot, but beware, not all new printers will accept the compatibles and some are so new that there is not yet a compatible cartridge available for them yet. The compatible ink cartridges are manufactured by a third-party manufacturer who has been careful enough to replicate the original brand ink cartridge without infringing on the copyright of it.
The quality of the print out from a printer using compatible ink cartridges as opposed to the genuine brand is not noticeable for general-purpose everyday printing. The only time when we think it may be an issue if you are trying to reproduce photo-quality prints that you may wish to sell or keep for many years and are concerned that the print may fade. All in all, the compatible ink cartridge should be a big consideration when purchasing your new printer and any good seller or ink especially online will give you free advice so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for help.
Initially when you change over, most likely your black cartridge first, you may get the ink status monitor showing an error with RED X over the black ink section. This will prevent your printing job taking place.
The software is detecting non-Epson cartridges and will be offering you opportunities to only use Epson ink. To resolve this issue, you can try the following actions:
- If you still have it, replace the original Epson T1811 ink cartridge in the tray
- Close the lid
- Power down the printer, leave it off power for 2 minutes
- Power up the printer
- Raise the lid on printer so you can see the ink carousel
- Press the ink button on front right (has a teardrop image)
- The ink carousel will go to an arrow pointer in the middle of the track
This pointer tells you which cartridge to replace first. Replace this one now with the compatible cartridge. Wipe the chip area inside the ink tray and on your cartridge first.