Canon ink cartridge contamination


M

Michael Brown

I had made a request to Canon as to the cause of the problem. Their
first reply telling me to inspect the tank seating, printhead seating,
and a do a few deep cleaning cycles - all of which I have done numerous
times. If my problem still continued it likely was the printhead and I
was given a number to the parts department.

Below is my reply to Canon on what I found when I took the printer
apart:

---------------------------------

What I'd really like to know is how does the cross
contamination occur? I've had the yellow tank contaminated three times
now. In all cases I thoroughly rinsed all ink from the print head (I
even removed the two screws holding the print head to the plastic
carrier and rinsed the rubber washer between the printhead and the
carrier). After doing this the printhead printed fine with fresh ink
tanks. I don't see how any cross contamination can occur in the
printhead - each color ink has a separate path to the print head.

I've now disassembled the printer - with particular attention to the ink
waste area. Printers are second to VCRs in the wonder of their
mechanical design! I read one post on a newsgroup saying the hoses on
the ink pump get brittle - mine were just fine - soft and supple. The
pump appeared to work when I manually turned it - ink came out the tubes
on the bottom side. Possibly the small rubber trays that raise up and
sealed against the bottom of the printhead are not making their seal - I
would have expected to find a pool of ink in the trays if that was the
case - there was none. I re-assembled the printer with new tanks and
its currently printing correctly.

But... as before, if I let it set for a few hours, the yellow will print
green. I'm sure if I let it set for days, the cyan would be leeched up
into the yellow tank as it has done three times already. I did run the
printer with the cover off and watched the printhead park. It appears
the rubber trays are raised to seal the printhead when not in use. This
is the only time there is an direct path between the cyan and yellow
tanks. When the printer sits for a long period, can the inks possibly
slowly drain from the tanks into the rubber trays sealing the bottom of
the print head - filling the tray - and seeping back up into the other
color tanks?

Obviously with the thousands of the i850s/i860s Canon has sold, I know
I'm not the only one to experience this.

Can Canon offer an explanation? What specifically can cause this? I
don't see how a new printhead can correct this - if so, what failed in
the printhead? There just isn't much there to fail. I'd hate to spend
$52 on a new printhead when I can buy an ip3000 for $80.

------------------------

Of couse I haven't told them I have been using generic ink tanks - that
too easy of an out for them. (I've gone through one set of generics
before my problems started) If my theory on ink pooling in the trays
when the printhead is parked is correct, a thinner ink might be to
blame.

Interestingly enough - I contacted the generic ink manufacturer
(abcink.com) and explained the problem - they apologized for my having
problems with their product and offered me a credit on my order...
 
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S

SleeperMan

Michael said:
I had made a request to Canon as to the cause of the problem. Their
first reply telling me to inspect the tank seating, printhead seating,
and a do a few deep cleaning cycles - all of which I have done
numerous times. If my problem still continued it likely was the
printhead and I was given a number to the parts department.

Below is my reply to Canon on what I found when I took the printer
apart:

---------------------------------

What I'd really like to know is how does the cross
contamination occur? I've had the yellow tank contaminated three
times now. In all cases I thoroughly rinsed all ink from the print
head (I even removed the two screws holding the print head to the
plastic carrier and rinsed the rubber washer between the printhead
and the carrier). After doing this the printhead printed fine with
fresh ink tanks. I don't see how any cross contamination can occur
in the printhead - each color ink has a separate path to the print
head.

I've now disassembled the printer - with particular attention to the
ink waste area. Printers are second to VCRs in the wonder of their
mechanical design! I read one post on a newsgroup saying the hoses on
the ink pump get brittle - mine were just fine - soft and supple. The
pump appeared to work when I manually turned it - ink came out the
tubes on the bottom side. Possibly the small rubber trays that raise
up and sealed against the bottom of the printhead are not making
their seal - I would have expected to find a pool of ink in the trays
if that was the case - there was none. I re-assembled the printer
with new tanks and its currently printing correctly.

But... as before, if I let it set for a few hours, the yellow will
print green. I'm sure if I let it set for days, the cyan would be
leeched up into the yellow tank as it has done three times already.
I did run the printer with the cover off and watched the printhead
park. It appears the rubber trays are raised to seal the printhead
when not in use. This is the only time there is an direct path
between the cyan and yellow tanks. When the printer sits for a long
period, can the inks possibly slowly drain from the tanks into the
rubber trays sealing the bottom of the print head - filling the tray
- and seeping back up into the other color tanks?

Obviously with the thousands of the i850s/i860s Canon has sold, I know
I'm not the only one to experience this.

Can Canon offer an explanation? What specifically can cause this? I
don't see how a new printhead can correct this - if so, what failed in
the printhead? There just isn't much there to fail. I'd hate to
spend $52 on a new printhead when I can buy an ip3000 for $80.

------------------------

Of couse I haven't told them I have been using generic ink tanks -
that too easy of an out for them. (I've gone through one set of
generics before my problems started) If my theory on ink pooling in
the trays when the printhead is parked is correct, a thinner ink
might be to blame.

Interestingly enough - I contacted the generic ink manufacturer
(abcink.com) and explained the problem - they apologized for my having
problems with their product and offered me a credit on my order...
Yep, i've had the same problem...it started with yellow, after a while
magenta, too. But, i told service i refilled and they said it's wrong kind
of ink and as a result ink barriers in the head corrode and start to leak...
Then i ran one or two head clean and it was OK when i printed, but same
after a few hours or next day.
The last question is did you save enough with refilling (or generic carts)
for new printer or not...i just did, so i don't care too much, but if you
didn't...well...
Now, i just wonder, if it's anyone out there with same problem, only with
using Canon carts ONLY...
 
M

Michael Brown

Now that I think about it - I've notice when I print a page with a lot
of coverage, the sheet has a faint ammonia smell to it until the ink
completely dries, can't remember if that was the same when I used the
Canon tanks.

It would seem all tanks would be contaminated if it was related to the
parking area - not just the yellow with cyan in it. That would also take
a lot of ink to fill up the tray that seals up against the bottom of the
printer. So a breakdown of something in the printhead sounds
reasonable.

I'm going to try this, deep clean the printhead until all colors are
printing correctly. Then remove the printhead from the printer with the
tanks installed (if I can do that). At this point pressing a paper towel
to printhead should get four distinct color bands. Then I'll let it sit
for a day and check again with a paper towel - if the yellow is green,
then the contamination occured in the printhead.

I agree that it would be very interesting to know if anyone who has used
only used Canon tanks has had this cross contamination problem.
 
S

SleeperMan

Michael said:
Now that I think about it - I've notice when I print a page with a lot
of coverage, the sheet has a faint ammonia smell to it until the ink
completely dries, can't remember if that was the same when I used the
Canon tanks.

It would seem all tanks would be contaminated if it was related to the
parking area - not just the yellow with cyan in it. That would also
take a lot of ink to fill up the tray that seals up against the
bottom of the printer. So a breakdown of something in the printhead
sounds reasonable.

I'm going to try this, deep clean the printhead until all colors are
printing correctly. Then remove the printhead from the printer with
the tanks installed (if I can do that). At this point pressing a
paper towel to printhead should get four distinct color bands. Then
I'll let it sit for a day and check again with a paper towel - if the
yellow is green, then the contamination occured in the printhead.

I agree that it would be very interesting to know if anyone who has
used only used Canon tanks has had this cross contamination problem.
At first i was sure that now (on my ip4000) i'll use original ink only, but
after sleeping over, i'm not so sure anymore. At last, i gained a few bucks
with refilling - i refilled about 5 times and the amount saved was about
50-100 USD bigger than the cost of new ip4000. And i didn't see any
difference in colors. I have to decide about this yet...

BTW - i don't think you can actually remove the head with ink tanks
installed. But, i think that removing them for 5 seconds won't play any
part...Other possible test would be cleaning the head, then installing only
one ink, wait for one day and then see if there's color in other two parts.
Unfortunately, i already wasted my head, so i can't do any tests anymore...
 
V

Vic

Michael Brown said:
I had made a request to Canon as to the cause of the problem. Their
first reply telling me to inspect the tank seating, printhead seating,
and a do a few deep cleaning cycles - all of which I have done numerous
times. If my problem still continued it likely was the printhead and I
was given a number to the parts department.

Below is my reply to Canon on what I found when I took the printer
apart:
Hi Michael,
Don't know if this is any help but on my Canon printer some time ago it
started printing all my photographs with a strong green cast.
Like you, I tried everything. Lots of cleaning, new cartridges (both
genuine Canon and also other makers) and all to no avail.
Canon engineers said it must be the print head so I bought a new one
and hey presto since then it has been perfect.
That was 12 months ago but a few weeks ago I decided to try the old
print head again and fitted it to the printer. Yes I was back to my green
pictures again. Everything was great after swapping the print head back.
Hope you have some luck with it.
Kind regards. Vic.
 
B

BruceM

Just thought I'd mention that I had the same problem with a cartridge on a
Lexmark X83. The color cartridge is 3 colors in one & has the head built it.
Only happened after I refilled with "JR Universal Inkjet Refill".
Very thin ink & (to me) seems to be very prone to capillary action. I might
be wrong but I'm pretty sure that the ink is to blame in my case. Even the
black from the same company is VERY, very thin. Seeps through like metho!!
You have to wait half an hour for it to stop seeping out the bottom (head)
before you can put it in the machine.
No more of that brand for me.
BruceM
 
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A

Al Rudderham

I agree that it would be very interesting to know if anyone who has used
only used Canon tanks has had this cross contamination problem.
I have had this happen on my 3 year old S800 twice. In my case the
yellow tank was getting magenta in it. Each time replacing the yellow
ink would solve the problem in the short run, but the cross
contamination would happen again overnight. Each time a new print
head fixed it. I only use Canon inks.
 
S

SleeperMan

BruceM said:
Just thought I'd mention that I had the same problem with a cartridge
on a Lexmark X83. The color cartridge is 3 colors in one & has the
head built it. Only happened after I refilled with "JR Universal
Inkjet Refill".
Very thin ink & (to me) seems to be very prone to capillary action. I
might be wrong but I'm pretty sure that the ink is to blame in my
case. Even the black from the same company is VERY, very thin. Seeps
through like metho!! You have to wait half an hour for it to stop
seeping out the bottom (head) before you can put it in the machine.
No more of that brand for me.
BruceM
I neved had problems with seeping - i always could insert cart right away.
And printing was perfect for a year and a half...once suddenly was started
to act funny...
 
S

SleeperMan

Al said:
I have had this happen on my 3 year old S800 twice. In my case the
yellow tank was getting magenta in it. Each time replacing the yellow
ink would solve the problem in the short run, but the cross
contamination would happen again overnight. Each time a new print
head fixed it. I only use Canon inks.
aha...so, i guess it's really head's fault and not ink...in that case i
think i'll refill again...
 
S

Steve Dell

I've had cross contamination, black into yellow, on my Canon i950. I am
using only Canon inks.

After repeated deep cleanings and attempts to blot up the ink, the printer
was donated to Goodwill.

Steve
 
B

Bill

Steve said:
I've had cross contamination, black into yellow, on my Canon i950. I am
using only Canon inks.

After repeated deep cleanings and attempts to blot up the ink, the printer
was donated to Goodwill.
I'd like to know what the amount of printer failures from Canon's
i-series is now. It seems to me the failure rate is starting to climb
only two years after introduction.

Not a good sign.

My old HP Deskjet 520, which I gave to my parents years ago, is still
going strong today. And that was after sitting in a closet for a year
after I bought a newer printer to replace it.
 
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D

Dan G

I've been using exclusively ink from inkjetsaver.com for 3 years of heavy
use in my S-750 and never had a single problem.
 
S

SleeperMan

Dan said:
I've been using exclusively ink from inkjetsaver.com for 3 years of
heavy use in my S-750 and never had a single problem.
Aha...so, you don't exactly refill, but rather buy compatibles...interesting
option...
But, now i see that ink probably wasn't the cause of my failure... i've read
some same problems from people using only Canon carts.
What's more, it seems that this head failure is pretty often in 'i' series.
I wonder, is the head in pixma series exactly the same or at least a bit
improved...
 
D

Dan G

No, I refill, no compatibles here.


SleeperMan said:
Aha...so, you don't exactly refill, but rather buy compatibles...interesting
option...
But, now i see that ink probably wasn't the cause of my failure... i've read
some same problems from people using only Canon carts.
What's more, it seems that this head failure is pretty often in 'i' series.
I wonder, is the head in pixma series exactly the same or at least a bit
improved...
 
S

SleeperMan

Dan said:
No, I refill, no compatibles here.

Aha...i thought, since i quickly looked at the page and there are
compatibles available...not that i can use any of it, since it's too far
from me...
 
S

Stevelee

Steve said:
I've had cross contamination, black into yellow, on my Canon i950. I am
using only Canon inks.

After repeated deep cleanings and attempts to blot up the ink, the printer
was donated to Goodwill.

Steve
Your black ink cartridge is leaking. It flooded the black channel of the print head.
If you let the printer sit for 10 minutes then remove the print head to examine it
you will see some black ink on the print head surface. Replace the cartridge will
fix it.
 
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S

SleeperMan

Stevelee" <" Stevelee said:
Your black ink cartridge is leaking. It flooded the black channel of
the print head. If you let the printer sit for 10 minutes then remove
the print head to examine it you will see some black ink on the print
head surface. Replace the cartridge will fix it.
Replacing all 4 carts didn't solve my situation (which was the same -
leaking). Cleaning it didn't save situation (it was done at service). It's
just what i said before...those tiny barriers between colors are
....gone...why? beats me...
 
S

Stevelee

The barrier is not tiny. It's not likely the barrier leaks although it is
possible. Do a simple check of your print head. Power up the printer.
Print a test page then let it sit a few minutes. Take the print head out
and look at the print head surface. If you see ink of a certain color
on the print head surface (a lot more than other colors you can see) that
proves the cartridge of the color is leaking. Stamp the print head against
soft paper tissue and if you see one color of ink sucked out by the paper
much more than other colors that proves the color (cartridge) is leaking.
I have seen many times one color contaminating neighboring colors. Each
time it was proven to be a cartridge that discharges too much ink too fast.
 
S

SleeperMan

Stevelee" <" Stevelee said:
The barrier is not tiny. It's not likely the barrier leaks although
it is possible. Do a simple check of your print head. Power up the
printer. Print a test page then let it sit a few minutes. Take the
print head out and look at the print head surface. If you see ink of
a certain color on the print head surface (a lot more than other colors
you can see)
that proves the cartridge of the color is leaking. Stamp the print
head against soft paper tissue and if you see one color of ink sucked
out by the paper much more than other colors that proves the color
(cartridge) is leaking. I have seen many times one color
contaminating neighboring colors. Each time it was proven to be a
cartridge that discharges too much ink too fast.
a bit too late....my printer is already in 1000000 pieces...
but, later (after i already finished playing with a hammer :)) i've read
some (maybe) usefull things, like those small guide tubes could be leaking,
selas could be leaking etc...I still doubt it's cart, since i replaced all 4
and this should solve the problem. But, as you said, it might be something
else. I'll remember all this info for next time(damn, i hope it won't BE
next time!!)...
 
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M

Misha

I have the same yellow contamination problem with i950, using only
original Canon ink. I beleive i've changed black cartridges several
times since it started to happen.
Looks like a pretty common problem. Strange Canon does not know about
what's cuasing it - i've wasted several yellow cartridges an a lot of
time talking to Tech Support before i figured out myself that there is
contamination.

If it does not take too many prints ( printed no more than 100 large
photos over a year) to break the printer (or printhead, or whatever)
don't they have to recal it, or at least do not make us waste ink for
deep cleaning while diagnosing the problem?
 

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