The Most Common Cause of Printer Failure

Having recently received a couple of calls from long term customers about print head failure on Canon Printers I noticed a common issue which was the cause of this.Having used Canon Inkjet printers in our office over the past 7 years and finding them rock solid and NEVER giving print head trouble I thought I'd share the secret to print head longevity.

After questioning these customers about their printing habits it was obvious as to why their print heads were giving them problems. As with most people when their printer gives the low ink warning they simply keep printing. That's fine to a point however the trouble begins when you keep printing until the cartridge actually starts to run dry.

So why change cartridges when the printer warns you to ?

A Canon printer uses what is known as a thermal print head. Basically the print head is full of very small resistors which heat up causing the ink to bubble out onto the paper to produce the image. The printers software is set up so that when the ink cartridge is nearing empty it warns the user to replace it well before it actually runs out. This is what we call a buffer or a safety level of ink. Manufacturers know full well that people will continue printing so they make sure that their is still plenty of ink remaining in the cartridge at the initial warning screen.The printer will continue printing however it will warn you of the low ink level and advise you to replace the ink cartridge. I've noticed that on many of the newer Canon printers that they will actually stop printing if you use them for too long a period after this initial warning screen.

Why cant I just keep printing until the cartridges are empty ?

This is the obvious question and here comes the crunch! As a car needs water or coolant flowing through the radiator etc to keep it cool so does your printers print head. If you run your cartridges for too long after the initial warning you will eventually damage or kill your print head. The small resistors in the thermal print head get extremely hot and without ink around them they will get even hotter. If you print regularly enough with near empty cartridges you will eventually damage the delicate print head by burning out the individual resistors.

Must I replace the cartridges immediately when warned by the printer ?

Of course not. Certainly you can keep printing for quite sometime after the printer warns you however DO NOT keep printing until the cartridges actually get so low that you start getting gaps in your printing.If you continually do this I can guarantee that your print head will die long before the printer is worn out.

Will Compatible Ink Cartridges wear my print head out faster ?

This is a fair question however the answer is a definite NO ! Using good quality compatible inks will in no way reduce the life of your print head. As mention before we have been using compatible inks in our Canon office machines and in 7 years I've never had to do even one manual print head clean. If a printer is used regularly, with good inks and the above rules are applied then there is very little chance of your print head causing you grief.