Edible Ink Printer Head Problems

Decorating By costumeczar Updated 10 Feb 2016 , 3:20pm by icingimages

costumeczar Posted 9 Feb 2016 , 4:08pm
post #1 of 8

I'm tagging @icingimages ‍ for this, but I decided to post it here because it might help someone else.


The basic question is how long is the life on a Canon printer head on average? I have the Canon MG5520, and of course this morning when I have a lot to do it decided to stop printing magenta. I did a cleaning cycle, no luck, went through the whole thing and decided to clean the printer head. I did that, and it didn't help. Revived the sponges, pretty much tried everything, cleaned the head again, nothing. So I decided to cannibalize my extra printer that I have waiting in case the first one conks out, and I put the printer head from that one into the old printer. That one printed ONLY magenta, so I switched it back, tried some new cartridges in case the old ones weren't wet enough for a brand new printer head, and tried it again. The old one still printed everything but magenta.

So I knew that the cartridge was okay, and I figured that the printer head on the old one is just not accepting the magenta anymore, so I put the new head into the old printer again and did a few prints with new cartridges in so they would soak through the new head easier. It's all working now.

So the basic question is, when a printer head stops working, will it stop with just one color like that? Is there a point where it just won't work anymore, and how do you know when that is?


7 replies
icingimages Posted 9 Feb 2016 , 4:28pm
post #2 of 8

Hi Costumczar

It is nice to hear from you.  There is no rhyme or reason to how long a printhead works.  There are too many variables.  Ink and usage being the top two.  Using a printer too much, meaning high commercial usage or too little, meaning under 4 per month, can cause a printhead to prematurely die! Different ink manufacturers will cause a printhead to die prematurely.  Some ink has too much alcohol, some no alcohol both of these factors can cause printhead failure.  In testing ink once, I used another manufacturer (who I will not identify out of professionalism) and it killed my printhead immediately. Because of that, we do not even warranty our printheads past 30 days with new printer purchases.  

That being said, what we see in our office is about 2-3 years.  I will tell you that we stock very little printheads (1 of each versions) because the printhead has been lasting longer than printers.  

There is something called a sponge within the printer itself, not the cartridge sponge, that can make you think its your printhead when its really not the printhead.  There is a waste take sponge that dries out within the printer.  While it is easy to fix, many people will think its the printhead, they replace it, only to have more problems in about 3-6 months.  Then they go through printhead after printhead until they get fed up and replace the printer.  What I am wondering is if you put your old printhead in your new printer if it will work.  But there is another factor, your printer, just sitting new in the box for years can cause the waste tank sponges to go dry too.  So it is feasible that you can have this same problem in a brand new printer!  That being said, go to the maintenance section on our website, www.icingimages.com , you will have to log in first, and look under the waste tank sponge information and dampen those waste take sponges so that in a few months you do not have a repeat of this!  I don't like to post this information but if you are not a customer of us, you will not have access to that document, so if you need this information just email us at [email protected] and we will send it on over to you, or you can always call us at 540-869-5511.

I am so glad that you share your experiences to help everyone out!


costumeczar Posted 9 Feb 2016 , 6:16pm
post #3 of 8

I was thinking that it was the waste tank sponge, but I didn't get that far. When I have some time I'll mess around with both printers and see if I can get them both working. The waste tank sponge on my computer printer also sopped, and I found out through research that Canon just makes them stop after a certain amount of time, and you have to reset the printer itself. I'll see what happens with that when I can. In the meantime, I ordered more cartridges today because in taking them in and out so much I managed to snap off the little piece that clicks into the holder and keeps it in place!  I also like to have extras of everything on hand, too ;)

icingimages Posted 9 Feb 2016 , 6:32pm
post #4 of 8

Costumeczar, I hope to meet you one day!  Do you ever come to any of the conventions or shows? You have been a great customer and knowledgeable too and a great asset to the Cake Central community!

There is a purge unit and a waste tank sponge. The sponge dries out and that's when you think the problem mimics a printhead problem. The purge unit is what fills up and locks the printer, then the printer is considered dead! It is reparable, but not worth spending the money to get it replaced. There is a warning that gives you 100 prints before the purge unit locks up on the printer. There is a purge unit and a waste tank sponge.  The sponge dries out and that's when you think the problem mimics a printhead problem. The purge unit is what fills up and locks the printer, then the printer is considered dead! It is reparable, but not worth spending the money to get it replaced.  There is a warning that gives you 100 prints before the purge unit locks up on the printer.  

It is a great idea to always always always have a second set of cartridges on the shelf. You never know what will happen and things always go wrong when the cake is due!It is a great idea to always always always have a second set of cartridges on the shelf.  You never know what will happen and things always go wrong when the cake is due!




costumeczar Posted 9 Feb 2016 , 10:43pm
post #5 of 8

I'm right outside of Richmond, so I should do a day trip to come visit you :)

icingimages Posted 10 Feb 2016 , 2:37am
post #6 of 8

Are you going to the National Capital Area Cake Show in April?

costumeczar Posted 10 Feb 2016 , 1:10pm
post #7 of 8

Probably not, but it depends whether I'm working that weekend or not. I might go up and take my daughter along to do a college tour or two ;)

icingimages Posted 10 Feb 2016 , 3:20pm
post #8 of 8

You have to come!!! its on the weekend of the 16th of April! I would love to meet you! I can't believe you are so close and we haven't met!

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