Large Format Photo Printer Maintenance

You want to print your images the most beautiful way possible, and using a large format photo printer is just the device to achieve your goals. Of course, the one downside to using photo printers is the cost that these devices carry with them--not just for the printer itself for also for the replacement cartridges. An even bigger issue is when the printer components begin to break down. Yet, with a bit of work on your part, these problems can be prevented for a longer period of time.

Step 1: Printing a Test Image

If you are preparing yourself to do some maintenance work on your printer, you will have no doubt already noticed that there is an issue with the printing quality. In order for you to really see what problems your system is having, print a sample image. It can be anything that you want, but print an image with a lot of color contrasts so that you can see the specific points where the issues are occurring.

Step 2: Check Your Levels

As you look over your image, you may notice that the colors are neither as bright nor as bold as they should be.  Go to the "Start Menu," then to the "Control Panel" and finally to "Printers/Faxes."  You will see a tab labeled "Maintenance" located near the top of the window.  In order for you to obtain a print out of your nozzles and their individual ink levels, you must click on the button labeled "Nozzle Check."

Step 3: Read the Printout

On your computer screen, an image will appear providing you with a visual representation of what the levels are within your ink cartridges. Looking at your printed "nozzle check," you should see a single line of unbroken color bars. If you see that the line is broken, return to the "properties" panel and go to "Print Head Alignment."

Step 4: Fix Clogged Nozzles

With your printed alignment, you will be able to see whether or not the nozzles are clogged. If they are, run the "Cleaning" option in the "Printer Properties" panel. There is also an option to perform a "Deep Cleaning." This will be necessary if you have not performed any type of cleaning on the printer for awhile.  As well, you may find it necessary to perform these cleanings multiple times. 

Step 5: Manually Clean the Cartridges

Shut off your computer before you begin to physically clean the nozzles of the printer. Simply open the main lid; this will give you access to the individual ink cartridges. If your levels are low, you can simply replace the individual colors that are running low or empty. The cartridges easily snap in and out of place. If you are simply cleaning them, take a damp paper towel and wipe off all of the rollers. If your cartridges haven't been used in a long time (and this means a year or more), remove the cartridges individually and wipe off the point where the ink is dispersed. This will let you physically removed any dried ink.

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