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Richard, Technician
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 5359
Experience:  AAS Degree in Computer Technology.
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My Brother MFC 420CN printer says "Unable to clean". What can

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My Brother MFC 420CN printer says "Unable to clean". What can I do to get it started?

Hi. I am Rick. I will be your Printer Professional.

Is there any number with the unable to clean error?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It says, "See Troubleshooting and routine maintenance chapter in the user's manual.

OK Joyce. Please take a look and tell me if the printheads are parked on the left or the right side.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

On the left

Ok. Unplug the machine and gently move the head to the center. Now closely examine on the left side , along the path of the head assy and around the heads and remove any dust dort or tiny pieces of paper you find. Use a flashlight if needed. When you have it all cleaned out restart the machine and see if the error clears.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I can't reach the printer heads. I sprayed the heads with compressed air. Now it thinks it needs a black cartridge.

Ok. Remove the cartridges and then take a q-tip with some alcohol or warm water and clean the contacts on the cartridges and inside the carrier. When you get everything dry put the cartridges back in and give it a try. I hope this works as we are running out of options here. Let me know how this goes.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, still getting the "unable to clean" Before this, I installed new cartridges. After a week I got message that the magenta cartridge was empty. It was still full. I unplugged the printer and left it for about two months. I usually leave it unplugged because it is constantly cleaning itself otherwise and uses up all the ink. After leaving it for 2 months I got this message that it is unable to clean itself. Do you think that things just dried up and got stuck together? Maybe I need to take it somewhere to get it professionally cleaned. I am just an editor who knows grammar and punctuation. I can fix some simple things but maybe printers go beyond my abilities.

Ok Joyce, your explanation goes a long way to explain why we cannot get this to clear. The problem you are having is being caused by your printheads themsleves gling bad on you. When this happens the only real fix for it is to get new heads fro the printer. You can order these from Brother for about $70 and the instructions for putting therm in come with the new ones. The only question is do you want to spend that much on this printer but I guess you need to judge that. You could have a shop put new heads in but then the cost gets higher.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your help and advice, Richard. I know what I have to do now. I have to take the printer apart and clean the nozzle tips with a Q-tip and some alcohol. But I am procrastinating and causing myself inconvenience. I promise to do it tomorrow for sure. How do you like working like this online to solve peoples' tech problems? For several years, I taught online technical and/or medical writing courses. I had students from many parts of the world and some here in the U.S. who were moving up the ladder and needed to generate reports. It was interesting. Best wishes,Joyce

I know about procrastinating, it's my middle name. I do really enjoy doing this as an online service. Most of the time it is very enjoyable to help people solve their problems with computers and printers and save them some money in the process. There are times when people don't want to pay because the news is not what they wanted to hear but for the most part it is very satisfying. I started doing this when I retired from my career but if it were available before I would have enjoyed doing it as a career. Best wishes to you also.