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Nathan, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 24470
Experience:  Computer networking/repair. 12+ years experience.
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My Canon MP390 was not used for 6-8 months and when I tried

Customer Question

My Canon MP390 was not used for 6-8 months and when I tried to print from it, it just printed blank pages. I thought the ink had dried out, so I replaced both color and black cartridges. That didn't help so I removed the print head and carefully cleaned it under warm water being careful not to get water on the gold connectors on the back of the print head. All dried out and clean with seals back in place, I get an error message saying "put in cartridge" . I have tried everything (I think) but hope you may have a solution before I recycle the printer.
JA: Has your Canon done this before? And can you guesstimate how old it is?
Customer: Never had ANY problems with the printer - not even a paper jam.
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: My best guess is 10-12 years old, but not used that much. Worked perfectly last time I printed from it.
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: PC Win10 64bit
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: Got a message that the driver is not up to date, but I tried to update it, but that didn't solve the problem. I have printed from this PC in the past using Windows 10.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  Nathan replied 9 months ago.

Hi, I'm Nathan.
Sorry to hear that you're having trouble with this but I'll do my best to help you.

Expert:  Nathan replied 9 months ago.

Unfortunately this error indicates a hardware problem,

specifically, it is the result of a bad printhead (or the logic board that controls it).

The head is a "wear item" that fails with age/use. As this is a 2005 model printer, it is well past its 3 year service life, so this type of failure is not surprising.

There is one step you can take here, to clean and reset the system, but it is very unlikely to help. 99.9% of the time, this does come down to a hardware fault.

While it can be fixed, it is not worthwhile to do so. You would have to, at a minimum, replace the printhead, which costs about $85; if the logic board is bad you’re looking at $200-250. For $80-100 you can replace the entire machine with a brand new model, with current technology and a fresh warranty, which makes more sense than buying the new part for an older printer.

Depending how you'd like to proceed, I can advise on the cleaning/reset steps if you wish to try, help with finding parts, finding a local repair shop, or recommending replacement options for you. Just let me know.

Best regards, ***** ***** for the news,


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks Nathan,I have cleaned the print head but not sure how to reset the print head or the entire machine. That could be worth a try, dont you think?
Expert:  Nathan replied 9 months ago.

Honestly I won't even consider it worth the time, personally.

The cleaning you did actually is likely to make it worse, if you used tap water. That only provides minimal help if using distilled water, plain water is damaging, though alcohol is the preferred solvent. You'd take it apart and clean the actual contacts with alcohol, not the ink ports.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I did use distilled water that I heated in a bowl of hot tap water. I have also used Alcohol as suggested to clean the contact points. You didn't answer my question as to how to reset the printer.
Expert:  Nathan replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry I didn't catch that part, I thought you had asked about the cleaning,

the reset will help only if the underlying hardware fault has been resolved:

unplug power at the wall outlet

wait 5 minutes
press and hold the power/on button for 60+ seconds
keep holding while plugging back in, and for another 60 seconds after, then release

Let me know the results, and I'll advise further if needed.


Expert:  Nathan replied 9 months ago.

Do you need more help with this?

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