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Nathan
Nathan, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 24530
Experience:  Computer networking/repair. 12+ years experience.
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When it prints, some lines are dark enough to read, Other

Customer Question

When it prints, some lines are dark enough to read, Other lines, I can barely make out. I think it has something to do with the alignment. I tried to follow the online manual for my printer for aligning. One of the steps, I am suppose to press the setup key. I cannot locate the setup key. Do you think the problem with printing has something to do with alignment?
JA: What's the exact make and model of your printer, and can you guesstimate how old it is?
Customer: Canon PIXMA MX492. Approximately 4 years old.
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: PC Windows 7
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: This has been happening for about 2 weeks now. I'm just getting around to get the problem fixed. What happened before WHAT popped up?
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don' t think so. I have a question, as to what is the charge to get the printer working correctly?
JA: You just pay a $5 deposit now and the rest only when you get a reply from the Printer Technician. All of this is 100% satisfaction guaranteed, so you can get a refund if you're not happy for any reason.
Customer: OK Get me a tech please.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

Hi, I'm Nathan.
Sorry to hear that you're having trouble, but I'll do my best to help you. Please give me a few moments to review your details here.

Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

To be clear, the total agreed upon fee is $23, the $5 was the deposit to get started.

Please give me just a few moments to send you a detailed answer.

Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

This is not an alignment problem. Rather these symptoms point to either a clogged/contaminated print head, or a faulty print head (or the logic board that controls it). Some rows of nozzles are clogged resulting in the light print.

You can try going into the setup/maintenance menu on the machine and running the “clean print head” function repeatedly, up to 5 times total, testing after each.
If it still doesn’t print uniformly, you’ll need to do a manual cleaning as a next step.

I have to caution you up front though that the manual cleaning process is messy and time consuming. It also has a low chance of success, if you see no improvement at all from the automated cleaning. It is most likely a hardware failure (bad head) which the cleaning can’t fix, as printheads are a wear item and do fail with time/use.

Realistically, it’s probably time for a new printer. As this is a 2012 model printer, it is well past its 3 year service life, so this type of failure is not surprising. 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.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to try, if you wish. Let me know how the built in cleaning function works, and I’ll guide you through the manual steps next, or I can recommend replacement options if you prefer.

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

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
How can you remotely connect to my computer? That doesn't make sense.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

You are seeing an automated ad by the site for a call or remote session. It is not sent by me. This is optional and may be ignored if you wish.

This is not possible to resolve remotely, I sent a detailed answer for you above.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I'm going to read over now the instructions you wrote for me to solve my printer issue. I believe I am going to have some questions for you.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

No problem, take your time.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Where do I find the setup/maintenance menu?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

Your printer is a very basic model so it is difficult to do from the front panel, but you can (press setup, then scroll through the options until you get to tools, and then cleaning).

You can do it from your computer as well, opening the canon print preferences then going to the utility/maintenance tab

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Where do I find "setup"????
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

It is in the menu on the control panel of the printer

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OR, how do I find Canon print preferences on my computer?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

go into your computer devices/printers folder and right click the canon to get to preferences

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
What do I do after I press menu? I pressed menu then hit the back & forth arrows on the display, but it never said setup.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

you use the left/right arrows to get to Maintenance

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK After I pressed menu, I saw something that looked like tools, so I kept pressing the arrow, and it came up "maintenance". Am I on the right track now?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

Yes you sure are, so press ok/enter to go into maintenance, and then to head clean from there

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Now that it says maintenance -- what is the next step?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

use the left/right arrows to get to CLEANING then ok/enter

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I see "deep cleaning", "head alignment" and other types of cleaning, but I don't see "head" cleaning.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

just do the plain "cleaning" option.

Run that a few times, if it doesn't improve, you can run the deep clean

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK I pressed "clean" and "ok" but nothing happened, except the printer made noise -- like it was starting to do something. I'm still waiting for it to do something.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

That is normal, it is an internal process, no paper or anything comes out.

Give it a few minutes until the noise stops, then run it once more.

Then you can try to print something to see if anything has improved.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK I pressed "clean" again. I guess it's time to try printing, since all the noises have stopped. Right?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
From the small amount I printed, it appears it's printing fine now. I'm going to give it one more shot. OK?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I tried printing something else. It has not improved at all. Now what should I try, if anything??? If I go to "deep" cleaning should that make it better?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.
Try the regular cleaning twice. Then move on to the deep cleaning
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Nathan -- Are you still with me?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.
after 2 regular then you can go to deep clean then test again
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I did regular cleaning twice. I'll try the "deep" cleaning now.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
If I do "deep" cleaning 2 times, and it doesn't improve -- will that mean that the printer is shoot, and should be replaced? Or, is there something else to try?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I guess I meant "shot" NOT "shoot".
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
This is the 2nd try for "deep" cleaning. After this, I will try printing what I was printing after the plain printing, and see if there is any improvement.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It just got worse. Why is that??? Now, I cannot read anything on the same page I printed after doing the plain printing.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I do, however; see some color pictures on the page, but not any printing (letters).
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Would it help any to put in a new black cartridge?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.
I would keep cleaning first. If 5 don't help then change black fine next
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK So, I need to do the "deep" cleaning three (3) more times, since I did it two (2) times already. Then, if that doesn't help, I am to put in new black cartridge? Right? And, if new black cartridge does not improve printing -- then, would a new printer be in order? Or, is there something else to try?
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

I'm saying do up to 5 cleanings total,

failing that you could try another cartridge if you have one handy. If not, I would not invest in a new one, a new printer is in order at that point and it isn't worth buying more ink for it

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
OK, Nathan, I read you loud and clear. I'll do all these final steps you suggest (the cleaning and changing cartridges), and if all that doesn't improve the printing, I will be looking for a new printer. I appreciate all your assistance and patience.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

You are very welcome.

If looking for a replacement, I’d recommend any of the Epson workforce series printers. They tend to be very reliable, are easy to set up and use, have good print quality, and reasonably priced ink. Example: http://amzn.to/2iDSGsO or http://amzn.to/2hQLirU

Note that these, like all consumer grade inkjet printers, are designed to be low cost and are essentially disposable after a few years, subsidized by the high cost of ink cartridges. If you wish to have a better quality and longer lasting printer, that comes with years worth of ink up front, consider the Epson ecotank models instead: http://amzn.to/1PpOj0C

Alternately, for a more business/commercial grade product that will be rated for a 5 year life, consider a laser printer. Lasers cost more up front also, but a toner cartridge can last for thousands of pages. A black only all in one laser is around $125: http://amzn.to/2fdn5PG

while a color model is about twice that: http://amzn.to/1n4I7Q5

If you have any other questions, just let me know. Otherwise, please take a moment to rate my service as this is the only way I am credited for my time. Hopefully I have earned 5 Stars but if not please let me know what I can do to ensure you are satisfied. I also invite you to contact me directly with any future support needs at http://bit.ly/1QwLxGh and ask for Nathan.

Thank you, ***** ***** a nice day,
Nathan

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Nathan - I'm going to give you a very good rating (5 stars). And, it looks like I will be needing to check out the printers you recommend. I haven't changed the cartridge yet, but I doubt it will make the printing any better. Thanks very much.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I need to return a phone call now. But, I will take the survey, and keep you in mind for any future printer problems.
Expert:  Nathan replied 3 months ago.

No problem at all, take your time.
Nathan

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