asked Aug 17, 2005 at 11:00am
Canon Canon Personal Copiers (PC) 7

Canon i550 Printhead

I have a Canon i550 which died all of a sudden with the 7 orange flashes. I have soaked the printhead overnight in hot distilled water but this seems to have had no affect. When I put in the printhead and switch the printer on I immediately get the 7 orange flashes - how can it tell so quickly that there is a problem with the printhead? Could this mean its burnt out? I have tried running the deep cleaning cycle, realining the print head etc but none will work. Do you have to reset the printer in anyway after removing the print head. I fear I will be investing in a new printer......
Would anyone know how to fix the "comb" effect with the i550 printer?
I get this with the black and (and sometimes) magenta ink.
Thanks to all.
by Marc70 on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:12pm Add comment
Had the same problem with my I550. Was going to buy a new printer (I4000) since I could get one for about $30 more than the price of a new print head. I like canon printers with the individual ink tanks and have had no problems with the I550 for about three years.

Decided to try moving the paper thickness lever back an forth a number of times since some of the error messages indicated it could not determine the setting of the paper thickness lever. I don't know how the printer determines this switch setting but I thought if some contacts are slightly oxidized that movement might break up some of the oxidation. After operating the lever about a dozen times the printer started working. Hope this will help.

by Anonymous on Aug 27, 2005 at 1:21pm Add comment
Hi Jim

Thanks for your help. Have tried this but unfortunately its madly flashing orange at me! Am really annoyed as like you I'm a big fan of this printer and have had no problems up to now. Next time I'll be getting the extended guarantee! - Anonymous
Thank you! This worked for me! - Anonymous
I just tried it and it worked!!!

Thank you

Jean - Anonymous
i've got the same problem. do you know for sure that it the 7orange/green(alternate) flashes means the printhead??
Is there a list of the error codes somewhere?

by jono_b on Oct 19, 2005 at 11:31pm Add comment
I spent three researching this problem and was just about to throw the unit away. I tried the waste ink reset code, but nothing happened. On the 3rd day, I came across someone whod suggested to take the printhead out and soak it in alcohol. I took it out occasionally to tamp the printhead onto some folded up paper towels every 1/2 hour. About the 2nd time, I noticed the paper towels were showing the clear color streaks it showed before this problem started. After drying the printhead, I resintalled everthing,noticed immediately that the blinking lights stopped and went to solid green!--yay!. I ran the nozzle check a few times. So far Im able to print b/w documents. Im throwing color jobs through this printer to get the the magenta to run which is now my only problem. I hope this helps you all out. This has been a wonderful work horse of a printer, the problem Im understanding is that if you dont run daily jobs throught this unit, it had a tendancy to clog up. I usually run a print job every other day and for 4 yrs never had a problem-go figure--
Pauley - Anonymous
yes the error codes are on the canon website under troubleshooting for canon i550 - Anonymous
An error has occurred in the printer. The number of flashes indicates the type of error, as outlined below. Check the cause and take the appropriate action.

Two flashes: Out of paper or paper feed error

Replace the paper correctly and press the RESUME/CANCEL button.

Three flashes: Paper jam

If paper has jammed in the printer, clear the jam, replace the paper in the printer correctly and press the RESUME/CANCEL button.

See Paper Jams

Four flashes: Empty ink tank

If you press the RESUME/CANCEL button, it will continue printing with an empty ink tank. However, when printing is finished, replace the ink tank immediately. If you continue printing with an empty ink tank, it will be a cause of trouble.

Refer to your Quick Start Guide for instructions on how to replace an ink tank.

Six flashes: No print head installed

Install a print head.

Seven flashes: Defective print head

Contact the Customer Care Center.

Eight flashes: Waste ink tank almost full

The printer has a built-in waste ink tank for the ink used during print head cleaning. Eight flashes indicates that the waste ink tank is nearly full. Press the RESUME/CANCEL button to cancel the error so you can continue printing. Before the waste ink tank becomes completely full, contact the Customer Care Center.

Canon recommends to call for service as soon as this error occurs. Once the waste ink tank becomes completely full, printing will no longer be possible.

POWER lamp flashes alternate green and orange:

An error that requires contacting the Customer Care Center may have occurred.

Turn the printer off and unplug the printer from the power supply. Plug the printer back in and turn the printer back on.

If the problem remains, contact the Customer Care Center.
- Anonymous
I went to the Canon website and it does say that the 7 orange flashes indicate something wrong with the print head on the i550 model. It does say that replacing may not fix it and you should troubleshoot before replacing it. The problem is they don't exactly clarify how to troubleshoot other causes for the print head to indicate failure. - unknown
I went to the Canon website and it does say that the 7 orange flashes indicate something wrong with the print head on the i550 model. It does say that replacing may not fix it and you should troubleshoot before replacing it. The problem is they don't exactly clarify how to troubleshoot other causes for the print head to indicate failure. - unknown

Hi all, try this. It is the reset for the waste ink error (7 flashes)

1) With the printer power OFF, while pressing the Resume button, press the Power button. (Do not release the
power button.)
2) While pressing the Power button, release the Resume button, press the Resume button again twice, and then
release the Resume button and Power button.
3) The green indicator flashes during initialization.
When the indicator stops flashing and remains on, press the Resume button 4 times to clear waste ink message.
(The indicator toggles between orange and green each time the Resume button is pressed.)
4) Next, press the Power button, and the green indicator will light, and the function will be executed.
5) Turn off the printer then back on and error should clear.

Cheers Printx
by Printx on Oct 20, 2005 at 10:53pm Add comment
I want to thank you sooo much for your suggestion, it worked like a charm. You're a lifesaver! - Anonymous
I know its a different brand but tried your advice worked well first two steps
didnt do anything but persisted

For the S530D the first step was spoton. Then the second step i justed pressed the Resume button twice

It Works

Thanks for your help

TOBY - Anonymous
Thanx for the tip. I had cleaned the print head and it still wouldn't print, so I had resigned myself to getting another printer - until I saw your tip. I tried it and it worked!!! Thanx so much. I love my i550!! - unknown
My i550 has been a trusted companion for *many* years and it suddenly started flashing orange/green (after displaying a waste ink message for some time). It would not respond to anything. This procedure worked perfectly. I have my printer back! Thank you. - neparker
Are there any other conditions which will cause the seven alternate flashes? I've tried the "reseting ink waste" procedure and still have the same seven flashes.
by ka0ioj on Oct 29, 2005 at 8:39am Add comment
Are there any other conditions which will cause the seven alternate flashes? I've tried the "reseting ink waste" procedure and still have the same seven flashes.
by ka0ioj on Oct 29, 2005 at 8:39am Add comment
According to my i550 manual all these posts about 7 flashes indicating the waste tank is full is incorrect and should be deleted. 7 flashes (according to the manual) indicates and I quote "Indicates Defective Print Head". To fix the problem it says "Remove the print head and check the contacts for foreign matter, then reinstall. If the print head fails to work properly after reinstalling it, contact the Customer Care Center."

8 flashes (NOT 7 flashes) indicates the waste ink tank is almost full. I hope this clears up all the previous confusion. - Anonymous
Try this it worked for me.
Similar to PrintX s solution in that you have to go into service mode first by ...
1.With printer OFF press and hold resume
2.while holding it down push and hold Power button
3.Release resume whilst still holding down power, the light should be green (not flashing)
4.Push resume once (orange) twice (Green)and a third time (orange)
5.release power button.
6.Then power it off and on again after it's finished making any noises and settled down.

This actualy clears the EEPROM so beware and only do this as a last resort.

This cleared the error for me.

Note: I first ran the head under a hot tap to clear out old ink. (Well I thought i've got nothing to loose). I've now got the best prints i've had for a long time. :)

By the way I am a service tech working for Canon and I am appalled at the unreliability of these print heads and the cost of replacement so if I can help anyone save money I am more than happy to do so.
by unknown on Jul 10, 2006 at 3:23am Add comment
I tried running my printhead under warm water. It did clean it but now the printer won't recognise it.
What can I do or is shorted out?
Is there anybody out there that has new Canon printheads for sale? Qy6-0045? - Anonymous
Canon Tek,
Maybe you can help me out here, I was having trouble with black ink so anyway I change all the ink cartridges, when I do a nozzle check all colors show up not perfect but they are there...
When I do alignment check colom A - has nothing B - Cyan but rough C - magenta is fine D - has nothing E - Cyan is fine D - Black is there with stripes through it all...

Do you have any sugestions? I have tried and tried to align don't know rather to go neg. or pos.
Thanks hope to here from ya, Janet - Anonymous
CanonTek, I tried running the printhead under hot tap until water ran clear. I then went through the sequence you suggested and still gettting 7 orange 1 green. Any other suggestions before I move on to new printer? - Anonymous
Thank you soooo much Canon tek. I am going to try your advise today. I work at a company and we have several i550 and a couple i850's all with the same problem if this works you saved us tons. I got dubbed to try to figure it out and frankley I am tired of going home every day with ink covered hands. So bottom line is thanks for caring about others enough to share your knowledge.

- Anonymous
God Bless You, Canon Tek.

It Worked.

Thank you so much. - Anonymous
Awesome, I actually went out and bought another printer...but apparently I didn't have to... I gently ran hot tap water over the ink inlets to rinse out the old ink, then I dried off the printhead with a paper towel. The printer still didn't work... so then I did the clearing of the EEPROM procedure described by Canon Tek and my printer works just fine again...maybe better than before... :)

Thanks a lot Canon Tek :) - Anonymous
Hi Canon Teck,

I have currently been experiencing some problems with my colour cartridges. Quite honestly we have been getting these re-filled rather than buying new ones at a fraction of the cost. We took these back to the refill center and there were quite good in trying to get things back to normal and they even did a print head cleaning for us for $5. Right now we are seeing that our green printout has a great deal of magenta. When I printed out the alignment test, I see that the blue printout in column B has no full/clear rectangles. Instead, I noticed that each rectangle has a horizontal, solid top half and the bottom half looks like a comb with clear spacing between each bar/vertical line.
Would you happen to know what is causing this and could you make any suggestions. Also, if you like, I can send you a copy of what the alignment test looks like.
Thanks for whatever help you can give.

Phil - Anonymous
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, My S750 decided that it printed enough for me and started giving me seven orange flashes, after checking the manual on CD and finding that the print head may be deffective I also ran it under hot water till there was no more sign of ink coming out I dried it for a day or so and installed it back into the printer. After a day or so it again started to work intermittently and then it quit again. That was a week ago and I hadn't been able to get it working again until I came across your very valuable information. I entered the codes as you suggest and I now have a functioning S750.
Thanks again,
George - Anonymous
When I follow your instruction to go into the support mode I still see blinking 7xorange and 1xgreen. Do you have an explaination?
Many thanks
jme - Anonymous
Canon tek: I fixed my i550 using your instructions from 7/10/06 3:23 AM

My i550 did the 7-flash error code. I rinsed the head in hot water, cleared the EEPROM using your instructions and it's working again.

Likewise--my prints are now better than before. yaba-daba-doo!!!


Jim - unknown
Hey, you wouldn't happen to know where I can get a replacement s520 print head for cheap, would you? i just thought you might, as you are a service tech... - Anonymous
I'm having the yellow button flashing 7 times problem...which I understand is the printhead...I'm willing to try to wash the printhead but I'm not sure what part of the printhead I should run under it the 4 spots where the inks flows or the bottom of the printhead when it's standing upright which seems to have some ink on the bottom? I don't want to put the wrong thing under water. Please help...thanks, Jeanie - Anonymous
Dear Canon Tek.... I don't know how to remove the print head to wash it under water... I couldn't find any instructions in the manual or on the Internet. If you have time for a simple explanation, I would really appreciate it. thanks and have a grea new year. - Anonymous
I've tried both of your ideas to clear the 7 flashing error lights and neither worked, do you have any more ideas that might help...
- Anonymous
Canon Tek...

I own a canon S300 and for the first time got the orange lights (much panicking) - found the forum through google, found your "solution" to a different model and with nothing to lose tried your solution.

Amazing! it worked!

Many thanks - in these "green" times I would have hated to add my s300 to the rubbish dump.

Once again thnaks a bundle - Anonymous
Thanks printx and canon tek I did both of these and the printer started working again. - Anonymous
Just a note to say thanks. I followed your advice ( including washing print head ) and the dreaded " 7 amber flashes " fault cleared. Printer now working need to buy new printer. - Anonymous
Dear C-Tek,

Are you still checking this posting, nearly a year later?

If so, THANK YOU for the great advice. I had about given up trying to recover the cyan print capability on my well-used and beloved i550. Multiple deep cleanings resulted in short0lived relief before the blue would start to drop out again (right in the middle of a page, no less.)

But a half hour under a stream of hot water and several squirts of Windex seem to have put me back in action. The other color's print socket generated clear water almost immediately -- but that blue just a kept on coming. Clearly the build up had been building for awhile.

One of the great things about the marriage of internet and search enmgines is that good information can live on to help others. Thanks for helping! - Anonymous
Canon tek,

None of the suggestions listed have worked for me as I am still getting the 7 orange flashes. I have had this printer for a few years now and am not quite sure how to remove the print head to run under "a hot tap" as you did. Can you please instruct me?

Thanks! - Anonymous
How do I drain out the excess ink in the waste ink tank?

does the hot water really get the excess ink out of the print head? is there any danger of getting water INTO the print head>



tom - Anonymous
Thank you so much for your help. I had no clue at first how to deal with that problem(7 flashing orange lights). I did not know where the print head was and stuff--BUT even I figured it out . Washed it under hot water and: BINGO. It works fine now. Thank you again! - Anonymous
I have owned my i550 for aproxx 6years. been really good with no problems till now
It is not printing from the Black Cartrige. Replaced cartridge, still no print.
I used a non-canon cartridge at the last change. Could that be something to do with the problem ?
Appreciate any advise you can give

Kindest Regards

Ralph - Anonymous
How do you remove the print head. - Anonymous
my i560 is flashing 5 orange and one green the box on the monitor says operator error push the resume button if thats doesn`t clear problem switch printer off and on again.
Ive done this counyless times, is there any chance you could give me some advise. Regards Warren Smart - Anonymous
I tried this method of cleaning the head with plain hot tap water and then resetting with your instructions and THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I absolutly love the i550 printer I have and did not want to replace it. It works like a champ now. Probably was due to not using the proper refill ink. Thanks again. - Anonymous
I have tried every remedy in the formum. The clearing of the EEPROM did not work. I take the head out and it shows no errors, but is it the print head or the board. I have no problem buying a new head, but a PC board I think would be rather expensive.
Thanks you - i950madness
hey canon i550 not that good with a computer let alone trying to fix printer.when you print a page i have gaps in the printing. hav tried all maintenancebut nothing is working. when i do the nozzle check all colour grids complete except for the black the grid is missing parts. wot do i do if you can understand wot i have said. beth - Anonymous
Hello Canon Tek............I welcomed your advice even though I am signing in a year later Canon 1 550 is doing the same 7 orange flashing lights and then back to green.......I followed your advice to a tee.......It worked for lets say 1 day and then I was only able to print black and white docs after not printing anything it has gone back to the flashing and not wanting to print at all........I cleaned the print head as recommended and cleaned the contacts......nothing is happening...perhaps the thing is shot........but only after 4 years of having this piece of machinery I would expected more from it.....I will admit that I stopped buying the canon ink cartridges due to cost and I get my cartridges from 1,2,3 inkjet company, but they are willing to honor their guarantees on their products........this printer has jumped out of warranty convenient.......anyway........any help that you can offer would be much.......... - Anonymous
I need help. my canon i550 quit working and i can't print it just goes straight to the onange light for some reason. what do i need to do i don't know how to get the head thing out or anything. can you please help me. - Anonymous

I had the same problem with my Canon S300 and followed your advice, although the idea of putting the printhead under water seemed more to me to mean the end of it! But it worked!!

Thanks for the great advice! :-) - Anonymous
hey, great tip, thank you so much, it has indeed saved my printer. - Anonymous
Thank you

wow I never thought a little hot water would work. Printing better then ever. - Anonymous
I have a Canon i560 Series and it stopped working just like that. It flashes orange FIVE times. What does it mean? Is there a way to repair it? I have tried all the methods I have found on the site and still don't get it back to work. Note: When I open the printer, the catridges don't move.
Kikux - unknown
Perfect...and not signs of black inky fingers!

This solution by Printx took me about 45 seconds. - unknown
Canon tek: Bless you! My elderly and well cared-for i550 suddenly began the 7-flash error code. The dilemma of spending $50+ for a new print head (with no assurance of that fixing things) or two times that for a new printer which would not accept my large supply of i550 ink tanks was frustrating to say the least.

Found this (you) via hours of Googling. Soaked the head in warm water, cleared the EEPROM using your instructions and Bingo! it's working again. Many thanks, intend to name our next-born after you!
by unknown on Jul 12, 2006 at 9:28am Add comment
I don't have any srvice information on the i950 BUT I do for the i900-905. It might be similar or it might be completely different.
On the i900 7 orange flashes mean "No CDR or DVDR". the solution according to my manual is as follows ......
"After setting a CDR or DVDR in the tray set the tray in the tray feeder, and press the resume button."
This is directly out of the Canon manual, it means nothing to me as I am a Copier engineer and i dont even know what a i950 looks like.
Hope it helps :)
by unknown on Jul 16, 2006 at 5:29am Add comment
If you clean the print head with hot distilled water etc, make sure its dry, by putting it in a warm cupboard overnight. I had flashing error lights which went after I dried it out. David
by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2006 at 8:12am Add comment
Sounds like you've both got blocked inkjet nozzles.This, according to my colleagues, is caused by the use of non Canon ink, but who is going to pay 3 times the price of refilled ones in order to prolong the life of a £50 printer ?
My advice is, if you feel you have nothing to lose, run the head under a slow running hot tap until the water runs clear. Try not to get the electrical parts wet if you can, but make sure the inky bits thoroughly washed out. (The tip about drying it out again might be a good idea but I just stuck mine straight back into the printer.)
Please note though that if jets get blocked they can sometimes overheat and that unfortunately will ruin the head.
by unknown on Jul 25, 2006 at 12:11pm Add comment
Tried it all - soak the print head in hot water, run it under hot water, spray hot water all over it!! I also did the service mode EPROM reset thing and didnt do anything at all.. Now I'm up to my last option, and thats to throw it out the window! I'll let you know how it goes..
by Anonymous on Aug 8, 2006 at 4:57pm Add comment
All of a sudden my colors are blurry and the yellow is VERY faint. The black seems "almost" perfect. My ink is genuine Canon and the tanks are half full. I've tried all the maintenance (cleaning, deep cleaning, nozzle check, printhead alighnment) and those steps don't help. Does this mean I must replace the printhead? Any suggestions or similar problems out there?
by unknown on Aug 22, 2006 at 8:42pm Add comment
Canontek's solution (wash head, Hld and press buttons) hasjust cured my i550. Thanks. And no trouible to find him - just google "i550 error flash".
by unknown on Aug 25, 2006 at 8:03am Add comment
ok my colors are full but nothing is printing except the black...
do i soak the printhead??
(and wat about those electrical contacts on the bottom and side of the printhead that your not supposed to touch??)
by Anonymous on Aug 29, 2006 at 12:17pm Add comment
I just spent an hour on the web trying to figure out what new Cannon printer I was going to purchase, since the tech person told me I needed to replace the printhead on my i550. I was searching to see the type of ink my i550 used, to see if my refill bottles can be used on a newer model. (I've been refilling my cartridges for 2 years)

Heck, now I don't need that newer model. :) It works after cleaning the printhead and going into the service mode. Thank you so much. I'm now PRINTING out the instructions with my i550 just in case I should need them again in the future :).
by Anonymous on Aug 31, 2006 at 1:59pm Add comment
I have this problem with the printer head, the black one, using Jettec cartridges. Nothing appears on a nozzle pattern. But before I start bathing the thing, a few queries.

How do you remove the head? This query before was quickly cancelled, so I assume it's really obvious.

How do you count the flashes? I assume the last one when it stays on is not counted. I get 8 otherwise. My recollection is that it flashes so many time when switched on anyway, so I assume that was, say, 4 or 5, indicating it was in order. I'd not appreciated the significance of the no of flashes until finding this thread.

What are the implications of this loss of the EEPROM? So what do I have to do now I've tried the pressing buttons procedure as given. Do I have to redownload the driver?

If washing, is tap water, esp hard, really ok, or is distilled better?

by unknown on Sep 3, 2006 at 5:51am Add comment
My I550 stopped printing the yellow ink but there were no blinking lights. I tried Canon Tek solution of rinsing the print head. It did not work but I tried it again an rinsed it longer and now it prints great.
by Anonymous on Sep 3, 2006 at 11:30pm Add comment
To remove the printhead ...

1. Remove all the ink cartridges.
2. lean the print head towards the front of the printer.
3. Raise the print head out.

Note: the printhead is the device that the ink sits on, not "in". It's the piece with all the foam recepticles.

by Anonymous on Sep 16, 2006 at 3:34pm Add comment
I too, was about to give up the ghost and replace my i550. Before I read this exchange, I spent time trying to interpret those hieroglyphics that the print head adjustment produces, printing sheet after sheet each time I set it +1 or -2. This is so much more satisfying. - Anonymous
Yay! THANK YOU so much for explaining how to get the printer head out!

(It's not the device that has the words "black, cyan, magenta, yellow" on it - it's another device INSIDE of that shell! They look like one unit.)

Took me months of searching online to find your answer. Now it's a piece of cake to fix. - Anonymous
Thanks for the simple and effective help...I just had to run the print head assembly under hot tap water...and voila!

I would only add step 1.5. Lift dark grey print head latch. (using whatever correct or clear language...for people that might not keep trying things to remove this tray/assembly)

Luckily my impact adjustments I was performing on it were not fatal.

So, seriously, just because I recently replaced the ink with a Staples generic ink tank, the print head got clogged? WTF!? - Anonymous
My black stopped working, I removed the 4 cartridges, raised the grey lever and tilted the head towards me and out. Soaked in fairly warm water, 130° F or so,for 5 miutes, rinsed, held in my hand and flung excess water out, replaced in printer. Works like new. Thanks to the contibutors in this forum.
by wire2 on Sep 23, 2006 at 1:14pm Add comment
i have a canon 1550 and it does not print anything. i have replaced the black ink and cleaned the printhead and done the reset. i had the 7 flashing orange alert once after the reset did not get this anymore but still no printing. have done the alignments and nozzle checks and cleanings way too many time. any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
by unknown on Sep 23, 2006 at 6:18pm Add comment
thanks canontek just saved me a printer replacement,you must wear your shorts over your pants.
by Anonymous on Sep 23, 2006 at 8:15pm Add comment
I tried canontek's method but my i550 still keeps flashing 4 orange followed by 4 green. Any other suggestions.
by Anonymous on Sep 27, 2006 at 5:34pm Add comment
My little book says that four flashes means ink low. It says you can press the resume button to continue with out ink but not advisable to do for long.

- Anonymous
4 orange flahes mean it's out of ink. - Anonymous
Well guys thanks for your coments and adulation but I'm afraid to admit that my i550 has finaly given up the ghost.
It lasted about 4 months after my "fix" but now it's doing the same again and no amout of warm water and button pushing will bring it back to life.
I've looked into the cost of a replacement printhead and into investing in a laser printer instead but what seems like a good deal often isn't when you look at the price of new cartridges.
EG Canon colour laser beam printer £200 ( Hmmm not bad, worth thinking about ) BUT a set of 4 replacement cartridges will cost £50 each.
And I've heard through industry insiders that when you buy a new printer the cartridges are often only half filled.
My advice is what I am going to do tomorrow.......
Buy the cheapest possible bubble jet you can find (I'm looking at a Lexmark Z640 for £30) and when it runs out of ink JUST CHUCK IT AWAY ! and buy a new one.
It really will work out cheaper in the long run because these companies take a loss on the original sale in order to make money on consumables, spares and service.
Good luck all !
by unknown on Sep 29, 2006 at 11:36am Add comment
Canon Tech.

I'm attempting to fix my i550 printhead using your advice. Problem is, I can't get the cartridge carrier to move to the center, where I would remove the print head to wash it. Manual says "turn the printer on, then open the cover", but this doesn'r do it.

Also, I print only in black, but still consume the colours. Why is this?

- Anonymous
i tried the printhead clean- with computer turned off as per the original installation instructions. I lost all my print profiles. My problem originally, which is not cured, is that the red ink will hardly come through unless on manual set Maximum 50. The printhead alignment still produces equal sized 10 pink and white stripes the same size in every box +7 to -3. I have done the obvious putting in new cartridges and have never used compatable ink because I lost another printer that way. Strangely a copy of just the default red isn't too feint but if it is in a multi colour picture it is vey obviously lacking .The problem with cheap printers is that they are unreliable picking up paper. I can leave the canon to print 50 and it will get on with it without slipping and overlapping paper. Any help gratefully received.
by unknown on Oct 10, 2006 at 1:40am Add comment
I have exactly the same thing on my i550
Printhead alignment gives only lines on the pink
this means that all pictures I print have a green hue on then
due to the print head only printing 1/2 of the pink
Have you fixed it? Or have any ideas?
What else did you try to fix it?
I have downloaded the latest drivers and done countless head cleaning.
I was going to try and dip my printhead in a printhead cleaning
solution and if that fails I am going to buy a new printhead
or a new printer, depending on what is cheapest
- Anonymous
My printer prints the first half of a page fine, then red goes out. I deep clean and it works for one page, then half good-half green and yellow. HELP!
by unknown on Oct 16, 2006 at 9:37pm Add comment
I had an i550 when the print heads failed I went to to dealer to buy a replacement head and was told print heads are not a consumerable item and are built into the printer and have to return the printer to canon to have heads replaced. Crapp you fit the print head in the cradle when you set up the printer. I asked a friend in a computer shop if he could get a replacement head for this printer and he got the same line from canon. So I ditched the i550 went and bought a Lexmark X1170 that was also a scanner and copier for about $70
by unknown on Nov 1, 2006 at 6:07pm Add comment
7 flashes also,

Thanks, Cleaned head by placing print exit area of print head under flowing hot water until clear. Dabbed with tissue till dry then put back in. Ok now!!!
Thanks, again
by Anonymous on Nov 5, 2006 at 8:54am Add comment
Hey, when I use my i550 none of my pages contain any black ink. I have cleaned the print head with warm water, and have done the reset test. I have received no errors from the printer itself. I don't know what else do to do. I was printing just fine the other day. Please help.
by Anonymous on Nov 11, 2006 at 3:23pm Add comment
Something that may be of interest.

Using Isopropyl Alcohol (used for cleaning cassette tape heads) to clean the blocked injets is a very good idea.

The isopropyl alcohol has a much higher degree and speed of wicking (self feeding into very fine crevices and holes) and it has a very good solute effect (taking into solution) on dried up inks.

I few drops placed onto a blocked print head, will usually wick into the print head, resolute the ink and draw the fresh ink in from the tank.

It's harmless to plastics, and it's fast to evaporate.

Also cleaned out cartridges can have a few milliliters of IA put in them, to use as a print head purge.


by unknown on Nov 13, 2006 at 4:54am Add comment
Something that may be of interest.

Using Isopropyl Alcohol (used for cleaning cassette tape heads) to clean the blocked injets is a very good idea.

The isopropyl alcohol has a much higher degree and speed of wicking (self feeding into very fine crevices and holes) and it has a very good solute effect (taking into solution) on dried up inks.

I few drops placed onto a blocked print head, will usually wick into the print head, resolute the ink and draw the fresh ink in from the tank.

It's harmless to plastics, and it's fast to evaporate.

Also cleaned out cartridges can have a few milliliters of IA put in them, to use as a print head purge.


by unknown on Nov 13, 2006 at 5:02am Add comment
Hi Shane et al
This sounds like a useful tip!
I have an IP3000 with the following problem - black is fine, but anything I print in colour always has fine horizontal white lines over the entire printed surface.
I have run the cleaning routine, and the deep cleaning routine, several times, and also done print head realignment on several occasions. I have taken the print head out and soaked it in distilled (de-ionised) water for two hours before drying it off and re-seating it. I have checked the ink left in the cartridges.
All to no avail!
I'm going to try the cassette head cleaner fluid as you suggest, but here's my question:
Should I turn the print head upside down and drop the fluid into the metal part of the print head?
Or should I put the drops in the screens with which the cartridges actually make contact?
And how long should I leave the alcohol in there, and should I flush it out somehow?
Cheers! - Anonymous
I own a ip3000 and an 1960 canon printer. I love canon printers yet I have to say that after a short time both printers failed to print black. I also owned an earlier model canon printer that I had the same problem with. It has long ago gone to the dump. I may try your tips on cleaning the printhead. What do I have to lose except many ink cartridges. I wish Canon would try somehow to correct this problem.
by unknown on Nov 25, 2006 at 2:30pm Add comment
Thank You... This also worked for my i550, of which I've been refilling the original tanks for some 3-4 years now... I've got more than my $99 out of this, and now that my seven orange flashes are gone, I'll continue on. I actually stumbled across this post while checking prices on a replacement print head, which I no longer need. Thanks!
by unknown on Nov 25, 2006 at 3:27pm Add comment
Hi All, I need help on refilling the BCI-3e carts on my Canon S750. My instruction kit is not much help. Do I drill and fill on the liquid tank side at the latch end or drill and fill on the foam/felt side at the discharge nozzle end? I tried drilling on the latch end and ink poured out of the discharge nozzle. I must have opened the air vent or something!

I need ideas to fix my daughters machine that now prints all but black. How about filling the non-black carts with black ink and just don't print any color? Thanks JQC - jqcragin
Hi, Thanks for all the info..I had the dreadedd 7 orange flashes..manual said your printhead is dead..tried the bath treatment and the clear eeprom but no go...cursed canon and most of the other printer manafacturers as day before throwing the printer in the bin I thought one last try..took out the head and cleaned the contacts on th back AND pressed down on the silicone seal where the flat cable joins the chip..put head back and hey presto the printer was up and running again!!!! before acting in haste give this a to know if it works for someone's hoping....Bruce from OZ
by avago on Dec 2, 2006 at 10:12pm Add comment
Hi there,

Nice to see everybody here.

I soaked my Canon S520 printhead in windex for couple of days and also run under hot water for a while and after a day dry I put it back.

Result: The black works after some cleaning.

Problems: The color doesn't work right. Only couple of nozzel check lines showed up. Never get all the color back. I used a paper towel check the nozzels, I can see all the color on the paper towel very clear and they seem right to me. It just doesn't work right on the color.

Another old print head:
I found my old S600 print head and did same thing. The black almost all back to normal again. The color came out from the norzzel, but no color at all on the nozzel check test paper.

I doubted if the printer head is not completely dry yet, so the circuit may have shortcut someway. Or is Canon S520 so smart that it is programmed to stopped to work?

Anybody ran into this kind of problem and found a solution? Pls let me know.

By the way, thanks for Canon Tech that I ran into 7 flash orange lights and solved after reading the information Canon Tech offered here.
by Anonymous on Dec 3, 2006 at 6:35pm Add comment
I doubt that any printer with 7 orange flash lights after a long time use(mine is over 3 years) will come back. If there is any, pls let me know.

I got my canon s520 work again only on the black color after the soak and dry treatment. But the color seems stopped working even the ink is going very well. And it sound all right, even great. but just not color on the paper at all. :(

by Anonymous on Dec 9, 2006 at 6:21pm Add comment
First of all thanks to Canon tec and others who have contributed to this thread. I too had the dreaded seven orange flash error code on my i9100. I tried all the suggestions many times and once got printing for 15 minutes, but then the dreaded lights came back. Somewhere I read that someone put his printhead in the freezer for three days. I thought that was a bit odd but got me thinking about the possibility that my printhead had overheated - its carriage managed to jam on the CIS tubing and resulted in the dreaded seven oranges. If the head had got distorted it was just possible that a low temperature might contract the distortion. I put it in my fridge for a couple of hours and the printer sprang into life for a short while. I took the plunge and put it into the freezer for half an hour – and amazingly its been working for over a week now. It would be interesting if this works for anybody else and what the explanation really is.

by Brian H on Dec 12, 2006 at 1:53pm Add comment
hiya buddy printer tech. hey buds i got 9 orange flashs on my i550 and dont know what is going on. just wondering if you might know what that is. i tried changing the printhead and cleaning it under hot water also i tried re-doing the eaprom thingy that you were talking about still no luck. get back to me asap thx buds plz try to help me out
by unknown on Dec 15, 2006 at 10:45am Add comment
Canon tek you are a saint,
tried your method and it worked
had to do it twice but who cares
tip: I used a hair dryer to dry the print head after rinsing the ink holes clear. Medium heat gentle air
by Peter B on Dec 16, 2006 at 2:07am Add comment

nice to hear I am not alone with my problems. I also have a Canon
i550 which suddenly didn't print anymore. I then disassembled the
printer, cleaned the printhead with distilled water. After
reassembling the printer, I tried to print black only for the
first time, the printer seemed to work but no ink got onto the
When also trying the other colors using the nozzle test in the
printer settings (Windows ME), the printer made a painful
scratching sound and beeped. This was very unfortunate
because the routine said that the task should never be
interrupted. - But I had no choice, I immediately pulled out the
power cable. I remembered that I had forgotten to install the
little spring on the right edge of the ink-soaking cushion below
the printhead. The current situation is that when connecting
the printer to the power cable, the orange LED is flashing
continuously without blinks. Pressing the power and
resume buttons to get into service mode produced no
results. Also removing and reinstalling the printhead
doesn't help in contrary to past attempts where that worked.

Does anyone know a possibility to get the printer out of
that state to be able to enter service mode and reset the
waste ink counter or flashing the EEPROM?

I would be thankful for any help,

best regards,

by peterF on Dec 16, 2006 at 6:18am Add comment

does anyone know what to do when the LED is not blinking but
flashing orange only all the time (no green inbetween)?

Best regards,

by peterF on Dec 17, 2006 at 1:25pm Add comment
I have a Canon i850.

I am having the same problem - ORANGE NON-BLINKING LIGHT.

The printer will not turn on. Any ideas? - Anonymous
Well, so far I've tried cleaning the printhead per CanonTek's instructions, without success, then reinstalled my old Lexmark 3200 (had a good black cartridge, but color was out). Then I found a Canon Pixma IP1700 and bought it new (spent about $5 on gasoline), unopened for $35, but also found out--after getting it home--that it has no output tray and uses a tricolor cartridge different from i550. How in God's name--and I'm an atheist--could anyone make a printer without an output tray?

I have had Canon products for many years, esp. cameras, and they have been great and I loved my i550, but the lowest price printhead I could find was $62.50 plus shipping of about $9. Outrageous for a little chunk of plastic and metal with some circuitry. The heads are precision made, of course. Anyone know of a refurbishing facility for them?

My time is, of course, worth a lot more than what I'm putting into this, but I used to work for another printing company named Xerox and am now a retired systems engineer. I am now thinking about soaking the printhead for another day in alcohol/distilled water, then letting it dry for a couple days to see if that works. In the meantime I'm setting up the 1700. What the H--it was only $35.

The big problem may be getting rid of the i550 shell in which all the mechanical parts seem to be working just fine. And, anyone want a used Lexmark 3200? It has always worked just great, though it makes a fair amount of noise and is no speed demon.
by docklc on Jan 1, 2007 at 10:01pm Add comment
On the pixma 1700, I worked for canon technical when they were unvailing the pixma line and that was the first question I had for me. They had no answer. We got a ton of calls on those, people saying that they were missing the tray and wondering why their papers were flying all over the place. $35 isnt too bad for them, I think they retailed for about ~80. They were given away with about every new computer sold for a long time.
by 87vert on Jan 2, 2007 at 4:23pm Add comment
You don't need to drill. On the top of the tank (on liquid side), peel back the label and you will see a little plastic ball bearing plugging a hole. Take a push-pin (the ones for cork boards) and pry the ball out. That is where you fill your ink.

Some refill instructions tell you to fit the syringe tip into this hole and hold the tank upside down (syringe pointing up) and fill the tank. I find this to be really messy because the pressure builds up inside and eventually just starts pouring out.

I just take a syringe and needle. Hold the tank with the label/hole up, and squirt the ink into the hole. To plug it back, I use a small set screw with an allen wrench. Hope this helps.
by Anonymous on Jan 5, 2007 at 3:56pm Add comment
My Canon i550 has stopped printing magenta and yellow correctly. I tried the warm water treatment and also the EEProm resetting, but even after more deep cleaning cycles the magenta and yellow start to print the nozzle check pattern but soon appear to run out of ink, even though I can see the liquid ink in the cartridges.
Any ideas?
by unknown on Jan 8, 2007 at 3:07am Add comment
I had similar issues with my i550. My ink was full, and although my nozzle check patterns printed ok, the print head alignment patterns wouldn't ("C" pattern only printed the top half of each pattern, the "E" pattern wouldn't print at all, and "F" pattern only printed top half).

I first tried soaking the printhead in warm water. That didn't do anything. I tried the Windex soak three or four times. Again no help.

I finally got fed up and just bought a new printer. I would have bought something other than a Canon this time around, but Canon is still the best IMO. HP stinks because of high ink prices and the fact that their printed photos smear like crazy with even a little moisture. Epson, I wasn't impress with their resolution. So I bought myself another Canon (MP960) and it works great!!! What I found really impressive is the automatic duplex printing. That will definately save a lot of paper, especially around tax time!
by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2007 at 4:11pm Add comment
I found this to work better than the warm water procedure:

Take a small plate or shallow bowl and put about 1/4 inch of Windex. Place the print head upright into the Windex. Let it soak. While it's soaking, get an eye-dropper (or anything that will let you pick up a drop of Windex) and drop a small drop of Windex onto each of the 4 tank inlets. The Windex will appear to float on top of the inlet for a second then you will see it disappear as it goes thru the print head. Once it's thru, put another drop on each inlet and let it go thru. You can put as many drops as you feel necessary to help push the old ink thru the printhead.

Now repeat this procedure two or three times, changing the Windex each time. Each time you do it, you should notice less and less ink coming out.

After things are cleared out, take the printhead out of the Windex and let it dry - either overnight or use a blow dryer on the low setting to help speed things along.

Reinstall the printhead and ink tanks. If the lights are still blinking yellow, then clear the memory as described above. Once you get a green light, run the Deep Cleaning procedure to help push out any remaining Windex and get the ink flowing again.
by Anonymous on Jan 13, 2007 at 6:42pm Add comment
Re: Canon i550 Printhead by Anonymous (9/16/06 3:34 PM) reply + / -
To remove the printhead ...

1. Remove all the ink cartridges.
2. lean the print head towards the front of the printer.
3. Raise the print head out.

Note: the printhead is the device that the ink sits on, not "in". It's the piece with all the foam recepticles.


by Anonymous on Jan 16, 2007 at 10:26pm Add comment
Im using canon IP3000, I got printhead clog and tried to clean the printhead, when I put it back, I got 5x orange and 1x green light and canon status monitor say i got wrong print head.
How to fix this?
by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2007 at 4:32am Add comment
Had the same issues as everyone else, 7 orange lights on the I550. Tried everything, nothing worked. Emailed Canon and to my suprise, this actually corrected the problem.

Good luck,

Please follow these steps for isolating and resetting the printer:

1. Open the printer's front cover, and then open and close the print
head lock lever (do not remove the print head).

2. Make sure all ink tanks are seated properly.

3. Make sure all packing materials have been removed.

4. Make sure no paper is jammed in the printer.

5. Disconnect the printer cable from the printer.

6. Close the front cover and turn the printer off.

7. Unplug the printer from the power source, and then plug it back in
after 30 seconds.

8. Power on the printer.

9. Attempt to print a Nozzle Check pattern by holding down the Resume
button until the Power light flashes twice.

10. If the error returns, the printer will require service.
by Anonymous on Jan 22, 2007 at 4:38pm Add comment
Did anyone find a solution to the comb-shaped pattern?

When I print anything containing blue, there are regular pale streaks. When I print the nozzle check or printhead alignment, the 'B' pattern looks like a comb - the top half of the block is solid but the bottom half is alternating vertical strips of blue and white (here is an attempted illustration but I don't know whether these extended characters will show correctly):


This is not solved by soaking/cleaning.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

by unknown on Feb 7, 2007 at 9:31am Add comment
I have same problem with my S600.
Partially solved by using driver for pixus IP3100 from canon.

download :

install the driver :
"rpm -i bjfilter-common-2.50-3.i386.rpm"
"rpm -i --nodeps bjfilter-pixusip3100-2.50-2.i386.rpm"

create a printer : CANONS600, driver Canon Pixus IP3100.

blue is now better, although it's pale.
But marges are now false.
To correct A4 marges, i have edited /etc/cups/ppd/CANONS600.ppd :
change line
*ImageableArea a4: "11.64 14.17 585.64 833.39"
with :
*ImageableArea a4: "16 0 595 824" - Anonymous
Hello Kwarr
I see it has been some years... but a few days ago my printer started with exactly the 'comb' problem you describe. Has it been solved for you? (I already did the cleaning and the EEPROM)
Love to hear from you, Robine - unknown
Recent models have a small chip or eprom incorporated in the head and out of sight which counts all printer actions and finally decides at some point to render the print head inoperable. One has to destroy the head to find the chip. Only the print head designers know how the chip is programmed and there is little if anything that can be done to reset it. It's inbuilt obsolescence, a la the current cartridges of Canon et al.
by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2007 at 4:12am Add comment
"Recent models have a small chip .. which .. decides at some point to render the print head inoperable."

Can it be as cruel as that?

Have others had the same? If so, presumably the result (the comb-like pattern in the diagnostic printout) would be the same.
by unknown on Feb 16, 2007 at 2:41am Add comment
hi, my printer is printing and knows when to print, but doesnt print out in ink, even though there is ink in it. any suggestions?
by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2007 at 9:50pm Add comment
Hello, I am hoping someone can help me. I have a printer canon i550 and I have never had a problem with it up until now. I up loaded something from AOL and now my printer does not work. I have tried printing from my dektop and it prints,But when I need to print a document or an e-mail , it says printing and then it disappears and nothing prints.
Help what else can I try?
by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2007 at 2:18pm Add comment
In the service manual for the i550,850,950, there are two kinds of Error code alarms. One is called Troubleshooting List by Error/symptom. Here it says that 7 orange flashes is a "Carriage Error" and that you should repace the Printhead/Carriage/Logic board. But it also says under "adjustments" --- Set the Waste Ink counter to Zero and to then set the destination code.

The second kind of error code is called "Service Call Errors". Here it says that 7 orange flashes is the "Waste Ink Full Error" and asks that all waste ink pads be replaced. It also says to "Clear the EEprom", Set the Waste Ink Counter (It meant to reset the waste ink Counter"), and finally to set the destination code to "2" for domestic. The reason for this is that reseting the EEprom wipes out the desitnation code, so I think that the current driver may not work again, and the "Waste Ink setting" is not reset in the EEProm, when it is reset. There is a special note to this effect in the Manual.

So to all of those who got lucky and got their printer to work,.. lucky you. It appears that there are a lot of things that can happen to give the same effect and somehow give the same 7 orange flashes. It is clear that many people have cleaned there printhead and done the reset and got it to work. Others have just reset the waste ink counter and gotten it to work. Some have taken the printer appart, cleaned the pads, and then did the reset and gotten that to work.

I believe they are all tied together and it all goes back to the ink sensor that is part of the cleaning cycle of the machine. I believe that if the sensor has an error, it can be caused by the following;
1. The printhead is so clogged that when the printer tries the cleaning cycle and can't draw or suck any ink out of the head,.. error
2. If the ink carts have an air leak, ink can't be sucked,.. error.
3. If the ink pads cleaning station is so clogged, it can't suck,.. error.
4. If the waste ink tube is clogged, no suction,.. error.
5. If the ink pump is plugged, suction,.. error.
6. If the waste ink pads are full, the ink sensor is on all the time at full,.. error.
7. xxxxxx for all the ones I don't know about.---error.

I think this whole system sucks... If must have been designed by some drunk junior engineer, and has been passed down by other bad engineers from printer to printer for the last 10 years. Why do I know this,... because I have the manuals for printers that span 10 years and they are all basically the same. The Japanese won't spend 5 minutes on designing something new or better if they have something to "COPY".

My conclusion from all of this is that if you and I are one of those that have tried many things and the error is still there,... then there is one of these items that is still clogged, (or broken like the pump, or sensor, etc.) and it won't get fixed till we find it.
by unknown on Mar 8, 2007 at 10:12pm Add comment
Well this should finish off the last post I made on this subject. I located one additional piece of information from the Canon support site, i 550, Drivers/software, step by step troubleshooting. In there are many links to other kinds of problems. Under "Printer Operation Problems" I found the note, "The printer head holder does not come to the center". This just happens to be one of the "Small details" that I was seeing on my printer, besides the Green+7 orange flashes. This note then gives you several other options to diagnose your problem, and takes you to a page where you then can select, "List of power lamp indications". The next page is a list of all the orange flashes, and 7 flashes mean Prinhead error. If turning it off and on won't clear the problem,... it is said to be a bad printhead. So that is my conclusion.

My last post listed a lot of things that I thought may be wrong with the printer, including the waste ink pad, clogged purge unit, etc. I resolved all of them by taking the printer completely apart and cleaning the ink pads, the purge unit, the purge tubes, etc. Put it all back together and still no change to printhead error. The sad thing is that the Service Manual does not have this error information,.. only the Canon support web site.
by unknown on Mar 11, 2007 at 10:57pm Add comment
After cleaning the printheads according to this thread, I am no longer able to even print a testpage?

My problem before was that normal printing did not use the color inks.

PRINT HEAD ALIGNMENT: showns only the A, D and F patterns. Does this mean that there is a problem with color printing??

Nozzle Check: Grid, plus A, D and F show a pattern.

by efinigan on Mar 15, 2007 at 12:38pm Add comment
I have same color printing....and test page B C E are blank. Did you get it fixed???how did you do it???
I am printing letters and graphic letterhead/colored won't print. Nothing colored will print unless I set it for grayscale.
Thanks! - Anonymous
I've been reading all these concerns about the i550 printhead with great concern. First off I should let you all know I am a authorized Canon Tech. so here goes some answers.
the 7 flashes, can happen 2 ways, 7 orange flashes is the print head. 7 alternating orange and green flashes with a long green, is the waste ink. OK, now that that is settled, let me also say to you all who are using refilled cartridges, the refills are a water based ink, not filtered to Canon specs and the silver screen in the print head, is a micro mesh filtering screen. Canon inks are alcohol based ink, highly filtered. I have seen a great many printers come in with burned out print heads due to the water not cooling the print head properly and also the filter screens being plugged up from unfiltered water based refilled cartridges and that too will burn out the print head.
Also resetiing the waste ink counter is not a good idea unless you also can obtain and know how to change the ink absorbing blotters. Otherwise you may endup with a table full of ink and I have seen that too! Canon does warranty the print heads the term of the printer, one year. But best advice is if they are out, replace the print head. I sell the i550 printhead for $54.65, part# QY6-0045-000. Thats is what we charge plus $35 for install and complete check to make sure it is operating properly.
by BAB on Mar 15, 2007 at 7:26pm Add comment
I would like to purchase a new I550 print head for my machine, how do I order one from you by snail mail with a postal money order? - mu5t8ng
BAB, Thanks very much for taking the time to set us straight. I would gladly replace my Printhead if there was someway to prove it was really out. So many people have thought there printhead was bad, and have gotten the green-7orange flashes, and then done some sort of cleaning or resetting and managed to get their printer working. Yes just as many never got anything to work, and we are still trying. Is there any test you know of, or any additional symptom to confirm the printhead is dead? One symptom that I have been worried about is when I take the printhead out and power down and then power up, I can get the printer to come to a "Green" ready state,, and from there I can enter service mode. However, the instant I put back the printhead, and close the printhead lever, it starts with the green-7orange flashes. I am also scared to put in a new printhead, just in case there is a bad logic board that may burn out the printhead. Many of us have removed the printhead, cleaned it many times, and we have disassembled the printhead to clean out the clogs in the ceramic nozzle housing. In your expereince, is there a specific thing we do that damages the printhead. Again, I really appreciate your post and hope that you will continue to help us. I'm sure you know that the cost of parts and the labor at an authorized Canon Service center is more expensive than a new printer. If this keeps up it would seem that no one will ever bring you a printer for repair. I'm sure you get a lot of warranty business from Canon, but to make your business grow, you need repeat customers. If you help us maybe we can find a way to help you.
by unknown on Mar 18, 2007 at 10:55pm Add comment
Printx and Canon Tek, many thanks to you both! You've helped so many people, and Im amazed at how a simple solution as that saved them from having to buy a new printer.

I tried your solution, and it fixed the flashing error, but unfortunately the printer doesn't recognize the printhead anymore. Although the flashing stopped, whenever you try to print it says the printhead is not installed ((Its there and I tried removing and putting it back in, but that didnt help any)). Anyone know how this can be fixed?
by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2007 at 8:30am Add comment
Hi, I have a strange problem:/ I plug in my i550 into pc, then i want to print something, but i saw an alert that two cartridges are empty, so I have changed them and now my printer doesn't work. I can't turn it on :/ Please someone help me.
by unknown on Mar 27, 2007 at 7:27am Add comment
You say it was working before you replaced the cartridges? And this happened after you replaced them? If the printer doesn't work, you should always check to see if the driver is properly installed. And it if doesn't turn on, check the cables, make sure they are plugged in correctly and aren't lose.

I know thats not much, but I hope it can be of some help. - unknown
Hi, Yes it was working before I replaced the catridges. And it happened after I replaced them. I think I install driver properly, but i have done one mistake while i was installing it: ( the printer was all the time plug in and turn on while instaling proces and in the install guide was write that printer should be first off and not connect to PC so this was my mistake:/) I uninstall driver now, and i checked cables and they are alright:/ Any idea?
by unknown on Mar 28, 2007 at 10:01am Add comment
See what happens when you plug the power cable into the printer and into an outlet, and turn on the printer...
If it still doesnt turn on, it could be that you disconnected something while replacing the cartridges, bad/damaged cables, defective printer, or a defective outlet (that has happened before!)

@JimY - I'd suggest looking for a canon i550 print head on ebay. I saw one for $12, cheaper than buying a new printer + cartridges!
- unknown
A few days ago, I reported that I repaired my i550.

After a couple print-outs, it stopped working again. It's same problem as before--the light code give 7 orange flashes, which means bad print head.

I tried rinsing out the print head again, but that didn't work this time. I'll just throw out the printer, and get a new one...

by unknown on Mar 28, 2007 at 11:29am Add comment
Ok here is what we do in the shop.
Wet the purge unit pad with water or denatured alcohol. Why denatured? becuse regular alcohol you buy at the drug store is rubbing alcohol and contains oil and other additives. Denatured is pure alcohol, but don't dare try to drink it, it has methanol added so its highly poisionous.
So wet the purge unit pad and allow it to run, if the purge unit is working properly it will pull in the alcohol and look dry, alco is will sort of self clean. It will also clean the prin head at the same time. You don't need the inks to be in to run the cleaning test. Now also put a drop of water or alcohol on the inside print screens. If after the test the screens are clean and the purge unit is dry, run a nozzle test. If you get the same results, chances are the print head is bad. If the purge unit is still wet, it needs to be changed. If only Black is not printing, but the print head is clean, change purge unit.
by BAB on Mar 29, 2007 at 5:58am Add comment
ibanez & BAB: THANK YOU for the reply posts!

Before throwing out my printer, I'd like to try BAB's fix. However, I don't know what the purge unit pad is. I searched the net for the i550 service manual, but Canon doesn't have it on their site, and others want $20 for it. Is it publicly available?

BTW: I checked ebay for a new printhead. FYI, my search for both "printhead" returned more results than the search for "print head". Currently, there's just one used one out there, for about $35 with shipping...

Thanks again,
- unknown
The purge unit is the rubber seals where the print head parks itself, when done printing, or when the unit is turned off. They are like a couple of rectangular suction cups, which pull ink from the print head. The ink in turn drains down the bottom of the suction cup, and is pumped into the waist ink pad on the bottom of the printer.
by unknown on Mar 29, 2007 at 9:27am Add comment
open cover loosen up ink cartridges in print head tray lift print head tray arm and back down then secure ink cartridges, close lid.
by Anonymous on Mar 30, 2007 at 4:34pm Add comment
Thanks for all the help. So some more hints from a long user of a i550x (which flashes 7 orange now...):

it is not only the cost of a new printer, it is also the software you get used to over the time and the advantage of installing the i550 driver a few times saving different modes selectable in the printerwindow - versus the time you spend in installing and trying new printer and setup, which may justify the cost of a printhead in the end.

Problems of printing with ink still available can be found in the colortank itself. If you look at it you see two chambers, one supplying the ink (where you refill) and one with fibre. Where the ink gets out there is another fibreseal.
Starting with the fibreseal: it should be unspoiled to get a contact and undisturbed flow of ink.

I found, that an "oversoaking" of the "sponge" above (after a few refills) disturbs the flow of ink. I rinsed it with flowing water till all color went out and then used compressed air to get the water in turn out and kind of "dry" the tank.
After this refilled (not overfilled, less is more) in the usal way - for me that worked.

Note: the printhead can only do his work properly if supplied in a proper way.

(PS: mine is gone now after years of printing, printing black only I filled the other colortanks with water - that helped saving on the cleaning routines, but as I learned here, I should have also used some alcohol to keep it running (even printheads are human)).

by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2007 at 1:02am Add comment
Hold on there! You "learned here" to use alcohol to keep it running? The only uses for alcohol are to clean the electrical contacts and for drinking purposes. As any avid reader of the forum knows, alcohol has absolutely no effect at all on dissolving ink, unless you get the 70\% isopropyl. That will dissolve ink because of the 30\% water contact. 100\% water is a lot more effective on water soluble ink.
by moe on Apr 10, 2007 at 9:56am Add comment
Moe,.. There have been some posts to this thread stating that Canon inks are Alcohol based and not water based. In reading the details of other ink mfgs. they indicate that their inks include both water and alcohol but won't disclose the percentage.

Do you know anything about this. It seems to me that since alcohol evaporates very fast, it the ink were alcohol based, it would evaporate and leave nothing but pigment or dye particles and the viscosity would change rather fast, making it difficult to keep the carts from clogging up. I have use Isopropel alcohol in gas tank for lawn mowers and boat motors to dissolve the condensed water vapor. It is basically the same ingredient used in the "Gas Treatment" you can buy for the same purpose.

I would think if they use any alcohol at all it would be a very small percentage of the total volume.

On the "Alotofthings" web site they have their view on this. I have asked them about this but have not heard back yet.

Hope you can clean this up.
by unknown on Apr 10, 2007 at 12:21pm Add comment
I wish I knew who was "Anonymous" on this last post. I would like some more details on what the error conditions where on your i550 and exactly what you did to fix it. This would help those of us that have tried these fixes and they have not worked.

For example, if you were getting the "7 Orange flashes", where they cyclical, that is were they Green-Orange-G-O-G-O-G-O-G-O-G-O-G-O-Long Green.,... or where they Green-Orange-O-O-O-O-O-O-Long Green. There is a big difference. The first is really the waste ink error and can be reset. The second is reported to be a bad printhead, which can not be reset.

Feedback would help the rest of us.
by unknown on Apr 15, 2007 at 6:36pm Add comment
> Did anyone find a solution to the comb-shaped pattern?
> When I print anything containing blue, there are regular pale streaks.
> When I print the nozzle check or printhead alignment, the 'B' pattern
> looks like a comb - the top half of the block is solid but the bottom
> half is alternating vertical strips of blue and white (here is an
> attempted illustration but I don't know whether these extended characters
> will show correctly):
> ███████
> ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
> This is not solved by soaking/cleaning.
> Canon happily tell me to replace the head.
> Any suggestions gratefully received.

I have same problem with my S600.
Partially solved by using driver for pixus IP3100 from canon.

download :

install the driver :
"rpm -i bjfilter-common-2.50-3.i386.rpm"
"rpm -i --nodeps bjfilter-pixusip3100-2.50-2.i386.rpm"

create a printer : CANONS600, driver Canon Pixus IP3100.

blue is now better, although it's pale.
But marges are now false.
To correct A4 marges, i have edited /etc/cups/ppd/CANONS600.ppd :
change line
*ImageableArea a4: "11.64 14.17 585.64 833.39"
with :
*ImageableArea a4: "16 0 595 824"
by Anonymous on Apr 23, 2007 at 10:45am Add comment
My i550 problem is that it no longer prints any colors except Black. No warning - just stopped printing colors??

No colors at all, even with new full cartridges. Black couldn't be better.

Neither the Print Head Alignment nor the Nozzle Check show any colored patterns under B, C or E.

And I do not get any flashing errors when printing documents (everything comes out Black).

From the Service mode, I've been able to print the Service Test Print and the EEPROM Information Print, but I have no idea of what the numbers and paterns mean?? Should I invest in an i550 Service Manual if I can find one?

Wonder if I should resort to to the Windex treatment of the caps?

I would try to remove the case to inspect the ink waste it I could only locate the "three screws".

by efinigan on May 17, 2007 at 6:53am Add comment
Many thanks for the suggestion to solve the 'comb' pattern by installing the driver for pixus IP3100.

Can you tell me how to do this in Windows XP?
by Anonymous on May 17, 2007 at 10:22am Add comment
For those of you that don't know how to install ink carts or how to remove the printhead, go to the Canon support web site and download the "quickstart guide". Here is the link to get to that page. Once you get to that page select "Drivers & Downloads, then go to "Product & Software Documents" On the final page locate the pdf file for the guickstart guide.

You should also have received this document when you bought your printer. If you ever expect to keep your printer in good working condition, you should at least "READ" the documents that Canon provides.
by unknown on May 30, 2007 at 9:54am Add comment
My question: what would cause the color printing to shut off while the black cartridge still prints OK?

Before I reset anything on my i550 printer, I am hoping to hear from someone with possible reasons why it no longer prints any colors except Black.

Neither the Print Head Alignment nor the Nozzle Check show any colored patterns under B, C or E.

And I do not get any flashing errors when printing documents (everything comes out Black).

From the Service mode, I've been able to print the Service Test Print and the EEPROM Information Print, but I have no idea of what the numbers and paterns mean?? Would there be a clue there?
by efinigan on May 31, 2007 at 3:19am Add comment
Hey efinigan!
How did you get the service mode settings to print out the service test sheet?
Ok if your not printing in color there are a couple of things to check, how about ink, is there any? Don't laugh I have customers bring in units all the time that are empty!
Clogged print head or some obstruction on the bottom of it. Yes I have had them come in also with paper covering the bottom of the print head not allowing ink to flow.
Non functioning purge unit.
Bad carriage assembly.
Bad logic board.
I would guess you'd find the problem before you make it to bad carriage assembly. It is probably either print head or purge unit. If your using refilled inks, probably print head would be my first guess.

Authorized Canon Tech
by BAB on May 31, 2007 at 7:44am Add comment
OEM replacement printhead is QY6-0045-000, NOT QY6-0054-000. There is a discrepancy in the info on this forum. I am grateful for the help, though. I was able to get one printhead flushed and operable with 70\% isopropyl alcohol. I've got another i550 where the clog in the yellow channel won't budge; this is why I ordered a new (and wrong the first time) printhead.
by RRC on May 31, 2007 at 8:00am Add comment
can anyone tell me how to remove the printhead as I have lost the manual? the colour ink isn't printing even though the cartridges have been changed and i've done all the deep cleaning checks so am going to try cleaning the head.
by Anonymous on Jun 4, 2007 at 9:46am Add comment
Absolutely! I received the following from Canon tech support: "To remove the print head in your unit, you will first want to lift the gray lever and remove all the ink tanks. Once the tanks are removed, lift out the black plastic print head which the ink tanks sit. You can do so by grabbing the right 'wall' near the top and lifting it out pulling slightly forward towards you."

Good luck!
Denise - drwatson32
Is this still the correct procedure for resetting the i550 EEPROM:

Similar to PrintX s solution in that you have to go into service mode first by ...
1.With printer OFF press and hold resume
2.while holding it down push and hold Power button
3.Release resume whilst still holding down power, the light should be green (not flashing)
4.Push resume once (orange) twice (Green)and a third time (orange)
5.release power button.
6.Then power it off and on again after it's finished making any noises and settled down.

This actualy clears the EEPROM so beware and only do this as a last resort.

I've tried everything else (without replacing the printhead) but my i550 still prints black only and does not show any error flashes at any time?
by efinigan on Jun 4, 2007 at 12:11pm Add comment
Hi all --

I'm having this problem and it occurred suddenly and for no logical reason.

My i550 was fine, had all fairly new ink tanks (I always use only Canon ink, never a substitute product), and was running normally.

I had no flashing lights, nothing unusual occurred...but suddenly, the next time I printed something only the black printed....NONE of the color tanks printed.

I did all the "usual" things of cleaning, deep cleaning, aligning, nozzle check....NOTHING WORKED. AND there was nothing further in my old Quick Start Guide which I dug out to check.

So I started researching the web. I found this site, and I thoroughly cleaned the printer head in very warm water, and made sure that the ink tanks themselves would "flow" again (had not dried up while being removed from printer).

I also cleaned the area where the printer head "sits" as it was fun of ink residue.

I put it all back together and ran the cleaning, and when that did not work the deep cleaning, and when that did not work the nozzle check and when that did not work the alignment (thinking maybe it was *reading* that I had replaced the printer head)..... but ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WORKS!!! I continue to get black ink only.

I cannot seem to find any further information about this, and I did nothing to "cause" it.

Does anyone have any further recommendations? I have an urgent business item to print. Yikes!!

Thanks so much,
hopeful - Anonymous
just a thought , i have both a i550 and an i560 id take 30.00 apiece for them just a thought they both work well
by desert49x on Jun 4, 2007 at 1:41pm Add comment
My i550 shows no yellow lights, acts normally but transfers no ink to the page. I've tried cleaning the head.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
by MRA on Jul 8, 2007 at 2:15pm Add comment
Cleaned the head, how? Did you try the pretty much useless advice above on using 30\% water? That's the active ingredient in 70\% isopropyl. Try heating 100\% water up and sticking your printhead in that. A lot more effective.
by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2007 at 4:58pm Add comment
I soaked the head in room temperature water, then rinsed with isopropyl to help dry the head. I tried warm water but not hot water.

I was also wondering if anyone has information about the electronic circuitry of the head. The "pin out", for instance. I'd like to determine if short circuits have arisen due to excessive ink being on the head.

Thanks again.
by MRA on Jul 9, 2007 at 4:45am Add comment
alright.....well, I've been having issues with my i550 printer. When I turn it on, before it does anything, it starts with the 7 blinking yellow and long green. I've tried resetting it to make sure it wasn't the fill tank causing the error. There's really no excess ink there either. I've tried cleaning the print head under warm water, cleaning it out as best as I could. I let it dry a little bit with the help of a napkin and put everything back in. There's no change at all in what's happened. I've tried running tests like the cleaning, deep cleaning. Print head alignment and such like that.But every time I do that, it comes up with an error message saying: Do not start another operation until current one has finished.

I've done this while not having anything in the print queue. But it ends up putting a Maintenace file to try printing. I don't know what that is. But after a while of doing nothing, it gives me another error saying that the document failed to print because of an error. It shows the printer as not responding. Then it tries to print the file again, saying the printer is online. I really have no idea what to do about this. I'm about ready to get another printer. But there are very few printers out there that have multiple ink tanks that I want that's at a halfway decent price. Any additional help on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
by unknown on Aug 4, 2007 at 1:49pm Add comment
not sure what is going on, need help. I have printed without issue for so long now all of a sudden when I print up my biz cards, the grey background comes up with a red tint. I have taken the printer head out rinsed in hot water etc. cleaned contact points, nozel check, alignment, cleaned and nothing works. Any ideas?
by unknown on Aug 12, 2007 at 9:14pm Add comment
mrguy33,..You did all the cleaning. Did you make sure you got the printhead totally dry before you put it back. There are several things that could still be wrong. 1. Dead Printhead. 2. Bad or clogged ink carts which can't supply sufficient ink. 3. Your purge unit is clogged and can't suck the ink from old ink carts enough to "Prime" the printhead with ink. Then when you try and print with no ink in the printhead, it will overheat and that can cause permanent damage.

When you take out a printhead and clean it, and dry it, now there is nothing inside to absorb the heat when it trys to print. Canon detects that you changed the printhead and does a normal cleaning cycle which is supposed to fill and prime the printhead with ink. The purge unit could be "Non-functioning" and this will cause the same problems.

I'm supposed to be somewhat of an expert on this but I have burned up two very good printheads in a similar manner. My suggestion is to try and add some windex to the purge pads and power the printer on and off. The do a deep cleaning cycle then do another cleaning cycle and a nozzle test. If you get no ink of any kind from the printhead, take it out and set it on a couple of folded paper towels. Then using a syringe all sufficient Windex (or distilled water) to the inside of the printhead on the filter screens. Do not over flow the small cavity around the filters. As the Windex drains through the printhead you should clearly see each one of the colors, including black come down to the paper towels. What you are doing is trying to prove that ink is getting sucked all the way inside of the printhead to the nozzles.

Another way to test the purge unit is to mark the ink level in each of the ink carts and then run a couple of deep cleaning cycles. Each of these cycles is supposed to suck almost 1ml of ink from each color. Run the cycles and check the ink level.

The final and best way to test it is to totally disassemble the printer, remove the carriage ASM, set it on some blocks, put some paper towels under the purge unit output tubes, hook back up the power and run some cleaning cycles. Then you can see the ink come out. IF you get ink out, run the nozzle check,.. and if that fails, you probably have a bad printhead.
by unknown on Aug 27, 2007 at 11:38pm Add comment
Hi BAB and CANON Tech

I have a Canon iP3000. Recently it has a problem.

Normally the nozzle test patterns look like raster of vertical and horizontal lines. My iP3000 printed out the black pattern as: all vertical lines are visible; the last 5 horizontal lines are OK also but the first 5 horizontal lines became dash lines. Hence I cannot upload the photo of the pattern so I try to reproduce the pattern by using special characters as bellows:

│├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤
│├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤
│├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤
│├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤
│├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤├┤├┤├┤├ ┤├┤
├┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┤
├┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┤
├┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┤
├┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┤
├┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼┼ ┼┼┤

I don’t have the service manual of iP3000 but I know that this printer has the same printhead (Part No: QY6-0042-000) as i850. Based on the service manual of i850 I also know that for all CMYK the data signals are separated into even and odd column data signals. Due to my electronic engineering background my guess is:
1. The chip inside the printhead or the logic board on the carriage unit doesn’t supply the odd/even data signal.
2. The carriage ribbon flat cable doesn’t supply the Heat enable (0/1/2/3)/Heat data signal.

Now my question is:
1. Which line/column in the test pattern belongs to odd/even column of nozzles?
2. Which data line in the CN201/CN202 cable can cause this problem?
3. Can you give me (and other person interested in) the pin description of connector CN201 and/or CN202 on the main logic board of iP3000?

Additional information: the printer is working fine except when printing black characters in draft mode or solid black blocks in draft mode.

Highly appreciated you valuable reply.

PS: the best if you can post your reply here or you can send to my e-mail: [email protected]
by peti1160 on Sep 7, 2007 at 9:00pm Add comment
Hi everybody, sorry for my english, I had a wonderful Canon S820 Printer (bought €280) and I was satisfied of it, even if I didn't use it very often, yesterday I had to print a DVD cover so after some months I turned it on but the 7 orange flashes followed by a longer green one (to avoid misunderstandings the sequence is O O O O O O O G) I was astonished so I looked on google for possible solutions and I founf some, I left the printhead soaked in a solution used to remove grease and oil containing not ionic and cationic tensioactive and fosfonates and I think it makes a good work since, after a night of immersion (avoiding to wet the metal contacts), the solution was full of ink, I tried also the reset solution proposed by Canon Tek (by the way, thx) but what I've obtained is a lemon perfumed, super hygienized but unfortunately useless printhead since the 7 orange flashes error remains!
I don't know what to do cause the printer cost a lot and it'd be a shame to throw it away but a new print head would be very expensive (something like €80) and also I don't know if changing the print head would surely resolve the problem!

What do you suggest?
by Anonymous on Sep 15, 2007 at 7:09am Add comment
Washed the printhead and then followed efinigan's tip - worked a treat! Thanks!
by Anonymous on Sep 15, 2007 at 11:53am Add comment
I also have the problem of the 7orange flashes ive tried this 1.With printer OFF press and hold resume
2.while holding it down push and hold Power button
3.Release resume whilst still holding down power, the light should be green (not flashing)
4.Push resume once (orange) twice (Green)and a third time (orange)
5.release power button.
6.Then power it off and on again after it's finished making any noises and settled down.
but when i turned printer back on the orange light still flashed 7 times so i tried cleaning the print head but still no luck

if any one has any other suggestions that might help please share thanks
by unknown on Sep 20, 2007 at 7:46am Add comment
I have been a part of this thread for a good long time. I have been using aftermarket ink cartridges because they cost 1/3 the price of official Canon cartridges.

I have periodic i550 printhead clogs under the blue tank. Blue is the only color where I have had clogging issues.

I did the whole self-clean routine: running hot water and windex and isoprop alcohol through the head. Soaking overnight in the various solutions, etc. I got a little functionality back, but not nearly normal.

Then I went out and bought an official Canon brand BCE-3c ink cart. Lo and behold: after the cartridge was in place for 3 days, my blue printing was back to normal.

The only thing(s) I can figure out are: Cyan ink has copper in it. This is the only ink color with a metallic component. This may be precipitating the tendency of cyan to clog the heads. In addition, aftermarket ink carts are all water-based. The Canon cartridge has Glycerine, Ethylene Glycol, Diethylene Glycol, Isopropohol Alcohol and an Ammonia derivative, in addition to water. I hate to admit it, but those additives likely really do make a difference.

by unknown on Sep 21, 2007 at 7:03am Add comment
s330 sucks.
by unknown on Sep 23, 2007 at 2:50pm Add comment
Have you tried reinstalling the driver, I was having problems with my i850 and this seemed to fix it. Don't know if you have the same problem, but worth a try.
by unknown on Sep 23, 2007 at 5:20pm Add comment
I discovered that "thorough" cleaning requires a lot more than I thought. I soaked an i860 printhead overnight in warm water and then rinsed it only to find the cyan still plugged. I resorted to using ammonia soak overnight, which really flushed out what I thought was all of the blue (cyan) ink, only to find that it still would not work. I then soaked it in isopropyl alcohol and then flushed it by using a small chemical compression sprayer that I purchased at Kmart just for the purpose of power spraying the inkjets. I finally was able to remove all of the ink by power spraying the jets with very warm tap water from the compression sprayer and got the printhead working. The cleaning cycle eventually will not work after the ink in the cartridge begins to thicken. I am just hardheaded enough not to pay for a new printhead if I can make it work.
by HLS on Oct 1, 2007 at 10:01pm Add comment
Wow!! Thanks for the terrific reply. I don't know how different the two printer heads are between the i55 and the i860 and/or if that makes any difference, but I think I'll try your methods. Really appreciate the info.

So you're back in working order now and all is okay?

Guess I was surprised because this came on so suddenly. You would think you'd at least get some bad printing -- pale, streaky, whatever, before it simply shuts down completely.

I'm going to give all this a try and I'll report back.

Many thanks,
by hopeful on Oct 1, 2007 at 10:12pm Add comment
AOK, but now I am trying to find used OEM cartridges for an MP500. Canon went to chip monitoring and generics will not work unless you remove the electronic chip and attach to the generic. However, I just cleaned the MP500 printhead the same way and got it working with the current refilled, and verrry expensive OEM cartridges from Canon. $70.00 with S&H for cartridges is absurd.
by HLS on Oct 1, 2007 at 10:26pm Add comment
Whew! $70 bucks! Yikes!

I am technologically challenged, so I don't know from elecronic chips that have to be removed adn attached to the generic. :-)

But I wish you TONS of luck in finding used OEM cartidges. If I hear of anything I'll let you know.
by hopeful on Oct 1, 2007 at 10:37pm Add comment
hls, Can you please describe the "Small Chemical compression sprayer". Others have warned many of us that it is not safe to spray, with any force, at the nozzle exit ports, but you seem to have had much success. Were you spraying the filter pads or directly at the nozzle exit holes.

It is clean the smallest area of the printheads is exactly at the nozzle exit ports and spaying water backwards through the nozzles can force out of them any clog. However, that clog will only stay inside the printhead,... so I believe the head must be soaked afterwards to dissolve the clog that was pushed backwards. Did you have to soak the printhead. Have you had any re-occurance of the problem.
by unknown on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:32pm Add comment
I look forward to that info too, because so far, I have soaked and soaked the printer head, allowed it to dry thoroughly, done a deep cleaning and nozzle clenaing -- but the colors STILL do not print. The black does, though it still looks as though it could use a "touch" of clearing.

I have NOT tried ammonia or alcohol yet -- are they "okay" to use?

I live near Office Depot, and I had to buy a can of air anyway for maintenance of my computer, so I asked them about the printer head problem. They said that I should only use water and that I could also try the air that I just bought.

Well, the water hasn't done it.

Where should I aim the air nozzle?

Should I try the ammonia and/or alcohol.

Any other suggestions? HELP!!! - Anonymous
The Sprayco sprayer was purchased at Kmart. I have a picture on Photobucket at:

I soak the printhead in a shallow dish in the mentioned solutions after first "blasting" the head with warm tap water from the sprayer. The procedure might take three days. I spray both sides of the printhead, directing the fine stream right at the inkjets and then the gauze screens. I also place the printhead on a folded paper towel in the shallow bowl so I can monitor any leaching of the ink. Cyan and pigmented black have been the most stubborn. The procedure might take three days. You almost need to be a masochist in order to endure the wait to get the head clean. The last time I cleaned a printhead, I was ready to remove it from the solution only to see a telltale ink stain on the towel, so I soaked it overnight again. I have since been using the printhead with no problems.

Edit: I do use compressed air afterwards before re-installing the head. NEVER DRY THE PRINTHEAD OUT UNTIL IT IS CLEAN!. You just have to start the hideous procedure all over again.
by HLS on Oct 5, 2007 at 10:50pm Add comment
I am going to purchase some glycerin today to see if it might be better than either ammonia or alcohol for a solvent. Glycerin will mix with water and would be easily flushed out. It does have oily quality that might make it better as a penetrant. I want to test it on the plastic before I really mess something up though.

Also, glycerin is fairly non-volatile and would require very little to soften the ink, if it will work. I hit on this idea after reading somewhere that the catch tray under the printer contained glycerin. I can't confirm that to be true, but it is worth a shot.
by HLS on Oct 6, 2007 at 6:26am Add comment
Enough of this experimentation. Next you guys will be trying battery acid! Canon ink will dissolve with isopropyl alcohol and water. I've personally tested it with both. Since the 70\% solution commonly sold is 30\% water, that would probably be close to what would work best. Don't use ammonia or glycerin as you might cause damage to the printhead.
by moe on Oct 6, 2007 at 7:42am Add comment
Actually, glycerin is non-reactive, unlike ammonia, which I have not any problems with but would like to be able to take out of the mix. I should emphasize that I never clean a printhead unless it cannot be rescued with one computer-activated cleaning. The drained ink in the procedure is a mess that simply remains in the bottom of the printer catch-pan. When the printhead is going to be discarded if it cannot be restored, caution is thrown to the wind. Some people use vinegar, but I see no reason for that being of any value; and vinegar is potentially reactive.
by HLS on Oct 6, 2007 at 9:56am Add comment
hls,...Thanks a million for your great information. It is one more clue to fixing printhead problems. However, I agree with moe,.. I think the best cleaning aids for dried ink will be Isopropyl Alcohol, Windex, or just plain water. The disadvantage for some is that the water in their homes may be very hard and contain a lot of minerals, but when a printhead is really clogged, most people resort to the highest pressure of hot water they can get out of their faucet.

When you use your sprayer, can you give us an idea of how much pressure is coming out of the sprayer. The advantage of the sprayer is that you can fill it with Windex, Isopropyl, or distiled water, which is the best way to clean it. It appears that once you fill the sprayer, you can pump up the spayers to get some good pressure. You can also adjust the spray nozzle to a fine spray point. I bet you could get stuff all over if you don't do this outside. I have a similar one gallon spayer that I use for garden things but I don't think it will pump up to that much pressure, but I'm sure it is more than I can get out of the faucet. Did you heat the liquid before you used the spray process. Looking forward to your answers.
by unknown on Oct 6, 2007 at 11:29am Add comment
hLs, one more comment,...I have taken apart dozens of printers to clean the waste ink pads and the bottom of the case. These are usually really dried up and clogged ink, but most of it is in the pads. There is always a small area of pooled ink and the bottom is always very dry. I have to use the strongest force of hottest water in my garage sink to dissolve these dried up ink pads. Then I always have to use some abraison toget it to break loose. You can imagine just how difficult that is to do when the dried ink is inside the printhead, and the only direct water pressure you can apply is backwards through the 1-5 pico liter nozzle opening. Not a very easy way to get at the clog.
by unknown on Oct 6, 2007 at 11:37am Add comment
So trigger -- are you saying that there is something that I should be cleaning besides the removable printer head? You speak of the bottom of the case.......and the waste ink pads.

I am totally techno-ignorant, and so far, have only been soaking the printer head with water, and just added alcohol. I did use forceful hot water first, which really seemed to flush it this second time around (I did it 2 days ago, but hls mentions having to soak for 3 days, which I did not, and I also did not have success)

But anyway...when I used forceful hot water, I turned the printer head all different directions, but I really don't know what all the backwards and 1-5 pico liter nozzle info is about -- I just don't know enough about the equipment itslef. (using i550)

can any of you give me any more specific information? I'm just removing the printer head from the printer, soaking the printer head and hoping for the best.

I'm not cleaning anything inside the printer, except I did gently clean the piece that the printer heads "sits" in.

hopeful - Anonymous
The actual force of the water is not that great. It is a mere tickle on the finger. I never use water that is too hot to put my hand in it. The forcing of water through the pad just cleans out what is already dissolved. And, yes, the water can splatter everywhere. I put the printhead in the bottom of the stainless steel sink only after I have removed all of the ink that I can get out by soaking before I use the sprayer. I have not tackled the waste ink problem yet. My wife would toss me out of the house if I did that in the sink. (;-)

The real purpose if forcing the ink in both directions is simply to dislodge it, much like shaking a jar full of water to remove impacted mud. LOL

The towel in the dish is the best indicator I have found for determining if the head is clean.

I intend to try the glycerin on an old head just to test its effectiveness and the material reaction to the fluid. Since glycerin is thick and syrupy, it can be diluted a bit and not be as prone to evaporation. It might also be a better penetrant than alcohol due to its low volatility and might speed up the actual flushing time by doing a quicker job of liquefying the ink.
by HLS on Oct 6, 2007 at 12:32pm Add comment
hLs,... If the force of water is not that great, would you compare it to the force of a full flow faucet. If it is less than that, I would think the faucet would work better, unless the fine focus of the water stream is more effective. I just wonder how much force is too much and what force would be just right. I know a garden hose with a jet nozzle is going to be too much,..but what's the next best source of pressure.
by unknown on Oct 6, 2007 at 7:10pm Add comment
If the stream were as big as that from the faucet, it would have a lot more force than a faucet. I just keep it very small to maximize the effect. I checked spraying distance before using the sprayer and found it to be over 30 feet. My next choice was what I used before, a blunt, large hypodermic needle. That is very clumsy to control.
by HLS on Oct 6, 2007 at 8:55pm Add comment
Anonymous,... I don't know what happened to my post to you but it's not here?. I suspect that the forum monitor dumped it because I suggested another web site. Anyway, when you clean the printhead, turn it bottom side up under the strongest hot water stream you can get out of your faucet. Focus it on each of the strips of nozzles. After a minute or two, turn it over without getting any water on the top and look at the filter screens. You should see each color ink at the correct screen and this tells you that you are getting water to flow backwards through the printhead,... which is what you need to do to dissolve any clogs. Make sure you compeletly dry the printhead with compressed air, including the back where the contact card is located, and every place that water can get into. You don't want to put the printhead back in the printer before everything is DRY.

The other cleaning is to flush out the purge unit and one other cleaning is to clean the waste ink pads that are in the bottom of the printer. However, to do both of these correctly you need to take the printer apart. I am about to put my repair manual on eBay that contains detailed pictures and instruction on how to disassemble and repair all of this and many more items in the i550, i560, i850, i860,i950, i960 series printers from Canon. Each Repair manual contains detailed pictures for each printer so you have a picture of what to do and instructions on how to do it. It should be on their this week.
by Anonymous on Oct 6, 2007 at 9:42pm Add comment
Hi trigger --

I'm having the devil of a time trying to reply. Won't accept my name and password, and also won't send it to my email, so my posts keep ending up as anonymous.

Anyway...THANK YOU for the reply.....but now I'm really worried.

I had followed other instructions and suggestions including those of hls, and therefore have been SOAKING the printer head. The last post you made in reply to me, makes it sound as though there are portions that should NOT get wet (the top side), but if one is soaking the whole thing under water (or water and alcohol as I am currently doing) that is impossible. So have I now ruined the printer head completely???

I have use very hot water, both directions and at its most powerful, then soaked overnight and all day for 2 days, and this afternoon changed the water and added alcohol. I have also taken it out of the soak a few times (and made the water hot again) and using canned air (cleaning duster for computer) have used the air pressure to try to clean (with ink coming out that did NOT come out with soaking).

But so far, as I tested it twice, it has not worked (but it also has not destroyed the black ink which was always working. It the the 3 colors that will not print.

Oh -- and if the printer head was only patted dry and then dreid a little with the canned air when I put it in to test it, have I also screwed up anything? I didn't leave it in the machine, just tested, and it didn' work.

I have NO idea what I am doing, but I am just so certain that there is no reason to get a new printer head or a new printer. I'm just so certain this could be cleaned. Don't know why, as I know nothing about computers/printers, it's just a "feeling".

Does the AGE of my Canon i550 matter? I think it may be more than 5 years old............

hopeful - Anonymous
Sorry for the last post,... I forgot to login so it came out Anonymous.
by unknown on Oct 6, 2007 at 9:49pm Add comment
Hi trigger-

I just posted another note to you, but I don't think you'll get notified, because I couldn't get the post to work well using the reply button.

So, I just did a "general" reply rather than to you.

I'm trying again....this one just to notify you that I've made a post.

Thanks a lot....

Oh....and the manual sounds interesting. I may be ignorant, but I'm willing to learn.

hopeful - Anonymous
The manual would be a very good idea because Canon really does not want anyone to know how to clean a printer or they would supply the information in the OEM manual. I recently took the top off my newly acquired used i960 to see what all it needed. The waste ink pads are really nasty, and I have had no experience in cleaning the bottom of the printer.
by HLS on Oct 6, 2007 at 10:05pm Add comment
The last cleaning took me three days, as I said, patience. After rinsing out what I can under a faucet, I just set the jets on the paper towel in about 3/4" of soaking solution in a ceramic bowl and leave it overnight. The major cleaning begins the next day. A really good magnifier would help, but mine is a cheap reading glass. With no physical damage to the head or an odd appearance due to unlikely corrosion, plugged jets are the main reason for head failure unless the printer is run with no ink in a cartridge and the head is burned.

The colors may still bleed out the third day, and a fourth day is not unheard of. I would not even make an attempt to install a head until after the third day of soaking, or at least until there is absolutely no leaching onto the towel.

I don't know that putting the whole head under a soak would hurt it, but I always just soak the bottom and the pads inside. I definitely would not chunk it because I doubt that you have created any problem.

If the head is not burned, age should not be a factor.
by HLS on Oct 7, 2007 at 2:41pm Add comment
Many thanks for your help it is appreciated My printer is now working A1. I have tried to cancel the thread on a number of occasions but to no effect. Yesterday I had seven replies on my e-mail. Please cancel from your end.

Kindest Regards

by Anonymous on Oct 7, 2007 at 4:36pm Add comment

That Ralph is not the "same" anonymous as HOPEFUL.

I do not know why my sign-on is not working....but do NOT remove me from this thread.

Ralph -- as far as your problem being solved. CONGRATS!!

Mine isn't and I desperately need help.

There is a box to check to notify if someone responds. Perhaps if there is a way you can delete that from your original post?

hopeful - Anonymous
Put the printer head on a towel in the water or alcohol as suggested and leave for at least a day to see if there is leaching of the ink. Also, if forcing of water backwards through the jets causes ink to pool a bit on the cartridge pads, the jets are still not clean.
by HLS on Oct 7, 2007 at 5:04pm Add comment
Thanks HLS -- I'm soaking it, but forgot the towel....I'm doing that now. Yes, I forced even more water through it -- BACKWARDS this time as well, got the pooling you speak of, then suddenly MORE INK!!! So, this is definitely a help.

I'm going to go put the paper? towel in the porcelain jar right now....I have it in water/alcohol, but since I'm adding the towel, will also make the water hot again, (and of course, add the alcohol)

I think it may be getting I REALLY appreciate all this.

by Anonymous on Oct 7, 2007 at 5:10pm Add comment
Ralph,... Congrats again for getting your printer to work. However, if your really want to help other, please add a short post stating your printer type, original problems, and what you did that worked to clean it. All of this information is helpful. We don't want to have to search through all the post to this thread to find what you started with. Believe me,.. each success story has information to share will all of us.
by unknown on Oct 7, 2007 at 10:04pm Add comment
I just finished applying all of the procedure I mentioned to an MP500 head that was in the multifunction unit that I purchased off Ebay for $5.00 (retail ~ $175.00). It tested perfectly. The reason I got it so cheap was that the printhead was inoperative. The one problem is that I will need to try the chip extender system, also advertised on Ebay, that will permit the new generic replacement cartridges to be used very cheaply.

Forget the glycerin though. It is much too heavy to penetrate without diluting, and its lack of volatility also actually restricts it as a solvent. Isopropyl alcohol also has a unique property that seems to make it ideal; its molecules are much smaller than water molecules and enable it to flow through water that is already present, much like dumping cherries into a bushel of apples. Pour a cup of alcohol and a cup of water into an empty pint jar and you will see what I mean. You will have much less than one pint of mixture.

If you are quite certain the head is clean, let it sit in the printer overnight to allow ink to permeate the head so you will not have to use the printer cleaning cycle more than once.
by HLS on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:42am Add comment
Booby1,... I think you need to post your own new thread and not add to this thread. This topic is about Canon printers. I think Dell printers are made by HP, and they are a totally different animal. Why not call your Dell technical support.
by unknown on Oct 10, 2007 at 8:26pm Add comment
Hi all.....hopeful here (still listing me as anonymous -- won't let me sign in, and won't send me changed password. Oh well)'s NO GO.....

I've soaked the printerhead for more than 3 days, I've run hot blasts of water through, I've used solutions of alcohol and water, I've sprayed air with an Office Depot "duster" (like you clean computer with), when soaking I've set it on a paper towel, I've gently wiped waste pads with windex (while still in computer), I've let printer head dry thoroughly, I've let it sit in printer overnight to be sure ink would soak, also made sure before putting cartridges in that they were still full, and would flow (touched with wet paper towel), ran cleaning program, ran nozzle program................

And I'm STILL at square one. ONLY the black ink works!!

So did only PART of the printer head go bad? and WHY??

I am an over-45 female, who never had a computer at all until 1997, the computer I own now I've had since Fall 2003 (and am considering getting an additional laptop computer), but as this would indicate, I am not overly computer-savvy.

Nonetheless, on at least TWO occasions, I have "rescued" the computer itself, when it was COMPLETELY dead and when both Hewlett-Packard and other *real* techs totally failed and told me I had to send it to them and pay nearly as much as a new computer.

So.....I was HOPING that sheer willpower and following directions would work for the printer as well. I guess not.

Even having done the above, I'm not sure I feel qualified, nor am I particularly mechanically inclined enough to take the printer apart (nor do I have much of an area to do so in my apartment or balcony).

I sincerely appreciate all the incredible input and information and *moral support* you have all offered. But unless you can think of anything else I should do, I guess it is time to move on. I just hate it since the black ink still works. *sigh*

I DO own a *backup* printer that I've never opened. WHY you may ask? Because I had bought my Canon i550 when my old printer (a Lexmark) had died back in 2001/2002 and while I still had my old computer.

When I got my new computer in Fall 2003 (HP Pavilion), I LOVED my Canon i550, so I saw no need to change, but the HP CAME WITH a it's been sitting boxed like new in the closet fo 4 years. It is an HP deskjet 3650. I know nothing about it as I've never even really looked at it. But I guess it's time to take it out of the box.

I guess the Canon lasted pretty well about 5-6 years. The Lexmark had only lasted 4-5.

I just hope the HP is a good printer. I print ALL THE TIME!! For business as well as personal.

Any further tips, comments, or even thoughts about the HP would be much appreciated.

After which, I guess I will then send a "goodbye and thanks" note.

You've all been great!

by hopeful on Oct 17, 2007 at 4:39am Add comment
Set the printhead aside in 50\% vinegar water that covers up through the pads, and leave it for a day. The problem may be due to corrosion or mineral deposits. That is the only time that I would advocate using vinegar. If that does not work, Ebay purchase might be the next move.
by HLS on Oct 17, 2007 at 8:37am Add comment
Well......I guess trying the vinegar is worth a shot if I am gonna trash it anyway.....

(don't know why it would be corroded or have mineral deposits....but....)

But if that doesn't work, should I really bother to buy a printhead on eBay when I havea brand-new printer in the closet?

And what is your opinion on the HP 3650 that I mentioned above?

trigger-----I'd love your input as well.

by hopeful on Oct 17, 2007 at 11:28am Add comment
hopeful,... Sorry for being gone so long. I was on vacation for two weeks. I went back and re-read all of your post. The key for me was that the failure to print came on very suddenly. You said that one time it printed in color and the next it didn't. OK, I'm assuming that the difference in time was no more than one day. If this is the case, all the cleaning in the world may not help you because it sounds like an electrical problem. I just spent 2+weeks fixing another printer (i560) which I though had a clog and it turned out to be a worn electrical contact on the back of the printhead.

I did not see if you had ever attemped to clean the contacts on the back of the printhead and the contacts inside of the carriage asm. Use a pencil with a soft rubber eraser and first clean the eraser on a cloth, like your levis. The use the eraser to clean the contacts by erasing them. These are gold contacts and all you are trying to do is get any film or oil off of the contacts. Once you've done that, clean the contacts with some Isopropyl Alcohol and a soft cloth. Use the I.A. on the cloth to clean the contacts inside of the carriage asm. These are spring loaded contacts that push down as the printhead is locked in place. Wipe in only a downward motion so the cloth will not catch on the pointed contacts.

Re-install the printhead and close and open and close the locking bar a couple of times. This helps to wipe the contacts. Before you re-install the ink carts, verify that there is nothing covering the rear air holes in each ink cart. Use a paper towel to wipe off any ink residue around the exit hole of each ink cart. Check the soft pads in the bottom of the printhead to make sure they are still there and provide a good seal for each ink cart. Install the carts and make sure they are seated well and locked in place. If there is any air gap, they will not work correctly.

One other thing to do before you install the printhead and ink carts,.. with the cover open and the power off, move the carriage asm to the far left inside the printer so you can get access to the suction pads. There are two pads, one large for black and one small for all colors. Verify that these are not clogged. Use an eye dropper or something like a syringe and add several drop of Isopropyl to each pad. It should soad through and got to the purge tubes. If it goes through, install the printhead and the ink carts and turn the power on,... wait a minute and then turn it off. Open and close the cover will cause the printer to cycle the purge unit which should suck the Isopropyl Alcohol through. Open the cover and when the carriage moves to the center, use a flash light to check the pads. If they are still clogged with ink, repeat the cleaning by adding some more Isoproply drops. Do this until you are satisfied that the pads are working and sucking the Isopropyl down.

Once you have done all of this you can install the printhead and ink carts and run a couple of deep cleaning cycles from you PC, then run a nozzle check from the maintenance tap of you printer driver window.

As far as the HP 3650, it uses the HP27 ink carts that only have 10ml of ink so the reason they give these away is to get you hooked on buying ink carts. If you print as much as you say, this will break your bank. I also don't know how you can afford the Original Canon ink carts. They run about $15 a piece. For $15 you can buy 8oz of black ink and refill your Canon ink carts for 24 times for the same cost. That would be $360 dollars. If you don't want to even think about refilling, I can tell you where you can get satisfactory ink carts for about $1.25 each. I don't think you are printing high quality photo's with the i550, so this ink is good enough.
by unknown on Oct 17, 2007 at 1:19pm Add comment
The newest refill inks are very good, and some rate theirs above OEM. One thing the re-fillers have done is to get away from the pigmented ink in the i860 large tank and go to a universal black dye. Even generic replacement cartridges are very good now, unlike even two years ago. I use generic ink and generic cartridges exclusively. If I could keep it going, I would stay with my i860 because it is easy to refill, is very good in black typing, is a very good color/photo printer with generic ink, and also monitors generic ink and cartridges.
by HLS on Oct 17, 2007 at 3:46pm Add comment
Hi Guys -- thanks for continuing to try to help me

TRIGGER (or HLS or others) : A few questions.............

1. When you say "check the soft pads in the bottom of the printhead", are you speaking of what look like thick black rubber washers? They are there, but how can I tell if they are no longer sealing very well?

2. You say to verify that there is nothing covering thte rear air holes in each ink card. I do not see ANY air holes and never have in the cartridge itself....just the bole on the bottom where the ink comes out -- but it is not an *air* hole, as you know. Please explain what air hole you are speaking I see nothing.

3. With each process I have verified that the exit holes are clean and also still "working" and not dried out. Other than those, I know of no "openings" in the cartridge.

4. With the Cover Open and the Power Off, the CARRIAGE ASM WILL NOT MOVE TO THE FAR LEFT. IT MOVES AUTOMATICALLY TO THE FAR RIGHT, AND, to my knowledge, cannot be manually pushed to the left without breaking it.

5. The SUCTION PADS that you have described ARE NOT VISIBLE. I do NOT SEE two pads of ANY size. The only thing visible inside the matter where the carriage is, is a LONG BLACK SPONGE-TYPE stip that runs the length of the computer. This was the sponge that I assumed was the waste or suction pad, and that I had gently wiped with Windex as suggested by someone.

6. Without taking the printer apart, I really see nothing further except plastic (mostly) and a little metal. Nothing that looks like some of what you have described. You tall me after to purching to check the pads to see if they are still clogged with ink. If I KNEW that they were CLOGGED as opposed to printhead being burned out or something, then I wouldn't be asking questions in the first place. There is nothing -- at least to my untrained eye -- that is VISIBLY wrong with anything -- no parts of the printer, and none of the cartridges. That is why I do not understand why the printer worked the night before and the next day did not.

I await your further instruction before doing anything.

Thanks for the warning about HP 3650, though I may have to use it as an "interim printer".

If I use the i550 printer to print black only, will I hurt the printhead? (For emergency printing)

Yes, I have ALWAYS used original ink....never substitutes. But maybe that is why my printer has lasted this long. I joined both Staples and Office Depots frequent buyer advantage programs, I try to use coupons, I buy online which is cheaper, and buy in bulk which is cheaper. Of course, what you are describing is INCREDIBLY cheaper. I'll consider it....but I have read warnings in the past that it is NOT wise to do.

Gotta run....would sincerely appreciate your continue assitance.


by hopeful on Oct 19, 2007 at 4:29pm Add comment
hopeful,... With the POWER ON, open the top cover. The carriage should come to the center after checking a few things and stop there. Then "Unplug" the power cord. Now the carriage can be moved and you should be able to see the pads.

If you've had this printer for awhile I know you have changed the ink cartridges, so you know how to get the carriage to move to the center. There is no other way to change the ink. When you get the carriage in the center and the power is unplugged, you can look inside to the right and see the pads. ONce you have done this, go back and read my note again and try what I have suggested.

The cushions are the very small rubber pads that are inside the printhead just below the ink carts. These pads provide a cushion for the exit hole of each ink cart. They are no more than 1/2" in diameter. You have to take the ink carts out to see them.
by unknown on Oct 19, 2007 at 11:09pm Add comment
Okay, thanks trigger. I see what you are speaking of fact, they are of the same material as the long strip I spoke of, but they are shaped exactly liked the exits on the bottom of the printhead. I will clean them as you suggest. MANY THANKS. (sorry I am so techno-ignorant, yes, over 5 or 6 years, I have replaced ink QUITE often -- I thought you meant to push it ALL the way to the left -- not the center)

QUESTION -- You say make sure when I placed drops of Isopropyl to each pad, that is goes through to the purge tubes.

My ignorance showing again *sigh - apologies* WHERE are the purge tubes? are extremely patient and quite helpful. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

I have to find something to use as a syringe now.

Please double-check my note above with questions air holes and other things.

I see that I understood perfectly about the rubber cushions...still don't know how I would know if they are a tight fit though. Like a sink with a washer....the washer can look good, but the sink could have a drip. How can I tell?


by hopeful on Oct 19, 2007 at 11:54pm Add comment
Hi folks,

I finally got my i550 going.
I followed the cleansing and EEPROM clearing,
but the problem remained.

Then I decided to take the cartridges out and
push against the back of the print head, so
that the contact points would rub against each other.
I kind of massaged it against the back.

And voila, printing now.

The cleaning definitely helped as well, because
the quality hasn't been this high for a long time.

Hope this helps some people, because I was ready
to dump it. Glad I prayed and didn't.
God is good.

Best regards,

by unknown on Oct 29, 2007 at 6:20am Add comment
Your persistence is invigorating, and enlightening. Thanks for posting your success. (:-)
by HLS on Oct 29, 2007 at 6:30am Add comment
Hopeful,...Now you're beginning to make some progress. As far as the "Tubes" you can't see them. They are below the ink pads. What you are trying to do is too put some water/Windex on top of the pads such that when you turn the power back on to the printer it will cycle through it's normal operation and suck the water down through the pads and through the tubes and dump it into the waste ink pads in the bottom of the machine. What this is doing is flushing out the pads and the tubes and hopefully the Purge unit, which you also can't see. Repeat this process until you can verify that most of the ink on the pads has been sucked away.

If after several attempt, the water has not moved, this tells me that the Purge unit is not sucking the ink. This would be bad news as this indicates that the purge unit is not working properly. The only way to get at it is to totally disassemble the printer. If you don't have a syringe, just use and eye dropper.

As far as the pads, if they are all in place around the filter screens they should be working fine. There should not ever be a large puddle of ink next to any filter screen. If there is, this means that either a cartridge is leaking or the rubber pad is not making a good seal. Clean the bottom of each ink cart and clean the pads with paper towels. Always use vinyl gloves when messing with ink.

The air holes in the top rear of each ink cart are not exactly holes. If you are using Canon ink carts, the air opening is in the shape of an "L" laying on it's side. It is more like a groove and it is just above the end of the Canon label. This is actually an "Air Hole", which allows air into the ink sponge chamber below. In order for ink to flow out of the bottom exit port, air must enter the top to replace the volume of liquid that exits. Otherwise no ink would flow. So now you understand why it is important that this air opening can not be blocked by the original tape that Canon puts on each new cart. There first instruction to you when you install a new cart is to remove that tape so ink can flow and air can get in.
by unknown on Oct 29, 2007 at 9:47am Add comment
I haven't disappeared. I'm working on it, but I slipped a disc in my back, so it has impeded my progress.

I WILL report in when I have anything to report.

by hopeful on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:23am Add comment
Different topic, but get an inversion bed from Kmart. I have one and it keeps it all in place, chronic back and all. - HLS
Wow,... Hopeful,... I didn't think my tips would cause that much effort. Hope your better soon.
by unknown on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:30pm Add comment
I WOULD be ROFLMAO, but it hurts too much. Heeee! :-) Now STOP trigger, you're going to impede my progress, heh-heh.

And HLS, I'm going to look into inversion -- I've had major back problems since my twenties -- last time I checked out inversion beds they were a fortune. If they are now carrying them at KMart, then maybe they are finally in my price range -- thanks.

I DO PROMISE to report back......

Meanwhile, even with my back out I occasionally have to print something, so I'm only printing black and white -- will I hurt the printer doing that?

hopeful :-)
by hopeful on Nov 12, 2007 at 12:25am Add comment
As long as you are not printing color, the only part of the printhead that would heat up is the black if the setting is monochromatic. Just use only monochromatic setting to avoid burnout.

$99.99 at Kmart sporting goods department. {;-) Warning, until you get it completely back in place, it can easily slip back and you will scream your head off. Hang thirty seconds, rest thirty, hang thirty, rest thirty. It may take a couple of weeks to get it stable.
by HLS on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:33am Add comment
To clean the printhead and get the best possible results, use Goof Off 2 (water based). Submerge the lower part of the printhead in 1/2 inch of Goof Off 2 and repeat until the solution is clear. Allow the printhead to dry for 30-minutes, replace the ink tanks, and test print. I have done this on numerous Canon printers with great results. Good luck.
by unknown on Nov 22, 2007 at 9:55am Add comment
Now that sounds like a good idea, especially since it is primarily a surfactant with virtually no chemical reaction. Will try, thanks. ;-)
by HLS on Nov 22, 2007 at 2:57pm Add comment
Hi all, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

My back is slowly getting better, and I'm about ready to attempt saving my printer again. Meanwhile, I have printed in black and white only (and thanks for the info on how to do so)

This new tip certainly sounds like one to try. But, call me ignorant, WHERE do I buy Goof Off 2? (I've never even heard of this product -- I've heard of Goo-Be-Gone, but not this)

I'd love to purchase it and try it this weekend if anyone has an idea of where in Los Angeles I can purchase it.

(fun *stupid* share - once you all explained to me where the *air hole* on the print cartridge was positioned, I thought I found it. looked like the plastic was solid, and perhaps there was no air. So what did this dummy DO?? I thought, "well, there MUST be some way I could tell if there is air going through if I blow into it". YIKES!! I was standing over my desk, and thank God had some old papers lying around, and thankfully had on an old, old t-shirt. And of course, I chose MAGENTA to try this with. I blew, and felt nothing, so I blew again. Then I felt a drip. I looked down, and there was Magenta ink on my papers, on a book and down the front of my t-shirt -- which I subsequently threw out. Fortunately the papers were not important, the wood of the desk was intact, and the book cover had a slick paper covering that wiped down easily. MORAL OF THE STORY? If you are stupid enough to even THINK about doing something like this -- take it outside, wear old clothes, and be careful!. FOOTNOTE: I didn't test the rest of the cartridges in this manner. I just assumed they worked, heh-heh)

Anyway....hope that gives you your *stupid non-technie* laugh for the day :-)

by hopeful on Nov 22, 2007 at 3:36pm Add comment
WalMart, Kmart, Target, big groceries,... etc. It is getting to be quite popular because it is relatively environmentally friendly. If you clean printhead inside house, do it in the bottom of a stainless steel sink with splatters shielded from the spouse's drainboard.
by HLS on Nov 22, 2007 at 4:57pm Add comment
hopeful,... glad to hear you're getting better. The little test you did with blowing into the air vent is a common test I use on any ink cart that I suspect is not supplying ink well enough. However, I always hold a folded up paper towel directly below the exit point. I also do not blow that hard on the first try. If I don't get one ink drop to fall, I blow a little harder. If that fails, this tells me this ink cart is getting dried up inside. It may still have a lot of ink in the reservoir side, but the ink is not flowing through the sponge because ink is clogged in the sponge side. Sometimes a lot of blowing and refilling with new ink will help was this out or printing several pages of just one color will purge it. If this doesn't work, then you should just get a new ink cart.
by unknown on Nov 22, 2007 at 11:31pm Add comment
Thanks for all the great tips!
My printer is now very clean and works really well, EXCEPT
cyan. The printhead alignment patterns in column B look like combs lying on their backs. IOW, the top row of each pattern prints an alternating color and blank pattern, while the bottom row prints solid.
I've tried most of the above tips, including long term soaking, cleaning contacts with an eraser, and reseating the printhead multiple times--to no avail.
You guys have such wonderful suggestions. Is there anything that addresses this problem?
by Frankly on Nov 29, 2007 at 7:39am Add comment
Unfortunately your printhead is slowly degrading. Time to purchase a replacement. Canon printheads vary greatly in durability. I have an S530D printhead of 4+ years old, which has been cleaned periodically and it works great. The printhead on my in-laws i550 of 3 years years old, which was never cleaned, began malfunctioning recently. Comb patterns, same story. We replaced the printhead and all is well. - Anonymous
The comb pattern was my original problem, which brought me to this forum. Happy discovery (forum), sad diagnosis (bad printhead). This was a sudden malfunction, during a print job. Half the page printed correctly, the other lacked complete color.
Will post if new printhead solves the issue. Thanks!
by Frankly on Nov 29, 2007 at 8:09am Add comment
Thanks to "anonymous" for the correct diagnosis (11/29/07).
At $40 for a new printhead, I only replaced it as the last resort and did not want to spend the money without being pretty sure that was the problem. It took this long to receive the shipment from my Ebay purchase.
When I installed the new printhead, nothing printed at all. But I didn't panic, thanks to this forum. I removed the ink tanks and took the printhead out of the printer. Working over a stainless steel sink, I "primed" the intake nozzles on the head using a syringe loaded with purchased head cleaner (although water would probably have been just as good). Then I replaced the ink carts and blew compressed air through each of the air holes on the top until just a single drop came through the bottom of the printhead. After blotting with a paper towel, I put the printhead back into the printer.
Everything works--even the alignment was perfect with no adjustment needed.
Great forum! I feel like an expert now. And as noted by "trigger1937" today, there's no need to use this space for basic questions that can be answered using the manual.
P.S. My printer is actually a Canon S330. But all the info applies. - Frankly
hey caonon tek, that was a miracle. it worked. thank you so much. keep the good work.

by unknown on Dec 3, 2007 at 9:46am Add comment
You are welcome ... glad I could help. - Anonymous
Turn on the printer, lift the lid, wait for the print head mechanism to center itself and come to a stop. Lift the handle to unlock the ink tanks. Remove the ink tanks individually and put them aside. The print head is now visible and sits inside the carriage. You can use the tips of your fingers, or worst case a pair of tweezers, grab the top edge of the print head and lift up and out. There should be zero resistance as you are removing the print head. Now clean the head as per my instructions. Good luck.
by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2007 at 7:57pm Add comment
Many people have logged on and asked for help in taking out the printhead, or changing ink or just many other everyday questions about Canon, Epson, or HP printers. The support people on this web site have been very patient and have provided descriptive answers as best they could, and we all thank them for their help.

However, there is a much better way to get all of this information, along with detailed pictures of just what and how to do what you want to do. I'll give just one example as a training aid, but I really hope that may people start to "THINK FOR THEMSELVES", before asking very simple questions.

For example, if you want to know how to remove the "Printhead" from a Canon printer, go to their support web page and get to the correct printer type. From that point you can select "Drivers & Downloads". At this web page you can select just about all the information you need about your specific printer. One of the key documents they provide in PDF format is the"User Setup guides". This is a pictorial diagram on how to setup and install not only the Printhead and ink carts but also the rest of the printer and the installation of the software.

Others have supplied you "Words" on how to remove the printhead. If you got your printer new, you had to install the printhead yourself, so you must have done it once. Anyway a picture is worth a 1000 words to use the guides. If you have any other question about your printer, like error messages, etc., ask the question at the "Knowledge Base" search bar. you will be amazed how much help is available.

This same kind of support and information is available from Epson and HP so give it a try. It will save you a lot of time searching through this web site. This should be the place for much more difficult questions.

Hope this helps some of you to "Think for yourself"
by unknown on Dec 10, 2007 at 12:55am Add comment
I've read through the entire post - great info. I also located the problem with my i550 and fixed it! The post helped most of all.
New question to you. Do you know which Canon printers use the same ink carts as the i550?

Thanks Stan - Anonymous
The easiest way to find things like that is to go to Ebay and search "i550 cartridges" under Printer accessories. Usually all of the compatible printers are listed in the offerings. You can then weed out the few that are just similar but have a different number of cartridges. You can also search the ink suppliers who are more than happy to give you the facts.
by HLS on Dec 14, 2007 at 6:12am Add comment
Glad to hear some people are having success.

I have not meant to be "silent"....but still lots of "other stuff" going on, and I've been being selective about what to print and only printing in greyscale.

Hope to get back to trying to repair this weekend.

I have a dreadful feeling that it is a LOST CAUSE and that I either may have to use my never-opened backup from HP (that came free with my computer), or buy a new printer head (don't like the idea of a used much will a new one cost and is it worth it -- or better to buy a new printer) ----or --- end up buying a new printer.

If I were to buy a printer head -- worth it or not? Opinions where to buy?

If I were to buy a new printer -- suggestions?

Is the free HP really that bad? If so, rather than continue to keep it in my supply closet, maybe I should sell IT on ebay, heh-heh.

by hopeful on Dec 14, 2007 at 6:19am Add comment
I just purchased a used printhead for $17.95 on Ebay for my used ip3000 that I purchased for $20.00 on Ebay. That model printer is now selling for up to and over $400.00. It is popular because it can use generic cartridges and two different feed methods. This model had originally sold for around $70.00. If you purchase a used printhead, you must first know what was actually wrong with it. If there were no error messages being generated, the chances are that the head just needs to be removed and thoroughly cleaned. The one I am awaiting its arrival was simply streaking but had all colors functioning. A new i550 printhead will cost around $40.00 on Ebay. There is a used one on Ebay now for about $20.00, but there are no specifics.
by HLS on Dec 14, 2007 at 6:54am Add comment
Hopeful, I tried posting a note to you last night but somehow it got lost. It could be there system was down????

Anyway your last post indicated you were thinking about a new printer. Here is my advice. Run,... don't walk,... to the nearest "Staples" and buy a new Canon iP3500 printer. They are on sale for $59. Yes they use the new ClI-8 chipped ink carts but this is not a problem. There are simple instructions on how to get around this problem and I have done it myself on my new iP6600D. You will end up with a new printer that uses the same type of ink carts you i550 uses today. One large black, and one each of C,M,Y. It will also have a print speed of 25 PPM. Later if you find out how to fix your i550 you can sell it on eBay for more than you paid for your iP3500. If I didn't already have 14 iP4200 printers + dozens of other Canon's I'd buy one myself. If you went to just buy the ink carts alone, it would cost you $60.00 so the new printer is free.

Like we have been saying for a long time,... the printer business has gone to the point where they give away the printers so they can get new customers hooked on their printers just to buy new ink.

I'm not sure that people on this web site talk about it much but Epson just won their lawsuit against all those people that sell compatible ink carts, so that will be shuting them down. They are also filling new patents on all the refilling techniques so the can stop the "Re-manufacture's from selling their ink carts. Since they have been successful, Canon will probably do they same thing and win. However, there is never going to be any way Epson or Canon can stop individuals from refill their ink carts with new ink. This will be the future on printer ink carts. What out that the price of older printer as they will be in great demand. That is the priners without any chips. This does not make any sense but most people don't understand all of this anyway and will be scared into only using original ink carts.

All that Canon and Epson want is,... most of the people.
by unknown on Dec 16, 2007 at 5:33pm Add comment
In that case, I probably need to stock up on generic refillable cartridges because the OEM's do eventually stop working. The sponge material in the cartridge reservoir just ages to the point it no longer works right. Greed begets greed, and leeches just suck. {:-(
by HLS on Dec 16, 2007 at 11:32pm Add comment
i have the same problem that have all here but i had do all and every time it is not clear sometimes it was cleard but it come back HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2007 at 2:37am Add comment
trigger -- thanks!!!

I'm gonna dash out and get one I think -- (it's actually $59 after rebates as far as I can tell)

You're SURE it uses the same ink carts?

I adore my i550........but I think the color section must be burned.....I STILL can ONLY get it to print in black....

I just have one final effort to make....but I'm gonna buy the other printer anyway.....before it sells out, heh-heh.

You guys are all the greatest -- especially in making things pretty clear to an ol' broad who is not especially techno-savvy. :-)

by hopeful on Dec 20, 2007 at 3:18am Add comment
Hopeful,... no it does not use the same ink cart as your older i550. It uses the new "Chipped" ink cart, but what I said still goes. The best thing is to buy ink in bulk (8oz or 16oz) and refill the ink carts using needles and a syringe. It is the best way to go. After you get low on ink for the first set of ink carts that came with the printer, modify the ink carts for refilling, refill them, and start printing again. Pretty soon the printer will tell you the ink carts are empty and "Must" be refilled. It also tells you that you should not refill them yourself or you will void the warranty. This is a lie. The it gives you the option to continue on printing by turning off the Canon ink monitor program for that ink cart. Once you acknowledge this action (if will want you to do this 5 times just to make sure you know what you are doing) it will let you continue to print. This action is repeated for every ink cart until you have turned all of them off.
by unknown on Dec 20, 2007 at 10:36pm Add comment

I have never filled ink carts before and as I am having a problem with my i960 not printing all the colors, I am considering it. How do you modify a cartridge to accept refilling? (and where would you buy the "ink in bulk"?) I checked ebay and the printheads for my printer are about $70 so I am debating on whether to just buy the iP3500 from Staples now and if I get my i960 working, I can always take it back. (the rebate ends in about 4 days)

Currently I have my printhead sitting in warm water and alcohol. I am not getting any ink from any of the the carts except the photo cyan and photo magenta. I gather from reading these post that, it's best to let it sit for a few days. Any tips would be appreciated. thanks

by sixgunSal on Dec 27, 2007 at 12:07pm Add comment
Several sites have what you need. Ebay is a good source. I have been refilling my cartridges for several years with ink from . I think the name has changed, but the link still works. The original cartridge will need to be easily modified by punching out the small BB-sized plastic ball that plugs the hole where the ink was inserted. I use an icepick and a small tack hammer with a very light tap on the handle of the pick. A small Philips screwdriver applied the same way will work.

The kit contains the instructions along with exact fit screw replacements to fill the hole where the plug was to allow access for refilling. The company supplies blunted hypodermic needles (Sometimes they forget to send the blunted ones, DUH). Just pierce the protective Styrofoam seal on the ink bottle with the hypo and fill it to make the transfer. I always put the cartridge in a coffee cup with the pad side toward the cup but leaning on the top lip to prevent spill. Leave just a wee bit of screw replacement space and then put screw into the hole after cleaning the minor spill from any bubbling on the cartridge.

Before tightening screw completely, place a dab of clear fingernail polish around the threads to finish the seal. Tighten only until screw touches. I would also tip the cartridge up with it still over the cup to make sure the seal is secure before placing cartridge into the printer. Lightly blot the pad to remove any access. Transport the cartridge to printer with it in the cup. Use of cartridge shipping caps is a very good alternative, if you still have them.

I am going to try what I hope is any easier way, though. I have ordered some refillable cartridges from a site on Ebay that uses simple shut-off levers. Now that would be cool, if it works.

Copy this item number to Ebay search to see what I mean.


The cleanup of a cartridge may take awhile. There is also the possibility that it is over the hill. Cleaning is usually the way to go. If inking did not work for awhile, the head could be burned, but this would be an extreme case.
by HLS on Dec 27, 2007 at 1:13pm Add comment
Trigger - you said:
"The cleanup of a cartridge may take awhile. There is also the possibility that it is over the hill. Cleaning is usually the way to go. If inking did not work for awhile, the head could be burned, but this would be an extreme case."

I'm just wondering with all the cleanup I did, WHY it didnt' work. I found this site and started the cleaning almost right away....I really didn't run the printer with the ink not working. And now that I am running it, I am using grayscale only. I still have a chance if I try cleaning it again? Anything more "potent" I can do to clean it since it is a "lost cause"?

Staples was out of the $59 printer.....I MAY have located one at an Office Depot.

hopeful - Anonymous
SixgunSal,...The i960 is an excellent machine. Do all that you can to get it back to working. You don't really need the Alcohol for soaking,... ink is water soluble. After it has soaked, use your sink sprayer to spray the bottom of the Printhead directly on the jets. Use the hotest water you can stand on your hands. Direct the water to the side and turn the printhead over and look at the filter screens. You should see a very small amount of ink colored water. Continue spraying the bottom until you don't see any more colors come out. From time to time use the spray or the sink facuet water directly onto the filter screens. Repeat all of this until you don't see any more colored ink coming out.

Now you have to dry the PH before you can put it back in the printer. I use a compressed air tank and force all the water out of every part of the printhead,.. especially the back where the contacts are located. Behind the green contact board there is the eeprom mounted. You can see this but it is there. You have to get all this area dry.

For refilling the ink carts, go to Nifty-Stuff-Forum and do a search for "How to refill Canon ink carts". You can also search the web using google. You'll find more information than you need. I use a method where I remove the plastic ball Canon uses to seal the fill hole. I remove the ball with a self taping screw and pull out the ball. Then I use a needle and syringe to fill the ink chamber. You can buy the bulk ink at and they also sell plugs for the holes and the entire kit. Buy all 6 colors in the 4oz bottles and get a syringe for each color. also has a very good kit which includes the needles, syringes, plugs, and clips that you need to seal the ink cart while you are filling it.

Now that I have told you all of this,..if you really don't want to refill your i960 you can purchase very inexpensive ink carts from "". They are about $1.25 each and they work fine. They are not the best ink for printing high quality photos but unless you are a pro, you won't be able to tell the difference. For the best ink go to

Keep in mind that after all this work,... you may still have a bad printhead. You can also just buy one from Canon for about $35. If you're going to fill your own ink you need to get a little more educated and this site and Nifty-Stuff have all kinds of information and education about Canon printers, ink refilling, and fixing problems.

Last of all, remember that the new i3500 uses the chipped ink carts and they only way to use that printer for a long time would be to refill the ink carts. The only physical ink carts that can be installed in the printer are original Canon Chipped ink carts. They can be refilled but you will lose access to the Canon ink Monitor that tells you and shows you how much ink is left in the carts. If you refill you will have to inspect the ink carts yourself from time to time and refill as required.

Have fun.
by unknown on Dec 27, 2007 at 1:34pm Add comment
First of all, let me thank all you who have responded so quickly. When I first started reading the posts, I was thinking becasue my printer was more then a few years old, that the posts would be also. I was very pleasantly surprised to find current dates on the lastest posts.

I think the reason why my i960 stopped working is I forgot and left the carts in and didn't use it for about a year. I think(?) everything probably dried up. I went to print yesterday, and all the ink was gone according to the popup that shows ink levels. I had ordered some replacement carts about a month ago and put them in. I noticed that they don't lock/snap in with the same precision as the last carts I used (databazzar). Unfortuatly, I tossed the emptys along with the Christmas trash. If this cleaning does not work, then a new print head will solve my problem? (reason I ask is a new print head will be about the same, maybe a bit less then a new iP3500) The carts that I just tossed out are maybe the 3rd or 4th complete set I have run thru this i960 so its not been used very much in the past few years. If I can get it all working again, maybe I need to invest in some OEM carts for refilling.

I have tried to search the iP3500 and the chipped carts but didn't really find anything. Is there another printer comparable but w/o the chipped carts if I have to go that route? Speed is really not an issue but I do take lots and lots of pics.
by sixgunSal on Dec 27, 2007 at 2:11pm Add comment
To Anonymous that asked me,....Trigger - you said:
"The cleanup of a cartridge may take awhile",

First off I don't know who your are since you have no nickname or initials, and I don't know what kind of printer you are asking me about, or what kind of ink carts,..etc.

I answer questions for people on three different forums about all kinds of printers, ink carts, and many other topics such as computer software. I don't have time to go back into each forum and re-read things I've posted over the last weeks or months. I am also very old and I sometimes forget what I went for when I walk into the next room.

So if you have a question, you really need to give me all the information in that one note,... I don't go backwards and it is impossible for me to remember,... especially now since I've had a house full of relatives, childern, dogs, for over a week.

Try again and we will see what we can do.
by unknown on Dec 27, 2007 at 5:29pm Add comment
Wow!!!!! -- TRIGGER SLOW DOWN!!! Read the post completely. It's HOPEFUL here. For some reason, the sign in is not working properly for me, so it appears that in the heading it says anonymous......

BUT.....if you re-read my post/question, you will see it is SIGNED by me, hopeful.

In *hope* that you will re-read and respond,

(and by the way.....I DOUBT you're *that* old, heh-heh)

Ever yours,
hopeful - Anonymous
HLS here, not Trigger. Better read it again LOL. You can try priming the printhead over a waste container with ink from syringes. I am having a similar problem with an ip3000 head. Since I have two other printers, the situation is not dire. If you do get some ink through each color port, some of the individual jets are likely clogged. How much effort you put into it is up to you. There just is a place where you either determine it is not worth it, or you have success.
by HLS on Dec 27, 2007 at 8:02pm Add comment
Hi HLS --

I appreciate the response, but I am Soooooooo lost with what you are saying.

1. Don't know what you mean by "better ead it again".

2. Primingin printhead over a waste container? how does this add to/ differ from anything I have done for a couple of months now?

3. I do NOT get ANY ink through ANY color port which is the entire point. EXCEPT WHEN CLEANING THE PRINTHEAD.....then, when running it under water, I get color until I finish rinsing it throughly. So it gets "in" there.....just doesn't print onto paper.

4. I guess you are right. At some point, it becomes an exercise in futility. Not worth the time spent. Better to move onward, possibly upward.

5. Besides the $59 special Canon i3500.....anyone have any "faves"?

Thanks so much,
hopeful............. - Anonymous
Hopeful,... Sorry for the misunderstanding. The reason you name does not appear in the top of your post is that you do not login to the forum. I did not read your note to the end.

In re-reading both of your last post, since you are getting ink out of the bottom of the printhead, but it is still not printing, this tells us two things. 1. The purge unit is successful in sucking ink out of the ink carts into to Printhead. 2. Since it is still not printing anything, the problem is most likely the electronics. The question is,... which electronics. It could be the logic card and a bad printhead driver module. It could be a bad cable to the printhead. It could be a bad eeprom on the carriage asm. It could be bad connections between the printhead and the Carriage ASM. So if you just replace the printhead, it may still not work.

My suggestion stands,... go get the iP3500. As far as other printers, any of the Canon iSeries printers up to the i960 would work just fine for you. The trouble is they are few and far between. None of them have chipped ink carts. All are faster than your i550. If your lucky you can find one on eBay for a good price. Just make sure you confirm that it can print a very good nozzle check before you buy it.
by unknown on Dec 27, 2007 at 10:03pm Add comment

What is the work around on the iP3500 for it's carts? I see on some of the sites that sell replacement carts that somehow you can take off the "chip' and remount(?) it on a replacement cart so the printer thinks it's using a original cart. Is this feasable to remount it over and over? Or/and can these be refilled by drilling a hole also? $59 after rebate is a deal anyway you look at it, even if it sits for a while in the box.

On the matter of the i960 - after I have the printhead clean and dry and reinstalled I load 1 color at a time and then do a deep clean/check nozzle page..then the second color..etc? Or all colors at the same time, then do a(1) deep clean and a print nozzle page? The 4 or 5 deep cleans I did trying to get the the new carts to print already has the photo M and photo C reservoirs empty. I'm really not all that sure on how to clean the tubs the ink is sucked into at this time. thanks again to eveyone
sgS - Anonymous
Hopeful, we were all just replying so fast that the posts were getting intermingled as to who said what. I too believe the electronics are failing.
by HLS on Dec 28, 2007 at 4:46am Add comment
Hi HLS --

Oh....sorry....I thought you were responding to me, but I see the timing now.

No worries....

But yeah, I DO keep trying to log in, but sometimes it takes it, and sometimes it doesn't -- and when it doesn't it shows me as ANONYMOUS, and the only way you know it is ME is by my signature.

You guys ROCK!!! And if I haven't said thank you enough, then I would sure like to say it again. I've learned more in this forum than in any of the instruction books or help sections. So thanks guys and gals.

by hopeful on Dec 28, 2007 at 4:58am Add comment
I am TESTING something. With this last message I submitted, writing to HLS, I got a message telling me that *hopeful* was available if I would like to register it. ????? I registered long time ago.

Oh well.... So I decided to register again to see what will happen.

First thing was that my user name and e-mail are pre-written into the message. They have NOT been pre-written for a while now.

HOWEVER...Interestingly, as I write this message wherein I am definitely (re)registered as hopeful, nonetheless, I see that my last NON-registered (no longer working registered) did, indeed, recognize me as hopeful. How sometimes and sometimes not.

Hopefully (how apropos), the fact that I have re-registered will keep it working properly for a while.

AND AGAIN -- since it seems something is FAILING in my printer, I am going to try a few other places to look for the ip3500 before that sale is over.

Thanks all,
by hopeful on Dec 28, 2007 at 5:09am Add comment
My printer has start to malfunction. Trying to adjust the printhead, no writing appears in column E. Prinst look dull.
by Haavard on Dec 28, 2007 at 9:30am Add comment
Well, I got it the i960 all back together and now I have 5 flashing orange lights followed by a green. I have taken it back apart and cleaned the printhead and connections with a q-tip and alcohol, removed the power cord etc. for 15 mins with no luck to any of them. I have read the post regarding these flashing lights and I've learned that this is NOT a good sign. Canon has the printhead for the same price as the iP3500 after rebate so I'm in a quandary as to my next step. Does the ink carts HAVE to be in to test whether the blinking will stop? Is there anyway to do a printest with these blinking lights? (I would guess not). Anyone have a good printhead laying around they aren't using? ;o)
by sixgunSal on Dec 28, 2007 at 12:50pm Add comment
Cartridges need to be in even if the printer would work because you would burn the printhead; however, it will not work with the "blinken lightsen." {;-) I would not be hasty to toss it unless you have no room to store it temporarily. I just hate to throw a piece of electronics away until the thing is "thumbs-down-dead" and not recoverable. I also see myself as a tightwad. LOL

Check Ebay for printer stuff.
by HLS on Dec 28, 2007 at 4:52pm Add comment
SixgunS,... When you put the printhead in you need to install all "Good"= with ink, ink carts at the same time. When you do a deep cleaning, the purge unit is trying to suck ink out of each ink cart down through the printhead into the waste ink pads below. This is how it primes each chamber of the printhead with ink. This is VERY important. If you try and print anything, other that just a nozzle check, without all the ink carts installed, your are firing the print nozzles with no ink in the nozzles. This could burn them out as the firing resistors in the nozzles depend on the liquid ink to cool the nozzles after repeated firing.

I also remember that you were going to wait to open your printer but some people just don't want to listen. Now you have a bigger problem.

The 5 flashing orange lights are telling you that when you put the printhead back something is not connected correctly. So, either the printhead is not seated correctly, or you didn't get the cables plugged back in well enough, or you got some contact contaminated. What ever the case, you'll be lucky if you get it back to even printing anything. The cost to take it to someone who knows how to fix it is more than 2X the iP3500 so I think you have just killed your i960. You can sell it for parts on eBay.

Maybe this is a good lesson for the many people that watch this forum. If you don't know what you're doing,... maybe you shouldn't do it.
by unknown on Dec 28, 2007 at 5:21pm Add comment

I'm confused as to what you mean by "open your printer" All I have done so far is take the printhead out and soak/spray it until no colored water came out. After blow drying it and then letting it sit in the sun a while, I re-installed it, put all the carts back in, and turned it on. After going thru all its startup cycles, it started blinking orange. I never got to the point I could even run a test page or nozzle check or anything so I know it hasn't been burned up. I never took any cables off anything or unhooked any cable "except" for the power cable to the back of the unit. Canon's tech help says, unhook power for 10 minutes so the pram(?) can clear then try it all again, which is what I did. I took nothing apart except for the print head removal according to canons website. So if anyone out there has a extra i960 printhead around, ple let me know. I'm tempted to buy a new one from Canon, and it it won't fix my printer, just sell the new printhead on ebay. Any ideas? tia
by sixgunSal on Dec 28, 2007 at 8:43pm Add comment
SixgunS,.. I'm sorry again for misunderstaning your post. I read your words exactly.

"Well, I got it the i960 all back together and now I have 5 flashing orange lights followed by a green"

As soon as I read that I jumped to the assumption that you had taken it apart since you had asked how to get to covers off.

So all that you really did was follow my instructions and clean the printhead and put it back in. I don't think you have done anything wrong with your printhead. I don't think it is seated correctly or you got one of the pins dirty inside the Carriage Asm. You did not mention cleaning the contacts on the back of the printhead and this is important.

Here are some things to do. Open the cover and take out the ink carts and seal them. The unlock the printhead and remove it. relock the level, close the cover and turn the power off. Wait a few minutes then turn the power on. It should come up with a green light. Obvisouly you are not going to print anything, but this tells you that the rest of your print is passing the power on diagnostic tests.

If it passes the test and comes up green. Open the cover and wait for the Carriage ASM to come to the center. Then unplug the power to the back of the printer. Now you can open the lock lever on the carriage. Use a flash light to check the contacts in the back of the carriage that none are bent. Use a soft cloth or tissue wetted with alcohol to wipe the contacts in a downward motion. These contacts bend down and do not bend up.

Now that the power is off, you should be able to easily move the carriage asm to the left and right. Move the carriage to the far left so you can have good access to the purge unit. This is the two pads where the printhead parks when the cover is closed. With your flashlight, check all of this area for excessive dried up ink. Get and eyedropper and some windex and put 2-3 drops onto each pad until they are flooded. Re-plug the power and turn it on. This will cycle the purge unit and suck the windex down through the pads and the purge tubes. You may have to close the cover. Turn the power On and Off,.. then on again and open the cover and repeat the eve dropper and cycling one more time. There are also some soft clear rubber blades that are like a windsheld wiper blades and their job is to wipe excess ink off the bottom of the printhead. If they get gummed up with dried ink, all they do is smear dried ink on the bottom of the printhead. Use the eye dropper on them to get them as clean as you can.

Clean the contacts on the back of the printhead. If you need to clean the eraser of a pencil on a cloth, then use it to clean the gold contacts, then clean them with a cloth and alcohol.

Now you are read to re-install the printhead. When you have it in place, lock and unlock and lock the lever a couple of times. This wipes the two sets of gold contacts against each other and makes better contact. Now re-install "GOOD INK CARTS" that are full of ink. If you install ink carts that are empty, you are just asking to burn out the printhead. If you have to go buy some new ink carts. You could go to Staples and buy a ink refill kit for a Canon printer and refill the ink carts you have that are empty.

Once you have that done, power on the print and hope you get a green light. If you don't you can't do much more right now.

Post your results to all of this and we will continue from there.
by unknown on Dec 28, 2007 at 9:46pm Add comment

Thank you for all that good information. I have been working on it since getting up this morn. Sorry for the misunderstanding - being new at this I more then likly used the wrong terminology.

I completed that first test - the machine cycles as it boots up w/o the printhead in it and the green light comes on and stays on.
I cleaned all the contacts and they all look good - examined them with a flashlite and magnifying glass - they all look the same, none are bent different then the rest, and none look as if they are too flat to make a good contact. I cleaned the small flat plastic wipers with windex on a q-tip, several q-tips actually. And when I dropped windex in the pads in made a nice clean white spot where the drops hit - did this twice to both pads. Re-installed all the carts (4 of them are completely full, 2 have ink covering the bottom of the reserve half of the cart - so none are empty). powered it up and it goes thru all the cycling and at the end of this the yellow light starts blinking again - 5 times then green. You said that if this happens " can't do much more right now" Am I assuming there is more to do for this? (I hope)

1 other question....when I put the new carts in for the first time the other day....and because the printhead was clogged with dried up ink...and I ran the printhead alignment test, and the testpage test, and the deep cleaning, and the nozzle test (several times) and only 2 colors came out during all of these tests...dit it burn up the printhead becasue the other colors would not come out? (I'm comparing this to running these tests "without" any carts in at all which is very bad) Is this the same thing? Could this printhead be bad now due to the fact that it was full of dried up ink and would not print any of those 4 colors during all that test printing? thank you again for your help and patience.

by sixgunSal on Dec 29, 2007 at 9:06am Add comment
SixgunS,.... I don't believe the printhead is burnt out. If it was, the printhead would not come to the center when you open the cover. It would stop just left of the pads and you would get 7 orange flashing lights.

When you initially cleaned the printhead, if you saw all colors of ink come out then there was ink inside the nozzles and this keeps them cool if they are ever firing. Since there was some color from some of the ink jets, the logic card and drivers were at least firing. I went back and re-read your first post and you said you were soaking the printhead in water and alcohol. How deep was the solution and how long did you soak it. Did you try and print with it before you started to use my instructions.

Take the printhead out and clean it again and use the magnifying glass to look very close at the nozzles. Inspect each row as close as you can. If there is a burn out nozzle it will have a "Burnt" appearance. I burned out one myself the same way.

The mystry of the 5 orange flashing lights is one that I have been trying to resolve for more than a year. Of course just one Canon Expert knows the answer but they never seem to provide any answers. There are diganostics on the logic card that test everything and they can sense all kinds of signals. If there is a missing signal anywhere in the chain of the logic card, carriage asm, and the printhead, you can get the 5 orange flashing lights. Finding the exact problem is left up to the Canon Technicians. They usually try the simple test of replacing the printhead at your expense and if that doesn't fix the problem, it is probably in the carriage or the logic card print driver circuitry and those cost so much you can't afford it so they will tell you to buy another printer.

I still thing your best answer right now is to get the iP3500.

by unknown on Dec 29, 2007 at 11:14am Add comment

I took your advice, went out and got me a iP3500 today. Found one at Office Depot for $79.95 and I have a month to fill out my $20 rebate form. So it's a great deal for the $59 it'll end up costing. But thats not counting the money I had to spend for extra ink plus for another $12 I got another years warranty on it. I think these carts can be refilled but I understand that by refilling them, I will have to turn off the cart monitoring right? You have any good tips on refilling these?

The printhead on the i960 I'll look at in the sunlight tomorrow with the magnifying glass trying to spot any irregularities in the nozzles. I thnk the only way I'll get that printer working again is a different printhead. Like I mentioned earlier, this printer probably hasn't printed more then 3 full carts of prints. Maybe one will turn up. :-) thank you again
by sixgunSal on Dec 29, 2007 at 7:25pm Add comment
SixgunSal,... I'm glad you got your new printer. Now you want to take care of it. Here are a few tips on how to take care of it.

1. Don't every turn the power off. If you turn it off, it will purge 0.8ml of ink for each color each time your turn in on. Canon does this to try and keep your printhead clean, least that is there story. It just happens to eat up way too much ink.
2. Try and print something everyday, or at least twice a week. If you don't have anything to print, print the nozzle check. This uses the minimum amount of ink and shows you that the printer is OK.
3. Buy a very good Power Surge Protector and plug your printer into that. This is the number one reason printers have power failures.
4. Go to and purchase a classic refill kit for the iP3500. You can't beat the price and quality anywhere and you will get everything you need to refill the ink carts for your ip3500. Start the refilling as soon as the ink moinitor tells you it is running low.
5. Canon keeps count of each drop of ink it pushes out of the ink cart no matter if it is printing or just dumping your ink in the bottom of the printer. Even if you leave it turned on Canon will count the hours from when you last printed and when they think it is time, they will dump some more ink. The kit will teach you all you need to know about refilling and supply the ink, the needles, syringes, plugs, and cartridge clips.

6. Now that you have a iP3500 you have no choice if you want to save money. Either you refill, or you pay Canon the price they want for new ink carts. Keep those extra Canon ink Carts put away. If you ever run into a problem during maintenance and after you have been using refilled ink carts, you can just install the New Canon ink carts and take the printer in for warranty repair. You can also go into service mode and totally re-initialize the system EEprom and canon will never know you ever refilled thier ink carts. Your warranty will be intack.

At least if you are printing something useful, you can stop them from wasting ink. All printers are designed to print freqwuently and if you let them sit, you are asking for a clog.

7. Get into the habit of checking your ink levels once a week,... all you have to do is open the cover and pop up the ink carts. The don't want to let a ink cart run dry as that will cause problems in the printhead and in the ink Cart. Both can dry up and now your in big trouble.
8. Go to the Nifty-Stuff forum and register. There is all kinds of information there about Canon ink carts and everything else. The more education you get about printers, the better you will be prepaired to handle and prevent problems in the future.

Good Luck
by unknown on Dec 29, 2007 at 11:17pm Add comment

I have been reading old posts in the Inkjet Stuff forum - talk about some great reading!!! Thanks for the link. I have read a few of your posts where you had the same exact problem with your i560 as I am having now with my i960. I still have a ton of reading to do but hopefully I will stumble on soemthing that will help this i960 work again. I am hesitant to buy another printhead due to the fact that this hasn't worked in some cases....and Canon will not give a refund if it dosen't solve the problem. I am currently reading the post where bezchissa had a problem with his i960 ph and ordered another and it wouldn't work either. Some great reading.
by sixgunSal on Dec 31, 2007 at 8:39am Add comment

What I have tried is;

1) Another power up with all carts still loaded hoping for that miracle - no luck - still get 5 orange flashes and then a green one.
2) Turned off the printer and pulled the plug, brought printhead to center, removed and taped all carts, and removed printhead.
3) Plugged cord back in and turned on printer - printer seemed like it went thru all the normal cycling and came up with a blinking green light. A solid green light I mean...when I open the lid it goes to a blinking green

This is where I have stopped - I am hesitant about putting in the carts cause the black one just does not seem like it clicks in even thou it will stay there (might be the plastic tab that locks isnt as strong or maybe made a bit off).

I examined the printhead with my magnifying glass and also the "screens"(?) - they all apprear normal I guess. I don't know exactly what is meant by the nozzles and where they are I have to take the screws out of the "printhead" to see the nozzles?

I found Mikling's post regarding water on the electronics causing this condition interesting and was hoping it had dried and would now work - no such luck
I have the printhead sitting in water again but only enuff to cover the "screens" and not enuff to get in the slots to the area behind the circuit board.
okay...back to reading
by sixgunSal on Dec 31, 2007 at 9:12am Add comment
SixGunSal,... For the first part of what you have tried, the printer is showing you that the rest of the printer is pssing all test. The blinking green light when you open the lid is totally normal,and it is just waiting for the printhead and ink carts to be re-installed. This is all good news.

The second part where you examine stuff is incomplete since you don't know what the nozzles are. When you turn the printhead over and look at the bottom with the magnifiying glass, you will see many rows of very small dots. Your eyes and Mag glass are not good enough to see the details of each nozzle but you can see the rows. If any one was really burnt you could see it with your glass. YOU NEVER EVER WANT TO TAKE THE SCREWS OUT OF THE PRINTHEAD.

At this point the soaking your are doing isn't going to do any good. If this current state of the printhead was caused by some clog then some nozzles of each color would be printing, especially after all the cleaning you have done. I believe that the head has gone bad.

Inside the back of the printhead is a EEprom that does all the decocing of the signals that fire each separate print nozzle. These chips are supposed to be hermetically sealed as they are manufactured. The circuitry in them is so small even one drop of water can short our the entire chip. But since these chips are designed to be located in a location where they come in contact with Water, (i.e. INK)they are sealed. These cards are designed to withstand high temperature and high pressure solvent rinsing as a final step of their assembly process. They are designed to withstand this treatment and live 5 years later.

Having said all that, and knowing it to be the truth, I have seen several printheads die in the same way. The manufactureing process is not perfect and some chips get past inspection and fail in the field when water gets to them. How oftem does this happen?????. I don't know but I have cleaned 50+ prinheads this way and only had one failure, and that one I'm not sure if it died from some other reasons. There could be some other reason that I can't prove and that is contamination of the water. Some people live in an area where their water is really hard and they have all kinds of minerals in the water. It is possilbe that these minerals leave deposites on the small circuit wiring that somehow changes the quality of the electrical signals to the printhead and produce signal failure. We will never know about your printer.

If you have plenty of money and nothing else to do, buy a new printhead driectly from Canon. They will always give you the best price available. Put it in your printer and do a cleaning cycle and then a test print. Then you can sleep at night knowing you found the problem.
by unknown on Dec 31, 2007 at 10:06pm Add comment

I know for a FACT that just a few days ago, Office Depot ALSO had the rebate for the Canon ip3500. I just went there, and they NO LONGER HAVE IT. They talked me into buying it anyway, because they said the rebate is OVER.

1. I have just come home and found that the rebate is STILL VALID AT STAPLES through 3/31/08. Guess I will have to return this to Office Depot and get it from Staples.

2. Office Depot made me BUY A CABLE?????? They said that they are no longer included in the box with the printer.
IN ADDITION, this cable is a USB Cable???? The current printer cable that CAME WITH my Canon i550 is NOT a usb cable...I don't get it.....

Please remember that I am NOT techno-savvy........I don't get any of this at all.

And the ink is about $15.00 A POP.

I think I should do the following - let me know if you agree/disagree:

1. RETURN the printer to OFFICE DEPOT

2. Buy the printer at Staples sometime soon.

3. Cable???? You guys let me know. Thanks.

by hopeful on Jan 2, 2008 at 9:45pm Add comment
I just got off the phone with Office Depot's manager (who also happened to be the individual who assisted me to begin with).

Usually they match all offers/discounts -- but NOT mail-in rebates. However.....she decided she WILL match it -- told me to come in tomrorow, bring my credit card receipt, and they would take care of it. Whoo-hoo!

HOWEVER.........I still have the question/issue of the cable. Cost me $20 more than I expected, just for the CABLE!!! (okay, okay -- $18, let's not quibble)

I really don't understand WHY I had to buy a special cable to hook up my printer with and/or why it did not come with its OWN cable.

I'm not opening ANYthing until after I get my $20 off -- THEN I will open the box that holds the printer, and see what the state of affairs really is.

Would love any info/comments any of you have. Thanks

by hopeful on Jan 2, 2008 at 9:51pm Add comment
hopeful,...Sounds like Office Depot has some pretty fast sales people. When ever I run into one of these I just turn and walk away. Of course it is very difficult for any of them to fool me. Most of these guys walked in off the street and they showed them which isle in the store had "What" and gave them a badge.

The rebate comes from Canon and each seller is required to give you the rebate form and a proper sales receipt when you buy the printer. Take the print back tomorrow. Call up Canon at 1-800-385-2155 and order the Canon iP4200. Canon has it on sale now for $59 and no rebate required but you will have to pay for shipping. It is a better printer than the iP3500. Here is the "eStore" web site where you can look at it.

The iP4200 has 5 ink carts, the large Pigment black PGI-5 and a standard CLI-8 black to use in high quality photos, as well as the Cyan Magenta and Yellow. It will also print 29 ppm in black which is 20\% faster than the iP3500. It is also very easy to modify it for printing directly onto Printable CD's.

The iP3500 has a Max resolution of 4800 X 1200 dpi where the iP4200 has 9600 X 2400 dpi. Also the addition of the "Dye" ink black ink cart into the printhead expands the color gamut to give you the best possible quality photo prints.

If you ever want to do excellent 81/2 x 11 Photo prints, then the shipping charge is well worth the cost. I think it is about $15. One other point, if you call Canon and explain your problem with the i550 and all the effort you have gone through to try and fix it,.. they will probably give you an additional 10\% off for be a loyal Canon Customer. Tell them a Canon Rep told you that and they will probably give it to you.

As far as the USB cable,... you need one but you should never pay $20 for it. Tha is total highway robbery. Check in your area for the "Dollar Store" as they have them for #1. You can also try the "Everything for a Dollar" store. Same deal there.

The old parallel cable you used on your i550 is obsolete. No one uese them and haven't used them for almost 5 years. None of the Printer manufacturers will even support old printers in Windows that use parallel cable attachments, unless you're using the old software such as Windows Me.

If you have not opened anything, take it all back including the extra ink they sold you. You can buy compatible remanufactured ink carts from at much less cost and you can refill both. I don't think you need to buy a second set if you are going to refill your own ink carts. As I have told other, if you're going to buy any of the newer Canon printers, you had better be prepared to re-fill your own ink carts.
by unknown on Jan 2, 2008 at 11:10pm Add comment
Trigger --

HELP!! Hope you can reply soon -- I "sorta" need to return/exchange/whatever TONIGHT by 8pm pst if humanly possible. So just wanted to "finalize" your answer to me with the details and further questions I provided in posts above.

You're the best, and I'm hoping to hear....


- hopeful
Thanks Trigger --

That was a great response, be honest, now I am more confused than ever.

1. As I said, when I called the manager back, she agreed to give me the $20 off even though it is a mail-in rebate (and the slips on their register did not generate it and no longer offered it)But you think I should return it anyway?

2. I can return ANY portion I want to per her, which is why I went ahead and bought, if I were to KEEP the ip3500, I could return the cable and buy one at the dollar store.

3. I did NOT buy any extra ink -- not sure why you thought that -- except I PRICED it so that I would know....maybe I misled you.

4. I really, really, really HATE the idea of refilling my own ink I HAVE to do that? (in order to save money that is)

5. Is the ip4200 NOT available at the stores yet? Is is ONLY available through Canon online?

6. I AM tempted by the ip4200 because as an actress, I would LOVE to be able to print 8x10 photos off my own printer -- could be a huge savings. But is all of this worth it?

7. Even if I call Canon and tell them a Canon Rep was assisting me, why should they believe me? :-) :-)

8. I am SO confused as to what is now the best thing to do. But I would love to stick with Canon in any case........

PERSONAL FOOTNOTE: I bought my HP computer in 2003 with Windows XP, and my Canon i550 that I had already bought a year or 2 earlier hooked up fine and worked just fine with it until this all began.

Huge thanks for all the advice and info and any more you can offer.

Hope your New Year is off to a grand start,

by hopeful on Jan 2, 2008 at 11:54pm Add comment
I bought my iP3500 from Office Depot and they have/had the $20 rebate offer. They printed out the rebate form with my receipt. I have 30 days to mail it I guess. Also, they took $8.00 off the price of the printer at time of checkout. The price then came to $71.95 minus the $20 rebate = $51.99. I bought color only replacement cartridges and that came to more then the printer is going to cost. Well, at least I have a few "chipped" carts I can use for refilling - 2 of each color should last quite a long time.

I am sad to hear about the iP4200 at that price. Is the quality of digital pictures it prints that noticeable? These prints look as good as the i960 prints (as least to my old eyes). So I'm not sure what to do here lol
by sixgunSal on Jan 3, 2008 at 9:25am Add comment
Interesting that your Office Depot was still offering the rebate, Sgs -- mine wasn't. Maybe it was the difference in just that day or two. What was the $8 discount for?

Trigger and HLS -- I am eagerly awaiting your further comments.

Thanks -- and Happy New Year to one and all!
by hopeful on Jan 3, 2008 at 11:29am Add comment

what did you end up doing?
by sixgunSal on Jan 4, 2008 at 8:55am Add comment
Hi Sgs --

Well...I really was in such a quandary, and had waited this long to begin with, that I called Office Depot, and asked for the manager (same gal who had helped me buy ip3500), and......*lied*...... :-)

I told her something had come up and that I would not be able to get there. Then asked when SHE would be there next, as she is the one who knows the original situation -- she's the one who said Office Depot would "match" the $20 rebate on ip3500 even though it has expired from their register. (That is just so weird anyway, because it you check out staples, the rebate does not expire until MARCH!!!!!)

I just don't want to lose the $20 discount on the ip3500 if I decide NOT to get the ip4200. I'm hoping trigger or HLS will come on and weigh in (yeah, I know trigger wrote a great and lengthy e-mail originally -- but I got the impression that he didn't realize that Office Depot was going to go ahead give me the $20 off anyway because I found that Staples still offered it).

Bottom line -- I listed questions/comments above, and hope to get a response today so that I can go to Office Depot on Saturday -- I can't keep Yo-Yo'ing with them, or they will say "forget it", ya'know?

I don't MEAN to be confused, heh-heh, I just AM!!

Kinda like all my friends telling me to get a MAC (I'm looking for a new computer -- a notebook/laptop this time), when I'm used to a PC and have an acting program that right now ONLY works on a PC!!! YIKES!!! One of their *reasons* is that PCs get too many attacks from spyware and such (and I have to have all those things like spybot, etc.) Yet THEN, the latest thing I read online about MAC is that it is becoming more vulnerable than it used to be. The technological world gallops so fast. *sigh*

Anyway.....right now I'd settle for someone (figuratively) holding my hand and helping me figure out what to do about this printer. THEN I'll worry about MACS and PCS, heh-heh.

Are YOU re-thinking the ip3500 you purchased?
by hopeful on Jan 4, 2008 at 9:20am Add comment
Hopeful,... First off you will have to plan on refilling your own ink carts unless you want to continue to pay $$$$$$ for the ink. As I mentioned before, Ink carts for all new canon printers, starting with the iP4200, which is already 2 years old. I have an iP6600D which is a followon to this new series and it is alredy 1 1/2 years old. The iP4200 is a 5 color printer, with Pigmented black for just printing fast black text, and "Dye" black which is combined with the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to give a large color gamut to provide great photos. You should be able to print 100's of high quality pictures of yourself. You can buy the best paper at Costco. If you don't want to refill your chipped ink carts, then you can buy remanufactured ink carts for your printers at for about 2/3 price.

Both the iP3500 and the iP4200 use chipped ink carts.

Got to run.
by unknown on Jan 4, 2008 at 10:58am Add comment
Trigger --

I appreciate the response, but you didn't answer any of my questions. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
by hopeful on Jan 4, 2008 at 11:06am Add comment

Reading back to the one post by trigger he said this--->

"The rebate comes from Canon and each seller is required to give you the rebate form and a proper sales receipt when you buy the printer. Take the print back tomorrow. Call up Canon at 1-800-385-2155 and order the Canon iP4200. Canon has it on sale now for $59 and no rebate required but you will have to pay for shipping. It is a better printer than the iP3500. Here is the "eStore" web site where you can look at it.

The iP4200 has 5 ink carts, the large Pigment black PGI-5 and a standard CLI-8 black to use in high quality photos, as well as the Cyan Magenta and Yellow. It will also print 29 ppm in black which is 20\% faster than the iP3500. It is also very easy to modify it for printing directly onto Printable CD's.

The iP3500 has a Max resolution of 4800 X 1200 dpi where the iP4200 has 9600 X 2400 dpi. Also the addition of the "Dye" ink black ink cart into the printhead expands the color gamut to give you the best possible quality photo prints.

If you ever want to do excellent 81/2 x 11 Photo prints, then the shipping charge is well worth the cost. I think it is about $15. One other point, if you call Canon and explain your problem with the i550 and all the effort you have gone through to try and fix it,.. they will probably give you an additional 10\% off for be a loyal Canon Customer. Tell them a Canon Rep told you that and they will probably give it to you."

Not trying to answer for him, but I think this tells you that you would be better off taking the iP3500 back and ordering the iP4200 from that website. But this is just my interpretation.


Just to let you know, I took my iP3500 back and plan on buying the iP4200 from that website.
by sixgunSal on Jan 4, 2008 at 12:34pm Add comment
Okay, this is my SIXTH TRY -- don't think its YOU guys -- AOL is having *browser issues* (don't ask). Anyway, I've been trying to send this since 2:00 this afternoon. I am now in SAFE MODE, and STILL had to "trick" it and use general Internet Explorer to get here. *sigh* Anyway, here goes......

Hi Sgs--

I laughed at first thinking, "Jeez she reprinted his entire post and I DO know how to read, after all. I'm not techno-savvy, but I'm not er - stupid." But first of all, I know you mean well, and secondly I DID MISS OR MISREAD one VITAL sentence that made a bit of a difference. (How embarrassing!!)

That sentence was "It is a better printer than the iP3500." :-)

Since I MISSED that sentence somehow, my puzzlement was that I thought TRIGGER misunderstood that I WAS getting the $50 discount -- no matter by what "method". Thus, what I was essentially asking was, if I have the DISCOUNT, and the printers are basically equal except for the slightly better photos and extra black cart, and the style ip4200 was over 2 years old already, is it worth the time and trouble, to return ip3500 and get ip4200 etc.

But that ONE SENTENCE made the dif.....appears that it WOULD be worth it (and yes, I'd "like" to do photos at home....just not entirely sure they'll be as *good* as what I prefer for my professional headshot, but we'll see -- certainly never able to do them on my i550, heh-heh. at "even money" odds, its worth the shot to find out.)

And again, the OTHER item I had kinda wanted to hear from Trigger about was the VERY kind offer/comment he made about the 10\% -- I always feel *awkward* at these kinds of things, and if I call and order the printer, was wondering why a Canon customer rep would "believe" me when I say another rep said I could probably get 10\% for being a loyal customer. But....maybe they will, I just wanted to get a touch more "comfortable" about it from possibly getting further comments from Trigger. But no big deal.

I think I am just going to call and order the ip4200 tonight (or tomorrow if it is too late tonight) and return the ip3500 tomorrow to Office Depot.

Guess the only other thing I need to know is something I will ask the Canon Rep that I end up speaking with on the phone -- and that would be whether they have the USB cable and how much (and they probably have it, but if too much, I'll wait and get at the $ store, heh-heh)

THANKS for sharing that you returned your ip3500 and are getting the ip4200.

Sorry for all my previous questions. I think I'm just getting BURNED OUT because I began posting October 1st 2007 trying to fix my beloved i550, and have been nursing it along all this time, even foregoing color printing until I could either get it back on its feet (so to speak) or finally let it go peacefully to the old printer's hunting ground. :-) :-)

So thank you again to all who contributed help, thoughts, encouragement, etc.

by hopeful on Jan 4, 2008 at 7:00pm Add comment
Not to add confusion to this ridiculously long thread, but I purchased a new ip3000 for my daughter two years ago for $74.00, and it has been the best printer value I have purchased. It features duplex capability (printing on both sides of paper) and can be loaded either from the traditional top feed or from the covered tray under the printer. It can use generic cartridges and is easy to refill also. This printer is now selling for up to $400.00 new! Most sell at about $200.00. I just wish now that I had purchased a second one when I had the $74.00 chance. {:-(
by HLS on Jan 4, 2008 at 8:25pm Add comment
I did a quick comparism between the ip3000 and the ip4200 and the 4200 will do everyting this does with more nozzles, quicker, etc....but as I said, a quick comparism. The ip4200 can be had for under $50 on Amazon. You just got your wish - Better grab one while you can. - sixgunSal
To: all the posts I missed. I've been out of town for most of the week and haven't looked at anything on the web.

hopeful,.. I can understand how easy it is to miss one important word and lose the meaning of a sentance,.. I've done it myself many time. I guess we tend to read very fast and it is easy to miss a word.

Hopefully I can clear up a few things.
1. The iP4200 is better than the iP3500 in MHO.
2. The quality of photo prints you can get off of the iP4200 will match any studio at resonable cost. Especially if you're going to give them out in your performacne resume. You will need a good Digital camera for photo but any 6 mp camera can do that for an 8x10 photo. I am a member of our local Art club and hang Photos in our club house all the time and they are professional quality, done on Kirland paper and my Canon iP6600d.
3. The Kirland Professional Glossy Photo Paper from Costco is as close as you ever want to get to the best paper for printing. Many professional phtographers have tested this paper and believe it to be the same as Ilford High Gloss photo paper. When you refill your ink carts, get the Precision Colors ink as it is the best for matching the exact Canon inks.
4. On my comment about the 10\% discount,... Most of the time when anyone calls Canon, Epson, or HP, to complain about a printer that is out of warranty, each of these companies typically say something like,.."We're sorry we can't do anything about your failing printer since it is out of warranty, but we will be glad to offer you a 10\% discount on a brand new printer". The bad news is that they want to sell you their highest price printer, not the ones they have on sale. So I will withdraw my suggestion about the extra 10\%, since I don't think they will do that on something they are already discounting by 40\%.
5. On refilling,... I think that for anyone that can't afford to pay full cost for the Canon chipped ink carts, refilling is the only solution. I also feel that refilling keeps you "In touch" with your printer to the point to will take much better care of it each and every day. In doing so it will last you for 5 years.

Hope this answers your questions.
by unknown on Jan 5, 2008 at 11:26pm Add comment
i didn't see a solution to this 'comb' problem. i have the same issue. soaking it now in alcohol, but i have my doubts. only get the comb on the cyan alignment grids and the cyan nozzle check grids. i don't know color formulation, but i suspect that's also why i get red and black stripes for the black nozzle check rectangles (i have the S750, but hopefully it's the same answer).

thanks for any help!
by unknown on Jan 7, 2008 at 1:27pm Add comment
Put a paper towel under the printhead in the alcohol. It will detect traces of ink that you cannot see by any other examination method because it will collect in the towel.
by HLS on Jan 7, 2008 at 3:31pm Add comment
pdg,... If I were you I would not use alcohol to try and clear a printhead clog. The best thing you can do is to try and fix your printhead in 3 different types of cleaning. You post did not really provide sufficient information on what your problem is and what things you have tried. I am guessing that you are having a problem with the cyan nozzle printing a comb pattern. This could be because of a nozzle clog, or it could be because of dirty contacts on the back of the printhead or Carriage asm, or it could be a bad printhead. First clean the contacts to see it that helps at all, then go on with the cleaning below.

Process "A"
1. Fold a paper towel into 1/4 size and wet it with water and set it on a saucer. Add about 1/8" of water to the saucer. Put the saucer in the microwave for 30-40 sec depending on how hot your MW gets.
2. Set the printhead on the paper towel for 2 minutes and then see what colors come out on the towel.
3. Reheat the saucer and put the PH on a different spot.
4. If you get a lot of all 3 colors you can put the printhead back in the printer and do a deep cleaning cycle for all colors.
Then do a nozzle check to see if any of your patterns have been fixed. If this helps your nozzles check pattern, repeat the process until you get a good nozzle check. If not, go to "B"

Process "B"
1. Take the same saucer with a new towel and new water and reheat so it is as hot as you can touch. We don't want to melt the printhead.
2. set the printhead on the towel and add hot water with an eye dropper or syringe to each ink filter so they are flooded. This will gradually soak through the printhead and dissolve the dried up ink.
3. Repeat several times and then re-install in printer and do the deep cleaning and the nozzle check. Repeat until it comes out good. If not, go to process "C"

Process "C"
1. Take the printhead to the laundry room sink. Use your sprayer attachment with the hotest water you can stand to spray the bottom of the Printhead directly on each row of nozzles.
2. Spray the filter screens from the top. Spray the nozzles from the bottom and see if you get color ink to come out of the filter screens on top.
3. Repeat this until you see no more colored ink from anywhere.
4. Dry each and every part of the printhead using an air compressor and make sure you get all water out of the back of the printhead where the eeprom is located.
4. Reinstall in printer, do a deep cleaning cycle, and print a nozzle check pattern.

Watch very close to each test that you do for any improvement at all. If there is never any improvement, you probably have a bad printhead.

by unknown on Jan 7, 2008 at 9:16pm Add comment
Hi trigger --

You are such an angel -- thanks for your reply to my questions!!!!

Our household has been crazed lately, so I haven't yet ordered any printer -- YIKES!! That is on the agenda for tomorrow, January 8th.

SO....I have a last-minute question. Another very dear friend said that I would do MUCH better with the ip3300 rather than the ip4200, according to Consumer Reports Buying Guide. IN FACT, it is considered a Consumer Reports "Best Buy".

Do you have any thoughts on the ip3300 vs. the ip4200?

Thanks always,
hopeful - hopeful
thanks, trigger. yesterday i spent 3 hours pouring over all of the suggestions on this thread. i've tried all 3 that have been suggested (except extremely hot water and soaking overnight). the last resort was the alcohol. each time i tried the water/alcohol, i soaked until i could see absolutely no ink on the paper towel. when i lightly pressed down on the PH while it was soaking, i proceeded until i saw only clear liquid come up through the little gray screens. then i would rinse with the sprayer nozzle and dry with compressed air. i've cleaned the contacts with an eraser and alcohol.

i'll try the extremely hot water and deep cleaning this morning and then i'll give up. i have a functioning S500 (after replacing the printhead about 6 months ago), so i'm not in dire need. i also have the iP4300. i have learned that i need to be using the iP more often! thanks for that information! i've also learned that refilling your own ink tanks is not 'taboo'!

i think it's wonderful that there are people like you trying to help people like me save money! it is appreciated!

- unknown
hopeful,...the ip3300 is not a better printer than the iP4200. It is no different that the iP3500, which buy the way is no long on sale. The iP4200 is still on sale as of this evening. The iP3300 is not for sale at all on Canon's web site. I don't even know where you would get one or why. Maybe your friend ment the iP3000. Those are hard to find and are worth a lot more because they use "Unchipped" ink carts. You won't find one on sale and if you do it will be used.

I think both of us have spent enough time on this subject, so make your decision and move on.
by unknown on Jan 7, 2008 at 9:46pm Add comment
Wow!! That last comment was NOT necessary, but very well, I will not be *bothering* you again!

(Footnote: No, I have the 2008 Consumer Reports Buying Guide in my hand. On page 299, the PIXMA ip3300 is listed and compared to others printers, and is chosen as Consumer Reports 2008 BEST BUY. I know nothing about it except what I read. It is NOT the 3000)

The delay was NOT about making a decision, as I had made one the other day, and returned the ip3500 on Saturday. But I found a great price on the 4200 brand new, and could not reach anyone yesterday -- and then today I was given the 2008 Buying Guide, which made me rethink for a moment. But rest assured, I will NOT write again!!

In fact, I have let this website sway me into continuing with Canon. I haven't even considered others.....I am not going to rush into something merely because it is on sale. I always have my backup printer if necessary. Perhaps it is time to consider other options and shop around like I "normally" would instead of listening to advice on a website.

I am sorry my questions made you feel compelled to be rude.

Goodbye and good luck to all. - hopeful
Amazon dot com has the iP4500 for $99.99. If you sign up for their Amazon dot com credit card you get $30 off the price of the printer if you use the new card to purchase it. It also qualifies for free shipping so you can get the iP4500 for a grand total of $69.99 - this is the route I'm taking. Any comments ont he iP4500? tia
by sixgunSal on Jan 8, 2008 at 7:59am Add comment
not that i'm an expert on any of it, but i have the 4300 and LOVE it (I print lots of pictures for scrapbooking). got it from last spring(?) for $88 (it came like 3 days later!). had read really good reviews about it. don't know how the 4500 differs, but for that price, i would probably do the same thing if i were in need. then cut up the new card :)

it takes the CLI-8 inks. about the cheapest i find them is on amazon for $44 (four colors) or when OfficeMax has the 15\% off bag like they do this week (They are $50 most places). i haven't tried refilling - yet. - unknown
I made a list of generic ink friendly Canon printers and multi-function units and put it on Photobucket as an image file. The ones with dots are friendly; the red-lined ones are not.
by HLS on Jan 8, 2008 at 12:43pm Add comment
pdg,... after all your effort,... what is the result. Are you getting any improvement. What does the nozzle pattern look like.
by unknown on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:04pm Add comment
trigger - thanks for asking!

no improvement but not any worse either (i was sure i had ruined it with all of the 'baths' it got!). i did the VERY hot water and used a medicine syringe to for the hot water through from both sides. then compressed air to dry.

the blue grid is missing the three top lines on the nozzle check and i can't even work with the alignment printout (combs and the black not printing properly). i'm boxing it up. when i need a printer, i'll get a new printhead for it. my 500 doesn't print borderless 4 X 6 (new printhead about 6 months ago), but the 700 does. so when the 500 goes (used mostly for utility-type print, coupons, quilt labels and such), this one will get a new life.

thanks again for your help. i have tried to find the precision colors refills for the 4300, but only in canada? - unknown
sixgunSal,... The iP4500 is even better yet. Glad to see your shopping has paid off. I think you will be very pleased with the performance of the iP4500, especially the photo quality.

Just remember this printer uses chipped ink carts and when it comes time for new ink you will have 3 choices;

1. Buy new Canon ink carts at about $15 each
2. Buy remanufactured ink carts for about $7.80 each
3. Buy 8 oz of refillable ink + needles + syringes for each color at about $14.00. Each 8oz bottle will refill an ink cart about 24 times. This assumes about 10ml of ink for each refill so this would cost you about $0.60 per refill.

I would suggest you start off by buying a classic refill kit from for your printer. This will give you the tools and the instructions you need to get started. After that all you need to buy is the ink in bulk 8oz bottles.
by unknown on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:17pm Add comment
HLS,... I looked at you list and I don't get it. What do you mean about generic ink friendly??? The list with red lines use the CLI-8 ink carts just like the iP4200, iP6600D, etc. What's the difference?????
by unknown on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:25pm Add comment
trigger - just for information purposes, here's what the most recent (2) nozzle checks look like (in photobucket, i hope the link works).

ignore my question about the precision colors refills. checked out atlanticinkjet. you mention a lot about refilling, what about recycled or compatible? wonder where they get the cartridges?
by unknown on Jan 9, 2008 at 4:12am Add comment
pdg--Had the same problem w/my S330. A new ($40) printhead solved it. See the copied posts below. (I chose the new printhead route because I already had a large investment in new cartridges!)
>> Re: Canon i550 Printhead by Frankly (11/29/07 7:39 AM) Thanks for all the great tips!
My printer is now very clean and works really well, EXCEPT cyan. The printhead alignment patterns in column B look like combs lying on their backs. IOW, the top row of each pattern prints an alternating color and blank pattern, while the bottom row prints solid.
I've tried most of the above tips, including long term soaking, cleaning contacts with an eraser, and reseating the printhead multiple times--to no avail.
You guys have such wonderful suggestions. Is there anything that addresses this problem?
>> Re: Re: Canon i550 Printhead by Anonymous (11/29/07 7:57 AM) Unfortunately your printhead is slowly degrading. Time to purchase a replacement. Canon printheads vary greatly in durability. I have an S530D printhead of 4+ years old, which has been cleaned periodically and it works great. The printhead on my in-laws i550 of 3 years years old, which was never cleaned, began malfunctioning recently. Comb patterns, same story. We replaced the printhead and all is well.
by Frankly on Jan 9, 2008 at 5:40am Add comment
frankly - that's good to know. this same thing happened to my 500 and i got the new printhead (that was before i knew i could try to fix it myself!). glad to know i hadn't wasted the money!
by unknown on Jan 9, 2008 at 6:14am Add comment
frankly - i hear ya on the extra cartridges. i still have several of the BCI-6's from my 560 that i don't know what to do with. two magenta, two cyan - compatible. can't bear to just throw them in the trash.

i've always wondered if that wasn't when my problems started -
by unknown on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:56am Add comment
pdg,...Thanks for responding, especially with the photo of the nozzle print. The picket fense or comb is a very common problem that I have been trying to "ISOLATE", between electrical contact failure or as a colged portion of the printhead. There is not sufficient evidence to prove one over the other but the more information I gather the closer we get.

Awhile back I had the exact same problem, and you probably found and read the post I made about it. I actually fixed the problem and it has not returned but the steps I used started with aggressive cleaning of the printhead, the contacts, and unplugging the 3 cables from the logic board and cleaning them and replugging them. When I powered it back up, everything worked OK. So the answer is, I don't know which one of the things I corrected actually fixed the problem. The next time I get one of these in my hands, I'm going to split things apart.

At the moment I have about 55 printers to work on, 1/2 of them are Canon, 1/4 are Epson, and 1/4 are HP. My goal is to "LEARN AS MUCH AS I CAN FROM EACH PRINTER". All of these have some kind of problem as they were all factory returns. Some only needed new ink,...others won't even power on so I have a lot of work for myself over the next few months.

Thanks for your info
by unknown on Jan 9, 2008 at 3:52pm Add comment
pdg,.. Forgot to answer some of your questions. I know that precisionColors is located in Canada but their prices including shipping are as good as anyones and the "Image Specialist Inks" they provide have the best color for photo work. I use their ink for all the CLI-8 ink carts. I started many years ago, when I only had the i560, buying my first refill kit from I have used them ever since for any BCI-3 or BCI-6 ink carts. By the way, you mentioned that you have a model 700 printer but that is not a Canon model number for the "S" series. I'm not sure if you know or not but you can interchange all of the BCI-3 ink carts with the BCI-6 ink carts,... there is no difference. So if your "700" printer is a Canon, go ahead and use the BCI-6 ink carts.

As far as Atlanticinkjet, I'm sure they get their ink carts from empty Canon CLI-8 ink carts, then they purge them, dry them, and refill them, and they have purchased some kind of expensive "Chip Resetter" machine, or they are buying new chips on the black market in china. Either way I'm sure they work or they would not waste their time on the effort. They don't make that much on each ink cart.
by unknown on Jan 9, 2008 at 4:13pm Add comment
thanks trigger - sounds like you have your hands full with all of those printer. funny how we get so intent on fixing something that we forget to isolate our variables! i'm not sure i'm up to messing with logic board cables, but good luck with your research. and you're correct, the printer that is currently in need of a printhead is an 'S750'. sorry to mislead you on that.

it is interesting to know that i can still use the BCI-6 cartridges. maybe i'll try the BCI-6 in the S500 (unless you stop me now :) ) and i'll go back and read up on the 'chips' on the CLI-8s to see if i want to tackle refilling.

i'm not sure how long this thread will continue, but i'll keep up with it! thanks again for your help!
by unknown on Jan 10, 2008 at 3:20am Add comment
wait a second, i just had a thought. where is this logic board? in the printer or the printhead? i ask only because i had the same printing problems with my S500 and the new printhead solved it. if the logic board is in the printer itself, then the new printhead won't solve my problem with the S750.
by unknown on Jan 10, 2008 at 3:28am Add comment
pdg,..The logic board is deep inside the printer and it drives everything in the printer. It is like the motherboard of you PC.

Experience tells us that 90\% of the time the problem is with the printhead, but there is that 10\% risk that it may not. First find out what Canon charges for a printhead, then consider if you get a new printer what it will cost and what you get with it, like a new set of ink carts that cost $60, a one year warranty, much paster print speed, much higher quality, and a chance to start anew keeping your printer working in good condition all the time because you're taking better care of it.

Lots to think about.
by unknown on Jan 10, 2008 at 10:13am Add comment
ok been reading up on everything - cleaning etc.

neveer saw anything about 6 amber lights -- not detecting print head

its there -- ink is all new - things are clean - just tells me either print head not detected or wrong print head
it s the only head that s been in it so...
by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2008 at 8:23pm Add comment
OK -Anonymous,... The 6 orange flashes, if that is what you saw, tells you that one of your cartridges is missing. Your post provides very little information. What kind of printer, is it OEM ink carts, does the printer power on with a green light and then flashes 6 orange lights and then green again and keeps repeating?

The only real detection of a missing ink cart is the photocell sensor to thr far left inside the printer. If this is covered by paper or ink it won't work. Open the cover and if the PH comes to the center, pull the power cord. Now you can move the carriage out of the way and look at the photo sensor area to see if it looks OK or is clogged with dirt or paper. Also, check that your ink carts are really "snapped" into the carriage.
by unknown on Jan 12, 2008 at 10:44pm Add comment
I wonder how many of you actually read the post before you. This last one says he/she has the same problem as the one before but it is 7 flashes not 6. These are totally different.

First off there are two basic types of Error signals. Operator Errors that start with a Green light and are followed by "N" orange flashes, then a green light. Then it repeats the same pattern. These are error signals that Canon things the owner can take care of.

A second set of Error signals are called Service Error codes. They flash Green-Orange-Green-Orange, etc. and finally end with a long Green light,..then the whole signal repeats. The signal is determined by counting the total number of "Orange" flashes before the long green signal. These error codes are very serious and are meant for Service Personel as Canon does not believe that any owner should attempt to repair any Service error conditions.

Assuming you provided correct information, the i950 does not have a Service Error code of 7 alternate orange flashes. Therefore you must have been describing 7 consecutive orange flashed followed by a green light. After that it repeats. This is the "Waste Ink Error" signal and there is a simple fix for this. Of course you said in your post you have already tried the "Button pushing",... and that didn't work. Of course it could be that you didn't do it right, cause it mostly always works for other people. I could tell you how to do it but I'm not sure it is the right thing to do. After all, I'm only "Guessing what the problems is and what 'Button pushing' you have already done"

Also, it would help if you would register and login so we know who to address when we make a response.
by unknown on Jan 13, 2008 at 11:00pm Add comment
Just did the good old fashioned unpkug and replug and it started working again.
by Anonymous on Jan 15, 2008 at 4:16pm Add comment
My i950 Cannon printer has an error. The error is 7 blinking orange lights, back to a steady green, then 7 orange blinks. I went to the Cannon site three times to look up the error code.The error was the print head problem. The only online suggestions they gave was to open and close the latch that clamps down on the printer head. I did, and nothing changed. Still the same error code. I read some of the suggestions in this forum " soak the head in warm water, soak the head in alcohol, let dry out and try the printer again.That did not work.
I used the reset button to clear the errors, and still the same problem. I read "Trigger1937" about the errors and I took it all apart and cleanes the soak pad cleaned the tube with alcohol and put alcohol in the cup that holds the soak pad to see if the pump worked, indeed it pad are like new. I've owned the printer for about 2 1/2 years and mybe print 150 pictures. Not much for the price. It is an easy to use printer and printed well
for photgraghs, and I hate to part with it. But I have also come to the conclusion that either the printer head is bad, or the board. Both of coarse cost as much as another printer. I would like to buy a printer head for this just to satisfy my curiosity. But if that is not it, then I take another loss. The next I believe to be wrong is the PC board. That probably is the price of 2 new printers, if there even would be one available. So if you all have any more suggestions, I would be astatically happy. Possibly a place to buy printer parts for the Cannon i950, not the kits, they only seem to give you what we allready have, cleaning agents, little pads ect.. Thanks to all that take the time to help

by i950madness on Jan 15, 2008 at 7:31pm Add comment
i950Madness,.... The 7 orange lights, then green, is the BJ Cartridge error. Canon thinks this is a Cartridge error not a printhead error,...but that could mean a lot of things. Did you check the photocell ink level sensor on the far left of the machine. Did you check the there flat ribbon cables that leave the Logic Board and go to the Carriage ASM. Since you had it all apart and cleaned everything, did you clean the contacts on the head.

If you really have done all of these things and can find nothing, then the next step is to get a new head in the HOPE that will fix the problem,... or buy a new printer.
by unknown on Jan 15, 2008 at 11:21pm Add comment
I have the same problem like you on the "B" pattern but the comb shaped pattern is upside down. Anybody found a solution for this ?
by Anonymous on Jan 16, 2008 at 9:52am Add comment
WEll, I got my iP4500 today, after ordering it on Monday. The order said it would take 6-8 weeks and it took 2 days!!!! It only cost me $59 after using a couple of coupons. Plus I got free shipping!! I'm almost afraid to unpack and set it up - lol - for fear there will be something wrong. thanks trigger for all your help on the i960, maybe one day I'll get another printhead. Or maybe just list it on ebay the way it is (like I said, it has only gone thru maybe 3 cartridges since I bought it new)
by sixgunSal on Jan 16, 2008 at 1:02pm Add comment
SixgunSal,...Congradulations on the Ip 4500. Like I said before, go to and order a refill kit for your printer. It will come with everything you need including instructions. Depending on how much you print you will be needing to refill those ink carts sooner than you think. If you got a new one your warranty is 1 year. If you got a refurbished one your warranty is 3 months. You need to use the printer as much as possible over the next three months to see if it is going to break. Canon is the "BEST" at warranty issue. For example, after I got my new iP6600D,.. one of the ink carts kept reporting that it was low on ink but when I would take it out and look at it, it was 80\%,.. finally the printer said it was almost empty but it still had 50\% ink left in it. I called Canon and explained the problem. The Service Tech sent me a new ink cart right away.

Here is something you can do that will prove the worth of your new printer. My wife loves giving packets of photo greeting card to friends as small gifts. On our last trip to Europe my wife took over 2000 photos and now she is printing them down to 4x6 beautiful color shots of little streets in very small towns in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belagio Italy. She buys the Thank You note cards and envelopes at Michels when they are on sale, attaches the photos printed on my iP6600D to the cards with double sided scotch tape, wraps them in a beautiful bow and gives them as gifts. This gives her great pleasure as she is now considered a world class photographer.

With many different software you can print 3- 4x6 photos on 1 8-1/2 x 11 photo sheet and cut them to the correct size. If you want to use the 3x5 note cards, you can get 4 photos per sheet.
The best paper is Kirkland sold at Costco.

If you're going to have a high quality printer you might as well use it. Good luck and what ever you do,... have fun, is too short for anything else.
by unknown on Jan 16, 2008 at 5:28pm Add comment
OK I have an i950. It's been doing the 1G 7O flash sequence for a while. I've tried the reset counter and so forth as above.
When it turns on the LED flashes yellow as it starts then goes green
Normally on power on it whirs as the light flashes green slowly. Then the print carriage moves all the way to the left of the printer, then the right side - as soon as it stops, the printer does 1G 7O flash sequence.

I've cleaned the excess ink pad, taken out the print head and cleaned it, swore and cursed etc, none of that seemed to work.

When I took the print head out, the printer booted as normal and did not start flashing orange when it hit the right hand stop (when you're facing the printer).
by unknown on Jan 25, 2008 at 4:34pm Add comment
Yeebok,... For the i950 this is the BJ cartridge error and serveral people have reported this problem and we have tried many things to fix it but have never found the magic solution. When you power on without the printhead installed it comes up OK, but if you install the printhead and power the unit on it comes up to the 7 orange flashes after cycling. Others have tried the following things but none have so far fixed anything.

1. Clean the printhead
2. Clean the contacts on the back of the printhead and carriage.
3. Clean the purge unit and make sure it is not locked or stuck
4. Replace the printhead.

Another Canon Tech has said this error indicates excessive head temperature. If this is the case try resetting the eeprom to wipe out that temperature reading. Clearly the temp has gone down but the orange error code is still there.

Go into service mode with the printhead pull out and then press the resume button twice then the power button. This will force print the eeprom data and the temperature number will be in there. Go ahead and press the resume 3 times and then the power. This will clean the eeprom data. See if that makes any change at all. Also, before you put the printhead back in, get the best magnifier you have and look very close at the nozzles on the bottom. What you're looking for is any signs of a burnt out nozzle. This will cause the head to heat up. I've had one fail that way.

Good luck.
by unknown on Jan 25, 2008 at 11:16pm Add comment
Yeebok,..While the Service Manual says this is a BJ cartridge error, the Canon website knowledge base says this is a defective printhead.
by unknown on Jan 25, 2008 at 11:21pm Add comment
If you were able to reset your Canon i550x after error code 7 short orange + 1 long green, I would like to hear from you.
I live in the small English speaking East Caribbean Island, Commonwealth of Dominica, which has no Canon agent, outlet, representative or service dep't. I bought my printer in the UK in 2005. From online dialogue with Canon I came to the conclusion that the waste ink tank was the problem. I dismantled the printer, washed and dried the waste ink pads and reassembled it. The error code is still the same. I think that it just needs resetting but don't know how. I tried further dialogue with Canon but only get their standard response, which is take it to your nearest Canon service agent - really helpful!!!
by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2008 at 6:13pm Add comment
OK,.. I've posted this information before but since a lot of people don't know how to search, or won't search, for the information they need, I'll post it one more time.

Also there has been a lot of confusion about the error codes and the number of flashing lights. Threre are two kinds of flashing lights;
1. Green-Orange-Orange-Orange,...etc. You have to count the nuber of Orange flashes before you see a long green again. These are called operator errors and Canon thinks customers can do something about them, maybe.

2. Green-Orange-Green-Orange-Green-Orange,...etc. Again you have to count the number of Orange flashes before you see the Long Green. These "Alternating Flashes" are called Service errors, and Canon feels that you can do nothing about them except take the printer to a Service Location. However, if you know what to do sometimes you can fix problems with these errors.

NOW HERE IS THE REAL CONFUSING PART. Canon has put out "Product Service Details" that explain all of the Orange flashes of both kinds,..i.e., Consequtive flashing orange and Alternating Green and orange. The first type is "Waste Ink Almost Full", and is basically a warning. The error code is 8 consequtive orange flashes. The second type is "Waste Ink Full" and when this comes on the printer will no longer function. This is the Service Error conditions which for the i550,560,i850,i860,i950,i960 the error signal consists of 7 alternating Green-Orange flashes. Canon espect you to take the printer in for service. This service would take the printer totally apart and remove and replace all of the waste ink pads in the bottom of the machine and then reset the Waste ink Counter in the EEProm.

However, you can reset the EEprom yourself, and if you have the skill you can take the printer apart and clean or replace the pads yourself. If it my experience, and I have done 25 different printers, of all different models, over the last 6 months and I have never found one yet that was in any danger of filling up the pads. The pads directly under the purge unit get full of ink and this ink evaporates and/or wicks into the 4 other pads. I have never seen any ink make it past the center of the bottom pad. This is not to say you should ignore this error, but you can pass it up for awhile and reset your machine until you get the time to take it apart and replace the pads. I don't know what the Canon Service location charge for this but it has got to be $80-$100 because it is labor intensive. The real problem is that once you get it all apart, you should really do a complete service on it, cleaning the purge unit, and all lubrications. Otherwise you have waste the time in taking it apart. The waste pads are in the bottom of the case and everything has to come out to wash out the dried up ink and to remove all 4 pads. It is a very messy job.

I sell a Repair manual on eBay that contains detailed photos and instruction on how to disassemble and repair just about everything in these printers. It has a lot more than just doing the Waste Ink Pads. I don't have them listed all the time but they will be back up soon. In the mean time here are the detailed instruction on how to reset the Waste In Counter error.

I think I can clear up some of the problems that people are having using this function. What you are doing is forcing the printer into "Service Mode". Here is how you do it. Read this entire post and understand it before you try it. Then read it again.

1. Start with printer OFF
2. Hold down RESUME and then press and hold down POWER Button.
3. Release the RESUME but continue to hold down the power button
4. Press the RESUME twice, then release POWER button.

Now you have put the printer in Service Mode so it will accept Service commands. The power lite will be Green. Here is the list of Service commands; Each time you press the Resume button the lite will switch colors. This is an acknowledgement from the printer that it got the button press.

A. Press the Resume button once = Print Service test print
B. Press the Resume button twice = Print EEprom data sheet
C. Press the Resume button Three = Initialize the EEprom
D. Press the Resume button Four = Clean Waste INk Counter
E. Press the Resume button Five = Change Destination settings
F. Press the Resume button Six = Head Refreshing (Cleaning)
G. Press the Resume buttom Seven, Eight, Nine, = Not used
H. Press the Resume button Ten = Return to selection Menu

To EXECUTE anyone of the above commands you "MUST Press the Power button one time after you have entered the code you want to execute. Then the function will be executed. After that function has been executed the printer will REMAIN in Service Mode,.. waiting for another command. You can only execute one command at a time. If you are through with all the commands you want to do, just press the power buttom one more time and it will turn the printer off and you will be out of Service Mode. One more note. When you get the printer into Service MOde and it is ready to accept a command, the green light will be on and steady. As you issue a command by pressing the resume button, it will alternate the color from green to orange with each press of the resume button. Remember, if you issue either one of the commands to force a print make sure you have paper installed.

For all those people that could not get the "Waste Ink Reset" to work, it was because you didn't do it right. It sounds complicated but it is actually very simple. You can do it with one hand using your middle finger and you thumb,... that is if you know how to play a piano.

If you think it took a lot of words to explain this, you can understand why my Repair manuals typically have 40+ pages and 25+ digital photos.

Good Luck.
by unknown on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:45pm Add comment
I've tried your very detailed repair techniques, but with little success so far. When I attempt to enter Service Mode, I can never get there. I push and hold the Resume button and then push and hold the Power button. Then while holding the Power button, I release the Resume button and then press it 2 more times. When I then release both buttons, I'm back into the 7 orange flash routine. I've tried it numerous times now with the same disappointing results. Can you tell me if I'm still doing something wrong?

Howard - Howardf42
To all those asking for my repair manual, I have just listed on eBay all of my current Repair Manuals which now includes the i550,k560,i850,i860,i950,i960, and finally the MP700 and MP730 Multifunction unit. The manual includes all repair function for each printer selected and it includes the Service Manuals and the parts catalogs, all Canon software updates, Device drivers, the Canon Special Service Information Notices, Color test images, Preventive Maintenance information, and instruction on how to modify and refill you canon ink carts.

These manuals contain detailed instructions and digital photos to show you exactly what you have to do. At $24.99, this is lest than the cost of 2 ink carts, but it will enable you to keep your printer working for years to come. All this information is contained on one CD. If you were to purchase the Service Manual and the Parts Catalog alone, you would spend almost the same and they really don't tell you much at all.
by unknown on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:20pm Add comment
Ok ok i have tried all of this stuff. And nothing worked. SO is the oonly thing to do is buy a new one or get it repaired?
by Anonymous on Feb 7, 2008 at 8:32pm Add comment
Anonymous,... or whom ever you are. Are you asking for help with somekind of problem or did you just want to blow off steam and spit into the wind.

I'm sure you are frustrated, but if you really want some help, you need to tell us what kind of printer you have, what kind of problem your are having, what specifically have you tried, and do it with sufficient details that we don't have to dig out our crystal balls,... Mine is getting all scratched up on the surface and it is getting much harder to see beyond these prison walls.

Sorry,.. here comes the night guard so I have to logoff now...Byyyyyyyyyy.
by unknown on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:16pm Add comment
Wow! what a long thread! I think i'll add to it because I think it closely resembles a problem i'm having. I have a Canon i850 which i've had for maybe 4 years, during this time it has worked perfectly and I think is a great printer. I recently noticed draft printouts were somewhat stripey and the colour of photos didn't look right, so did a nozzle check which looked like this:-

Interestingly a friend bought the same printer at the same time and he found his cyan was missing blocks too, magenta was fine though. I guessed the nozzles were blocked so removed the head and initially soaked it on a pad of wet paper towels, I had found this worked for HP's in the past. Unfortunately this didn't work, so soaked it overnight, with some window cleaner, tried blowing through the inlets with compressed air, nothing seemed to work.

Eventually I thought the head must have burnt out so ordered a new Canon iP4500 which works fine, I planned to keep the i850 on another PC which really only prints b/w documents but it kept nagging me. A few days ago I found this thread and decided the it's not over yet, removed the head, cleaned the electrical contacts with isopropyl alchohol - no change, tested the purge with IA which was being drained correctly, printed off the test page and eprom contents from the service menu:-

If I understand it, as of last night I had ONLY printed 1782 pages (!!), if it is dead, that isn't very good for a printer supposed to do 30,000. Noticed some people had fixed their particular problem by initialising the eprom, figured what the hell it'll only reset those totals etc? so did that, no change to the printout, except it now has an identity crisis and thinks its a Pixma 850i (?!!), ignored that for the moment, figured the head must still be blocked somehow and I need to be more aggressive with it, so removed it once more, ran it under the hot tap, top and bottom until no more ink ran out, left it standing on a wet paper towel overnight occasionally running warm water through the inlets until no more ink could be seen, dried it off, plugged it in, did a few cleaning cycles, nozzle checks and exactly the same result as before... #$$#"£$!!!
At this point I gave up again and decided i'd align the head and forget about it, much to my surprise I noticed cyan had spluttered back into life!!!!! did a nozzle check and sure enough both Cyans are showing a full pattern!!! WAHOO!! still no full magenta but think this does confirm it isn't burnt out and simply blocked? and there may still be hope.

Anyway, the problem now is that Eprom initialisation, Windows thought a "850i" had been detected, I forced it to use the older driver which does kind of work, however many features no longer work, the status monitor for one and writing settings like auto-on/off to the printer fail, has anyone had this before? Is there any way to reset the eprom to the factory defaults?

Has anyone taken a printhead apart? anyone got a drawing of it's structure inside?

Any other suggestions to get magenta working would be appreciated!
by stoat on Feb 14, 2008 at 7:06am Add comment
Ok, i've figured out why it think it's a Pixma 850i, after doing the eprom initialisation, I set the destination setting to "Domestic" should in fact be "Overseas".

If anyone has any further ideas about my magenta clog, would love to hear them!
by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2008 at 7:29am Add comment
Hi, stoat--after installing a new printhead and full ink carts, my printer didn't print anything. I used compressed air to blow into the little holes on top of the carts until some ink began to flow. After reinstalling them, the printer worked fine and has been serving flawlessly now for over a month. Be sure to hold the cartridge over a sink if you try this!
by unknown on Feb 14, 2008 at 8:08pm Add comment
Hi Frankly,

Thanks for the feedback, I did wonder if it's something like an air pocket, over time the printers purge system perhaps becomes less powerful and unable to draw through, did think about sucking it through from the nozzle end but can't think of a way to do that so will give your suggestion a try.

I've only ever used canon cartridges, but don't print an awful lot, it says in the manual to use up cartridges within 6 months, which is probably unlikely in my case, could this be the cause?


by Anonymous on Feb 15, 2008 at 1:44am Add comment
I've tried your very detailed repair techniques, but with little success so far. When I attempt to enter Service Mode, I can never get there. I push and hold the Resume button and then push and hold the Power button. Then while holding the Power button, I release the Resume button and then press it 2 more times. When I then release both buttons, I'm back into the 7 orange flash routine. I've tried it numerous times now with the same disappointing results. Can you tell me if I'm still doing something wrong?

by Howardf42 on Mar 14, 2008 at 7:40pm Add comment
Howardf42,...Sorry if the information was not clearly presented. There is one key item I guess I did not mention. The printer must be working good enough to "Get" into service Mode. To do this you need to be able to power on the printer and have it stop with a "Ready Green" power lite. If you are having a problem because of the printead you need to get the carriage to the center, pull the power out of the back, remove the ink carts and the printhead. Then you can close the cover and replace the power cord and power on the printer. Now if it comes up with a green lite you can use the button process to enter "Service Mode" and execute one of the service functions.

I'm a long way from home on vacation and I don't have any of the manuals with me and I don't remember what 7 orange flashes is. If it is the waste ink pad full error signal, then with the printhead out of the printer you should be able to get into Service Mode.
by unknown on Mar 14, 2008 at 9:55pm Add comment
I have read all the tips and have tried to clean the head twice. Everything prints fine, black and colours, BUT it does not print blue. Whatever is supposed to be BLUE comes out, I guess You could call it MAUVE (like pink) but really a mauve colour.
Any ideas other than a new printer would be appreciated.
by uncleduhn on Mar 23, 2008 at 10:57pm Add comment
I had to print around 20 paper after cleaning to get the colors back to mormal. I don't know if this would work for you, may be something else wrong with the print head. Might be worth a try.
by unknown on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:09am Add comment
Hi uncleduhn,
It is cross contamination common to the canon printer.
It may or may not show on the ink cartridge ink exit port, depends on how bad it is. lilbear000 's own experience, print 20 pages, is
just this case. Since you only have problem in blue. You can just
print a few blue/cyan test print page, you can make one yourself or
find it only.
Otherwise the nozzle chamber interconnection or seal may blown out.
But this happened less then 5\% or even less.
by Anonymous on Mar 28, 2008 at 11:50am Add comment
Hi trigger1937,

Which number is the famous "waste ink count" in the eprom contents
print out under service mode.
See stoat post on (2/14/08 7:06 AM), Here is link to the epsom print out.

by Anonymous on Mar 28, 2008 at 12:06pm Add comment
My printhead touches the paper when printing. This causes horizontal lines.. anyone know what happened.. or beter.. how to fix it? I can even hear the scratches. Is there a way to lift the printhead a bit? thx
by unknown on Mar 29, 2008 at 9:45am Add comment
It might be the dried ink or paper stuck on your printer head
which touch the paper. You can adjust the paper thickness
setting to move the printer head up and down. The fix is to wipe
away the dry ink with the wet paper.
by Anonymous on Mar 29, 2008 at 6:47pm Add comment
Eh I'm pretty sure it isn't this occasion.. I CLEARED IT ALL! I opened the printer to clean it compeletly! Thats why it beats me.. It's absolutely clear! The absorber has not a single drop of ink!
But my biggest problem is.. I replaced the print head with a new one - just yesterday an it makes stripes! Can't this be caused by the prnt head alignment? A B D E G are fine at 0 but J is best at -2. The check patterns have no stripes text is printed also fine but when it comes to images it makes regular stripes.
Thanks for answer, any other suggestions? Please help!
by unknown on Mar 30, 2008 at 7:55am Add comment
Can someone please tell me how they got the i550 print head out of the printer? I read somewhere on one of these blogs that it, "just snaps out". Unfortunately, that sounds like famous last words when I'll be sitting there with a half of a broken print head in each hand. I've tried to "just snap it out", but darned if it'll come out. Please let me know if you would. Thanks.
by unknown on Apr 5, 2008 at 8:01pm Add comment
7 orange and 1 green? isn't that the waste ink tank problem? If that's the case try this site:
It worked for me.
by unknown on Apr 13, 2008 at 3:30pm Add comment
Canon fodder,,.. I've seen many of your posts and I thought you knew just about everything about Canon printer. Maybe this is a different Canon fodder.

1. open the top cover of the printer and when the carriage moves to the center and stops, pull the power cord.
2. Raise the locking lever on top of the carriage and this will unlock the printhead.
3. REmove all of the ink carts and cap them so they don't leak or dry out.
4. Grasp the printhead on both sides with your fingers and press down a little and pull forward and up. It will come out.

If you want to see pictues on how to do this, go to the Canon support web site and for the i550, download the quick setup guide. This document came with your printer and shows you how to install and remove the printhead.
by unknown on Apr 13, 2008 at 11:49pm Add comment
I have a printer canon i550 that when I click it button I/0 , it is light 1 flash green and 7 light red , I don't know your problem , will you help me ,please .(Hamid Boroomand ).
by Anonymous on Apr 29, 2008 at 11:53pm Add comment
Hey all!
I am SO excited and happy ..... my i550 is printing BEAUTIFULLY after following your print head cleaning instructions.
I had tried Canon's troubleshooting suggestions and was about to contact tech support at Canon until I found out that, after warranty, they CHARGE for their advice! I think NOT!
Wrote to my son, the computer whiz, who suggested searching for a site such as this. I read many of the entries and tried a number of the things mentioned, but to no avail.
Figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to remove and clean the print head. Had no clue what it looked like, let alone how to remove it, but followed your instructions (including some that were a little impatient-sounding), found it, and out it came.
BTW, you techie types need to take it easy on the rest of us. I'm a 59-year-old woman who's fairly handy but would never have dreamed of removing the innards of my printer. However, I'm also CHEAP, and I hate the thought of all of these "obsolete" or "broken" things in landfills.
Back to the story. I ran it under the faucet at room temp., then looked underneath to see if anything was coming out. That's where this gets good......a bunch of black crud was encircling the opening. Don't know if it was dust and/or dog hair (have lots of both). Kept rinsing and removing the crud until no more crud. Then dabbed off as much water as I could reach and used a hairdryer to get at the rest.
It works! It really works! I'm amazed and thrilled!
Thanks to all of you who contributed to the discussion, even you crabby ones. Most of US probably know a few things that YOU don't, so go ahead and share your knowledge and expertise, but not from a pedestal, please.
by unknown on May 3, 2008 at 4:14pm Add comment
Canon fodder---
Remove your ink tanks, then lift the gray plastic bar on the right. Just in front of where the ink goes in is a narrow strip of black plastic. If you push down on that, the printer head tips forward and can be lifted out quite easily.
by unknown on May 3, 2008 at 4:21pm Add comment
Hamid B.---
According to my i550 "Quick Start Guide", seven orange flashes indicates a defective print head. It also says to contact Canon tech support, but I think you'd be better off trying the advice given here. It takes a bit of time to read through, but I had great results.
BTW, you can go to the Canon site and locate copies of their various guides, including the one referred to here.
good luck!
by unknown on May 3, 2008 at 4:31pm Add comment
bb le strange,.. We are very happy to see your success. You are the reason we spend out time trying to help people. We know these problems can be fixes,... if only people knew how to do it.

You followed instructions and got it working. That is what it is all about. It is kind of like "Pay it forward". We learned what we know from others, and doing just what you did, trying it ourselves. So now we feel obligated to "Pass it on"
by unknown on May 3, 2008 at 10:22pm Add comment
Slightly off topic
i have an i550 that has been ok on the usb port (except i have to set it up as borderless printing)
and now i want to connect it to my print server through the parallel port, but the server doesn't seem to talk to it. Is there a software switch to change to parallel, or should i do a system reset as above. ?
by keithwill on May 4, 2008 at 6:00pm Add comment
I have Canon i560 and the printhead cartridge does not come to the center when I open the cover. The reason I opened the cover was because I have 4 yellow flashes between a longer green flash. I can move the cartridge to the center manually, so I removed ink and printhead, reset and tried again. The same thing happened --- flashes and cartridge not returning to center. Am I SOL?
by Anne B on May 13, 2008 at 9:00am Add comment
Anne B,.. The 4 orange flashes is the Operator Error signal that says "Some" ink cart is missing. If they are really still installed, then the problem is the "ink Cart Sensor" on the far left of the insides. It is a small Stainless Steel plate that has two photo sensors. This sensors actually detects if there is any ink left in each cartridge. If it does not get the correct signal levels, it thinks an ink cart is empty. This could be full of waste ink or paper or dust or anything.

However, the other symptom you are having is that the head will not come to the center. This is a totally different type of problem and usually signals a defective printhead. Are you sure you are not getting "5" orange/green/orange/green/.... flashes.
by unknown on May 14, 2008 at 9:10am Add comment
To the anonymous,... The i560 with 5 orange flashes followed by a longer green is the signal that there is a problem with the printhead. It could be that the contacts on the back of the head are dirty, or the pins in the carriage asm, or the head is defective. There is an eeprom on the back side of the printhead contact circuit board and when the logic card reads all the connections to the head and the eeprom, it will give this error if the results are not correct.
by unknown on May 14, 2008 at 9:35am Add comment
Thanks so much to the Canon tech. I have an S500 that I actually replaced but needed to resurrect to do a favour for my son at his house - long story. Finally found this page and did the hot water thing till the water ran clear and am now printing a 20 page doc for him - beautifully. I did buy another Canon by the way and I love it as much as I loved this one before it quit. I wasn't getting any flashing lights, just no black. Thanks again :)
by Anonymous on May 18, 2008 at 4:54pm Add comment
Ok. i550 here. I've tried everything and the 7 orange lights won't go out. I cleaned the printhead twice.

The thing I don't know about is the waste ink tank or purge unit. Can someone tell me where that is and how to get it out for cleaning.


by unknown on May 19, 2008 at 7:57pm Add comment
blutch,... If there are 7 orange flashes followed by one long green and then it repeats, this is the error signal for some kind of ink Cartridge error. It thinks one is missing or there is no ink in one or more. It could be just a dirty photo sensor on the inside left of the printer. There is a small Stainless steel plate that holds a photo emitter and sensor. It shines light up through the bottom of each ink cart as they pass over the sensor and this detects the ink levels. If it doesn't get the correct response, you get the 7 orange flashes.

If the 7 flashes are actually orange-green-orange-green-orange-etc. for 7 cycles this is a totally different kind of problem. This is in fact the "Waste Ink Pads are full" error condition.
This can easily be reset by going into service mode. Search this i550 thread for waste ink reset and you will find the instructions. You have to "READ & UNDERSTAND" them and execute them correctly before it will work, but believe me, it does work.

I don't think you can really hurt your printer by not cleaning the waste pads. They hold a lot more ink than Canon estimates, as much of the old ink evaporates since it is water based.

If you are really serious about taking the printer apart and cleaning the waste pads and cleaning the Purge unit, you can purchase my Repair Manual on eBay. It has all the instructions, detailed photos, etc. on how to disassemble and repair just about everything in the printer. I will relist these forsale if you are interested.
by unknown on May 20, 2008 at 11:46pm Add comment

Thanks man. You have done a lot to help people here. I have read this entire thread and have followed the directions meticulously. I cannot imagine there is an ink clog anymore in my printhead. I have cleaned it several times. All the ink cartridges are full. I have put the printer into service mode several times and executed the command to clear both the waste ink and printhead problem.. yet the 7 orange, 1 green continues. There doens't seem to be a way to do any other maintenance as long as these lights are blinking. I can't clean heads or run any tests. I haven't been able to print anything since this error code began.

I haven't tried the photo sensor cleaning so I will try that next.

Thanks again for any advice you have.

by Anonymous on May 21, 2008 at 7:29am Add comment
B,... Like I said, the 7 orange flashes then 1 green is not the "Waste ink Error", so going into service mode and resetting the eeprom won't do anything for you. The error is something wrong with the detection of the cartridges. It is a "BJ Cartridge Error", as defined by the latest Product Service Detail released by Canon. Go after the photo sensor, or change the type of ink carts that you are using. It can't detect the presents of any ink cart.
by unknown on May 21, 2008 at 8:57pm Add comment
I have a Canon i560 that the printhead won't center when I open the front cover - it just stays to the right side. I can manually move it, but when I open the cover again, it stays to the right side. The reason that I open the cover is because it stopped printing and there is a series (4) of yellow/green (alternating) flashes between a longer green flash - then 4 yellow/green (alternating) flashes again - and that pattern continues. It printed just great the day before it quit. What could it be?
by unknown on May 25, 2008 at 2:37pm Add comment
ok...i read most of the posts....the resetting didnt work for me...I took out the ink catriges then the print head...wiped it down with bum wrap and a Q-Tip....put it back in and she was good to go.....for now more orange lights flashing at all....
by Shock1971 on May 27, 2008 at 10:02am Add comment 20 minutes later i could not i took out the ink catriges....then the printer head....ran the printer head under water and soaked it as well....are dried for an hour....also took a Q-Tip and cleaned in by where the print heads go.....and now she is good to go.....for now.....
by Shock1971 on May 27, 2008 at 6:42pm Add comment
Anne B. Typically when the printhead won't come to the center this is an error condition telling you the printhead has fail an electrical test of some kind. The Canon Service Manual says this is a defective printhead. Not much could be done for it.

Having said that, the flashing light signals that you are getting is a "Service Error" Condition which is saying the your "Waste ink Pads" are full and you can't print anymore until you reset them,...and clean the pads or have them replaced.

So you kind of have two confusing errors. The simple thing is to reset the Waste Ink counter first and see if this fixes the error condition.

Got to the top of this forum and do a search for "Waste Ink Error". Someplace in all the posts you will find my instructions on how to reset the waste ink value. As far as the pads, don't worry about them for another year, then you will have to take the printer apart and either clean the pads or replace them. When find the instruction on clearing the waste ink counter, read them VERY carefully and test them with your hands so that you know what to do and how to get into the service mode, and excute the reset. It is really not hard at all, it is just takes a lot of words,... and it can be confusing.
by unknown on May 27, 2008 at 8:22pm Add comment
After alignment colomns c,e,h show no colors printed. What's wrong? yes! ink is in cartridges. Help!!!!
by unknown on May 29, 2008 at 10:04pm Add comment
I have Canon i255 inkjet printer
While trying to clean the right side where 2 pads(? printer head) are placed, two SPRINGS CAME OUT AS I WAS TRYING TO MOVE THE PADS AND CLEAN.Please help to reattach the springs.
by galib20 on May 29, 2008 at 10:05pm Add comment

Don't print a lot of color images to get the color to work. When it is clogged there is no ink getting to the nozzles but they are still being fired "Alot" when you print some color images. That the printhead back out and soak it in warm water at least 1/4" deep for a couple of hours. You may have to re-heat the water. You can also use your laundry room faucet with attached hand sprayer to force streams of hot water at the bottom of the printhead. From time to time you can turn the head over and check to see if ink colors are coming back out through the filter screens. This is telling you that ink is being dissolved and flushed out. Once you don't get any more ink, complelety dry the head with compressed air or hair dryer and clean the contacts on the back with rubbing alcohol.

Replace the head and do only a deep cleaning cycle. This will re-prime the head with ink. Then only print nozzle check patterns until all colors are good. If some are bad, repeat the deep cleaning cycle and reprint the nozzle check pattern.

This is the safe way to clean and test you printhead, since nozzle test patterns fire each and every nozzles but only for the minimum amount of time. This will not over heat and damage a printhead.

Good work on you initial cleaning effort. Now just a little more and your printer will be great again. After 4 years of service you can't help but build some clogs somewhere.
by unknown on Jun 20, 2008 at 3:51pm Add comment
Hi, all....thank you so much for all of the information and assistance on this forum. I've read through it all, and didn't quite see an answer to my issue. I have an i550...and it is doing the 7-orange, then 1 longer green warning flash cycle. (G-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-G) I've cleaned the printhead a couple of times, and replaced most of the ink cartridges. However, I can't seem to get into any service mode...when I release the power button (after holding resume and power, and then pressing resume 2x) it just starts flashing oranges again...

Any ideas about why I can't get the printer into service mode?
by Anonymous on Jun 27, 2008 at 10:46pm Add comment
Mike,... It doesn't matter that you can't get into service mode. Your problem can only be associated with the Printhead and the Carriage asm. 7 Orange flashes is called the BJ Cartridge error, which to me is a very poor name but that is what Canon has called it in the Service Manual. It is saying that on power up, the system has run the basic dignostic testing and the signals from the "Carriage holder + Printhead + BJ cartridges", fail initial tests. This means that some connection is bad, missing, or dead. About 95\% of the time it is a bad printhead. The other 5\% can be fixed with cleaning the contacts on the back of the printhead and inside the carriage, unplugging the power from the printer long enough to clear residual memory, and re-applying power. I can imagine 5-10 other things that could cause the same problem but the possibility is very small. For example, there are 3 flat cables that come from the logic board and go to the Carriage Asm that holds and controls everything in the printhead. Once cable loose could give the same error, but it would also give several other errors.

To get into service mode, remove the printhead completely. Then go into service mode. Once there the only thing you can do is reset the eeprom,...but I would be amazed if that did anything at all. However, knowing people like yourself you are going to try it anyway. Once you do that reset, turn the power off to get out of Service Mode.

Good Luck
by unknown on Jun 28, 2008 at 9:10pm Add comment
After having purchased several used Canon printers from Ebay sellers, I have learned that most of the problems were simply very badly clogged printheads. I summarize what I have learned as a result of perserverence with the current bunch of stuff:

1) Soaked printheads two days on paper towel in bowl of water, flushed with a jet of water. Heads appeared to be clean. No bleeding on towels again after extended soak.

2) Tested by soaking again for a couple of hours in alcohol. Dried ink released in large amounts. Soaked overnight in alcohol, flushed with water jet and re-checked after extended soak. Still a bit of color added to towel.

3) Re-soaked in alcohol followed by water jet flush and extended soak in alcohol again. No detected bleeding.

4) Tested by then soaking in ammonia for a couple of hours. All jets bled ink in profusion.

5) I am still soaking the heads in the ammonia and likely will not have the heads clean for at least one more day. This procedure has taken three days so far but does reveal how difficult it can be to properly clean a printhead. Contrary to what some have said, isopropyl alcohol and ammonia are very good cleansing agents and are non-reactive and often necessary if the printhead has dried.

Given the fact that these printers were purchased for about $90.00 including S&H and retail new for about $600.00 including S&H, The effort can prove rewarding, if a bit painstaking.

(later edit:) Success with one printhead. This one came off an MP500 that cost me about $25.00 total. The printhead design is very similar to the i550. I switched the CLI sensor chips to generic cartridges and reset them with the new German Canon chip re-setter. Prints are excellent.

by HLS on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:07am Add comment
It has been a long time since i did warranty jobs for Canon but I beleive from memory that their are 2 types of error conditions on the Canon i550

Flashing Orange
Alternate flashing (orange then green)

I think 7 flashes in orange is printhead
7 alternate flashes is waste ink full

When a printhead returns a error code it is unrecoverable as it generally means that the nozzles have burnt out. Be carefull not to reset the waste ink full error by mistake as the printer will overfull the waste ink pads and leak ink everywhere!
by Sean Hannan on Jul 13, 2008 at 7:09pm Add comment
Canon I550 flashing lights. Over the past year and a half, I have posted many different description of the error codes for these printers. The consequtive orange flashes are Customer Errors that you should be able to correct. The Alternative Green-Orange flashes are Service Error conditions that are more difficult. Both types of these errors have been listed in this forum over and over. All that one has to do is search this thread for your specific error and you should get all the help you need.
by unknown on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:22pm Add comment
Hi all, this is Kingsley, I would like to know if anyone could help me with step by step on how i could install my CANON i550x PRINTER WITHOUT THE CD

by unknown on Jul 25, 2008 at 9:17am Add comment

I assume you have it all done by now. If not, do you have Windows Xp software. If so it should be able to install automatically. If you still have no luck, go to the Canon Support web site and get to the Printers support, for i550 and download the driver software.
by unknown on Jul 27, 2008 at 8:33pm Add comment
I have a Canon i550 and make all the mistakes in the book. I print very low volume, so it takes forever to use up the ink cartridges, when they run out, I refill the ORIGINAL cartridges with non-Canon ink, etc. After 6 or more years, (I am not quite sure just how old this printer really is) I have just recently experienced the bad printhead code, the first problem I have ever had with this printer, by and far the best printer I have ever had to date. I have fixed the problem twice, with a light manual cleaning/rinsing of the printhead, but I was wondering how to keep the problem from recurring daily. Until I stumbled on this thread, I thought I would have to buy a new print head.
by unknown on Aug 11, 2008 at 5:56am Add comment
Handyman,... Sounds like you learned alot and have fixed your printer. It would help a lot of other people if you would explain what the problem was and how you exactly fixed it,.. if you finally did.
by unknown on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:31pm Add comment
There lies the rub... I have not fixed it, as the printer works for a couple hours or a day, and I get the printhead error again. Will I need to get a new printhead, or can I fix this so it will last longer than a few hours?
As for what I did, I just read the manual to see if it would tell me what was the problem, and I tried rinsing the printhead. I used to have a Xerox printer that I had nothing but problems with the printhead, so I had a head start there, but up until a few days ago, I have never had any trouble with this i550, even though I am running the original ink tanks on refill ink for the last 6 or more years.
Any suggestions on what to do with this printhead?
Thanks for the other comments in this forum, I will be trying some of the solutions when I have more time. - Gary Kelley
Gary,..First off you need to order some new ink carts or learn how to rinse out the old ones. That could be the number one problem of your printing. I don't believe that any ink cart could supply ink for 5 or 6 years witn non-oem ink. It doesn't matter how many times you refilled it. The sponge material inside the ink cart eventually gets clogged up with dried up ink. The fiber exit port will also dry up and limit the amount of ink flow. If you can't get good ink flow down to the printhead, it will begin to over heat and that can really damage a printhead. So go to and order some "Compatible BCI ink carts for the i550. It also wouldn't hurt if you ordered some ink from them. I'm sure it is better than what you have been using.

Please state what ink you were using and what was the specific PrintHead error.

The next step is to really clean you printhead. This is done with a lot more than just rinsing in water. I've posted this info many time but I'll do it one more time. Take the PH to the laundry room sink, hopefully you have a hand spray nozzle at that sink. Set the water to as hot as you can stand on your hands. With full force of the sprayer, focus the stream on the filter pads where the ink carts set. Then turn the PH over and focus the stream on each of the banks of nozzles. Rotate the head and see if more wet colored ink is visible on the filter screens. If so, rinse it off and repeat the stream on the bottom. Keep this up until you don't see anymore ink. Once you get that done, use your air compressor to blow all the water out of every part of the printhead and get it totally dry. If you have to use a hair dryer to blow it dry. Clean the contacts on the back of the PH using Isoproply Alcohol. Clean the other contacts located in the carriage ASM where the PH sets. ONly wipe in a downward motion as these gold contacts are spring loaded.

Verify that your purge unit is not stopped up by using a syringe to add hot water to both of the ink pads. Cycle the power to the printer on and Off, each time allowing sufficient time for the printer to cycle the purge unit. You should be able to see the water dissapear by being sucked down through the purge unit. Wipe off any excess ink on the purge wiper blades. Make sure nothing is stuck or jammed in there. Look for very small pieces of paper.

While you are waiting for you new ink carts to come in the mail, take each of the old ink carts and remove most of the old ink in the reservoir with a needle. Then add hot water from the tap to each ink cart and install them with the head in the printer.

Go into the print utility Maintenience section and run a deep cleaning cycle on all colors and Black. Do this a couple of time. Then print a nozzle check. Your color will not be correct but what you are looking for is that all nozzles are function, so the print pattern should be correct. Don't print any thing else but the nozzle check. If it does not come out clear, then do more cleaning cycles. Don't worry about all the ink going down the purge tubes, that will clean the out. Don't worry about filling up the waste ink pads, the water will evaporate and you can easily reset the waste ink error if it comes up. When you finally get the head working 100\%, now you can print a simple test page. Then put those old head in a bag and toss them away. If you're really a tight wad, then go to the Nifty-Stuff Forum and search for instructions on how to clean a Canon BCI-3/6 ink cart and bring them back to life.

If you really want to keep your printer working for a much longer time, you can purchase the REpair Manual I have created for the Canon i550. Just click on my "REPLY" and send me an email and I'll tell you more about it.
by unknown on Aug 13, 2008 at 12:01am Add comment
Thanks for all your advice, I appreciate the tips. Unfortunately, nothing I tried resolved the problem, and everything continued to point to the print head being bad, which I guess is understandable, being about 6 yrs old, so I bought a new Canon original printhead on Ebay, got it in 48 hrs, installed it with my original ink cartridges and non-oem ink, and I am back to printing documents and pictures with no loss of color clarity even though my refilled cartridges are about 6 yrs old. - Gary Kelley
Beth,.. the first thing is to make sure you have plenty of black ink in the large black ink cart. Do you refill your own ink carts or just by compatible ones? If you know you have a good ink cart, you need to go into the maintenance panel and do a deep cleaning of "Black" ink. The re-run the nozzle check and see how many of the missing lines will now print. You may have to do a couple of the deep cleaning cycles on the black. If that does not improve things, then fold up a paper towel into 1/4 size and remove your black ink cart and hold it over the paper towel. Then "Blow air" with your mouth into the air inlet hole at the top rear of the ink cart while you are hold the ink cart over the towel. Some ink must drop out of the bottom of the ink cart. If none drops, blow a little harder until you get some ink to drop. Once you do, replace the ink cart and do another deep cleaning cycle and print another nozzle test pattern. You should see some improvement now. If not, tell me exactly what you did, how you did it, and what the result were.
by unknown on Aug 25, 2008 at 10:50pm Add comment
hey trigger1937
i only buy compatable cartridges.
i did a print head alignment and adjusted numbers to match a pattern of the least amount of lines as possible.Even the scaling numbers on the lefthand side of each column isnt printing fully. i have a new black ink cartidge so i'm not low on ink.i did 3 deepcleans and a nozzle check.the 2 black grid boxes 4 nozzle check incomplete.column A and D are solid with white lines vert. and horiz.they both have a an area of missing ink approximately 1 square from bottom. column F is a mass of vertical whitelines.i removed black cartidge like you told me and blew into air hole on top. no problems ink came out on first attempt.reprinted still no improvment. did another 2 deep cleans but still no improvment.what do i do now hoping you can help trigger thanks beth - Anonymous
My i550 quit printing and I had cleaned the print head several times so I decided to buy a new one as I have done in the past.
I installed the new print head but it still won't print. I don't get an error message. It acts likes it is printing but nothing,
and I mean nothing is on the paper. What can I try now
by unknown on Aug 26, 2008 at 1:20pm Add comment
Tateaggie69, If you have a new Printhead and it tried to print, this is telling you that it has passed all of the power on diagnostic tests, but it doesn't realize there is no ink inside of the printhead. Don't try and print anything more than the nozzle check print. If there is no ink in the printhead and you try and print, this can damage the printhead.

The problem is in the Purge Unit. It must cycle through the power on process and suck ink out of the ink carts down into the printhead. If it is clogged up, no ink can get into the printhead,... and it won't print, even though it thinks there should be ink ready.

Search though this i550 thread for any information on How to clean the Purge unit. I've posted several tips on this in the past. The easy thing to do is to open the cover and when the head moves to the center, put 4-5 drops of hot water onto the pads where the heads rests and then close the lid and do a power off and then power on. Repeat this several times until you see the water has been sucked through the pads. Then run several deep cleaning cycles to get some ink into the head and print the nozzle check pattern. Keep doing this until you get a good nozzle check,... then you can print a real output.
by unknown on Aug 27, 2008 at 8:21am Add comment
how exactly do i remove the print head from the printer in order to clean it. i have the same problem as everyone else afew years ago - it just took me more time to break my printer than everyone else
by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2008 at 3:48pm Add comment
Anonymous,... I can't believe your asking this kind of question. When you got the printer new it came with a "Setup diagram" that showed you how to install the printhead and how to install the ink carts. Now,.. a few years later you can't remember how to tie your shoes,..but you're able to search the web for someone to help you. Please excuse my attitue, but did your ever try and go to the Canon Web site and look for the original installation guide. This should be the first place you look for anykind of help. It will tell you all you want to know about how to install the printhead,... and of course,... it is just the opposite process to remove the head.
by unknown on Sep 7, 2008 at 10:16pm Add comment

All of this printing problem did not happen overnight. It seems you have cloges in many colors. The only suggestion I have is for you to make sure each of your ink carts are good and can flow ink. Remove them one at a time and hold them over a paper towel and blow with you mouth into the rear air intake of the ink cart. This will force some ink to fall out of the bottom on to the paper towel. If you don't get any ink, blow a little harder and until you get some ink to fall. This is telling you that you ink carts are not flowing very well.

Have you tried to remove all ink carts and remove the printhead and clean the printhead as described in many posts to this thread.
by unknown on Sep 7, 2008 at 10:32pm Add comment
Anonymous,... Don't know who your are but we are always glad to hear have been successful in cleanint your printhead. We are all glad for you and that is why we try to help people who are in serious need to fix their printers.
by unknown on Sep 16, 2008 at 9:18pm Add comment
Hi there,

I have a Canon i550 with missing blue bars in nozzle check print out, (see below) ive reinstalled drivers, changed printer cables, and tried soaking the heads on damp tissue in a plate. Nothing has worked.... All other colours are perfect, and there is not a hint of blue in the blank areas.

by unknown on Nov 8, 2008 at 4:54am Add comment

There are 2 possibilities of problems for your printhead. #1 is that the 2nd bank of nozzles for Cyan is burnt out. Another possibility is that that part of the head is really cLogged. So you have to get the head to the center, then pull the power cord out of the printer,..then remove the ink carts and cap them. Then remove the printhead and take it to the laundry room sink and run medium hot water over all of the nozzles(especially the Cyan unit) and turn the head over and let the water stream hit directly on the cyan nozzles, (Both sets of them). Flip the head back over and check the filter screen for cyan to see if more ink is coming out. Keep this up until you see no more imk. Then set the head in a dish of medium hot water (not any hotter than what you could drink coffe) and let the head soak. Make sure the filter screens are covered in water. Let it soak over nigth. Next moringing use the hot spray again until you don't see any more ink coming out. Now you have to dry the printhead completely, even begind the head. Clean the contacts on the back of the head and also the contact springs in the Carriage ASM. Once you know the head is dry, put it back and replace the ink carts. Make 100\% sure you have good ink carts.
Run a couple of cleaning cycles and then print a nozzle check. If you seem some improvement, run additional color cleaning cycles until you get 100\% good print. If this doesn't work, let me know.
by unknown on Nov 10, 2008 at 6:59pm Add comment
Anonymous,... How many orange flashes are there in sequence before you see a long green and then it all repeats? Since you don't seem to know much about the insides, I wouldn't mess around until you get some good advice. You must know how to replace ink carts,... right? Once you can tell us what your error code is, we can work in the other things.
by Anonymous on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:31pm Add comment
I seem to have a different problem. I have the Canon i550 printer and have used ink cartridges from Inkjet for years with no problems. The last time I installed their cartridges, however, I started having problems. The cyan ink contaminated the yellow and magenta colors so everything looked green or purple. Cleaning the print nozzles did not help so I used the printer only as a black and white printer and when the black ink ran out, I went out and splurged on Canon cartridges and still have the same problem. All colors print, but the blue contaminates them. I used the suggestions above and cleaned the printhead numerous times with warm water spray until the water ran clear and the head looked clean. I tried once with alcohol also and then more water. I still have blue color mixing in with my yellow and magenta. I also have the comb look on my yellow and magenta nozzle check pattern. Does anyone have any ideas on how to fix this?
by lrj on Dec 29, 2008 at 9:48am Add comment
Irj,.. The problem could possibly be with the Purge unit. If it is not working correctly, ink will puddle on the right ink pad (Color ink) and that can contaminate the other inks because since it is a puddle that the color head is setting on, the ink wicks but up into the head. It can also be caused by a bad ink cart that leaks excessive ink into the pad. However, since you removed the head and cleaned it and then installed new Canon ink carts I believe the problem is with the purge unit.

What happens is one of the tubes that suck ink out of the PH comes off and the ink will not drain out of the pad.

To fix this you need one of my Repair Manuals to teach you how to take the entire printer apart and clean the purge unit and/or repair the exit tubes.

To get a manual, click on my User ID and send me an email with any other questions and a request for what you want.
by unknown on Dec 29, 2008 at 11:18am Add comment
Hi Trigger1937,
I would like to request the repair manual you mentioned. I'm also wondering what to do about the comb effect on my yellow and magenta nozzle check pattern. Any thoughts on this? I see that others have mentioned this problem, but I don't see any answers. THanks in advance.
by lrj on Dec 31, 2008 at 8:04am Add comment
Happy new year
Any new recommendations on Canon printers in 2009? Any comments on Canon All-In-One printers like the MP620?
My i550 is blinking 7 orange then 1 green. It does not seem to respond to being unplugged for a few hours, cleaning the contacts with alcohol on the back of the printhead and inside the carriage.
Unsure how to proceed with cost of printhead vs new printer especially if the new printhead is not the fix?
by safetydave on Jan 1, 2009 at 7:35pm Add comment
Soaking and rinsing the printhead in hot water for about 15 minutes worked for me. I didn't have to reset--the green light came on as soon as I dropped the head back into the printer. However, the magenta head doesn't seem to have come as clear as the others--I may try soaking it in cleaning fluid that came with a Jet Tech cartridge refill kit available for about $15 at Staples. I have been refilling the I550 cartridges for years now with good results.
by Anonymous on Jan 2, 2009 at 8:02am Add comment
Irj,.. To get one of my Repair Manuals for a specific printer, just click on my USER ID and send my an email. Once I get that I can send you some more information about your problem and attach some pictures that will help. I assume you are asking about the Canon i550. To help me understand your "Comb" effect problem, I need you to scan the nozzle check or any print that shows the "Comb" effect and send it to my reply email address.

Now to Safetydave. The Canon all in one printers are great. I have been using the MP730 for many years and I have 4 others that I'm working on. I purchased a MP530 for my daughter and she loves it. Of course I take care of it which is really just a matter of checking it each time I visit her. The 7 ornage flashes is one of the bad signs. It is typically a bad printhead. The only thing you can try is to clean the contacts on the rear of the head and inside the Carriage, and remove the main power cord for about 30 minutes,...then plug the power in without putting back the head or ink and see if it comes up with a solid green. If so then replace the head and the ink and see what happens. If the error comes back immediately, it is a bad head.

As far as the last note on this thread about soaking in hot water, if you do this just make sure you dry the head completely using compressed air to get all the water out from the back of the head.
by unknown on Jan 3, 2009 at 4:38pm Add comment
My Canon i550's black ink doesn't work very well.
All the other colors are excellent.
The black comes out in different shades of darkness, and leaves horizontal lines going from light to almost complete black before going back to light again when I print a large black square.
Documents (when printed in grayscale)come out with every second line blurry, and unreadable, while the other lines are mostly clear.
I've tried soaking the ink in near boiling alcohol, and cleaned the drying sponges, as well as clearing the EEPROM as explained by Canon Tek.
If anyone would know of a more specific fix, I'd appreciate it.
I really like this printer for the individual ink tanks that I've refilled numerous times, and still have lots of colored ink left and don't want to throw this one out.
Thanks to all.
by Marc70 on Jan 8, 2009 at 9:43am Add comment
Marc70,... What you are doing is mostly wrong. Boiling anything in Alcohol is all wrong. All that will do is warp and destroy the ink carts such that they will leak ink all over the printhead.

Have you tried cleaning your printhead. To do this, open the cover and take out all the ink and cap them off. Then remove the printhead and take it to you laundry room sink. Turn the faucet water on full and set it to medium hot, as hot as your hands can stand. Flush all of the ink out of the printhead by focusing the stream on to each of the filter screens. Then turn the head over and focus the stream onto the nozzle patterns on the bottom. Do this for several minutes and then turn the head over without getting any water on the filter screens. We want to see if there is colored water coming back out of each screen. This will tell you if you are getting water to flow backwards though the head and weather those nozzles are badly clogged. Turn it back over and continue to rinse until you see no more ink. Now you have to dry the printhead by using compressed air and blow all the water off of every part, especially the back where the circuit board is located. Don't Wipe the nozzles at ALL. Just blow them dry. If you don't have an air compressor, use your hair dryer on medium heat and max air. You may have to let the head set overnight to make sure it is dry.

Before you replace the ink carts,..make sure none of them are contaminated. If they are, use new ones. Clean the Purge pads that are located where the head parks when the cover is closed. Use some rubber gloves and paper towels and blot all the excessive ink out of both pads. Use an eye dropper or needle and syringe to add Windex or hot water to each pad to flush the ink out of them. Flood the pads with water. Without the head installed, close the cover and turn the printer off. Wait a few minutes and turn it back on. This will cycle the purge unit and suck the excess water out of the pads. If the pads are still really back, add some more water and cycle it again. Once you get the pads clean, you can replace the printhead and the ink carts.

Now you need to do a couple of cleaning cycles to prime the printhead with new ink. Once you have done that print only a nozzle check pattern and tell me what you get. Scan it in color and send me a copy.

When you finish all of this, send me an email by clicking on my USER ID. Once Iget that I can send you a reply. Then you should make a scan of your last nozzle test print and attach that to an email back to me.

by unknown on Jan 8, 2009 at 11:10am Add comment
Would it help to take the i550 printhead apart?
There's these two small screws at the bottom of the printhead, and I'm wondering if it would help to clean it out if I took these out?
I've tried EVERYTHING to clean out the printhead, and still I get the comb effect with the black ink on the alignment and nozzle check.
If anyone here can help, I'd appreciate it.
I've scanned the nozzle check, but there's no way to paste on this website.
[email protected]
by Marc70 on Jan 12, 2009 at 9:02am Add comment
If it just won't clean, then sometimes you have to just buckle down, and buy a new print head. Mine failed last year, I put in a new print head and went back to using my original ink cartridges I've been refilling for 6 years with third party inks.

Not a problem since.

As for posting images, all you have to do is post the image on the intenet and put a link in the message here to take you to the image there.

Most internet providers offer free web page, and even if you don't know how to create a viewable web page, you can activate it and post images that can be linked to.
by unknown on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:34pm Add comment
How do I get to the purge pads to clean them? I have a nice note from Trigger 1937 (1/8/09) above about how to clean them, but I don't know how to access them.
by lrj on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:51pm Add comment
Ifj,...Just open the top cover and they are on the right. When the carriage comes to the center, just pull the power cord and now the head is free to move by hand. Move it to the left and you will have better access to the ink pads on the right. Use a flashlight and you will see them.
by unknown on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:47pm Add comment
All is good again.
trigger1937 told me to fill the black ink cart with HOT water (take the ink out first,) and print a single black 1" wide bar straight down the middle of a page.
Did this a few times, then made the bar wider, and eventually the nozzle check came out near perfect (good enough for me). I could have kept going, but was satisfied at this point.
Thanks to all who tried to help, but especially trigger1937.
by Marc70 on Jan 23, 2009 at 3:40am Add comment
For the anonomous post above, and to all that read this thread,... You really have to be careful when you remove the printhead by raising the locking bar. Yes this is necessary to get the printhead out of the carriage asm you should not leave it up. If you leave the locking lever in the up position while you clean the head, (and the power to the printer is still on), the printer waits about 3-5 minutes and then will move the carriage back to the home position. With the level UP, it will crash into the top cover. This can cause several problems and I won't even make an attempt to list them all, but among them are; broken drive belt, loss of carriage registration position, broken carriage locking lever, etc.

There are two ways to prevent this. 1. Once you remove the printhead, close the locking lever. 2. Once you remove the printhead, pull out the power cord. I don't want to tell you how many people I have tried to help after they have damaged there printer this way.

If you want to be safe, put some tape on the lever with the note; CLOSE ME.

by unknown on Feb 20, 2009 at 9:33pm Add comment
i have a i550. i had the seven flashes so i cleaned the print head and reset the printer. now the problem seems to be the "paper thickness lever position". where is this and how do i fix it? im temped not to fix the damn thing so the parents buy a 4 in 1 combo, but i suppose its gotta be done.
by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:45pm Add comment
The paper thickness lever is the Blue lever that sits on top of the carriage Assembly where the printhead is installed. When the lever is moved to the left position,...this is for normal paper. To print thicker paper or envelopes, move the lever to the right. It ony has two positions.

Are you saying that you got rid of the 7 orange flashes just because you cleaned the printhead????
by unknown on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:41pm Add comment
I have no book for my i550. What & where is the print head?
Thank you
by Anonymous on Mar 29, 2009 at 8:47am Add comment
Anonymous,... Wow,... you do have limited knowledge. With the power turned on, lift the top cover of your i550 and the printhead and carriage asm will come to the center of the printer. This is where you replace the inks. As the head is stopped in the center, pull the power cord out of the back of the printer. Now you will be able to move the printhead by hand. You are doing this to disable the printer from moving the carriage asm while you have the printhead out.

Remove all ink carts and cap them so they won't dry. Lift the large grey lever on the right side of the carriage to unlock the printhead. To remove the printhead, press down slightly and pull forward at the same time. Now you can lift the head out of the carriage. Search this web site forum for instructions on how to clean the printhead.

If you want more visual instruction on how to set up the i550, go to this website and select the i550 printer for information.

by unknown on Mar 29, 2009 at 11:53am Add comment
What does 4 green flashes mean? and where can I find these codes for my canon i550? thanks
by Anonymous on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:44pm Add comment
Anonymous,... There are two kinds of green flashing lights. First there are the Green then consequtive 4 orange flashes, or it could be Green and alternating orange flashes. These are two different kinds of errors.

If it is 4 orange flashes and then a green and repeats.... this just telling you that you have one ink cart out of ink.

If it is green-orange-green-orange-green-orange-green-orange-long green, this is telling you that the purge sensor is not in the correct position and may be jammed out of position.

So depending on which one it is you need to do different things.

Click on my USER ID (Name) and send me an email and I'll give you further instructions.
by unknown on Apr 15, 2009 at 9:52pm Add comment
I saw this about the purge sensor not in the correct position. I think that is my problem. Can you help? Anne - Anonymous
I have a Canon I550 that just started printing horizontal blue lines across the paper anytime I try to print something in color.
When I print the test pattern, the blue is comb shaped as someone else here showed, and there is a blue line from B to C and E to F in the test blocks. (nozzle check) Everything else is fine.
When I print the "Windows printer test page" the windows logo has blue lines running through it, all the rest of the page is fine.

Any Ideas?
by unknown on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:55am Add comment
Toby,,.. Could you be a little more descriptive. I'm not sure what steps you are talking about or what was wrong with your printer to start with. The S530D is very close to all of the Canon i Series. But again, I don't know what you're doing and why.
by unknown on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:31am Add comment
Can someone please help....I have read all the posts on here and can't find one to help my problem. i have a i550 and had 7o and 1 g light, so i cleaned printhead real good. i put printhead back in and had steady green light, but when i went to print something as a test it keeps saying "The appropriate print head is not installed." this was not the case before cleaning it? FYI I did clean all contacts with eraser & Iso. Alcohol, also tried eepro? or whatever reset but still "no print head installed" message...did I damage it while cleaning? should I pay $65.00+s/h for new print head? I have never used anything but og canon ink carts. also can i still get a printer that uses 3e carts? i still have some and as you have said they aren't cheap?
by unknown on May 13, 2009 at 5:09pm Add comment
Stoner....You can get new i550 printheads on ebay for $50 if your printhead is dead, nothing lasts forever.
This is not my ebay listing, just a suggestion.
Make sure the printhead is clean and properly installed, and it should work. It is possible you damaged it if handled improperly while cleaning. They are fragile, but surprisingly durable.
I love the i550, it is the best ink jet printer I have had yet, works amazingly well in random use, and easy to maintain. You can save a lot on ink by refilling your own ink cartridges, too!
by unknown on May 15, 2009 at 7:59am Add comment
Just a suggestion to those who are looking to buy a new printhead,...they can be purchased directly from Canon as NEW and with their warranty for $48.26 Plus 6.00 tax and shipping. Canon seems to still carry every part for all of their printers, something that CANNOT BE SAID for any other printer mfg. I have tested this for 21 different printer models from the i550 thru the i9900, and from the MP700 up to the MP830, and from the iP3000 up thru the iP7600D. The phone number is 1-732-521-7230. You don't need the part number since they will look it up, but it will save you time if you know it.

As far as printers go, doesn't get any better than this.
by unknown on May 15, 2009 at 11:44am Add comment
I have the same problem, Can you help?. How do I get the printhead to the center where I can remove it. I have tried many ways but always get the 7 orange flashes. Hope you can help.
by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:22am Add comment
Anonymous,..The 7 orange flashes for the i550 is probably a bad printhead. If you open the top cover the head should come to the center of the printer, and then you can remove the ink and the printhead.
by unknown on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:05pm Add comment
My trusty i850 (an i550 sibling) has suddenly developed a phobia about printing with black ink. One page was fine; a minute later, the next identical page (also at high quality) printed only the color-ink portion of the output. Other symptoms of this phobia:

1. When I attempt to print black text in high-quality mode, nothing comes out at all. But in draft mode, the same text does print, though with a thin (1/16") horizontal white streak in every 1/4" row of text.

2. To pinpoint the problem, I set the machine to grayscale printing and had it print a test pattern: a vertical black column 1" wide running the full length of a page. In draft and standard modes, the result is a "jailbird pattern": alternating black and white horizontal strips, each about 1/4" thick. In high-quality mode, I get a solid dark-gray (but not black!) 1" vertical column with no gaps. Printing text in the grayscale setting yields similar results.

3. For the nozzle-check pattern (after multiple cleanings), the output shows (1) blank A and F fields; (2) missing "prefix numbers" (+1, +2, etc.) for fields A through L; and (3) missing lower half of the black grid at top. Everything else on the nozzle-check is correct; the color patterns are fine.

There are no error codes (flashing orange/green lights): just steady green. I'm using original Canon inks for the color cartridges and an Office Depot cartridge for the black. I replaced the black-ink cartridge with a new one (previous one was half full), but with no improvement.

So far I've also thoroughly rinsed out the printhead in the sink, per the above directions in this forum. I've gently cleaned the contacts and wires at the back of the printhead with an eraser (no buildup is visible) and have jiggled the printhead in place, as suggested by Michael on 10/29/07.

Given the suddenness of the onset, might this be an electrical-contact problem? Or is this more likely a printhead issue? If this phobia is expensive to cure, I'm quite ready to stimulate the local printer-vendor's economy, but wanted to inquire first whether anyone might recommend other solutions before I send this six-year-old machine to the happy-printing-grounds. Many thanks in advance for your assistance!
by unknown on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:58am Add comment
Can somebody help with the following problem? With a Canon I550 printer, when I print a Nozzle test, "E" is completely blank, and the blue band at the top of the test print is alternating boxes of blue strips and white spaces.

I've tried running hot water through the print-head and using windex to clean them out and compressed air. I seem to get all the ink out, but no change. I put the print head back in and runa deep cleaning. It's as if half the blue nozzle is not firing. I haven't treied soaking overnight as I'm beginning to think it is an electronic problem.

It seems the I550 had five nozzles on the colour - two are blue, two are magenta and one is yellow. When I take the print head out, there is ink on all five, so I don't get why nothing is showing on the test print "E".

Anything else I can check or any advice?
by unknown on Sep 27, 2009 at 5:30pm Add comment
lightrail,... Each color of the nozzle bank is divided into two banks,... the odd numbers and the even numbers. It appears you have electronically lost one of the banks. I have seen this problem dozens of time and have never been successful in any attempt to fix it.

You will probably need a new head.
by unknown on Sep 28, 2009 at 9:11pm Add comment
Thanks Trigger 1937 - that kind of what I thought. I'll be getting a new printer, not worth replacing the print head. I'll just use cheap inks in this Canon from now on - no point paying top dollar for OEM ink when it prints like crap.
by unknown on Sep 28, 2009 at 9:53pm Add comment
I have 2 Canon i550 printers, they are the easiest printers to use that I have ever owned, the print quality is excellent, though it will never compare to high end laser printers.

I have successfully cleaned the print heads, but occasionally, you have to bite the bullet and get a new print head. they only cost $50, so what's the big deal?

I have used exclusively for over 6 years only cheap refill inks, and I still use the original ink tanks I continue to refill.

I will use the Canon i550 until it rolls over and dies.

Lightrail, when you finally give up on your i550, just send it to me, I could always use a spare as backup. Thanks
by unknown on Sep 29, 2009 at 9:16pm Add comment
My Canon i550 waste ink: each time I power it on and during each cleaning pause with many pages printing.
I was forced to change empty color ink cartridge even if I was printing only using black ink, with that cleaning operation not requested by the user.
So I need to save my money and use non "original" ink but the "lovely" Canon printer stop me with the "7 orange led blink".
I have got now an HP Scanner/Color Printer at 40 Euro (EU) and I will never buy again a Canon product.
by unknown on Oct 23, 2009 at 11:25am Add comment
Diego8863,.... Sorry you had so many problems, but I have to say that your problems were due the lack of knowledge on how to take care of your printer. All of them could have been avoided. The Canon i550 printer is a great printer and if you still have it we can work together to get it fixed.

You will find if that you will have the same problems with the HP printer and the ink will cost you many $$$$$$. The bad news is that you can't fix any HP printers since they do not sell any replacement parts for their printers, nor are there any Service Manuals available,...even if there were some parts.
by unknown on Oct 24, 2009 at 9:06am Add comment
I, too, love my Canon i550 and i560. They have been with me from the beginning and I have gone through other printers that I will never buy again. My only fear is that when these two finally do take a complete "kaput" that I will not be able to get either again. I've started accumulating additional parts (printer heads)just in case. - Anonymous
Anonymous,... Keep good care of your i560 and print a nozzle check EVERY DAY. It uses less ink than letting the printer do a cleaning cycle. In a cleaning cycle the purge unit will dump 10 times as much ink that was used to print a nozzle check, and you don't get any information about the condition of your head.

You can still buy virtually every part you need from the USA Canon Parts Department. The only reason you may want to get rid of it is because you want faster speed, or higher resolution. Watch out for some of the newer Canon printers,..they are being designed and mfg. as throw-away. This is not true of all, just some.
by unknown on Nov 8, 2009 at 8:51am Add comment
I had two i550's and I liked them. Too bad the trends have moved away from that type of printer. In one, the print head unit mysteriously warped as if from heat. The result was a bad transport jam and death. In the other unit, the prints are missing magenta, completely. Like others, I did the old soak, blot and dry to no avail. It still prints pretty good, if you don't need magenta in your pictures or documents. I now only use it for black and white. Should I assume it's just a bad head? Is there some trick I'm missing that may unclog it?
by unit995 on Nov 17, 2009 at 4:24pm Add comment
unit995,...You are correct, these were and still are very good printers. If you search high and low you may be able to find one. However, there are still some very good Canon printers around,... you just need to get upgraded.

If you want you could just buy a new print head and keep that printer going forever. You just need to understand how to take better care of it.

Take out all the ink carts and then the head. clean the bottom and examine it very close under the biggest magnifiying glass you can find. What you are looking for is signs that somehow you have burn out the Magenta nozzle bank. It may be only one or more burn nozzles that has shorted out the rest of the bank.

I assume you have read all the information on how to "Aggresively" clean you printhead,.. and that you have done it and the results were the same. However, there are 6+ things that can cause you not to print any Magenta.

If you are interested in more information and some data about my Repair Manuals for Canon Printers, just click on my USER ID and I send you a short document on what they are and how to get one.

Your other choice is to search for a new Canon printer. The one I would look for would be a iP4200, ip4500, etc. While these use the newer "Chipped" ink carts, this is not a problem anymore because there are simple low cost chip resetters on the market and the solution has always been to refill your own ink. This not only saves money, but it teaches you how to really take care of your printer. This is critical because without this information you are incrementally hurting your printer everyday.
by unknown on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:15pm Add comment
My i560 is printing a green line near bottom of the page.
by Anonymous on Jan 31, 2010 at 2:16pm Add comment
Anonymous,...I've never in all my years heard of or seen this problem. I do not think it is caused by the printer. I suggest that you un-install the printer and re-install the driver for it.
by unknown on Jan 31, 2010 at 9:25pm Add comment
"Waste Ink Error" signal and there is a simple fix for this. Of course you said in your post you have already tried the "Button pushing",... and that didn't work. Of course it could be that you didn't do it right, cause it mostly always works for other people. I could tell you how to do it but I'm not sure it is the right thing to do.
by Anonymous on Jan 31, 2010 at 9:56pm Add comment
If you are still interested, there is a new printhead for the Canon i550 on ebay for about $90.00 plus shipping (a little pricey for me). The item number is 220570763432. Caution: the seller is located in England (a little far away if there is a problem) and if you are using PayPal or a credit card, you may be charged a conversion charge. Also the conversion rate may not be as listed, it can change daily.
by WORKIN-ON-IT on May 3, 2010 at 5:55pm Add comment
Aonymous,... The best place to buy printheads is directly from Canon as they will give you a fair price and the head is warrantied. You can call their Parts department at 1-866-481-2569 and ask for the parts department. Tell them this will be a Credit card order as you don't have an Account with them, and tell them the printer model. They will know the correct part number as most of the older heads will have new part numbers by now. The $90 number is rediculous.
by unknown on May 3, 2010 at 10:20pm Add comment
Hi there,

Ok, so even though this thread is over 5 years long, it seems like it still lives on. This is close to my problem. I've looked through this page and didn't see someone with the exact problem I have, but I saw people who likely know what's going on.

Today, much to the chagrin of my wife who was printing over 20 pages of work stuff (and thus, as you can imagine, to my chagrin), my i550 starting printing - blank pages. It thinks it's fine and healthy and happily spits out blank page after blank page. This was working within the last couple nights, even last night I think. In retrospect, the colors have been fading for a while and I never figured out why. I've done several deep nozzle cleanings and rinsed out the printhead and still not even a drop on the paper. Interestingly enough, after the cleaning, and subsequent attempts at printing, I checked the printhead again and there was black and cyan ink coming through. I didn't expect much yellow since the cartridge looks dry (I figured why open up a new one until I figure out what's going on) but the magenta didn't make it through. Also, if the ink is making it through, why isn't it on my paper?

Possibly relevant factor: Last night, yes, I did print last night I realize now, while we were printing a stack of papers, I think I must've overloaded the paper tray and a paper started coming out jamming against the side and rippling/ripping. I got it out and took a stack of paper out of the tray and everything continued on printing fine. The black was giving trouble, but the ink was low, so I figured that was it. There's a new black in there now.

So, basically, the printer thinks it's printing fine. The ink, *IS* to some extent coming through the printhead. It's just not making it to the paper. I checked and made sure that my lever is on paper, not envelope, so that's not it. It seems that somehow the printing mechanism is too "high" over the paper.


by Revvie on Dec 8, 2010 at 5:26pm Add comment
I have this same problem and its not working when I reset it. I turn it off and it does the same thing. Should I just get a new printer?
by unknown on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:38pm Add comment
Revvie,...Mxlhomeschooler,... To me it sound like you have a prtially clogged head and/or old or junk ink carts. If you have satisfied yourself that ink is getting into the head but still not printing, there is two possible problems. But now you say that you are getting some printing and if this is the case the only possible problem is that the ink carts are no good or the printhead is clogged.

Click on my User ID and send me a note with some of your information and I will return some instructions on how to clean that printhead.
by unknown on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:46am Add comment
Well, I finally had to give up on my beloved i550.
Just couldn't get the printhead cleaned.
Bought 2 epson Stylus N10, ($20/ea, figured it was cheaper than buying ink).
Broke my heart, as I still have some ink left for the i550.
I might just try the "wrong" ink when time comes to refill these ones, just to see how bad it gets, not sure yet.
by Marc70 on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:19pm Add comment
Has it ever been determined what “breaks” when taking apart a print head to clean it?

I couple printers ago I had an iP3000 which starting printing rusty orange when it should have been yellow. Cleaning with water or alcohol cleared it up, but only for a few days. Eventually I just resorted to printing a couple inch yellow square. As it printed you could see the rusty orange turn to yellow. So it somehow purged the yellow ports in the print head. I was speculating that magenta was somehow bleeding over to the yellow.

Back then I was warned that taking apart the print head would probably mean that it would never work again. I removed the small screws on the bottom and thought I’d see a mess inside, but it was pretty clean. I was extremely careful in disassembly & reassembly, but I got a print head error after that.

I mention this here because the iP3000 takes the same print head as the i550.

I replaced the iP3000 with an iP3500. The 3500 took forever to clean & boot up. Eventually I got tired of all the wasted time & ink bought an iP4700 because it was cheaper than buying ink. I’m getting really frustrated with the iP4700 because sometimes it takes longer than forever to go through its cleaning cycle on power up. The other day one the inks was running low. When the 4700 got done with its cleaning cycle the ink was then completely out.

I’m thinking about getting a new print head for the iP3000. Unless someone can tell me what to do in order to take it apart & put back together again & have it work. Or is there a source for new inexpensive print heads?
by Mike109 on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:53pm Add comment
Kitty,... Almost 99\% of the time the head is dead when you get the 7 orange flashes. What Canon is saying is that 1\% of the time the problem COULD be with the logic board and a burned out driver or high voltage power supply. It is hazzardous to test this type of head, since if you had a friend who has a known good i550 and you put the head in that machine to test it, you could burn out his logic board,... since if the head is shorted, anything can happen. You could loose a good friend that way.

Buy a replacement head from Canon which comes with a warranty. Remove the old head from you i550 and turn the power on. It should come up with a green light and tell you to install a printhead. This is telling you that the logic card did past the built in power on test. You can call Canon Parts at 1-866-481-2569

Mike109,.... You have certainly had your share of problems with printers and heads. I hope you learned that you should never take those heads apart. If there is a problem with the head, there are many other ways to fix the problem. Forget using anything but hot water. Nothing dissolves dried up ink better than hot water. All other solutions can harm the head or the gold contacts or the built in EEprom.

It sounds like you really need a lesson on how to take better care of your printers, so that you don't end up in such a mess. I think fixing your iP3000 is a much more cost effect path, provided that Canon still has replacement head. Click on my USER ID and send me a note and I will provide you more information.
by unknown on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:14pm Add comment
I took it apart as a last resort. Initially a print head cleaning cycle would clear up the problem & it may be OK for a week. But then when I printed anything with yellow it would come out rusty orange, until quite a bit of yellow of printed. After months of doing this I resorted to flushing with distilled water, but the rusty orange kept coming back when yellow was needed. Again until enough yellow ink went through the print head to flush out whatever color was leaking into the yellow ink flow path. I presumed magenta was the culprit. After doing this many, many times I tried alcohol followed by a water rinse and compressed air to blow everything dry. But again rusty orange came out after a couple days.

I had plenty of color, just the wrong color. Yellow test patterns came out OK, except for not being yellow - until a lot of yellow passed through the print head. Something was leaking internally and I figured I had nothing to lose because I couldn't afford to keep buying yellow ink carts. FWIW I only used OEM Canon inks. I don't see how I can take better care of my printer. There certainly is nothing I did to get magenta mixed in with the yellow.

- Mike109
Cheaper these days to get another printer. We have a brother multi function that cost about $112 that will be ok until we decide whether to replace this canon i550. We have another older canon downstairs that has a jitter periodically that we can use in a pinch :) but thanks for the info. we'll quit wasting our time trying to clean this deadhead :) - kittymor
Mike,... If you only use original Canon ink carts then one or more of them are leaking,..or when you clean the printhead aggressively you may have damaged the tiny round pads around the base of the filter screens in the head.

There are several ways to get color contamination but the most frequent way is that an ink cart leaks excessive ink thru the printhead and into the small pads where the head parks. This "Floods" the pad with that color (most typically it is yellow since that color is very THIN compared to the other colors) and then the ink puddle is "Wicked" back up into the other colors which ruins everything. This can also happen when you do TOO MUCH cleaning via the printer software.

The other way that colors can contaminate is inside the head. Once you took the head apart I'm sure you saw the very thin gray rubber seal that separates and seals the ceramic nozzle plate from the main head. This seal can break down or can easily be damaged or misplaced if you ever take the head apart. You don't have the correct tools or lubricants to put the seal back in the correct location. The result is inks of all colors get mixed together.

Finally, I can't imagine a printer as old as the ip3000 lasting this long without ever being cleaned internally. The printer is at least 6+ years old and if you add up all the ink that has gone through the printhead, the parking pads, the purge unit, and finally the waste ink pads, you can see how much dried up ink has turned to GLUE over the years.

Most people turn their printer off every night and this is a mistake. The Canon printers have a built in CLOCK that keeps track of how long it has been since you last printed and keeps counting even if the print is turned off. If it has been 12 hours since you last printed or turned on, the printer will do a FULL PURGE CLEANING CYCLE of all colors. If you don't turn the printer off, it will not do this. The purge cleaning cycle uses enough ink to print 10 or more pages and if you had left your printer on and print at least a nozzle test print each day you will not only save 10X as much ink but also keep the ink supply and printhead in top condition.

It sounds like the one thing you need to do is to clean the ink pads. If you click on my user ID and send me a note I will be able to send you back some instructions on how to do that.
by unknown on Feb 5, 2011 at 9:24am Add comment
Kitty,... Yes it is much easier and cheaper just to buy a new printer,.. but then you will find out the ink is much more expensive. I'm sure you know that they give the printer away because the typical replacement cost of a set of inks cost almost as much as the printer. Therefore, every 6 months you will be re-buying the printer,..over and over. Of course you could refuse to do that and just buy another printer full of ink. Then all you have to do is add one more printer to your local landfill every year. The stores and the local governments have realized that these companies are "Giving Away" the printer just so people will purchase their ink. Now the merchants are charging you a service fee when you buy a new printer just to pay for the landfill cost. They want to make sure you pay for it up front. Can you imagine what will happen in a few years when they run out of landfill and have to dump all those printers into the San Francisco Bay.

That away to go Girl! Remember to Recycle.
by unknown on Feb 5, 2011 at 6:29pm Add comment
On that note, trigger, would you know if any of these inks are compatible with other printers?
I've got ink left over from a Lexmark something, and enough ink left over from my i550.
I just bought 2 Epson Stylus N10 ($20/ea, no surcharge for lanfill here in Canada, yet.)
I was thinking of trying to use some of that left over ink in the Epson, and worse comes to worse, maybe just buy new ink tanks (~$20 for a set) if the canon or lexmark inks ruin my epson tanks.
I just hate to throw out some good ink. - Marc70
Yes I agree ink is not cheap, but thankfully we researched before we bought the Brother and all in all it doesn't cost an arm and leg to replace the ink cartridges. The Canon cartridges are $12 something each and the Brother not that much higher. I know HP is notorious for high dollar ink so we stay clear of them. And, yes I do recycle and we have never thrown away a computer or printer yet. I am my Mother's girl and hoard everything or donate or give it away. :) My husband found the print head is around $26 so we will probably replace that first. I have been disabled and thrown out of my work for the past 4 years so we don't jump out there and spend like we used to. Actually playing with fixing the printer was a good diversion from study time as the state is paying to retrain me to do something else to get me off disability pay. :) sure was easier when I already knew how to do my copier/ printers...Ricoh brand don't ya know :) - kittymor
Mark70,... If you have a lot of ink for the i550, then you should do what kittymore above did, she got a new printhead for $26. Then you would be able to use all that ink. The printheads in the Epson and Canon are 100\% different technology and they are quite a bit different. The Epson uses Pizoelectronic technology to eject ink. The Canon uses "Bubble-jet Technology" which uses Heat to force ink in a constrained area to expand and then ejects "Bubbles" or ink drops.

However, since the Canon ink is "Dye" ink, check to see if the Epson uses Dye or Pigmented ink. If it uses Dye ink you have very little to loose in trying it in the Epson.

Kitty,... I think your husband has done the right thing in buying the head. Now you need to take that i550 apart and clean it and put it back in top condition and it will last you a long time. You should also buy your ink for the i550 at a discount place or refill your own ink. However the cost of the after market ink(some places are accually very good) is so low it does not make sense to refill you own ink.

Now that I know you repaired printers at one time, and because you seem to do the right things in saving and recycling, I'm going to give you one of my Repair Manuals for the Canon i550 printer. This will teach you all you need to know about that printer and how to take it apart, clean it, and put it back together. Click on my USER ID and send me a short note. This will allow me to send you more stuff.
by unknown on Feb 6, 2011 at 8:07am Add comment
trigger1937 -

I have been very careful in cleaning the printhead. As previously mentioned I initially started out using the printer’s cleaning cycle, therefore I never touched the area near the filter screens.

It’s been a few years since I took apart the printhead & don’t recall exactly what kind of seals were in there. I never had a leaking problem after I put it back together because it never worked after that. I did a lot of research before taking it apart as a & other’s had done it before me. Obviously they also had problems of some sort. Again, this was a last resort procedure & I was aware of the consequences. But I had nothing to lose because it was not functioning properly anyway.

I had also removed, cleaned & replaced the pads where the printhead parks. Also cleaned everything else I could get at after taking apart the case. This was done a few years ago & quite a bit before the unit was 6 years old.

I have heard about leaving the printer on in order to reduce the cleaning cycles. I’ve also heard if not turned off then the printhead will not be fully parked & therefore dry out & clog. My friend has an older i850 which uses the same printhead. He rarely uses it but never has a problem. Go figure. I’ve had 4 different Canon printers & each newer one has a more extensive cleaning cycle than the previous one. The i850 was almost instantaneous compared to the current iP4700. They’re going backward in usability & ink consumption.

I’m considering getting a new printhead for the iP3000 because I’m really po’d at the iP4700’s cleaning cycle because it takes so long. Or I’ll have to switch printer brands after being a loyal Canon customer for years. Or maybe I’ll take apart the printhead again & look for any loose or broken electrical connections.
by Mike109 on Feb 7, 2011 at 12:18am Add comment
Mike,..Whenever you use the printhead the carriage is left in the far right position but the ink pads are lowered. However, if the printer stays idle for 1 minute, it will start the purge unit and wipe the bottom of the printhead and then it will park the head and raise the pads You can check this out by just printing something and then count the amount of time till you hear it cycle the purge unit and then park the head. If you turn the print off it will repeat the cleaning of the bottom of the head and then park the head and raise the pads and LOCK the head in the home position.
by unknown on Feb 7, 2011 at 9:51pm Add comment
Hi my Canon mates
When I turn on my i550 it makes a short grinding noise followed by a short green flash, orange flash, green flash, orange flash then a longer green flash. The flashing cycle then repeats
I've tried moving the paper thinkness level a couple of times & all cartridges seem to have ink
Any ideas?
Regards from DownUnder
by Charge of the Light on Aug 18, 2011 at 1:35am Add comment
Hey,..Down under. If you are correct in the count of the orange flashed and then green,... a total of two orange flashes,..then the error is telling you that there is some kind of paper jam inside the printer. Open the top cover and when the carriage moves to the center pull out the power cord. Now you will be able to move the carriage my hand. Use a "Torch" or flashlight and examine everyplace you can see. You are looking for anything that can cause an obstruction,..such as a paper clip, staple, hair pin, bit of paper,.etc. Move the carriage back and forth several times to see if you can feel any kind of bump or obstruction. Use the light to examine the purge unit and the ink pads inside the cover on the far right. Have you ever had a paper jam and pulled the paper backwards at the same time the printer was trying to move the paper forward. Then tear the paper out of the printer. If so you may have left a bit of paper somewhere that is now causing problems.
by unknown on Aug 18, 2011 at 7:01pm Add comment
Hi, seen lots of good comments on this thread. I had some clogs and cleaned out the print head for my i560. Worked for a while. I get what seems to be normal operation when I turn on the printer - a steady green. But when I print, I get a "print head not installed" message; no flashing lights. When I open the printer, it comes to the center and when I turn off the printer it parks to the right. I've uninstalled and reinstalled many times.

Can't find anything on this symptom. Can anybody help?
by unknown on Sep 1, 2011 at 9:43am Add comment
Andrewa,... You could be dealing with a bad printhead. The only thing you can try is to remove the printhead and clean the contacts on the back of the head and then clean the contacts inside the carriage unit. When you replace the head and inks, lock - unlock - lock the lever a couple of times as this forces the two contacts to wipe together and make better contact.

If you get the same error again, then I think your head is dead. Call Canon parts department at 1-866-481-2569 and ask for the parts department. Tell them you want to make a Credit Card order (since you have no account with them). Tell them your printer model number and they will look up the part number and price for the head. Since the i560 is SOOOO VERY OLD,...they may not have any left. They don't make them forever. Then you have to search for one on the internet.
by unknown on Sep 1, 2011 at 6:12pm Add comment

Wow this thread is old but AMAZING. I'm not having a flashing issue, but something entirely different.

I have a i550 printer, and the ink for it is getting scarce. I can only ever find it in the multipack (which negates the convenience of the individual ink tanks *bleh*) so I've been forced to buy referbs (or store-brand ink). Recently these have begun to get scarce as well, until I saw that the same cartridge for the 6 inks can be subbed for the 3's in the store-brand. -Well, I hate buying store brand, so I tried a 6 ink in my i550 (which takes 3's normally).

At first it worked great. I'm a very low volume printer, so it was a while before I checked up on my printer again. Today, when I went to test my printer against my grandparents new HP (I was boasting, my i550 has been awesome for YEARS now)--everything came out dingy. After some tinkering, I found out that my cyan cartridge (the experimental '6' that I tried) had leaked. Everywhere. My yellow was green and my magenta was purple. I think my black was okay.

So. Here's my dilema. I took out ruined inks. Then I removed the printhead (which, silly me, I hadn't realized was removable until I was tinkering with it), cleaned the outside nozzles and inside contacts with some alcohol (it was pretty grodie since I hadn't ever cleaned it and I live with dander-spewing pets) and found that the ink sensor no longer was functioning properly.

After taking the color inks out, the ink sensor still reads I've got 4 full tanks. -None of my tanks are full. Not even the black. I figured the head was so saturated with cyan that it was misreading. So I did some nozzle checks, some (a lot of) deep cleanings, and even printed out a few photos just with the black ink cartridge in (it STILL printed cyan. Very lightly--but STILL! Wow).

Am I in need of a new printer? I really love my i550. Should I soak the print head to try and get out the excess cyan? Will new cartridges flush out the old ink? Someone please help.
by pheonixgate on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:29am Add comment
Thanks Trigger1937
I've tried your suggestion & given the old girl a full clean out, taken out the printhead giving it wash, even turned her upside down & given her a good shake
Still no luck though with the same error light pattern occuring
I emailed Canon outlining the problem & they told me to take her to a Canon service center....yeh, sure as if I haven't lost enough money with the GFC already!
Tragically yours from DownUnder
by unknown on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:10am Add comment
Phoenixgate,...You are making yourself crazy and there is no need for it. The Canon BCI-3 ink and the BCI-6 ink are totally interchangeable WITHOUT PROBLEM. There is no difference. You don't need to purchase Canon brand in as you can buy the ink at many stores and it is compatible ink. I am going to send you an email and when your respond I will provide you more data, especially information on the correct way to clean you print head and how to keep your printer in top condition forever.

CHARGE OF THE LIGHT.... If you are really in charge, come you don't turn them off at night,....LOL..

It could be the rear paper feed sensor that is stuck out of position. I will send you and email and when you respond I will tell you more about that problem and what to so about it.
by unknown on Sep 14, 2011 at 9:08pm Add comment
neparker,... I almost started to laugh out loud,...since the i550 is near 10 years old. But then again I know how well they are built and how long they will last as I have work on them before and I owned the i560 for 5 years. While your note is not complete since you did not really define "How many orange Flashes" and then green flash. I am sending you this short email and when you reply to my note with an email reply I will be able to send you more instructions. Please list your printer model number and describe the problem.
by unknown on Apr 16, 2013 at 4:45pm Add comment
Well it took hours and hours reading and trying everything on this thread (even the PH in the freezer idea! BTW not a good idea!)and I finally got rid of the 7 orange flashes. (I think it was the air compressor into the PH ports and back through the screens that finally did the trick? Foam came out of Cyan and Magenta?) But I only got printing in BLACK ink back. Funny, after all that I went through and it is not perfect, but I still feel like a success! THANK YOU. I almost hesitate to ask but are there any ideas on getting back the colours now that this i550 actually thinks it is fixed?
by 1963chevy on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:03pm Add comment
1963chevy,... Yes I have several ideas. To send them to you first I will send this short email and when you reply with your i550 model number and a description of the problem and what you have done I will be able to send you the instructions you need.
by unknown on Sep 17, 2013 at 9:31pm Add comment
Hi Trigger. Well I am back to 7 orange flashes this morning after my "great" success of yesterday. My i550 says Canon K30200 on the bottom so I guess that is the model number you are referring to.

I have cleaned the PH numerous times both the ports and the connectors. I have blotted the two little sponges where the head docks. I have wiped off the shiny metal just to the left as you open the lid. Finally when I blew out the ports with my air compressor I finally got the printer to go into service mode and I was able to reset and get short lived success on Black only. Now I am back to square one where the printer will not respond to attempts to put it into service mode. In other words, when I hold the resume button while pressing and holding the power button, then pressing the resume button 2 or 3 times (separately) I never get the steady green. It immediately starts flashing 7 orange again. Thanks for any advice. - 1963chevy
1963chevy,...I can't find any email from you so I will send you one from me with my email address and when you get it send me an email with all this information and then I will be able to help. In the mean time pull out the power cord and wait 1 minute and then put it back and turn the power on. This will reset any OLD error condition and start the power on diagnostics all over again. If the same error occurs then you really did not reset the waste ink counter. Whatever you do don't try and print anything else until we get a perfectly clean nozzle test print.
by unknown on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:37am Add comment
I have both the canon i550 and i560. I have had them for years and they are, by far, the best printers that I've owned. Recently the i550 started flashing 7 golden flashes, then 1 green, 7 golden, then 1 green. I have read through your posts regarding the print head and have rinsed it thoroughly several times and finally bought a new print head. The problem still persists. Any other suggestions?
by Anne B on Oct 24, 2013 at 6:39am Add comment
Now I have a Q about my i560. When I plug it in it continually flashes green. I can not turn it off with the button - it just keeps flashing green (slow flashes). When I open the cabinet, the cartridge does not move to the center. Nothing happens except the green flashes. I am so disappointed that both my i560 and my i550 are acting up at the same time. I love (loved) these printers and with they still made them. My kids laugh at me but they have lasted over 15 years.
by Anne B on Oct 24, 2013 at 6:43am Add comment
Anne,...On the i550 the 7 flashes are telling you that the printhead is now burnt out. It probably failed after too many years of never being cleaned externally and flushing all the old dried up ink out of it. Then one day when you printed something it over heated and burned out the internal wiring. To confirm this, open the top cover and when the head move to the center unlock the carriage tab and remove all of the inks and the printhead. Now pull out the power cord and let it set for a few minutes. Then lock the lever down and close the top cover and then plug the power cord back and turn the power on. You should now get a different number of "Gold" or yellow flashes which should be telling you to install a printhead. Clean all of the old ink off of the head and clean the contacts on the back of the head and clean the contacts in the carriage and then open the top cover and put only the head back in the printer, lock the carriage bar and close the cover. If you get the same 7 golden flashes again you know the printhead is dead.

I will send you this file as an email and when you send me back your email response I will be able to answer your questions on the i560. Be sure to mention everything that happened as you do all of the above testing and count the flashes very carefully. Copy this note when you reply.
by unknown on Oct 24, 2013 at 9:29am Add comment
My canon i560 is not printing grayscale very well at all. When I print a page in full color, it does good - some black lines are broken or missing but it is readable. When I do grayscale it is unreadable. I do grayscale to save ink and it has worked well for many years. I have tried nozzle check, print head alignments and "cleaning". I haven't done the "deep cleaning" to save on ink. Do you think I should deep clean or what could the issue be? Thank you
by Anne B on Nov 2, 2013 at 2:36pm Add comment
My canon i560 is not printing grayscale very well at all. When I print a page in full color, it does good - some black lines are broken or missing but it is readable. When I do grayscale it is unreadable. I do grayscale to save ink and it has worked well for many years. I have tried nozzle check, print head alignments and "cleaning". I haven't done the "deep cleaning" to save on ink. Do you think I should deep clean or what could the issue be? Thank you
by Anne B on Nov 2, 2013 at 2:56pm Add comment
My canon i560 is not printing grayscale very well at all. When I print a page in full color, it does good - some black lines are broken or missing but it is readable. When I do grayscale it is unreadable. I do grayscale to save ink and it has worked well for many years. I have tried nozzle check, print head alignments and "cleaning". I haven't done the "deep cleaning" to save on ink. Do you think I should deep clean or what could the issue be? Thank you
by Anne B on Nov 2, 2013 at 2:58pm Add comment
Anne B,...You have almost ruined your printer by continuing to print in "Grayscale" which uses no Black Pigment ink at all and only uses the colored inks to print the entire document in "GrayScale". It is clear that you don't have any idea what Grayscale means,,..since it is a photographic term that means to "Render" the entire image in shades of gray that represent various colors. It is like telling your printer to print "Text documents" as if they were photos and trying to print it like an image in "Shades of Gray". All of this time you have not been using the large black ink cart that is designed to print only text. It will be amazing if you ever get it to print again.

I will send you this email and when you send me your email I will be able to send you some instructions to clean and test your printer. Let's hope it is not too late.
by unknown on Nov 2, 2013 at 8:45pm Add comment
My Canon i560 just sent an error message "The appropriate print head is not installed". What??? It just printed perfectly about an hour ago. There are 5 yellow flashes and the print head cartridge will not center when I open the cover.
by unknown on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:36pm Add comment
ujGuZW Major thanks for the blog. Cool.
by unknown on Jul 1, 2015 at 1:16am Add comment
Glad to find it too! I have recently started to use my i550 after several years of sitting around. The first problem is the carriage won't come to the middle to remove tanks and head. I am also getting the 7 flashes and know how to clean from reading above and have done that. Need to get to the tanks and head again but can't! - scott46
Glad to find it too! - scott46
Glad to find it too! - scott46