repaired printer part This type of error normally comes up when the printer can’t talk to its print head (when talking about the kind of printer that has its print heads in the cartridge itself). So after talking with tech support, I found that this printer was just out of its 12 month warranty (of course). So the next step in any kind of troubleshooting is to scour the net for the exact error message. Just take a look at what’s out there for a moment. What I was hoping to find didn’t exist at the time, so I’m writing it up.

Obviously the next step in any self-respecting geek’s predicament is to take it apart. Taking things apart is fun, try it out and learn all about how things really work. After taking most of the printer apart, I was able to get a really good view of what I thought was the problem. Taking it completely apart wasn’t really necessary, but it was fun.

As you can see, there is a spring on the black (right) side of the carriage that appears to push the cartridge to the extreme left side of its little container. It looked normal while the other spring in the color (left) side was left dangling. Upon further inspection it was obvious that a plastic tab had formerly existed in the color side to hold the spring in just like the black side. When I push the spring back into its place and bend it to the right with my finger just like the cartridge would, it falls out.

So I quickly mixed up a little bit of 2-hour epoxy (the 5 minute stuff is too brittle) and smeared it all over the spring in a way that I thought might keep it there. After a few minutes I pressed on it and saw that the top needed a little more because that part was breaking loose. Now I’m going to let it set and come back later to check up on it, I’ll be back with my findings.

Sadly, when I came back and inserted the color cartridge into the slot, the printer gave me the same error, “Remove and check color cartridge”. Obviously that was not the only problem. So I took the whole thing apart to really get a look at it and found that there was a much bigger problem. While the spring was loose, someone had tried to insert a new color cartridge. This cause the pointy end of the spring to stab itself through the back of the print carriage which very nicely destroyed a thin pad with several circuit traces. I was not able to remove the part without further damaging the traces.

Of course, I had to look for a replacement part in case they were available. I did find a few, but the price of one replacement carriage assembly was nearly 250USD. Since a brand new printer of the same kind can be had for less than that I decided it was not worth the cost. I did feel a little guilty as I placed this almost-perfect printer into the recycle bin.