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Restoring natural flow to edible ink cartridges and dealing with clogged printheads

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2013 03:59PM PDT
Canon CLI-8 / CLI-221 / CLI-226 - PGI-5 / PGI-220 / PGI-225 etc.
Restoring Natural flow to Edible Ink Cartridges
 
If an edible ink cartridge experiences clogging/low flow issues, check for the following:
  1. Adhesive tape covering the air passage near the top of the cartridge.
  2. Dried out sponge not allowing any ink to flow through the nozzle port.
  3. Empty Ink Chamber (if you don't have ink, you can't print).
If the ink still has problems flowing out the nozzle port you can try squeezing some out by putting a little pressure on the sides.   Below you will find instructions on how this can be done. Please remember to do this over a paper towel or several paper towels.
  1. With the nozzle port facing down toward the paper towel, place your fingers on each side of the cartridge. 
  2. Be sure to place your fingers on the sponge chamber side and not the ink chamber side.
  3. Gently squeeze until a drop or two pushes out the nozzle port.
  4. Repeat the last step 1 more time.
  5. Place the cartridge in your printer, and on a plain sheet of paper, print a test page.
On a more severe case, you can try the following.  Please keep in mind, this has to be done quickly or you will allow all the ink to pour out the nozzle. 
  1. With the nozzle port facing down toward the paper towel, place your fingers on each side of the cartridge.
  2. Remove the refill plug located on the top of the ink chamber.
  3. Gently squeeze until a drop pushes out the nozzle port.
  4. Quickly replace the plug over the ink chamber.
  5. Clean any excess ink.
  6. Place the cartridge in your printer, and on a plain sheet of paper, print a test page.
The method above allows air to quickly flow inside the cartridge.  This in turn allows the ink to flow naturally and quickly through its process. 

Finally, know that leaving a printer idle, especially when you have edible cartridges installed, can cause the water from the ink droplets which accumulate at the heads to evaporate, leaving behind crystalline (sugar) deposits which can clog the print heads. The way to avoid this problem, is to ensure that you print at least 1-2 pages with your printer per week, and if you are going to leave the printer out of use for a while, to ensure that you at least power cycle it every other day (turning it off and then on gets the ink flowing), or leave food grade printhead cleaning cartridegs installed while the printer is out of use. If you do get a clog in your printer's printheads, it will show up when you print as colors could come out dull, or you will notice lines on the page or missing colors. To unclog the printheads, you can either:

- Run a print head cleaning cycle (through your printer's menu) and print a nozzle test to see if it has cleared (or do several deep cleans if problem persists), or
- Install Inkedibles cleaning cartridges and print a few pages with these installed, and also run a print head cleaning cycle with these installed (preferred method)
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