This year my Designjet 1050C developed a strange issue with printing black. Whenever I tried to print something it would start printing fine then mid-way through the print the black would start fading until it printed no black whatsoever. It then threw a ‘black printhead failed’ error.
I went through the printhead replacement routine, taking the black printhead out, cleaning the contacts then seating it back in again. The printer then went through a printhead alignment process after which it spit out the following page which shows that the problem hasn’t been resolved.
I thought that the problem was indeed a failed black printhead so I purchased a new black printhead. The printer worked absolutely fine for two weeks but then developed exactly the same problem.
I then took a look at the tubes in the back of the printer (at the rear of the end with the print cartridges in). I noticed that the ink in the black tube was incredibly low:
This then pointed to a pressure problem. I did an ink system and pressure test using the service menu but all tests passed OK.
It turns out that the problem was actually caused by a perforation in the bag that is inside the ink cartridge. Air is pumped in to the ink cartridges which squeezes the bag of ink inside and pushes ink through the tubes. Clearly this was not happening so the situation I was in meant that as the tube was full of air, the printhead must also be full of air. What I had to do to solve the problem was:
- Suck the air out of the black ink line using a small tube inserted into the black ink point in the carriage assembly (similar to siphoning fuel from a car)
- Replace the black ink cartridge with a new one
- Run the printhead setup routine with new setup printheads to ensure proper ink flow to the printheads (the HP part number is C6071 – 60167 and they cost about £30 from eBay)
- Install a new black printhead
Once I’d gone through the above steps the printer worked fine, and has been ever since. Problem solved!