Can Empty Ink Cartridges Damage Print Heads

Maintaining the efficiency of your printer can help your company avoid lost productivity and needless repair expenses. Leaving an empty ink cartridge in your printer or letting one dry out while you’re printing is one of the worst things you can do to it. The print heads of a printer can be harmed and clogged by an empty cartridge. At most, you’ll need to change the cartridge and perform some maintenance, but you risk seriously harming the print head and necessitating a replacement.

Heat Damage

The ink in the cartridge has two uses in thermal inkjet printers. It first and foremost gives printed imagery its pigmentation. In addition, it keeps the printer head cool. A tiny heating element is found in thermal inkjet printer heads, which vaporises a tiny amount of ink to produce a steam bubble inside the nozzle and the force necessary to force a droplet through the nozzle and onto the paper. The element can start to burn out in the head without ink acting as a coolant, resulting in permanent damage that frequently requires replacing the entire print head.

Vacuum Seal Damage

Using a piezoelectric vacuum technique, Epson printers print. The piezoelectric crystal is inserted in the nozzle in place of a heating element. The crystal vibrates when a current is applied, opening a brief space for the ink to drip into the nozzle before the seal is closed once more. When the printer is turned on with the cartridge empty and the vacuum seal is broken by air being sucked past the crystal. As a result, until the vacuum is restored by forcing the air out of the head, even installing a brand-new cartridge will produce subpar results—or none at all.

Clogged Print Head

Clogs, which slow down performance and may eventually harm the print heads, are the most that may happen when an empty cartridge is left in a printer. However, ink residue on the head can dry out if the printer is used infrequently or is left with an empty cartridge. This causes ink to collect in clots on the skull, which can clog the mechanism and reduce efficiency. The head-cleaning mode on many printers may be able to clear the jams but at the cost of wasted ink. By forcing more ink into the heads than necessary when these modes are insufficient to clear the clogs, you merely waste ink and run the risk of permanent damage to the heads.

Preventative Measures

Empty cartridge damage is relatively easy to avoid. The simplest solution is to avoid letting the ink cartridges run low; typically, your computer will alert you when this happens. If not, white streaks, faded colors, or other signs of poor print quality usually let you know. You lower the risk of print head damage by changing the cartridges when they are low rather than empty. You’ll want to protect the print head if you’re not going to use your printer for a while or if it will be a while before you need to replace an empty cartridge. Remove the printer head from the device and place it in a plastic bag with little air and a tight-fitting lid. Remove the printer head from the machine, place it in a plastic bag, seal it, and add a few drops of water to keep the bag moist. This will prevent the head from drying out and clogging up when inactive for extended periods of time.

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