Avoiding print head burnout

By: Barry Shultz

After each time a nozzle fires, a new supply of printer ink is automatically drawn into its chamber, to be ready for the next time. When the printer is told by the computer to print a page, the copper circuits on the end of the ink cartridge send a message to the nozzle's resistor, which then heats the nozzle's ink supply just enough to cause it to expand and to force a drop of ink through the nozzle onto the printer paper.

The ink which flows through each nozzle assembly functions as a lubricant and coolant for the nozzle: if there is no ink in the chamber when the resistor turns up the heat, the nozzle assembly will quickly warp and break apart -- the resistor can reach a temperature of hundreds of degrees very quickly! If the print head is allowed to begin this process of burnout (i.e.

if the ink cartridge is not refilled or replaced promptly), the damage may range from poor print quality (streaks or lines across the page, bad coloration, light or dark patches on the page) to serious damage to the printer.

It is very important never to attempt to print with an empty ink cartridge. If in doubtScience Articles, top off your cartridges frequently (the leftover ink from your inkjet refill kit can be stored until the next time you top off).

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