When an inkjet printer sits idle it starts to clog. There are thousands of tiny tubes, called nozzles, which keep ink right at the tip, ready to fire. But the ink at the tip is exposed to air and it starts to dry and harden. If printer is left unused clogs will develop.
Rick Hilton, creator of Harvey Head Cleaner, says, “I was the tech support technician for a specialty ink distributor, and with our printer/ink combination you could expect a clog to start forming at around 48 hours. We advised our customers to run a nozzle check pattern every day. But on Mondays there would be angry phone calls from people who had gone away for the weekend and now had a printer clogged solid.”
Frequently running a small amount of ink through every nozzle is the secret to keeping inkjets running right. All printers can print a nozzle check pattern which prints a little from every nozzle. It shows if the printer has all nozzles working, and if the printer is ready to print. If the pattern has broken lines then at least one of the nozzles is clogged. You then have to run a head cleaning cycle, which pushes a lot of ink through all nozzles in an attempt to flush the clogged nozzle. Some clogs require five or six head cleaning cycles to clear. Some people make a habit out of printing a nozzle check as the first thing they do when starting their day.
Harvey Head Cleaner is a Windows based utility program that sends scheduled print jobs to the printer. This exercises every nozzle on a regular basis. Doug Bryant is a photograher in Arizona with an Epson P800 which he says is “prone to clogging.” After cleaning a particularly difficult clog Doug installed Harvey Head Cleaner. Because of the very dry air he schedules Harvey for twice a day. Now his printer is ready to print when Doug is ready to print. No clogs and no head cleanings. “Now I just print. It’s great.”
Some printers only need to be scheduled once a week to stay ready. In many cases a printer will be used every day for text (black only) work and then a photo will print all streaky. Some of the color nozzles clogged while the printer was being used for black only. A daily nozzle check print would have kept the printer ready to print.
There are specific Harvey Head Cleaner versions for different printer families. It’s available at www.harveyheadcleaner.com as a download for $39.95.
We’ve gotten a discount code, “Harvey1”, good for $10 off at checkout.
Article by Rick Hilton