May 302013
 

I suppose it was due to happen at one point in time.  Owning a Xerox Colorqube is similar to owning a colour laser printer except that the technology is similar to an ink jet.  In this case, you melt ink before squirting it onto the paper.

In the past week I had the need to print some full colour satelite images of a golf course and after printing I noticed a small strip of discolouration on the print.  Upon looking closer it looked like an ink nozzle on the printer was blocked. A very similar effect to when your ink jet cartridge gets blocked.

Now the Xerox has a cleaning process which I initiated.  Having no idea how it cleans, I waited for the process to complete and also to inspect the sample prints created in the cleaning process.  It had not worked.  One of the magenta nozzles was blocked (there are quite a few). Not to worry as there is an advanced cleaning process which targets a specific nozzle and colour.

The printer prints a sheet using the 3 primary colours and black and using all the nozzles.  Each square of colour is a single nozzle and if the square is missing then that is the nozzle that is blocked.  As each square has a unique number it is just a small task of inputing the number for the blocked nozzle into the advanced cleaning process when requested.  This time the cleaning process successfully unblocked the nozzle in question.

So what did the cleaning process do?  I only have an idea that ink was pushed through the nozzles to try to unblock them. Again similar to a normal inkjet cleaning cycle.  You only have to look into the waste ink tray to see how much ink was used in the cleaning cycles.

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Yes, that pile of almost black wax is the waste output of two cleaning cycles compared against one cube of solid ink. Remove the air gaps and it is approximately 12% of one cube.  So assuming that equal amounts of each colour are used in the cleaning cycle that’s 3% of ink per solid ink block thrown away. Don’t throw your waste ink away. It may come in useful at a later date so place it in a clean plastic bag and store it where you can find it.

What if the nozzle refuses to unblock? It’s always a worry as unlike an inkjet the Xerox has no way of changing nozzles. At least as a consumer it is not possible. The Xerox does allow for nozzle substitution where a spare nozzle can be used to substitute for the blocked nozzle.  It would be interesting to know how many spare nozzles there are.

I’m still enjoying the use of this printer. Lets see how many more blockages I experience over the next year.

  One Response to “Printers – Xerox Colorqube Nozzle Blockage”

  1. Well it’s just under a year and I have to say that the printer is working very well. Page count is now up to 6,000 and the last of our metered inks have been inserted after a small bit of customisation to the ink sticks.

    The printer itself has been powered down twice in that year so only 6% wastage of ink and it has only had one nozzle blockage (magenta) which required one general clean wasting another 3% of ink.

    Adjusting the metered inks to be accepted into this printer has become a lot cleaner since swtiching to a heated Nichrome wire to adjust the ink sticks. No more cutting the ink with a stanley knife.

    The current Xerox cashback deal is poor. In the UK it seems to be only £60 for a colour laser exchange when two years ago it was £200.

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