Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Print Head Cleaning for My Canon S600 Ink Jet Printer

Last week our home printer started blinking yellow seven times. A quick look in the user guide told me that it was a defective or clogged print head. Yuck. I knew that really meant either fixing it or buying a new printer since this one is out of warranty, so I started digging on the ol’ intarweb.

A found a number of articles, all with similar but different approaches. Almost all of them involved soaking in filtered or distilled water, some used isopropyl alcohol, some used special “ink jet cleaning solution”. A few recommended forcing it through with a syringe, and one guy even showed you how to completely take it apart.

What I ended up doing, and it seems to have worked, is this:

  1. Remove the cartridges, set them aside. If the rest of this takes very long, cover the outputs with tape.
  2. Remove the print head. Mine just lifted out. If it is harder than that, you have a different printer than I do.
  3. Set it in a shallow dish and soak it for 5-10 mins in isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
  4. After it loosens up, use a Q-Tip swab and some alcohol and VERY CAREFULLY remove any gunked up ink on the head. Avoid touching the little slots too much, since they are VERY small and that is where the printing all happens. Mess them up and you will be buying a new print head (or a new printer).
  5. Once you think you’ve got it clean (some people do this for days, I did it for about 15 minutes), dry it carefully. I used a bit of compressed air to help get it dry, but again, be careful.
  6. Replace the print head and reinsert the cartridges.

The problem I had at this point is that the printer still thought it was broken and I couldn’t get it to do a Deep Cleaning or anything. The yellow light continued to blink seven times.


I dit a bit more digging and was just about to give up when I ran into a post that told how to do a full reset on most Canon printers


Here are the steps (in case that link dies):

  1. Disconnect powercord, Hold Down Power and Resume Buttons
  2. Connect the powercord and unit will turn on
  3. Release Power Button, then click it once
  4. Release both Power and Resume Buttons
  5. Green Power light will be on steady, amber Resume light went off
  6. Then at about 1 second intervals … click Resume, click Resume, then click Power…In a few seconds Startup Cycle Machinations will occur and finish
  7. Do a Button Power off … a Button Power on wont work …&nbsp_place_holder; unplug then replug power … Button Power on / off , Machinations OK,

So, that worked for me. Please assume that following any of the steps can break your printer, so if you aren’t prepared to deal with that outcome, take it to a repair shop instead.