Printer Inkjet Head: Definition, Types, Problem, and Solutions

Printers have many components that work together to provide excellent performance for their users. One of these components is the inkjet head or the printhead. This component plays an essential role in inkjet printers but is also prone to suffer from a particular issue. 

What is an Inkjet Head?

An inkjet head is a printer component you can find in dot matrix printers and inkjet printers. This component accepts printing instructions from the computer or the printer’s processor. 

After receiving these instructions, a printer head will move and distribute ink according to the instructions to print the files. The location of a printer head in a printer depends on the type of printer. 

A printhead of an inkjet printer is inside an ink cartridge. Meanwhile, the printhead of a dot matrix printer is inside the printer. This printer head is a pin that hits the ink ribbon against the paper when printing files.

Types of Printhead

Inkjet printers that are available in the market come with two types of printheads. What are they?

1. Piezo Printheads

Piezo printheads are commonly found in Epson printers. Epson makes them from microscopic piezoelectric elements such as ceramics and crystals. When printing files, Epson printers will apply an electric charge to these elements.

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The elements then eject ink at the precise amount. Piezo printheads are famous for their precise and varied droplet sizes. In addition, they are compatible with various ink types, such as solvent, dye, pigment, and UV ink.

Piezo’s ability to print using different ink types is thanks to the low temperature of this printhead. This low temperature also allows piezo printhead printers to run longer. Unfortunately, the price of these printers is slightly expensive.

2. Thermal Printheads

Thermal Printhead - inkjet head
source global.canon

You can usually find thermal printheads on HP and Canon printers. This printhead technology does not use electricity in its mechanism, but it uses heat. Thermal inkjet printers will electrify microscopic resistors to heat the print nozzle.

The hot print nozzle will vaporize the ink, making the ink expand into bubbles and explode onto the paper. Thermal inkjet printers are more affordable than piezo inkjet printers. 

However, thermal printheads are only compatible with limited ink types. In addition, they produce larger ink droplets. Moreover, high heat makes them need to be replaced frequently.

Clogged Printer Heads: Printheads’ Most Common Problem

Inkjet printers are an excellent choice for those who look for affordable printers. They are not only affordable but also able to produce high-quality prints with vivid colors. 

However, a printer with an inkjet head needs proper maintenance. If you do not maintain your inkjet printer properly, its printheads will clog. In this condition, dried inks, dust, or debris block the tiny holes of the printheads.

Printers with clogged printheads will give you streaky prints. Consequently, your printed documents will be difficult to read and your printed photos look blurry and disappointing.

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How to Clean and Maintain an Inkjet Head

What to do when your printer has clogged printheads? Below are several ways to deal with clogged inkjet heads and how to maintain inkjet printers.

1. Run a Head Cleaning Cycle and Nozzle Check

Run a Head Cleaning Cycle and Nozzle Check

Running a head cleaning cycle will clean the printhead from dust and dried ink. However, this trick is only suitable for non-severe clogging.

To make sure that the printheads of your printer are clean, you must run the head cleaning cycle twice. After that, you must run a nozzle check to find out the printheads’ condition.

2. Use Printhead Cleaner to Clean Printheads

If the nozzle check shows that the head cleaning cycle cannot unclog your printheads, you must clean the printheads manually. In cleaning an inkjet printer head manually, you can use printhead cleaner or printhead cleaning solution.

The steps for using the printhead cleaning solution depends on the product’s instruction and the model of your printer. In some cases, you must remove ink cartridges, place a folded paper towel under the printhead, and flush the nozzles with the solution.

3. How to Prevent Clogging

You can prevent your printer’s printhead from clogging by following these steps.

  • Don’t let your inkjet printer idle for weeks. You must use your printers at least twice a week. Doing it will prevent the ink to dry and clog the printhead.
  • You should not use your inkjet printers only for printing black and white files. This printing activity will cause the color ink to dry and block the printheads. To avoid it, you must print in color as often as possible.
  • You must use high-quality ink. High-quality compatible refill ink or genuine ink will not easily get dry. Therefore, it will not clog your printhead easily.
  • Clean your printheads regularly by running the head cleaning cycle. However, you must not perform it five times in a row. You should only run the head cleaning cycle twice or three times in a row.
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The inkjet head or printhead is one of the most essential components of inkjet printers. The condition of this component will greatly affect the print quality. Therefore, you must maintain your printer’s printhead regularly to maintain its print quality.

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