Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Canon ImagePrograf 2000 Disaster - Epilogue (Part 2)

Part 1 of this post about my experience with Canon and my ImagePrograf 2000 printer can be found here. At this point I will simply carry on with the story.

After two boxes of printer parts had been confirmed as having arrived at my home, the repair appointment was scheduled. When the repairman opened up the machine he found something very unusual and unexpected. We had thought that the ink was being 'sucked' out of the cartridge and being deposited in the maintenance tank (the tank where excess and discard ink from cleanings etc goes). But there it was. The ink. All pooled INSIDE THE PRINTER and contained within a portion of the machine's 'innards'. it wasn't in the maintanance tank at all.

Before explaining what happened, I need to explain a bit about how the printer works (at least this is the way it was explained to me). Each ink color has it's own sub-reservoir. A volume of ink is drawn into the sub-reservoir from the main ink cartridge and, when you print, the ink going to the print head is drawn from the sub-reservoir tank and when that tank reaches a certain level it draws more ink from the main cartridge. The printer is engineered this way so that when the chip on the main cartridge reads 'empty' things don't come to a grinding halt. There is enough ink left in the sub-reservoir to finish the print job and even to continue with some printing until you can get a fresh ink cartridge of that color. Only when the sub-reservoir is near empty do things come to a grinding halt.

Apparently my printer developed a leak in the sub-reservoir tank (I presume around either the intake valve drawing ink into the reservoir or around the exit valve that feeds the ink down the tubes to the print head). All the ink leaked around this valve into the bottom of the part that holds half the sub-reservoir tanks (there are two groupings of six inks, each of the six with a sub-reservoir tank). Once this was figured out, the repairman knew what parts of the printer needed to be replaced. Of course, nobody anticipated this as the problem and the parts had to be ordered. And there were a lot of parts that would need to go into this 'hemi-transplant'!

Several days later I received three more large boxes of printer parts delivered to my home and another repair was scheduled. This time a huge 'hunk' of printer was replaced, including the sub-reservoir tanks on the side that serviced magenta ink.

So two questions remain: 1) how did this happen and 2) did the fix work?

How did this happen? Nobody seems to know the answer to this question! The repairman and the slew of engineers he spoke with say that they have never seen this happen before, though this model printer is relatively new. In fact, they wanted the parts that were removed as defective to be shipped to them so that they could examine them and perhaps get some type of idea regarding if this was a 'freak' one-time occurrence or if there was a potential manufacturing and/or design problem. 

Did the fix work? I am glad to say that thus far it does appear to have eliminated the problem. Before the fix my large magenta cartridge would be empty within 48 hours of inserting it into the printer. The printer has been 'post-op' for 5-6 days so far and the magenta ink level on the software monitor seems stable. Although nothing was done to the print head, I do notice that on my test prints there is a slight color shift in the highlights, where the yellows are slightly more magenta. I can tell this by comparison to some old test prints I had kept. But I suspect that this color shift (which is very mild) will likely be resolved by recalibrating the printer and making new color profiles.

So far so looks like I have my printer back. Not, however, a fun ordeal! And now we will see how easy or difficult it is to get Visa to pay for it using the extended warranty benefit.