Canon MX 860 Printing Failure! Is it actually my Printhead?

So your Canon MX 860 is behaving badly.

  • It refuses to print Text
  • It “Ghosts” Text
  • It’s missing colors
  • The print is faded.
  • PGBK wont print
  • Nozzle Check test is other then expected
  • Reinstalling the drivers hasn’t helped.
  • You are burning through your ink with the automatic printhead cleaning routines, and it’s not helping
  • You’ve tried new ink cartridges.

Maybe even tried kicking it, No judgement here ūüôā

  • Tech support or online forums say replace the printhead, and then you find the price 70$ ( 6 /29/2015 ) for a genuine OEM new printhead. ( For this specific model , such as at the page below )


Considering you can get a new printer for nearly the same price, such as this Canon MX922 for 100$ brand new, Its worth your time to try manually repairing the printhead.

So what is a printhead? Canon MX 860 Printhead This picture to the left is the printhead.

It’s normally full of ink tanks and moving back and forth inside your printer, doing its best to “put ink to paper”.

It does so, by pulling in ink from the ink tanks, down through those white areas on the printhead.( in the above picture) Those areas are sponges. If you lift up the sponges there are”Inlet valves” beneath the sponges where the ink actually goes into the printhead and flows through it. ¬† On the bottom of the printhead, there are tiny microscopic nozzles that spray the ink out. Generally speaking, each color has its own assigned set of nozzles, and its own inlet valve and sponge.

Now if you’ve read this far, I’m going to assume you tried all the basics listed at the beginning of the article.So you’re ready for some manual printhead cleaning routines~ To get started, you’re going to need a cleaning solution. Something like this cleaning solution set works very well That contains a special cleaning solution and the delivery syringe need to force the solution down through those ink inlets, in order to try unclogging / cleaning the printhead. For really tough clogs, I suggest ordering the cleaning solution set. For now though, lets proceed considering all you have is warm running water.

With the printhead removed and your ink cartridges / tanks safely stored inside ziplock bags. ( This is done to prevent leakage, and to prevent the ink tanks and their contacts from “drying out”) Lets take the printhead to your kitchen sink. ( or any stainless steal sink) Keep in mind if your countertops are porous you do not want this ink getting on anything, it stains~

With the printhead held in your hands with those nozzles facing up, turn the hot water on and let it get warm. Then, align each sponge on the printhead under the faucet, directly in the stream of hot water. And let it try to naturally flow down through the sponge using water pressure. And work its way through the printhead and out the bottom. Do this for a minute per each sponge. Then, set the printhead out to air dry ( never in direct sunlight ) with it face down. ( the part that holds the ink cartridges should be down, and the contacts on the bottom should be up ) Feel free to take a lint free cloth and gently clean the printheads body. Be extremely gentle with the electrical contacts and *Do not* touch the nozzles along the bottom, at all.

Once you feel the printhead has dried thoroughly, and you cant find a trace or drop of water that falls from it when you pick it up.

  • Reinstall it into your MX 860
  • Insert the ink tanks
  • Allow ¬†the machine to prime for five to ten minutes.
  • And now test print.

Be prepared, your almost certainly going to notice very washed out looking prints. Theres still water in the printhead most likely, and maybe air.   A deep cleaning from the print driver, or from the control panel on the machine itself, would solve this issue.

If you were missing colors and you are still missing the same exact colors on the nozzle check test.  Remove the printhead again.  ( consider purchasing the cleaning solution here Cleaning Fluid Set)  And this time when you are running water or using the syringe to force cleaning fluid through the inlet nozzles,  concentrate specifically on the inlet nozzles that correspond to the specific color that is having issues.

Remember after any cleaning to allow the printhead to fully dry.  And once dry, install the printhead, insert the ink tanks, and test again.

Hopefully, all the colors are working now and its just a matter of bleeding the air and water out of the printhead through cleanings, or through 5 or 10 printed pages. You may need to realign or run a printhead alignment again, but hopefully all your hard work has paid off! If not, you may indeed need a new printhead. MX 860 Printhead Or a New Printer Mx 922 Printer

Now, there’s many times when software issues and printer driver issues can cause printing problems on both Mac’s and PC’s . ¬†So Always remember to test print by disconnecting the printer from the computer, then placing a document or picture on the scanner glass and hitting copy on the printer itself. ¬†If your printer can print fine from the scanner glass, but cant print or is missing colors or other strange behaviours from your Mac or PC. ¬†Then you probably need to focus on the software you are using, the printer driver, and the computer itself. ¬†For those uncomfortable with, or who simply dont have the time to deal with long , in depth repairs just to get their printer working. You can always Request me personally at and I can carry out all needed steps to get the printer working again. ¬†As long as its a Software, Driver, Mac, PC, or Network ¬†/ Wireless issue , I can help~ ¬†And even if it is a printhead issue I can confirm that diagnosis for you and speak to you through the entire repair process.


Ask Technicians Now





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s