Firing up old printers

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Tue Oct 20 12:08:16 CDT 2015

On 10/20/2015 02:12 AM, Kevin Parker wrote:

> I seem to recall reading or hearing a very long time ago that where
> a printer has not been fired up for eons that the pins can be stuck
> in the print head (e.g. by old ink drying out) and cause damage (e.g.
> bend pins) when it tries to print.

It depends on what you're using for a ribbon.  My only dot-matrix 
printers are multi-pass NLQ jobs that use film ribbon.  Since the "ink" 
is on the paper side of the ribbon only, the printheads stay clean.

A traditional cloth ribbon, however, will and does contaminate the 
printhead with ink (and dust).

The cleaner of choice has, to the best of my knowledge, always been 
isoporpanol (isopropyl alcohol).  Use a small brush (e.g. toothbrush) to 
scrub any ink from the face of the printhead.  You can soak the 
printhead  end if necessary.

Make sure that the carriage rails are free of dirt and grease. 
Lubricate carriage cables.

Unless you're a masochist, try not to disassemble the printhead.  If you 
are forced to, do so over a tray or cloth--there are lots of little 
parts--and springs that can get lost.

Keep in mind that there are still many service outlets for dot-matrix 
printers, as they're still used in POS applications.


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