Wireless Printer Poor Print Quality Issue

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Old 09-12-19, 06:29 AM
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Wireless Printer Poor Print Quality Issue

I have a four function wireless ink jet printer that works well except for the printing/copying quality issue.

The printer is a Brother MFC-490CW and the problem is that, for quite some time now, it has been printing everything with double line characters and fuzzy. Looking at the owner's manual, it appears to be an alignment issue. But when I print an alignment check sheet (which prints clearly!) there is no pattern in the 600 DPI mode that matches pattern 0. After trying entering several different numbers anyway and repeating the pattern printing, there is no change. On the 1200 DPI mode, pattern 0 matches pattern 5 beautifully, so the problem is only with 600 DPI mode. Does this mean that the machine needs a mechanical adjustment (meaning the printer is toast because a repair would cost more than the printer is worth) or is there some trick that can be employed to restore the print quality it once had?

TIA

quickcurrent
 
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Old 09-12-19, 06:53 AM
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Moved your post to Computers and Peripherals. That printer looks to be pretty old. It's been my experience that inkjets tend to only work well for a few years. You're lucky yours lasted this long. The price of printers has gone down so much, that it really wouldn't pay to try and have it fixed, if that's even possible. I think not. I would just get a new one.
 
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Old 09-12-19, 12:40 PM
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Might try contacting Brother direct, couldn't hurt. I have a similar model [mine's a MFC-J470CW] and it's worked flawlessly. I've had it long enough to not remember HOW old it is.
 
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Old 09-12-19, 12:44 PM
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Late thought: Are you using genuine Brother cartridges or aftermarket/refills?
 
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Old 09-12-19, 12:55 PM
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I looked at the website and Brother doesn't even list support or drivers for it any more. Doubt they're going to be of any help.
 
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Old 09-12-19, 05:35 PM
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The driver is fairly new, maybe a year or two old. The printer I've had for a long time but gets very little use at home. I use aftermarket cartridges that worked well for years, I doubt that has anything to do with it. Could the printer just go out of mechanical alignment so that the software alignment is simply insufficient to fine tune it. I do not plan on doing that because of the cost, just wondering. I think I paid $70 for it back when I bought it, they likely cost about the same now, certainly not worth spending $100 plus to get a mechanical fix.
 
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Old 09-12-19, 07:43 PM
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Well there are plenty of mechanical moving parts. Everything wears out eventually.
 
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Old 09-13-19, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by quickcurrent
I have a four function wireless ink jet printer that works well except for the printing/copying quality issue.

The printer is a Brother MFC-490CW and the problem is that, for quite some time now, it has been printing everything with double line characters and fuzzy.

Looking at the owner's manual, it appears to be an alignment issue. But when I print an alignment check sheet (which prints clearly!) there is no pattern in the 600 DPI mode that matches pattern 0. After trying entering several different numbers anyway and repeating the pattern printing, there is no change.

On the 1200 DPI mode, pattern 0 matches pattern 5 beautifully, so the problem is only with 600 DPI mode.

Does this mean that the machine needs a mechanical adjustment (meaning the printer is toast because a repair would cost more than the printer is worth) or is there some trick that can be employed to restore the print quality it once had?
I've accumulated, hmm, three MFC-465cn printers, so here are a few guesses-

The main differences between 300 and 600 dpi are
A) amount of ink disbursed
B) amount of print head movement.

So
1) Could be dust-gunk on the print head guide rods limiting movement - i.e. the 1/600 " movements don't "stick" but the 1/300" movements do.
2) Could be an accumulation of leaked ink ON the print head "cushion" causing the jets of ink to mis-fire (actually mis-squirt)
3) Could be an accumulation of ink-gunk IN the print head limiting the amount of ink that can be disbursed.

Open the flip-top and see how much dust-fluff has accumulated;
unplug the printer, then use compressed air to blow out any dust.

Open the ink cartridge door and look for any spilled ink on the base or sponge. Clean spills with a 25/75 rubbing alcohol/water mix.

As to the print head INTERIOR, probably worth purchasing an MFC print head cleaner kit (syringe, plastic hose, rubbing alcohol) and cleaning the piping between the ink tanks and print head. Remove an ink tank, side one end of the plastic hose onto the ink feed and the other onto a syringe with the alcohol based cleaning solution. SLOWLY push/pull the syringe back and forth to slosh alcohol-based cleaning fluid through the pipes and print head.
 
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Old 09-13-19, 06:52 AM
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Suggestions well worth trying, Hal_S, I'll give them a try and post my results.

:-)
 
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Old 09-13-19, 10:17 AM
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I opened the top of the machine. Inside everything looked spotless. I blew some compressed air into it just to make sure. Nothing came out.

I then opened the ink door. The ink tank connectors looked fairly clean (not plugged, just slight bits of fresh ink on them). I had some tubing, a syringe and some rubbing alcohol at home so I connected the items up and ran some 50/50 alcohol water through the black tube and cleaned the others slightly at the connection point with Q-tips. Then did a machine "cleaning" followed by an alignment check - all looked the same. Attempted to print a page - still the same.

I think this machine is toast as far as printing/copying. The other functions still work well.

Thanks for the tips, it was worth the try.
 
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Old 09-15-19, 03:00 AM
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Try uninstalling the printer software including the driver.
Then reinstall using the software drivers from Brother's website.
Could be something has become corrupted.
 
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Old 09-17-19, 06:29 AM
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Thanks for trying manden, gave that a try, same result. :-(

I definitely think that it's something to do with the alignment of the ink jets. Since the software on the machine can't fix that, it has to be that the alignment has gone bonkers mechanically. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the machine to fix that, and getting that fixed by a technician would most likely cost more than a new machine. :-(

We live in a throw away world. :-(
 
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