Custom printer profiling - fix your colour management issues with a profile from Pure Profiles

5. Blocked Nozzles

One of the most important steps in printing the profiling charts is to check for blocked nozzles in your printhead. This is actually a lot simpler than it sounds, yet it is the main reason for charts having to be rejected.

If your printer has been left for a while, the ink can dry causing blockages in the nozzles that spray out the ink onto the paper. This can cause unsightly colour casts, and on blocks of solid colour, you will see thin lines of a different colour running down the page. This can become quite obvious when the profiling charts are printed – if you are suffering from blocked nozzles, then the patches of solid colour will make this more apparent. Depending on what nozzles are blocked, you will see regular straight lines appearing in some patches of the same colour, or if it’s more serious you will get the lines appearing in most of the patches. Below is an example of how it can look – there can be just a few stripes on the patch, or there can be many.

We would definitely recommend testing just before printing the charts, as it is not possible to produce a profile from charts that are showing problems with blocked nozzles. It is also worthwhile just running the check after printing the charts too – it’s rare, but it is possible to get blocked nozzles during printing.

The actual testing for blocked nozzles varies from printer to printer, but in general it’s a fairly obvious option in the maintenance tab of the driver. Some drivers allow you to print a test chart first, and then choose the clean option afterwards, whilst others do it all in one step. What is important to note is that a single clean doesn’t always clean the heads fully. It may take a number of cleans before the printer head is working correctly, so keep running the test – clean – test cycle until the test chart shows no signs of blocked nozzles whatsoever.

Print Head Alignment

You should also be aware that if your printout is looking fuzzy, or straight lines are looking a little angled, then it would be worthwhile using the print head alignment check – this option is available on the same screen as the nozzle check.

PLEASE NOTE : The following instructions are for the Windows operating system. Mac instructions can be found in our latest Mac guide for the Adobe Colour Printer Utility on our Downloads page

Step 1

  • First of all you need to open Control Panel and select the Printers option. This will bring up a list of printers as shown opposite.

  • Put your cursor over the printer you want profiled, and press the right-hand mouse button to bring up the menu shown. Select the Printing Preferences option.

Step 2 for Epson R2880 style drivers

  • You should now get a dialog box as shown opposite. Click on the Utility tab.

  • Now you can select the Auto Nozzle Check and Cleaning option, and then just follow the onscreen instructions.

Step 2 for Epson SP1400 style drivers

  • You should now get a dialog box as shown opposite. Click on the Maintenance tab.

  • Now you can select the Nozzle Check option to check for problems, and the Head Cleaning option to clean the nozzles. For both options, please just follow the onscreen instructions to perform the test and clean.

Step 2 for Canon IP4500 style drivers

  • You should now get a dialog box as shown opposite. Click on the Maintenance tab.

  • Now you can select the Nozzle Check option to check for problems, and the Cleaning option to clean the nozzles. For both options, please just follow the onscreen instructions to perform the test and clean.

Step 2 for HP 5900 style drivers

  • If you click on the Services tab, you will get an icon labelled Service this device – click on it to bring up the pop-up shown opposite.

  • Select the Print a Diagnostic Page and Clean the Print Cartridge(s) options and follow the onscreen instructions to check for problems, and to clean the nozzles.

Step 2 for HP B9180 style drivers

  • If you click on the Features tab, you will get an icon labelled Printer Services – click on it to bring up the pop-up shown opposite.

  • Select the Print a Test Page and Clean the Printheads options and follow the onscreen instructions to check for problems, and to clean the nozzles.