Clearing blocked printheads on an hp Officejet d145

Posted by kypoth-Alex on Oct 11, 2009 in Hardware, How To Fix ... |

If you’re getting streaky lines on your printouts and you’ve tried the cleaning routine several times to no avail, then it’s likely that ink has dried in some of the printhead nozzles (so preventing the ink from flowing through the entire surface of the printhead). The hp d145 has printheads that are separate from the ink cartridges and they can be easily removed for cleaning / unblocking. My magenta printhead partially blocks (must be dodgy ink) if I don’t use the printer for a week, so I do this all the time and can assure you it’s a quick and easy process. It probably applies to other hp models with removable printheads but you might have to ad-lib on the pictures.

What you’ll need…
   – A small container to use as a soaking pot. I use an old bit of plastic blister packaging because it’s just the right depth to lean the back edge of the printhead against – you’ll see what I mean in the photos but anything around 2-3 inches square with sides at least 3/4’s of an inch high will do.
   – A bit of paper kitchen towel.
   – Some hot, but not boiling, water.
   – A sink or similar worksurface or some newspaper to protect your granny’s antique table.
   – Almost certainly another bit of kitchen roll to wipe your fingers on. Do what I always mean to do and get some of those plastic gloves from a petrol station otherwise you’ll have ink on your hands for at least 24 hours (it’s a badge of honour :) ).

Step 1 – Put the kettle on, this will be your hot but not boiling water in a couple of minutes. Some people advocate the use of Windex, etc. but I have found in most cases hot water alone works just fine. I’ve also seen various statements about the temperature of the water, but thermal inkjet printers work by super-heating the ink to create a steam bubble (so hotter than 100C) which forces the ink out of the nozzle (see here) so any level of hot is fine. You don’t want it boiling / too hot because it will make your soaking container go floppy :)

Step 2 – Open the printer by pulling the grey panel below the buttons / above the paper exit toward you. The printhead mechanism should move to the centre of the bay. Gain access to the printheads by raising the ink cartridge holderGain access to the printheads by raising the ink cartridge holder. This isn’t the same as the ink cartridge release button, it’s the lighter one underneath that when you pull the handle it swings open the catch. When you open it, the entire ink cartridge holder will raise up and you’ll see a line of printheads (that look a bit like cartridges) with clear plastic handles on top of each one of them.


Step 3 – Grab the plastic handle of the blocked printhead and pull it upwards to remove. Remove the blocked printheadTry and keep this upright, hold it (tightly – don’t drop it unless you want to be amazed at how far a teaspoon of ink can go!) in your non-writing hand. You need your other hand to close the ink cartridge holder to prevent any ink drying out on the other printheads and cartridges. Close the printer and don’t worry about the missing printhead message.


Step 4 – Assuming your kettle is in the kitchen, this step is probably best performed on the sink draining board, Soaking the printheadotherwise you should really put an old newspaper on the kitchen worktop if only to pacify the missus. You’re unlikely to spill any ink at this stage if you keep the printhead upright, but it’s always when you don’t take precautions that these things happen. Fill your soaking pot with about 1/2 an inch of the hot water from the kettle and put the printhead so the printing end (the copper bit) is in the water.


Step 5 – Reboil the kettle and, in true British spirit, have a cup of tea. It depends how blocked the printhead is as to how much time to leave it in, but I always leave it for at least an hour (and put it somewhere safe so you / kids / cat won’t knock it over). This allows the water to soften the dried ink in the printhead. You’ll see it working as the water will slowly change colour.

Step 6 – When you think it’s had a long enough soak, remove the printhead from the water and dry the surround thoroughly with a folded sheet of kitchen roll.

Step 7 – Test to see if the ink is now flowing through the printhead by gently dabbing it Testing the ink flowonto a clean bit of kitchen roll. If it’s flowing, you should be left with two lines of ink on the sheet. I find that smearing the printhead (gently but firmly) on folded kitchen roll can help to get the ink flowing.




Step 8 – Reinsert the printhead into the printer, push it down firmly to make sure it’s properly seated and then close the printer. You’ll be asked to perform printhead alignment. You can’t avoid this but it may be a waste of time if the first bit of ink is diluted with water and doesn’t give a clean printout. Check the alignment printout and if it’s still faint or streaky anywhere then run the full three stage cleaning cycle from the command centre on your PC, and/or print out test pages until the ink is flowing properly and you get solid colours (create one yourself that is just that colour to save ink). Then run the alignment test – Menu, 7, 3, Enter – again to ensure a quality printout.

If the ink still refuses to flow, go back to step 1 and re-soak until you get a decent bit of ink coming through in step 7.

If you seem to be getting nowhere, soak overnight or, instead of water, you can try the cartridge flush fluid that you get with inkjet refill kits (but don’t put this in the kettle!). This is a bit ‘solvent-y’ (it’s glycol, I think) and seems to work its way in if the ink is really dried up. Also, just make 100% sure that the ink cartridge does actually have ink in it :) – you’ll see this by comparing the top of the printheads at the end of step 2.

Good luck!

If in doubt, check with your little helper puppy. I can’t seem to do anything without mine…

My little helper

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Joy-Ellen Lipsky
May 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Thanks for the help. I only had to put my black printhead in the hot water a couple of times for only a minute each to get it to work. Sure beats paying for another printhead.

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:50 am

Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, glad you found the post useful :)



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