Refurbishing a Brother DCP-120C Inkjet Printer

About a month ago my neighbour gave me an old Brother DCP-120C printer/scanner. The auto-document feeder was what caught my eye at first, but after I looked more closely, the type of ink cartridges it used made me very happy with this gift: they are simply little tanks of ink, with no head, meaning they are very easy to refill and should last a long time. What’s more, it only cost $7 for a full set at

However, after ordering the new cartridges and trying to print, I encountered some problems: nothing came out, except for trace amounts of colour – no black, and it certainly was not printing properly.

This is the inherent design flaw of these printers: they have a fixed print head, that is part of the printer. Unlike HPs and Canons (to name a few), the print head isn’t part of the cartridge. This means that if the printer is left sitting for long, and the ink clogs the head, the whole thing needs to be disassembled and either cleaned, or the head replaced.

Print head on an HP cartridge – replaced whenever you
buy a new cartridge.

Being the do-it-yourselfer I am, I decided I would tackle the task of refurbishing this printer.

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Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 electronics, projects 6 Comments