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Call to Arms for the dreaded U052 Wrong Printhead Error


This is a "call to arms" for all of you Canon customers who have had this problem and have had their printers disabled because of it.  Please respond with the model of your printer and if you were able to fix it, what you did to fix it. 


We need to put pressure on Canon to respond this product defect.  It appears to be bad firmware that does not allow the user to override the problem and to continue to use the printer even in a degraded mode.  From my investigations the problem is NOT a printhead issue - no way one can be printing fine and then have this error alert without having changed the printhead or ink cartridges!


Canon, PLEASE take this issue seriously and provide a solution across the affected models.  If nothing else there should be a trade-in allowance for those printers that have been affected by this product defect.


I have had many Canon printers because they have superior functional specifications. I want to be able to continue using Canon products but only if I can have confidence that this product defect will not destroy my investment.


If Canon is unresponsive our next step should be to aggressively publisize this product defect on social media and on major product vendor outlet sites as negatives reviews.


Forum Users, please reply with your affected model number(s) and with details of any succdessful fix procedure.

1,478 REPLIES 1,478

Hey Flash23:  Did you get a new Brother All-In-One Multifunction?  If so, how's it working out so far?  Amazon has several Brother MFC's with good reviews and good prices.  I'm thinking of ordering one this weekend.




I'm still waiting for a private message from Canon offering to replace my MP610 printer. Anyone has counted how many got that offer?

Hi Kekoehn: I received my Brother All In One MFC J870DW on Friday from Amazon 129.97, no tax and with free 2-day shipping. I use a Mac operating system, so it was a little more difficult identifying, locating and downloading the correct drivers and firmware. If anyone is interested and needs help I would happy to provide assistance to save you time. Once I had the drivers the set-up was very quick and easy. The Brothers is not as big or heavy as the Canon MX720 I was using but so far does the job including printing, copying, faxing, and scanning. Understand all printers are different so the print quality is also different but it is fine for my needs. I run a small business out of my home office and print, copy and fax' every day. I've read it also is far more efficientIt with ink usage. The printer comes with a two year warranty and for under $ 10 you can buy Amazons 2 year replacement warranty. The Brother's is noisier because of less weight however I think by adding a rubber pad under it should help. All in all 4 out of 5 stars. I would suggest going back to Amazon to read the reviews on it, they helped me to make my decision. The great thing about purchasing from Amazon: they have free returns so if you don't like this one you can return and order a different model. FYI I am a Prime member and shop at Amazon every week. An outstanding example of what and how Customer Service is and should be at Canon. Hope this helps you.

As I have mentioned, I also have purchased a Brother J870DW.  I got mine from Amazon too.  I am quite happy with it so far.

Same problem with a Canon MX860. Always been using Canon ink and the printer is about 4 years old. Very disappointing.

Flash23: Thanks for the update. I'm ordering a new Brother from Amazon. No good news from Canon support, so it's "Goodbye Canon!"


I posted from Germany on page 36 or 37 or so. The link to the youtube video where someone explains how this error comes about is really very instructional and answers a lot of questions. The sum of it is: There is nothing wrong with the printhead, don't buy a new printhead, it won't help. The cause of the error is a full waste ink pad. The pad soaks up ink from the cartridges every time you turn on the printer. When the pad is full of ink, the printer stops working.


There is nothing you can do about it. Exchanging that pad - if such a pad were for sale - would cost you more than a new printer.


I've gone to several retailers and asked very informed, well-trained staff about this, and they all tell me that ALL brands work like this. I bought a Brother printer, too. But I am convinced that at some point, it will stop functioning, too, shortly after the warranty ends, and after the soaked up ink fills the pad to the brim. This is a laser printer now, and even they have this technology of absorbing ink.


It would be more honest of Canon and the other printer manufacturers to be up front about this, instead of hiding behind an obscure printhead error code. Also it would be good to know that the printer should not be taken off the power completely. Turned off, yes, but not disconnected from the plug socket.


Every time you turn on the printer after it was completely off the power, it does an automatic cleaning, which soaks up a lot of ink from the cartridges, with the two-fold effect


a.) you lose ink from your cartridges for nothing

b.) your ink waste pad gets fuller and fuller and closer to the dreaded non-function point


The staff in the retail stores knew all about this. It's nothing new. I do agree that Canon should stop hiding behind excuses, though. If the trained staff (in Germany) knows about it, I'm sure in other countries they know about it, too.





Hi Susanne,


I just viewed the youtube video you had as a link on page 37 and it's very interesting. My first thought before I watched the vide was that the printer would need a sensor to determine when the Ink Sucking Repository Pad was full.  But the entire theory about printers sucking ink out of cartidges when the printer isn't being used to increase ink sales is just mind blowing. The video is very convincing as are other things on the internet (some of which as scams).  I might try my own experiment and see if this really is the case.  This would be criminal behavior as the presented stated in the video.


As far as the Germans knowing the truth about this matter, you may have a more honest population.


Some individuals on this planet believe that everyone else has significantly less mental resources and can be fooled perpetually.

All right. Just popped into the middle of this discussion on full waste ink pad.


I've contended with this before on an old HP inkject that had precisely this error. On that inkjet, there was no sensor. What there was was a counter that kept track of the ink ejected into the waste ink pad whose value was saved in a EEPROM inside the machine, meaning that said EEPROM value could save its value across power resets and such.


Through some skullduggery a user found out what the reset code was for that printer. It involved the usual suspects: Standing on one foot on a Friday in May while a vigin's tear dropped on a snowflake, etc. But it was doable.


Being an engineer, I decided to clean said pad. And, yeah, I do take apart some fairly complex pieces of hardware for a living, sometimes without much in the way of documentation, too. So, with note-taking pad and pencil, and the ability to sketch in hand, I took apart said printer until I could get to the pad.


Say what you want, but that pad was full. Got it out, took it to the sink, and for a half hour or so got it clean. Dried it back out somewhat (the ink's somewhat water soluble), put it all back together, ran through the reset sequence, and the printer continued to work for a year or so.


Given that it took me most of a day to go through the procedure, and it would probably take at least an hour or so for a compent techie to do the same work, not to mention having spare pads on hand, with the ever-present danger of snapping some never-meant-to-be-taken-apart piece of plastic, I can begin to understand an argument that Canon doesn't want to fix a saturated ink pad, seeing as the cost to repair (again, time & money) would be more than that of a new printer.


However, there are poor starving college students and what all that have more time than money who would be glad to take a whack at it. And people like me who actually liked the printer I had better than the printer (no rear input tray) that Canon was trying to sell me. And it bugs the living bejeezus out of me that $0.50 worth of screws and a designed-in panel in the bottom would make it trivial to fix that pad.


And what really gets me is that, by this time, if there was a true reset sequence for that EEPROM, somebody would have extracted same out of some repair manual or other. If there's not, it's exactly like buying a car that, even though it's in fine working condition, except for some elderly engine coolant, disables itself because some manager/marketeers/idiots with business degrees wants to (a) not waste money making the engine coolant replaceable and (b) want to force the issue by making the consumer buy a new car. In my mind, this isn't much different than the occasional auto glass repair guy (this really happens in NYC), who runs around with a baseball bat busting in car windows. Yeah, not all of the car windows were going to end up in his shop; but enough of them were to make it worthwhile. That idiot got caught, charged, and tossed in jail, and the window shop he worked in got put out of business.


Remember: Resetting such an EEPROM is s trivial, durn-near-zero-cost thing to do. If Canon purposely set that up, they deserve to go out of busiiness, especially as they didn't warn consumers that "after-X-deciliters-of-ink-we're-going-to-disable-this-printer-with-no-option-to-repair". I'd like to see the judge who'd let that one pass.





If I hadn't returned my printer to receive a Yet-To-Experience U052 error replacement printer, I would have taken it apart to see if in fact this ink pad was full. I would suggest if there are any other engineers or curious do-it-yourselfers on this forum who have a Canon Printer experiencing the U052 error to take it apart and see if they can confirm this theory. Maybe with a little collaboration we can find a way of resetting the EEPROM variable that stores the count.

It would behoove Canon to remedy this design flaw if in fact this is the root-cause of the malfunctioning printers producing the U052 error.
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