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U052 Printhead Problem MX870


Stopped printing while in the middle of a big job with full ink tanks, then when turned back on, gave the dreaded U052 print head error message.  I have tried everything given by Canon to re-start the printer, nothing works.


It dawns on me that maybe my ink tank stopped feeding ink despite the tank being full- the vent hole might not have been open all the way to allow ink to pass through.


I'm wondering whether this could somehow mess up the printhead, maybe it needs ink to keep it cool during operation or something??


It's completely aggravating that it stopped as it has and now that prevents even the scanner or fax from working-- this seems like a bad design.


Does anyone know whether the print head can be messed up if the tank stops feeding ink while in the middle of a print job?


Thanks!  And if you know that answer, then what do you do to get printer working again??




This "solution" DOES NOT WORK.  I have tried it 15 times, the printer still comes up with that same error message.


What's worse, it DISABLES THE ENTIRE PRINTER -- I can't use any other function.  I have been left high and dry because I have desperately needed to send scanned contracts out and there is no way to do it.  I have had to rely on my partner to send me photos of the contracts so I can continue with business.... Canon has produced a terrible product because a simple failure puts the entire machine out of service, not just the failed print head mechanism.  Horrible design, terrible software or hardware installed control system. 


You even told me that purchasing a new print head won't fix the crazy thing.  Who the heck designed this crazy piece of junk?


How do I get it it replaced or repaired?   Moderator Note:  Removed personal phone number per forum guidelines.

View solution in original post



In my case the replacement printhead did not work, directly out of the package. I tried it on 2 Pixma MX860 printers, on each of which an old printhead worked fine. I was tempted to return it - especially because the printhead as delivered was wet with ink and some other fluid, but found that a printhead cleaning procedure enabled it to function well (for me, this time).

For the procedure you will need: 1. Water; 2. Glass cleaner such as Windex; 3. Rubbing Alcohol; 4. A dish or bowl (plastic or glass or ceramic (or metal?) whose diameter is large enough to accommodate the printhead; 5. A heat source to dry the printhead after cleaning.

Procedure: 1. Spray the printhead liberally with glass cleaner. You may want to direct the spray into the incoming and outgoing ink orifices; 2. Soak the printhead in a water+glass cleaner solution dish for an indeterminate time; 3. Swish the printhead around in the solution to extract from the printhead ink that was presumably used in manufacturer testing; 4. Rinse the printhead off with clean water. Pat its orifices with a towel or paper towel; 5. Dispose of the solution; 6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until no ink seems to be leaching from the printhead either into solution or onto the towel; 7. Pat the printhead dry with a soft towel or paper towel; Do NOT let the printhead dry any further yet!; 8. Soak the printhead in rubbing alcohol in the dish. Swish it around with the goal of displacing water left in the printhead with the rubbing alcohol. Let it sit in the solution for an hour or more; 9. Repeat step 8 with new rubbing alcohol another time or two; 10. Dry the printhead with non-destructive heat. I used a combination of soft toweling, sunshine and forced air house heat; 11. Try it out again in the printer. I hope that it works for you.


It worked for me; but I do have two white lines running through text, one near top and one near the bottom


I can't believe Canon has let this go on. For those with the U052 error that can't be fixed, throw it over the counter at a Canon repair outlet and go buy another brand. Send Canon a clear and consise message that you are the customer!


I have the same problem .  Im so disappointed after reading commentst  that the printer head cant be fix anymore. this printer MX870 was intended for my son's thesis.So is our printer already considered a trash? disappointed


Well, after a couple days of trying everything I've read about this problem I finally found a solution.


I took my MG5320 outside and set it on the curb. Next I went to my shed and got a sledge hammer. I put on a pair of safety glasses and beat Canon's crappy printer into a million pieces.


My only regret is I have a couple hundred dollars worth of OEM print cartridges that I will never use becaue Canon will never get another dime out of me so long as I live.



Nothing will change my friends. Canon don't care about yoiu or their printers. There gold is in the filthy price they charge for their ink. It's a wonder they don't give away new printers, they don't cost much to make in China. If everyone stopped buying their products, they would go broke - simple. No more Canon for me 🙂


I have the same problem on my MP 810. Canon has (like Brother printer) programmed a chip in the motherboad to give you a false error message when you have printed a limited number of copies. Then they give you some false service tips, they do don't work, because the chip is programmed to give you a false error message, until you give up and buy a new printer. That's the business strategy of Canon.

If you can prove what you are claiming about the chip that's programmed to give this error, that would go a long way to helping a lot of people like myself, who have been treated with utter contempt by the Canon company.

Sorry Isac, I have no evidence. I should have written that "I guess that Canon (like cheap HP ink printer, and not Brother as I wrote initially) has programmed a chip in the motherboard ....".


Many years ago, I had a cheap HP ink printer that one day showed an error code that stopped the printer from working. This was a known problem on internet, and no one had any solution, other than buying a new printer. But then it was electronics expert that showed a video on how to short-circuit and reset a chip on the motherboard that made the printer continue without multiple error messages. This was a chip that was installed and programmed to provide an unexplained error message after the X number of copies. That was when I realized that cheap inkjet printers were meant for "buy and throw".

I wouldn't put it past manufacturers doing this sort of thing to generate sales. The average user would probably be none the wiser and replace the printer from the same manufacturer but not this little black duck!