Harvey Head Cleaner is a utility program designed to reduce the frequency of clogged heads in inkjet printers. This will also reduce the need for wasteful head cleanings, and will extend the life of your printers.
Harvey Head Cleaner is being used by people who depend on their inkjet printers, all over the world. Photographers, printers, awards companies, sign companies, small businesses and other people who have invested in good printers.
Note: If your printer currently has clogs and normal cleaning procedures have not cleaned it up, Harvey Head Cleaner won't help, either.
We've assembled some head cleaning tips we've found. Some of these methods are last ditch procedures. See the details below. You should always perform normal head cleaning actions first. Harvey Head Cleaner can help keep a clean head from developing clogs, but it won't help clean an already-clogged head.
How Harvey Head Cleaner Works
The "nozzles" in an inkjet printhead are actually very tiny tubes, about the size of a human hair. One Epson printer has a resolution over 5000 dots per inch, which means the tubes are extremely fine. Each nozzle holds ink until given the command to eject it. In HP and most other inkjets there is a tiny heater for each tiny tube, and when the heat is turned on, ink gets spit out. Epson printers use "piezo" which is a sort of heatless pump to eject the ink.
But in order to be ready, there has to be ink in the nozzles. And if the ink isn't used, it will dry up in time, making a clog. How fast it dries up depends on several things - environmental conditions like temperature and humidity, the size of the tube it's sitting in, and the type of ink being used.
Some manufacturers advise running some ink through the nozzles every day, which may be a little extreme for some environments although probably just right for others.
But the action of running a small amount of ink through the nozzles on a regular basis will keep the ink from drying and will prevent or reduce the instance of heads clogging.
So, Harvey Head Cleaner is a program which monitors the jobs sent to the printer, and if the printer hasn't been used in 24 or 48 hours (your choice) Harvey Head Cleaner will ask the printer to print a pattern similar to a nozzle check. You can schedule Harvey Head Cleaner to run only Sunday mornings, or only twice a week. or every day.
The pattern we use for Epson printers uses a minimal amount of ink, but it moves ink through every nozzle. This should prevent having to perform wasteful head cleanings, and in most cases should prevent or greatly reduce the number of head clogs. If you print a pattern like a nozzle check every day your print heads should remain clean and clog-free. That's what Harvey Head Cleaner does.
In order to work properly, the printer must be left on, the computer must be left on (although the monitor can be turned off) and there should be ample plain paper left in the printer. (Please remove the expensive art paper or transfer paper.) Harvey cannot work without paper, so load up with cheap paper. Then you can take that long weekend without worrying about your printer.
Epson Stylus 900
Epson Stylus 1270
Epson Stylus 1400
Epson Stylus 1280
Epson Stylus 3000
Epson Photo R320
Epson Photo R380
Epson Photo 820
Epson Stylus RX580
Epson Stylus 4880
Epson Stylus 4800
Epson Stylus 4000
Epson Stylus 3800
Epson Stylus 7600
Epson Stylus 7800
Epson Stylus 9600
Epson Stylus 9800
Harvey Head Cleaner is a program for Windows with some simple requirements. Harvey supports Windows XP, Vista, and 2000. Harvey requires some basic programs included in most Windows systems:
.NET Framework 2.0+
--If you do not have the appropriate pre-requisites, Harvey will install them for you.
30 MB Hard Drive Space
--Harvey Head Cleaner itself is only about 1 MB, but because not all systems have the correct versions of Windows Installer and/or .NET Framework, we've included these in the download. This increases the size of the download to about 25 MB.
NOTE: For some WIndows versions, particularly XP Home Edition, you may be prompted during installation to install or update Windows Installer/.NET Framework. Please accept these to allow Harvey smooth installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will Harvey Head Cleaner clean a printer which is already clogged?
A. Sorry, Harvey will help keep a printer running clean, but it won't clean an already clogged head.
Q. Why won't Harvey Head Cleaner work on my Mac?
A. It's a language thing. We're working on a Mac version now.
Q. How often should I schedule Harvey to print?
A. That depends on your environment. In a warm, dry environment ink will dry faster than in a cool, humid environment. We have a default setting of daily at 3 AM,
but this really assumes the harshest environment - dry and hot, with airconditioning turned off in the afternoon and on weekends. If A/C is off on week- ends,
you should schedule Harvey for Saturdays and Sundays and once during the week, say Wednesday. In the best of environments, twice per week is recommended.
Q. What happens when the computer goes into standby mode?
A. Harvey will wake up the computer long enough to print a small pattern.
Q. Won't leaving the printer turned on dry out the ink?
A. No. Unlike laser printers, inkjet printers do not generate heat. When an inkjet is left on, it goes into a "standby" mode and uses virtually no power.
Head Cleaning Tips
Harvey is great for keeping nozzles clean, but what do you do if your nozzle is already clogged? There are a few methods for removing already existing clogs from your printer. Some of these require you to purchase a kit while others are more Do-It-Yourself. NOTE: Cleaning inkjets yourself can result in irreparable damage to the printer, the cartridges, and whatever media you are printing on. If your printer is already non-functional, then it might be worth a shot. These tips are gathered from Internet research on the topic and are provided for informational purposes. BESTBLANKS is not responsible for any damage done using these methods.
First, a view of what we're actually talking about, the print head and nozzles:
This image shows the print head (bottom) and the magnified nozzles themselves (top). Those tiny nozzles are what become clogged with ink over time. Some print heads are part of the cartridge itself, like in many HPs. Epsons, however, which are the primary focus of these tips, house the print head in the printer itself.
Is My Head Clogged?
If white lines show up in your prints
If the printer's nozzle check seems faint or broken
If ink doesn't come out while you're printing
If you haven't used your printer in a long time
If your printer requires more cleaning cycles than usual
You May Have a Clogged Print Head
The first step in cleaning your print head is to use the printer's built in head cleaning function. Often this is enough to push a clog out of the nozzles, but unfortunately, it uses a lot of ink. After about four runs of cleaning, if your print output hasn't improved, it's time to stop wasting ink and move on to the more serious methods.
Commercial cleaners provide one option. These are typically cleaning solutions packaged in an ink cartridge that you place into the printer and run the normal cleaning cycle, flushing the nozzles with the cleaning solution instead of ink. These vary greatly in price and effectiveness.
To get all this dried ink out of your nozzles, you need some sort of solvent. Some household products work well for this, such as Windex (key ingredient: Ammonia). Isopropyl alcohol at 91% or higher also works to dissolve dried ink.
Some people recommend that you take a discarded ink cartridge, open it up, fill it with your solvent (preferably alcohol in this case) and then run head cleanings. This is a bit complicated and messy. Another option is just to remove the cartridge and put 7-10 drops of solvent directly into the ink recepticle where the cartridge normally sits and then run head cleanings. If your print heads are in the cartridge you can just remove them and soak the print head in your solvent of choice.
For a less invasive method, you can apply solvent to the pad that the print heads rest on. To do this you need to release the cartridge carriage so you can move it freely by hand. How to do this varies from printer to printer, please consult your manual. After it's free, move it to side so you can access the pad, apply enough solvent moisten it. I usually use my fingers to do this. Then, just slide the cartridge carriage gently back and forth over the pad. After five to ten minutes of this run a head cleaning and then a nozzle check. If it needs more work still, repeat. Keep paper towels on hand because your hands are very likely to end up covered in ink.
If a single color/ink is malfunctioning, you can try creating an A3 size solid block of the trouble color and printing it 10-12 times to attempt to force ink through the problem nozzle. This is very wasteful of ink and probably not a good idea if you're using specialty inks. If your ink is cheap and you'd rather not go through the methods listed up, this is always an option.
Prevention is the best method for dealing with clogs and it's here that Harvey Head Cleaner excels. The key to keeping printers in top function order is to use at least a little bit of each type of ink every day. Harvey does this by using the printer's built in nozzle check function, so you're sure ink is moving through every nozzle. This pattern is also very small and uses little ink, so it's not wasteful. Even better, Harvey knows if you've already used the printer for that day and won't run its nozzle check pattern unless it's gone unused.
Harvey Head Cleaner