Alright so I am stumped....

Bit of History

VS 540i single CMYK

New Cap top

New Wiper

New Felt 

All replaced within the last week, previously changed about 6 months ago

Manual Cleaning

Completed an overnight headsoak 

Just put in a brand new LC (running all Eco Sol Maxx2 inks.  Have never used generic inks)

Getting blurry prints and black showing up on some colors

Attachments are side by side comparison of a print job ( look at text at the top)  The one on the right with the black and yellow chart below it was when the printer was printing nice and crisp before.  The one on the left is what it is doing now.  Very fuzzy and fuzzy black small spots throughout the print, even on white space.

2 different test prints.  One before the headsoak, one after.

Any suggestions here?

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Please, as annoying as it is, one nozzle test at a time so I can zoom in.

Have you printed a text print in uni-direction?

Head soaks should be 48hr, to be effective.

That would not have help, but I went for all of the easy stuff.

- So you never mentioned to us the head strike. Look at the indentation on the right hand side. So it happened when the head was returning home. 

- I would check your encoder strip - and clean with alcohol. You see the crossing of colors into the neighboring columns?

You will not correct your issue until that is cleared.

Your head seems out of alignment - crooked columns

So print out a Black -  CMYK Palette Letter B - about 2 inches high - post that by itself 

Lastly for now - Cyan is the first to be affected by static - what is the humidity in your print area?

Sorry, new here.  My apologies for not showing one nozzle test at a time.

Uni-direction is worse

Will do 48 hr head soak over weekend

How do I go about addressing the head strike and head alignment issue?

Just cleaned encoder strip, it was filthy

Humidity 14%

Attached is the Black CMYK palette letter B as requested

Thank you kindly for helping!


Ok the B - very noisy - but good - if I had seen a red halo it would have show me possible head misalignment since cmyk uses all the colors to make black. 

The noise in the B along with the nozzle test - and a 14% humidity is moving me towards static. Spray some water around your machine and put a plant on a jar of water to add some humidity to your print area.

You will not be able to address the head strike or a head misalignment - that would be new head or tech or both. You have one of the two - so lets see how it looks after the weekend treatment.

Unidirection - not good - is really not good

So I need to see your bi direction test and calibration test under the menu key. Just do the simple bi for now and then the calibration - 2 seperate pictures - do not focus on the whole line - I need to see the arrow and about 4 on each side of it in both test. If I need more I will ask.

This is our start.

Hi Irving-

Thanks again for all for your help/insight.

Attached are the tests you requested.  

Ran the bi directional test first then calibration like you requested.

Update- did the head soak over the weekend for 48 hrs.  These tests are post head soak.  Used a spray bottle and sprayed some water around the machine.  Getting a plant today.

P.S. Just saw your photo and see that your are in uniform.  Thank you for your service!


Not sure if you have the manual, but that would show you how the test should look. 

Would love to see a test print after the soak. A comparison with the above.

BiDirection test. Yours is off and the correct setting is not on the sheet - it is pass +12 - the arrow is where you are, and you are looking for when the lines are over one another. There are halves - if you need to go between.

The Calibration is more difficult to assist in. It shows the damage to the head. It is one block over the next. You have spaces and you have overlaps. When the boxes meet, no overlap and no space that is the correct setting. When the head is damage it is hard to see where the setting should be. 

All calibration test are done in unidirection to avoid errors. Most printing is done in bidirection and the issues show when not dialed in. Your prints should be fuzzy (halo) due to the bidirection being off. It will should be how much it is off in the test. 

Thank you for acknowledging my now 16 year old Iraq picture. I did think about changing it, but in it I have hair.

Hi Irving,

I do have the manual and definitely see the calibration is all out of sorts.  I will do my best to address this.  

Adjusted the bi-directional (was around +14.5-+15)

Got a nice little plant next to the machine sitting over a pail of water.  We have had a lot of weather changes here recently.

Attached is the test print after the head soak.

Let me know if there is anything else I should be doing that I am missing here.

Thanks again,



I see some improvement, no harm

That channel bending in the middle will always bend due to a headstrike. 

The color in the neighboring channel - is the encoder strip. Clean with alcohol only or a lint free cloth.

You have to reach in up over the rail in the back. there is a coded clear strip. YOu have half out and half recessed. You have to clean both sides - of the top - lint free cloth - some alcohol - start from left or right - sandwich the film and slide to the opposite side. - if dirty - change cloth and repeat.

This is the best you can get - (that I know of until you change the head)

Best Regards

Hi Irving,

The encoder strip had already been cleaned but I cleaned it again and I am still having issues.

I am attaching an image of the printhead (does it look bad?)

And image of artwork output (you can see cyan or light cyan output is poor and black is still inconsistent/blurry)

Last is a nozzle test.

I am trying to do as much as I can before I have a tech come out.  How would I find a tech in my area?

Looks like you need a new head.


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