Nozzle Test

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Performing a Nozzle Test

A nozzle test is a good method of testing that your cartridge slot and/or catridge itself is working correctly. A similar command be run run on your home inkjet printer to troubleshoot a faulty cartridge.

The nozzle test for the Argentum is carried out slightly differently to a a regular print.

ARC Nozzle Test
  1. Place a sheet of paper onto the base plate of your Argentum, standard office paper will work fine but if you have some photo printing paper - it can help to show the nozzle test more clearly.
  2. Insert ONE cartridge that you would like to test into it's corresponding slot (ascorbic cartridges at the back, silver at the front). Make sure to prime it first too. Clamp the cartridge in place.
  3. Open ARC and once your Argentum is connected select Printer > Utilities > Nozzle Test from the top menu. A graphic will then appear in the print area as shown to the right. You can drag the nozzle test wherever you would like in the printable area.
  4. Click print.

Your carriage should make a nice rhythmic movement backward that will take around 2 seconds and print a small amount of ink from every single nozzle in a separate spot. If you are using a black cartridge - you can see the results immediately. If you are using an ascorbic or silver cartridge the liquids are clear BUT will degrade and turn brown when heated. This can be done with a heat gun, hot air re-flow gun or hair-dryer.

The development team is considering doping the cartridges with different colours for the two chemicals to assist in viewing this test as well as alignment tests. This may or may not become a feature in future cartridges.

Now compare your results to the image shown here.

Near Perfect Nozzle Test

Note: this nozzle test was performed using genuine HP black ink onto photo paper - this is about the best your nozzle test can possibly appear. Do not worry if your nozzle test doesn't seem as perfect.

Checking Results

My print looks just like the image

If there seem to be none of the lines (or very few) of the lines missing and they do not seem distorted then congratulations this cartridge slot & cartridge are operating properly. Note that if a few nozzles aren't firing, this is OK. There are 104 nozzles on each cartridge for the sake of speed but also redundancy.

My print is missing a lot of those lines

If there are significant chunks of the nozzle test missing, this means that either your cartridge has a number of nozzles that are clogged, your cartridge is not making a proper connection to your pogo pins or your FFC cables are not inserted correctly.

It is recommended that you perform the nozzle test again using a different cartridge in the same slot - if the pattern looks the same/similar the problem is probably that you've bent a pogo pin, damaged the carriage parts or inserted your FFC cables incorrectly. If the pattern on another cartridge is much better/perfect, then your cartridge is most likely the problem.

You can try to wipe the surface of your nozzles clean using a paper towel & a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol. If you have access to one you can also use an ultrasonic cleaning machine with distilled water to attempt to unblock the nozzles. If you do this do NOT use the same water for ascorbic and silver nitrate cartridges to prevent cross contamination.

My print is very blurry or fuzzy

First type "volt" into your ArC control panel and verify that the voltage for driving cartridges is set very close to 9V. If not, refer to the Electronics Assembly section of the assembly guide to set this.

Next, refer to "My print is missing a lot of those lines" above. In this case the problem probably isn't that your pogo pin connections are bad but just that your cartridge has something crusting over the nozzles and affecting flow.

Nozzle Test Print File for printer firmware 0.14 and below: NozlTest.hex

Nozzle Test Print File for printer firmware 0.15 and above: BothCartridgesNew.hex (alternative URL: BothCartridgesNew.hex)

Representation of Output: NozzleTest.png