We’ve been seeing a lot of instances where end-users are reporting problems with their Canon Megatank printers, particularly air in the ink tubes that feed the printheads so we wanted to put a little list of issues we’ve come across and the ways we’ve resolved them.

Please note this is not intended to be offered as “expert advice” as we’ve not had sufficient experience with these printers to claim any kind of expertise. It has however worked for us so it may prove useful.


Support Code 5100

This normally indicates a paper jam but in our case we had a G4501 which was displaying the error while it was obvious there was no paper causing issues. A video by Kevin at BCH was useful in identifying that the problem was likely caused by some issue with the waste ink system (it wasn’t) and we worked out that the evidence of soiling around the printhead carriage and printhead cleaning system probably meant a sensor was soiled too. So, we did the following:

  • Mopped out the printhead capping station and cleaning area with kitchen paper towel
  • Placed a strip of folded kitchen paper towel along the printhead path (called the platen) and carefully pressed it down so we could run the printhead over it.
  • The printhead was then slowly passed over the paper towel to the left and then to the right, twice.
  • The printhead was then moved back into the parked position and the soiled paper towel removed.

Once the printer was powered back on the printer started up and was able to complete a nozzle check successfully (which we’d been unable to do previously) so the error was cleared.


Air In The Tubes

This is a commonly reported issue for Canon Megatank printers and while we’ve been unable to identify the exact cause, our 20+ years of experience with CIS systems means we’re reasonably confident that the issue is due to poor connection between the ink receivers in the top of the two printheads and the ink feed system seated in the printhead carriage lids that lock down on to the printheads. Any dust, hairs or other foreign material with or without poor seating of the printhead will allow an air gap to exist between the printhead and the ink supply. Any air leak, no matter how small will result in air being ingested into the printhead and tubing system and eventually causes the printhead to fail due to lack of cooling from the ink.

So, a key troubleshooting step we’d recommend would be to:

  • Check the top of the printheads for any sign of dust, hair or other soiling. Carefully remove same using a cotton bud/Q-Tip or similar.
  • Inspect and clean the printhead carriage lid in the same way.
  • If you find the printhead and or connecting carriage lids are damaged take pictures and contact Canon support. Damage will likely cause leaks and may need to be replaced.
  • Check the printheads are seated properly in the carriage and re-seat as needed

In most cases this is likely to resolve the issue and stop air ingress into the tubes and/or printhead.

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