I tried all the cleanings, took out cartridges, put in all new, NEVER use anything but Cannon brand, tried using all the control adjustments and still nothing. I am so frustrated, I have spent at least 4 or 5 hours trying to fix it to no avail! Help!
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Remove the Cartridges ( bottom left side of printer ) and clean the electrical ( golden contacts ) and put them back in. Remove the Printhead ( Open the Printer cover and you will find the Carriage that moves. Lift the latch and clean the electrical contacts ( golden contacts ) with lint free cloth
Reinstall the Printhead and wait for printer to respond. IT should fix the issue.
It's possible it is the new cartridge, but it sounds more like the print heads. I had the same printer and same problems until I changed the print heads. You are better off buying American Made Printer Ink Cartridges Even If They Cost A Little Less Than Name Brands. I get mine from www.officeinks.com with a 1 year quality and satisfaction guarantee with free return shipping. I have used it once and had no hassle.
Beleive it or not, sometimes a new cartridge comes with the ink clogged too, put both color cartridges over a wet towel with windows cleaner by 5 minutes, then clean both with a dry towel, try to print, if the quality print stay bad, you have to suspect the printer cartridge contacts, check if are clean (if you have to clean it, do that with the printer off), if the fail continues try to use the manufacturer warranty
Is the BC-21e new, or refilled? I know Cannon brand new cost so much more, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. I had a Cannon Multipass C2500. Sometimes even a new cartridge isn't good enough. I used to exchange between that one and the all black cartridge, because the all black has twice the resolution. Even with very careful handling, not touching anything metal, they still went bad. My best suggestion, short of another expensive cartridge is to remove the cartridge, take a soft pink pencil eraser and lightly erase all the contacts on the printer and the cartridge. Look for any of the spring loaded contacts in the printer that are stuck. Do not touch the contacts on the cartridge as they are unbelievably static sensitive. If you see ink on the contacts, use rubbing alcohol and a q-tip to remove it. Most likely though, it will take yet another cartridge with head to fix it. (That's why I gave up on mine and got a different brand.)
I had same problem with yellow ink cartridge. After going thru other suggestions I found on different forums that didn't work (turning printer off and on, cleaning contacts with alcohol, taking out and putting cartridge back in several times) I finally called Canon as my printer was still under 1yr warranty, and they sent me a brand new cartridge free of charge and it works great now (even though my cartridge that was giving error mssg was almost brand new too). I think they have a lot of lemon cartridges out there.
It seems there's something wrong with the cartridge connector. Try cleaning with a soft cotton cloth soaked with alchohol or After Shave and check for the ribbon connecting the head for possible damage or cut.