Question about Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet Printer

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See troubleshoot and routine maintenance chapter in user,s guide. Init unable 4F

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You really should mention the brand and model of the printer, but from the message, I'm guessing this is a Brother inkjet machine. If so, the Init Unable message means that either the printhead is unable to go back and forth, or it can, but the machine doesn't know it can. The most common causes are:

  • A scrap of paper got wadded up in the way of the printhead. It's probably crammed up against one end or the other of the area the head travels through. Usually it's soaked black with ink and stuck in the right-hand end where everything else is black, too. If you unplug the power, you might be able to pull the printhead out of the way by hand to get at the scrap. You'll need a flashlight and maybe long tweezers. See the note below about the gray film strip.
  • Sometimes it's more serious. The right-hand end, where the head parks itself is a cleaning/sealing station. Between jobs, the head rests there, and a motor lifts rubber seals up against the bottom of the head to prevent the ink nozzles from drying and clogging. If that motor died, the head is stuck over there, and a repair probably costs more than a replacement machine.
  • Sometimes it's less serious. You might be able to see a 1/4-inch wide strip of gray film stretched tight across the area the head travels through. The gray is actually fine vertical lines that the head counts with an optical sensor, keeping track of it's location, so every dot of ink goes where it ought to. Sometimes a paper jam pushes that strip up and out of its sensor, so the machine can't see it. If it can't count those lines, it assumes it must be jammed and throws up that error. You might be able to gently lift and drop the strip back into the sensor. It should be straight and vertical, all the way across, without anything rubbing on when the head moves.
  • Be nice to that film strip. It's just photographic film, and not made to be rubbed. Ink smears will blot out the lines and cause the error you already have, so keep dirty fingers off it.
There are other possible causes, but these are the likely ones, two of which you may be able to fix without parts.
Good luck.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011

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