Brother MFC 420CN All-In-One InkJet Printer Logo

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

1 Answer

Brother 420 OK I followed the instructions about cleaning print head, put the printer back together trying to do initial setup with cleaning but I get error 51 and now unable to clean routine maintenance.  What can I do?

Posted by jazzen on

  • 3 more comments 
  • jazzen Dec 04, 2007

    what/where is the Purge cam switch and how do I check it?

    watch/where is the ink cartridge/purge switch harness located (is it where the ink is connected?)

    what about the Switching arm assembly?

  • jazzen Dec 04, 2007

    when I opened the cover and closed it again the printer makes a sound like (gears??) and now it says unable to Init.

    If its the gears where is the maintenance unit located.

    Pictures would help. Are there pictures on line that I can view regarding any of theses items.


  • jazzen Dec 04, 2007

    OK thank you for the pictures. I have taken the printer apart once again. I carefully looked to see if there was anything not in place or damaged. Everything is back in place. I did a deep cleaning it came up with just "maintenance." I did 99 to reset. STILL theres trouble with routine maintenance and unable to clean. and back to error code 51.

    If there is nothing else left. question do I need to take it in to a repair shop? and is it worth it?

  • jazzen Dec 04, 2007

    I do understand but I never did anything with the gears. I only cleaned the print head. As instructed.
    probably wasn't a good idea.

    it all started because my black would not print.

  • jazzen Dec 04, 2007


    I might give it one last try. Putting it down for the night.

    If I make any head way I will post a reply with complete steps. Other wise I'm off to office supply store for another printer.

    you have been great in supply the information.



1 Answer


  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 20 achievements.


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

  • Brother Master
  • 1,113 Answers

Error 51 = The purge cam switch does not come ON or OFF even after the purge cam has been driven by the specified number of pulses.
Fix is
Switching arm assembly not engaged correctly If the switching arm does not move smoothly, clean it.

Ink cartridge/purge switch harness not connected correctly
Correct the connection.

Purge cam switch broken Replace the purge cam switch.

Gear(s) on the maintenance unit broken Replace the maintenance unit.

Paper feed motor broken Replace the paper feed motor.

Main PCB defective. Replace the main PCB.

Cleaning of these print heads rarely if ever is successfull, they are electronic devices unlike other brands of printers

Posted on Dec 04, 2007

  • 4 more comments 
  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 04, 2007


  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 04, 2007

    here is

  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 04, 2007

    Very easy to get those two gears round the wrong way, idle gear and purge gear, ribs must face wrong way, I repair thes and if you brought it in to me after taking it apart I'd charge you heaps as it is if it was done in workshop i would change engine unit which on it own is worth more than machine, so is my labour 95.70 an hour, so in short not worth fixing. unless you wish to keep on with a possible never ending challenge

  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 04, 2007

    How far have you had it apart, maybe killed main pcb, maybe bent switch on purge cam, check encoder strip for ink stains, make sure tab on print head cover rides under rail, so many possibilitys..... we rarely bother fighting with them too time consuming as you are finding out, we right them off or replace assemblys. Modern world is a disposable one labour is too expensive to waste. these are a brat of a machine to fix as are all ink jets

  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 04, 2007

    gears will not be around wrong way if you havent seperated purge unit from engine unit,

  • Soulvisitor
    Soulvisitor Dec 05, 2007

    please rate my solution for me is all I ask for time spent for you



Add Your Answer


Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:


Just replaced all of the print cartridges. Now print is blurry looks like double print

First perform ink head cleaning a couple of times as follows. 1)Press Ink, 2)Press arrows to choose cleaning and press OK, 3)Press arrows to choose all and press OK. Do this a couple of times. Then you can perform check print quality as follows. 1)Press ink, 2)Press arrows to choose Test print and press OK, 3)Press arrows and choose print quality and press OK, 4)Press color start. the machine will print a chart. Inspect the short lines on the four color blocks If any are missing follow on screen instructions.

When I go to print everything looks good. The paper feeds through the printer but nothing prints on it.


Welcome to FixYa.

This problem might be due to blockages in the print head nozzles or if a FINE Cartridge is empty.

Kindly try the print head cleaning function to remove any blockages in the print head nozzles.

The procedure for cleaning the print heads, in the printer driver setup window (The printer driver setup window can be displayed through the application software in use or the Start menu of the Windows), is as follows:


1. Make sure that the printer is on and click Cleaning on the Maintenance tab.

Print head cleaning starts.

2. Click OK when the confirmation message appears.

3. Next, the Nozzle Check dialog box opens.

To check whether the print quality has improved, click Print Check Pattern. To cancel the check process, click Cancel.

If cleaning the head once does not resolve the problem, clean it once more.

Deep Cleaning:

Deep Cleaning is more thorough than Cleaning. Perform deep cleaning when two cleaning attempts do not resolve the print head problem.

1. On the Maintenance tab, click Deep Cleaning.

The Deep Cleaning dialog box opens. Follow the instruction shown in the dialog box.
Click Initial Check Items to display the items you need to check before performing Deep Cleaning.

2. Make sure that the printer is on and then click Execute.

Click OK when the confirmation message appears.
Print head deep cleaning starts.

If there is still no sign of improvement, the ink may have run out and the cartridges need to be replaced.

For more details, please download and install the complete on-screen manual from this link.

Thanks for using FixYa.

Unable to print. error 36

Restart the router and search for a printer on the pc

Error message reads "unable to

It means that the printer is unable to clean the print head number(s) 46. The print head is located under the ink cartridges. Remove the cartridges, and you should see a plastic piece with a hole in it to put your finger under and snap open. This allows you to see the print heads. The print heads look like a sponge type dabber on top of a plastic case. Grab a hold of the print head and pull it out. Look for ink that has spilled behind it or on any of the brass colored computer connections. use warm water and a lint free cloth to scrub it off. Press the print head sponge with your finger and make sure that ink primes and fills the head then put the printer back together and try a test page. If you stll get the error then you need to contact brother for a print head replacement.

I have an error "unable to print 36" on my

If caused by a paper jam you had it probably lifted the long, thin, plastic encoder strip in the pathway out of its slot, giving the false indication of a paper jam. In order to put it back in its place, please carry out the following steps:

1) Lift the cover and remove the two plastic panels covering wires. Mark down the position of cables, then remove them, and remove the now-freed top scanner section entirely.

2) Remove the screws from the top plastic shell. There's two in the back and four in the front. There's also two plastic tabs in the front that must be bent aside before you can remove the top shell.

3) Gently put the encoder strip back in its plastic guide, and check if you are able to get your printer to work all right thereafter.

If you are not comfortable carrying out the steps, I would strongly suggest you to have it repaired by your local Brother service center, without causing further complications.

Brother MFC-465CN won't prink cyan

You got to re-check back the Ink Cartridge you've buy recently.. Sometime the ink already freeze inside the cartridge bcoz its been really-really-really long time they keep before the usage.. Ive also have experience about problem like this b4, so better re-check/change back the cartridge.. Or If the
printer head is not at the cartridge, it is seperate from the cartridge, you have to check back the printer head also.. normally all the new printer head comes together with the cartridge.. and prefer to use the Original Cartridge more than Pirated Cartridge ok.. Cheap Cartridge always giv a lot of problem, especially like Your problem.. Thats All, Good Luck and Happy Trying..


Error code

and even if you did get rid of error 51 that you have created, you will find that you still cant print in black, original problem is the print head is stuffed probally from dodgy non gen ink running threw it and the fix is to replace head. I don't know who is telling all you brother mfc owners to clean your print head but your paddling up the wrong creek, these heads are electronic deivices that dont take kindly to cleaning, they are not the same as other brands. Re error 51 goto different machine same engine post
Not finding what you are looking for?


Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Brother Office Equipment & Supplies Experts

Norman  J Weimar Jr
Norman J Weimar Jr

Level 3 Expert

7025 Answers


Level 2 Expert

301 Answers

Cindy Wells

Level 3 Expert

6587 Answers

Are you a Brother Office Equipment and Supply Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides