POSSIBLE solution for Canon Pixma Pro-100 B200 Errors

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by davecaz, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. If you've had a Pixma Pro printer for any length of time, you've probably experienced, or at least heard of, the B200 error problem. When this occurs, you can't print until you resolve the problem. There are different theories as to what causes the error; letting the printer sit idle too long is the most popular, but I've also run across unstable power supplies being reported as a cause. I don't recall the other theories, but I have another theory that I have not seen documented elsewhere.

    First, let's understand that the B200 is Canon's catch-all error code. If it's not one of the dozen or so specific errors that have their own codes, it gets dropped into the B200 bucket. That means that ALL of the theories may be correct. Canon, tellingly, do not offer an explanation for this, other than "well, that's what happens when you use cheap ink." But, I've had it happen with their ink, too, so...

    I've recently had it happen to my original Pro-100 again, and when the usual tricks didn't solve the problem, I took an unusual approach. I found someone selling a brand new Pro-100 without the ink cartridges, but with a factory-sealed, shiny new print head, for less than half of what a print head costs through normal channels. So, I bought it. Brought it home, set it up, put my old ink cartridges into the new print head, turned it on, and got the B200 error.

    To me, that eliminated any possibility that the print head was clogged with dry ink or that it had been frazzled by unstable power over time. What's left? The ink cartridges. Canon support will always suggest a new set of cartridges but, at $125 per set, that's not my favorite answer. They will also tell you that the B200 requires bringing the printer to a support center, but the nearest such center is in another state, 289 miles from where I live. I don't live in the middle of nowhere. I live in the 5th largest metropolitan area in the US. They have authorized centers in towns the size of my school district, but not one within reach of the 5 million people here.

    Options? I could order a new $125 set of Canon-brand cartridges. I could order a $30 set of off-brand cartridges. I could also, being a refiller, order empty cartridges and refill them from my stock of ink. And that's what led me to the possible solution I want to share; resetting the chips in the ink cartridges.

    If you've ever inserted one of these cartridges, you know they have computer chips on one end. This is how the printer can tell you when it's running low on a particular color of ink. And, usually, when it does so, you open up the printer, wait half a year (subjectively) for the print head to appear, and see which one(s) is/are blinking. In my case, I'd already seen the print head several times, and I knew that none of my cartridges were blinking. The printer had also not told me that any were low on ink. But they were.

    In fact, my yellow cartridge was almost dry, and should have been blinking, but it wasn't. Clearly a classic case of what we in the IT industry refer to as a machine that's confused. That's not supposed to be possible, but it happens. So, I refilled all my cartridges (always do all of them at the same time), re-set the chips, re-installed them, and watched as the printer figured out that "Oh, there isn't really a problem, after all." No more blinking alarm light flashing the dreaded B200 signal. Problem solved.

    Those of you who do not refill your cartridges are not going to have the chip resetter sitting around, because Canon doesn't provide them. They don't even want you to know they exist. But they do, and they are absolutely necessary if you're going to refill your cartridges (and you don't want to risk destroying the printer), so the people who sell bulk ink make them available. Resetting the chips "makes them aware" that they are now full again, so they will report their status correctly to the computer.

    The resetter is not cheap. The one from http://precisioncolors.com/PC42reset.html costs $48.99, all by itself. But, you can also get it as part of a complete refill kit for $88.98, which includes enough ink to refill each color cartridge many times.

    DO NOT PRINT AFTER RESETTING YOUR CARTRIDGES WITHOUT REFILLING THEM! If you do so, they will report that they're full when they're not and you run the risk of running them dry, which Canon says can damage the printer. However, it could be a useful diagnostic test, to determine if it's the cartridges causing the error. If resetting them makes the error go away, then you need to decide whether to refill them (and reset them, again), or buy new ones.

    Also, be aware that using reset cartridges probably voids your warranty, but this usually doesn't happen while the printer is under warranty.
    PapaTango, Moving On and digitaldog like this.
  2. So for us that don't refill, it looks like fundamentally your solution is to do a visual check of all the carts, look for the one with the least ink, and replace it even if it isn't flashing?
  3. No. My solution is to borrow a resetter from a friend and reset all the cartridges. Replacing the one with the least ink may work, but that's your solution :)
  4. Followup - While I was typing up that whole saga, I was also running various cleaning utilities over and over. I think I ended up using 5 of the 12 or so available, some of them many times. Despite all that, the yellow output was barely visible in the nozzle check printouts. So, I removed the yellow cartridge and took it to the kitchen sink, where I ran water over the round output nozzle until it ran clear.

    My thinking was that the dried ink must have been clogging the cartridge, rather than the print head, because the print head was brand new. I've seen dozens of posts telling people to soak or otherwise clean their print heads, but I've not seen anyone recommend cleaning the cartridges. I don't know if washing the cartridges will cure the B200, but it might. If the print head senses that it's not getting ink from one or more cartridges, that could trigger the error. So, if you're going to clean the print head, anyway, why not clean the cartridges, too?

    Washing my yellow cartridge didn't solve the problem immediately. I had to run the Deep Cleaning utility a few more times after drying and reinserting the cartridge but, eventually, it began to print correctly. So, if you're getting spotty/inconsistent output from the test utilities, I'd try this first before you replace the print head.

    I wish it wasn't so much work to drag the old printer out and set it up, because I'd love to know if putting the reset and cleaned cartridges back in it would result in the printer working, again. I'd put the odds at around 70:30 in favor of it working.
  5. Next time perhaps you could consider a dye ink printer.
  6. Why is it probable?
    While I appreciate your sharing of potential solutions to a problem, I think it's also useful to not make issues bigger than they might be. Nobody is helped by blowing up these stories. There is no data that the majority of Pixma Pro users run into this, nor reason to assume they do. Maybe there is plenty discussion to be found on the internet, but that's by no means any proof about an issue being common. After all, people don't usually post to tell a device works without issue.

    My Pixma Pro-10 works without issue, though. Has done so for quite some time, and I use it very infrequently - leaving it enough time to clog up, but it just doesn't seem to do that. If I've understood well, after xx amount of time of inactivity, it runs a cycle to avoid clogging up. For this reason, I just leave the printer always on. So far, so good.
  7. Troll much?
  8. The Pixma Pro line uses dye-based inks. Next time, perhaps you shouldn't wise off without knowing what you're talking about.
  9. No, just making sure that people are not led to believe that this issue is extremely common and about to hit them. Forum postings stay around and are indexed by google, and these kind of hyperbolic statements create more waves than they should. It's not as common a problem as you imply in your post. Is correcting a false statement trolling already these days?

    By the way, the Pixma Pro100 is the only Pixma Pro to use dye inks, the others use pigment.
  10. Actually I have a Pro100 myself and never had a problem. Given your immensely complicated solution to this issue, I mistakenly assumed you had the Pro 10. Might it not be connected with you refilling your own carts? I am sure that is what Canon would say: they may be right.
  11. As do I, and have never had a problem despite only occasional light usage and a few brief sessions of heavy use per year.
    Precision Colors has quite a good reputation. If I did a lot of printing I would certainly try their system as the costs are much more reasonable.
  12. That's your perception. That doesn't make you right and me wrong. You offered no statistics to support your opinion, either, so you didn't "correct" anything. You merely contradicted me, which helps no one.

    No one is going to be googling up such a thread unless they have encountered the problem. So, you've added nothing to the thread that's of any use. All you've done is be offensive. That is trolling.

    I stand corrected.
  13. I guess it was too complicated for you. It's actually pretty simple.
  14. Well, that makes three, so I guess we can say it's not a 100% universal problem. :)
    Yes, I have only praise for PrecisionColors. To my eyes, their inks produce prints that are indistinguishable from prints made with Canon's.
  15. Offensive?
    I did not make things personal by calling anyone a troll, or implying that things would be too complicated for others, as in your reply to Robin. All I did is express a differing opinion. If that's already offensive.... then, yes, by that measure I am a huge troll.
    Fred G likes this.
  16. Actually, Dave, you started out being offensive, whether you were aware of it or not, in your unnecessarily harsh response to me, and it got worse from there. That opened you up to the treatment you think you have been getting. If that wasn't your intent, pehaps you need to become more subtle in your responses.

    Is this simply a linguistic or cultural misunderstanding? We have no way of knowing. I just immediately decided you were someone to stay clear of, more interested in confrontative put-downs than discussion (which is exactly how it's turned out to be), and I'm sure that shaped others' responses to you, too.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  17. That response wasn't harsh. It was humorously giving you credit for an alternative approach. Hence the smiley face. How you transmuted that into harshness, I don't know, but that was entirely your doing. I thought the fact that you read and understood the OP meant that you'd understand my reply to you. I guess I was wrong.
  18. In case you'd like to be less trollish in the future, stick to the actual topic of the thread. Coming into someone else's thread and telling them they're wrong about something utterly peripheral to the thread, especially when it's the first time you've ever spoken to that person, is a classic troll move. It's rude and obnoxious and asking for a fight. And, yes, that makes it personal.

    I'm sure you're aware that I can neither edit nor delete the OP, so arguing with me about it serves no purpose, other than to make YOU feel better and "punish" me for not writing it the way you would have. But, you're not my Dad and you're not my teacher, so you don't have the right to act that way.

    The percentage of printers that experience the problem is utterly irrelevant to the potential solution and of no interest to the people the thread was written for. And it was written that way in order to possibly make them feel slightly less alone in facing this problem after Canon has kicked them to the curb. Hopefully, they won't bother to read your pompous pronouncements.
  19. You have a real attitude problem. "Pompous" "wise off", "trolling", "rude and obnoxious", "utterly irrelevant". Your language choices say it all.
    Fred G and Wouter Willemse like this.
  20. Oy vey! Another one that believes a "thread belongs to them" because they started it. Respectfully Dave, nothing belongs to us here. If one does not play well with the opinions and experiences of others, and the idea that someone else will comment on that--then perhaps the entire concept of a 'forum' is not for them. Perhaps a personal blog, with the reader commenting system turned off would be more suitable... :cool:

    I too have been using Canon products for a long time--the Pixma's for over 5 years now. My Pro-10 is the fully calibrated and color matched unit in the stable. I have neither heard of nor experienced the dreaded 'B200' error. However, the 1/10/100 series is fraught with enough issues! My main complaint is the quantity of ink that is wasted every time the printer is powered up.

    As to the Precision Color inks--really good stuff! I have been doing business with them since acquiring the Pro 10 six years ago--and recently finished fine tuning the ink/paper profiles to accommodate the change in ink formulation for several of the inks. As Dave points out, if one begins by purchasing a complete kit--inks and resetter--the overall cost does not 'hurt' as much, and is still less than a complete set of OEM tanks. Do however get a decent digital scale for filling the tanks accurately. You will of course need to change profiles from the Lucia inks--but Mike has created profile sets for commonly used papers that serve as an excellent starting point. If you have a special request, email him and he will most often be able to accommodate you! :)
    Fred G likes this.

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