Sunday, November 01, 2015

Disabling Printer Function for Canon MP470

Many years ago, you may recall, I bought a Canon MP470 Printer/Scanner for cheap. After a year or so the paper feed mechanism stopped feeding paper properly, but I was always able to use it as a scanner.

Until a couple of weeks ago. Now, when I turn the thing on, the print heads move into place and the screen displays the code U051, which it explains as Print head is not installed. Install the print head.

If you look around the web, you'll find lots of pages that tell you how to clean the print head/cartridges, which claims to fix the problem. Of course, I don't care one wit about the printer. What I want to do is to skip the print head checking entirely, and go directly to the scanner.

I haven't found a clean way to do this, but I have found a workaround which allows you to temporarily disable the print function. It's written for an MP140, but works for the MP470, and I bet it works for most Canon printers. In case that page vanishes, here's what you do:

  1. Unplug the printer.
  2. Hold down the On/Off Key and the Reset Key.
  3. While holding the keys down, plug in the printer.
  4. Still holding down the On/Off Key, release and press the reset key five (5) times.

The printer will now go in to some endless self-check loop, you'll see a bubble running under the Canon logo on the display screen. But the scanner will now work. As before, I use xsane, which is a front-end to the programs provided the the SANE project.

Now this isn't optimal, but I only use the scanner a couple of times a month, so it's acceptable. If you figure out how to permanently disable the printer on a Canon MP, leave a note below.