Using the Maintenance Utility




Introduction

The maintenance utility (also known as the service utility) is a program provided by Canon to Print test pages, make calibration adjustments, view useful information, create log files, and perform services such as parts replacement or cleaning the PM-417 Print Engine. 

The maintenance utility uses the USB connection to the PM-417 print engine. As explained in the setup process of the PM-417 printer, an RS-232 connection is required to print. As the maintenance utility does not have an RS-232 interface, the Xitron software must be open in order to print from the maintenance utility. 

In order to ensure that the RS-232 connection is active in the Xitron software, a job must be sent to the printer before opening the maintenance utility. This job can be cancelled, but by sending it we can ensure that the Navigator software is monitoring the RS-232 connection. 

To do this, open the Xitron software and the PM-200 device monitor and send a job to the printer. The printer status change to printing and their should be sounds from the printhead as it moves to the printing position. Cancel the job and the printhead should make more sounds as it moves back to the capped position. Reference the following video here:


Printer Status Window

The printer status window is a very helpful diagnostics tool to view error codes and warnings for the printhead. After opening the maintenance utility, press the Printer Status button in the lower right corner (Figure 1):

  Figure 1: Maintenance Utility Printer Status button location

Figure 1: Maintenance Utility Printer Status button location

  Figure 2: Printer Status page

Figure 2: Printer Status page

 

The current printer status will always be displayed at the top of the printer status window (Figure 2). Warnings such as low ink and consumable life warnings will be displayed on the left. Operator Call errors such as No encoder signal or Out of ink errors will be shown on the right. Operator Call errors can usually be cleared using the Xitron device monitor. 

Fatal errors are errors which will prevent the printer from printing or booting. These errors usually require diagnoses to determine the cause and they are shown in the bottom left of the printer status window. 

Ink levels and maintenance cartridge levels (if used) can be shown on the bottom right of the window. Please note that these numbers are calculated and rounded - the actual ink amount in a cartridge does not always corraspond with the ink level reported in the printer status window. 


Printing a Nozzle Check Pattern

A nozzle check pattern is a very useful print that will show current nozzle performance (Figure 3).

  Figure 3:   Sample Nozzle Check Pattern

Figure 3: Sample Nozzle Check Pattern

To print a nozzle check pattern, go to the tab "Test Print/Adjustment" in the maintenance utility (Figure 4).

  Figure 4: Test Print/Adjustment tab location

Figure 4: Test Print/Adjustment tab location

Once on that tab, click the button "Nozzle Check Pattern" to send the job to the printer (Figure 5).

  Figure 5:  Nozzle Check pattern button

Figure 5:  Nozzle Check pattern button

While the paper settings on the left of the nozzle check pattern button may need to be adjusted for certain applications, most of the time they can remain at the default values listed above. 

The nozzle check pattern prints at 1200x1200 dpi, so ensure that the belt speed is not higher than the max speeds listed below:

PM-417D (dye ink)
Max Speed: 12m/min (7.87in/sec)

PM-417P (pigment Ink)
Max Speed: 9m/min (5.90in/sec)


Encoder Calibration (Vertical Scale Adjustment)

Encoder calibration is important so that the printer knows exactly how fast the belt is moving. It is important that encoder calibration is done before any other calibration is started. For this calibration, a metric measuring device that can read millimeters will be needed. Digital calipers are the most accurate way to measure, but a ruler that has 1mm hatch marks will also work. 

To stat encoder calibration, navigate to the Test Print / Adjustment tab (Figure 6) and click the button "Vertical Scale Adjustment" (Figure 7).

  Figure 6: Test Print/Adjustment tab location

Figure 6: Test Print/Adjustment tab location

  Figure 7: Vertical Scale Adjustment button

Figure 7: Vertical Scale Adjustment button

A dialog box will come up that will walk through the vertical scale adjustment. Press the print button and print out the vertical scale adjustment pattern (Figure 8):

  Figure 8: Vertical Scale Adjustment pattern print button

Figure 8: Vertical Scale Adjustment pattern print button

The following pattern will print (Figure 9):

  Figure 9: Vertical Scale Adjustment pattern             

Figure 9: Vertical Scale Adjustment pattern             

Note that the Vertical Scale Pattern prints at 1200x1200 dpi, so ensure that the belt speed is not higher than the max speeds listed below:

PM-417D (dye ink)
Max Speed: 12m/min (7.87in/sec)

PM-417P (pigment Ink)
Max Speed: 9m/min (5.90in/sec)

After the pattern has printed, measure the length of the rectangle as shown above. This value will then need to be entered in the vertical scale adjustment window (Figure 10):

  Figure 10: Vertical scale adjustment length of frame input

Figure 10: Vertical scale adjustment length of frame input

After entering the measured value, click the button "send and save to printer" to calibrate the printer. After saving the settings, a dialog will prompt to print the pattern again. This process should be repeated until the box measures exactly 100 mm in length. In most cases, it takes 2 or 3 cycles to perfectly calibrate the encoder.

If the pattern prints off the page, see the section: TOF adjustment to adjust the TOF sensor. 


Head Calibration (Head Position Adjustment)

Before starting the head calibration, ensure that the encoder has been calibrated using the Vertical Scale Adjustment. The head position adjustment is used to ensure all four colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) all register with each other. Bad registration of the four colors can cause edges and fills to look blurry or off. This is usually visible on sharp corners or fine text as shown below. Notice how the text looks blurry and when we zoom in we can see that all four colors are not lining up with each other (Figure 11):

  Figure 11: un-calibrated head color separation

Figure 11: un-calibrated head color separation

 

To fix these issues, we can run the head position adjustment utility in the maintenance utility. To start, click the Test Print / Adjustment tab in the maintenance utility (Figure 12) and press the button "head position adjustment" (Figure 13):

  Figure 12: Test Print/ Adjustment tab location

Figure 12: Test Print/ Adjustment tab location

  Figure 13: Head Position Adjustment button location

Figure 13: Head Position Adjustment button location

A new dialog box will come up walking through the adjustment process. Step one is to print a pattern which we will read the values from. Print this pattern by pressing the print button (Figure 14).

Note the Head Position Pattern prints at 1200x1200 dpi, so ensure that the belt speed is not higher than the max speeds listed below:

PM-417D (dye ink)
Max Speed: 12m/min (7.87in/sec)

PM-417P (pigment Ink)
Max Speed: 9m/min (5.90in/sec)

  Figure 14: Head Position Adjustment Pattern print button location

Figure 14: Head Position Adjustment Pattern print button location

The following Pattern will print (Figure 15):

  Figure 15: Head Position Adjustment Pattern

Figure 15: Head Position Adjustment Pattern

After printing the dialog will ask to adjust the reference position. No adjustments need to be made here - click the button "go to step 3"

Step 3 will ask to enter values for "KV" and "KH" as shown below (Figure 16):

  Figure 16: Vertical (red) and horizontal (blue) black adjustment input

Figure 16: Vertical (red) and horizontal (blue) black adjustment input

These values correspond to the following patterns with Red showing KV and Blue showing KH (Figure 17)

  Figure 17: Vertical (red) and horizontal (blue) black adjustment reference pattern

Figure 17: Vertical (red) and horizontal (blue) black adjustment reference pattern

The value that needs to be entered is the black line which lines up with Magenta the best. In the below calibration, the values that should be entered would be 4 for KV and 4 for KH (Figure 18)

  Figure 18: Vertical and horizontal black best line selection

Figure 18: Vertical and horizontal black best line selection

Once the values  for Step 3 have been entered, Click the button "go to step 4" to proceed to the next part of calibration(Figure 19):

  Figure 19: Go to step 4 button location

Figure 19: Go to step 4 button location

Enter the values for CV, CH, YV, YH by referencing the following images (Figure 20 and 21):

  Figure 20: Vertical Cyan (green), Vertical Yellow (pink), Horizontal Cyan (blue), Horizontal Yellow (yellow) head position adjustment input

Figure 20: Vertical Cyan (green), Vertical Yellow (pink), Horizontal Cyan (blue), Horizontal Yellow (yellow) head position adjustment input

  Figure 21: Vertical Cyan (green), Vertical Yellow (pink), Horizontal Cyan (blue), Horizontal Yellow (yellow) head position adjustment reference pattern

Figure 21: Vertical Cyan (green), Vertical Yellow (pink), Horizontal Cyan (blue), Horizontal Yellow (yellow) head position adjustment reference pattern

Once all values have been entered, click the button "save and send to the printer" to finish calibration. A window will prompt to print and restart the utility. It is usually recommended to run the utility a few times to ensure consistant results. 


TOF Adjustment (Top of Form Sensor)

The Top of Form sensor (also known as TOF) detects the leading edge of the media that is printing. This sensor can usually be mechanically moved or tilted to reposition the start of print. If the impression is printing too early, aim the sensor closer to the print head. If the impression is printing too late, aim the sensor away from the printhead. 

In addition to moving the sensor, a TOF adjustment can also be made in the maintenance utility using the TK-Gap Adjustment. Before starting this process, ensure that the encoder has been calibrated.

A measuring device that reads in mm will be needed for this adjustment.

Navigate to the Test Print / Adjustment tab (Figure 22) and click the button "TK-GAP Adjustment" (Figure 23)

  Figure 22: Test Print/ Adjustment tab location

Figure 22: Test Print/ Adjustment tab location

  Figure 23: TK-Gap adjustment button location

Figure 23: TK-Gap adjustment button location

A dialog box should come up to start the TK-Gap Adjustment. Click the print button to print out the adjustment pattern (Figure 24). 

Note the TK-GAP Adjustment Pattern prints at 1200x1200 dpi, so ensure that the belt speed is not higher than the max speeds listed below:

PM-417D (dye ink)
Max Speed: 12m/min (7.87in/sec)

PM-417P (pigment Ink)
Max Speed: 9m/min (5.90in/sec)

  Figure 24: TK-Gap adjustment pattern print button location

Figure 24: TK-Gap adjustment pattern print button location

The following pattern should print (Figure 25):

  Figure 25: TK-Gap adjustment reference pattern

Figure 25: TK-Gap adjustment reference pattern

Note - if the pattern prints off the edge of the leading edge of the page, adjust your sensor so it points closer to the printhead. If that adjustment cannot be made, use the "printer position adjustment" in the administrator mode of the maintenance utility to adjust the TOF gap. 

Measure the gap between the leading edge of the page and the top of the printed pattern (Figure 26). 

  Figure 26: Leading edge gap measurement

Figure 26: Leading edge gap measurement

In the above picture, the measured gap is 22.5mm

Ignoring the value already in the box, enter the measured value in the TK-Gap adjustment box and click send and save to printer (Figure 27). 

  Figure 27: TK-Gap Adjustment value input

Figure 27: TK-Gap Adjustment value input

Once completed, a dialog will prompt to reprint the pattern and start the adjustment process over. It is recommended to run through the adjustment process twice to ensure the impression is right on the leading edge. 


Ink Pre-fire (Keep alive function)

In order to prevent nozzles from drying out, the ink pre-fire on the paper setting may be helpful. The ink pre-fire on the paper setting will randomly spray dots across the paper to help keep nozzles active and prevent them from drying out. These small dots are almost invisible to the naked eye but can help with artwork that has areas with very small nozzle usage. 

The ink pre-fire on the paper setting can be turned on in the information tab of the maintenance utility. From the drop down box in the upper right corner, select "on" to activate the ink pre-fire and off to deactivate. After selecting on or off, be sure to click the button in the lower right hand corner "send and save to printer" to save your settings as shown below:

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