Replacing the ink absorber in a Canon Pixma MG6150 printer

If, like me, you still have a Canon Pixma MG6150 all-in-one printer, and have used it a lot, you may have started getting error messages saying that the ink absorber is almost full and that you need to contact the service centre.

You may then have thought that you really don’t want to send a 9 kg printer off for repair, taking who knows how long, and costing who knows how much – and decided to search for how to replace the ink absorber yourself.

You would have found lots of pages that say how easy it is to replace the ink absorber by making sure the printhead is in the right position and accessing the absorber through the gap to one side. This may be true for many Canon printers – but not for the MG6150 (and, I assume, related models – the manual makes me think this also also applies to the MG6110, MG6120, MG6130, MG6140, MG6170, and MG6180). It’s much more difficult than that, but it can be done; this page directs you to the resources to do it yourself.

Of course, I’m not advising this: it involves dismantling the printer, and the scope for killing it outright seems pretty high to me. You follow these notes at your own risk. Equally, I’m taking no responsibility for the links you might use to download the resources you need. At the very least, I’d make sure you virus check each file.

Reservations aside, this is what you’ll need:

  • A new set of ink absorbers. The only UK reseller I could find was The Supplies Shop; the kit is listed as part no. QY5-0296, though they sent me QY5-0347, which was what I needed. When the parcel arrives, you’ll think they’ve sent you a bundle for multiple printer models. They haven’t. You really do need all of them.
  • The service manual for the Canon MG6100 series. I got mine from here; you might find one somewhere else.
  • Instructions on resetting the ink absorber counter; I used the ones on the Error Code Printer site.
  • The relevant Canon service tools software. The Error Code Printer site says you need either version 1.050 or service_tool_v3400 – only the latter worked for me. Best if you search for this one yourself, I think.
  • A long-shafted medium cross-head screwdriver – with a magnetic head. Some of those screws are down very deep, narrow holes.
  • A lot of old newspaper or some such – this is a messy job.

Once you’ve assembled everything, this is what you’ll need to do:

  1. Dismantle your printer, following the instructions on pp. 18-21 of the service manual (section 2-2 (1) only). Stage 3, removing the cables, can be tricky – not everything that looks as though it plugs onto the circuit board actually seems to.
  2. Dismantle it even more, following the instructions on pp. 39-41 of the manual (section (11) – Ink absorber replacement). Although its says you need to remove six screws, as the photos show, you really need to remove 7.
  3. You’ll also need to unscrew the white plastic assembly at the left front of the base bottom case. They don’t mention it, but some of the absorbers are tucked underneath it.
  4. Replace the absorbers, following the instructions on p. 41 of the manual. There are a lot of these, and they’ll be full of ink. You’ll probably want to mop up some of the ink hat’s oozed out of them as you remove them, too. They’re laid down several layers deep, so take a note of what you’re removing so that you can add the replacements in the correct order.
  5. Put the printer back together again.
  6. Follow the instructions at Error Code Printer to reset the ink absorber counter to 0, so you stop getting those pesky messages.

And there you go. Assuming everything still works, pat yourself on the back, pour your celebratory drink of choice, and feel a warm glow of satisfaction.