Reviving printer ribbons...

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Tony Cianfaglione, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. I bought some extra dot matrix printer ribbons a year or so ago to
    ensure my supply of ribbons wouldn't run out before my old printer was
    finished. I use the printer for simple text and email printouts from DOS
    (very fast and simple way of doing this).

    My problem is all the ribbons have gone dry even though the plastic bags
    they are sealed in aren't even opened. The ribbons are new and unused so
    they have lots of ink; they just need to be remoistened.

    Is there a spray or liquid that can remoisten dried unused ribbons? I
    know some people try to 'milk' extra service out of old used ribbons that
    are beyond their lifespan, using stuff like WD40 to relube the ribbon and
    making an awful mess (I saw someone do this firsthand and the printer was
    not a pretty sight afterwards).

    These are brand new, still sealed - with the exception that they have gone
    dry in the bags.

    Tony Cianfaglione, Dec 31, 2003
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  2. Tony Cianfaglione

    Brian H¹© Guest

    Tony Cianfaglione said: about....

    Get a container, place some water in it.
    Find a way of placing a ribbon inside the container without it touching the
    Stand in a warmish place (to help humidify) for a couple of days.

    See if that helps.
    Brian H¹©, Dec 31, 2003
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  3. Tony Cianfaglione

    Boomer Guest

    I'm cross posting this to comp.periphs.printers.

    I would like to know this too.
    Boomer, Dec 31, 2003
  4. Tony Cianfaglione

    Brian H¹© Guest

    Boomer said:
    I wonder if someone comes up with my idea ;-)
    Brian H¹©, Dec 31, 2003
  5. Tony Cianfaglione

    Boomer Guest

    It would be nice if moisture would revive them. I just can't afford to
    'experiment' so hopefully a tried and true reply will be forth coming.
    Boomer, Dec 31, 2003
  6. Tony Cianfaglione

    Unk Guest

    Do not use WD40! The solvent in it will soften the material they use to
    hold the pins in the print head.
    Staples and Office Max used to have ribbon ink. Use a toothpick to add
    drops of ink onto the ribbon through the opening in the spools. If they are
    cartridges, you can carefully pop the tops off, and add a few drops to the
    spongy reinker roller. Let the ribbon sit overnight for the ink to migrate.
    I used to reink my old Teletype and Panasonic printer ribbons dozens of
    times until the ribbon itself wore out.
    Unk, Dec 31, 2003
  7. Tony Cianfaglione

    Boomer Guest

    Can't use an eye dropper?
    Thanks a lot, Unk! :)
    Boomer, Dec 31, 2003
  8. Tony Cianfaglione

    Unk Guest

    Yes, but I found that it puts too much ink in too small an area. The ribbon
    then gets saturated in sections and makes for a splotchy printout.
    Your welcome. Use rubber gloves. If that stuff gets on your skin, it's a
    bitch to get off. Isopropyl alcohol cleans up best.
    Unk, Dec 31, 2003
  9. Tony Cianfaglione

    Steve B Guest

    WD40 does work on ribbons but it has to be the merest smear applied, so the
    technique is to lightly spray a small bit of cloth, pull out a few inches of
    ribbon, lightly grip it with the cloth so that both sides are moistened, and
    then wind the ribbon round. If it's a super long ribbon then mark the ribbon
    where you start (tippex or sew a thread) so you know when you've finished. You
    may have to replenish the cloth with WD40 a few times, just try not to get the
    ribbon wet, all you're trying to do is reactivate the ink.

    You can easily make ribbons last for years doing this.
    Steve B, Dec 31, 2003
  10. Tony Cianfaglione

    Boomer Guest

    :) Thank you!
    Boomer, Dec 31, 2003
  11. Tony Cianfaglione

    Edward\(1\) Guest

    Hi, Tony.

    I remember years ago my old grandad keeping a cabbage leaf in his tobacco
    tin. I suggest you take a leaf out of his book...!

    Find a buscuit (cookie if you're the US) tin, put your tapes in it and throw
    in a couple of large cabbage leaves - or similar. I wouldn't risk a damp
    cloth, as it may be too much, which will cause the ink to run.

    Good luck,

    Edward\(1\), Dec 31, 2003
  12. Tony Cianfaglione

    EricP Guest

    WD40 will revive them completely, although they will not be of the
    same density as the original ink.

    Use it very sparingly and allow 24 hours for it to penetrate the reel
    EricP, Dec 31, 2003
  13. Tony Cianfaglione

    Gary Tait Guest

    Hy not open the cart and spray the ribbon that way?
    Gary Tait, Dec 31, 2003
  14. Tony Cianfaglione

    Steve B Guest

    Tried it. No good.

    Steve B, Dec 31, 2003
  15. Tony Cianfaglione

    Malev Guest

    <snip 65 lines below top post>

    Only a top poster wouldn't be able to manage to properly squirt a dose of WD40
    in an open ribbon cartridge.
    At work, during the 80s and 90s, we went through crates of cans of WD40 to
    revitalise the ribbons of all our dot matrix printers.
    Never had a problem.
    Throw your printer away and go back to pen & paper.
    Malev, Dec 31, 2003
  16. Tony Cianfaglione

    Brian H¹© Guest

    Malev said:
    Top posters are bottom squirters.

    Brian H¹©, Dec 31, 2003
  17. Tony Cianfaglione

    Steve B Guest

    Sometimes I top post, sometimes I bottom post, sometimes I delete all the old
    stuff. I deleted you.
    Steve B, Dec 31, 2003
  18. Tony Cianfaglione

    FRED Guest

    Did hundreds of them!! open the case, give a good squirt without flooding
    the case!! put the top back and leave for a day or two to allow it to soak
    through, then use or store the ribbon. Don't muck about with clothes etc
    it's too messy and doesn't work as well. you will be able to keep using the
    ribbon until it actually wears out. I've got a sort of idea that the WD40
    helped lubricate the print head, but I could be wrong
    FRED, Dec 31, 2003
  19. I wouldn't think of using WD40. I saw the mess firsthand when a friend
    tried it on his old ribbons. Yuch!
    I would try this if the ribbons had already been used and needed reinking
    of some sort. However, these ribbons are still sealed, have tons of ink
    and just need to be remoistened somehow so they can used for the first
    time. Adding more ink wouldn't really revive new ribbons, would it?
    Wouldn't they just get inklogged (as opposed to waterlogged) and be a bit
    sludgy in use?
    Tony Cianfaglione, Dec 31, 2003
  20. I'll try this as well as Unk's suggestion and let you know how it works
    out. Thanks.
    Tony Cianfaglione, Dec 31, 2003
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