Check / Clean the Encoder Film - PIXMA MX472, MX532...

Article ID: ART143651 | Date published: 05/13/2015 | Date last updated: 02/20/2020


Find out how to clean the encoder film, which may cause poor print results or a 5100 Error if it gets dirty or smudged.


If vertical lines appear on your printouts, if print shifts from the correct position, or if Error 5100 occurs, the encoder film inside the printer may be smeared.

The encoder film is a clear, thin film 1/4" high that sits horizontally across the inside of the printer. The strip contains thin black vertical lines that help it determine the printer's carriage position.

Check the encoder film

Follow the procedures below to check the film condition, and clean it if necessary.
  1. Press the printer ON button to turn OFF the printer.

  2. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet or power strip.

  3. Open the paper output cover.

    Paper output cover shown being opened
  4. Check the encoder film (A) inside the printer.

    Encoder film (A) shown inside the printer

    If the film is smeared as shown below, you will need to clean it.

Clean the encoder film

  1. Moisten a cotton swab with the isopropyl alcohol or window cleaner. 
    Caution Don't use any other detergents. Squeeze any extra liquid from the cotton swab.

  2. Gently move the cotton swab over the surface of the film, until the entire film is transparent and clear. Don't push on the film. 
    Caution Be careful not to let liquid drop inside the printer.
    Caution Clean only the encoder film (A), not the rail (B). If you clean the rail, the print quality may decrease.
    Caution Keep your hands off the printer as shown below, and change the cotton swab often as you clean.

    Encoder film (A) and rail (B) shown. Image shows person cleaning A with a cotton swab, without touching the inner parts with is hand.
  3. Close the paper output cover, plug in the power cord, and turn the machine back ON.

Follow up steps

  1. Print a nozzle check pattern from your MX392, MX472, MX479, or MX532 to confirm that the film is clean. (If clean, the pattern prints correctly).

  2. If the problem persists, check and clean the film again.

If your product issue isn't resolved after following the steps above, your printer will require service.

If your product issue was not resolved after following the steps above, or if you require additional help, please create or log in to your Canon Account to see your technical support options.

Or if you still need help, visit our Canon Community by clicking the button below to get answers:

Link to Canon Community Forum




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