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How to fix Error 6A81 on Canon printers

MAJ 03/01/15

Error 6A81 appears on Canon printers like Pixma IP4800, MG5140, MG5150, MX882...

Solution 1: This is a purge unit error.
  • There maybe something jamming the purge unit or just a absorber out of place which is picking up on the carriage preventing it from moving correctly. 
  • Try to move the carriage away from the purge (its where the printhead/carriage parks its self on the right side of the machine) with no resistance then you can shine a torch into the machine and look at the purge unit. 
  • There maybe crumpled paper jammed in the purge. 
  • If all looks well, the purge unit may be defective and had to be replaced. 

Solution 2:
  • The wiper on the purge may have stuck. It slides back and forth and they have been known to stick. 
  • Push it with a long screwdriver to see if it moves.

Solution 3:
  • Something is blocking the printer inside. It could be a paper jam or a foreign object. 
  • Check using a flashlight, to ensure there is nothing obstructing the paper feed mechanism down inside the printer where it is not easily seen.
  • If there is nothing obvious, unplug the printer power supply. 
Solution 3a ( thanks to Peter van eijden for the tip):
  • Printer off. 
  • Bring by hand the ink-carrier to the right side.
  • Push down carefully on the carrier, hold on and shalter the printer: push the left site of the carrier down, because its will come up.

Solution 4:
  • Take a dry cloth and clean the rubber rollers in the automatic sheet feeder. Dust may be coating the rollers there and as they become less tacky, they cannot feed paper correctly.

Solution 5:
  • Hold the printer in both hands (you may need another person to help you), turn it upside down and shake it for a few seconds to see if anything falls out of the paper feed area. (Sometimes objects such as pens, paper clips and so on can fall into the paper feed area and cause blockages.)
  • Then plug the printer back up, take your paper out and replace it with a fresh, small stack (about 5 pages) of paper. Then try to form feed again. If that works, then try to print again.


Anonymous said…
Thanks! Upside-down shaking helped, found an SD Card inside :-D
Anonymous said…
On the money! You confirmed what the customer wouldn't admit - a paper jam. Removed sliver of paper, unjammed the mechanism.... now working beautifully. Thanks for your expertise.
Anonymous said…
Got it w/solution #2. The sponge under the wiper unit got stuck up for some reason. After gently pushing it down the wiper unit moved freely. I moved the wiper back and forth a few times and fired it back up and it works now. Thanks
Anonymous said…
Same as above, the sponge unit got stuck up and carriage could not slide left all the way. A gentle push down on the sponge and it clicked into place 1/2 inch down then all ok.
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Anonymous said…
The two previous Anonymous posts involving solution 2 worked for me. There also was a considerable ink buildup on the wiper that appears to have bound up with the sponge underneath. Cleaning the ink was also necessary to correct my issue as well as pushing the sponge down the 1/2" as suggested.

Anonymous said…
Solution 2 worked for me. Lots of ink build up on the wiper and the sponge. Thanks for the help.
Anonymous said…
Excellent - the tip worked!

MG6100 showing 6A81 error after my two year old somehow caused it to jam.

Cleared all scraps of paper after removing the paper tray and covers yet still the code would not clear.

Moved the print head from its resting place across to the left to reveal the "wiper" block (a couple of tiny wipers just like on your car). Another small scrap of ink soaked paper there and after a little prod to the wiper block it sprang back a little. I actually think I moved it pulling the paper out.

Power off / on, working fine again.

Thanks for the pointers!
TRISH said…
Anonymous said…
Excellent...shone torch in to find one of the ink cartridges has lost a small sticker from the side identifying the colour/make and was stopping the mechanism sliding
Anonymous said…
MANY THANKS purge unit stuck after paper jammed, used long pencil pushed it back in place, low and behold lots of clunking and noise, now stoped AND IT WORKS AGAIN TA
Isadore said…
Wow, Wish I could report success. After checking, checking and rechecking, there is definitely no foreign objects in my printer. I removed the ink cartridge carrier, cleaned off all the ink, cleaned the metal strip the the cartridge carrier rides on, checked the paper rollers all to no avail. Backing up a little, I leave my printer on - permanently. I scanned a document and about 4 hours later, the 6A81 Error code appeared. I must add that I am an avid Canon fan, and this MG8220 Printer was not exactly an inexpensive printer. At best, I might print 200 pages in a month. Canon is now saying, "SOL, as a loyal customer we will give you a discount on a compatible printer". Staples are selling the printers cheaper than Canon's offer. But that's not the point. I certainly expect a longer life out of this printer. So question 1 -Any other suggestions for clearing this error. 2 - What do you think of Canon's response?
Anonymous said…
Worked for us! Found a small piece of paper and the little sponge tray below where the heads are normally parked was stuck up. Got the paper out, no joy. Pushed the sponge down and back in business. Merry Christmas! Thanks to all who posted here!
problem 6A81 Canon gm 5250. Solution to me : Printer off. Then bring by hand the ink-carrier to the right side.Push down carefully on the carrier, hold on and shalter the printer : push the left site of the carrier down, because its will come up, ( so thats the problem after the paperjamming! Peter
Anonymous said…
Solution #2 worked like a champ. The sponge and wiper were stuck in the up position. Thanks for the tip
Anonymous said…
stuffed around with the wiper thingy on the right hand side of printer carrage, all working great now thanks. Just saved another printer form ending up in land fill.
Anonymous said…
took a tissue to what i assume is the wiper. it didnt seem jamed but after i moved it forward a few times, it worked the next time the printer was turned on
Ron Greenberg said…
Part of the purge mechanism appeared to be stuck in a position that blocked the movement of the wipers. I pushed that part down, which freed the wipers to move back and forth, which I did manually. That did the job.
Anonymous said…
Thanks, the black sponge on the right side of the rail was stuck in the up position. Tapped it with a screw driver and it went back down. Working fine now.
Anonymous said…
i have tried to get at the wipers/pads etc to see if they are stopping the toner holding carriage from moving - mine is locked on the right and i can shift it - any ideas how to get it to move without breaking it ! Cant see any blockages
Anonymous said…
I had to go one step further: removed the ink cartages and the cartage tray to clean the slide and rollers, and wiped the purge tray to remove any dust, or paper scrap. The printer worked fine after that.
Anonymous said…
Thank you!! Touched the sponge absorber lightly with my finger. It dropped down a few millimetres. Working fine now.
Anonymous said…
Number 2 was the way to go! I guess! I turned the printer off, unplugged it, moved the ink carrier thing into the middle, and I looked into the right corner with a flashlight. I didn't see a thing wrong - no scrap of paper, no dust, no fuzz, no sponge sticking up - nothing. I touched and wiggled everything, and I went over everything with a soft cloth. Black ink did come off of something - I don't know what. Then I plugged it back up and was amazed to see that it was working again. Hooray!
Anonymous said…
thank you! after cleaning, moving all the details and resetting the printer, it worked.
Anonymous said…
wow, can not believe the amount of goo on the purge unit, now I know why this printer uses so much ink, it was several sccops of gunk holding the slider out...thank you
Anonymous said…
Can you tell me where the purge unit is and where the wipers are? (What am I looking for?)
Anonymous said…
My printer is canon pixma MX892. Wish I had a diagram of the inside of the printer. See previous question.
Anonymous said…

The purge unit and the wipers are under the carriage, just on the right.
Anonymous said…
Wow, thanks! Solution #2 did it. Pushed that sponge down with some tissue paper a few times and it worked!
filip said…
Very helpfull this information,i repar by myself Big thanks inktcarrier stock because of jamming the purge
Scabbers Adonys said…
Great post that helped me fix my printer! Here are a few helpful tips as people go about the previously recommended fixes.

1) The metal bar on the back that the print head moves on was covered in ink. I wiped it off with a disposable tissue as I gently moved the print head out of the way in each direction. I think ink buildup on this can make it hard for the print head to move. The printer power needs to be OFF during this.

2) The wiper blades are in the furthest BACK RIGHT hand side of the area where your print head moves. They almost look like little razor blades. They are made of rubber and are flexible. There is a good chance they are heavily covered in ink. Gently use a disposable tissue to clean these off. Plan on using a couple if you have not done it as the ink does build up. Gently wiping should be sufficient. You do not need to press hard or scrub.

3) While I did not care about ink on my hands and promptly washed them, you may consider using thin plastic gloves (such as food handling ones) if you want to avoid the ink. There is a very real chance you will get some on you in this process.

Anonymous said…
Same here on ix6520. Wiper and purge stuck in the up position but also the lift mechanism / lever came undone from the pivot point. Hard job but I did manage to get it reinstalled onto the pivot without disassembly. Thankful for this post because I would have just thrown the printer away...
Anonymous said…
It was full of dog and cats hair in it. Thank you
Anonymous said…
Wiper hung to front of printer not releasing and not letting purge sponge to come up. manually moved the wiper a bit an restarted, all is well. Printer is six years old MG8120. You should remove your print head and clean with some alcohol. I also wash out the purge area with warm water (do this over sink with printer tipped 45 degrees unplugged) then purge area with alcohol and dry for 24 hours when the purge error occurred. Been a work horse just getting a few more miles.
Anonymous said…
Thank you. Solved the 6A81 error on my Canon MG6250 with solution #2. I pushed a light grey plastic piece behind the purge sponge horizontally (towards the back of the printer) with a long screw driver letting the purge sponge move freely again.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the recommendations. They helped me fix my printer.
Anonymous said…
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! You fixed my printer. Hooray!
Justin Hughes said…
You guys wont believe what it was... a hair. A single thread of hair. But it's fixed!!!
Anonymous said…
Been trying to fix error 6a81 on my mx892 canon printer for a few hours now. The wiper is getting stuck to the front but yet I can move it manually and it springs freely back and forth. When printer is turned on, wiper again is stuck to the front. I did push the sponge down and also cleaned the ink mess there with tissue and alcohol but no go. Do I have a bad or broken part?
Anonymous said…
You are my saviors. My 10+ year old printer froze just as I was about to print the invitation and directions to a memorial service where I have to perform on Sunday. I haven't performed in public in 20 years, and the service is for the director of the opera co. where I started. All opera people in the audience. You saved me a lot of stress and a fair bit of coin, and saved the printer I really, really like. THANK YOU! I did every one of the steps, took off the back panel, used canned air, shook, shimmied, and shouted at it a bit. ET VOILA! Again, thank you.

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