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Fixing the Canon ‘Check ink U051, U052, U053 or U059′ Error Message

Your Canon printer will the ‘Check ink U051, U052, U053 or U059′ code when it is having trouble recognising either one of the ink cartridges installed. The official Canon description for these errors is either “The FINE cartridge is not installed”, ”The FINE cartridge is not installed properly” or  “Appropriate FINE cartridge is not installed”. A FINE cartridge is any modern Canon cartridge produced that has a printhead built into the bottom of the cartridge. Whilst only Canon originals carry the ‘FINE’ branding any functioning compatible, remanufactured or refilled cartridge can be used to resolve these errors.

Video Guide

How do I clear the U051, U052, U053 or U059 error message?

As described above these codes can appear for a couple of reasons. “The FINE cartridge is not installed” indicates that your printer cannot recognise one or more of the installed cartridges at all and “Appropriate FINE cartridge is not installed”, would indicate that an incorrect cartridge is installed. To resolve any of these Canon error messages please follow the steps below until the message disappears:

  • Open up your printer and ensure that both the black and the colour ink cartridge are installed. Your Canon printer needs both of these cartridges installed to print, even if you are only planing on printing in black. For more information on why this is necessary click here.
  • Check to make sure your cartridges carry the correct codes. The label of the cartridge should carry codes matching or at least similar to PG-37, PG-40, PG-50, PG-510, PG-512, PG-540 or PG-540XL for the black and CL-38, CL-41, CL-51, CL-511, CL-513, CL-541 or CL-541XL for the colour. Which of these codes is correct for your printer will depend entirely upon the model of the machine. If there is no indication on the printer as to which cartridges are needed please check your user manual for confirmation.
  • Check the cartridges contacts are clean and un-obscured. Your Canon printer uses a series of metallic contacts on the front of the cartridge to communicate with it when installed. If these contacts are dirty or covered by protective strips etc. then your printer will not be able to use the cartridge. I recommend removing the cartridge from your printer and wiping down the contacts with a piece of kitchen tissue (or another non-fibrous tissue) to ensure no dirt, ink or natural oils are preventing your printer from reading the cartridge. When finished your cartridges contacts should appear as below.a88328e3-7ec4-473e-88dc-a941b557533b
  • Change the ink cartridge. Now that we know the correct ink cartridge is installed and in the correct place, I would recommend eliminating the cartridge as the cause all together. To do this please try installing a new cartridge or one that has been installed earlier (that you know has worked previously). If you have been using a refilled or compatible cartridge you could even try installing a brand new Canon cartridge.
  • Clean the contacts inside the printer. If the problem persists or you have experienced this error message with several cartridges before, then it may be that the corresponding contacts inside the printer may be obscured. Simply remove the cartridge/cartridges from the printer and wipe the corresponding contacts inside the printer using a fibre free tissue as above. You can even use an alcohol based cleaning solution if the error remains. This will hopefully leave the contacts clean and your printer able to recognise the cartridge correctly.

Hopefully the ’Check ink U051/U052/U053/U059′ Canon error message is no longer displayed on your printer or printer software and you are able to carry on printing. If however the U051, U052, U053 or U059 error code still remains, then unfortunately it appears that the problem may lie with the printer itself and will require more than the basic troubleshooting above to resolve. In this instance I would recommend contacting Canon if the machine is under warranty or a printer technician.

What printers does this advice relate to?

The U051, U052, U053 or U059 error codes  appear on a wide variety of Canon inkjet printers that take the Canon PG-37, CL-38, PG-40, CL-41, PG-50 and CL51 ink cartridges. These printers include the Canon Fax JX200, MultiPass 450, MultiPass MP150, MultiPass MP160, MultiPass MP170, Pixma iP1200, Pixma iP1300, Pixma iP1600, Pixma iP1700, Pixma iP1800, Pixma iP1900, Pixma iP2200, Pixma iP2400, Pixma iP2500, Pixma iP2600, Pixma MP140, Pixma MP150, Pixma MP160, Pixma MP170, Pixma MP180, Pixma MP190, Pixma MP210, Pixma MP220, Pixma MP450, Pixma MP460, Pixma MP470, Pixma MX300 and Pixma MX310. Which of these six possible cartridges your printer takes will depend entirely upon the model of your printer.

In addition to the printers above the ‘Check Ink’ messages covered in this article can help resolve issues with the PG-510, CL-511, PG-512 and CL-513 ink cartridges. The following printers are all compatible with these black and colour cartridges, the Canon Pixma iP2700, Pixma iP2702, Pixma MP230, Pixma MP240, Pixma MP250, Pixma MP252, Pixma MP260, Pixma MP270, Pixma MP272, Pixma MP280, Pixma MP282, Pixma MP330, Pixma MP480, Pixma MP490, Pixma MP492, Pixma MP495, Pixma MP499, Pixma MX320, Pixma MX330, Pixma MX340, Pixma MX350, Pixma MX410 and Pixma MX420.

I hope this has resolved the issue you were experiencing. If however you have any further questions please let us know in the comments.

About the author

Matthew Stevenson

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

4 comments

  1. Steve

    own Canon PIXMA MX882 multifunction printer approx 3 yrs old everything flawless until recently error U052 APPEARED, have cleaned print head, replace ink tanks (always have used canon ink tanks) turned machine off and on unplugged machine, still no change of error which reads wrong print head what do you think?

  2. Steve

    always appreciate any help I can get I'm very fortunate to be able to work on most of these machines but this one is corker, U052 canon mx 882 HELP

  3. anuj

    facing u051 error

  4. Jerome

    sir my mx320 gives an UO53 error. i did as you say in your guides but still it does not work. what could be the problem ?

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