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Author Topic: Big problems with Epson 4000  (Read 5556 times)
esantos
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« on: July 18, 2006, 07:08:06 PM »
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Hi,

I am having major problems with my 4000. It is out of warranty and I have gone through several sessions with tech support with limited success.

The problem is repeated serious clogging. I never turn the printer off with anything other than the printer switch and the printer remains off when not in use. I print at least once a week and heve taken good care of the unit. I am experiencing a situation where I have to go through repeated cleanings using the auto cleaning cycle. After the printer tries about four to five cleanings the printer will give a message that the lines are still clogged. It then will not recognize at least one of the ink cartridges (sometimes up to three) all on the cartridge slots on the same side of the printer. When this happens the cart is no longer useable and the printer will not communicate with my PC.

Tech support sent me the latest frimware and a service program to circumvent the non communication issue. The procedure is to replace the dead cart, power up the printer using the service mode, and then run the service program to flash the firmware. The printer will come back up and it will run for a short while. If I turn it on to print again days later the clogging will come up again and eventually after repeated cleaning cycles it will kill another ink cart or two.

I am at my wits end and don't want to keep buying carts and then have them go bad. I am considering taking the printer to the authorized repair center which will require a 150 mile trip. Before I do this and face a possible $500 + repair bill I thought I would try getting some advice here first.

Any thoughts guys?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2006, 07:54:39 PM »
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It sounds to me as if two separate but related issues are operating here: insufficiently frequent use of the printer is causing clogs (printing once or twice a week is not good enough to prevent ink from drying on the nozzle plate, thereby creating clogs, and perhaps the extent of cleaning you end-up needing is triggering the other issue - but this aspect is conjecture on my part.

If you intend to do a fair amount of printing I would recommend not putting more money into the 4000. The 4800 is a more reliable and more economical unit to operate. There are frequent sales on 4800s these days so you should be able to get a decent deal - it costs more than repairing a 4000, but will reward you with overall better and more economic performance. If however you intend to continue printing only once or twice a week, and if you do not need the 17 inch width, you would do better to buy an Epson 2400. Same ink-set, excellent performance, less prone to clogging from what I read (no personal experience - don't own one; I use a 4800), less need for continuous operation, but more expensive per ml of ink. Also a much less expensive investment - probably in the range of the repair cost for your 4000.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
esantos
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2006, 10:58:52 PM »
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Thanks for the reply. I really don't want to go back to a desktop printer as it does not fit my needs. I guess I should clarify that I don't just print one print a week, I do all my printing on one day a week. This may involve over a dozen prints.

The 4800 does sound tempting but I really like the fact that I don't have to switch black carts. Anyway, I was thinking about doing a power cleaning and see if this corrects the problem before I head out to the repair center.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2006, 02:01:31 AM by esantos » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2006, 07:08:40 AM »
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It doesn't matter how many prints you make during one printing session. If you allow the printer to sit for a week un-used there is a high probability that it will be clogged by the time you attempt to use it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Tim Gray
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2006, 08:12:09 AM »
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Did you ever do a power cleaning?  I had repeated clogging problems but this has settled down to "normal" after I bit the bullet and did a power clean.

OTOH it sounds like you've got bigger problems - I've followed the 4000 saga on a number of boards and don't recall hearing anything similar.
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esantos
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2006, 09:21:59 AM »
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Yes, I am considering doing a power clean. I think I'll try that tonight. I just received a replacement cartridge for the one the printer killed. I'll give it a go and report back in case anyone's interested.  

BTW, how much ink is used during a power clean? My maintenance tank is almost full (only 14% capacity left). I'm wondering if the printer is going to refuse to do a power clean because the tank is almost full.


<rant>

One other thing. I guess I need to blow off a little steam here, so bear with me. I've been using Epson printers for about five years now. I started with a little 785 EPX (which I still use as my everyday printer) then on to a 1280 and a 2200 and now the 4000. I consider myself an experienced printer and I am very familiar with the Epson line. So now I finally get a Pro line model and the thing ends up practically useless in one year! After resolving the problem with tech support temporarily, who were great except for one incident, I still had faith that the printer would serve me another year or two.

Then the problem came back. I now have five carts sitting on my desk destined for recycling that are full! That's ~$250 down the drain. Everytime I think about this I get upset. So I wrote a letter to Epson's VP for Customer Service. I explained in detail the problem and asked politely if they could work with me to fix the problem. I don't expect them to foot the bill for repair, but at least share in the expense somehow. I mean this is supposed to be a professional printer after all. Well, its been about three weeks and no response, zero, zip. I am now changing my perception of Epson as a responsible company.

Yes, they make great printers with great output, and frankly I don't know if I would go with another brand. The Epson user community is hard to match with the other brands. But what am I to do? I feel that if I am going to get a new printer I should go  ahead and get the next size up, the 7800. Then my brain tells me, "What are you kidding?" "Are you that much of an Epson junkie?"

So, I start to put two and two together. The class action suit, the constant clogging,  the maintenance tank gigging they do on you, the cost of ink, are we all just chumps?  I frequent another big photo board and I have always kind of chided people (politely mind you) when they would bash the Epson design. Well, now the shoe's on the other foot. And it is pinching the hell out of my toes.

</rant over>
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esantos
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2006, 01:41:11 PM »
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Well, after spewing some venom directed at Epson in my last post, my 4000 is up and running again. Sorry Epson, but you still need to work on this issue.

I changed all the carts, reflashed the firmware to the latest version, did a power cleaning, and voila. Ran afew prints last night and the printer is running smoothly. I just hope this will do the trick over the long term.

Thank you to those who provided advice and suggestions. It was a lot of help.  
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2006, 03:39:53 PM »
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Thanks for closing the loop on this.  Questions such as yours often generate good feedback but occasionally the original poster forgets to post the end result.
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paulbk
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2006, 04:33:33 PM »
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re: Epson 4000

I often go one or two weeks without printing. Then run a nozzle check on A3 size Epson Enhanced Matte before printing. This way itís usually clean after a few nozzle matrix printouts on the same sheet of paper. Had this printer since it first came available in the U.S.. I usually print on Hahn Photo Rag, hand fed. Keep EEM in the tray for nozzle cleaning and proofs. The print quality continues to amaze me and sometimes (rarely) I have to leave the room.

for what itís worth -- I use the 220 ml carts and shim the two front pads of the printer (about 20 mm up) such that there is a slight back tilt. I may be kidding myself, but I want every drop of that ink. It seems to work.. or doesnít hurt.
p
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paul b. kramarchyk
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2006, 04:36:53 PM »
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Paul, you can just as well run the nozzle checks using ordinary letter-size workaday copy paper - nothing to be gained expending sheets of A3 Enhanced Matte on that.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2006, 12:45:33 PM »
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Just to add my 2p. My 4000 frequently gets periods of little or no use, especially recently, as a medical problem has curtailed my activities. Nozzle blocks are infrequent and have no correlation with this. Frequent nozzle blocking on my 4 year old 7600 was cured by an on-site Epson service which included the fitment of a maintenance kit.
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Mike Bailey
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2006, 05:06:02 AM »
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The wide format Epsons seem to be pretty sensitive to ambient temperature and humidity, so this may be contributing to the problem with the 4000?  With my 7600 I used to turn it off when not in use and had more problems with clogged nozzles - nothing as serioius as what you've experienced - so started leaving it on all the time.  That helped somewhat in reducing the clogged nozzles.  Also if it's possible to keep the humidity between 40 and 50% and the temperature between 65 and 75 in the room where the printer is might help, too.  The humidity can be a very critical factor.

Mike
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2006, 08:02:00 AM »
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Epson has recommended to me in the past that ambient humidity of about 40% is most suitable for the 4800 (but even before that they told me 25% for the 4000). 40% may be a higher than usual humidity level for a North American or European indoor environment, especially during the heating and air-conditioning seasons, both of which processes extract humidity from the air. It is quite possible that humidity does play a role in susceptibility to clogging, but my data keeps indicating that frequency of use is most likely the primary issue. I say "most likely" because I read and know of those lucky people who own 4000s and 4800s and who do not need to declog their machines after leaving them unused for a week or more. Perhaps their machines live in high humidity! Perhaps the combination of high humidity and frequent use is the "Epson Diet" to minimize clogs. So then we need to organize our lives around our printers!
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
esantos
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2006, 08:30:51 AM »
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Interesting thing about the ambient humidity. I live in hot climate where air conditioning is used 10 months out of the year. Currently this summer the humdidity is hovering in the 80-90% range all day long, every day. I have no idea what the humidity is indoors where the printer resides.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2006, 08:50:14 AM »
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Your indoor air is probably quite dry. I bought from Radio Shack (about 20 dollars) a digital thermometer that reads temperature and humidity and it sits on top of my printer. I haven't systematically tracked humidity so I can't correlate clogging with humidity in a rigorous manner, but right now my room is 45% - and it feels somewhat humid in here - what I meant by organizing one's life around the printer - joking aside, it's because I'm trying to keep the power bill under control and A/C just eats electricity. Anyhow, over the past ten days I've been printing about daily AND the humidity has been in this range AND there have been no clogs.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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sallysal58
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2006, 07:50:09 AM »
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Hello,

These are some instructions I obtained for Epson SP4000/4800/7600/7800/9600/9800

The cleaning button on the keyboard/display is described by technicians as cleaning with a goose feather... useless and not effective!
It is much more recommended to do a POWER CLEANING...and check with NOZZLE CHECK (driver, use the PRINT button instead of AUTO)
If the problem continue...must you do a SUPER SONIC CLEANING
Power off, push Pauze together with power...you see now HEX DUMP...push the down button (V) until you see SSCL or SSCLEANING, than push enter and validate again by pushing Enter...
If this method can't cure the clogged nozzle must you go to Epson service!
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picnic
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2006, 08:17:01 AM »
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Quote
Hello,

These are some instructions I obtained for Epson SP4000/4800/7600/7800/9600/9800

The cleaning button on the keyboard/display is described by technicians as cleaning with a goose feather... useless and not effective!
It is much more recommended to do a POWER CLEANING...and check with NOZZLE CHECK (driver, use the PRINT button instead of AUTO)
If the problem continue...must you do a SUPER SONIC CLEANING
Power off, push Pauze together with power...you see now HEX DUMP...push the down button (V) until you see SSCL or SSCLEANING, than push enter and validate again by pushing Enter...
If this method can't cure the clogged nozzle must you go to Epson service!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84126\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have absolutely ne experience with the pro printers but thought I would add this that I read on another forum from a very experienced user of the pro Epsons.  He made a small tray to fit into his printer that he keeps filled with a moist sponge to maintain the humidity--and keeps the printer covered when not in use--keeping the humidity higher one would assume.  Whether this helps or not--I don't have a clue, but I do try to keep my 2200 in a more humid situation and have had zilch problems (but know the 4000 and 4800 appear more sensitive).  I have a 3800 on order---so I've been following these threads.

Diane
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