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Author Topic: Epson 4000 nozzle problems  (Read 6263 times)
von
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« on: August 25, 2006, 01:10:30 PM »
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My Epson 4000 printer is located in Colorado at 8,000 feet above sea level. If I do not print at least every day, I must run one, or several, nozzle cleaning cycles before I can print. I seem to be using far more ink cleaning than printing. Is this a problem with the Epson 4000; all printers at this altitude; or something I am doing wrong. I have contacted Epson support with no results or usable suggestions. Thanks for any analysis you can provide.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2006, 02:13:05 PM »
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My Epson 4000 printer is located in Colorado at 8,000 feet above sea level. If I do not print at least every day, I must run one, or several, nozzle cleaning cycles before I can print. I seem to be using far more ink cleaning than printing. Is this a problem with the Epson 4000; all printers at this altitude; or something I am doing wrong. I have contacted Epson support with no results or usable suggestions. Thanks for any analysis you can provide.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74460\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

concensus seems to be (and my personal experience with 4000 clogs bears this out) to bite the bullet and run a power cleaning cycle.  performance should improve after that.  I suffered with daily cleaning cycles until I ran the power clean, and performance has been significantly improved.
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von
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006, 02:22:10 PM »
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concensus seems to be (and my personal experience with 4000 clogs bears this out) to bite the bullet and run a power cleaning cycle.  performance should improve after that.  I suffered with daily cleaning cycles until I ran the power clean, and performance has been significantly improved.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74469\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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von
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2006, 02:24:44 PM »
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thanks, I'll give it a try with the last of this set of ink... If that fails, guess I'll try a different printer...
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 02:33:33 PM »
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Tim wrote:
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concensus seems to be (and my personal experience with 4000 clogs bears this out) to bite the bullet and run a power cleaning cycle
Tim: I've heard this has worked for some folk, too. My experience, FWIW: didn't help me one bit, while costing me more than $200 in wasted ink and a flooded maint. tank to no avail.

Von: are you using 110 or 220 ml cartridges? Right now I'm working on the theory that the 220s I was using don't make perfect contact with their connectors and am switching back to 110s as the 220s go dry. This theory is based on the presence of bubbles I see in the ink lines together with the fact that when a clog in one colour shows and I do a cleaning, often a clog in another colour shows. Can't yet say whether 110s are going to solve the problem, because it so happens I've been printing every day since I started the switch over and naturally haven't had a single clog.

Anyone using a 4000 with 110s and still having the frequent clog problem?
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 02:42:06 PM »
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Tim wrote:

Tim: I've heard this has worked for some folk, too. My experience, FWIW: didn't help me one bit, while costing me more than $200 in wasted ink and a flooded maint. tank to no avail.

Von: are you using 110 or 220 ml cartridges? Right now I'm working on the theory that the 220s I was using don't make perfect contact with their connectors and am switching back to 110s as the 220s go dry. This theory is based on the presence of bubbles I see in the ink lines together with the fact that when a clog in one colour shows and I do a cleaning, often a clog in another colour shows. Can't yet say whether 110s are going to solve the problem, because it so happens I've been printing every day since I started the switch over and naturally haven't had a single clog.

Anyone using a 4000 with 110s and still having the frequent clog problem?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74476\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

my most frustrating days were when I was using 110's - exactly the same symptoms you describe - bubbles in the lines, and clogging moving from one color to the next as I did 2 consecutive tests patterns.  Switching to 220s didn't solve the problem, but made it easie to bite the bullet to do a power clean, since previously when I tried to initiate a PC with 110s I got "insufficient ink" event with 10-20% left in the most empty cartridge.  I tried a PC a couple of different times, and that message always scared me off, so I started switching to 220s and at least then I was able to run a PC cycle.

BTW, epson has a new 4000 firmware update on there site (mentioned in a post here a couple of days ago).
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2006, 03:34:55 PM »
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my most frustrating days were when I was using 110's
Thanks, Tim: I was afraid of that. Pretty much exhausts every approach I can think of. Perhaps the combination of pigment ink, which I understand contains relatively large particulates compared to dyes, plus the ever-decreasing nozzle bore diameter of each new model collided to create an unusable monster in the form of the 4000.

I think we've all noticed that clogs are infrequent when the 4000 is used daily, presumably keeping the nozzles wet enough not to gum up the pigment inside. One theory is that the capping station doesn't quite create an air-tight seal in those units that have clogging problems. Yet I've had a clog happen when printing a second sheet immediately following a first sheet that printed fine. Suppose that could be a particulate clump moved about by ink flow within a nozzle...
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von
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2006, 07:45:21 AM »
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Tim wrote:

Tim: I've heard this has worked for some folk, too. My experience, FWIW: didn't help me one bit, while costing me more than $200 in wasted ink and a flooded maint. tank to no avail.

Von: are you using 110 or 220 ml cartridges? Right now I'm working on the theory that the 220s I was using don't make perfect contact with their connectors and am switching back to 110s as the 220s go dry. This theory is based on the presence of bubbles I see in the ink lines together with the fact that when a clog in one colour shows and I do a cleaning, often a clog in another colour shows. Can't yet say whether 110s are going to solve the problem, because it so happens I've been printing every day since I started the switch over and naturally haven't had a single clog.

Anyone using a 4000 with 110s and still having the frequent clog problem?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74476\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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von
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2006, 07:47:38 AM »
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I am using 110's. Has anyone sent a 4000 in for professional maintenance. I hate to do this because this beast is two floors up.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 08:19:00 AM »
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There are a number of reasons why these printers are prone to what appears to be clogging. Firstly, the absence of ink that shows in a nozzle check is not necessarily a clog. It could also be an ink droppage. Ink droppages can occur because of the accumulation of air bubbles in the feed lines. There may be other reasons. So far I have been unable to get a clear statement of the reasons why these bubbles can accumulate, but in principle they absolutely should not be there, so this is a symptom of another defect or defects in the printer.

Second, using this machine at an altitude of 8000 feet is a primary indicator of what the problem may be: your environment may be too dry. Epson recommends - when you ask the question - that these printers should be kept in humidity of about 40%. Get an instrument measuring humidity, place it at the printer, and you may be surprised at how dry your environment is.

Third, if the machine is being used at infrequent intervals, the ink on the print-head can dry causing clogs.

Forth, paper dust can accumulate on the print head, and combined with one of the above factors can cause debris on the print head.

Fifth, the cleaning blade in these machines is an imperfect animal. It sweeps the debris aside, but cannot sweep it off, therefore the cleaning process itself can prolong the cleanings required as debris moves about from one cycle to the next.

Sixth, running cleaning cycles one after another can cause removal of ink from the printhead with nothing to replace it, filling that colour with air. Epson has recommended to run a print between cleaning cycles to minimize this occurrance.

Seventh, it is possible that the capping mechanism on the printer is not sealing the print-head properly, which would allow air to dry the ink and create clogs.

Epson has recommended using a qualified technician to do a head cleaning before resorting to power-clean, which uses alot of ink.

This summarizes what I have been able to learn from several senior technical people with whom I have had the opportunity to discuss this problem over the past couple of years. I should also point out that the 4800 model performs significantly better than the 4000 in respect of ink usage for both printing and cleaning.

There is a review from InkjetArt of the new Canon B9180 which suggests that ink clogs may be an embedded consequence of the technology itself. Here is what that review says about this issue:

<<ELECTROSTERIC ENCAPSULATION TECHNOLOGY (EET). Similar to Epson's UltraChrome inks, the HP Virera pigment photo inks have pigment particles that are covered with a resin layer. What makes the HP Virera inks unique is that their resin layer has negative charges.

<<HP claims these negatively charged pigment particles flow better (the repulsion force between particles helps prevents clumping and nozzle clogging) and helps to create better ink penetration into and onto media coatings -- producing higher gloss (less "gloss differential") on glossy media, improve reliability (more scuff-resistance), and darker photo blacks. While we were not able to prove these claims, we didn't find anything to complain about, either.>>

Now, whether this is marketing hype, techno-babble or a real breakthrough - I have absolutely no idea. Based on very limited experience one also hears that the Canon IPF5000, using a different technology for laying down ink, is very well-behaved in this respect. Clearly the "clean printhead" battle is engaged and that can only benefit us consumers.

Bottom line, I would suggest having your machine looked over by a qualified technician before wasting so much ink/money on a power-clean. Try to get to the bottom of the performance problem before implementing expensive solutions. Then try optimizing the performance of the printer by humidifying its environment, running some prints at least every other day, and when you need cleaning cycles, intersperse them with a print between each cycle as Epson has recommended to me. See whether this package of measures helps. If it doesn't, it would then seem reasonable to consider up-grading to a 4800, or trying a Canon or HP.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 04:15:34 PM »
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Mark, that was a truly excellent response!
Running a print between cleaning cycles is a really good tip which I seem to have missed so far. Thanks!
I would definitely check the humidity situation and look at a humidifyer if it is low.
What I found with my 4000 was that when new it did not clog. Then clogging started periodically and got gradually worse. I have had the machine serviced twice now (not cheap!) and on return both times it was like new- no clogging . As I now print mainly on a 9800 the 4000 may stand switched off for days . On starting -no clogs. They will return.
The gradual increase of clogging frequency is faster with the use of cotton papers which I assume distribute more fluff when cut. Sheets are not a permanent option here , neither are wood pulp papers.
On both printers cleaning may move crud from some nozzles to other nozzles. There must be a technical solution to this. Ultrasonics followed by some sort of non ink flush could be a start.
 There should also be some method of manual user mop up to avoid professional servicing.
Epson , with Canon and HP at their heels could do well to consider this.
Cheers,
Brian
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 06:34:42 PM »
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Brian, yes, your observation that clogging increases with age is correct - I've replicated the same behaviour, which suggests some kind of cumulative effect taking place on or in the printhead, but when the serviceman came to my house just yesterday for this same issue, he found NO accumulation of the debris on the printhead, but he did find air bubbles in the lines - why - not clear.

I've discussed this issue of the cleaning mechanism several times with Epson. They know that the cleaning process itself can move debris from one nozzle to the other before it moves it all aside. I also hear that they are watching the competition carefully, but they are being VERY tight-lipped about their next moves.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2006, 07:49:50 AM »
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Thanks for taking the time to type all this up, Mark:

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Ink droppages can occur because of the accumulation of air bubbles in the feed lines ... in principle they absolutely should not be there
Tell that to the bubble in the yellow line I can see just by opening the cover and glancing inside. ;) So far as I can recall it has never not been there...

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these printers should be kept in humidity of about 40%
A tip I got on dpreview is to put a shallow tray containing wet sponge inside the printer along the track the print head runs on when the printer is not in use. The closed lid of the printer should help to keep the resulting humidity trapped inside and so reach the print head. Seems to me this would only work to the degree that the capping station does not seal.

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Epson has recommended to run a print between cleaning cycles
What does this say about use of the auto nozzle check?
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2006, 08:34:40 AM »
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Thanks for taking the time to type all this up, Mark:
Tell that to the bubble in the yellow line I can see just by opening the cover and glancing inside.  So far as I can recall it has never not been there...
A tip I got on dpreview is to put a shallow tray containing wet sponge inside the printer along the track the print head runs on when the printer is not in use. The closed lid of the printer should help to keep the resulting humidity trapped inside and so reach the print head. Seems to me this would only work to the degree that the capping station does not seal.
What does this say about use of the auto nozzle check?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


There also a body of folk wisdom out there that suggests that if you run a cleaning cycle and it's not fixed, wait a day and it resolves itself (sometimes).

Maybe your feng shui is wrong
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2006, 09:18:40 AM »
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Thanks for taking the time to type all this up, Mark:
Tell that to the bubble in the yellow line I can see just by opening the cover and glancing inside.  So far as I can recall it has never not been there...
A tip I got on dpreview is to put a shallow tray containing wet sponge inside the printer along the track the print head runs on when the printer is not in use. The closed lid of the printer should help to keep the resulting humidity trapped inside and so reach the print head. Seems to me this would only work to the degree that the capping station does not seal.
What does this say about use of the auto nozzle check?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74633\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Dp Review tip is useless. There is no humidity trap. And I agree - if the capping mecvhanism works it should be redundent.

Auto nozzle check: seems from the advice Epson gave me - don't use it. Do one cleaning at a time interspersed with a print. I haven't tested this yet because I just got the info last week.
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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
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