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Author Topic: Z3100 black ink drips on paper  (Read 9394 times)
johncustodio
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« on: December 13, 2007, 09:17:55 PM »
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I've had my Z3100 since the end of May. Everything has been working fine except in the last few weeks this problem has arrisen.

I'm getting drips of black ink falling from the print head onto the paper intermittently when printing. In the worst case I'll get ink in several places on the leading edge of the paper about 1/2 inch from the edge. This doesn't happen very often. More frequently, I'll get a few lines of ink only on the left side of the paper (as you face the back of the printer) starting about 1 inch from the leading edge. Then, no ink drips for the rest of the print. I can print several large prints without any ink drips, then 1 or 2 prints will have them. The drips never occur within the image area, only on the extreme left side and occasionally on the leading edge of the print. I watched the printhead going back and forth through the window with a flashlight while the printer was printing, and can identify which part of the printhead is dripping ink. It comes from the part of the printhead closest to the front of the printer. In other words, observing the printhead assembly, I can see the ink being laid down after the assembly makes a pass, putting a line of ink on the paper where previously there was none.

I pulled out the heads a found them to be clean except for the Red-Matte Black head, which had a lot of black ink deposited on the sides and front and back of the head. There also was some ink on the contacts on the head as well as on the contacts on the printhead assembly. There also was black ink on the bar on the printhead assembly on which the printhead rests. I cleaned everything, put the head back in, and the printer did a head alignment. This seemed to solve the problem for awhile, but returned later. Taking the head out again, I noticed it had accumulated some ink, so I cleaned it again. Problem solved for awhile, but returned again.

Note that I'm printing on glossy paper, so I'm not using any matte black ink. But it's black ink on the Red-Matte Black printhead that's accumulating.

I called HP and explained the problem. They sent me a new Red-Matte Black printhead, but that did not solve the problem. In addition, before I received the new head, my Matte Black ink ran out  even though I've hardly printed on matte papers at all. It was the original 69ml cart. The printer said the cart was empty, even though the ink level indicator in the Color Center said it had 23ml. What this seems to mean is that ink is leaving the matte black ink cart in a way that the printer ink monitor can't see, i.e. dripping out, rather than printing out through the nozzles in the normal way.

I called HP today and explained that the replacement head was having the same problem. They are going to send a service person out either Friday or Monday.

Another thing I noticed. While the head assembly was parked in the head changing position, I took a flashlight to look inside the right side of the printer where the head assembly normally is parked. I saw what seemed like a lot of ink on the waste ink pad (color ink on the left part of the pad and black ink on the right part of the pad). Also there is something just to the left of the waste ink pads which seemed to have a lot of black ink on it. I don't know if this is normal, or could it be part of the problem.

Does anyone know how ink gets from the nozzles of the printhead to the front, back and sides and  even onto the contacts of the printhead?

One last thing. HP's service has been great on the 2 phone calls I had with them.

Tomorrow, I'll try to post some pictures of the ink marks.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 09:26:57 PM by johncustodio » Logged
rdonson
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 09:39:27 PM »
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Does this look like your situation?  Click here.

You may also find some more info if you search this forum for "overspray"
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 09:42:29 PM by rdonson » Logged

[span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'][span style='font-family:Arial'][span style='font-family:Geneva'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Regards,
Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
johncustodio
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 10:00:15 PM »
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Does this look like your situation?  Click here.

You may also find some more info if you search this forum for "overspray"
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=160557\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ron-
Yes, it's similar, except not to that degree. The ink accumulation seems only to be on the red-matte black head, not on the number of heads you show. But where the excess ink is on the head is exactly where you show in the photos. I don't have any ink on the carriage rail, but there is a big ink mess on the waste pads like in your photo.

Cleaning the printhead didn't solve the problem. Maybe part of the printhead assembly is picking up ink from the ink deposits on the right side.

-John
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johncustodio
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2007, 09:10:16 AM »
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I've posted 2 pictures of the ink marks. Photo 1 shows ink on the leading edge of the print. This doesn't happen as frequently as photo 2 which shows ink on the left side.

It doesn't seem that the head is picking up ink from the waste ink pads (which at this point do have a lot of ink on them) then dropping ink on the print. This would cause drops at random points on the print. The drops I'm seeing are not random in that they seem to be localized on either about 1/2 inch from front edge of the print or on the left side of the print within about  1 or 2 inches from the front edge. They are random within these 2 zones though. It only seem to occur within the first 1 or 2 inches of the print (and not on every print). And never on the image itself.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2007, 12:17:52 PM »
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You probably need to clean the ink buildup that you see where the printhead parks. I had a few ink spots after printing a lot of 32x40 prints that were dark and used a lot of black. I used coffee filters. And I cleaned some ink buildup around the printheads as well, also using coffee filters. That did the trick. I think this is just routine maintenance to check the area where the printhead parks for excessive ink buildup.
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William Morse
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2007, 01:57:11 PM »
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John, what are you printing on? Is there any chance that the paper is curling up a little bit at the leading edge (but curling up at the sides)? If so, the heads are striking the edge of the paper and leaving ink marks.

Bill

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I've posted 2 pictures of the ink marks. Photo 1 shows ink on the leading edge of the print. This doesn't happen as frequently as photo 2 which shows ink on the left side.

It doesn't seem that the head is picking up ink from the waste ink pads (which at this point do have a lot of ink on them) then dropping ink on the print. This would cause drops at random points on the print. The drops I'm seeing are not random in that they seem to be localized on either about 1/2 inch from front edge of the print or on the left side of the print within about  1 or 2 inches from the front edge. They are random within these 2 zones though. It only seem to occur within the first 1 or 2 inches of the print (and not on every print). And never on the image itself.
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Wm. Morse Editions
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johncustodio
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2007, 04:59:23 PM »
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John, what are you printing on? Is there any chance that the paper is curling up a little bit at the leading edge (but curling up at the sides)? If so, the heads are striking the edge of the paper and leaving ink marks.

Bill
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Bill-

While I've had this happen before (printhead hitting paper that wasn't flat, causing ink smears on the paper), that's not the case here. I'm using HP ID Photo Gloss. I watch the paper as it goes through the printer, and it's completely flat.

-John
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Dan Donovan
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 12:47:57 AM »
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I just had the same problem with my Z3100.  First a drip on a couple of prints, then a long streak on 2 more.  I called HP support and they were great.  They walked me through manually cleaning the print heads.  To summarize, you remove each print head and gently BLOT the bottom printhead surface with a lint-free cloth and you can WIPE off the gold contacts.  For a cloth, they said coffee filters work fine.  The matte black print head was pretty gummed up and probably the cause of the problem.  The printer works perfectly now!
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johncustodio
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 09:15:48 AM »
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I just had the same problem with my Z3100.  First a drip on a couple of prints, then a long streak on 2 more.  I called HP support and they were great.  They walked me through manually cleaning the print heads.  To summarize, you remove each print head and gently BLOT the bottom printhead surface with a lint-free cloth and you can WIPE off the gold contacts.  For a cloth, they said coffee filters work fine.  The matte black print head was pretty gummed up and probably the cause of the problem.  The printer works perfectly now!
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Dan-

Yes, I tried that. It was the Red-Matte Black head that had a lot of ink accumulated, especially on the sides and the contact area. I cleaned it off. That would solve the problem for a while, but the ink drips would later return. It seems that the matte black head is either leaking or somehow putting out ink that it shouldn't. HP sent me a new Red-Matte Black printhead, but I have the same problem with the new head. It seems that something in the printer is causing ink to come out of the matte black head. I'm not printing on matte paper, so I'm only using Photo Black, not Matte Black. Maybe the reason why ink is coming out of the matte black head is because it is not being used.

In your case, were you printing using matte black or photo black?

-John
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Dan Donovan
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 09:55:10 AM »
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John -

I have not been using the matte black ink.  However, I do leave the printer on all the time so it can periodically go through its maintenance cycle.  In fact, I just got an error message last night that the matte black ink cartridge must be replaced due to an error!

Dan
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johncustodio
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 03:21:38 PM »
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John -

I have not been using the matte black ink.  However, I do leave the printer on all the time so it can periodically go through its maintenance cycle.  In fact, I just got an error message last night that the matte black ink cartridge must be replaced due to an error!

Dan
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Dan-

The same thing happened to me. Since I got the printer, I've done 1 calibration, 1 profile, and about 1/2 dozen 8 1/2 x 11 prints on matte paper. That's it. Yet I just recently had to replace the original 69ml matte black cart because the printer (which I also keep on all the time) woke up and had the same error message that the cart had to be replaced. The ink monitor in the Color Center said it had 23ml left, but the condition was not OK, but REPLACE. I know the init fill of the printer uses up a fair amount of ink, and some ink is used up when the printer does its head maintenance, but it still seems like the matte black cart should have lasted longer, given how little printing on matte paper I've done. The ink drips which seem to be coming from the matte black head would explain this discrepancy.

-John
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 10:13:03 AM »
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Dan-

The same thing happened to me. Since I got the printer, I've done 1 calibration, 1 profile, and about 1/2 dozen 8 1/2 x 11 prints on matte paper. That's it. Yet I just recently had to replace the original 69ml matte black cart because the printer (which I also keep on all the time) woke up and had the same error message that the cart had to be replaced. The ink monitor in the Color Center said it had 23ml left, but the condition was not OK, but REPLACE. I know the init fill of the printer uses up a fair amount of ink, and some ink is used up when the printer does its head maintenance, but it still seems like the matte black cart should have lasted longer, given how little printing on matte paper I've done. The ink drips which seem to be coming from the matte black head would explain this discrepancy.

-John
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Sounds like your printer has a leak somewhere in the printhead carriage assembly, if it's still leaking after replacing the printhead itself. This is not normal behavior; I've had a Z3100 for 7 months and have printed my way through multiple rolls. The only black streaks or drips I've seen were due to excess paper curl at the edges of Crane silver rag sheet paper. It's time for a service call.

Nice website, by the way. Love your toned images.
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johncustodio
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 05:43:14 PM »
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Sounds like your printer has a leak somewhere in the printhead carriage assembly, if it's still leaking after replacing the printhead itself. This is not normal behavior; I've had a Z3100 for 7 months and have printed my way through multiple rolls. The only black streaks or drips I've seen were due to excess paper curl at the edges of Crane silver rag sheet paper. It's time for a service call.

Nice website, by the way. Love your toned images.
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Geoff-

Yes, a leak in the printhead carriage assembly is what HP is suspecting. I have a service call scheduled for Monday.

And thanks for the compliment and visiting my website.

-John
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2007, 07:10:45 AM »
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Can I please ask ... are any of these problems with the dirty print heads just happening to the people who are not leaving their printers switched on 24/7 as per the HP recommendation?

Sorry if that sounds accusatory, not meant to be, just wondering really if this is the case, or if the print heads get dirty and require (human) maintenance ANYWAY, even WITH the auto maintenance.

BTW - I have ordered mine and should be coming late this week! 44" PS GP :-)

Thanks.
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Dan Donovan
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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2007, 08:02:24 AM »
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I have had the drip problem AND a faulty matte black cartridge that had to be replaced without ever printing on matte paper.  And all of this while leaving the machine on since I purchased it in the Spring.
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johncustodio
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2007, 08:10:24 AM »
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Can I please ask ... are any of these problems with the dirty print heads just happening to the people who are not leaving their printers switched on 24/7 as per the HP recommendation?

Sorry if that sounds accusatory, not meant to be, just wondering really if this is the case, or if the print heads get dirty and require (human) maintenance ANYWAY, even WITH the auto maintenance.

BTW - I have ordered mine and should be coming late this week! 44" PS GP :-)

Thanks.
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I leave my printer on all the time.
-John
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hilljf
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2007, 01:28:33 PM »
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I recently had the printer drop magenta ink on a number of images which caused a real loss in terms of material and ink.

I am interested in what the service tech does.

John
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kers
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2007, 03:28:23 PM »
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Just today I also had some serious problems with dripping ink,
It was the green-blue printhead that caused the problem. the situation was that both the blue and green ink tanks were almost empty.
and I had blue ink all over my print.

In this case the green ink turned out to be completely exhausted, but the printer forgot to gave me a warning- to change it. ( it said 8%)

After changing the green ink tank and cleaning the printhead the problem persisted and than the blue ink was finished.

Finally after also changing the blue ink tank and cleaning everything including the electronic contacts inside the printhead carriadge the problem was solved. ...I hope.

So I think the ink dripping in this case had to do with ( almost ) empty inktanks especially when both inks of the same printhead are almost finished.

Update: I now discovered that the printhead is Faulty- the blue ink contaminates the green ink inside the head- there is some kind of internal leakage in the blue green printhead.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 08:40:16 AM by kers » Logged

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Richard Galosy
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« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2007, 07:02:43 PM »
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I recently had the printer drop magenta ink on a number of images which caused a real loss in terms of material and ink.

I am interested in what the service tech does.

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161281\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I recently went through the ink drop issue togeher with banding on canvas prints. After several tests and communications with HP (which were great) I evenually found my canvas media profiles selected in the driver were corrupted because after I uninstalled and hen reinstalled the driver the problem was gone.

Good luck.
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Richard Galosy
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johncustodio
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2007, 05:54:23 PM »
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An HP technician came last week and replaced the carriage assembly and service station on my Z3100, and now the matte black ink drips seem to have stopped. HP suspected that the problem may have been caused by faulty control circuitry in the carriage assembly, causing the matte back head to fire when it wasn't supposed to, or leak. The carriage assembly contains the heads, spectro, paper sensor and a circuit board. The attached photos show where ink built up underneath the carriage. The ink buildup probably was not what was causing the ink drips, because the ink drips were not random. In other words, they never fell on the image, only in specific areas of the left print margin or sometimes on the leading edge of the print. But the ink buildup is evidence of ink improperly coming out of the matte black head. The HP tech noticed that there was some ink spray in some sections of the service station, so he replaced that as well.  (The service station contains the head capping station, and the optical drop detector).

HP's service was very good. The tech came on a Thursday to install the new carriage assembly. When he saw that I also needed a new service station, he put in an order for the part to be delivered on Friday. Since the part wasn't delivered until Saturday, he came in on Saturday to install it.

Time will tell whether this ultimately solves the problem.

-John
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