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Author Topic: Z3100 has trouble detecting top of sheet  (Read 1971 times)
Chris Meyer
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« on: January 11, 2009, 06:44:02 PM »
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I need help outsmarting my HP Z3100.

I do a lot of experimental printing, including overprinting on existing images (or thin papers collaged onto the main paper).

It seems that if the Z3100 sees an image on the sheet I'm loading, it doesn't know where the leading edge of the paper is, often mistakenly placing it a few inches down the sheet. Related to this, it won't let me back up the sheet (it says the paper would disengage), and sometimes it claims the paper is too short as well. This happens with skew check on or off. (If you want to similate this at home, try loading a sheet that has a profile chart on it, with the profile at the top - it parks the paper too far down.)

Remembering that the HP printers require transparency film that has a white band down the side, I found that if I add a 1/2" wide piece of white tape over the image down the left side of the sheet as viewed on the printed page (right side as viewed from the front of the printer), then it seems to detect the start of the sheet properly.

The problem with this is that the white tape adds thickness to the already-thich papers I am using, resulting in paper jams.

Does anyone know a way to circumvent this need for a white border down the left side of my sheets? If not, does anyone have a good guess how far down it checks, so I know how far & wide I have to keep image-free? It seems to be more than an inch or two down...

many thanks -
Chris
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 06:53:30 PM by Chris Meyer » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 02:34:04 AM »
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Quote from: Chris Meyer
I need help outsmarting my HP Z3100.

I do a lot of experimental printing, including overprinting on existing images (or thin papers collaged onto the main paper).

It seems that if the Z3100 sees an image on the sheet I'm loading, it doesn't know where the leading edge of the paper is, often mistakenly placing it a few inches down the sheet. Related to this, it won't let me back up the sheet (it says the paper would disengage), and sometimes it claims the paper is too short as well. This happens with skew check on or off. (If you want to similate this at home, try loading a sheet that has a profile chart on it, with the profile at the top - it parks the paper too far down.)

Remembering that the HP printers require transparency film that has a white band down the side, I found that if I add a 1/2" wide piece of white tape over the image down the left side of the sheet as viewed on the printed page (right side as viewed from the front of the printer), then it seems to detect the start of the sheet properly.

The problem with this is that the white tape adds thickness to the already-thich papers I am using, resulting in paper jams.

Does anyone know a way to circumvent this need for a white border down the left side of my sheets? If not, does anyone have a good guess how far down it checks, so I know how far & wide I have to keep image-free? It seems to be more than an inch or two down...

many thanks -
Chris


So far I have not used this method but it may be a solution to your problem. You could put white tape at the printer bed left and/or right where the paper edges would be and use tabs at the front to register the paper so the edges fall within the white tape areas. Skew check off. That way the sensor is fooled by a static paper edge left right. Compensate the extra white in the lay-out on the driver print page, Qimage makes that easy (though Mike could improve the precision of the metric feedback in the menus).

I have to say that the Z's red-infrared paper edge sensing is more tolerant than what I had on my Epsons.


Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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neil snape
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 08:07:48 AM »
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I'm not sure it is that complicated. All HP printers I have used must have a substantial border around the imaging  areas to be able to reprint.  I think it was around 2.54 cm min or more for the top edge, absolute min of 1cm sides but if any skew is there , more will allow loading. Trailing edge doesn't matter much but will sometimes eject the paper with an end of paper mark if there is a large dark area near the trailing edge.
I have successfully taped the edges as well without problem for reloads.
I am currently testing  the 3200 and have no problems on reloads as long as the min width is 20.96 cm. Too bad as often the cutoff for calibration is 18.6 cm rendering the scrap unusable (print dialogue returns too small a sheet or roll)meanwhile, the paper loads!
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Chris Meyer
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 11:03:55 AM »
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Quote from: neil snape
All HP printers I have used must have a substantial border around the imaging  areas to be able to reprint.  I think it was around 2.54 cm min or more for the top edge, absolute min of 1cm sides

In my tests yesterday, I found tape along the top edge did not help, but a 1/2" wide piece of white tape down the paper-left side "fixed" it. (Almost...see below.)

Do you have any idea how long the side tape needs to be?

Quote from: neil snape
I have successfully taped the edges as well without problem for reloads.

Unfortunately, I am already using very thick papers, and adding tape causes the Z3100 to print a few lines and then stop reporting a paper jam.

(There are many things about the HP I like compared to the Epsons I've owned, but one complaint is that it does not accept nearly the same thickness of paper that the Epsons did. I'm about to dust off and re-calibrate an old Epson I have lying around just so I can get this round of tests and collages done...)

thanks -
Chris

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neil snape
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 11:13:49 AM »
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The length of white edge on the left is going to be relative to the long dimension as skew checking measures in multiple locations.

The Z doesn't handle thick paper well or at least over .8 mm. Epson do well with 1.5mm or more. The HP 9180 pushes through 1.5mm no problem, I've printed on wood recently at least 2.5mm thick or more.

There is still work to do on the drivers in paper handling that could come from users demands. Your issue is a common request that should be taken more seriously. I know I've been doing hundreds of tests on multiple prints, and at least reloading paper characteristics should be noted in documentation , not left up to discovery.


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Chris Meyer
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 01:48:34 PM »
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Hi, Neil -

Thanks for taking the time to reply; it's appreciated.

Quote from: neil snape
The length of white edge on the left is going to be relative to the long dimension as skew checking measures in multiple locations.

What is interesting is, I have this problem even if I turn skew checking off.

Quote from: neil snape
The Z doesn't handle thick paper well or at least over .8 mm. Epson do well with 1.5mm or more.

As I well know... The Epson drivers also allow me to enter how thick the paper is, which is nice.

I know closer tolerances = better prints. But with a limit of 0.8mm, I may not be able to get Hawk Mountain Nighthawk paper through it, at ~0.9mm. (I prefer thicker papers, as I collage on top of my prints later, and want a paper that can stand up to adding adhesives on top. My main paper is Hawk Mountain Kestrel, which is around 0.6mm without anything on top...once I add white tape, or chine colle papers, the Z starts complaining.)

Quote from: neil snape
The HP 9180 pushes through 1.5mm no problem, I've printed on wood recently at least 2.5mm thick or more.

I am jealous!!! I see the spec is just 1.5mm; I am surprised it let you put 2.5mm through. It seems to be less fussy than the Z3100, which stops on ~1mm surfaces. (I just went over and read your review - thanks for being so thorough. Now if I could just print out a calibration chart on the 9180, and have the Z3100 scan it to make a profile...)

I just spent some quality time with some digital calipers and one of my collages on Hawk Mountain Kestrel, and typical base+paste+collage thicknesses range from 0.75-1.0, peaking at 1.23mm. Fine for our Epsons, not for the HP Z. (I'm in the process of measuring the rest of my Hawk Mountain swatch book, and will do wet-buckling tests on the thinner papers. Wish me luck...)

Quote from: neil snape
There is still work to do on the drivers in paper handling that could come from users demands. Your issue is a common request that should be taken more seriously. I know I've been doing hundreds of tests on multiple prints, and at least reloading paper characteristics should be noted in documentation , not left up to discovery.

In general, there are a lot of things HP does right with the Z, so I don't want it to appear that I am bashing HP. And I've had a lot of unpleasant episodes with Epson printers (esp. in the area of head clogging). But I was surprised that the HP drivers lack so many nice little features the Epson drives have, such as setting ink load, paper thickness, and how firmly the paper is held down (vacuum suction on the Epson 4000 etc.). We are researching a book on combining digital and traditional art techniques, and these limitations make me quite cautious about suggesting the Z to others.

thanks again -
Chris
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 02:26:30 PM by Chris Meyer » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 04:15:41 PM »
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For printing dual sided I made some tabs at the front and use the skew-check-off mode. The paper sensing of the printer is dynamic so the tabs can not do more than make sure that the front edge is parallel to the head movement, it will not change the depth (front print page margin) the prints starts. Something similar happens at the right side, the head sensor measures that right edge and starts printing approx 5 mm from the edge, changing the right edge tab distance doesn't change that right margin. But if you place a white tape at the right side of the printer bed where the head sensor starts to measure it will become a static measurement and the sheet can then be placed to the tab and changing the tab will change the right edge margin. That way a virtual wider white margin can be created too.

The length of the sheet is only measured accurately with the skew-check-on mode, for the skew-off-check method an arbitrary length is used and the paper load sensor at the back decides whether a sheet has ended during printing (like it does with a roll), with dark images already on the paper that can lead to errors. If you push a piece of paper in the loading slot at the back and measure the depth to the paper transport then pull it some mm backwards and tape that paper to the top cover you got the instrument to fool the sensor on the length of the paper. That has to be done careful though, after the sheet to be printed is loaded you slide in the taped paper and it will give the sensor a white surface. When printing goes on and the last head strokes are made you have to pull that taped paper back to let the sensor do its work again. On the Epsons I used this wasn't different and fooling them worked as well.



Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


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Chris Meyer
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 09:28:02 AM »
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Quote from: Ernst Dinkla
...if you place a white tape at the right side of the printer bed where the head sensor starts to measure...

I'd love to see a photo of this to make sure I am putting it in the right place. I'm pretty familiar with the insides of my old Epson 2200 and 4000, but the Z31000 is a relatively new beast to me, and I want to make sure I don't screw it up...

thanks -
Chris

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