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Author Topic: Epson 7900 OK for occasional use?  (Read 9170 times)
GeoffM
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« on: July 25, 2009, 12:38:45 PM »
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I'm considering an Epson 7900, but the reality is, I won't be using it that often. I'm thinking several times a month, sometimes with a month of no use here and there.

Before I get hit with the "It would be a whole lot cheaper just to send the work out..." argument, yes, you're right. But I'm a control freak and spend a lot of time trying to get the color the way I want it, and to hand off the last - and some would say most critical - stage of the process to someone else just hasn't worked for me.

So I'm wondering what happens with head clogs, reliability, etc. when you don't use the printer on a regular basis. I come from the Fuji Pictro world, where all I had to do was add water and print, and it didn't matter how long between runs, it just worked. Looking for larger format printing now, with better paper choices, and hoping the 7900 would fit the bill. Any concerns other than ink? Is paper storage an issue as well? I'm in Houston, lots of humidity, AC on all the time (at least in the summer), if that matters.

Thanks for any advice!

Geoff
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RichAdams
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 01:15:52 PM »
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Hi Geoff,

I just went through a similar process of selection, and considered the 7900. Like you, I expect to have significant periods of time between prints, so the head clog potential became important in my selection. I ultimately decided to go with the Canon ipf6100. Many users of this printer reported leaving it for periods of time, and then coming back to make a print with no issues at all. Also, the ipf6100 was about $1k less than the 7900, and a bit less hefty in weight as well. There are some reports of head clogging on the 7900, but I think the consensus is that it is much improved over the 7880.

Good luck with your decision.

-Rich
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Roscolo
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 01:19:08 PM »
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I have left my HP Z3100 unused for days at a time, and even 3-4 weeks, and have never had a clog.

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 02:31:43 PM »
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If you left those printers off for a long period of time you probably had some clogs ... you just aren't aware of it.  There is a high likelihood that at least a few nozzles were clogged and remapped to spares.  If you leave these printers off for extended periods often, the heads will be consumed faster. If you leave them off for a very long time, there is a chance you won't be able to clear the head. (Talking about over a year here ... happened with an ipf5000).  If you leave these printers on 24/7 (which is recommended) the heads will be consumed slower, but ink will be consumed (very gradually) ... more ink than you might realize.

Not criticizing this technology - it's great, and the heads may still take a very long time to be consumed and need replaced.  

As far as the OP's question, it very well could be a 7900 would be problematic enough so the underlying point of the two previous posters has some merit.  It's tough to say.  A few months ago I might have agreed with them.  It is obvious my first 7900 was a lemon however, as the second one is performing very well after a couple of weeks of settling in.  I only start up this printer once or twice a week, and recently started it up after 2 weeks of being off.  My last clog was over 3 weeks ago despite this, and that was one color which only took about 1.5ml of ink to clear.   Will this continue?  Perhaps too soon to say, but I'm pretty optimistic it will.  I have also been running this printer with ANC fully functional for every print for about a month to check it, without any unnecessary cleanings being performed.  This is pretty typical of my experience with the 11880, which I only use a couple of times a month, and have only had to clean nozzles a handful of times in nearly 2 years.

Since the minimum size of cartridges are 350ml doing some occasional nozzle cleans may not actually cost you any ink, since it sounds like it may take more than a year to consume the inks.  You may have to discard some partially fully ink cartridges anyway.

As far as paper storage, as long as you keep them in the plastic bags I would think you would be fine.  My only issue with older rolls of paper is some of them seem to have more curl.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2009, 05:56:52 AM »
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Quote from: Roscolo
I have left my HP Z3100 unused for days at a time, and even 3-4 weeks, and have never had a clog.

That, and the 130 ML cart sizes of the Z3100-Z3200 make it the champions for intermittent use. The nozzle abandoning stories are not something observed in practice, over two years of intermittent use on the Z3100 here and no head had to be replaced. Warranty on them is passed many months ago. Heads and cart replacement is however affordable and user friendly. For the control freaks the calibration and profiling aboard must be nirvana.


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GeoffM
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2009, 10:56:49 AM »
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Thanks very much everyone for all the thoughtful replies.

Wayne, you mention ink life as one consideration in my scenario. It that because the inks will no longer be usable after a year, or the printer will insist on replacement? Can you elaborate on this please?

Thanks,

Geoff

« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 11:13:47 AM by GeoffM » Logged
colinm
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2009, 12:07:06 PM »
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Quote from: GeoffM
Wayne, you mention ink life as one consideration in my scenario. It that because the inks will no longer be usable after a year, or the printer will insist on replacement?

The former. The printer won't force you to stop using the inks, but Epson's stated installed life is 6 months for proper color accuracy and viscosity. You can run them longer (and many of us have in many printers), but at some point you do reach a time there are visible problems or repeated clogging issues.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 12:07:35 PM by colinm » Logged

Colin
GeoffM
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2009, 04:10:09 PM »
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Quote from: colinm
The former. The printer won't force you to stop using the inks, but Epson's stated installed life is 6 months for proper color accuracy and viscosity. You can run them longer (and many of us have in many printers), but at some point you do reach a time there are visible problems or repeated clogging issues.


Thanks Colin.

Ernst's comment regarding ink capacity makes sense now. I didn't really get why the smaller cartridges would be considered an advantage.

Sounds like I'd be wise to stick with the 150ml carts if I choose the 7900.

Geoff
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reburns
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2009, 09:56:00 PM »
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Geoff,

I purchased a 7900 just four months ago and am a very occasional user as this is just one of my hobbies.  I've been getting along fine using it and love the results.  A check print is prudent before a print job and many times a color pair clean is required.  I don't have the experience to compare this model to older Epsons.  Ralph
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 11:03:33 AM »
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Quote from: reburns
Geoff,

I purchased a 7900 just four months ago and am a very occasional user as this is just one of my hobbies.  I've been getting along fine using it and love the results.  A check print is prudent before a print job and many times a color pair clean is required.  I don't have the experience to compare this model to older Epsons.  Ralph
The Canon iPF series do very well with long waits between uses - I print several shows worth of images each year, but often go a couple months between intense bursts of printing... Neither my former printer (iPF 5000) nor my current iPF6100 have ever complained.

             -Dan
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 11:23:31 AM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
The Canon iPF series do very well with long waits between uses - I print several shows worth of images each year, but often go a couple months between intense bursts of printing... Neither my former printer (iPF 5000) nor my current iPF6100 have ever complained.

             -Dan
I agree. My IPF5000 is much better in this regard than my Epson 2400. The ipf5000 runs the occasional automatic cleaning cycle, but other than that I've never had an issue; no ruined prints, no need to print nozzle checks before a print job.  My 2400 on the other hand, almost always needs multiple cleaning cycles to get a clean nozzle check after it's been sitting. The Epson Piezo heads have some advantages compared to the thermal heads used by Canon and HP, but clogging is the big disadvantage.
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BobDavid
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2009, 07:34:08 PM »
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Relative humidity has a lot to do with how susceptible Epson printers are to clogging. The more humidity, the less clogging. I live in Central Florida and have not had much trouble with my 9800 and 7800 machines. The 7880 and 7900 head technology is supposedly less prone to clogging than the 7800, and previous models.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 12:40:38 AM »
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Quote from: BobDavid
Relative humidity has a lot to do with how susceptible Epson printers are to clogging. The more humidity, the less clogging. I live in Central Florida and have not had much trouble with my 9800 and 7800 machines. The 7880 and 7900 head technology is supposedly less prone to clogging than the 7800, and previous models.

I agree that humidity is helpful, but this is much less of an issue with the newer Epsons.  I live in Utah (desert) where humidity is low, especially in the winter.  My 3800 has only had a couple of clogs in two years, and my 11880 has probably had around 10 clogs since nov of 07. After a little bit of a rough start my replacement 7900 has gone nearly a month with no clogs.

All 3 printers are used very intermittently ... most go a few weeks at a time between power ups.  The 11880 went 3 months without being turned on during the early part of this year while I was dealing with some serious health issues with my wife, and had one nozzle in one color clogged when I started it up.  I didn't even run a clean since I was printing out a very non-critical print.  Cleared up without a nozzle clean.

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edwinb
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« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2009, 04:12:42 AM »
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For all the epsons (I dont know about the others) it is recommended to shake the cartridges if they have been left on the shelf or standing for  a long time (months). This has helped with color issues in my experiance.
Edwin
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2009, 11:13:20 PM »
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I just wanted to point out that where Canon and Epson are concerned, there's no free lunch. Epson printers have no spare nozzles, so when one or more get clogged there's clear evidence that a clog exists, and the printer uses ink to clear it. Clogs never fail to clear, though it can take a lot of ink if the printer sits for a very long time. Heads last the life of the printer, which is quite long.

Canon printers have many spare nozzles. When a nozzle that's in use gets clogged and the printer's cleaning cycle cannot clear it, the printer "maps in" a spare nozzle to take the clogged nozzle's place. This means that while you see an occasional cleaning cycle, you never see evidence of a clog, even though clogs ARE occurring.  But when all of the spare nozzles are consumed (clogged) the printer stops working and tells you that you need to replace a print head. There are two, and a set costs around $1200. Early version heads can fail in as little as two years, and later version heads (which can fit the older printers) are supposed to last longer.

I've oversimplified things a bit, but just wanted to point out that you pay for clogs either way. Based on what I've heard and experienced, low use means more clogging in both Epson and Canon printers. For Canon that means shorter head life and for Epson it means more ink consumption. With Epson you pay as you go in ink. With Canon you pay less as you go, but are occasionally hit with big bills for new heads. I have no idea which printer has a lower cost of ownership in the long run, but neither one is cheap.

I guess I'm essentially repeating what Wayne said above. Does anyone know of a long term (say 5 year) cost comparison?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 11:20:14 PM by DeanChriss » Logged

- Dean
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2009, 07:53:36 AM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
I agree that humidity is helpful, but this is much less of an issue with the newer Epsons.  I live in Utah (desert) where humidity is low, especially in the winter.  My 3800 has only had a couple of clogs in two years, and my 11880 has probably had around 10 clogs since nov of 07. After a little bit of a rough start my replacement 7900 has gone nearly a month with no clogs.

All 3 printers are used very intermittently ... most go a few weeks at a time between power ups.  The 11880 went 3 months without being turned on during the early part of this year while I was dealing with some serious health issues with my wife, and had one nozzle in one color clogged when I started it up.  I didn't even run a clean since I was printing out a very non-critical print.  Cleared up without a nozzle clean.


Wayne, I don't remember asking you, but I'm curious.  Since owning the 11880 what prompted you to buy the 7900?  I'm assuming the 11880 does everything the 7900 does?
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2009, 02:20:04 PM »
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Quote from: Gemmtech
Wayne, I don't remember asking you, but I'm curious.  Since owning the 11880 what prompted you to buy the 7900?  I'm assuming the 11880 does everything the 7900 does?

I had an ipf6100 in my office which I replaced with the 7900.  

I have the 11880 in my home workroom.

The 11880 is fantastic, although I think the 7900 output is a little better with some files ... not enough difference to replace the 11880 with a 9900.  I also like the 11880 for Breathing Color Canvas since it requires MK ink, and the 11880 doesn't need to switch.
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Desmond
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2009, 08:07:35 PM »
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Hi Wayne,

For the clog rate you mentioned, do you mean minor clog that cleared by running normal nozzle check/ auto clean, or those serious clog that need running power cleaning to fix?

I bought a 3800 last christmas, I thought it was clog free, until I did a nozzle check (from LPF panel software, not the printer panel) recently, I have 2 nozzles clogged. They are cleared after the nozzle check, but a significant amount of ink was used in the cleaning action.

There were 2 nozzles clogged, but nothing wrong I could spot from the prints. Then I knew the NC has to be done regularly. Although I never had the printer sitting there without printing for more than 2 weeks.



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Desmond
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2009, 08:35:16 AM »
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Quote from: DeanChriss
I've oversimplified things a bit, but just wanted to point out that you pay for clogs either way. Based on what I've heard and experienced, low use means more clogging in both Epson and Canon printers. For Canon that means shorter head life and for Epson it means more ink consumption. With Epson you pay as you go in ink. With Canon you pay less as you go, but are occasionally hit with big bills for new heads. I have no idea which printer has a lower cost of ownership in the long run, but neither one is cheap.

I guess I'm essentially repeating what Wayne said above. Does anyone know of a long term (say 5 year) cost comparison?


I will make it a bit more complex then. There's a HP Z3100 here with 6 heads, 2 channels each. It is used intermittently over the last 28 months and no head needed replacement. The heads are out of warranty already but they still are considered OK by the sensor that checks the droplet output. I never have cloggs, banding, lines, with that printer.  As soon as a head will show problems it will be replaced by me. Price must be something like 60 Euro each. So far I do not see evidence that one pays the costs of a clog free printer in ink or heads, the Z3100 is frugal on ink.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

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Craig Murphy
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2009, 08:48:41 AM »
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I would second the humidity angle.  If I don't keep humidity up in winter I get more clogs with my 9800.   I do still have to head clean once in a while even though its summertime and humidity is naturally up.  BTW.  To anyone.  If you run a nozzle check and get a few dashes not printing in a given color is that enough for you to run a head clean?   Whats your tipping point for a head clean?  Is it really going to matter if a two or three dashes here and there are not printing?
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