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Author Topic: HP Service still sucks, fixed poor print quality myself on a Z3100  (Read 4121 times)
Shutterbug2006
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« on: March 09, 2010, 06:34:47 PM »
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I have owned my Z3100ps GP Photo 44" for nearly two years come May, and have never experienced any poor print quality to speak of, until recently.

I was having a problem with the MK black on matte paper. It appeared to be a head clog, so I tried cleaning the print head using the printer utility to do so. I used a bit of ink cleaning and re-cleaning the print head, but the problem remained.

I spoke with HP tech support, their first response was that the printer was out of warranty. When I finally convinced them they'd never really heard from me regarding a serious issue with the printer, I was told that I needed to replace the print head. Considering that 97ml worth of ink ever went through it, I didn't really think it needed to be replaced.

So, I bought some BD alcohol swabs, they contain 70% alcohol and don't leave any residue behind. The swabs are really just 1 inch square pieces of alcohol-soaked intense weave cotton pads.

When I removed the print head, I immediately saw that there was a considerable amount of black ink goo (about a 1/4" or so) around all sides of the print head. I noticed a similar amount inside the print head holding tray.

I used the alcohol swabs to clean all of the built up gunk off the print head and from the print head holding tray. I cleaned the print head with a fresh one, did the same with the contacts in the print head holding tray.\

After reinstalling the print head and doing a required ink head alignment, I then ran one print head cleaning cycle and VOILA!

It works perfectly again.

Meanwhile, in looking around HP's web site - I found a ton of old links that don't work. So many in fact that I find their site completely useless. It's almost as bad as HP's convoluted telephone system.

I guess I should pull all the other heads and do the same - but my motto is usually "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I do the rest, or wait until a problem develops?

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David Saffir
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2010, 06:43:30 PM »
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did you get software or front panel warning first?

David
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2010, 01:56:04 AM »
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In your case I would clean more heads + trays. The lid on the capping station probably has some goo on top too that might transfer to the head carriage so clean that too. It is on the far right internally and with a torch you can see it when the head carriage is parked for head exchange. After that also clean and lubricate the axle the head carriage rides on, with and oil that meets the prescribed lubricant specs. Get the service manual from wiki. It ain't broke but shows the sign that it needs maintenance.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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artobest
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 05:47:17 AM »
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I've had nothing but great and attentive service from HP. Maybe because my Z3200 is still under warranty ...
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jasdown
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 10:51:30 AM »
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Quote from: artobest
I've had nothing but great and attentive service from HP. Maybe because my Z3200 is still under warranty ...

My experience has been (regrettably) the polar opposite to yours. My Z3200 is under warranty as well, but when it was determined that I have had numerable system errors and warnings due to a suspected faulty formatter (hard-drive card), I have been waiting since 2/22 for the delivery of a replacement part.  Even with the order being routed through HP's "Escalation Department," it won't be made available until 4/16/10! That's nearly 2 months of downtime!



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Colorwave
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 01:14:51 PM »
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Wow.  Two months of downtime is enough time for someone to order and break in a competitors printer pretty well.  A pro printer would be obliged to do something for a replacement.  I'm disappointed that the formatters are still failing (I'm on my third with my Z3100), and that they haven't sorted out their supply chain better.  The formatters may be specific to their printers, but they are not built from proprietary or bleeding edge components.  With a warranty, are they not obliged to provide a loaner if it is this long before they can resolve the problem?
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jasdown
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 02:35:34 PM »
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Quote from: Colorwave
With a warranty, are they not obliged to provide a loaner if it is this long before they can resolve the problem?

The most responsive HP Tech Support person I ever dealt with was the one I last spoke to on 2/22. However, she amended her original offer of sending out a field technician to just sending out the replacement part. She led me to believe it would be over-nighted, however (and I believe she thought it would be, too). When it failed to arrive the next day, I contacted the Service Contact number. Another HP representative attempted to "expedite" the backordered part, and contacted me the next day with the jaw-dropping 2-month ETA of April 16.

Again, the best response I ever got was the HP Tech person who initiated the replacement part order. All the others were content that the intermittent problems I was having were not being duplicated in the course of the tech call (despite the fact that numerous system errors & warnings had been logged). As long as I could print out a color calibration chart they deemed my case "closed". It was only when the Z3200 refused to scan a printed calibration chart in February that I got a response. (I have, BTW, about 15 feet of needless calibration charts that were requested by the HP Techs -- all on HP Pro Satin because that was the only "official" HP media I had on hand at the time.)

Nothing as accommodating as a "loaner" unit was ever mentioned to me.


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deanwork
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 03:28:46 PM »
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That is a terribly long time to wait for a resolution, and inexcusable and I would be livid and cursing HP too. However, if you think bouncing over to Epson is going to guarantee stellar hardware design and quality tech support and lack of headaches, think again.

Read some of these back posts on the nightmares of the new Photo Stylus 9900 and the 11880  also, with epidemic problems with these new pressurized heads banding, often in multiple channels while ink is perpetually wasted day after day . Read a lot of the exact same nightmares on this forum as well from all over the world. There is a lot of corporate sloppiness going around on all sectors. And when I hear of people waiting months and months and still not having a major issue resolved I just wonder where this is all going. That wouldn't have happened even two or three years ago from Epson. They are all rushing these units to market to claim this quarter's superiority over the competition, and mostly what we end up with is trouble because they don't have their act together. And, Epson is arrogant enough to keep us from working on our old solid machines by denying us the ability to change heads and other easily replaceable parts. That's not cool either.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EpsonWideFormat/

j




Quote from: jasdown
The most responsive HP Tech Support person I ever dealt with was the one I last spoke to on 2/22. However, she amended her original offer of sending out a field technician to just sending out the replacement part. She led me to believe it would be over-nighted, however (and I believe she thought it would be, too). When it failed to arrive the next day, I contacted the Service Contact number. Another HP representative attempted to "expedite" the backordered part, and contacted me the next day with the jaw-dropping 2-month ETA of April 16.

Again, the best response I ever got was the HP Tech person who initiated the replacement part order. All the others were content that the intermittent problems I was having were not being duplicated in the course of the tech call (despite the fact that numerous system errors & warnings had been logged). As long as I could print out a color calibration chart they deemed my case "closed". It was only when the Z3200 refused to scan a printed calibration chart in February that I got a response. (I have, BTW, about 15 feet of needless calibration charts that were requested by the HP Techs -- all on HP Pro Satin because that was the only "official" HP media I had on hand at the time.)

Nothing as accommodating as a "loaner" unit was ever mentioned to me.
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Colorwave
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 09:08:42 PM »
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jasdown-
I know that I'm often not as assertive as I should be, but sometimes corporate indifference really gets my blood boiling, and I'm pretty good about arguing my case when necessary.  It really sounds like you need to squeak your wheel more loudly, because unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary with "by the script" tech support.  They typically need to make sure you aren't an idiot and have you play along with them before being reassured that your problems are legitimate.  Certainly ask to speak with a second or third level tech support to escalate your case, and don't assume that when you reach the right person you will not be able to get compensation for your lost media and ink.  Make your case.  I had a phone support tech tell me to do something that tied up my printer for a full day (secure overwrite of the HD using government level encryption and a reformat that made the printer think it had just been manufactured and was still on the assembly line, prior to delivery).  It wasted time and ink, and they sent me 7 cartridges as a make good.  In general, I've found the tech support people to be largely empathetic, just often bound by procedural rules at the lower levels and sometimes not well trained on Z printers.  Take it up the chain of command and you may find that it is not as grim as you are being told.
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artobest
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2010, 04:08:50 AM »
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Jasdown

I had the faulty formatter too. I believe it's an endemic problem with these machines and so it took a couple of weeks to source a replacement for mine. However, you will find no technician is necessary for its replacement, it's very simple. My next issue was a broken fan in the main electronics module - a much more serious affair. I had a technician replace the whole module the next day (and I'm not near a main centre). After each instance HP rang back repeatedly of their own volition to track the issue until it was resolved to my satisfaction. Can't say fairer than that.
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jasdown
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2010, 08:32:00 AM »
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It really sounds like you need to squeak your wheel more loudly

I agree, Colorwave, but I have been assertive as I know how to be just in my persistence of the tech support calls, citing the various logged system warning and error codes to them.  I admit there seems to be an impasse in the resolution or "escalation" process with HP that I can't ever seem to break through.

Quote
I had the faulty formatter too. I believe it's an endemic problem with these machines and so it took a couple of weeks to source a replacement for mine.

Yes, Artobest, my hope lies in the eventual replacement of my formatter.  As you say, the problem must be severe, if it has created a 2-month backorder (even when put through "escalation," as they term it).

My biggest trepidation, however, due to the failure rate of these formatters, is the seemingly long odds of getting a good one. I love so many aspects of the Z3200, but I do wish it were more "robust" in its core electronics.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 08:38:43 AM by jasdown » Logged
artobest
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 09:12:12 AM »
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The problem, as I understand it, lay in the Hitachi hard drive on the formatter. The replacement formatter had a slightly earlier iteration of the drive and it hasn't given me any issues in six months - touch wood!
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deanwork
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 10:32:23 AM »
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I have to add my name to the list that had to have his Hitachi hard drive replaced after one year. Since I was in warranty and gave them the error message on the phone he brought one over and popped it in in less than 5 minutes and the machine has been perfect ever since. Another guy ( on this list ) had two of these replaced within a year and a half on the 3100 of the same vintage as mine. I wonder if the 3200s have different drives?

It seems to me to be defective Hitachi hard drives on the 3100s. I asked the tech if this was common. He said it wasn't new to him and he'd seen it before ( that is as far as he would go as an explanation). And I said why would a hard drive go out in a years time? He said, just from a lot of use, they wear out. I said what?..........I didn't get a real answer, if he even knew one.

You know this could be from power surges or just delicate hard drives. There is a lot of information being processed by them.  If it is a wide spread failure, this time lag for replacement might be them trying to produce a more stable drive before they release anything. Who knows. The wouldn't tell us. This hard drive is the main reason I say keep them in warranty.

j





Quote from: artobest
The problem, as I understand it, lay in the Hitachi hard drive on the formatter. The replacement formatter had a slightly earlier iteration of the drive and it hasn't given me any issues in six months - touch wood!
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alanmcf
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2010, 03:26:29 PM »
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On a similar note on my recent Z3100 events... I tried to print after a few months of not printing, the printer had been running and cleaning itself. A test print showed that the MK was almost completely clogged. Cleaning cycles did not work. Per earlier HP instructions I pulled the head and dabbed it with a coffee filter soaked in warm water, and the head improved a bit. Finally after a few more weeks of ignoring it, I pulled the head and this time used Windex instead of water on the coffee filter. I also removed and shook all of the cartridges. All is well (one missing MK segment and a couple of more elsewhere)! My friend Roger who professionally maintains Epson & HP printers suggested Windex and shaking, and Ernst earlier suggested shaking. Thanks.

During the process I got a message that I read as -- if you continue with old ink your warranty will be void. But turns out it was a two part message (the first part had flashed by without me seeing it) that read more like -- any service calls resulting from old ink will not be covered. Ok fair... but I before I understood I was calculating what 12 new carts of ink would cost me each year or so. Talking to ink suppliers I was told by one that both Canon and Epson had told him that ink lasts a really long time. This however reemphasizes that the carts need to be shaken occasionally. Roger claims that since he has been shaking the carts weekly in an occasionally used large format Epson that it works very much better as far as clogs and consistent color goes.

Finally on extended warranty. It is still hard for me to believe (and I half expect to be corrected), but if you buy the 3 year extended warranty when you buy the Z that you have a total of 3 years. But if you buy that same warranty at the end of the first year that you then have 4 years total. Go figure.

Thanks, Alan

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deanwork
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2010, 04:40:44 PM »
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Yes, of course you need to shake the ink carts occasionally. This has always been true of ALL pigment inkjet systems. The MK is primarily carbon, which is almost always the first one to separate from the base and clog a line because it has larger particles suspended. With all my Epsons I've dealt with this over and over, but never with the Z and after two and a half years that is pretty amazing. The heads are so cheap that if I ever have trouble like that I wouldn't waste my time calling Hp. I would try cleaning it because that is SO easy,  then an hour later if it wasn't firing I'd replace it.  

It is funny about that warranty. I waited until my one year was up then added 3 more to it. I think that is a really good warranty situation since it covers all parts, labor, travel, etc for the cost of one usual visit. I always have that Hatachi hard drive in the back of my mind.

j





Quote from: alanmcf
On a similar note on my recent Z3100 events... I tried to print after a few months of not printing, the printer had been running and cleaning itself. A test print showed that the MK was almost completely clogged. Cleaning cycles did not work. Per earlier HP instructions I pulled the head and dabbed it with a coffee filter soaked in warm water, and the head improved a bit. Finally after a few more weeks of ignoring it, I pulled the head and this time used Windex instead of water on the coffee filter. I also removed and shook all of the cartridges. All is well (one missing MK segment and a couple of more elsewhere)! My friend Roger who professionally maintains Epson & HP printers suggested Windex and shaking, and Ernst earlier suggested shaking. Thanks.

During the process I got a message that I read as -- if you continue with old ink your warranty will be void. But turns out it was a two part message (the first part had flashed by without me seeing it) that read more like -- any service calls resulting from old ink will not be covered. Ok fair... but I before I understood I was calculating what 12 new carts of ink would cost me each year or so. Talking to ink suppliers I was told by one that both Canon and Epson had told him that ink lasts a really long time. This however reemphasizes that the carts need to be shaken occasionally. Roger claims that since he has been shaking the carts weekly in an occasionally used large format Epson that it works very much better as far as clogs and consistent color goes.

Finally on extended warranty. It is still hard for me to believe (and I half expect to be corrected), but if you buy the 3 year extended warranty when you buy the Z that you have a total of 3 years. But if you buy that same warranty at the end of the first year that you then have 4 years total. Go figure.

Thanks, Alan
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