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Author Topic: Z3100 nozzles, ink, and other bad stuff  (Read 3382 times)
DotCom Editor
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« on: August 17, 2011, 09:22:39 PM »
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In the three years I've owned my two Z3100 printers, I've never had a nozzle clog, even when I go for months without printing. (They are always powered on.)

Alas, no more. On my 44-inch unit, MK is misfiring when I print the nozzle chart. I pulled the MK/R printhead and was completely shocked at the amount of dried ink that has built up on the heads, the contacts, and the enormous amount in the head parking area. I used cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to clean the head assembly and contacts, but I have no idea how to clean the huge mess inside the guts of the parking area. Perhaps I shouldn't have the printer sitting on the good carpeting in my office.

Anyway, I've improved the nozzle diagnostic printout somewhat, but there are still roughly a dozen gaps, even after running the nozzle cleaning utility. Will these gaps be remapped by the printer, or is this printout showing me the best the printer can do after remapping has already been attempted?

I've purchased a new MK/R printhead, but would like to get the current one in full working order, if possible. I checked the Z3100's front panel, and this head in its entire lifetime has printed a mere 110 ml of ink. That's less than one cartridge.

For those more knowledgeable than me, I'm all ears about how to clean this mess and resurrect the printhead, short of bringing it into the shower with me. And, should I pull all six printheads and clean them along with the printhead housing? The other five heads are printing perfectly. Thank you.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 02:35:45 AM »
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If that dirty black head has been there from the day you got the printer then the main problem is that you probably do not use the printer enough but at the same time keep that printer on over a period of three years. It does its regular cleanings and what has been used of ink is left in and on the capping station. Get the service manual (Z3100 wiki) and take off the right cover that is around the head parking station and clean everything, especially the top of the black plastic lid that covers the capping station, and yes clean the rest of the heads and the head carriage where possible. Consider to switch the printer off for two weeks if it is not used at all in two weeks. I did not have any problems with my Z models when I switched them off for two weeks holidays. There are more threads on the subject of Z dirty heads/head carriages. If printer utility says that the head is still in a good shape then it should be good.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

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Miles
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 08:10:37 AM »
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I have had a z3100 for about 3 1/2 years.  The lack of nozzle clogs is truly impressive with this machine and when coupled with the fact that I sometimes go for several days without printing, it is remarkable.  Similar to you, I never turn the machine off.

In the last year, I have needed to replace a few of the print heads.  Recently I noticed a loss of red saturation in a few prints and after doing a diagnostic print from the control panel, could see that all the nozzles were firing, but that the red (really orange) channel was  much lighter than previous diagnostic prints.  This was a little surprising since MK/R was the most recently replaced print head and had less than 60 ml of ink through it.  Fortunately, it was still under warrentee and HP quickly dispatched a replacement which has taken care of the problem.

One of the learnings I have had along the way is that I have had print head failures despite the printer diagnotics indicating they were ok.  The first time I experienced this, HP suggested I try replacing the print head before making a service call to figure out what else may be wrong.  Fortunately the cost of a printhead isn't that much and replacement turned out to be very good advice.  It is possible that you received a defective print head with delivery of the printer, but it is just now showing up. 

Ernst offer good advise for cleaning and as suggested, there are several threads on this topic.
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DotCom Editor
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 06:05:52 PM »
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After numerous head cleaning cycles and printing many diagnostic sheets that continued to show the MK head still badly misfiring, I decided to replace the MK/R printhead. Alas, no improvement; MK is barely doing anything. Cleaning the contacts at the back of the printhead bay did not help. I'm wondering if the supply tube is plugged up.

Finally called HP support. Was on the phone with them for more than two hours. They had me pull ALL six printheads AND all 12 ink cartridges. Then re-install -- just as if this was a new printer. More than an hour later and -- MK is still misfiring badly. They're overnighting yet another printhead to me, explaining that the brand new head I installed might itself be defective. That would be quite a coincidence. Only after that will they send a field service engineer. Not sure why I just spent nearly $1,500 for another two-year next-business-day maintenance plan. Adding insult to injury, I can no longer access the Z3100's internal Web server through my browser, even though the HP Utility program can see the printer just fine. And yes, the server is enabled under the Connectevity menu. IE and Chrome both just crank away without every displaying anything from the printer.

Ernst, I do have the service manual. When I have a complete afternoon free, I'll disassemble the right side and do a major cleaning. It would be so much easier to bring the printer outside and blast it with the garden hose, or take it through a carwash.

Needless to say, I'm getting frustrated after three years of perfect performance.
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sbay
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 09:08:44 PM »
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I don't mean to scare you but it took me three weeks to get my printer fixed (onsite technician had to visit 3 separate times). I think part of the problem was that the HP printers don't appear to have any diagnostics to tell when internal parts have failed (or they don't work well). Basically, the tech guessed at what went wrong, ordered the part (which had to be mailed) and replaced it.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2011, 03:13:04 AM »
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Ernst, I do have the service manual. When I have a complete afternoon free, I'll disassemble the right side and do a major cleaning. It would be so much easier to bring the printer outside and blast it with the garden hose, or take it through a carwash.

Needless to say, I'm getting frustrated after three years of perfect performance.

With a service contract running I would not get inside that printer for the time being. That  new head may do the trick, if not there could be much more wrong than a filthy capping station. I still have no picture how intensive that printer has been used, the MK ink line could contain settled pigment particles.

Think of the period that it all went smooth, usually a good advice when a relation with whatever partner is not going well :-) There are people who have a printer that showed clogs from day one and think it ought to be like that.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
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deanwork
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 04:27:13 PM »
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I've had mine for 4 years and still without any clogs. My print heads always end up going well beyond the time they are guaranteed. I have replaced the MK/Red head twice in that time. I try to keep them all in warranty if I can to avoid any surprises.

 IF the head is good, then there are only two things I can think of that could cause your situation, if you have thoroughly cleaned the cap station and it is still fitting the heads tightly. One is the waste tank filling up and overflowing onto the carriage area and gumming everything up. The other is like you mentioned dry ink in the line. The MK ink is primarily carbon and the particles are larger than other colors and theoretically should be moved through the lines more often. If this machine has been used very little in that time period without fluid running through it regularly, it is a good chance that is what is occurring and it needs to be flushed out somehow. If you are under warranty by all means let them do it. After three years they replaced my waste tank and the cap station as regular maintenance and I've never seen anything close to this happening with mine.

john
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DotCom Editor
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 12:50:30 PM »
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Well, I guess I'm getting my money's worth from the rather exensive HP maintenance contract that I just renewed for two years.

Called HP, spent two hours on the phone with them diving deep into the service and diagnostic menus, removing and replacing printheads, etc. After no improvement, they sent me yet another MK/R printhead. Duly replaced, it too, yielded little improvement. Only after another two hours on the phone did they finally ship major parts and schedule a field engineer. The parts shipped included an entire new printhead carriage assembly and ink supply tube system with manifold.

The tech replaced the carriage but not the tube delivery system. His reasoning: new printheads come charged with ink in them. If it doesn't fully fire, it's not due to ink flow issues with the tubes. After several hours and numerous nozzle cleaning cycles, it almost fires on all nozzles. That can be seen in the nozzle diagnostic printout. But, it's not detectable in several large B&W prints I've made on HP Hahn SFA paper.

I'll print another nozzle diagnostic next week, after I've done a few more images that call for MK. If it's less than 100% perfect, another call to HP may be in order.

In the meantime, many thanks to all of you who offered opinions and suggestions.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 03:32:39 PM by DotCom Editor » Logged
davidahn
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 02:38:35 AM »
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Thanks for your posts, gentlemen. I know it's been a while, but I'm hoping you're still following this thread and that your experience can help me out.

I haven't been as good as you guys about leaving the printer on all the time. I've had my Z3100 for about 3 years now, and I print 0-3 times a month. About a year ago, my PSU started making a HORRIBLE noise. As it was out of warranty and working fine, I tried to ignore it. But my maid turned it off because of the noise, and I left it off for a long time, maybe 2-3 months. When I turned it on, almost ALL the nozzles were clogged. I cleaned them with RO (reverse osmosis, nearly deionized) water and Q-tips multiple times, used the cleaning cycle dozens of times, and nearly emptied my cartridges half way, and I got everything working except, you guessed it, M-K. I finally broke down and got a new print head, and everything was good for a while... but after a few prints, I began to notice a weird phenomenon. The more I printed, the more nozzles I would lose on the M-K, and now, on the Blue (looks purple) also. I rest it a while, and everything comes back, but I print a little (even if I don't use the color), it starts losing nozzles! For example, I just printed a batch of grayscale images and the M-K lost nozzles, but so did B.

I think my supply lines are clogged. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you very much in advance.

Incidentally, I ordered a new PSU for about $200, a lot less than they probably ran a couple of years ago. I thought THAT was all I needed to get a fully functional printer, but looks like I may need another major overhaul.

David
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 04:09:15 AM »
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I think my supply lines are clogged. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you very much in advance.

David

Could be correct, lines and heads with pigment settling. Too little use, unpowered for a long time and the carts not shaken thoroughly when used again are likely causes for issues like that. I guess carts are expired too.

I have given advice above, removing the right panel for the parking/cleaning station is needed too to get that part clean and moisture again so it can function.

Say you would reshake the cart bags thoroughly in an ultrasonic bath. Put them back in. Take the heads off. Improvise a tool of a syringe etc and pull ink with it from the head connection of the ink tubes so the content of the tubes is at least somewhat renewed. Put the old heads back and start printing again. There is a way of cleaning Z heads internally too (google) but do that after you got flow in all channels and most pigment settling dissolved or gathered into the head sieves. Put everything together and buy fresh ink for all channels, use that printer or sell it. This is the labour intensive, cheap method that may not work. The expensive method is replacing all carts, all heads, the ink tubes and the parking station + a service man to do it.


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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

Dinkla Grafische Techniek
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davidahn
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 06:00:41 PM »
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Thanks so much, Ernst! I'll try some or all of what you suggested when I get back home. I think part of the problem is we live in 0-20% humidity, that doesn't help the drying out of the heads either.

I'd really like to get the new Z3200 atlex deal. It's pretty killer: $2200 incl. S&H; subtract $400 for S&H and $1000 worth of inks, that's $800 for the printer! But my wife disagrees with my assessment. So I'll try your suggestions!

Thanks again.

David
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deanwork
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 09:53:20 PM »
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If you're under warranty have them replace the cap station if you've never had that done and while they are at it probably the waste tank mechanism that they call the spitoon.

I had this done after 2 1/2 years when they replaced the belt, now I'm getting close to the 5th year and all is cool with my Z.

However, I just called them to replace my second belt at this time. To me that's the only thing they could have really improved on, better belts. But I'm on my third warranty so it's their baby to deal with.

john
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davidahn
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2012, 01:42:35 AM »
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Dean,

Sadly, I'm way OUT of warranty. So... I'll check my service manual and see what that entails and try to do it if it's doable. Thanks for the suggestion.

David
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