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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 265480 times)
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1440 on: November 17, 2013, 09:26:59 PM »
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Nope I'm not dead yet.  Neither is my 9900.  It isn't printing yet, which is a bummer.  But I haven't given up, which is not.


I've had a box staring me down from the center of a room I avoid like the plague.  It's the 9900 room.  If you walk through the kitchen on your way out it's like the 9900 doesn't even exist.  That box either.  Truth be told my 9900's been apart since the day I got that fateful "You're an idiot" message on the display.  If this journey has taught me anything, it's to never feel over-confident about anything related to clearing nozzle clogs on an X900.  But that day I screwed up.  I actually thought I had it beat.  When that message flashed at me it broke me.  and so it has sat..

What's in the box in the center of the room you ask?  A full set of cleaning carts.  Any more boxes in the 9900 room?  Yea, more of Epson's RED and CLEAR cleaning fluid.  Ok so I've avoided the room like the plague, but I haven't avoided spending more money.  What's the idea I've got brewing...?  it's interesting actually.


By now more than a few have contacted me through this forum and myx900.com, talking about clearing impossible clogs on their printer.  It's actually quite a lot more than a few, from basically all over the world.  Yes Alaska, and Africa, of course New Zealand, Japan which is ironic, and many more including even Brazil - which is sexy.  Yet no one has ever cleared an un-clearable clog, except one.  John Schwaller did it on his 4900.  How you ask?  I've mentioned this before - re-charged the machine with ink.  Did it a few times actually, which cost quite a bit, but not as much as a new head...

So I've been thinking since then, what if I set up a machine with cleaning carts filled with Epson's RED?  No ultra sonic vibration violations, no excessive pressures applied by manually forcing liquid through a head, no foreign chemical violations, and perhaps no frying heads from too many power cleanings.  Only worry is HAL's warning that nobody really knows how long you can expose an X900 head to RED.  The glue is the suspect weakest link in the "what will break down first" chain.  That nozzle plate comes un-glued from the chamber walls and 360 tiny nozzles just became one.  So I looked into it, with my microscope.

Turns out the glue on a nozzle plate, left exposed to pure RED for 24hrs straight, was not compromised in the least.  Over the course of this epic journey I have been sent a few dead/clogged/fatal error message heads.  I took the nozzle plate off one two nights ago.  I combed over the patterns of glue residue left in the shapes of chamber walls and cooling fins, I took visual notes of not only the appearance of the glue left over on the face, but also of it's consistency, how well it was stuck to the face, and how it reacted to my metal razor blade when I touched the two together.  Before RED or after, it's just the same.  This is very good news. 

I took all of my RED, filled each new refillable cart with it, and put them in this 9900.  Then I hit a temporary wall - one of the chips isn't being read by the machine.  I re-set it, still nothing.  And one of the carts doesn't seem to latch properly.  I'll have to chase down replacement parts tomorrow morning.  For now though, I am adhering to my self learned rule - no getting excited this will work.  However I do feel this has the best chance yet.
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iladi
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« Reply #1441 on: November 18, 2013, 11:09:56 AM »
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On signs forum there is also a guy who has recover an cloged epson solvent head by printing with specific cleaning fluid.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1442 on: November 19, 2013, 11:20:40 PM »
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Could you give me a link to that thread iladi ?  I've searched unsuccessfully.
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iladi
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« Reply #1443 on: November 20, 2013, 11:09:56 AM »
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Shure:

http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?111350-Bringing-a-head-back-to-life!!!-You-have-to-check-this-out!
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1444 on: November 20, 2013, 11:35:24 AM »
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Thanks iladi.   Feels like we're getting warmer.  My replacement carts should be here any day now, then it's time to blow up this 9900!
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1445 on: November 20, 2013, 02:16:55 PM »
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If anyone is interested I put a ton of microscopic images with descriptions of our piezoelectric heads on the myx900 site HERE

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BobDavid
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« Reply #1446 on: November 24, 2013, 10:07:14 PM »
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Great video.
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davidh202
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« Reply #1447 on: November 25, 2013, 10:04:19 PM »
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WTF!
He is using a Roland solvent printer.
This has no relationship to an Epson Pigment Inkjet.

aren't we going around in circles here Eric?
On the very first pages of this thread you stated that buying refillable carts and trying to flush the head was a total waste of money and time!
  
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1448 on: November 26, 2013, 11:23:59 AM »
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Yes David, I am going in circles.  Again.  Which is kind of scary, yet also comforting.  I race motorcycles after all, we do lots of circles.

If you think of this in a negative way I could be circling the drain on my way down it.  On the positive side however I could be circling in on this like a pack of wolves would a wounded Caribou. 

It is true, two years ago I said cleaning carts were a waste of time.  That was my experience at the time, and I shared it.  I have learned since then, after endless hours exploring and experimenting, that cleaning an X900 head in your hands/with syringes/soaking them/subjecting them to ultrasonic cleanings/pushing fluid through them/sucking fluid from them - it's all pretty dangerous business.  These heads are microscopically fragile.  My first experience with cleaning carts was limited to that source's cleaning fluids.  Never did I try Epson's RED filled to the top of every cart, never did I try "initial fills" (if you remember I only bought four carts when I tried them, and only did pairs cleanings). 

So yes, David.  WTF!   

I wonder if you can imagine how I feel by now...


...Having said all that I didn't open this page to respond, I opened it to post a progress report.  The head I have in my 9900 right now is a head donated to the cause by D. Kelly, in Australia.  PK channel was basically dead.  I have performed 3 "initial fills" with RED, no change.  I have performed SS cleanings, pairs cleanings, printed full pages of black.  Nothing changed until I changed fluids.  Out with the RED, in with a fluid which was suggested on this forum, in this thread, well over a year ago.  I never talked about it but I did order, from 3M, the industrial kitchen cleaning fluid which was talked about here.  I never used it, until yesterday when my RED ran out.  It is also expensive, like RED, but it comes super concentrated.  I think this half gallon makes 123 gallons total.  So I diluted it, filled the carts, and went back at this head through the menu systems again.  This morning I can finally confirm the one mystery which has been on my mind for-ever.  Is a terminal clog actually a clog at all, or is it simply a damaged head?

The terminal clogs in D. Kelly's X900 head are, slowly, clearing.  Used to be 60% of the nozzles were gone.  Now it's 40%. 

Still can't say whether it's the drain I am circling, or the prey.  But we're definitely getting closer to one or the other.
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iladi
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« Reply #1449 on: November 26, 2013, 02:38:34 PM »
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@davidh202:

Roland solvent printers use the same printheads as epson waterbased printers.
The solvent ink is also a pigment ink. The diference is the carier of the pigments. For your epson the carier is water, for a roland is a solvent.

They are not so different as one may think. Printing basics are the same, so we can draw conclusions based on other.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 02:43:34 PM by iladi » Logged
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1450 on: November 30, 2013, 10:52:06 PM »
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ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST...


Well I did it again.  FATAL ERROR MESSAGE 1A39 flashes over a blood red background in the 99 hundred's LCD.  So much promise, so much hope, more possibly this time than ever before - all crumble to the floor in ashes before me.  Or maybe I should say, "In steam".

WTF you ask?  Where does steam come from?  Don't be silly, it comes from Locomotives.




After too many initial fills to count, plus cleanings on top of cleanings - some while standing on one foot, others while dressed in an Indian rain dance outfit I keep only for special occasions - I decided once again to get aggressive.  What's wrong with me you might ask?  Why always in the end am I holding a bloody hammer at my side wearing an innocent look of guilt?  Because after all I am a carpenter.  Do remember this.

You might think after as many initial fills and cleanings as I performed on this particular head (300ml carts worth of cleaning fluid) that there would be no ink left inside the chambers anymore.  I mean if nothing else, at least we should assume this, right?  

Wrong...

The PK channel in this head cleared to 40% clogged then never improved.  Wasn't budging.  What I should have done at this point was give up, then perform an autopsy so we could finally understand what in the love of hell an unclearable clog actually is.  But I didn't do that did I.  Nope, I kept trying to clear it.  How you ask?  This is where the Locomotive comes in.

I boiled distilled water until a subtle stream of steam drew out from the spout of my wife's favorite flowered tea pot.  (say that ten times fast)  Then I held said dead head just out of harms way, or so I thought, until that subtle stream of steam drew from hidden chambers inside secret spaces - dried up crusty ink from prints long since past.  Out from those tiny microscopic nozzle passages poured the answers to our troubles.  It's ink.  The clogs indeed are ink, I believe.  And nothing gets them out without destroying the tiny internals they hold entombed in an ink frozen state of piezo-pompeii.  

...at least nothing that we know of.  

Today..

I will perform an autopsy but for sure I will find only ruins.  

« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 10:57:33 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1451 on: December 12, 2013, 01:02:47 AM »
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Tonight it ends.  My genius buddy Steve came over.  Been a while since he's been in on this.  As he walked in he said, "Dude, do you know it's been a year since you started that thread on Luminous Landscape?"  I answered, "Actually it's been two..."

Used to be Steve and I did everything on this journey together, but then he got a girl - game over I've been solo on this ever since.  Until tonight.  I told Steve a week ago it was time we wrap this up, and so we did.  Tonight we sacrificed a perfectly good, fully functional, thoroughly cleaned/rinse/soaked & initial filled until it's eyes watered X900 printhead.  Consistent nozzle patterns, full pages of ink, 100% working head - minus almost half of the PK channel.  Typical terminal clog story, cleared up fine until it got to a specific point - then it never budged a millimeter further. 

We traced the lines, we drew maps, we zeroed in on ink's path through the nipple board, into the chambers and finally out the nozzles.  Once we knew exactly which side of what chamber housed the PK bank we carefully took the head apart and raised it up to the microscope.  Fascinating what we saw.

Since this thing began I have pictured caked up nozzles, ink bound chambers, stubborn ice burg sized ink clots jammed up against tiny piezoelectric nozzles and the like.  For sure, in my heart I have felt our clogs are clearable.  But I have also known, even feared, that terminal clogs are not clogs at all.  They may instead be damaged nozzles, chambers, walls or whatever else might be possible.  And I have known, all along, that taking apart a working head would reveal which of the two was our destiny.


I feel bad about this actually.  Even sorry.  Rather than finding impossibly stubborn caked up ink inside the specific chamber walls in question, we found absolutely nothing.  I mean this X900 printhead is not only impeccably clean inside, but it's microscopically clean.  There is not a single trace of ink inside any part of the piezoboard.  Not one chamber wall is damaged.  Not, one.  There's no dust, no cracks, not one inconsistency in the entire thing.  These nozzles are perfect in every way compared to their properly firing counterparts just a chamber wall away.  The whole bank is perfect, just half of it doesn't fire anymore.


Feel free to draw from this experience any conclusions you deem appropriate.  To me, and I am wrong far more often than I am right, we have not been fighting clogs at all.  We've been fighting ghosts.  I don't know what it is that does it but something destroys an X900 nozzle.  Maybe it's age but I doubt it.  Perhaps it's a characteristic of piezoelectrics - one wall can only take so much heat, or so much charge, or so much vibration - and then it is fried.  Either way it is confirmed, finally, in my opinion and under my microscope - a terminal clog is not a terminal clog at all.  It's a non functional nozzle.


It's been one hell of a journey, thanks for coming along.  Before we part ways I leave you with one final piece of caring advice - maybe it's best to stay away from SS cleanings all together.  Rinse them, soak them, suck ink from their faces - but never turn up the heat on a clogged X900 nozzle.

THE, END
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Allan Stam
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« Reply #1452 on: January 15, 2014, 12:00:04 PM »
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Dear Eric,

Having read your words and shared your frustrations for over a year, you feel like a real friend (that sounds creepy in an internet sorts of way, but...). I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. You have brought a sense of humor and a great deal of knowledge and understanding to many of us which reflects all your hard work. Hopefully you won't ever feel this has been time wasted as you have enriched and helped to educated more people than you are likely to know.

Thanks again for all your efforts,

Allan
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1453 on: January 15, 2014, 01:11:15 PM »
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Sincere thanks Allan.  

As far as the time, it's been a pleasure.  And for sure it hasn't all been mine - so many others have chimed in with hugely valuable time, knowledge and advice along the way.  As far as the money, it's been interesting...

Last night I sold one of the microscopes that I bought for this exploration, on ebay.  This was my plan from day-one, to recuperate what I could once we saw this to the end.  It sold for a loss, like most of what I put into this deal, which begs one to look back at all this like a bean counter might.  But like your kind words suggest, that would be missing the the greatest point of all.  So the only beans I count are in my burrito.  But I bet if I did count I'd be square by now anyway, thanks to some pretty special people on this forum and across this planet.

This has been an education in both science and humanity.  Both thrive here.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 01:13:01 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

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