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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 324986 times)
Lessbones
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« Reply #980 on: December 06, 2012, 04:23:34 PM »
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I've got to say Eric, this work you are doing is amazing.  I'm glad there are other people out there as stubborn as I am about not paying out the ass for "dumb parts replacement" and more to the point, with just a general obsessive thirst for knowledge!

I too have had some pretty absurd experiences with epson print heads, and I am now also experiencing a clogging problem with a 9900.

My first experience with head removal was with a 4880 which was completely missing a Lk channel.  (very) long story short, after all sorts of soaking and pulling solutions through the nozzles, the problem ended up being with the motherboard of the printer, and it ended up needing to be replaced.  In this instance however, the tech that ended up working on it caused so much more damage to the printer before finally fixing the thing, that we didnt end up getting charged at all for the repair!  A very uncommon occurrence indeed, but maybe the only case of things actually working out positively in the end that I've heard of thus far.

My next experience was a clogged yellow channel in an 11880.  This one was serious.  I went through every imaginable procedure for attempting to clean it, including basically disassembling the entire printer.  Every day I was covered in ink, cleaning flushing boxes, puddling the head on the capping station, and eventually removing the head entirely to soak it.  This is where the real trouble started.  Somehow somewhere in removing the head, soaking it and replacing it, something got corrupted in the firmware.  When I finally replaced the head It would give me an error about the head temperature being too high to run, but it wouldn't let me power-clean, or do anything else that would otherwise charge the head with ink to cool it off.  A couple times I was able to get around this error by injecting a bit of ink manually into the top of the head, but something else remained the problem.

After weeks of fruitless messing around, eventually a tech needed to be called in (I work for a company that needed to get back up and running, so time was an issue) and of course the tech immediately wants to just replace the head.  He does this, and..... nothing.  Same problem-- can't charge it.  After talking on the phone for hours, and coming back day in and day out he says nobody knows what this error code means (SOMEBODY knows....)  and he needs to replace the main board.  He replaces the board, and viola!  things are back up and running.  Then, for some idiotic reason, he decides to flash the new board with the settings from our old one, which brings back the corrupted data, and stops it from working again.  This whole time I'm seething over the fact that they can't simply re-flash fresh information instead of replacing the whole f'ing board, since obviously its a firmware issue at this point.  So FINALLY, a third main board installed, a new print head, and the tech now sitting there for about 6 hours printing auto head alignment patterns on an unnecessarily wide roll of paper, and we are back up and running.

Never did I get to find out if my soaking of the head cleared out the problem, and we ended up having to pay for a new main board as well as the head, AND the time of this tech who knew less than I did.  Out of the goodness of their hearts, the repair company capped our cost at $5000.  So theres that.  I think a new 11880 at the time would have cost $7000.  So theres my horror story-- basically, just be ridiculously careful that you have everything off and the capacitors discharged (switching the printer back on once unplugged) before you go pulling the head in and out---

My current issue is our 9900 began experiencing a nozzle deflection problem in the orange channel.  A nozzle check showed all the nozzles firing, but some oranges were bent over to the right-- this was causing banding in our dark grey areas (go figure).  Our company has a RIP, so my initial idea (after trying to clear this clog) was to simply set up a new printing linearization that doesn't use the orange (or green) ink.  BUT of course, in my attempts to clear the orange issue first (the idea of not having a 100% working print head scared me too much to simply ignore it, lest more problems arise because of it) now i'm missing nozzles all over the place.  I puddled the cap with windex, with isopropyl alcohol, with lighter fluid, and what I'm really kicking myself about now, I used a tiny bit of goo gone.  I'm really thinking that last one may have contributed to my new problems, and now i'm letting it sit with windex in the caps for 5 days turned off in hopes that something miraculous may happen, but if not, it looks like I may be popping off my print head too.

Anyway, I do have a question, and forgive me if you mentioned this in detail already, but when soaking your head, what solution did you use?  Have you used any of the ones from americaninkjetsystems?  I was considering buying some of theirs to try out on this problem before i get too dirty from it.  My real concern now is whether or not the solutions I submitted my head to somehow could have permanently damaged it (melting some plastics?) or if it was simply all the power cleanings, initial fills, and normal cleanings that caused these extra clogs.

anyway, I'm here willing to help, i'm a bit reckless (as you can no doubt tell) but I have a stubborn persistance that when paired with someone a little more levelheaded could really get us all somewhere.... 
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cybis
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« Reply #981 on: December 06, 2012, 09:56:29 PM »
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Good work. Now find a way to let an OS task scheduler do the rest, firing up QTR etc.  A roll of cheap paper on the printer. PC wake up on schedule is possible too.

I just posted a batch file here that can be scheduled to run every day or so with Windows Task Scheduler or similar. (It prints a 2" strip that runs all channels at 100%. QTR needs to be installed but does not need to be running.)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 09:58:22 PM by cybis » Logged

Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #982 on: December 07, 2012, 02:11:09 AM »
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AWESOME cybis.  Thanks for being generous with your work and knowledge.


of course now I need a dam pc  Smiley


Lessbones, what stories - I thought I was bad.  I can hardly believe what you've endured.  I would have thrown my printer out the window at the tech's car as he drove away.  That's disastrous.  I hope we can find some resolution here soon.  It'd be great if we can get you avoiding that type of service again..



On the subject of people stepping up to help this endeavor, I think we just found our ace in the hole.  Whitedogphotos emailed me direct today.  He is donating his broken 7900 to the cause.  We will use his head as the sacrificial "clog autopsy" lamb.  I was in shock when he offered what he did.  Told him I don't know what to say.  I sure hope all this effort produces something useful for all of us.  A solution or an exacting understanding of what in the hell goes on with these heads.  Either would be fine, both would be great.

Thank you whitedogphotos!
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KevinM
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« Reply #983 on: December 07, 2012, 10:04:33 AM »
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Not sure how effective a class-action lawsuit would be without better awareness of how many failures there were compared to non-failures. 

Since Epson is publicly oblivious, raising public awareness might be more effective,  such as:
  • Better Business Bureau complaints, including links back to this forum
  • A Facebook group that links back to this forum
  • YouTube videos, with links back to this forum
  • A Twitter feed that links back to this forum
  • Picketing an Epson exhibit at a trade show

Compared to class-action suits, many small claims suits might be more effective at getting Epson's attention.

From working in the tech industry for two decades, my guess is that these problems may have their origins in an engineering or manufacturing defect, perhaps with the " ink-repelling coating" wearing off or being inconsistently applied.  Moreover, there are probably multiple layers of Epson management -- from Engineering to Product Management -- whose bonuses are at risk if they acknowledge a problem. It's not impossible to get their attention, but it takes some work to overcome their preference to ignore unhappy customers.
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Lessbones
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« Reply #984 on: December 08, 2012, 04:07:18 PM »
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On the subject of people stepping up to help this endeavor, I think we just found our ace in the hole.  Whitedogphotos emailed me direct today.  He is donating his broken 7900 to the cause.  We will use his head as the sacrificial "clog autopsy" lamb.  I was in shock when he offered what he did.  Told him I don't know what to say.  I sure hope all this effort produces something useful for all of us.  A solution or an exacting understanding of what in the hell goes on with these heads.  Either would be fine, both would be great.

Thank you whitedogphotos!

Wow this is amazing news-- Can't wait to see some super close ups of the inside of this thing
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ivanxu
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« Reply #985 on: December 11, 2012, 10:08:55 AM »
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Quote
[@Blue Moon - I'm still skeptical of the 'warning' not to use Vivid Magenta on x800 printers.  I don't think it's a matter of the chemistry of the new ink versus the old ink and somehow this burns out print heads but rather a more simple explanation in that Epson would have to come up with all new drivers for the x800 printers using Vivid Magenta instead of the older version since one would presume that there would be color shifts if the older driver would be used.  This would cause problems for Epson in that they now have to support two different drivers for the same printer and might cause headaches in terms of user support.  In addition, when the user makes the shift to Vivid Magenta, the ink line must be completely purged of the older ink in order to get the correct results another headache for Epson support.]



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ivanxu
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« Reply #986 on: December 11, 2012, 10:10:15 AM »
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There is a way to use Vivid Magenta in x800 machines. You can download the x880 driver and use the new driver for the x800. There is a few configurations that you need to make in the printer property in order to make it work. No color shift in this method.
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sfblue
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« Reply #987 on: December 12, 2012, 12:52:21 PM »
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Eric, two questions regarding the x900.

1) Is there a trick to getting the top cover off?  I've removed the left and right covers and am through page 79 (removing the six screws).  On p 81, I can't lift up on the top of the front cover to remove it.  The whole thing is loose, but feels like it is still caught somewhere and I am afraid to use any force at all.  Does the top cover come up with the dark plastic flip-up cover on the front all as one piece?  Do you pull more on the dark plastic piece or on the metal?

2) Did you drain your inks before all of this?  If so, did you order 11 of the Epson draining cartridges part 1500853?  I can't find them listed at Compass Micro or anywhere else.  Also, for draining, I'm guessing that I could buy cheaper third part draining cartridges and it wouldn't matter.  Any suggestions?  Looking for the cheapest/easiest way to do this though I know the cheapest way is usually not the easiest. . . .


Btw, I am just tinkering as curiosity has gotten the best of me.  I am still planning to buy a new Canon printer.  I am just curious to see the innards of the machine and also to see if I could change the printhead myself if I tried (trust me, I don't have your skills!).  I have not yet bought a $1300 printhead from Epson as I'm unsure I can replace it myself and worried that it is throwing good money after bad, so to speak as I could end up with the same problem. 
(Even if the printhead transplant is successful, do you then go ahead and change the pump cap assembly and damper as a preventative measure (at which point you're getting closer to the cost of a new printer with a warranty). I'm still trying to better understand when/how the fatal clog happens.  I know that people without the clogs say that your humidity is too high or too low, or you didn't print enough, or you printed too much matte paper with dust or cut too much canvas etc, but I think there is also some random outcome to the process as I had some problems early on with my printer as well . ..)

Finally, to anyone else who is trying this themselves-- remove the maintenance tank and have a sealable bag ready before sliding off the right cover.  This might be kind of obvious, but just in case . . .


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Lessbones
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« Reply #988 on: December 12, 2012, 04:29:46 PM »
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I sincerely HOPE he didn't drain all the ink out, as its completely unnecessary unless you suspect that the problem might be being caused somewhere besides the head itself.  The Ink shouldn't dry out in the lines for a decent while-- Its really the head you need to worry about keeping moist/lubricated once its out of the printer.  It might not be a bad idea to put some tape over the ends of the dampers or ink lines (depending on where you separate the head from the lines) to make doubly sure they don't dry out-- But once removed, the head becomes especially susceptible to drying out and clogging.  However if you're talking about actually replacing the head, then this doesn't matter at all-- just follow the procedure in the service manual (i think it was remove 1 ink to depressurize the system, but thats about it).  Otherwise you're wasting a TON of ink.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #989 on: December 12, 2012, 05:16:25 PM »
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holy $%*(!  DO NOT DRAIN YOUR INK sfbule.  We've all done enough of that by now, no need for more wasting.  No issues with the maintenance tanks either, they just slide out like normal during the removal.  I really need to get this head swapping video up.  Sorry.  Listen sfblue if you're having trouble taking the black plastic covers off the top of the machine, it's only going to get more challenging later.  Maybe pause a bit.  I wouldn't take the head off, or the damper unit, or the lines, until you have the new head right there to put in.  You would need to cap off the damper unit if you intended to let it sit for long.  I think you're better off completing the job the same day you start it (unless you're like me and you're exploring parts like an astronaut in space).  The pump and cap is up to you.  Old machine I say yes, newer with less miles I say no need.  Definitely the wiper.  Changing your head should waste surprisingly little ink.  After all both the dampers and the head are in the carriage, at the end of the lines.

My guess is you missed the third screw on the top plastic pieces.  Two are obvious, one is hidden, all are necessary to take off.

I'm not against driving up to help brother.
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sfblue
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« Reply #990 on: December 12, 2012, 06:55:32 PM »
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ahh, got it.  No worries-- I did not drain the ink. I have some paranoia about putting in a new printhead and having the same issue, so part of me wants to start with new ink as by now the ink in the tubes has been sitting around for a while and I'm trying to eliminate reasons for instant re-clogging.  But . . . I won't drain the inks.

And the top cover came off.  It was just stuck for some reason and took a little shake in the right direction. 
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Blue moon
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« Reply #991 on: December 13, 2012, 10:37:45 AM »
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There is a way to use Vivid Magenta in x800 machines. You can download the x880 driver and use the new driver for the x800. There is a few configurations that you need to make in the printer property in order to make it work. No color shift in this method.


Thanks
Will download a driver ...
I have two 220mls so you done me a lot of good  Grin
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Denniswcr
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« Reply #992 on: December 13, 2012, 02:45:49 PM »
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I just bought my 2 year extended warrantee today!
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #993 on: December 14, 2012, 04:48:40 PM »
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Whitedogphotos came through.  His terminally clogged 7900 head just arrived at my place, in it's casket. 

Thank you brother.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!
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JimGoshorn
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« Reply #994 on: December 14, 2012, 06:39:06 PM »
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I just bought my 2 year extended warrantee today!

I didn't buy an extended warranty (7600 and 7800 worked well) and boy do I regret it now with one of the now infamous head replacing clogs. I would now consider an extended warranty a given with the newer printers.

Jim
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #995 on: December 14, 2012, 08:10:35 PM »
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We need to start compiling a deadheads list.  Who, where, how, and after how long.  I think that'd be useful.  I can name ten deadheads off the top of my head (sorry). 

For what it's worth our 7900 had abandoned it's typical "clog every other day" routine at just about the same time the rainy season started here.  I did buy a gauge, it's been hovering around 80% humidity and 58-67F around the machine for weeks now.  Not ONE clog.   ...until my genius came over and decided to print a bit on William Turner matte.  Soon as he swapped from PK to MK, and then back again only thirty minutes later, all things became different again.  Or, should I say "the same again".

 
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Denniswcr
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« Reply #996 on: December 14, 2012, 10:06:23 PM »
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For what it's worth our 7900 had abandoned it's typical "clog every other day" routine at just about the same time the rainy season started here.  I did buy a gauge, it's been hovering around 80% humidity and 58-67F around the machine for weeks now.  

I was about to post the same thing.  Had many small clogs that would clean out okay.  Recently though, now that the temp has dropped and the humidity is up, there have been no clogs.  This 7900 is about 1 year old and still on the startup cartridges for most inks and they are sitting around 5-9% and shows how low the usage has been.
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Bill Ellzey
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« Reply #997 on: December 19, 2012, 06:04:10 PM »
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I'm one of the clan (sorry to say), a 7900 cloghead.  Just discovered this thread, spent a few hours reading and still didn't reach the end.  What a stalwart band of brothers (and sister) you've become since January.  I'm a bit ecstatic to discover that there are actually possibilities of resurrecting my 7900.  Eric, you're amazing.  I'm plenty techy enough to tackle the viscera of the unit.  However I just Googled 7900sm.pdf as suggested, only to read, "This account has been suspended."  Makes one wonder if they're actually working against us.  Anyway, if anyone was able to download the pdf before it disappeared, I'd be mighty beholding if you'd send me a copy.  bill@billellzey.com
Sleeves rolled up, scrubbed and sterile, waiting for operating instructions.  Gracias.
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enduser
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« Reply #998 on: December 19, 2012, 07:45:14 PM »
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A quick scan of the literature in the post above is interesting to me, because, given the large list of early research by many companies, it's surprising how few now produce professional wide format photographic machines.
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JimGoshorn
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« Reply #999 on: December 20, 2012, 01:14:58 PM »
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We need to start compiling a deadheads list.  Who, where, how, and after how long.  I think that'd be useful.  I can name ten deadheads off the top of my head (sorry).

Have to wonder how many of the heads have already been replaced that should have been added to such a list.

Jim
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