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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 382729 times)
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2012, 09:25:10 AM »
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Thank you Farmer, for suggesting to me a perspective that I had not considered.  I will take the link to the service manual down now.  If anyone wants a copy, just google it and download it like I did.  FYI there are at least two available for download versions that I know of.  The one I used is a free version.  We are also using a $10 version, which is also available online, which we purchased, but I did not offer a link for you to download.  Both versions are easy to find.

I feel kind of bad about offering to all of you what I did here, now.  Especially the service manual thing.  So HERE is a free copy of one of my images, for you to print.  


Finally, here is my "Epson 7900 from the inside - out" disclaimer:   I am not an Epson service technician.  This thread on Luminous Landscape is not intended to be a platform for me to teach anyone anything.  Like I said at the beginning of this, I am just an enthusiast - offering to you all something which I desperately needed for myself, two months ago.  I would LOVE to have found a thread like this back then.  So I offer it to you all now.

My statement that the dampers need replacing every year was a quote from a service manual which we are using.  I have no idea if it is accurate.  In fact I have no idea if this Epson 7900 clog journey that me and my genius buddy have undertaken will even be successful.  We both are reserving the "push it off a cliff into the ocean" option as a viable plan - B.

Any of my postings here are intended, quite simply, to share accounts of our unique experience diving into the Epson 7900 ourselves, rather than calling a service tech.  I apologize if they come off as my advising anyone.  That's not my intent, or qualification.  
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 11:40:00 PM by Go394 » Logged

Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2012, 09:33:08 AM »
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Ernst, there is only ONE wiper blade on the Epson 7900
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2012, 09:33:20 AM »
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Eric, congrats on a truly impressive photograph. Thanks for sharing it.

There is, perhaps a somewhat personal - so don't feel compelled to answer - question I would like to put here - not out of idle curiosity but because it may be useful for Epson to know this and better understand at least one other dimension of the "service environment" they are providing or not providing as the case may be. Did you decide to go the self-directed route because the cost of a servicing from Epson was just going to be too expensive, or regardless of cost - too hard to access logistically, or are you doing it out of curiosity to learn how much of the innards of this machine you can master and fix as sort of a hobby for personal satisfaction?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2012, 09:35:58 AM »
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For anyone who is curious, here is how you remove your head:



and here is what your print head looks like if your wiper blade is compromised:




Pretty disgusting.  I will post tonight about how we cleaned our head.  Amazing results
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2012, 09:38:17 AM »
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Mark, sorry I am having a family emergency so can't reply properly until tonight.  More later I promise.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2012, 09:39:14 AM »
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Sure, and sorry to hear that. Hope it works out well for all concerned.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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jsch
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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2012, 12:41:47 PM »
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It's worth noting that, apart from the service manual being proprietary IP belonging to Epson (its publication without their permission being a breach of copyright - it still amazes me how many photographers think this is OK - I'd love for them to send me free copies of their images to print...) it's also not designed for public release or consumption, so you can imagine that additional material is provided to those persons authorised to do the work and use the manuals that puts much of it into perspective.  You also don't know if you have most up to date version being pirated and placed on the net.

As per my previous comments on this subject, this is a note directed at those who put these things (from all vendors, of all sorts of products) on the web and not people who simply go Googling and come across them (such as Eric).

Eric's done an admirable job, but whereas he states 1 year for the dampers someone else states 2 years.  I'd suggest that recommendations are exactly that and usage patterns and other things come into it beyond what a restricted service manual might suggest.

In the early 70ies my father bought an Pioneer Receiver SX-1500TD. It came with a circuit layout, a complete part list and everything. The information was so complete you could have built the thing yourself with that information. Man, what did I learn from this documentation.

Today you get nothing. If you call a company and tell them the problem of your machine they usually know exactly what the problem is, but won't tell you. They send you technicians who sometimes are less skilled than yourself and cost $ 150-250 for the hour plus traveling. And they even don't tell the service technicians that there is a frequent problem because they are afraid they tell that the client. That is very poor. What can you do? And then they claim copyright for the service manual. Bravo!

I've dealt with enough stuff like this in my life. I'm fascinated by this thread. It has more suspense than a book by Chandler.

@ Eric. I hope everything turns out well with your emergency.

Best,
Johannes
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kdphotography
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« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2012, 01:49:45 PM »
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....What can you do? And then they claim copyright for the service manual. Bravo!

....

Very true regarding manuals and schematics with products in the past.

But I don't think I've seen a manufacturer yell copyright protection regarding service manuals yet.  (Perhaps they don't want to draw more attention to why some consumers are scrambling for the service manual in the first place...)  I think its more cost-cutting and profit incentives that instruction manuals are often scant.  I'm surprised that my Epson 9900 came with a decent manual with faux leather case, like getting a new Lexus automobile.   Grin    Most simply provide a pdf file-----what a pita to print.  But to be sure, a nice recommended Service Manual ala Epson would be nice to include.  Hell, all the automobile manufacturers including Lexus on down know to include recommended service intervals....

Knock on wood (no problems with my 9900), but I do find the thread fascinating and educational.  And to that end, I don't have an issue with looking at a service manual, for services/maintenance that these flagship printers don't need.   Roll Eyes     Perhaps it would be a nice idea to offer some sort of service schedule, similar to automobiles, short of a full-blown what-the-hell-do-I-do call for an Epson Tech or pay for my kid's college tuition.

Many thanks, Eric.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 01:52:34 PM by kdphotography » Logged

cranberrycoho
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« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2012, 02:39:25 PM »
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I've been searching for this repair manual online and not getting what you've obviously found. Could you please email me at cranberrycoho@gmail.com - yes it's so frustrating using this printer! Thanks and looking forward to more posts.
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Farmer
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« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2012, 02:45:46 PM »
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Eric - firstly, sorry to hear that you have an emergency with which to deal - I hope that everything is OK and works out to be all good.

I wanted to reiterate that my comments were not directed at you.  You have, though, responded with such grace and consideration that we should all take a leaf from your book.

Yes, that head has real problems and it's easy to see now why you would have issues.

Also, that is a lovely photograph!  I particularly like the two silhouettes under the main arch - a man and a woman it seems to be?  Just enough to add a bonus bit of interest :-)
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kaelaria
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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2012, 03:48:18 PM »
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Great info!  As this is a model I was considering when my Z3100 bites the dust it's certainly good to know what can happen and be done.  Thank you!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2012, 03:59:57 PM »
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Bryan, what's your experience been with the Z3100? Happy? Any idea how the print quality compares with an Epson x900?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2012, 04:03:43 PM »
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Not to derail but I'm still very happy with print quality, couldn't ask for more.  It has operational quirks and limitations though that new units don't like the paper loading and such.  Big problem with the belt (see my replacement and teardown thread/video).  Problem with failing hard drives and very expensive parts.  But I LOVE the output.
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Peter Le
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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2012, 11:54:19 PM »
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       Eric....thank you very much for your info on this printer. I am looking forward to your results. I am having very similar problems. TO FARMER !!!! thank you very much for making life much harder for many of us.... I do not believe this manual has a copyright. Besides what many of us have payed for these printers ...plus the money for all the ink waisted cleaning.....the many hours waisted with very poor tech support I think we at least deserve access to the service manual. If you have not had problems consider yourself lucky.....but please don`t make life harder for many of us that have been jerked around by Epson. Once again thank you Eric for exploring this and I`m looking forward to your results.
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Farmer
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« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2012, 12:02:49 AM »
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I do not believe this manual has a copyright

But all YOUR photos and IP do, right?
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Jstar
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« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2012, 12:31:28 AM »
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I had my printer serviced four times before the my 7900 actually worked.   One of the points the service man made was that the wiper needed to be cleaned every 6 to 9 months.   The wiper is a single piece of rubber (small piece)  that is used to clean the print head.    The wiper ends up with dried ink on it after prolonged use and there is nothing that cleans the wiper.   It is a rubber squeegee for cleaning the print head.  The Service Man let me rotate the gears that controlled both the capping station and the wiper assembly.

This is what needs to be done to clean the wiper.  You will need both the "Pro 7900 and 9900 field repair guide"  and the Epson Stylus Pro 7900/9900 Service Manual.

1) The right side skins must come off in order to clean the wiper. Service Manual page 179 steps 1 -5.

2) The print head must be uncapped.  This was done manually by "Rotate the White Gear counter clockwise to unlock the Carriage"  page 390 field repair guide.  The print head is then pushed to left out of the way.

3) The Wiper blade is made accessible by "Rotate the flusing Box/Wiper Blade Motor until the Wiper Blade is exposed"  page 189 field repair guide.   The Wiping assembly will rotate down and eventually the rubber blade will rotate towards the front of the printer.

4) A foam swab dampened with warm water was used to clean the wiper.   Do not use q-tips because lint can be left behind.  I bought 50 foam swabs from the following source - Swab-its 74-4501-50  for $14 dollars.
 
 http://yhst-66879715068660.stores.yahoo.net/prso.html

When taking off the right side skins the LCD Display must be removed by detaching a ribbon cable with an edge connector on it.   If the cable is not plugged in correctly I was told that power and ground would be shorted and several circuit boards could be fried.

The items that were replaced on my printer: capping station, ink selector(damper), and print head.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 12:33:59 AM by Jstar » Logged
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2012, 01:56:23 AM »
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Thank you for your support guys.  You don't even know me.  


Last night my buddy Steve and I (no he is not my invisible friend), removed our clogged Epson 7900 print head.  It was very exciting.  Up until that point the only obvious problems we found were the torn, gooey, worn out and cockeyed wiper blade.  Yes the capping station looked a little messy but I never got the feeling the capping station was the cause of our clogs.  More it was the result of them.  The Damper Assembly we decided to change because the manual recommended it - not because it looked like it needed it.  Neither of us expected new dampers to make any measurable difference.  But the head we both knew would reveal everything.  The head would make our journey, or break it.  We had to remove it.  We had to inspect it.  After all this build-up, how could we not..?

As you can see from the image a few posts up, it looked pretty nasty.  Obvious, definite connection between the condition of the face of our head and the condition of our wiper blade.  As sloppy as the wiper blade was, is as sloppy as our head was.  

I had all these visions of taking microscopic macro shots of the face of our head, blowing them and searching for visible clogs.  I doubted we'd be able to see them, but I was ready to try every trick in the book in order to do so.  Much to my surprise though all we needed to do in order to see them was turn the head over - there they were.  PK clog was clear as day.  YW clog cluster right out there in the open.  These pics were taken of the head exactly as it sat ready to print - no external wiping, cleaning - it wasn't touched.  



If you want to look closer, click HERE


In my opinion the cleanings actually added to our problems.  With the wiper blade compromised the cleanings just ended up spreading more crap over the head.  When we got to it our wiper blade was not just wet with ink, it was coated with layers of ink.  The surface area of the rubber wiper which touches the head was dry, but just past those areas the ink began to build up - first just wet, then wet but thicker, then kind of gummy, then simply crusty.  I am pretty confident this is what CAUSED our clogs, not what failed to clear them.  Think about it - microscopic holes just dying to be clogged, critically sealed over a capping station while not in use, routinely flushed with expensive ink to help keep them clear of any ink build-up - then smothered with a butter knife covered with chunky peanut butter.

No brainer, this is a critical, weak link in our Epson 7900 routine maintenance chain.


Cleaning an Epson 7900 print head:


For a week now Steve and I have lost sleep plotting a safe course through the hazards of manually cleaning a 7900 print head.  All you ever read about is how delicate these things are.  But what you don't read about is why they are delicate, or how they actually work.  Pardon me while I trip over my tongue trying to explain something I do not understand.  These heads are far more than a series of nozzles lined up in rows.  They're actually not "nozzles" at all.  At least not like we know nozzles in the garden hose world.  Instead the 7900 print head nozzle technology is built around a fascinating phenomenon called "Piezoelectricity".  This is pretty high-tech tiny world type stuff but in monkey language the concept is rather simple - tiny crystals which change their shape when electrically charged.  Your Epson charges the line leading to "nozzle" 18b, it flexes and ink squirts out of your print head.  Do that fourteen million times in a row over a slice of Gloss Baryta and you and I end up staring into 80 square inches of the final resting place of more technology than we will ever fully understand or appreciate.

So yea, now that you think about it, an Epson 7900 print head is not something you want clean with a shovel.  The solution we came up with is something I think is working remarkably well.  We suspended the head, face down, JUST over the surface of a mixture of cleaning solution mixed with distilled water.  Due to the mysterious characteristics of yet another physical phenomenon, called "Surface Tension", we actually did NOT have to submerge the face of the head into the solution.  Instead hovering the face ever so close to the surface of the solution caused the area of the solution just below the head face, to rise up from itself and cling to the head.  It was kind of magical actually, but even more amazing is what happened next.  The solution instantly began to suck ink from the head.  It was oddly beautiful actually.  I wish I filmed it.  Instead I took a few photos.  We left the head hovering there last night.  After today's drama I came home tonight to completely black solution under the head.  I lifted the head to inspect it.  It looks immaculate - virgin.

Been one hellofaday I'm off to bed.  More tomorow.











« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 11:47:35 AM by Go394 » Logged

Farmer
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« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2012, 02:10:41 AM »
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Let's hope for some great prints once the head is back in (and if I may suggest, take extreme care when placing it back in to ensure position is correct and that you don't press too hard on any of the assembly).
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2012, 04:05:30 AM »
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I do not believe this manual has a copyright. Besides what many of us have payed for these printers

What I recall of the availability of Epson Service Manuals is that with each new generation wide formats it became more difficult to get one. It must have been with the 9800 that I was told a SM had a key that could help to find the service man who made it available. At that time the spare part purchase in the US became more difficult too. Copyrights would fit that scheme. It is not that long ago that Lexmark abused the DMCA to protect cartridge chip policies:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexmark_Int%27l_v._Static_Control_Components

An advice to Eric; open up that machine but be careful with your sources.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/

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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2012, 04:50:23 AM »
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Last night my buddy Steve and I (no he is not my invisible friend), removed our clogged Epson 7900 print head.  It was very exciting.  Up until that point the only obvious problems we found were the torn, gooey, worn out and cockeyed wiper blade.  Yes the capping station looked a little messy but I never got the feeling the capping station was the cause of our clogs.  More it was the result of them.  The Damper Assembly we decided to change because the manual recommended it - not because it looked like it needed it.  Neither of us expected new dampers to make any measurable difference.  But the head we both knew would reveal everything.  The head would make our journey, or break it.  We had to remove it.  We had to inspect it.  After all this build-up, how could we not..?


The new dampers will make a difference, the sieves will capture ink pigment particle agglomerations due to the volume printed or ink aging with little volume printed. Having that printer open is enough reason to replace them. You might clean the old unit with an ultrasonic cleaner and keep it as a spare part but usually the membranes (PET I guess) age too and harden.

I see there is nothing wrong with the way you analyse its problems. One wiper blade that has to run over the length of all the ink channels and then get rid of the scraped ink/dirt on yet another surface. It will not be the volume of prints that corresponds with the wiper's wear but the age and the times it is used in cleaning actions including the one just before a print. The wiper blade is not that simple, it can be a sandwich of a fabric with different elastomer surfaces on back and front. Has to withstand glycols and other mild solvents + paper coating particles and paper lint. There will be a huge difference in wear between printing on the rougher art papers and RC photo papers.  Polyurethane could have been used as it has most of the properties for the task. The Epson 10000-10600 had 3 wiper blades for the 3 head - 6 ink channel assembly. Many users praised its reliability. The HP Z3100-Z3200 have 12 wiper blades for the six 2-ink-channel separate heads.

Be careful with electrostatic charges while working on the printer and head. Your head cleaning method is nice, avoid too drastic methods later on when not all works as expected. I think your head and damper system now has a lot of air included that has to be removed by an initial fill or otherwise. A vacuum applied on the waste ink tubes running from the capping station was what I sometimes used when it really was difficult, closing other ink channels when one channel showed print issues so that channel was sucked more. That already falls in the more drastic methods category though.

I have to clean my Z3200 capping station, a green head shows banding while it still gets an OK from the sensors. Have done too little maintenance last year.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/six-canvas-wrap-actions.htm
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 03:46:26 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
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