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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 263455 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #840 on: October 26, 2012, 09:16:52 AM »
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Hi Scott,

While this thread is about Epson 7900 - and I shall remain relevant, I own a 4900, having previously owned a 3800 (and before that a 4800 and before that a 4000 and before that a 2000P) so I've been at this from the time Epson (the industry leader) started making archival inkjet printing available in a desktop solution. When you think of it, really amazing what kind of quality these machines deliver with such precision using a technology that in terms of print quality essentially matured within the first few years of its introduction in mid-2000. From the time the Ultrachrome inkset appeared later in 2002 it's been gradual improvement and refinement since then. Of all these printers I owned and operated, the 3800 was essentially trouble-free, as was the 2000P by the way. All the others have exhibited various degrees of clogging issues, the 4000 having been dreadful, the 4800 improved and the 4900 better yet, but not immune, which is what I am coming to here. The basic 4900 printhead technology is similar to the 7900/9900.

You make a point, which I have observed too, that the more frequently one prints the less the trouble with clogging. Up to this week I believed that. This week strange things started happening. Example One: My Yellow channel simply "dropped out" between two prints, having made half a dozsen just immediately before that. Example Two: Yesterday the PK channel dropped out and the Cyan channel showed very broken nozzle check patterns, again between prints after having made about half a dozen. In both cases this happened after the printer had done one of its auto nozzle checks and self-cleaning. I have now disabled auto nozzle checks and I hope that will also disable automatic cleanings (there is no user-control specifically aimed at enabling this), because the coincidence of these events suggests to me that I may have less trouble doing manual nozzle checks before each printing session (which I did anyhow) and clean as needed only. That, however, is speculative, and doesn't answer why the clogs are happening, where they occur (in front of the head or behind the nozzles), or indeed whether they are clogs at all, or ink simply not reaching the nozzles for other reasons (air. [pressure issues, etc]. The real cause of the problem of ink not reaching the paper needs to be properly understood before one can have *a priori* confidence in proposed solutions, unless of course one is out of warranty and prepared to go the trial-and-error approach. Nothing inherently wrong with that, and this is where your products and experience with them could be useful. But it would be nice to see Epson testing and recommending your cleaners.

I think it's important to recall that most equipment one buys has specifications that are the result of design compromises. For example, we get incredible detail from these printers, but the cost of that may be (and I'm speculating) those extremely small nozzles which could perhaps be part of the issue. Not being print-head designers or ink chemists we in fact don't really know what these design compromises may have been and what options the manufacturers could yet explore for resolving them. (I speak generally here, because the others aren't exempt from clogging issues either - they are handled differently.) I think the one remaining avenue of technological improvement for these printers is reliability in these respects, and for that we essentially depend on the manufacturers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #841 on: October 26, 2012, 03:56:40 PM »
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Hi Mark,

No company wants to admit to design flaws and Epson is no exception to that rule. I have found over the years that misleading, not facing problems, ignoring customers, and even lying is the guarantee to doom. I see so many companies in the inkjet field aiming on maintaining ignorance in their customer base. People can handle the truth mainly if they feel you are going to do something about it and take them into consideration.  We have Epson printers running with heads that are over 8 years old. If we were running a Canon, we would have had to have at least 16 heads replaced by this time. I do not understand why companies selling printers will not discuss maintenance. Does anyone believe the car they bought never needs an oil change or a tune up? Do we not wash our dishes, clean our floors, and wash our cloths? Is that not maintenance? If ink did not dry then it would not adhere to a substrate. So the issue is to prevent it from drying on the capping station.
Regarding Epson Printers:
The Original UltraChrome was Epson’s introduction to a rich pigment ink set, especially, the Magenta and Yellow, the two most difficult inks to produce in high pigment loading. We found people printing with that ink set in general to have few problems as long as the humidity was around 30%.

The next printer to come along from Epson, the 9800 using a new red-magenta also had great success. Companies like Mimaki and Roland realizing how good that head was built printers with that head running all kinds of ink with great success. The 9800 printer is my all-time favorite and I own 4 of them.   

The 9980 although the head appears to look better, the forgiving nature of the 9800 diminished somewhat.

Then they introduced the new high speed high tech head to compete with HP, the 4900, 9900, 9890 and 9700 series and problems developed.  These printers are highly sensitive to air pressure. You should run a pressure test to make sure your cartridges are receiving the proper pressure. We have a client with a 9900 which seems to constantly having the air pump running. We can’t find an air leak and have tried all new cartridges. Here is the funny part. It is the only 9900 that we have seen that has virtually no problems, not that every 9900 has problems. This one is as though it is powered by the Ever Ready Battery on steroids. It runs well all the time.

My 9900 had the ink bay replaced 3 weeks after I bought it, but it has been running well for over a year.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #842 on: October 26, 2012, 04:19:22 PM »
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Hi Mark,

No company wants to admit to design flaws and Epson is no exception to that rule. I have found over the years that misleading, not facing problems, ignoring customers, and even lying is the guarantee to doom. I see so many companies in the inkjet field aiming on maintaining ignorance in their customer base. People can handle the truth mainly if they feel you are going to do something about it and take them into consideration.  We have Epson printers running with heads that are over 8 years old. If we were running a Canon, we would have had to have at least 16 heads replaced by this time. I do not understand why companies selling printers will not discuss maintenance.

Hi Scott, for clarity - let me be clear :-). I don't believe we are dealing with "design flaws". I think we are dealing with the evolution of technology in which choices are made to achieve this or that objective, and in doing so, something else may have to give. This is not unusual, and part of "progress". This is leading-edge nano-technology that is not only totally merchantable, but totally marvelous - we should not forget that. Nor do I believe in this instance that Epson is guilty of misleading, not facing problems, ignoring customers or lying. My experience has been that they do none of that; in fact they provide excellent support, especially to machines that are in warranty, but in various circumstances even thereafter, and they have always been amenable to go the extra mile, again depending on the circumstances. This is a company whose products I have always felt very confident and comfortable purchasing, regardless of the issues which do arise.

Your comment on the Canons is really interesting, and illustrates the point I was making at at the very end of my previous post, about how different technologies handle clogs differently.

As for discussing maintenance - they do: there is a whole section of the manual devoted to it. As usual, what they chose to discuss reflects what they feel safe to recommend as user-accessible maintenance. For legal, confidentiality and perhaps other reasons, manufacturers are normally very conservative about how far they will take users down the maintenance route. I don't fault them for that, as long as when trouble happens there is a sure and reasonable route to clearing it up. So far so good - my experience. As well, I'd add this is clearly an avenue where third-party service and materials providers can play a role in all those situations where voiding a warranty would not be a risk - unless the owner wants to take that risk. For example, I may well have voided the 3rd year of my AppleCare warranty on my MacBook Pro by pulling out the HD and the optical drive and self-installing two high capacity SSD drives from OWC using their superb instructions. The performance boost is unbelievable and it all works like a charm. Apple Computer would never in a million years have supported me doing this, and again, no blame - I can readily see why. A minor slip of the wrist and I could have snapped a very thin vital little wire connecting one of the drive bays to the motherboard. That's a risk beyond their control so they won't take it. Fundamental principle number one of risk allocation.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #843 on: October 26, 2012, 11:13:48 PM »
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So main thing is, should I do more? I didn't see any of the black inks release from the head. mostly magenta, orange, yellow, green and some cyan.

All help/feedback is greatly appreciated!

Sid

Hi Sid,

You can go one step further and remove the two screws on the bottom of the head to separate the nipple plate from the printhead.  Then use a syringe and a tube (like the air tubing you would find on a fish tank), and lightly inject water through the nipples of the plate to clean them out.  FYI, the water (and ink) will spray out of that plate with different angles....

Whatever you do, please do not inject water into the printhead.  Make sure you remove the nipple plate first, and clean it separately.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 11:16:27 PM by tank172 » Logged
Blue moon
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« Reply #844 on: October 27, 2012, 09:37:04 AM »
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Hi All
Just a summary of what i have already posted to date...hope it helps !
1.   Pigment ink includes resins and pigments (thanks Scott ) which are intended to end their journey through the printer by landing on your print paper or to be safely disposed when in residue form.  Not so ! the bad news is that residue resins and pigments can be recycled back to the inner micro piezo nozzles as follows:
A .print head to wiper blade
B .wiper blade to wiper blade cleaner
C. wiper blade cleaner back to wiper blade
D .wiper blade back to outer print head in a random manner.
E. outer print head back to micro piezo nozzles..no logic/order to the process either.
(Returning resins/pigments are aerated to speed up hardening process...its random).
2.   Ink in the micro nozzles can be " attacked "by freshly coagulating pigments coming from above  the print head ..coming down through the ink supply chain. If you don’t need orange or green colors try a 7890 maybe.. these (nozzles)may simply coagulate through ink under-use. llk can also coagulate if you don’t print b/w frequently... tip..vibrating the  printer occasionally could help.
3.   Snapshot of Epson 7800 residue ink disposal method included.

note there is no wiper blade cleaner in the chain. Just a gutter to collect gravitational residues from the blade. Gutter then drops ink residues directly (without physical contact), on to a felt blanket on the printer floor. ( little surprise that Epson likes to keep this cleaning method secret . however its safer  than the 7900 disposal method )

4.   Clues were offered by Hal when he told Eric that Epson withdrew green from the market to rejig it for coping with under-use when printing. (probably a readjustment by adding extra lubricant like glycerol..or water..who knows)
5.   Mark…seem to recall that you had reservations about cleaning or replacing wiper blades earlier in the thread.so why not give Scott some praise for designing a lubricant system which up to now has been beyond the capacity of Epson to provide to its customers for the x900 models .
I will not be "upgrading " to x900 until Epson includes me in the printer maintenance role as a partner and radically improves disposal techniques for ink residues as well.

Thanks
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Jstar
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« Reply #845 on: October 27, 2012, 10:30:55 AM »
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Epson does have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the inks that they use in Epson 7900/9900.   They do give some information about the amount of pigment versus the amount of solvent used for each ink.

You can find the MSDS by googling:  Epson 7900 MSDS

or you can use this link:

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=119097&infoType=MSDS
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #846 on: October 27, 2012, 10:55:10 AM »
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Epson does have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the inks that they use in Epson 7900/9900.   They do give some information about the amount of pigment versus the amount of solvent used for each ink.
I wrote about this about a year ago on another thread.  The problem in looking at the MSDS is that we really don't know what the proprietary organics are.  Even if you look at a the patent literature you cannot find out anything.  It's likely that they are the resins.  That being said, water is the most prevalent molecule in all of the ink formulations and the concentrations of glycerols (including ethylene glycol which is similar in structure) can vary depending on the ink color.  The actual coloring agents is relatively low in concentration.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #847 on: October 27, 2012, 10:57:30 AM »
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All very interesting, but what does it buy me in terms of knowing anything useful and reliable about outcomes?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #848 on: October 27, 2012, 02:34:26 PM »
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Hi MarK,
It seems we both have similar Mac Laptop with two SSD Drives. Yes, it is a fast computer and Apple does not accept you modifying your computer under warrantee.

I am glad you have had such good experiences, but there are numerous others that have not quite had the same response and those are the people who go on the web to look for help.

Of course, the development of new technology brings all sorts of issues, but it is the responsibility of the manufacturer who deals with the public to be responsive. This is especially in the case of heads dying in the LLK channel of the new series printers and the excessive clogging. A college in Virginia called us for help. Their 7900 has been developing clogging in the LLK Channel and they have followed everything Epson told them to do. They will need to change the head and the repair is about $1,800. The professor was in shock. Now he has to acquire funding for the printer and a 3 year warrantee.

In general, when a printer is sold, the salespeople do not advise the client that they should take on the extended warrantee because of the expense of parts. The 9900/9890/4900 head was I believe $1,100 and has just been increase in price by $100.00.That repair of that printer will cost on the average $1,800. I personally know of no salesperson who explains that the head will clog more readily in dry climates and it is advisable to make sure that the printer is kept in a climate of about 30 to 40 percent humidity and in a temperature around 70f. The only advise I recall them saying to some of my clients, it is a good idea to run the printer and not let it sit unused for long periods. There is one major sales chain that advices their clients to use our cleaner when there is a problem, not to prevent a problem.

Decision 1 is the repair operation for Epson who is used when a printer is under warrantee and in need of repair. Generally, they do a good job. It took some time for them to learn how to repair the 9900 series.  It took them over 8 days to repair my printer having an ink bay electrical failure. The problem is for people who live in rural areas where it is difficult for them to get service.  

Epson has made great printers and for the price I can only compliment them. Many of our clients complain that they always are fast to say get a tech even when the fix maybe simple. They do not want to allow you to repair your own printer when out of warrantee. They offer no repair guidance. They restrict their service manuals from being distributed. They do not allow you to buy a replacement head. They also restrict you from setting head ID codes. I can only imagine how any of us would react if our car manufacturer was to say, we do not allow you to repair your own car or go to the mechanic of your choice or even use the gas, oil,  and lubricants of your choice as well.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #849 on: October 27, 2012, 03:24:39 PM »
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Hi Scott,
As you know, the heads of these printers are in the realm of nano-technology. Yes, you can put any grade of gasoline through many automobile engines. It's not comparable to an x900 printer. As for the service manuals, they consider those to be proprietary for reasons that should be obvious, available to certain people on a need-to-know basis and under strict NDA. They are within their rights to do that. They are also within their rights to determine user access to components - indeed, how much equipment is there on the market with a warning "there are no user-serviceable parts in this product" or some such. I'm not passing judgment on any of this, I'm simply pointing out that there is nothing unusual or untoward about it.

The extended warranty is a pure unquantifiable insurance risk, because we don't know two fundamental things determining the value of the risks: (a) their various probabilites of occurrence and (b) the costs of the consequences if any of them were to occur. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we know for sure that if we bought the warranty and were fortunate enough to never draw on it we spent a lot of money, and if we didn't buy it and misfortune fell upon our printers we are in for a lot of money and "shoulda" bought it. Otherwise, we are none the wiser. And it is a fact of life that for these printers, the print head is essentially the printer, so if it goes, the recovery costs are high; but the probability of it going??? No-one is saying; however, no matter how low it may be, when it happens to one of us, the probability was 100% and the cost significant. Now, as a rational evaluator of risk, let us pretend for a moment (and this is pretend) they were to give me information showing that the risk of head failure is very low, likely on the basis that only a small fraction of all those sold have ever totally failed. On that basis, given the high cost of the extended warranty I would probably decline it. And that may well have been a rational economic decision based on solid principles of risk evaluation; but then two months out of warranty my head fails. So I'm s.o.l. and it sucks. I don't know what else one can really say, unfortunate as these situations are. All we can do is try to manage the risk as best we can with the means available, and hope the basic quality is in the product to serve us well. And yes, people turn to web forums with their problems, much less so with their successes, so it is not likely the most objective source of reliable guidance on overall, "expected" (in a statistical sense) product performance.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #850 on: October 27, 2012, 05:38:52 PM »
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This thread is starting to repeat itself.  And you have to ask yourself why Epson problems feature many times more often than HP or Canon.  Easy to say "there's more Epsons out there," but I wonder whether that's the full story.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 05:41:58 PM by enduser » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #851 on: October 27, 2012, 06:20:00 PM »
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This thread is starting to repeat itself.  And you have to ask yourself why Epson problems feature many times more often than HP or Canon.  Easy to say "there's more Epsons out there," but I wonder whether that's the full story.

You're right it is - probably because it's a Book of Records forum thread by now and there's probably not much left to say that any one outside of Epson would know or care to say. As to why Epson's ink flow issues appear more often than for Canon and HP, I think it has two explanations: (i) the relative number of Epson printers out there may indeed be very large (though I have no real information) and (ii) the technology - Epson makes us deal with clogs as and when they occur, while Canon's clogs "accumulate" until the heads need to be changed. The over-arching point may be however, the very large number of satisfied users who most likely don't contribute to these forums and constitute the "silent majority".   
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #852 on: October 27, 2012, 07:05:10 PM »
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Hi Blue Moon,
Thank you for the information. What is your background?

Your point about where ink collects is so true. Roland has a feature on the control panel that allows you to move the head all the way to the left where you can get under the head and clean it. They even produced a video on cleaning. If you take your head out of the printer you can see just how much Gunk attaches itself around the head. You should see what a head looks like that prints cotton fabric. A wiper should be cleaned often at least once a week and replaced more often than most Epson users have ever done. Many of our new clients tell us that they have never replaced or cleaned their wiper since they bought the printer. We used to clean our Mimaki Dampers twice a day. Clients who purchase Mimaki and Roland printers are usually advised to clean wipers constantly and even change dampers from time to time.

Regarding information on MSDS sheets: There is very little information you will obtain except for the type of Glycol that is being used. For instance, Ethylene Glycol in considered an unsafe material and is not accepted by some of our clients. My company for one does not use that Glycol. By looking at the CAS number you can find out what they are using, but not the true amount or even what the main ingredients that make up the so called magic of the ink are. They are usually listed as proprietary. There are numerous chemical that can be used in ink formulation in less than 3 or 2 percent including surfactants. It is a waste of time trying to find out what is in Epson’s Ink.
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ddolde
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« Reply #853 on: October 28, 2012, 05:02:42 PM »
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I just hauled my 7900 to the landfill yesterday. Good riddance.

Looking at an HP Z3200 44" model to replace it.
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« Reply #854 on: October 28, 2012, 06:49:29 PM »
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Not a troll post, but a comment on Canon ipf printers we have.   We've calculated that having done printhead replacements, the cost per print, using 24" rolls and prints of all sizes but filling the roll width and moving to 17 " rolls for smaller prints, the cost per print of the printhead is about 60 cents.  This is over thousands of prints on canvas.

Over that time we've left the machine on in sleep mode.  Every so often it wakes up and either does an ink shake, checks temperature and humidity and very infrequently does a nozzle check.  Except to change heads we've never opened any covers except to change rolls or put in new carts.

For us, this simplicity of operation has been very beneficial.  It explains our curiosity as to why Epson is still so popular here.
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Blue moon
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« Reply #855 on: October 28, 2012, 09:58:16 PM »
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Hi Blue Moon,
Thank you for the information. What is your background ?

Regarding information on MSDS sheets: There is very little information you will obtain except for the type of Glycol that is being used. For instance, Ethylene Glycol in considered an unsafe material and is not accepted by some of our clients. My company

Hi Doccolor

Glad you found some use from the bits and pieces i have posted...its nice of you to say that.
My background is landscape photography and giclee printing for myself at this stage.i get a real kick from it .(thanks to joseph holmes i must say ) i live in the wilds of Connemara Ireland .i am a one man band and simply cannot afford service contracts.i am the ideal stool pigeon for testing Epson printers..this year i was faced with the choice of quitting to print or strip down both of my old GOOD Epson 7800 printers and learn fast..up to now it was run inks to stay alive...but i discovered (from my perspective only let me caution you ) that
1 Epson is going towards perfection and away from practical matters
2 Epson will help its customers greatly when it involves those customers more in day to day cleaning routines.
3 Epson ( i believe) will redesign its printers casings so that we can
      # clean wiper blades effortlessly ( 7900 can...i leave case off )
       #clean seals easily
       # lubricate park/spit pads effortlessly
       # stimulate ink pigments by inserting a spring mounted gadget under damper unit to vibrate ink pigment entering head
       # disconnect the closed circuit "cleaning system" which sends hard residue resins back up into the head.this disconnect can quite easily happen by forcing wiper blade through Epson  "solution bath "as the blade returns  to the print head. 
        #Epson will remove its wiper blade cleaner
        # Epson will produce one master air seal to protect smaller seals on the printer head from air intake.
        # Epson will market different strength pigment inks for heavy or light printer users.
        #Epson will produce ink carts that are translucent...meanwhile i just reset and weigh them
        #Epson will profitably market specialised cleaner/lubricant solutions to assist its customers in their daily cleaning/lubrication routines.
         #Epson will educate its customers on the importance of daily maintenance..
ABOUT MSDS  of Epson inks
For the 7800 there is no problem picking up rough make up of k3 ultrachrome from Epson itself...what i found of interest is that the more pigment in the ink the more Epson uses more glycol /less glycerol in their cleaning solutions for the x800 printers...i can get their own cleaner solutions no problem..whats wrong for the 7900 ? also Epson told me that vivid majenta used in a 7800 instead of majenta would burn the head out in 6 months.....and there both Epson inks....so using ammonium/ isopropyl....simply green....windex....whatever ...i wonder is there a risk of damage....and why the heck does Epson not think of making some money for itself by setting up a new cleaning  solution division within its empire...beats me !
Thanks for listening
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #856 on: October 29, 2012, 05:33:16 AM »
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[/quote]

Roland has a feature on the control panel that allows you to move the head all the way to the left where you can get under the head and clean it.


To a degree that was also possible with the Epson 1000/10600, you had to remove the left cover for it and pull the power plug when the head was free, then move the head to the left manually.  The Roland method would be a good feature for all wide format printers. Easy access to the capping station is more important though and that was a hell of a job on the 10000. But it had at least 3 wipers for a total of 6 channels where the x900s have 1 wiper for 10 channels.


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

Dinkla Grafische Techniek
Quad,piëzografie,giclée
www.pigment-print.com






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Blue moon
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« Reply #857 on: October 29, 2012, 06:49:06 AM »
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. But it had at least 3 wipers for a total of 6 channels where the x900s have 1 wiper for 10 channels.
...............................

And the wiper blade is 35 % the size of the x800 wiper blade  ..made from a flimsy ,anorexic thin, piece of rubber....overworked of course....wont last long will it ?
And the wiper blade is beaten up and stiffened relentlessly by a wiper blade "cleaner" which is covered in ancient resins that are meant to be left exactly where they land...except for the bits that get back on to the wiper blade again for another ride....
At least the poor bent and bruised (and poker resin stiff by now ) little  wiper blade can get its own back on those lovely juicy teeny wee air seals on the head ..aha ! Kick the cat...thats it !






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Denniswcr
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« Reply #858 on: October 29, 2012, 10:21:19 PM »
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I just remembered, Eric is in New York!
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na goodman
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« Reply #859 on: October 29, 2012, 10:42:40 PM »
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I think he is from New York but lives in CA. I think.
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