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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 263276 times)
Denniswcr
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« Reply #880 on: November 07, 2012, 02:31:49 PM »
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I can't comment on what to use for a cleaning solution, but I have had some bad dropouts on my 7900.  The machine is only about 6 months old and is still using the intial cartridges, although almost all are now at the <10% level.  I have always had success with a color pair clean, so far, occasionally needing a power clean if there are a lot of nozzles out in one head.  I try to run nozzle checks every day or two since I am a low user making only a few prints a month.  I am begining to think the when the ink pressure system turns off, there may be a gradual backflow of ink from the head.  That would indicate the whatever method Epson uses to pevent that from happening is borderline.  If the nozzles did not clean I would think that it was a plug, but since they always clean it seems to me that the ink is not up to the nozzles.  Perhaps cleaning as soon as a dropout is noticed the problem can be rduced before the ink hardens into a plug.
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KristiSheriff
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« Reply #881 on: November 07, 2012, 11:02:30 PM »
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I just wanted to add that my 9900 is having issues with the Green channel mainly and the LLK too.  I think you may be onto something about those two inks.  No other problems with any of my other inks.  It's so bad that my printer is unusable and Epson quoted me $2200 in parts (possibly) $100 travel fee and $175 per hour fee with one hour minimum to fix it. 
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Blue moon
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« Reply #882 on: November 08, 2012, 07:41:17 AM »
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I just wanted to add that my 9900 is having issues with the Green channel mainly and the LLK too.  I think you may be onto something about those two inks.  No other problems with any of my other inks.  It's so bad that my printer is unusable and Epson quoted me $2200 in parts (possibly) $100 travel fee and $175 per hour fee with one hour minimum to fix it. 
You are obviously outside of warranty new or extended..how old is the printer...heavily used ?
In terms of inks used i wonder have you been getting through as much llk and green as your other inks...?
1 do you do b/w as much as color...llk is there for lowering bronzing in b/w prints as you know..
2 would you use green much either....i gather its more for graphics people than photographers...but i have no idea myself.which side of the fence are you on ...?
3 if you had problems with 2 colors in the same pair a guess would be the air seal itself but not so in this case.
4 have you ever vibrated your green or llk carts in any way
My own little theory is that the Piezo channels and nozzles are bombarded by underused pigment from above and recyled resins from below beyond the capacity of the Nano Nozzles to deal with over time...I would be very keen to see Epsons next design model to replace the x900 series.
Please bear in mind that i use the 7800 series and anything that i have picked up about the 7900 is solely through Erics heroic thread..thanks Eric..
Thanks
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Blue moon
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« Reply #883 on: November 08, 2012, 08:17:30 AM »
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I can't comment on what to use for a cleaning solution, but I have had some bad dropouts on my 7900.  The machine is only about 6 months old and is still using the intial cartridges, although almost all are now at the <10% level.  I have always had success with a color pair clean, so far, occasionally needing a power clean if there are a lot of nozzles out in one head.  I try to run nozzle checks every day or two since I am a low user making only a few prints a month.  I am begining to think the when the ink pressure system turns off, there may be a gradual backflow of ink from the head.  That would indicate the whatever method Epson uses to pevent that from happening is borderline.  If the nozzles did not clean I would think that it was a plug, but since they always clean it seems to me that the ink is not up to the nozzles.  Perhaps cleaning as soon as a dropout is noticed the problem can be rduced before the ink hardens into a plug.
Your inks must not harden into a plug!!
As you know better than me the idea of the air seals on the park station is to replicate the environment of the air sealed ink cartridge itself.....there is no additional line of defense to prevent resins hardening anywhere in the printer system other than in the one place that air is allowed in...when your printer head is off its park station and the rubber seals are redundant....just for the duration of the print job...the outflowing pumped pressurised inks would naturally prevent air working its way back up the head while actually printing...then its back to rubber seal protection..
To follow up on your theory why not leave your air pressure system on more often....maybe see does it keep fresher inks out on the surface of the head...do on and off and record any change.
Through no fault of your own you also may be importing hard resins back into the Nano Nozzles by means of your wiper blade system...God and Epson are the only ones who know the real story there.
I made a little case earlier on that your type of situation was possible for a consciencious infrequent even new owner....using lots of resin to clean resin...leaving pigments (through underuse )to settle to the bottom and then come forward as a sort of pigsludge..why is Epsons cleaning program not able to keep a 6 months old machine on the rails ? Your warranty ! Extend it and be safe....
Thanks
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Denniswcr
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« Reply #884 on: November 08, 2012, 10:46:51 AM »
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To follow up on your theory why not leave your air pressure system on more often....maybe see does it keep fresher inks out on the surface of the head...do on and off and record any change.

 Your warranty ! Extend it and be safe....


I normally leave the printer powered on all the time, but it does go to sleep.  How does one keep the pressure up when the printer sleeps?

No doubt about it I will purchase the extended warranty.
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Blue moon
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« Reply #885 on: November 08, 2012, 12:35:42 PM »
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I normally leave the printer powered on all the time, but it does go to sleep.  How does one keep the pressure up when the printer sleeps?

No doubt about it I will purchase the extended warranty.
Good...sorry i do not use x900 so i have no idea if air pressure system is relaxed  or released when in sleep mode...i would guess that pressure is maintained but maybe some of our expert x900 users will confirm that or otherwise for you..or can you override defaults to ensure air pressure is continuous for say your experiment time.if you decide to experiment that is...i do remember someone saying earlier in the thread who uses a lot of printers that the best ink performing machine they had was a machine where the air pressure was on continuously for some obscure reason..others seem to doubt the overall capacity of the x900 to keep up a reliable and regular air pressure (to their satisfaction anyway ) its there somewhere in the 45 pages if someone can remember this issue being discussed !
Anyhow whether air pressure is up or down i feel should make absolutely no difference to your ink quality if your air seals are sealing out air and your wiper blades were keeping out resins and your pigments were and still are emulsified in the overall ink mix.....air pressure will move ink along the lines to the dampers and the piezo pump will take the ink to the end hopefully.....assuming damper is sealed and balanced..and air pressure is good up to the damper...the point is your ink should be the same quality whether its in its cartridge,lines,dampers and head (on the park station) ....what makes your ink deteriorate in a sealed system? If you have no ink it might be a pressure problem....look at your damper early on...pipes...carts nearly empty ?if you have clogged ink its back to the other reasons ive outlined...and very probably others too..let us know when the service rep tells you if you air pumps ok wont you...its such a new machine it sounds odd to be clapping out on pumps
Thanks
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KevinM
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« Reply #886 on: November 08, 2012, 01:20:35 PM »
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Earlier this year, I sold my 9600. At the time, I expected to relocate and I wasn't printing very much. After reading about clogs in the new 7900/9900 printers, I'm regretting the sale of my 9600.

Demand has changed, though, and I now need a wide-format printer or I'm going to have to pay someone else to print for me.

A question about extended warranties: has anyone tried SquareTrade?

From what I've read in this thread and elsewhere, it seems the experience with Epson field technicians is a mixed bag. In addition, Epson charges a lot of $$ for extended service, especially when compared to other warranty extensions on products ranging from automobiles to enterprise computer systems. At 32% of the purchase price, the cost seems exorbitant. Hence the question about alternatives to Epson's warranty.
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #887 on: November 11, 2012, 10:51:01 PM »
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Hello all you fellow Epson sufferers,

Some of you may know about my situation with my 7900 printer, not that it is unusual.
I have an Epson 7900 with which I've made about 20 prints. It is about 2 yrs old and 1 yr out of warranty. All was fine until I made a 10 day trip with a friend. When I got home, the head was clogged permanently. I purchased a new head ($1390) thinking I would replace it myself but am reconsidering. Here's why. In my opinion, based on my experience and what I have read on blogs of others experiences, the probability of another permanent clog within a year is high. If a person intends to keep using a 900 series Epson printer, it makes sense to buy the extended warranty which I believe costs about $775. That would cover not only the print head cost but all other parts and labor. For me to be able to do that, I must allow Delusion One to make the repair and certify to Epson that the printer is 100% functional. That means I would sustain an initial hit of about $2000 for the repair plus the $775 warranty. Also, I believe Epson should inform potentional buyers that is strongly suggested that they purchase this contract as their printers are prone to clogging and other excessive maintenance expense, especially if they are casual users. I would appreciate any thoughts, comments or suggestions about my conclusion.

Thanks,
Bob DeBellis
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Chris233
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« Reply #888 on: November 11, 2012, 11:10:01 PM »
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Hi Bob,

Not to sound rude or anything, but why would you buy such an expensive printer and only run 20 prints in 2 years?  The machines, whether it be a 7900 or your letter office inkjet next to the desk, is not really designed that way.  Even the desktop inkjet would be prone to clogging...

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KevinM
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« Reply #889 on: November 11, 2012, 11:11:35 PM »
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Bob,

This sounds a lot like a "repair or replace" question. 

I suggest you check out Adorama and B&H Photo to see their prices on brand-new 7900 printers. With at least one of the two, you may find the new printer cost to be less than your repair cost plus extended warranty cost.

I've also discovered that B&H sells SquareTrade warranties for the Epson 7900/9900 for less than SquareTrade, so at a cost of under $150 for an extra year of warranty coverage they appear to be subsidizing the warranty cost. 

When I asked SquareTrade whether print heads were covered, here is what I was told: " the internal components of the unit would be covered such as the internal circuitry, the print head, mechanics of the printer and other parts. However, any external cables, cartridges and software would not be covered under the SquareTrade warranty."

I recall reading that Epson has made some improvements to the print heads to reduce clogging. It would be valuable if others could confirm this with specifics of what was improved and what evidence exists for less clogging.

I've also read that using non-Epson inks may also avoid clogging . . .
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Chris233
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« Reply #890 on: November 11, 2012, 11:24:16 PM »
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This sounds a lot like a "repair or replace" question. 

I'm not sure if it would be worth replacing.  He's already purchased the new printhead anyway.  But with the low volume printing, another head clog is very likely.  In this case, it is probably more feasible to have the 10 prints /yr outsourced.  How much would a high-end 24" print cost at a tradeshop? Less than the cost of a new printer, new printhead, extended warranty, etc every 2 years...
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #891 on: November 12, 2012, 11:00:55 AM »
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Hi Chris and Kevin,
Thanks for your replies.
I don't think you're rude Chris by asking the question of so few prints in 2 years. It seem nuts but it was because of circumstances that this happened. When I bought the printer I had also just purchased a new dwelling and was also simulataneously dealing with a digital photography learning curve (Lightroom, Photoshop, MAC environment, EPSON 7900, monitor calibration, film scanner, DSLR, etc). I was overwhelmed. The reason I bought the printer at this inconvenient time in my life was because Epson sent a coupon to me offering a $1000 off the cost of the printer.
Even though I didn't make serious prints I was getting used to the printer and had become well aware of it's propensity for clogging. Eveyday I would run a nozzle check and make sure it was fine. If not, I would do a regular cleaning or attempt to print a color wheel and a subsequent nozzle check to see if that cleared.
In any event, after just moments ago contacting Epson Support, it appears that because my printer is 2 yrs old there is no way for me to get an extended warranty anyway so I was wrong about that.
As for the B&H extended service contract, I think I remember reading that weren't available for FL where I live.
As to the low volume of printing being the fault, I remember reading on this blog that hi volume printing was no guarantee that the printer would not get a clog. Not to mention once again that if you go away from the printer for a week or so, you might find yourself with an expensive problem.
Anyway, any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Bob
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xsydx
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« Reply #892 on: November 13, 2012, 11:56:29 AM »
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So after reinstalling the head and killing two maintenance tanks with cleaning and I am back to square one with the LK ink and now the Orange ink showing gaps in the nozzle check.

I guess the next step would be to change the damper assembly?

Sid
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #893 on: November 13, 2012, 06:18:16 PM »
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Bob, I do understand why and how you ended up with an x900 monster in your living room.  For me this line (still boasted by Epson on the front page of their X900 description) had a lot to do with it "And, with our latest ink-repelling coating and auto nozzle verification technologies, clogged nozzles are virtually eliminated."  No need to explain yourself here Bob - with the discount you got when you bought your machine it only takes a few decent sized orders at a professional lab to get guys (and gals) like us to wondering if owning an X900 of our own makes sense.  And if you want it bad enough, at least in theory, it does make sense...  

Unfortunately, as you know well by now, in the case of the X900 - reality is actually a little different than theory.  I too am a beginner, in all of this, compared even fractionally to the many pros on this forum.  While I don't print with our 7900 every day like the pros do, I do print about every third day.  Even that is not enough to keep our machine clog free.  

1 - you need a new print head.
2 - you need to maintain it.

both can be achieved at unridiculous (love that word) cost and effort.


Sid, I have been down the very same road you are considering.  Our problem wasn't our damper assembly, although we did replace it.  Our problem wasn't our pump and cap assembly, although we did replace that too.  Our problem was our uncloggably clogged print head, most likely stopped up by a crap condition wiper blade, which was most likely left in crap condition because at the time of the crime who knew better..

Rumor has it these Epson X900 print heads are quite a valuable commodity.  The replacement cost for these very same heads when they are used in different brand printers I've been told is actually three times our cost.  I have heard unreliable tales of forgotten warehouses filled with headless Epson printers sitting in quiet lonely rows like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie.  Not so believable in reality, but in theory I can see it.  So while it is bad, the cost you now face of replacing your head, it could be worse.  Not sure that's comforting - I heard the fluorescent silhouette of a faceless doctor lean down and whisper to me once I'd never race again, "But it could be worse."  Not sure that made me fell better then either.


If you call Epson yourself, they WILL sell you a replacement print head for your X900, for considerably less $ than you would be charged by D1.  You have to give them your machine's serial number first though (keep the Indiana Jones scene in your mind), and they will offer you NO guarantee/warranty with the purchase (you could damage the head installing it).  No serial number, no head.

You don't need a degree in astrophysics in order to replace your print head either.  If you follow the steps, one step at a time, and you have good hands, you have what it takes.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 08:01:47 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #894 on: November 13, 2012, 07:58:31 PM »
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Our collectively building knowledge base about better maintenance practices and repair capabilities is inspiring actually.  So much so in fact that recently I have been pushing in new directions, from repairing our problems to avoiding them all together.  ...at least in theory : )

Ken Doo and Ernst Dinkla aimed me at QuadToneRIP as a possible route toward developing a routine ink-purging system that might keep our X900s out of clog trouble, for what Mark D Segal calculated would be a minimal yearly expense.  Especially in contrast to the threatening repair costs of total print head replacement, a holiday mode would be fantastically cheap.  So I contacted the creator of this QTR program, asking if he had any interest in creating a "Holiday Mode" for us all.  I thought he would jump right in but I was wrong.  Strike one.

I didn't stop there though, next I got my genius buddy Steve to take a look at the QTR software.  Our hope being if the software source code was available for download/development, Steve himself could create our "Holiday Mode" using QTR as a platform to work from.  But no dice.  Although the QTR software is indeed under the GNU Public License, it doesn't appear that the source code has been made available.  Strike two..

So today, and here is where this gets potentially dangerous, I called Epson themselves.  I must admit I have a dreaded fear of stifling our momentum here on this Luminous Landscape forum, so I neglected to identify myself, nor did I mention this thread.  My question was basic, but curious,

Epson:  "Epson Technical Support, can I have your model name and number?"

me: Epson Stylus Pro 7900

Epson:  OK.  (long pause)  how can I help you?

me: I don't have a problem, I have a question.  How would a person...  Ummmm...  What would the protocol be for an entire community of Epson users to influence Epson themselves to develop a specific firmwear update that could vastly improve Epson user experiences, and even possibly greatly reduce Epson's own warranty parts replacement costs?  

The gentleman I spoke with, a nice enough guy named Jimmy, then asked me what I had in mind.  I explained our Holiday Mode to him.  

jimmy: No, sorry, there is nothing in our firmwear which does that.  But I do agree, that could be very helpful..

eric:  No Jimmy you misunderstand me, I know this doesn't exist.  It's just an idea.  My question to you is how do ideas turn into firmwear updates?  How do users influence Epson to activate change?  What are the steps we need to take?  Who are the people we need to contact?

jimmy.  Ummm...  well you can email me, then I can forward the email to my supervisor, then he can forward the idea to Japan.  Really Japan is who you need to talk to, but you can't.  At least not directly.

...and then I stuck my (our) neck out.  I mentioned the fact that there is a thread, on a forum, that is global, which has over 70,000 views and nearly 900 entries - all of which are specifically focused on print head clogs on Epson's Stylus Pro 4900/7900/9900 printers, specifically using Epson's Ultrachrome HDR ink.

This is when things got interesting.  Suddenly I got a sense that at least Jimmy himself had absolutely no idea such a thread as ours here even existed.  Also suddenly, he wanted access to it.  Maybe five times before we hung up he asked me to include the link to this thread in my email to him, which he would then go over with his supervisor.  Then I got the feeling all things considering this potential firmwear update lobbying would be left to them, which didn't make me feel confident.

eric:  What if we got a whole community of Epson users to email your supervisor?  Or even Japan directly?  I mean would such a thing produce different results?  Because if it would, I bet we could make it happen.  Even professional Epson Print shops could benefit from such a program, it's not just infrequent private users that experience unclear-able clogs.

jimmy:  If a whole community made contact with us about the same problem this would have a greater influence than just one user.  So send me an email with the link to that forum, so I can show it to my supervisor..



hmmm.   What to do now
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 01:00:46 AM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

kdphotography
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« Reply #895 on: November 13, 2012, 08:37:52 PM »
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Well, I think it sounds like someone needs to author a "form letter" to Jimmy/Jimmy's supervisor, much like a block of supporters would to a congressman.  I really don't think an Epson firmware update with a holiday mode would be that difficult.  It's really just something as simple as Harvey Head Cleaner, but more open and available to those using Macs as well.  Since it would run independent of a computer (just the printer software/firmware) it would be platform independent and be able to run without a computer left on.  Nice.
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JohnHeerema
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« Reply #896 on: November 13, 2012, 09:31:46 PM »
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I think that pursuing the QTR source code might be a more productive avenue than hoping for something from Epson. That is something that would interest me

If they are using the GPL license, they do have an obligation to make any derived code public (although the part that is covered by GPL might not include the code that communicates with the printer - I am under the impression that various companies have different interpretations of just exactly what GPL compliance involves).

My own testing indicates that keeping an Epson clog-free involves more than just an occasional nozzle check - something closer to a page or two a day is what it takes for me to keep my 9900 running clean reliably.

It might be as simple as an automated test page print, fired off by a daily chron job.
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #897 on: November 13, 2012, 09:55:55 PM »
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Hi Erik,
Thanks for understanding my situation.
Re: Your suggestion of putting together or request to Epson is a good one. I've been feeling the need to formally complain to them. I'm for it and feel they owe us. They owe me for misrepresenting their product. They've made a ton of money off of me in wasted ink and a prematurely failing print head and I got little but aggravation in return. I've spoken to Jimmy just yesterday and other tech support personnel in the past suggesting that they need to do more for us in dealing with this clogging issue beyond selling us another print head or leaving us to the mercy of D1. I also told them that Epson should spell out that you should be a frequent user and not a casual user of the printer. The response from tech support to me was "You don't have to be a frequent user". Again, I point out, even if you are a frequent user, nothing protects you when you are vacation somewhere for a couple of weeks. There needs to be a reasonable fix or prevention solution. At the very least, they should sell the print head at cost to us.
Thanks,
Bob
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Chris233
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« Reply #898 on: November 13, 2012, 09:57:33 PM »
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Sid,

After performing that maintenance on the head, it does point more towards the head as the root of the issue.  If it's clogged... it's clogged.  You could perform the "manual power cleaning" or ink pull from the maintanance tank tubes as I've mentioned in another post.   Your service work however still doesn't completely rule out a problem with ink delivery to the printhead as the original cause of loss of LK...  But access or expense to test out different parts, you might just want to go for the gold and switch printheads.  

The new gaps in Orange is interesting.  I would ask how much time passed with the printhead removed from the system, or if the printhead was resting 'platen down' on any material - it is very sensitive to that.  Air is being introduced on both sides of the printhead while it's removed.  Typically printhead service or replacement should be accomplished same day... or 30 mins for a tech.  (they'll charge the full hour, though.)  It can be removed longer just be sure it is sealed double in ziplock bags. I like to put some plastic wrap over the platen sealed with a rubber band then into the bags.

Eric,

It's great you had such an interest from Epson to look into this thread.  I do hope the uppers take notes.  

Some wishful thinking.... I would love to see the lines on the air pressure system independent for each cartridge on the 9900 and 11880.... Or at least a sensor at the end of the air supply line for each cartridge.   It's such a pain identifying a single bad cartridge when the entire array errors out.  Grin   If the machine is sitting idle and one sensor is passing air while others are not, then that's the bad cartridge which then informs the end user to replace.  

« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 10:14:06 PM by Chris233 » Logged
xsydx
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« Reply #899 on: November 14, 2012, 11:26:34 AM »
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So $1300 + tax + ship for a print head from Epson and no guarantee that it will solve my problem.

I can get a canon 44" 8400 series printer for $2590 with free shipping and a set of 330mil inks ready to go by Monday...

 Undecided
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