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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 350528 times)
Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #880 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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KevinM
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« Reply #881 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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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #882 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 #883 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 #884 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 #885 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 #886 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 #887 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 #888 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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xsydx
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« Reply #889 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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markbrand
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« Reply #890 on: November 15, 2012, 06:47:38 PM »
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This is my first time at the forum and came to it by Eric G's hell. I've a new Epson 7900 in San Diego and love the prints I exhibit in galleries in Southern Ca but the machine clogs like a bastard. Epson has to do something about this ink waster.

At any rate, after 4 months of non-use I tried and succeeded in bringing the printer back to life. (never had this problem with my smaller Epson printers - had to burn a print or two, but that's ok. Burning cart after ink cart and filling tank after maintenance tank is ridiculous).  An overnight rest of the head on top of a single layer of 5"x7" windexed paper has had good results and although I tried a few days of other solutions, time to let the printer rest (elasticity of ink in the tubes?) is actually key. Another useful trick was making a print composed of the ink colors that fail in the nozzle check. Seems to help, though the printer will sometimes only print half the image, give up and asking for a cleaning. With enough time and ink spent, it always comes back. (though now I have a paper sensor issue that won't quit).

Count me in for a class action against Epson on the 7900 if they don't fix the FW, give some head dock solution, or provide an actual remedy. This has moved from a chess game where every move costs between $5 and $50 to a point where I feel I sweating on a strip in Vegas gambling to get some pictures out.

Mark Richard Beaulieu
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 01:51:48 PM by markbrand » Logged
Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #891 on: November 15, 2012, 09:50:39 PM »
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Hi Mark,

The Epson 7900 reminds of the the strange blood consuming plant in the movie "The Little Shop of Horrors" that constantly said "Feed me Seymore" except it's ink and $ that it consumes in vast quantities.
I'm very annoyed with Epson as well and believe they should do something. I'm preparing to replace my print head and am concerned of a repeat performance after all this expense. In my case I had a little used printer that I made sure was working fine before I went on a 10 day vacation only to find had a permanent clog in the CY channel upon my return. After many cleaning attempts the CY clog ultimately resulted in a "fatal error" code indicating a replacement of the print head was necessary.
I would gladly join a class action.

Bob DeBellis
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Peter F.
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« Reply #892 on: November 16, 2012, 12:34:33 AM »
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I have had my 7900 for 4 years now and have had Decision One out FIVE times for clogged/failed heads. The technician is competent its the hardware that sucks ($ literally!) I got an extended warranty from Epson for another $650 after it cost me ~$1,800 to fix the 3rd head failure. I am now faced with a clogged head (again) after not printing for more than 4 weeks! I burned through almost a full maintenance tank trying to clear the clog. Finally, after researching other printer options, I gave up and am buying a new 7900 with a 3 year warranty right at the start. Although I am planning to adopt some more rigorous procedures for printing more often and monitor room humidity level, if it screws up it will be on Epson. If you own a 7900 that is less than 1 year old 7900, I think you would be crazy not to buy the extended 2 year warranty. As of today I found a 7900 for $2,399 and a 2-yr Extension for $1,272.

Needless to say, I would be a good plaintiff's witness!
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xsydx
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« Reply #893 on: November 16, 2012, 01:14:06 PM »
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Well I decided to roll the dice with Canon. I spoke with someone who deals with canon/hp/epson and he suggested I go with that over the others. Lower maintenance, user replaceable print heads and good quality. He admits canon has stepped their game up to bring their quality up from where it was a few years ago.

I ended up getting the newly released iPF8400 44" since we used to outsource our larger enlargements due to the 24" print size on our old printer.

Any offers for my epson 7900?  Roll Eyes
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Jim Coda
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« Reply #894 on: November 16, 2012, 01:47:57 PM »
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Did you get it for that $2590 price you mentioned earlier?  If so, where?
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xsydx
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« Reply #895 on: November 16, 2012, 01:59:43 PM »
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I got it for $3599 - $1000 Canon Mail in Rebate (take picture of any non-canon 44" or larger printer's serial number) + Tax
Free Shipping
Set of 330 ml ink

And Lexjet has a special now that if you order $500 worth of material you get a free iPad Mini. So i got that.

Call Lexjet (800-453-9538) and ask for Michael Clementi. Tell him Sid from Miami referred you if you would like, although there is nothing in it for me. 

Even if you don't purchase a printer, I highly recommend Lexjet for paper needs. they are very good and offer tremendous support plus 9.99 flat-rate shipping on all products.
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #896 on: November 16, 2012, 09:16:08 PM »
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Hi folks,
Another gem of customer relations from Epson and D1 (Delusion 1). If D1 replaces your print head, you must surrender to them the original print head that they removed from the printer or they will not do the job. D1 told me Epson charges them for not returning the print heads to them. Epson support told me today that D1 gets something from Epson for returning the heads to them. Excuse me, but isn't this my print head that was in my printer that I paid for with my money. If I want to keep my old print head to decorate my Xmas tree with, it is my decision - one. It just gets more unbelievable all the time.
Bob D.
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enduser
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« Reply #897 on: November 18, 2012, 06:44:11 AM »
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Obviously Epson will be doing some inspection work on the returned print heads.  Ongoinng development work will be assisted greatly by lab examinations of used heads.  Standard industrial practice.  They should actually pay the user for them though.
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Streetshooter
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« Reply #898 on: November 18, 2012, 10:38:05 AM »
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I find it unbelievable that Epson are treating this problem with their printers with, it appears, a certain amount of indifference. They surely must be losing customers big style to other large format printer manufacturers. Don't they care about good customer relations?

Just incredible.

Pete

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #899 on: November 18, 2012, 10:48:30 AM »
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I find it unbelievable that Epson are treating this problem with their printers with, it appears, a certain amount of indifference. They surely must be losing customers big style to other large format printer manufacturers. Don't they care about good customer relations?

Just incredible.

Pete



In fact it is so unbelievable that I don't believe it. And not only for that reason, but also because it is well-known that from the get-go their research teams have been studying and testing ways to optimize both quality and performance. That doesn't mean the solutions they come up with are necessarily optimal for all needs and all people all the time, but "indifference" is hardly how I would characterize this company. Yes, not every customer will buy an Epson printer, but one has to assume they're bright enough to know this and that's business, and good for us that there is competition.
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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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