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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 262615 times)
Randy Carone
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« Reply #920 on: November 19, 2012, 12:22:08 PM »
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We sell A LOT of Epson printers. We suggest that our customers call us when they have a problem just to be certain it is not something that we can resolve without a call to Epson. We also have contacts we can make to get answers regarding Epson issues. Sometimes, we have to suggest a call to Epson (bad ink carts, for example). Based on this, we have VERY FEW complaints about the large volume of Epson printers that we move. Mark has repeated this a few times on LuLa and I have to support his concept that this Forum is where complaints rise to the surface so it would appear that problems are common. My experience selling Epson printers for the past 8 years does not support this claim.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #921 on: November 19, 2012, 02:13:18 PM »
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Quite frankly I'm not convinced this is the moral of the story, or that buying an extended warranty is necessarily a good investment. An extended warranty is an insurance policy, and like all insurance policies it is a risk pool. Whether it is worth buying into that risk pool depends on the cost of the premium relative to the value of the risk. You can only know the value of the risk if you have data on the percentage of machines that require calling the warranty and the avoided cost os the covered incidents. The value of risk is probability of impact times cost of impact. Hence, just for hypothetical illustration in a simple way: if there is a 5% probability of impact and the avoided cost is expected to be $1000, the expected cost of the risk is $50. So if you pay $500 for the risk premium and its expected value is $50, you aren't on the winning side of that bet. Only if you are one of the "5%" do you come out ahead. It's a lottery. Or it's a feel good thing. One thing absolutely for certain: you cannot tell from web forums, including this one, what your probability of impact is for two reasons: (a) we don't have Epson's data on how many printers were sold and how many needed to be repaired, and (b) web forums are skewed, so you can't infer expected performance data from them: complaints are heard in much higher proportion than satisfied customers. It's like the news. All the thousands of aircraft that take off and land safely all over the world every day never make the news because it's not news. If one crashes it is news and that gets reported. Same kind of thing here. Believe what you read, but don't believe for a moment it's the whole story.

Come on Mark, you're stating the obvious !

I can assure you I'm not that naive in believing it's the whole story. All I know is there are several folks that have the same problems as me, so as far as I'm concerned there is a problem with some Epson printers with these heads. Of course there must be thousands around the world that work OK each and every day. I feel it would have been a really good exercise in customer relations for Epson to have said to anyone with this problem,  'We'll help you out here guys' instead of which they have just chosen to ignore the pleas for help. Fine if that's their choice, trouble is a bad vibe about a product can spread like a virus across the net in a very quick time these days and can destroy a good reputation.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #922 on: November 19, 2012, 02:42:06 PM »
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Come on Mark, you're stating the obvious !

. ...All I know is there are several folks .......... across the net in a very quick time these days and can destroy a good reputation.

Yup - that's the whole point - "several folks" against many, many thousands of printers sold. And I seriously doubt this thread is destroying Epson's reputation to a commercially significant extent. It would be real interesting to know how many thousands of printers they've sold world wide since this monumental, record-breaking thread started!!!! :-). You know, if I believed every complaint I read on the internet I wouldn't be buying anything anytime from anyone. Anyhow, I think Alan made a good point several posts up - it would be nice to see this thread focused on technical solutions to problems.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #923 on: November 19, 2012, 05:06:57 PM »
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As a comparison, the aircraft story doesn't hold water.  If one aircraft crashes due to blocked engine nozzles, the whole fleet is grounded until a solution is found.   As anyone in marketing will tell you, one or two bad apples can ruin a whole barrel of apples.  As a Canon user, when my machine dies I wouldn't consider an Epson for it's replacement.  Buyers troll the internet for purchase hints in their hundreds of thousands - printer buyers are no different.

As to impressions gained, this forum is a microcosm of users and a casual reader would say to themselves, boy, those Epson owners have a hard time of it.  I can also understand the defensive posts members make, given the investment in funds and the years of familiarity. 

You could say that comparison of numbers reporting problems against those who don't has some meaning.  Well it really doesn't.  Some are having problems - to state the obvious, and that another user doesn't have the problem, is really saying nothing.  For them there's no problem and stating so adds nothing to the search for a solution by those who do.  It's similar to the salesman's ploy when confronted by an unhappy customer.  He's trained to say "No-one else has reported this".

The sign printing industry often obtains their printers under fully maintained leasing arrangements.  For a fixed monthly amount you use the printer and the machine is kept running by others, usually for a three to five year period.  That way you know you total printing costs and  machine failures are at no cost to the user.

So,  let's go on here with solutions.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #924 on: November 19, 2012, 07:10:43 PM »
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I have to add this here, I apologize.  I'm usually focused pretty hard on finding solutions to our problems but this true story begs to be told.  We need some comic relief:

My genius buddy Steve has a girlfriend now.  Half a year already.  I rarely see him anymore but I do text him regularly "jerk".  Anyway his new girl has a brother.  Creative guy, into photography - especially printing (largely, if you can even believe that).  So she asks Steve one night, "I don't know what to get my brother for his 40th birthday.  He's sure been at this photography and graphics design stuff a while now.  Any ideas what he might like or need?"  Steve thinks real hard about it then comes back with a classic, "How bout we buy him a printer?  I might even know one we can get him at a super deal..."  So she unveils the idea to little brother and he gets all lathered up about it.  Already he'd been researching them, almost a year by now.  Naturally big sister gets all jazzed too, until she tells him what it is.  Instantly little brother goes blank, "Oh, an Epson 7900?  I heard they clog an awful lot..."  

Rumor has it Steve never uttered one word in response.  Instead he simply thought, long and hard, as he gazed out at the luminous landscape surrounding them (which showed signs of banding and had slight color shifts in the blues)


(edit) by the way I absolutely love my 7900.  I am continually fascinated with the prints it produces.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 07:13:26 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

remko
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« Reply #925 on: November 20, 2012, 11:07:03 AM »
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Not everyone's experience in Europe with 11880 and x900  models. "Not using Epson media on that printer sir, if it happens with  Epson media you can come back with your complaint. No mister, not even for Hahnemühle papers¨

Loss of face in whatever country has nothing to do with it.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
470+ inkjet paper white spectral plots, November 2012.


Hi Ernst,

I was not aware of the Epson attitude you described .... that kind of attitude is too bad.

You misinterpreted by remark about loss of face though or I was not clear enough about it. I was referring to the Asian and in particular Japanese people, for which loss of face is the very worst thing that can happen to them. They will do everything to avoid that!

Within Japanese companies usually top management in other regions (outside Japan) is Japanese. So probably that is also the case here in Europe, but they most of the time do not get these kind of info / complaints as lower management learns to keep it away from them - unfortunately. It is against the company culture  Sad

cheers,
Remko










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xsydx
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« Reply #926 on: November 21, 2012, 09:21:37 AM »
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I was very happy with the way my epson made prints. Its just the past few months of constant head cleaning and nozzle checks that were the headache. Last week when I tried to clear the heads again I went through one maintenance tank in ONE DAY. Forget the cost of the maintenance tanks, the ink cost was hurting me more. There comes a time when I had to make a business decision and say I can't keep pouring money into it and not produce any results at all.

I just said a prayer tracked my new printer and it comes in today (thank god) when it was expected to be delivered after thanksgiving. I'll be spending all weekend here in the office making prints.

I still have my 7900, i'll try to see if I can get these clogs out of it but at least for the time being my new printer will allow me to continue my production. My next step after I settle back into the workflow will be to order the damper assembly kit and replace that.

My search for a solution brought me to this forum and I think its a great community. I will continue to update you all if I make any progress.
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #927 on: November 21, 2012, 12:48:00 PM »
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Hi xsydx,
I know how you feel. I was doing the same thing until it indicated a fatal print head error. Now I'm sitting with a new print head and nervous about installing it. In a strange way, I'm not so anxious. This is because there was a stress level caused by worrying about and clearing clogs.
Re: the 7900 maintenance tank. You can obtain a reset chip to avoid having to purchase a new tank. Any of the 3rd party ink suppliers will sell you one. Mine must be used before the tank drops below 15% capacity but I've used successfully.
Bob DeBellis
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #928 on: November 22, 2012, 01:54:42 AM »
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Me and the genius walked a couple of miles to dinner last night.  Talked girls on our way out, X900 clogs on our way back.  You may not expect this since our 7900 prints happier than a pig in mud these days, but I still think about solving the two greatest mysteries that plague X900 users across the globe - avoiding clogs before they get you, and clearing the ones which already have - just about every day.  Recently I have hit on some new ideas I want to explore, after considering all that we face from a brand new perspective.  Last night for the first time I aired some of these ideas to my genius.  Steve is a lot smarter than I am so when my thoughts got his head to cocking sideways like dog hearing air squeak out of a birthday balloon, I couldn't help feeling I may be on to something...

I want to understand exactly what it is we are up against.  Like, why are some clogs clearable and others not?  If time is our greatest enemy considering head threatening clogs, just how much time is too much time?  How dry is too dry?  And why is too dry, too dry?  I want to understand how long rinsing dried ink with wet ink will leave you with a clean slate?  Is it a day, is it a week?  Or is it just an hour?  It's pretty amazing I think how the very same ink we ask to stay wet for months at a stretch in the face of our heads just millimeters away from life-threatening air, we then ask to dry in fifteen seconds once it's shot out onto paper.  Is there a varnish-like hardening agent in Epson's pigment ink that does this for us?  Could this be our best friend once outside the head, but our greatest enemy while still inside of it?

I mean really, this is not a complicated scenario.  It's a hole, clogged, with dried pigment ink.  

So exactly WTF IS dried pigment ink?  I want a glass slide, a smear of Epson Ultrachrome HDR pigment ink, a really powerful microscope, and a camera.  

I want ten glass slides with pigment ink smears on them, each one soaking in something different to loosen them up again.  And I want to watch them, under a microscope.  I want one glass smear to be just an hour dried in the open air, the other I want to be dried for ten minutes with a heat gun.  I want to see the differences, up close, with a microscope.  And I want pictures.  

Just then Steve looked back at me, like, well you know what like...



After a bit Steve came back at me saying thing's I've never before heard him say.  We wondered at first if a microscope which we could actually get our hands on could even see what I want to see.  So tonight I did some research.  Here, translated by my pea brain into standard monkey language, is what I learned (please excuse me for starting this at the beginning, geniuses feel free to skip two paragraphs)

If you run Epson Ultrachrome HDR inks through your X900 printer, you use pigment ink.  WTF is a pigment?  Pigments are the powder, the particles, the molecules that give us color.  These are pigments:



Pigments are tiny, solid particles which reflect light in different colors than that which they absorb.  Different pigments produce different colors, depending on where they come from and what type they are.  Shine a white light at a particle/it shines blue back/someone calls it a pigment/Epson buys it and mixes it into your cyan cart.  Now you have pigment ink.  Pigment molecules attach to one another and form groups called crystalline structures.  

So what does all this mean to us X900 printers?  We have tiny rocks, in our wet ink, which stick to one another like white dog hair on black velvet, and then they dry - to form mountains, right inside our even tinier piezoelectric printhead nozzles.  Why are X900 printers far worse with clogging than previous Epson models?  Same size rocks, smaller nozzles.  End of story.

...or is it.

As it turns out these tiny crystalline structures made up of groups of pigment molecules measure up in size to a whopping 0.1um.  Since I have no idea in hell how big a "um" is, and therefore have no idea if a reachable microscope could even see one, I did more research.  Apparently seeing things as small as 0.1um is possible with a decent, realistically attainable microscope...

more to come
 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 09:32:26 AM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #929 on: November 23, 2012, 07:53:05 AM »
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Eric,
One of the big problems is trying to find out how exactly Epson formulates their inks.  I can't find anything in the patent literature on the ink formulation (I have a 3880 printer and if you look on the ink box, all of the patents that are listed are for the cartridge assembly and not the inks).  If you look at the listed composition in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) you don't really get anything informative.  I'm a chemist by training and have looked at all the data sheets to try to figure this out and can only conclude that Epson are keeping a lot of the crucial information as trade secret and not disclosing it as a patent filing.  Of the listed compounds from the MSDS, the most interesting from your perspective would be the glycerols which are used as a carrying agent and some percentage of these compounds end up leaving the paper after printing as gas (which is why you need to wait a bit before framing under glass or acrylic so that the print has had a chance to fully dry, otherwise you get a residue on the inside of the glazing) and the proprietary organics which I deduce as the carrying agent for the dye or pigment.  It's likely that these are some type of encapsulating resin whose manufacturing tolerance needs to be quite tight (the 0.1 µm that you mention above).  If the particle size is not well controlled during ink manufacturing, you could end up with larger size particles that 'could' cause problems in terms of clogging.  Is this why printers such as the 3880 that have larger size 'holes' in the print head don't clog much at all and the newer generation with smaller 'holes' do?  It's possible but I suspect that Epson have pretty good QA/QC on the ink production line (the only way we could tell that this was contributory would be to gather information on the lot numbers of ink that led to clogs in user machines and this would be extremely difficult to do).

From the reading of your many posts, my own feeling is that the wiper blade and head parking assemblies are likely culprits here.  The wiper blade could leave residues on the print head (and I think you've posted pictures of this happening as the blade gets old.  The head parking assembly could lead to residue dry out if there isn't a good seal.  I don't know what material the print head is made of (haven't tried doing a patent search on that) but Epson do advertise this as having "...our latest ink-repelling coating".  This could also be problematic if not properly controlled during the manufacturing process.  I like to think of this akin to a Teflon non-stick fry pan which is fine as long as the integrity of the Teflon is preserved.  However, we do know after periods of use, the non-stick surface degrades and one gets stuff sticking.  I don't know if the Epson heads degrade over time (perhaps not since users report clogs at all points after they have purchased their printer).

As others have said these are complicated machines and are designed for constant use.  The problem with clogs could have several different contributory factors.

Alan
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #930 on: November 23, 2012, 08:14:43 AM »
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Excellent contribution Alan.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #931 on: November 23, 2012, 02:13:55 PM »
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Thank you Alan.  Great you are a chemist.  Greater yet that you take the time to share your knowledgeable perspective.  Please consider the following ideas:

On the subject of clearing clogs -
1 - Why do some clogs become un-clearable in time on X900s, whereas older model Epson printer clogs are virtually always clearable?  As it's been pointed out earlier in this thread, some of the X900's cleaning procedures force ink through the head, while others suck ink from the head.  In terminal clog cases, neither procedures are affective.  In these cases of un-clearable clogs, my genius had an interesting idea the other night - "What if it's not just the very face of the nozzle that gets clogged?  What if what we're really up against is something more like a bad clog in your sink - where no amount of Drian-o clears a clog simply because it can't break through all the layers of, well, clog, to get to the clog..?"  

Steve's idea presents an interesting scenario, especially when it's grouped with Blue Moon's point - it's almost ridiculous to expect you can clear ink clogs with the same ink that formed them.






2 - If pigments are particles which group together to form crystals that measure up to 0.1-2 ums, how big do groups of dried crystals get?  And how big are those groups compared to the opened holes in X900 nozzles - apparently larger..  

3 - How do you break up piles of pigment crystals (and whatever else is in our ink) using only liquid?

4 - What types of liquids will not harm the many various materials which make up these printheads?  

5 - Where can I get my hands on a microscope powerful enough to explore the realities of these ideas on glass slides, without having to buy one for $4Gs?  I'm already looking into rentals but haven't landed anything yet.

.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 04:14:06 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Blue moon
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« Reply #932 on: November 23, 2012, 09:08:28 PM »
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 especially when it's grouped with Blue Moon's point - it's almost ridiculous to expect you can clear ink clogs with the same ink that formed them.
Hi Eric
Loved your puppy !
I want it big size please !.........

"Its almost ridiculous..."
Would you share the same thought with me  please but from a slightly different perspective ..or way of putting the same thing... Into different words.....

"Its almost ridiculous to contaminate beautiful ink with horrid rotten stale ink...backlashed from or by a dirty unwashed,uncared-for wiper blade....
(The only differences between the two inks is that one has air attached to it and the other does not..)
OR
put simply..........
How would your kitchen dishes and pots and pans be if you decided not to clean your one and only dish -cloth (wiper blade to us folks ) for say about three years..not very fresh ! (You might have a self cleaning tea towel called a dishwasher)
Or have you all been cleaning your wiper blades very regularly from day one.....have you ?did Epson warn you of the dangers of not cleaning dirty parts really regularly ? How often does Epson recommend that seals are cared for ? Were you given a training course on printer hygiene ? Or advised to have one ?
Is it accepted practice to clean soiled parts every week say by your own efforts...sorry for asking so many questions..I'm just curious really
To solve the mysteries of x900 wobbles all we need ,i think,is to do is reverse gears back to x800 for all or most of the answers..
I have not done one single print on one of my x800 printers for 8 months now.....and no clogs ( except two miserable little things not worth reporting)......the cost ...about 7 mls of ink per month per cartridge...(and when i go back to printing, i will be saving the 7 mls of ink ) and lots of shake ups for stopping pigment sludge...i wont be using any more maintenace tanks either..another saving..why did Epson advertise that the x800's were more trouble than the x900....that is simply not true...and very misleading and unfair to any of you who were basically happy with the x800 series but were led  to believe that you were purchasing a better system in the x900 series...surely one is entitled to a better system when one parts with cash to acquire a better system. ..seriously why is the x800 simpler to manage than the newer models ?
All epson needs to do is go backwards now and learn from their old successes..its really that simple....but can they or will they ? Time will tell...
I am happy to say,on reflection, that an unused Epson is safer than a regularly used Epson....with the  proper precautions of course...i know that there is no one out there to agree with me....but 8 months testing on a 6 year old machine is good enough for me.....i make sure that no air gets in and no pigsludge settles in the system...there is nothing more to do....absolutely nothing...its awesomely straightforward and simple too...why did that system need improving ?  Why ?
Thanks

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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #933 on: November 23, 2012, 10:00:14 PM »
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Could be as simple as the particles stayed the same size, but the holes got smaller. 

Could be all previous printhead nozzles accumulate drying ink particles just the same as new ones do, crystalizing from the sides-inward until finally the nozzle is clogged.  Could be with the larger diameter nozzles this bridge the crystals form is weaker, because it's longer, so regular cleanings can break that bridge.  But on the newer printheads these bridges (clogs) are stronger, because they are shorter.

I don't know, yet.  And perhaps I never will.  But this is getting interesting as hell.  This morning I had no idea what oil immersion microscopy even was.. 
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« Reply #934 on: November 23, 2012, 10:24:54 PM »
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You should know the x800 series printhead has 180 nozzles per inch and the x900 series 360 nozzles per inch, and the engineers and chemists at Epson *probably* :-)  knew this when they formulated the inks for these printers. Smaller nozzles combined with new dithering math are directed at making prints that can be yet of higher apparent resolution and smoother tonality; as well the gamut of say a 4900 is considerably greater than that of the 3800 because of the reformulated inks and newer math. This also seems to mean that the usage and maintenance conditions of these printers are more exacting. Rate and regularity of throughput, temperature, humidity and environmental cleanliness would all affect the variability of head-cleaning that different users experience. The print quality these machines produce is stunning, but the differences between the x900 and x800 print quality are subtle. People who want ultimate quality and don't mind the extra demands of the x900s will buy one of those, while people who want still great print quality with less attention to usage and maintenance should buy x800 machines. I think this is what the choices between these options essentially boil-down to, and why Epson keeps such a variety of models on the market.
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« Reply #935 on: November 24, 2012, 12:34:50 PM »
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Good questions and let me take a shot at them.  I did delete the nice graphic to save space!
Thank you Alan.  Great you are a chemist.  Greater yet that you take the time to share your knowledgeable perspective.  Please consider the following ideas:

On the subject of clearing clogs -
1 - Why do some clogs become un-clearable in time on X900s, whereas older model Epson printer clogs are virtually always clearable?  As it's been pointed out earlier in this thread, some of the X900's cleaning procedures force ink through the head, while others suck ink from the head.  In terminal clog cases, neither procedures are affective.  In these cases of un-clearable clogs, my genius had an interesting idea the other night - "What if it's not just the very face of the nozzle that gets clogged?  What if what we're really up against is something more like a bad clog in your sink - where no amount of Drian-o clears a clog simply because it can't break through all the layers of, well, clog, to get to the clog..?"  
The easiest clog to clear would be one that is on the outside of the head ass fresh ink could push the clog out with a quick blast.  I would assume that these types of clogs come from a dirty wiper blade.  What we don't know is whether clogs result from a defect in the head membrane and I would think that these are the fatal ones.  I'll need to do some patent searching to see how much Epson have disclosed regarding the print head design.

Quote
2 - If pigments are particles which group together to form crystals that measure up to 0.1-2 ums, how big do groups of dried crystals get?  And how big are those groups compared to the opened holes in X900 nozzles - apparently larger..  
We don't know the answer to this and I don't think just placing a drop of ink on a microscope slide will give the right answer.  That does not mimic the real life spray of micro-size ink droplets onto the paper.  Theoretically, the pigment particles are supposed to be kept in suspension inside the ink cartridge and line and this is an air-free environment from the design of the cartridge.  If there is bad quality control in the cartridge manufacture one could attribute some of the problems there but we don't have any data and as I noted previously this is hard to come by.  I'm thinking more along the lines of a head imperfection.

Quote
3 - How do you break up piles of pigment crystals (and whatever else is in our ink) using only liquid?
I think that this is possible IF the clog is on the outside and was a result of a bad wiper or capping station.  There are reports of people using Windex and other similar cleaners to address this.  If the clog is on the inside I'm less optimistic since this would require sucking liquid into the head.  You do say this does happen for some Epson models but where would the liquid come from?

Quote
4 - What types of liquids will not harm the many various materials which make up these printheads?  
Only Epson know for sure!  Certainly not harsh inorganic cleaners such as lye or a strong acid! Cheesy  We do know that Epson formulates the inks with glycerol and other glycols.  I think either ethyl or isopropyl alcohol might be good solvents to try.  I would stay away from methanol as it may be too astringent.  

Quote
5 - Where can I get my hands on a microscope powerful enough to explore the realities of these ideas on glass slides, without having to buy one for $4Gs?  I'm already looking into rentals but haven't landed anything yet.
Maybe a local college or university would be a good place to try.  Try to find one of the scientists there who is also a photographer and has an Epson printer.

Alan
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« Reply #936 on: November 24, 2012, 01:26:17 PM »
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Thank you Alan.  

On item 3 - my understanding of Epson's different cleaning procedures comes from a great post on page 40 of this thread, by chaddro - one of our elite internet information combing mercenaries.  It was this post where I learned that depending on which of the many X900 cleaning cycles there are to choose from, Epson both forces ink through the head, and sucks in from the head:

If you have a stubborn "clog" (it could also be a LACK of ink), doing standard cleanings probably won't help you. the x900 series printers DON'T fire the nozzles during the cleaning processes. The cap station covers the head and SUCKS ink out ... several ml's each time. You may need to do a piezo-clean which is only accessible through the service mode.

No idea about the amount of ink used, but this "super-strong" cleaning does fire the nozzles. I've not had to do this myself.

Disclaimer: The following is given for informational purposes only. Entering the Service/Maintenance Modes is not looked upon with grace by Epson. Perform at your own risk. YOU CAN FUBAR your printer in here:

Definition of SS Cleaning:

Note that there is no paired cleaning available with this mode. I think it's much like doing a power clean on the older 9880/9800/4000 series printers.

Also, it's a good idea to do a normal image print between cleaning cycles.
Good luck. I hope this helps!
-chadd

This is a quote from Epson's service manual:  "SS Cleaning has a strong ultra sonic component. The Piezo Elements internal to the Print Head are used to attempt to break up pigment particles that may be clogging the interior of the Print Head.
Use SS Cleaning when a Nozzle can not be cleared through normal cleaning."


...so you are right Alan even Epson seems to indicate that most common clogs are outside the printhead face, while the other more stubborn (read: potentially deadly) clogs are indeed inside it - which does parallel the very haunting idea behind my clogger-gremlin graphic.


As for microscopes, I am indeed possessed.  My research indicates to me I need not only one, but two microscopes in order to explore this tiny world of clogs - a stereo microscope, for performing an up-close and personal autopsy on a clogged X900 printhead, and a compound microscope to explore dried pigment particle crystal dislodging.  Yes I do understand that sprayed ink on paper is very different than ink dried in the face of a printhead, but when you think about it ink dried on a glass slide may by more similar to ink dried on the face of a printhead, than ink sprayed on paper.  Either way I will ultimately get us all some up-close looks at both.  

I have a Nikon D800E with a 200mm micro lens aimed at the face of our dead X900 printhead right now.  Pics in a bit..
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 01:33:03 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

sfblue
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« Reply #937 on: November 24, 2012, 01:59:22 PM »
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First off, sincere thanks to Eric-- not only for being methodically adventurous in delving into the insides of the 7900, but also for taking a significant amount of time to post these experiences. 

I've followed these adventures while having my own love-hate relationship with my 7900.   I've had clogging issues way too often, but they have always been resolvable in the past.  However, my light magenta channel has gotten to the point where it will either require a call to Epson/Decision One or more invasive steps into the printer.  I can only speak to my own experience with this one printer (though I've owned other smaller Epsons in the past).
-Had some somewhat quirky problems under warranty and had Decision One out to take a look.  (Auto check/clean is off, but prior to turning it off, the printer was running cleaning cycles even when the test pattern was fine; also roll paper was being cut automatically even when the auto-cut was turned off).  Basically, D1 tried a bunch of random things and fiddled but didn't solve the problems.
-I am somewhat cyclical in how much I print.  Sometimes I have weeks with a lot of printing, but can also go weeks without printing.  Compared to most of the people who actually post here, I would guess I'm a low volume printer. 
-For a while, I considered myself fortunate in not having overbearing clogging issues.  That said, I would have periodic clogs but they were always resolvable with normal cleaning or pairs cleaning.  Up to that point, I had only power cleaned a few times. 
-Have had more clog problems this past year.  This would occur in multiple channels but most frequently in the Light Magenta.  It became a frequent annoyance -- e.g. printing fine and then the next morning would have several clogs.  But, it was always resolvable.  I followed these forums from afar thinking that my love/hate relationship with the 7900 was fine.  Ink-wasting and annoying, but fine . . . At that point, if you had asked me, I would have said that I would still purchase another Epson.  But the problems became more frequent and I would certainly be interested in seeing what Canon and HP offer now for the next time around.

Now, the Light Magenta seems to be unresolvably clogged despite multiple cleanings, running off some prints, and running cleanings from Maintenance Mode.  And it has progressively gotten worse.
-Initially, it was just a small bit of two lines that didn't show up on the test pattern.  But the prints, at least to my eye, looked okay.  But more and more of the LM test pattern has dropped out.
-I've pulled out the wiper blade but haven't replaced it yet.  It was moderately gunked up which I cleaned with a visible dust camera sensor cleaner.

I am considerably less adventurous (and less mechanically skilled) than a lot of people who post here; if I can't fix it with duct tape and epoxy then I probably can't fix it.  My inclination is to make an appt with D1 and see what they do even though my appointment under warranty with them seemed like a lot of unsuccessful trial and error.  If I go this route, I will post whatever details that I can as well as the cost. 

-I haven't done the windex/paper towel method yet.  Should I?  It seems commonly written about in many forums, but I'm somewhat reluctant to put anything close to the printer heads.  Am I overly cautious?  Should I try this next?
-I am going to order a  new wiper blade and replace it. 
-I have run the SSCL and the pairs cleaning in maintenance mode.  At this point, I don't plan on doing any more of this as I don't think that more of the same will be helpful.
-Other suggestions?

Thanks,

Dan
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« Reply #938 on: November 24, 2012, 03:30:52 PM »
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Hi Dan.  Neighbor...  Sorry about your clogs.  Also sorry it seems D1 didn't solve your past problems.  Doesn't offer a lot of confidence about future problems.  Are you still under warranty?  If so tell them you need a new head.  If not, you may just have joined the deadly-clog-clearing resolution queue. 

I don't blame you for abandoning the endless cleanings approach, which don't ever seem to accomplish more than filling your maintenance tank with shredded hundred dollar bills.  If you are responding here, you've already read what's just above your post - the best X900 cleanings info here.  Not much more to add to that, other than it's a waste of time and money chasing cleaning cart solutions.  I'd tell you be patient, an answer is just around the bend, but I know better by now.  Best I can tell you is you are not alone.  Sit tight and stay tuned, I've got microscopes showing up here mid-week.  If they don't offer answers, at the very least they'll give us more to consider.

Don't sweat yourself too bad, if things go totally pear shaped on you I'm just down the road.

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« Reply #939 on: November 24, 2012, 03:50:33 PM »
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Thanks Eric.  Yes in SF here and I think I should head out and enjoy this weather instead of worrying about the printer but trying to solve the problem is under my skin a bit at the moment.

I am going to order a new wiper blade and replace it.  But will probably call Epson on Monday.  Will let you know what happens and their order of problem-solving. . . . If it is a printer head/large expense, I don't know that I would go through with it.  Might look at other non-epson solutions for the first time ever for me; but hopefully it will be fixable and not too outrageous in terms of cost.
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