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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 307086 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #920 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 #921 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 #922 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 #923 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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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #924 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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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #925 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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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #926 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

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« Reply #927 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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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #928 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 #929 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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« Reply #930 on: November 25, 2012, 02:16:45 PM »
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I had a couple things to add to the wiper cleaning/replacement info above.  Please forgive me if it was already mentioned somewhere in the ongoing saga.

For the serviceman routine for accessing the wiper blade note that with the 9900 there are two places where the wiper assembly will fit, one of which is probably used for the dual-cmyk setups rather than the 10 colour setup.   If you put the wiper back in the same spot it came out of you'll be fine (it's the right one facing the printer)    There is also a little tab that actuates the wiper and you need to have the wiper positioned correctly when you re-install it or you'll get an error (1487 IIRC).   Though the error message says to turn the printer on and off to see if it clears from my experience you need to check and make sure the wiper assembly is mounted correctly in the right bay.

Note that if you close the lid on the printer it will move the print head back to the capping station!  I think it also starts running through the cleaning as well --- DON'T close the cover until you have the new or cleaned wiper assembly in place and certainly don't leave anything in the path of the print head.

Also note that using the serviceman routine seems to send it in to yet another auto cleaning you can't bypass.   I think with two passes  it drained slightly more than 1% from all 700ml cartridges so while the wiper assembly is relatively cheap, Caesar always get's his due....  If you unplug the printer and take it apart there does not seem to be the Epson tax but it's quite a bit more work.  

Good information above though.   Does seem like epson went out of the way to make this machine less reliable than the prior generations -- took 2 seconds (and no ink wasted) to maintain the cleaning assembly on the 9880, but I think that was a much less gimmicky machine all around.
Doug
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 03:49:06 PM by DougMorgan » Logged
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« Reply #931 on: November 25, 2012, 02:33:35 PM »
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Does seem like epson went out of the way to make this machine less reliable than the prior generations --
Doug


Do you REALLY believe any serious manufacturer in today's world would do such a thing?

I rather think design and design changes involve compromises. Change is *intended* to advance and improve, but at the margins some things may get knocked. They make judgments about when a product is ready for prime time. We may or may not agree, depending on our experience, which is obviously highly variable.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #932 on: November 25, 2012, 03:09:55 PM »
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Hi Mark:

I think what you are saying may have been true back in the olden days when the engineering department made the design choices but now it's the bean counters and the marketing slicks.    I have been printing heavily with epson equipment for a number of years and find there are several "improvements" with the 7900/9900 that would have been better left to the consumer printers.   This thread's popularity seems to support that view, at least to me.

I think this whole thread points to the fact that going from 180 to 360 nozzles may have been a mistake and seriously compromised the longevity/reliability.

I think the marketing-types decided the new line had to have the automatic loading, just like the other brands.  This move added tons of bulk and complexity to the printer for no gain in my opinion.  It certainly doesn't save me any time.   The downside is that it made feeding small sheets either impossible (less than 8.5 x 11) or finicky and unreliable (<11x14).   With all the machinations the machine goes through sometimes the overall throughput is slower than the previous generation, even given the faster print speed.   Personally I've never seen roll media that could be printed to the bitter end so I don't see the point of wasting good media to mark the rolls.

Despite Epson's claims to the contrary I do not see any less clogging with this model compared to prior ones and in fact it seems to suffer more from single nozzle clogs and deflections.  Compared to the prior generations it seems to use about half again as much ink and even a single nozzle clog can cause a print wrecking drips.  I'm hoping the information in this thread will cut down on the last problem.

Here's where the bean counters come in -- from a cost of ownership perspective any savings in ink cost per ml seem to be overshadowed by more cleanings and more ink per square foot.    The only thing I ever needed to replace in four years of daily use with the 9880 was the paper cutter and now we're looking at very roughly $500/year if you diy the maintenance.   Since epson's guy is 10 hours round trip from me diy is the only option here.   Never needed him for the four other epson wide format I've had.

I'm still trying to figure out what the green ink is for.   The Orange makes a small visible difference in fall-type pictures but the green seems totally useless.  From the Y and C usage I have to believe that most of the green tones are still made by mixing cyan and yellow.   Why not Blue where the printers are weakest?   I would love to take out the green and try white if I can't have a real blue.

At any rate the printer does the job but I wish they had taken the 8 inches of extra length and 100+ extra pounds, chucked the auto feed, and made it a 50 inch wide printer for the same price.

I am glad I found this thread though since my 9900 had started wrecking numerous prints with ink drops at exactly 3 weeks past the end of the warranty.  Wiper seems to be the culprit but the Cap and pump assembly to be replaced as soon as I can get the parts.

My two cents worth of whining...
Doug  

« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 03:32:01 PM by DougMorgan » Logged
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« Reply #933 on: November 25, 2012, 03:46:26 PM »
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... took 2 seconds (and no ink wasted) to maintain the cleaning assembly on the 9880...
Doug


Very interesting posts Doug, thanks for stepping up.  A lot of what you wrote makes me think but I have one particular question I want to ask - what cleaning assembly maintenance are you referring to on your 9880?  And what do you do, if anything, along the same lines with your 9900?
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« Reply #934 on: November 25, 2012, 03:58:54 PM »
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Doug

Well done man !

You are right on the button....so sweet to see it so lucidly and pragmatically explained...congratulations for turning on the lights ....wow
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« Reply #935 on: November 25, 2012, 04:12:20 PM »
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Hi Eric and thanks very much for documenting this journey for us...

With the old printers selecting cutter replacement from the regular-person menu would send the printhead out to the centre of the carriage.    Since the wiper and cleaning station was much simpler and didn't play hide and seek like it does on the 7900/9900 it could be easily cleaned with a lint free cloth soaked in distilled water or even (dare I say it) windex.   The wiper was beside the flushing box and went the width of the printhead (iirc).   A few wipes and a good soaking of the flushing pad once in a while would remove all the gunk that had built up.   I used the blue "paper" shop towels since they seemed to have much less lint than a regular paper towel.  

If a cleaning didn't work after 2 or 3 tries I'd clean the printhead itself by simply folding up a blue shop towel so it was three layers thick, soaking it in distilled water and sliding the print head over it for an hour or so -- couple passes back and forth to remove anything sticking to it, another cleaning for luck and that was usually it.  Good for a week or two.

With the 9900 the clogging has been different and I have only tried the regular user-mode machine clean cycles.    There are fewer big clogs and a lot of single nozzle ones compared to the 9880.   I'm sure I've averaged a single-nozzle clog almost daily over the last 15 months.    Usually they clear after a pair cleaning but many times I've tried once or twice with the pairs and had to resort to a full clean.    I have only tried the heavy-duty pair cleaning a couple times and it didn't seem to make a difference.   The 9900 seems much more prone to dripping ink on the prints with even one nozzle deflected so I try to keep the pattern completely clear.    I do print large prints though so compared to smaller prints the ink has more chance to build up to a drip.

I should note that until I found this thread a week a go the only method I had heard to get at the print head and capping station was to turn the printer off while the printhead was off it's station.   This did not sound like a good plan to me so I did not try it!

I have been much more careful with the humidity with the new machine than I ever was with the old and actually bought a 2nd humidifier to try and keep the humidity up to 40 or better.   I would print below 20% with the 9880 though it seemed to get cagey when that low.   Where we live it has to be pouring rain to get much above 60%.

As an example today I printed 8 prints ranging in size from 20x30 up to about 24 x 60 and had to clear single nozzle clogs twice.   But this is after doing a check of the wiper blade earlier that seemed to force a major cleaning.   See my other post for why I had to check it;(

That's my experience at any rate...
Doug
 
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 04:23:49 PM by DougMorgan » Logged
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« Reply #936 on: November 26, 2012, 10:29:45 AM »
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Monday a.m. called Epson at 562-276-1305.  (the Website leads you to local service center referral for out of warranty issues.  However, this gave me the names of several places that got truly horrible yelp reviews and more importantly didn't look to have any experience with the Epson Pro printers).  They are having Decision One call me this afternoon.   I had pretty mixed experiences with them under warranty but it seems like they are a better option than the other three local shops referred to on the epson website. 

Epson help said Decision One should call me this afternoon with an estimate.  I asked how they could provide an estimate without knowing what the problem is-- he said their estimate will be for parts and labor for the print head, wiper blade, and pump cap assembly.  So it sounds like they will call back with a max estimate.  ( I have a partially blocked light magenta channel that won't respond to any type of cleaning (normal, pairs, SSCL, service mode etc).  I will get a full breakdown of costs/parts/labor.  Epson said the parts will be sent directly to my house and the appointment will happen after the parts arrive.

I already ordered two wiper blades at $13.00 each from Encompass in Oregon.  $26.00 for the two parts and $28.00 for two day shipping from OR to CA!

Should I order the pump cap assembly and is it difficult to change myself for someone generally not going the do-it-yourself route?  Is there a reasonable probability that this will help at all? 

Btw, I had parts of two lines dropped out of the LM channel test print but when I compare those prints to current ones, there was no banding and I can't see any noticeable effect on the prints.  Even though the test prints showed portions of dropped lines out of the test print, did I really have a clog?  Now there are many more missing parts of lines from the LM portion of the test print and the banding is very visible up close. I had such constant clogs (daily in LM and slightly less often in LLK) as reported by the test print, I think it was only a matter of time before I had unresolvable issues; still, it makes me wonder if I made the problem with the constant cleaning.  It's perhaps somewhat analogous to a photographer using a loupe and light and seeing a tiny speck on their dslr sensor that doesn't appear in their photos and then obsessing over cleaning it and making the problem worse. Except of course there's no manual contact in running print cycles and it is the prescribed method of resolution.

Will report back with costs etc in the event that helps anyone make a decision here between the DIY route vs D1.


 
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sfblue
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« Reply #937 on: November 26, 2012, 10:53:26 AM »
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Also, I stumbled upon this:
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=FAQ&oid=60322&prodoid=55197367&foid=76588

This gives instructions for cleaning of the wiper blade, pump cap, and assembly for the Epson x800 series.  Obviously this is a different printer, but I didn't realize these things were officially user cleanable in the eyes of Epson for any of their pro printers.

Separately, I'm trying not to guess on what the D1 estimate will be but I can't help it.  Adding up the cost for the parts plus a guess at labor puts it not too far off from the price of a new 7900.  If D1's estimate is indeed that high, that would be an interesting dilemma.  Also I think I'd have to be open to looking at the new Canon printers with their rebates and trade-ins. 
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« Reply #938 on: November 26, 2012, 12:50:25 PM »
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Got a call back from D1.  If anyone is interested or in the same boat, the costs are as follows:
$100 travel charge to come to my house in San Francisco
$175/ hour with a 1 hour minimum

Parts:
Print head:  $1132
Pump Cap Assembly:  $231
Wiper:  $13
Selector Unit: $173.60
AID sub board $162

I don't know what the last two items are.  I gave them my cc and am having a local tech call me to set up an appointment.  But I'm debating what to do.  The total cost if I require all of the above is just about $2000 (and that is with only one hour of service time).  New 7900s are generically advertised now with the rebate at $2500 and I might be able to do a little better. The new Canons are advertising good deals right now as well. What if I fix it and the next thing is the LLK which has had a lot of problems (is the print head for all of the different color channels?).  Wouldn't I be better off getting a new printer with a warranty for the same price. 

Not sure what to do but in the meantime, I'll probably look at trying to do more myself. 
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #939 on: November 26, 2012, 01:13:34 PM »
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That's exactly your (all out of warranty X900 users) dilemma, sfblue.  That's why this thread.  That's why I just spent my new-puppy savings account on microscope(s).  Basically, as things stand today, when you follow Epson's out of warranty repair protocol, once your print-head drops out your printer is worthless.  You are not far off at all on your potential repair estimate.  I get emails all the time about this from X900 users.  We're like one big family.  It's pretty typical to hear about repair numbers in the $2,500 range.  Actually this very morning another previous contributor to this thread is opening his door to a D1 house call over in Oklahoma, for the very same procedure you are considering.  Only difference is his machine is an 11880 (also X900-based head).  His estimate was closer to $3,000.  He texted me jokingly yesterday while I was riding in the mountains "maybe I should set up a video camera and film my D1 experience!".  

Sounds like we are laughing about all this, which I do choose to do - rather than to cry.  At B&H's current price, and offer for free delivery, and the brand new warranty you would get with the purchase - you are exactly right.  Following standard Epson/D1 repair protocol once you're out of warranty, makes no sense at all.  Add to that the fact that I recently saw a special at B&H for the 7900 at just under $2,000 and it's about enough to make a guy nauseous.  

It could very well be that these "un-clearable X900 clogs" are indeed a death sentence for your Epson Stylus Pro Printer.  So, maybe I am a fool for continuing my search for answers to questions we all have, and solutions we all need.  Won't be the first time I have failed.  Won't be the last time I try not to.  

I'm sorry, sfblue.  Things seem grim I know.  So I offer you this personal story of inspiration - maybe you'll see hope too:


(my apologies, some might find this inappropriate)

September 2, 2012.  Sonoma California.  I am 46, racing an underpowered bike on barely a budget against guys not even born when my racing career began.  It's a good year, we're leading the championship, I'm riding all season like I wish I could have two decades ago - today would be different if I had.  Then mid-way through third practice, in an unsuspecting turn, for no reason anyone has made sense of yet, all hell breaks loose at over 100mph.  I fight to wrestle the bike back to shape but I lose the match.  I am thrown to the pavement - head and shoulders first like you might treat something you sincerely despise.  I hit my head, I smash my hand, I tare my Rotator Cuff - can't lift my left arm past my ribs.  

And our bike is destroyed..






...is any of this feeling familiar to anyone with a clogged X900 yet?  

Sometimes you get your lights knocked out.  We all do.  But that doesn't define you.  What you do next does.



The boys stared straight back at hopelessness and told it to piss-off.  They worked all night rebuilding our trusty steed and by mid-morning it had two wheels again.  An hour later with a numb shoulder, a bike held together with bailing wire and duct tape, and basically one hand we led the race to the half-way mark.  Just then, like we hadn't overcome enough already, our bike began to shake the earth around it like a scene from "The Who" playing Woodstock.  The exhaust on our 1190cc twin had broke.  It hung from the right side of the bike at just the right angle to cantilever both me and bike into the air on the next right hander, once we got to full lean.  Sometimes you've just got to say, "What, the, hell..."


This is the point where this story is supposed to inspire anyone facing un-clearable X900 clogs, to cling to hope.  I wrestled us back into shape, we went on to take the loudest second place ever recorded by man, and we won the Championship.

If it is possible to clear a clogged X900 head, we (meaning everyone here) will find the way.  


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« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 04:09:41 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

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