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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 370746 times)
markbrand
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« Reply #940 on: November 26, 2012, 01:50:35 PM »
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Thanks for the inspiring metaphor Eric.

On my 7900 I have spent 5 weeks and roughly $1800 - 4 maintenance tanks, a complete line of 375ml inks and only one commercial print to show for it. Nozzle check will not clear two guns PK and LG. I cleared the LG but the PK was stubborn. Did a power pair clean than the CYAN dropped out entirely. I am giving up. (I've tried the windex on a 5x7 ply, all kinds of prints and tests, but nothing is working.)

Called EPSON and went straight to customer relations.
"I'm out of warrantee, spent $1800 in inks, cannot clear the clog and want to know if you have a program to give me credit for another machine."
"We have never heard about nozzle clogging on the 7900."
I pointed out there is a good number of owners on the luminous-landscape blog with this issue, and am put on hold for ten minutes and sent back to technical maintenance. No one wants to solve this, and Epson seems not to have a clue. Maybe a class action litigation will wake them up.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 01:52:44 PM by markbrand » Logged
sfblue
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« Reply #941 on: November 26, 2012, 03:28:41 PM »
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Love the moto photos and story!   I have a feeling, Eric, that there is probably one degree of separation or so between us somehow. 

Back to printers, so if I take that last photo to heart, all I have to do is take a crowbar to my 7900 and I'll be all set? 

Two questions and I apologize if they were answered earlier in the forum but I've read so many different things, I can't remember what references came from each site. 
-If I order the pump cap and assembly and replace it myself, any updated view on a place that ships out pretty quickly?  I ordered the wiper blades from Encompass but found even normal shipping a bit expensive.
-Does anyone have any experience with these guys:  http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/Unclogging_print_head_nozzles.html
I may give them a call-- not sure if I am just desperately looking for solutions that don't cost $2000 . . .

Also, Eric, BH had the 7900 listed recently below 2k?  That's enticing even though after this experience I don't know if I can go Epson again . . .
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #942 on: November 26, 2012, 04:00:25 PM »
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Yes sfblue, right now they have a decent price listed.  Sometimes they have ridiculous prices listed.  It seems unpredictable at best.

Yes I have experience with americaninkjetsystems (the way my browsers break that page up on scrolling really brings back bad memories..).  Also others that advertise head cleaning services.  Also plenty of other options (paths, even journeys) to partake in considering printhead clog clearing (including re-fillable cleaning carts, solutions, wet paper towel techniques, all configurations of menu settings cleanings, service mode cleanings, shaking the machine, even throwing it off a cliff - which I tried once but the clogs never budged)..  You will find, as did the rest of us, that none of these work.  You will also find that all lines of communication go blank once you mention to these printhead cleaning websites that it's a "4900/7900/9900".  I even shipped our X900 printhead to Canada where one specialist machined brackets to fit our heads to his ultrasonic cleaning machines so he could break up the clogs.  Three months later our head came back as a very shiny paperweight.  So far, best I know, we are on our own.  But there is hope.  Research is forging us ahead into a new realm of understanding.  Soon enough we will have a far better grip on exactly what we are up against.

To answer your previous question, all channels are handled by the same printhead - there is just one.  You fix one channel, you fix them all.  Unfortunately, you break one channel, you break them all.  

If you get cornered I'll change your head.  Hell I came about a minute from flying to Oklahoma last week for one of our other family members.  Problem was we couldn't find him a head for under two grand, so flights ended up making it not worth while.  11880s are more expensive.  You challenge is your head most likely, not your pump and cap assy.  Changing the pump and cap to clear a clog is like Left Eye singing about chasing waterfalls.  Depending on how many prints you've run, which in your case sounds minimal, it's better to clean the pump and cap, but replace the head.  My two cents anyway.  The parts changing procedures are completely separate.  Left side of the machine comes apart to swap the head, right side of the machine comes apart to change the pump and cap assy.

And no, your D1 serviceman will not be able to change both parts in one hour.  More like three, and that's if he's on the ball.  

Glad you like the story.  Hesitated to tell it here.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 04:06:13 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

sfblue
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« Reply #943 on: November 26, 2012, 08:53:11 PM »
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Admittedly,  I had to google "Left Eye."  Smiley

Still no call from a local D1 tech, but if three hours is optimistic for the service time, then at a minimum it is $2336.00 unless it's something more minor and the print head doesn't need to be changed.  I just did a cursory check and a local store has the 7900 for $2400 and said Epson deals vary month to month and next month it could be higher or lower.  I guess that is what accounts for the recent BH price of below $2000.

Has anyone had experience with a Canon using the Lucia EX inks?  I know it is too new for reviews on the x400 series, but the x300 reviews I've seen say that color printing is neck and neck with Epson, but I can't seem to find anything about the black and white printing which is something I care about quite a bit.  The price for the new Canon 24 inch 6400 seems to be a little under $2000.  It's frustrating though as I already know all of the little quirks and workflow with the Epsons. 

Random questions:  the windex/paper towel thing.  If I release the carriage through the service manual and then try this-- it is not actually in contact with the print head, correct?  It seems like it would be in contact with the back of the ?flushing box?.  My printer anatomy isn't very good, but I noticed that the carriage release seems to take the flushing box with the carriage as opposed to doing the wiper assembly change procedure.  I guess it is good that it isn't touching the print head, but in this case is it even doing anything at all to soften up the clog in theory?  That American Inkjet thing said to put their solution on the capping station.  Is it worth trying something else there on the LM channel?  I only ask because the permanent clog is relatively recent so maybe there is some hope? (and has gotten worse with cleaning cycles (this is after months of daily clogs)) and . . . well, I'm clinging to hope . . . .

I started out on the very cautious side-- not wanting to try anything invasive.  But I'm more willing to DIY now that the likely alternatives are either a new printer or a service call of roughly the same dollar amount. 

-Dan
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #944 on: November 26, 2012, 10:04:26 PM »
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Just got a flurry of texts from Oklahoma.  Cost our brother $3,000 for the same D1 service you are considering, sfblue.  Took his tech three hours.  Machine is up and running fine.  I should add that since he used D1 to do his head install, he now has a 90 day printhead installation related warranty, which is definitely something you don't get when you do it yourself. 

Depending on how many times you fold the cloth over on itself, the wet towel will touch the head.  It takes a bit of finagling but it IS possible to run your machine with the door open.  Once you accomplish this completely unnecessary task, you get a better idea of what moves where during different operations.  Don't do it though, just watch this video instead:


When you release the head the capping station actually draws itself back into it's cave and the flush box moves down into place along with the wiper blade.  Chances are more likely you'll put the wet towel under the head somewhere on the carriage run, rather than over the flush box.  That's what I did anyway.  Fingers crossed it works! 

and by the way, D1 takes your old head back with them - you don't own it apparently, even though you bought it.  So don't sweat nicking it up.  You should see the face of the head that came with the 7900 I bought used.  Up close the thing looks like someone scraped it's face with 80 grit sandpaper.  I doubt wet paper towels will hurt as bad the fine art paper used on my machine before I got it. 
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enduser
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« Reply #945 on: November 27, 2012, 04:16:49 PM »
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Hi, sfblue,

When you say "It's frustrating though as I already know all of the little quirks and workflow with the Epsons." perhaps many of the machine-related quirks are eliminated when using Canon, and overall fidling is greatly reduced.

It seems that the only downside that folks often mention is the very infreqent replacement of a Canon print head.  It is simple to do and is designed to be done by the consumer.  Just look at the print head price per print and its $400 cost will seem insignificant.
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #946 on: November 27, 2012, 10:01:16 PM »
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Hi Eric,

I'm getting ready to replace my print head (7900). I have a little used printer that is 2 years old with a fatal print head error after many cleaning attempts. Is there anything you recommend I should do after I remove the old print head and before I install the new one?

Thanks,
Bob DeBellis
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #947 on: November 27, 2012, 10:44:02 PM »
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Hi Bob I just replied to this question in your email.  Didn't see this till after.  It's interesting how you now have fatal printhead error messages after so many cleanings.  Were they power cleanings I assume?  If so this gets way back into an exchange we had with ernst about eight months ago, about the possibilities of overheating piexoelectric nozzles by firing them repeatedly when they are all blocked up.  I assume, and so do others I expect, that the ink passing through the nozzles helps cool them.  So perhaps your head went dead this way - repeated firing/no ink flow/no cooling/fried head.

As far as what else to do along with your head change, there are many variables to consider.  How old is the machine, how many prints on it, how long it's been since ink's been running through it, what was working/wasn't working that set you into multiple cleanings attack mode (which we've all been through so don't feel bad). 

I get a lot of emails about D1 calls and experiences on X900 machines.  Oddly, not everyone I know who has followed the Epson/D1 clogged printhead repair path has gotten the same, or even similar advice or estimates.  This past Friday a clogged X900 estimate was shared with me and it included printhead replacement, pump and cap replacement, wiper blade replacement.  Yesterday a clogged X900 estimate was shared with me and it included the print head, pump cap assembly, wiper blade, selector unit, and AID sub board.  What's that like $1,800 in parts plus six hours of work at a hundred and how many dollars per hour?  ...that's not very friendly

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sfblue
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« Reply #948 on: November 28, 2012, 10:46:50 AM »
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Hi Bob,  please let us know how it turns out, level of difficulty, and total time.  I'm in the same boat. 

For those who don't know, you can order the print head directly from Epson  at 562-276-1305 (there might be a better number as they will help you and transfer you to the warehouse).  The print head is the only part which Epson sells directly and they charge $1299 for it (if you have D1 do the work, the parts cost is stated as $1132. 

My options are:
a) have D1 do the work which according to their estimate and time involved this will likely run $2500+
b) buy a new 7900 at $2400, get a fresh start and a new warranty (and an option on the extended)
c) after four Epsons, move to Canon and get their new 6400 for slightly under $2000.
d) buy the $1300 print head, cross my fingers, and break out the swiss army knife and duct tape . . .

Clearly, D1 makes the least sense unless they can somehow solve the clog without replacing the print head.  I'm leaning towards DIY option "d" or checking out the new Canons.  enduser, you may be right about the Canons and if you have one, I'd like to hear your thoughts. I've had several Epsons before this and I've always had this notion that the ink wasting routines were part of the package deal for Epson's superior print quality; but by now it seems like that gap may have narrowed or disappeared and it's worth taking a look at the Canons. I've read good reviews but I can't find anything comparing black and white between the Canons and Epsons and that is what I'm looking for.  I went down to the local Calumet yesterday as they used to have example prints from both printers, but they no longer do. 

I spoke with an Epson dealer yesterday who said that Epson had "improved the process" and I was less likely to have the clog problem now than with one of the very early x900s.  I'm not sure how that makes sense at all if they are the same printer with the same manufacturing process.  And in searching for more info on the Canon printers, I keep stumbling upon more anecdotes of people with the same problem from the Epson x900s.  I try to be balanced and take all of these anecdotes with a grain of salt.  I realize that it is sort of like Yelp reviews of a restaurant-- the one star and the five star reviewers have incentive to post a review whereas the people who have a decent experience are not likely to take the time.    Still, trying to take this into account, there sure are a lot of accounts of print heads failing, even between one and two years old, thus rendering the printer useless.   
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #949 on: November 28, 2012, 11:03:57 AM »
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Hi Eric,
The printer has a total count of 93 prints. Of course I've done many nozzle checks as well. The clog was solid in the CY channel. When I called Epson Service I was told to keep doing cleanings. So every day I would do several nozzle checks and a single regular cleaning as well as a print of a color wheel and sometimes of my own prints as a test. It was printing fine but would indicate a cleaning was ecessary.The power cleanings were kept to a minimum and once I saw they didn't change anything and simply used up my ink, I only did normal cleanings.  So I was nursing it every day while communicating with you and exploring my options. And then one day 3 months back during a normal cleaning it came up with the fatal error 1A39.
The reason I'm concerned is because it's been sitting so long (3 mths) and I'm suspicious the new head will get gummed up. I'm am good at following procedure and mechanically inclined, have tools, etc. I also have the repair guides and software. I purchased some spray on wipe type cleaning solutions from one of the ink suppliers.
I probably should wait for your video, yes?
Have you considered started a new career servicing or providing advice for the epson printer maintenance? Obviously you are providing a needed service.
Thanks,
Bob DeBellis
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #950 on: November 28, 2012, 04:50:02 PM »
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Hi Eric,
Something else I thought of. Should have some particular cleaner/solvent on hand?
Thanks
Bob
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #951 on: November 28, 2012, 05:03:05 PM »
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FWIW, here is one of the early Epson patents for a piezoelectric head printer.  I don't know if this is the first one or not as I'm not terribly expert in searching the US patent database.  You can use the menu on the left side to look at the drawings, specifications and claims respectively.  I'm sure that there are later patents as well.

I'm going through it to see if I can better understand how the printers work.

Alan
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enduser
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« Reply #952 on: November 28, 2012, 07:52:41 PM »
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The best place to see Canon discussion is  http://canonipf.wikispaces.com/      The lessons I've learned over 5 years use of ipf6100 is not to continue printing when it says a head is going bad.  Newer firmware prevents that anyway and doesn't let you "Press online to clear error".  It used to burn-out pc boards.   Otherwise read the blog.

Perhaps what the wiki thing doesn't make clear is that Canon has two heads with an enormous number of nozzles.  The machine constantly checks to see if any block and if they do the nozzle mapping can use other nozzles to take over the job of the blocked ones.  After a long time no spare nozzles exist and you are prompted to change a head.  After 5 years of weekly use I'm about to change a second head.

Another neat thing it does when let go into sleep mode is to wake up every so often and agitate the inks, at another time it might do a nozzle check and light clean if needed, and it also wakes up  and checks temperature and humidity. I think Canon owners are always surprised that Epson owners do a nozzle check before printing - that just isn't needed with the Canon.

There is some debate about image quality which by reading what I can find seems to go about 53 to 47 in Epson's favor.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #953 on: November 29, 2012, 09:28:01 AM »
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Hi Bob, if you're not desperate to swap your head, wait.  My genius and I are working on a video which will show the whole head swapping process.  No special solvents necessary.  Couple things you'll need, the most particular being a long handle/small tip/magnetic/philips screwdriver.  Other than that a pc (not mac, sorry for me..), good lights, a flashlight, a regular sized philips (I use a screw gun, there are a good number of screws), tape (I like taping screws near where they came out of, and a couple of small boxes or trays so you can keep things organized.  Sounds intimidating, don't let it be.  One, step, at a time and you'll be fine.

Thank you Alan!

boy the Canon self-monitoring practices sound so sensible (and effective).  Almost like there's a design & development team dedicated solely to improving the user experience "post purchase".  Like Nanny always said, you've got to give credit where credit is due.  That's fantastic.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #954 on: November 29, 2012, 10:15:37 AM »
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 I've read good reviews but I can't find anything comparing black and white between the Canons and Epsons and that is what I'm looking for.  I went down to the local Calumet yesterday as they used to have example prints from both printers, but they no longer do.
   


Check John Dean's comment on that:

http://tech.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/message/4259

Comments are more than a year old but I think he is still happy with the Canon iPF8300. The iPF8400 did not change much compared to the iPF8300.


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
500+ inkjet paper white spectral plots, November 2012:
rearranged categories, Sihl Masterclass papers added.



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sfblue
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« Reply #955 on: November 29, 2012, 10:45:16 AM »
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Ernst and enduser-- thanks for the references to info about the Canons.  I have dug through the wiki and separately, Ernst-- that is a very informative note comparing the various b/w printing methods;  thanks very much for digging that up.  Also, I have always wondered about the Cone piezography options so it's interesting to have that comparison in there as well.

Eric, I'm still undecided, but in evaluating the options: a quick question:
-where does one find the servprog.exe file?  And, is it a simple matter of finding a Windows machine and hooking it up via usb to run the utility?
Even if I decide not to go the DIY route-- I'm looking forward to seeing your video and how involved the process is.

Finally, are there any coders out there familiar with Applescripts and how hard it would be to run a test print every morning at a set time for what you guys previously called a "holiday mode" for the Epsons?  It seems doable, but not sure how you get around the machine being asleep other than just setting it to be on the whole time you are gone . . .  (and would it have to somehow switch PK and matte blacks periodically to make the channel not being used doesn't clog?)
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whitedogphotos
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« Reply #956 on: November 29, 2012, 11:01:35 AM »
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Are the deadhead 7900 printers worth anything as parts? I will not fix mine, but kind of feel funny about tossing it out as trash.Is anyone buying the carcasses in order to fix and resell? I am in Iowa  so I assume any shipping costs make the value pretty low.
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sfblue
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« Reply #957 on: November 29, 2012, 01:19:34 PM »
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Just got a call from Epson tech support.   (I still have not gotten a call from D1 but in the intervening time I've decided it's too expensive to go with them anyway).
Anyway, from tech support:

-if you have missing portions of the lines on the test print and those missing portions move around, it tends to be worthwhile to replace the pump cap assembly first.  If they don't move at all, it is usually the print head.
-The only recommended action from him was to go into maintenance mode, release the carriage assembly via the IM Sensor Gap command, and slide the carriage to the left exposing the pump cap assembly.  He recommended taking a paper towel with water and moistening each of the five sponge pads there.  I asked if there were other sponges, i.e. one for each ink, and there are not.  Those five are it.  He did not know which pad corresponds to which colors.  After moistening each of the sponges, recap the print head and let it sit there for a half hour to an hour.  Then run a cleaning cycle and try a test print again.

While he was not optimistic about this procedure given that my LM test print is missing the same portions of the lines consistently, he said to try it as there it couldn't hurt. Next step is to go to D1.  I asked him if D1 tried to replace all other parts before the printhead and he said he thought so, but I would have to ask them and it could vary.

I asked him about other things including a "holiday mode" as even in a production environment, it's unrealistic that these printers will be used every single day for most users.  He said that tech support had already made that suggestion to the powers that be, but that it's not up to their division unfortunately. 

(I also suggested that given that there seems to be a nontrivial failure rate, offering something . . . anything, e.g. a discount on the print head would help engender good will among long-time Epson users.)
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Bob DeBellis
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« Reply #958 on: November 29, 2012, 02:10:19 PM »
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Hi Eric,
I've got all the tools needed as well as the patience required buddy. I will anxiously wait for the wisdom pouring forth from the genius' video Smiley If can assist in any manner I would be more than happy too.
An additional possible hazard for DIY I fear is that Epson may modify the firmware to lock out the software version we are currently using to perform the counter resets and other functions.

SFBLUE: I agree with your contention that Epson should in fairness do something for us suffering victims..eh... customers. We bought a tool and vast quantities of expensive ink to do a job for us. It shouldn't be giving us fits and costing us a ton of extra moola on a continual basis and terror if we should leave on a trip. I am friends with a local gallery owner/pro photographer who owns an Epson 9900 that is also giving him fits. He said he can't afford to maintain the printer.

whitedogphotos: I read somewhere that the used Epson printer is not worth much for parts.
Bob DeBellis
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sfblue
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« Reply #959 on: November 29, 2012, 04:23:30 PM »
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Bob, I ended up writing this person:
Rand Rozar the Director of Service and Support via the following web site form:
https://epson.custhelp.com/app/ask/p_webform/ContactRand
He had been mentioned earlier in this thread.  I figured it couldn't hurt.  If others feel like writing to him as well, it can't hurt for him to hear from multiple Epson users with this problem.  But . . .they forward you to a customer service person who then forwards your number to tech support-- that's who called me today.  They must have also gotten on the D1 person because he finally called me.

The D1 tech said he would change the pump cap assembly first, because if it's weak it might not be sucking the ink clog from the head.  I told him that Epson tech support had told me that if the dropped nozzle positions on the test print don't move, it's likely to be the head and not the pump cap assembly.  He quickly agreed and said we could just change the print head.  (I wonder what happens if you don't have a little info-- if they just go through and change everything randomly?)).

Anyway, the best the Epson customer service person said was that maybe they could "help with some ink."  I don't know what that means and she was noncommittal about it.  Both the customer service person and the tech asked if I printed every single day and said these are production printers and meant to be printing every single day. 

Whitedog-- I agree.  Environmentally, it feels bad to throw away a machine with one clogged ink channel just because the cost to fix it could be greater than the cost of a new printer.

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