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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 305619 times)
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1060 on: January 01, 2013, 01:40:04 PM »
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Alan
Arthur Entlich would be the first man to admit that he has no experience of Epson large format printers and he cautions people to this effect...
It really is great that ammo/iso is compatible with most Epson inks.....but thats missing the core important point ,in my opinion anyway,that ammonia is acidic and is capable of doing damage to the Piezo unit itself..piezo unit and inks have to be assessed jointly and not one in isolation to the other.
Btw that  product for cleaning birds feathers (Dawn) ......turns out the advert was faked and some mild faked tar look alike was used on the birds instead ....there were concerns that an ad showing real live stressed birds covered in real tar would not be acceptable to protection of animals organisations (or ourselves possibly )and the tar had to be simulated ...
instead...the same could apply if the protection of printers organisations come after us ....we better be careful now...make sure you use fake ammonia ...
Ammonia is basic and not acidic.  It's likely that because of earlier work with Windex, ammonia is added to mixtures.  Dawn was used in cleaning birds who were coated in oil during the recent Gulf oil spill.  Back in 1969 when I was an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara we had an oil platform blow out in the channel and lots of birds got coated in oil.  We used mild dishwasher detergent to bathe them and clean them up (this was before Dawn was a product and I cannot remember the brand that we used).  It worked well and saved a lot of birds.

I think these cleaning solutions are only to be used as a last ditch effort when all else has failed.  It may be that they do cause damage to the printer head but the experiments to date all involve damaged heads.  The issue is striking the correct balance in composition so you can break up the clog.  It's clearly possible to add some glycerol to the mixture which would reduce the polarity of the cleaning mixture and make it a little more gentle.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1061 on: January 01, 2013, 03:28:19 PM »
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Adding fuel to the "It's not what you know, but who" fire, I can (as well) indeed confirm that "Dawn" was used to clean oil from animals affected by the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.  The retraction you might have picked up on considering the subject of saving wildlife in the Gulf with Dawn, Blue moon, and any potential manipulation of it's perception, could be related to the epic subject of BP's liabilities surrounding the disaster.  Apparently there was quite an effort put toward guarding some of it's more gruesome realities.  Dawn did in fact play an effective role in saving the animals, that were saved.  The problem was the related question, exactly how many animals did die?  In fact, quite unfortunately, more died than were saved - but not necessarily due to the animals succumbing to the volatility (vaporization) of the cleaning agents reacting with the oil on the animals, but instead from the many hours of exposure the animals experienced pre-rescue.  And then there was the stress, coupled with the fact that some animals just got trapped again.  The horror..

This off-the-subject tangent of bird feathers did prompt me to make a few calls this morning.  Quite ironically these conversations about wildlife morphed us straight back onto the original subject of fluids to be used on our printhead cleaning quest.  Dawn's use with the oil soaked birds was more to help rinse the oil away than it was to break it down.  To "Un-stick" it.  In theory then, soaking our printheads in a pure solution of Dawn might do nothing at all for our cause.  We need something to break the dried ink down, first, which I assume is where the isopropyl alcohol comes in.  The most fascinating element to come from the Gulf of Mexico conversations, relating to our printhead disasters, is the introduction to some new (for me) knowledge about oil degredation.  If Dawn falls under the "un-sticking and carrying" category of cleaners, then we need to explore the "Degredation" category of cleaners, which we are.

Apparently there do exist today "environmentally safe" cleaners which degrade oil all the way down to an atomic level.  These cleaners are biodegradable.  Here is a quote from one product called "Kill the Spill":

The safety aspects of the product is its non-petroleum, non-corrosive, non-toxic, non-flammable, and contains no VOCs. Environmentally its attributes are in it being water based, leaves no residue, contains no chlorinated solvents or phosphates.



This tiny biscuit of information was offered to me more as a carrot than as an answer.  Some teach more by aiming I guess.  But I am not a chemist, by the time I decipher this riddle we'll all be in retirement homes.  Any help understanding if any of this can apply to our printhead cleaning quest, from our resident chemist, would be duly appreciated  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 03:35:59 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1062 on: January 01, 2013, 04:13:40 PM »
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Back in the good old days (really old days now) when I was still working as a bench scientist I did a lot of work with biological membranes.  One of the detergents that we used was Triton X-100, a very gentle detergent that allowed one to extract interesting biological proteins from the membranes without destroying them.  It might be a good thing to test in the mixture as well.  It won't have any of the coloring or perfume additives that Dawn has.  The Wikipedia citation even says it was used in formulations for record cleaning along with isopropyl alcohol.  A 100 ml bottle ought to last a very long time since you would only be adding a small amount to create a cleaning solution.  It's stable indefinitely as far as I know.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1063 on: January 01, 2013, 04:28:24 PM »
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I have been following this thread throughout (as an owner of a 7900).
Fascinating post Alan.
I suppose that its action would depend on the chemistry of the pigment inks themselves.
It certainly would not harm the piezo-electric elements in the head.

Tony Jay
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rodcones
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« Reply #1064 on: January 01, 2013, 06:05:25 PM »
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Phew! a few weeks and it'll be a year since the saga's start!

A sincere wish for a happier New Year printer-wise to Eric and any others tinged by the same troubles.   Smiley

I've had a thought that's maybe too much to wish for in terms of any industry lurkers/participants taking notice of and implementing.

Basically, with the usual mantra about avoiding clogs by printing more, it's a borrowing from other consumer devices that sit "off" but wake up and do things the user has set in a menu - think television video/disk recorders.

If people are happy to have devices sit on standby and wake up fully to operate when they're not at home, wouldn't it be great if your printer woke up and printed an image once or twice a day/night it wasn't used?

An image it kept in its own memory and didn't depend on having an external computer for operation.

All this would be history, maybe.

I've made another thread with the details but thought I'd just add onto this.
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1065 on: January 01, 2013, 06:12:03 PM »
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Ammonia is basic and not acidic.  
You are absolutely right ... As the ph of ammonia needs to be compatible with the Ph of ink... It would have to be on the basic rather than acidic side...the word i should have used was "caustic" to describe one of  ammomias properties ...as an example i wonder how ammonia (diluted ) would react on the silicone covers on the minute electrical cables that Eric found serving the piezo chambers ? Hopefully Eric will try that experiment.
Anyway i have every intention of going the amo/iso route myself followed by a wash of cleaning lubricant ...but after the safer routes first which i think you also agree is the way to go forward...thanks
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1066 on: January 01, 2013, 07:43:24 PM »
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It's a very good idea rodcones.  One we have affectionately named "Holiday Mode".  Basically a program, or firmwear update, that would fire all nozzles of all channels in appropriate sized blocks of color - set at a user specified maintenance schedule.  Dry climates, or times of the year you fire it more often, rainy seasons (for instance) you fire it less.  Apparently there is a way to do this now by using a program kdphotography has brought to attention a few times now - it's called Harvy Head cleaner.  Ken mentions this program a few posts up from this one actually.  It's pc based.  I believe Ken sets his version up to do exactly what you mention, via a local laptop.  For sure this would help.  It would be great if Epson created a firmwear update with this feature.  I brought it up with a tech on the phone about two months ago.  His response was disheartening, "There's a problem with X900s clogging...?"  this was followed by "you could email me about it, I'll forward it to my manager, then he can forward it to his boss.  If they decide it's a good idea, and enough people ask for it, they would then have to forward it to the right people at Epson Japan.  And then they would have to..."  That sounds like a long road filled with ifs and buts to me.  But it's definitely a great idea
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davidh202
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« Reply #1067 on: January 01, 2013, 08:48:38 PM »
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I just wanted to note that I have been destroying and emptying the ink remaining in used carts  for a few months now and putting them in glass vials by color, with thoughts of being able to use it for spotting purposes, as we did in the old B&W days with Spotone.

I noticed that the pigments in the ink do settle out and form a pigment sludge at the bottom of the vials I am storing the ink in.

  The rest of the mixture itself (the carrier), could easily be centrifuged out.
Could the carrier alone contain enough of of whatever substances keep the pigment suspended and from solidifying,  be used to soften or even dissolve the dried pigment?
 I used to be able to clean bad coatings of spray lacquer by additional spray over to dissolve the old layer.

Whatever happened to "Hal" and his cleaning solutions that were supposedly Epson repaks?
David
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DougStocks
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« Reply #1068 on: January 01, 2013, 09:05:59 PM »
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I've got one terminally clogged printhead (but still structurally sound and virgin to any experimentation) soaking in Alan's formula now.  If it were soaking in Acetone I'd have taken it out after an hour.  But this mixture seems a lot less agressive, I'm tempted to let it soak for quite some time.  Maybe days.  What's your opinion Alan?

   How about adding a little agitation? There may be a membrane of hardened ink at the face of each of these channels/tunnels you have described -with more fluid ink behind.
  Also- we shake our carts before installation, presumably because of some settling or separation of ink components.

{Edit} Sorry davidh202, didn't see your post- just previous. I did not mean to glomm off your post. 
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 09:24:53 PM by DougStocks » Logged
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1069 on: January 02, 2013, 12:24:34 AM »
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Very good question David.  I have them here by my side and am eying them up with great anticipation (question).  It's just they came to me from HAL with quite a loose set of instructions.  Something like "The red one, maybe only use that for an hour or two.  Epson won't tell us what it is, does, or how dangerous it is to use it.  They only say use it as a last resort/short time.."  Apparently the clear one is far less potent or dangerous. 

Those directions never did leave me feeling very comfortable.  Apparently not everyone who works on these machines has had their microscopic internals in their sites quite as routinely as all of us have by now.  I intend to test a sacrificed channel with this mystery solution this week.  Good of you to have not forgotten.

For what it's worth this terminally clogged green channel head that I have been soaking, seems to be showing signs of life (or at least movement).  I have a rubber blower (I suppose we all do) for freeing dust from lenses here.  The rubber ball on this one is pretty thin, pretty gentle.  I have been using this as a gentle fluid pressure source.  Via clear tubing I have fastened this blower to the nipple on the clogged green channel daily, since it's been soaking.  Day one applying gentle pressure produced not a trace of a drop of liquid exiting the nozzle openings in the printhead face.  Day two nothing either.  But tonight I am seeing a difference.  By the way I tested the pressure tolerances of this technique on a deadhead channel before I applied the technique to a hopeful head.  Apparently they take quite a bit of pressure before the piezoboard succumbs to the pressure.  This makes sense actually, if you've ever watched your machine go through a cleaning cycle with it's covers taken off.  You should see how aggressively ink gets sucked through the face of your printhead during a cleaning.  I filmed it actually, as well as some other interesting things which I will share in time.  Time will tell if I am being too aggressive or not.  At this point as gentle as I am being I think we are far from doing damage.  I may throw this head back in the 9900 this week, for a test.  Fingers crossed there is ANY difference, other than it giving us fatal error messages.  That would simply be annoying..
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1070 on: January 02, 2013, 12:36:45 AM »
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  How about adding a little agitation? There may be a membrane of hardened ink at the face of each of these channels/tunnels you have described -with more fluid ink behind.

Thanks Doug.  I have added some movement, slight shaking, but nothing very aggressive yet.  This initial soaking I am seeing as more of a test.  My hope is that the new nozzle pattern will show differences.  Any improvement at all would be a VERY welcome result.  Even one nozzle firing that wasn't firing before would be a huge success.  I do have lots of nozzle patterns saved from this very head, in fact only minutes before it came out.  Green consistently showed the same broken results, so any differences will be obvious.

On the subject of "shaking" one scientist friend of mine brought up ultrasonic cleaning.  Oh hell here we go again was my first thought - that's what they did in Canada.  But it's interesting, after extremely thorough examination of the Oh Canada head the only damage that I find seems more fluid pressure related than vibration related.  I could be wrong though.  Either way it'll be easy to test this technique (minus the Canadian power flush routines), on a damaged head if we ever find the need to get a lot more aggressive than we are being now.
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DougStocks
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« Reply #1071 on: January 02, 2013, 01:16:08 AM »
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I like your thinking David.  Heat, pressure, chemicals, even ultrasonic vibrations - there has got to be a way...

Here's the thing though - we face some tough challenges when you consider that clogged up ink is typically a LOT larger than the hole we need it to exit the head through.  Forcing the dried ink free with pressure is an attractive idea, albeit dangerous considering how fragile the piezo chamber walls are.  Backwards would be my direction of choice to force hardened ink through but regardless, we need to break it up before we can force it anywhere.  Right now it's land-locked in between the speedbumps and the nozzle openings. 

Here's a few illustrations I made to show a piezo channel unit from a perspective that I can't photograph.  They go in order - no ink, filled with ink, hardened ink stuck inside the chamber walls.  These illustrations are not based on theories.  I've seen all this crap up close and personal, hardened ink included..
...

   These speedbumps could be filters, I came across this> "Inks for all types of ink jet printing are carefully filtered during manufacturing to eliminate any particulates which might clog the narrow channels and nozzles. Additional filters are located in the ink jet printers themselves in the fluid manifolds upstream of the narrow channels. Ink jet printing inks are commonly water-based, and contain either dyes (colored molecules) or pigments (colored crystalline materials). Design of ink jet printing inks is deceptively complex. For example, the ink should dry very rapidly when it lands on the paper, but it should not dry in the nozzle. A number of different additives are typically required in each ink, proper balance, to achieve the right mix of properties for high image quality and robust operation."
  8 paragraphs down this page>   http://www.imaging.org/ist/resources/tutorials/inkjet_printer.cfm
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 01:19:17 AM by DougStocks » Logged
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1072 on: January 02, 2013, 10:14:32 AM »
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Could it be the filters mentioned here are in the dampers, which are located at the very end of the ink lines, just before ink enters the head?  Seems that would make more sense to me since any filtered particles stopped by the "speedbumps" would then build up and clog the ink flow making it impossible for ink to reach the nozzles.  By the way this is the second image that I have seen in two days which pictures piezoelectric printhead nozzles looking nothing at all like the nozzles in our X900 printheads.  You've seen the pictures under the microscope yourself, I'm sure you agree.  I have another printhead here.  I have no idea what printher it is from or where it came from quite frankly.  Maybe Justing in SF gave it to me when he donated the 9800 head for exploration.  Anyway I'll take that head apart and compare the difference in piezoelectric nozzles.  I expect a huge difference.

By the way I ordered the X-100 Alan.  Lots of screening questions.  One in particular they asked me to describe my lab - "race bike, trophies, weights, two printers, a vacuum heat press and two microscopes."  ...I'll probably get denied   Smiley
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 10:32:06 AM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1073 on: January 02, 2013, 12:10:01 PM »
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By the way I ordered the X-100 Alan.  Lots of screening questions.  One in particular they asked me to describe my lab - "race bike, trophies, weights, two printers, a vacuum heat press and two microscopes."  ...I'll probably get denied   Smiley
It's not a hazardous substance so I think they should ship to you.  Probably you should have put down 'photographic printer researcher!'
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enduser
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« Reply #1074 on: January 02, 2013, 04:19:31 PM »
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Probably stating the obvious here, but, what about using Epson dye ink as a possible cleaning agent?
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1075 on: January 02, 2013, 05:48:13 PM »
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Adding fuel to the "It's not what you know, but who" fire, I can (as well) indeed confirm that "Dawn" was used to clean oil from animals affected by the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.  The retraction you might have picked up on considering the subject of saving wildlife in the Gulf with Dawn, Blue moon, and any potential manipulation of it's perception, could be related to the epic subject of BP's liabilities surrounding the disaster.  Apparently there was quite an effort put toward guarding some of it's more gruesome realities.  Dawn did in fact play an effective role in saving the animals, that were saved.
I am not doubting that Dawn did save some poor unfortunate birds and even one saved makes it worthwhile...on the subject of solutions....I promised to let you know the result of checking up on a new solvent used in stem cell research projects  to separate the silk produced by the humble silkworm from the glue used by that same worm to make a strong cocoon from its own  silk...seemingly,the process is 100% successfull in bringing the silk back to its original best condition and could do no harm to a printer if it doesntn harm silk...but the scientist involved said it was too complicated a process to be used as a solvent for printer use..its being targeted for medical research only..
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hugowolf
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« Reply #1076 on: January 02, 2013, 06:21:31 PM »
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... we have affectionately named "Holiday Mode".  Basically a program, or firmwear update, that would fire all nozzles of all channels in appropriate sized blocks of color - set at a user specified maintenance schedule.
The problem I have with ‘Holiday Mode’ software is that a roll of paper has to be loaded continuously during the period, and this is something that Epson has always envied against. Do the heads not fully park when paper is loaded ready to go?
Brian A
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davidh202
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« Reply #1077 on: January 02, 2013, 07:29:23 PM »
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Eric
Just had another brainstorm...

Vinegar as a solvent?
heat up some ink on a slide to bake it dry, and then see what happens when you apply Vinegar
It works to dissolve calcium and hard water deposits in my coffee maker!

David 
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1078 on: January 02, 2013, 08:00:46 PM »
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It's not a hazardous substance so I think they should ship to you.  Probably you should have put down 'photographic printer researcher!'

I'm getting the cold shoulder from Sigma Aldrich on the X-100 order.  It seems automated though, they're asking for documentation confirming this is a business, and they refuse to ship to a residential address.  I'll head underground and work this out another way tomorrow.
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Larry Heath
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« Reply #1079 on: January 02, 2013, 10:48:30 PM »
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go here for Triton x-100

http://www.sciencelab.com/page/S/PVAR/SLT2452  this one is $117 for 500 ml

All though I am guessing here, Kodak PhotoFlow 200 is likely effectively the same type of surfactant at a tenth the cost. It's $8 or so and you can get it from amazon.

Later Larry
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