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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 261876 times)
chaddro
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« Reply #1100 on: January 05, 2013, 09:23:28 AM »
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Hey Eric,

I looked up the error code in the field repair guide: 13xx Ink Cover Error

You may just need to check the ribbon cables.

131B Thermistor Sensor Error: The Thermistor on the Print Head Driver reports an over temperature condition

Remedy:

1. Re-seat the Print Head Cables on the Main Board side.
2. Re-seat the Print Head Cables on the Print Head side.
3. Replace the Main Board.
4. Replace the Print Head.

When D1 was out to replace my machines guts (AID board, pump cap, mother board) the tech said you can kill a print head and/or motherboard by improperly inserting the ribbon cables.
Of course, this was as he put the wrong mother board for my machine in the beast (he didn't check the board first). It was actually kind of funny in a morbid way. He's all chatty as he's reassembling
the machine (I was drilling him with questions), and grabs a ribbon cable to insert into the board ... and there's no socket for it ... cartoon moment with the question mark over the head - priceless!

I was wondering what you thought of making a "dedicated" cleaning station using an old pump cap in it's own rig. Is there a way to measure the maximum suction force the
pump cap generates? It would be nice to know if your in safety limits when drawing cleaning liquid through the head. But it must be "safe" to do if that is all the pump cap does.

I can't image a tiny aquarium pump generating much force, but who knows.

But, as you said recently, watching the pump cap suck ink out of the head is enlightening at how much it sucks out!

BTW, every time you mention the "oh canada" head I get that cringe in my gut for suggesting it. Seeing the actual blown ink channels makes me think dude took no care (or his own website's advice) about the maximum force that the head could handle. Futz.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1101 on: January 05, 2013, 11:59:40 AM »
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Thanks Chaddro.  You are truly the information mercenary.  Batteries charged, ready for battle.  I'll tear it apart after lunch.  I hope I didn't fry anything but if I did let's look at the bright side - I will finally have learned to cook.
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1102 on: January 05, 2013, 03:19:13 PM »
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We are officially up and running.  It was indeed a crooked ribbon cable at the printhead.  That's what I get for operating heavy equipment under the influence of illness. 

Machine fires up fine now, has a healthy appetite for ink (which means the fever has passed, it's acting normal again), and it actually prints.  Here's the thing though, it's pretty well starved for ink - most of the channels (including our suspect green) aren't producing much yet.  My initial hopes for this first cleaning test were that we could create a difference with our cleanings.  Any difference.  That hope of course was recently reduced to "I'd be happy if this head is still recognized as a printhead by the printer."

So our reduced hope has indeed been satisfied.  We damaged nothing, at least as far as I can tell.  As for whether or not we get all channels 100% firing again, we will know that soon.  I have to go buy more ink first... 

classic 


My gut though says we will not have cleared the piezoelectrics of dried ink.  I have a few dried channels here which have been removed from their heads.  I have been soaking them along with our in-tact heads.  Everything I have done to the printhead, I have done to these open channels.  The crap news is these open channels have not been cleared by our first-run, mild solution.  This is why I expect our 9900 head will still be clogged once I'm done flushing money down the maintenance cart (toilet).


so, good news and same news.  At least we now know that we can indeed successfully remove a head, soak a head, flush a head, re-install a head, and then print.

never surrender
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1103 on: January 05, 2013, 09:30:02 PM »
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Machine fires up fine now, has a healthy appetite for ink (which means the fever has passed, it's acting normal again), and it actually prints.  Here's the thing though, it's pretty well starved for ink - most of the channels (including our suspect green) aren't producing much yet. 
Eric
Sympathise with you firing ink into tank...its gut wrenching stuff...
If it helps at all....the following was my experience with dumping good ink...
i could not get any color after restarting a machine that was 2 years idle in Piezo Flush storage fluid...as an economy measure i dumped paper pads that were in the maintenance tank and replaced with handy sized ice cube block that fitted nicely into the emptied tank and means i recycle the tank and ink and  far more important ,I see the clean liquid (or ink depending)clear as daylight coming out of the park station  and falling into the tank..anyway ...the point is i got practically no ink landing on paper until i did a power flush...the result of the power flush was a mass of air bubbles lying on the top of the power flushed ink (recycled pink cleaning fluid actually ) in the remodelled maintenance tank...imo ..it would have taken years of regular printing to get that air out...after that i got a much improved print pattern ...there is no air at all to be seen in the maintenance tank  ...just my three regular clogs on paper..
Good luck with the clog stalk...i'd hate to be that clog when you come popping round the corner...its gonna turn green in the face...
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1104 on: January 06, 2013, 12:53:27 AM »
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All channels clear and shooting healthy again.  Didn't take as much (money) ink as I feared.  

....but (come on you KNEW there would be a "but") green is still out to lunch.

What was my original goal here in this first cleaning test - to create a difference?  Any difference?  Well we accomplished that - green is worse now.  Used to have two lines up top and two down at the bottom of nozzle patterns.  Now it just has one line at the bottom.  

Does this depress me you ask?  Am I defeated you wonder?  Will we press on regardless?  Oh how the hell do I know, I see about nine feet in front of me at all times.  Never farther for fear I'd stop right here.


I notice, and tell me if you think I am crazy, that unclearable clogs seem to come in groups.  More than that they seem to grow, like viruses sometimes.  And rarely from different areas of a channel.  Instead they usually grow outward, from one area.  This observation, which I am again observing on this green clog cluster, seems to have potential support of a theory that's been brewing in the back of what's left of my brain.  If chamber walls flex to fire nozzles, and only one wall separates each chamber, then it is more than likely that dried ink inside one chamber will have a limiting affect on how well it's neighboring chamber fires.  

Makes sense right?


We need now more than ever to find/test more effective cleaning solutions.  Like I said my open clogged test channel is unaffected by our rubbing alcohol/distilled water/Dawn concoction.  Now neither is our test head.  I think the operative word to focus on next is Larry Heath's "surfactant".  Right now that word sounds sexy to me
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 12:57:29 AM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Luca Ragogna
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« Reply #1105 on: January 06, 2013, 10:22:09 AM »
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It took several days to skim through this post and I'd like to say thanks to Eric and everyone else that has been experimenting, researching and theorizing about what goes on in these printers.

I have a 9890 with a nasty clog in the yellow channel, and I'm about to get started on trying to clear that up. Wish me luck.

I didn't read every post because there's just so many, so forgive me if someone already posted this idea.

I'm posting about the Holiday Mode idea. If it's basically to make sure that the printer prints something everyday then I have a bit of a solution for Mac users. It's far from perfect but *might* do the trick. Using Automator you can make an application to print a page and then schedule it in iCal to happen every day. I've attached a sample of what I'm talking about. The automator action picks a specified file and then sends it to the printer. Very simple but it'll take some tweaking to work for you.

Open the "Holiday Mode.app" application that I've attached by dragging it on to automator and in the "get specified finder items" box click the "X900_routine_print.jpg" item and click "remove" (I put it in there as a place holder). Now click "add" and find a file that you want to use to print every day. I'm going to use an 8x10 test page with all the colour ramps and such (8x10 because the system assumes you have letter sized paper loaded).

In the "Print Images" box pick your printer from the drop down. Save and close.

Open iCal (Calendar), make a new event, double click on it and click "edit". Set the time you want the print to happen and set repeat to "every day". Click on alert, select "Open File" - you'll get a few more options, the default file to open is iCal. Open the pull-down, pick "other" and find the automator action.

Now you'll have a test page print every day at the specified time as long as your printer is on with paper loaded. It will not print patches of pure ink but with a decent test page it should fire enough ink through the heads to keep everything moving.

Cheers!

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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1106 on: January 06, 2013, 11:12:24 AM »
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Nice work Luca.  Automator is one of many programs on my mac that I still don't grasp.  Thanks for this homework you've done. 

Here is something to consider - when you remove your printhead with the intent to experiment with clearing unclearable clogs, it's highly likely it'll be off the machine for some time.  This poses two extra (like there aren't enough already) challenges.  One, your head is even more susceptible to drying out once off the machine.  Two, so are your dampers.  I haven't talked about this because until we find a way to clear unclearable clogs why even suggest trying.  But since you're about to charge forward on your own quest I suggest you have a system in place to plug the dampers while the head is off the machine.  This will keep ink from draining out of the unit, and keep it from drying out.  We used dowels carefully slid into the damper fittings that the nipples of the head itself slides into.  Unfortunately ours were wood, which I would not use again as it absorbs the ink and seems to dry itself onto the rubber grommets of the dampers.  I will look for plastic, or rubber plugs to replace the dowels next time.  ...But I'm chasing down different chemicals first.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1107 on: January 06, 2013, 01:47:56 PM »
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I'm posting about the Holiday Mode idea.


Luca, thanks ever so much for doing this. I've downloaded it and made a PDF of your instructions in the referenced post. I shall have to make some time to play with it, as my life has been involving longish periods of absence from my printer (4900) and every time I come back to it, a good 45 minutes and a number of clean-print-clean-print cycles are needed to restore it to 100% - which it always does, but what a nuisance. The question then is whether your routine or my periodic regeneration routine will be the more cost-effective approach. The one qualm I have about any "holiday mode" is the need to leave both the computer and the printer on for weeks at a time with such intermittent use. I don't know whether it's an issue for either machine - as at least in the case of Epson the advice has always been to shut the machine off when not in use, to insure that the head is properly parked and sealed.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1108 on: January 06, 2013, 02:15:27 PM »
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I agree on the automotor idea Mark.  Good promise, just a few kinks to work out.  For me one would be roll paper rather than single sheets, for you that's not a problem. 


This morning I began experimenting with the cleaning solution HAL sent me months ago.  Again, this fluid came with no instructions other than "be careful, I have no idea what it does - rare few do".  So until now I have left it in the box it arrived in.  There are two fluids, one deep red the other clear.  From what I can tell after watching the two fluids sit on top of a clogged channel, the clear is most likely a rinse - not much goes on under the scope.  The red however is a different experience.  The channel I chose has been out in open air, without it's top, for weeks.  It is saturated with cyan ink, completely dried and hard.  The chambers are all locked solid with cyan ink, filled to the top.  After a good fifteen minutes with the red cleaning solution sitting on top of this channel, the red puddle turned purple - a good sign.  By the half hour mark, under the greatest magnification that this scope has (280x - which basically shows only eight chambers at once it's so zoomed in), it's a fascinating view.  It's like watching a video taken in low light, with the gain amped up.  What in the video would be digital color noise, is on the channel (I expect) the red cleaning solution working away at the dried cyan ink, on a microscopic level that I do not have the ability to fully see.  This movement is so tiny I have to ask myself if I am imagining it.  I am not.  To put a size reference together for you, imagine in my channel chamber speed bump illustration, a thousand or so tiny speckles of red and blue sparkles flashing between the narrowest passage of the speed bump and the opposing chamber wall.  Tiny stuff.. 

After a few drops of the clear solution wash the red away, the chamber wall tops are revealed.  They are square, sharp edged, immaculately clean, and full of hope that the rest of the chamber walls just below could possibly look the same with more time soaking.  Very interesting. 

Right now I have a free channel lying face down in a tiny puddle of the red fluid, inside a sealed Tupperware container.  I plan to let this soak for 24hrs.  This should be long enough to see if the clogs are at all clearer, and if the channel is at all damaged.  Interesting times lay just ahead.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1109 on: January 06, 2013, 02:19:53 PM »
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I agree on the automotor idea Mark.  Good promise, just a few kinks to work out.  For me one would be roll paper rather than single sheets, for you that's not a problem. 


Good that you mentioned the roll-holder - actually for me it's an opportunity, because the 4900 does have a built-in roll-holder, which I can imagine being more reliable to let the machine auto-manage compared with a tray-fed mechanism. The roll is a straight pass-through, while in the tray the paper needs to be pulled from the tray and turned for printing.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Larry Heath
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« Reply #1110 on: January 06, 2013, 04:55:47 PM »
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Discovery number 2:

About mid-way through this journey I sent our Epson Stylus Pro 7900 printhead to Canada, after me and my genius buddy decided we could do no more to help clear it on our own.  Once in Canada our head was subject to both an ultrasonic cleaning, and also a flushing.  When we got the head back into our 7900, all it produced were fatal error messages.  Our goose (printhead) was cooked.

In the many months since experiencing this disaster, I have done a lot more learning - thanks in great part to other (more intelligent/better educated/and vastly more experienced) users right here on Luminous Landscape.  I have also done a lot more thinking.  And, finally, I have done quite a lot of poking around INSIDE the very printheads which we have all grown to enjoy a love (beautiful prints) hate (ink-time-money-printer-destroying-clogs) relationship with.  While I do still have hope that we can find a cure for X900 clogs, for quite some time now I have quietly hidden my greatest fear - that terminal clogs are not clogs at all.  After all, the wonderful world of Piezoelectrics is not only amazingly tiny, but it is also amazingly fragile.  For sure with all of the aggressive Power Cleanings we are forced to resort to in order to combat the most tenacious clogs; the sucking, the smearing, the pressures of ink being forced through the printhead's internals - it is quite possible that we all walk a fine line between helping our printheads with cleanings, and hurting our printheads with cleanings.  So for quite some time my greatest fear has been a discovery that terminal clogs are actually damaged Piezoelectrics, rather than simply clogs.  

Since this very point is such a vital element of our journey, late last night I finally gathered the courage to act on finding our answer.  I performed an autopsy on our "Oh Canada" X900 Printhead.  Remember, before we shipped it to Canada it simply had un-clearable clogs.  It returned with "terminal errors".  While this is a tragedy, it is also an opportunity.  If the piezoelectrics in this Oh Canada head are damaged, well then here would be our answer - damaged piezos = fatal errors, dropouts = clogs.    Anyone else curious what I found?

It WAS too much fluid pressure that killed our Oh Canada head.  I feel confident in this assessment due to the fact that both channel pairs show damage exactly at the source of where the pressurized fluid would have entered from - which is the same place where ink enters from.  Take a look for yourself.  








Eric, a suggestion, while your current working microscopy setup seems to work pretty well, this cheap little jewel, or ones like it, linked below works quite well. It does still and video imaging direct to computer. For $40 or $50 it might make life a bit easier, simply attach to the camera tube of your scope. Ive done some photomicrographs at the 1000x to 2000x level that are quite serviceable. The thing has its own variable internal light source as well, so you could even possible use it without the scope up to about 400x. It also comes with software and standards so that you can directly measure the size of objects in the field of view.

I can see one bump and its 20 minutes of fussing around to get things all lined up again with your setup.

http://www.buy.com/prod/new-version-400x-usb-digital-microscope-video-camera-best-choice-of/222931099.html?listingId=147632864

Just a thought.

Later Larry

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Blue moon
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« Reply #1111 on: January 06, 2013, 07:01:42 PM »
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At last finished the glycol/glycerol power cleaning program with Epsons service solution and Inkjetmall Piezo Flush.Still have the same 3 jets clogged...
made no difference warming up the glycol as it entered the head...hoped that it might..
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1112 on: January 06, 2013, 07:25:17 PM »
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At last finished the glycol/glycerol power cleaning program with Epsons service solution and Inkjetmall Piezo Flush.Still have the same 3 jets clogged...
made no difference warming up the glycol as it entered the head...hoped that it might..

tenacious bastids aren't they...



Thanks for the tip Larry.  I actually have a camera mount for this scope which does make life a LOT easier, but the optics are not so great.  I've never seen this device you linked to.  Wish I had about a month ago, could have saved me a small bundle.  I think?
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chaddro
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« Reply #1113 on: January 06, 2013, 07:31:34 PM »
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Luca, thanks ever so much for doing this. I've downloaded it and made a PDF of your instructions in the referenced post. I shall have to make some time to play with it, as my life has been involving longish periods of absence from my printer (4900) and every time I come back to it, a good 45 minutes and a number of clean-print-clean-print cycles are needed to restore it to 100% - which it always does, but what a nuisance. The question then is whether your routine or my periodic regeneration routine will be the more cost-effective approach. The one qualm I have about any "holiday mode" is the need to leave both the computer and the printer on for weeks at a time with such intermittent use. I don't know whether it's an issue for either machine - as at least in the case of Epson the advice has always been to shut the machine off when not in use, to insure that the head is properly parked and sealed.

Hi Mark!

When D1 was out to work on my machine (9890), I again asked about this ON/OFF question. He said that when ever the machine is not actually printing or performing some kind of maintenance (cleaning, AID check, etc), that the head always returns to the capping station and is fully seated.

My 9890 is 1-1/2 years old now. I rarely ever turn it off. I can say that it's easily been on for months at a time. Personally, I think it's better to leave the printer on. This way pressure is maintain in the ink carts, and the lines, dampers and ink TO the head should NOT allow air to pull back into the system (a notorious problem with my 4000).

BTW, take a look at this post for how to schedule your machine to automatically power up. You could then run the holiday script, and then power down:

http://www.macgasm.net/2010/03/25/mac-os-x-tip-automatic-power-onoff-with-os-x/

« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 08:12:28 PM by chaddro » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1114 on: January 06, 2013, 07:45:55 PM »
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Thanks chaddro.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Larry Heath
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« Reply #1115 on: January 07, 2013, 08:19:38 PM »
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This patent makes for some interesting reading.

Eric I think I'd be really careful with that cleaning fluid you are using. If it indeed contains Silane compounds (Organometalics) at significant consentrations its is really something you do NOT want to make a mistake with. Don't get it on you or even breath the vapor, your eyes lungs liver and nervous system will thank you.

Later Larry
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 09:08:42 AM by Larry Heath » Logged
Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1116 on: January 07, 2013, 08:27:10 PM »
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which fluid are you talking about Larry?  I feel like flushing my entire downstairs in the toilet now.  Smiley

Hopefully no danger yet - I've only used rubbing alcohol distilled water and Dawn to any extent.  The "red" and "clear" fluids I got from HAL I've only used one drop of each (literally).  I didn't trust it then and I don't trust it even more now - having no idea what it is...  The one channel is lying face down in a drop of it now, sealed inside a tupperware container.  Now I don't even want to look at it..
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1117 on: January 08, 2013, 12:30:07 AM »
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Alright I read the patents.  Good for you my Mom could never get me reading this much.  I was a painter back in the day - high end cars.  Hated the chemicals, always paranoid.  They called me "the doctor".  I used airless sprayers, had outside air pumped in to my face mask, wore a white suit - even taped my wrists closed.  Still hated the chemicals so I quit.  Now I risk cutting my arms off with a 12" chop saw daily.  Doomed either way.

Sincere thanks for the warning Larry. 

I was about to dump the red cleaner in my waste jug but after rinsing the Cyan channel that I "think" I watched soak in the red cleaner - the one that sparkled - I checked it out under the microscope.  Maybe I confused something, it can't be the same channel.  Looks like it came straight from the factory - not a trace of blue in it, A N Y W H E R E.

WTF?

I have to confirm this, seems too remarkable to be true.  I set another channel face up with two drops of red cleaner, inside a small sealed container tonight.  We'll see what this thing looks like tomorrow.  Promise I will share.  In the mean time, always wear protection..

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« Reply #1118 on: January 08, 2013, 07:44:00 AM »
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I just read the patent and it's interesting on two counts.  It provides a reference to a number of key inkjet print and ink patents from other companies and gives a clue to how one can approach a cleaning solution.  The way they did the test was to put a drop of ink on a gold coated slide which was then baked at 80C to harden the deposit.  They then washed the slide with water and a significant amount of ink came off.  The residue was then treated with the cleaning solution to see what worked.  Now this is not something one can do at home!  The question is whether we can come up with a substitute that would provide an easy way to experiment without doing everything on the print head.  Let me think about this for a while.

The Kodak researchers were trying to combine three functions in their cleaning solution:  a biocide that will get rid of any microbial contamination (and this is again something to think about; I'm not sure whether this is a key problem or not), a surfactant (detergent), and a humectant (something to help keep things moist).  This is a delicate balance and the researchers chose the silane compound as it fills all three purposes.  We all know that isopropyl alcohol is a biocide (it's in a lot of hand sanitizers and wipes that are used prior to vaccination).  Epson use glycerols and glycols as humectants in the ink mixtures.  The one thing to consider is whether more detergent might be needed in mixture.  Again let me think about this.

EDIT:  I don't think we need to move to the use of toxic compunds like the silanes or pyrolidones that were mentioned in this patent disclosure.
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1119 on: January 08, 2013, 09:42:02 AM »
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[quote author=Alan Goldhammer link=topic=61585.msg588575#msg588575 date=

The Kodak researchers were trying to combine three functions in their cleaning solution:  a biocide that will get rid of any microbial contamination (and this is again something to think about; I'm not sure whether this is a key problem or not), a surfactant (detergent), and a humectant (something to help keep things moist).  This is a delicate balance and the researchers chose the silane compound as it fills all three purposes.  We all know that isopropyl alcohol is a biocide (it's in a lot of hand sanitizers and wipes that are used prior to vaccination).  Epson use glycerols and glycols as humectants in the ink mixtures.  The one thing to consider is whether more detergent might be needed in mixture.  Again let me think about this.

EDIT:  I don't think we need to move to the use of toxic compunds like the silanes or pyrolidones that were mentioned in this patent disclosure.
[/quote]

I know that when Epson want to go "agressive"  they turn up the Glycol tap.
I have experienced zero success on my own Glycol intensive power cleaning program over the bones of a month in terms of removing even one clog....
So Alan if might suggest to you not to ignore upping the surfacant attack ...see what happens
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