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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 351349 times)
Blue moon
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« Reply #1320 on: February 23, 2013, 07:00:19 AM »
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Eric

Just a quick one....i know your mind is probably somewhere inside a 7900 head right now scouting for a clog to destroy.....

I am only asking a view....its my responsibility if it fails ...

Is a gentle suck back of clean solution from front nozzle to back nipple with a small syringe and long pipe highly risky at this point.....

Just a view.....nothing else.....as i said to Alan i am ready to replace the head if i fail ..!

Thanks

Matt
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1321 on: February 23, 2013, 03:49:15 PM »
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From what I have seen, pressure is NOT our friend.  While I am aware of the fact that our machines create negative pressure to suck ink out of the heads in the direction of printing, I am not yet aware of how much pressure.  And I know no pressure is ever applied in reverse, by the machine at least.  

The last head that I performed an autopsy on showed evidence of pressure damage.  I am the only one who applied pressure to that head, and I was very gentle.  The current strategy I am developing avoids any pressure in any direction.  

The weakest part of an X900 head is the chamber deck floor.  Beneath this floor, which is so thin it's actually transparent, is a sealed reservoir that runs the length and width of the entire deck.  Too much reverse ink flow pressure, applied to a clogged chamber wall, pulls the chamber deck away from the surface of the printhead face - which causes it to collapse into the sealed reservoir.  

The X900 machine sucks ink through the head in the direction of printing, which I believe is safer because the chamber deck gets pushed up against the face of the printhead, which it is already in contact with (the top of each and every chamber wall is actually glued to the printhead face).  

This is a work in progress, I only started this morning.  Take a look at this X900 PRINTHEAD REVEALED page and you'll get a better idea of how the chamber deck can collapse with negative pressure drawn into the printhead face.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 03:50:52 PM by Eric Gulbransen » Logged

Blue moon
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« Reply #1322 on: February 23, 2013, 05:46:46 PM »
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The last head that I performed an autopsy on showed evidence of pressure damage.  I am the only one who applied pressure to that head, and I was very gentle.  The current strategy I am developing avoids any pressure in any direction.  

You have put more thought into this than anyone else........so i am going to hold back on photoflo until i see what your line of attack is going to be.....
Thanks
Matt
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1323 on: February 24, 2013, 01:42:33 PM »
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Alan

THE PHOTOFLO  MIX
Remember your recommendations for the above

6 parts water
2 parts isopropyl
2 parts glycerol
1/2 part photoflo

What do you think of the photoflo concentration in my attempt as follows   ...ps.   .i am in no way going to hold you responsible for any destruction that i can manage...i am already set to install a new head ( its 250 dollars for the 7800 if i blow the current one to bits )

8 parts Epson Cleaning Solution for aqueous inks.....footnote #1
2 parts isopropyl  footnote #2
1/2 part photoflo
Warm rather than cold solution......

Footnotes
# 1.  Composition of Epson clean solution for aqueous inks is :
Dietheylene glycol.               < 45%
Proprietary organic materials 0- 5%
Glycerols.           About.            15 %
Water.                                      Balance


# 2. I read somewhere this week that bacterias love to eat glycols...you may be able to confirm that......anyway i thought i would then go back to your original recommendation to include isopropyl in the mix as i believe it likes to eat bacterias !   

Thanks for any advice you might offer and your help up to now as well

Matt

I think your proposal makes sense.  You can delete the glycerol since the Epson cleaning solution already contains it.  Isopropyl alcohol is a germacide and a little stronger of a solvent than the glycols in the Epson solution.  We don't know the proprietary organic molecules in the Epson solution but I wouldn't be surprised if they are not some form of detergent.

Alan
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1324 on: February 24, 2013, 04:28:39 PM »
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Alan

Thanks for that advice...
will wait to hear from Eric about pressure problems...then i will try the phoflo  with his method..
will keep you informed

matt
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1325 on: February 25, 2013, 05:12:26 PM »
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Initial signs suggest it's not a waste of time.  Only live two weeks.  Awesome!

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jack777
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« Reply #1326 on: February 26, 2013, 02:08:35 AM »
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Blue moon - I've done that:)

Small pressure didn't hurt my head but didn't help to clear my clogs either. Big pressure however blew off 90% of the channel. The funny thing however is that when you push the liquid with a syringe it appears to be flowing through all nozzles. However the test afterwards shows that 90% of the channel is dead. 
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1327 on: February 26, 2013, 08:32:38 AM »
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Blue moon - I've done that:)

Small pressure didn't hurt my head but didn't help to clear my clogs either. Big pressure however blew off 90% of the channel. The funny thing however is that when you push the liquid with a syringe it appears to be flowing through all nozzles. However the test afterwards shows that 90% of the channel is dead. 
Thanks for that
The only method that i would consider now is a drip setup...
But will wait for Eric to see what he has up his sleeve
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1328 on: February 26, 2013, 09:36:13 AM »
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The funny thing however is that when you push the liquid with a syringe it appears to be flowing through all nozzles. However the test afterwards shows that 90% of the channel is dead. 

I've had the exact same experience jack777.  Barely any pressure at all and ink comes out of all nozzles.  This suggests a few scenarios to me, and likely a few I haven't even considered yet.  Either the nozzle face is lifting from the top of the piezoboard, allowing ink to flow above the chambers and out of all the nozzle openings, or it doesn't take a floor to ceiling full of dried ink to keep chamber walls from firing, which would allow some ink to flow through a chamber with enough artificial pressure applied.
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1329 on: February 26, 2013, 10:26:55 AM »
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Blue moon - I've done that:)

Small pressure didn't hurt my head but didn't help to clear my clogs either. Big pressure however blew off 90% of the channel. The funny thing however is that when you push the liquid with a syringe it appears to be flowing through all nozzles. However the test afterwards shows that 90% of the channel is dead. 
Just a thought...
With small pressure applied is it possible that solution strength is not powerful enough to shift the clog...in other words ,does there need to be a relationship between solution strength , pressure applied and for how long is pressure applied.....
Possible to ask you what you fired through the head for solution ?
Eric and yourself seem to be getting on well  ..wouldn't like to be in the clog family....
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arcman
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« Reply #1330 on: February 26, 2013, 09:01:39 PM »
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I spoke with Eric a few weeks ago on the phone about this matter and thought maybe I should present my view on this to the group.

I've had dropped nozzles/clogging issues on a few 9800's.  So severe that I decided to do some drastic cleaning, possibly taking the chance of ruining the head.  I'd read about using Windex or Simple Green, doing the soaked paper towel method.  That didn't work out, so I removed the head and injected Windex directly into the ports.  It took a couple of tries and eventually I got it clean.



We know Windex loosens dried ink.  Try squirting some on a dry print and rub it.  Then try it with your favorite head cleaning solution.  I'd bet Windex dissolves ink better.  The expensive pro cleaning solution I purchased did virtually nothing.  Contrary to many who claim Windex will ruin your heads... baloney.  The heads are still working fine two years later. 

My view on this head clogging is this... Use the machine!  A lot.  I wonder if any here, who use the machine on a daily basis have nozzle clogs that they can't clear up with a regular cleaning?

If you don't use the printer a lot ( like me ), then I personally think the following approach is the best ( for now ). 

Rinse the ports with distilled water, inject Windex, let it sit for a day, periodically shaking the hell out of it and then rinse.  Repeat for two more days.  This way, the cleaner will slowly attack the dried ink and loosen the clog.  You would think ultrasonic cleaning would be the trick, but it must do some internal damage.  I have a friend who claims he fixed his desktop printer head using the ultrasonic method but I wasn't about to try that first.  Now... If your head has rows of clogged nozzles or you've already done way too many power cleanings, you may have damaged it beyond repair.

After doing this procedure, use the syringe and pre-fill each port with the proper ink color before re-installing the head so you don't waste a bunch of ink with the printer filling up the head.

I do have one other comment on a previous poster who claimed a power cleaning only sucks ink into the head.  On the 9800, that's not the case.  A power cleaning, as with any cleaning, the head fires all nozzles, just lots more.  I've had the side cover off mine and watched it spray a whole lotta ink during a power clean.  Also, I bet you didn't know that every time the head comes off the paper to the right, it squirts ink out of the nozzles into the flushing box.  Thanks Epson.

As to the nozzle plate 'lifting', I've had it happen to two heads ( out of four x800 machines I've bought used ).  One was loaded with Chinese aftermarket ink and the other using dye sub inks  ( I've read this is quite common with dye sub ink ).  The plate de-laminates from the head and ink flows into adjacent ports.  With the right glue, these might be repairable.

Wonder how many Epson owners this has happened to? ( When I called Epson on a couple different occasions, the techs said they'd never heard of this. Yeah, right...)



P.S. Eric...  What happened with the guy in Denver?  I was hoping you'd give him a call and email back.

Lee Hagen
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hugowolf
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« Reply #1331 on: February 27, 2013, 09:24:29 AM »
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An interesting diagram of the pump mechanism of the Epson 3880 (3850 in Asia). You may already be familiar with it, but I wasn't.
http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=57914#p57914

Brian A
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jack777
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« Reply #1332 on: February 28, 2013, 02:06:02 AM »
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We simply used water.

Another thing I forgot to mention. When the tech came and plugged in his computer to our printer it turned out our cleaning pump motor was at 200% of it's expected lifespan. The important thing now is that the printer won't tell you that - only with the secret tech soft you can access that data. However if one more part will run out of it's lifespan (sorry, forgot which one) you'll get an error and won't be able to print.

So one day when your printing the most important job in your life your printer may say to you without any warning "Hey! It's time to replace my cleaning station."

After that I had a little talk with the tech:
- If the pump is so tired did it kill my head?
- This is highly unlikely.
- So why are you replacing it even though you didn't know it was so old before you came here?
- Our experience shows it's better to do so.

As you may see the tech wasn't too effusive. I also asked him is there any other part that I need to worry about. And you know what? The next part on it's list was carriage motor. And it was at 18%. At that point I asked WTF? pump is at 200% and the next thing is at 18%? "So the printer says"

Also the tech was refereing to the entire cleaning station as pump and he replaced the entire cleaning station. I can't say exactly how but it's slightly different than the old one. Nothing major but for example the cloth that collects the gunk from the wiper blade seems different.

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Blue moon
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« Reply #1333 on: February 28, 2013, 03:46:30 AM »
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My view on this head clogging is this... Use the machine!  A lot.  I wonder if any here, who use the machine on a daily basis have nozzle clogs that they can't clear up with a regular











Lee Hagen

Lee
Dont mean to contradict you here...it seems you know how to look after your 9800 better than most....and there is hundred different ways to get to the same end result...
You may (or may not ) have noticed that i am in the middle of testing a 7800 for clogs over close to a year now....the printer has only printed two a4 in that time...i think that conventional wisdom would say that printer has to be in serious trouble by now...it does get a daily startup and a 15 day auto test...all winter it has been enjoying about 16 cel plus 55 humidity ....for  most of the year it also got a gentle shakeup daily to keep pigments stirred up...right now i am trying to disprove my little theory about shaking up pigments by not shaking the printer and it is behaving as well as ever...in a months time i will be able to say something more definite about pigments settling and causing trouble....
I am beginning to have a view that a consistently coolish air space is good for inks...around 16 celscius with no direct sunlight hitting windows if possible....or possibly shades blinds etc to keep temperature consistent....probably not practical if you live in the States  in the summer...
By inference if there is no major trouble being caused to this printer through inactivity and pigment settling problems then that would lead me to thing that more of the running problems may be developing by coming up into the head from the park station ,wiper hygiene matters ...rather than from sticky ink coming directly from the cartridges....a hunch....
BTW
your windex routine is cool.....like the idea of rinsing the head first with water and then filling the head with ink after the third windex syringe push through...question....would you recommend rinsing the head with distilled water after you have finished with the windex and before you load the head again with inks...i will try the photoflo soup first and hopefully it is better than pro fluid on its own...then i will move on to windex...then...
Thanks
Matt
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arcman
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« Reply #1334 on: February 28, 2013, 08:33:26 AM »
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More thoughts...

Humidity.

If you take a good look at the pump/cap assembly and really understand how it operates, you'd probably realize you're wasting your time on keeping humidity up in, or around the printer..  By design, it's marriage with the head is completely sealed.  If the rubber cap seal hasn't been damaged, the head lives in a moist environment.  When the head is parked, it sits atop all that water based ink that has soaked the pad in the cap.  If you don't think it's moist enough, do what I do when I don't plan on printing for a while.  I move the head out of the way and squirt water to puddle the pad.  Wipe the excess at the bottom and then re-park the head.

Pump cap assembly.

Not sure about the x900 series, but for x800 owners who are convinced their pump is bad...  Don't bother replacing it.  It's also an extremely simple design and not prone to wearing out.  Basically, it's a rolling pin that rolls in a circle and squeezes a latex hose.  How long do you think it would take to squeeze a latex hose 'til it wears out?  One of my printers had 40k+ prints on it when I bought it and the pump is fine.  Epson must make a fortune ripping off users convincing them they need a replacement. 

One thing you can do is give it a good cleaning.  Remove the pump assembly, remove the circlip and gear ( yellow arrow ), make sure the screw ( red arrow ) is good and tight and then use a powered screwdriver and to run that gear counterclockwise while flushing the pad ( green arrow ) in Windex and then hot water.



While on the pump thought, Matt's correct in thinking the wiper most likely plays a part in nozzle clogs.  Ink slowly dries on it over time and then it goes and wipes itself across the head.  Not real smart.  This may not be an issue if the printer is used on a regular basis but if it sits for a while, the wiper really ought to be cleaned with a Windex soaked Q-tip before ( or after ) every use.

Settling in cartridges.

I don't think this is really much of an issue.  If there is settling of pigment, it shouldn't find it's way out of the cart because the outlet is not on the bottom of the cart.  Ok, so maybe you shake them once in a while?  Anything thick enough to plug a nozzle should get trapped by the extremely fine filter in the damper.  Speaking of dampers... Don't bother replacing them.  Clean them with Windex and then hot water, using a syringe. I made the dingus below to suck ink out of "empty" carts but it works for this too.  Make sure you suck the fluid from the output side as there is a one way valve which prevents pressure from the inlet side.



Matt:  Yes, rinse with water and then fill with ink.

Lee
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hugowolf
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« Reply #1335 on: February 28, 2013, 10:27:01 PM »
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To hearken back to the idea of a program that runs a print of all inks on a regular basis to prevent clogged nozzles. It may work to prevent permanent clogs, but I donít think that it will do much to prevent minor clogs.

Yesterday I did a nozzle check on a Epson 9890 about midday. I did little printing that afternoon, perhaps 8-10 prints for a total of 12-16 square feet, but did note that the LLK cartridge went down from 2% to 1%.

Today I did paper work in the morning, then some sheet prints on another printer. In the afternoon I did a nozzle check on the 9890. The LLK pattern was incomplete in three places. I repeated the nozzle check print, hoping it would clear and knowing a pair cleaning would involve replacing the LLK cartridge. There was only one incomplete line in the pattern now, but five more nozzle check prints did nothing. I printed an A4 sized test image with a good gray ramp, still no change to the pattern. I was left with no alternative but to install a new cartridge and do a pair cleaning, which did then produce a clean nozzle check print.

I do a nozzle check every working day. Sometimes, such as around Christmas and New Year, the printers may go a week or more without printing or a nozzle check and still show a clean print when started up. But you can print one day and have a minor clog the next, and I presume that major clogs start with minor clogs that go untreated.

Brian A
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Blue moon
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« Reply #1336 on: March 01, 2013, 05:56:23 AM »
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More thoughts...

Humidity.

If you take a good look at the pump/cap assembly and really understand how it operates, you'd probably realize you're wasting your time on keeping humidity up in, or around the printer..  By design, it's marriage with the head is completely sealed.  If the rubber cap seal hasn't been damaged, the head lives in a moist environment.  When the head is parked, it sits atop all that water based ink that has soaked the pad in the cap.  If you don't think it's moist enough, do what I do when I don't plan on printing for a while.  I move the head out of the way and squirt water to puddle the pad.  Wipe the excess at the bottom and then re-park the head.

Lee.....
I have always felt that a really well kept clean moist park station plus " head in bed " on that station is an air tight bond (between station and head ) should give somewhat the same performance as ink sealed in a cartridge is expected to give..there really is no diffference between the environment in a cartridge and a sealed park station is there ?
So i personally see your point that with a good rubbarisd seal , humidity should not be a threat to inks....on the other hand you will notice earlier in this thread from people in the ink business that its possible to get extra life from colder ink...store spare ink in a fridge for example...Eric has built a protective barrier to control humidity...suppose i could persuade him to include say 16 celscius as his temp for the coming summer....inside the barrier.....sounds impossible......where i hunch that temperature really affects the smooth running of the nozzles is with the spilt inks left uncleaned on the nozzle surface....the warmer the climate the faster will a clog build...
To summarise :  printer  design i  feel are nowhere near healthy when one considers how do we dispose of surplus to requirement inks left on heads blades park stations etc.....the current way of thinking is use use use resinised inks to keep the fluidity in the flow line...you are the first to say clean up the park station gear after each days use...i really like that approach...its just sensible.....like a meat shop cleans up every night before closing
Matt





While on the pump thought, Matt's correct in thinking the wiper most likely plays a part in nozzle clogs.  Ink slowly dries on it over time and then it goes and wipes itself across the head.  Not real smart.  This may not be an issue if the printer is used on a regular basis but if it sits for a while, the wiper really ought to be cleaned with a Windex soaked Q-tip before ( or after ) every use.

Settling in cartridges.

I don't think this is really much of an issue.  If there is settling of pigment, it shouldn't find it's way out of the cart because the outlet is not on the bottom of the cart.  Ok, so maybe you shake them once in a while?  Anything thick enough to plug a nozzle should get trapped by the extremely fine filter in the damper.  Speaking of dampers... Don't bother replacing them.  Clean them with Windex and then hot water, using a syringe. I made the dingus below to suck ink out of "empty" carts but it works for this too.  Make sure you suck the fluid from the output side as there is a one way valve which prevents pressure from the inlet side.



Matt:  Yes, rinse with water and then fill with ink.

Lee

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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1337 on: March 01, 2013, 10:05:23 AM »
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Sorry Matt race season is upon me.  The walls of time are closing in on me so I have to make this quick:

1 - measurable difference using my moisture barrier cover over the 7900.  I'd say it clogs 60-70% less.

2 - It is possible to clear a clog in an X900 head.  We've proved that.  What we haven't done yet is clear a clog without damaging the head.  I am building a prototype machine to clean the next head I get, which is on it's way to me now.  New strategy will include no pressure, no ultrasonic vibration.  Instead I am focusing on circulation.  Movement of the cleaning fluid passed the face of the head while it is submerged, coupled with a reservoir attached to the nipple plate filled with extra fluid.  There's more to it than that but you get the idea - steady flow.

3 - In the background I have been working on a capping station theory which compliments Lee's suggestion.  Good time to mention it now I guess.  I plan to modify the right side cover on this 9900.  I will make it easily removable.  Idea is to release the head, slide it to the side, roll the capping station manually into view, check that it's clean then spray it with a mixture of distilled water and glycerin - a humectant.  This will have to be tested of course but the hope is it will help keep the head from drying.
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Garnick
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« Reply #1338 on: March 01, 2013, 11:54:18 AM »
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Hello All,

It's been quite a while since I've contributed to this thread, but I usually check in 2-3 times a week for updates.  As we all appreciate, Eric and his genius buddy Steve have certainly done a stellar job of R&M(research & maintenance) on the X900 printers.  I was just about to make a donation, but decided to write this first.  I put my 9900 into operation on April 20, 2010 and simultaneously started a "Printer Problem Log", which I have been adding to as necessary.  I now have exactly 100 entries and will shortly be adding to that.  All of this due to the various posts on this and another forum before I bought the 9900, thus I was somewhat prepared.  I say "somewhat prepared" because after using two 7600s for many years I was quite astounded at the frequency of issues with the 9900.  The most prolific of course being the ubiquitous head clogs and seemingly unending cleaning cycles necessary to finish a job that had been started only after making sure I had a good nozzle pattern.  One job consisted of 10-24x36 prints.  Near the middle of the job I noticed the colour shifting slightly warmer than the first prints.  After a couple more prints I ran another nozzle check and found both the C and LC had many dropouts.  After two cleanings the LC was gone completely.  Eventually I was able to finish the job, but the dumped ink and wasted time certainly cut into the profit margin as you might expect.  I won't go into any more detail at this point, except to say that the next few months were full of wasted time, paper and ink.  On Thursday, Nov.26, 2010 I talked with a tech at Epson and arranged a service call.  Here in Canada the service company is Glodyne Decision One and the following Wed a tech arrived.  He installed a Pump/Cap Station and a new Print Head.  The printer couldn't communicate with the new head at all, so he reinstalled the original head and it worked fine.  For the next couple of months I experienced the usual nozzle dropouts, but nothing a few pairs cleanings couldn't take care of.  Mar. 29,2011 I started having massive dropouts in the LLK and could NOT solve this issue.  April 5, 2011 was my second service call.  This time another NEW Print Head and this one worked.  Also, the damper assembly was replaced.  Therefore, I had 2 service calls and various parts replaced within the first year of use.  By the middle of April I was starting to see banding in the blacks, as well as an issue with the overall quality of the printed image.  Looked rather "grainy", as if printed at 360dpi.  April 28, 2011, another service call.  When the tech removed the Pump/Cap Station from the box there were several pieces broken and had to be returned.  He did install the new Wiper Blade in the older Pump/Cap Station.  Ran several head alignments and the mechanical alignment as well.  Through the summer months there were the usual nozzle dropouts, accompanied by more frustration and wasted time, paper and ink.  Hmmmm, I guess this is becoming too long a read now, so I'll skip to the chase.  Had to take 6 weeks off due to health issues and then back Dec.1.  I believe the printer had worn me out!  Near the end of Dec I noticed escalating issue with the Y ink, dropouts more often and difficulty clearing the problem.  Checked the ink bay and was pretty sure there was a problem with the Y  connector seal.  Jan.17 2012, another service call.  Replaced the left ink bay and yet another Pump/Cap Assembly.  From that point on I dealt with air pockets in three ink lines along with the accompanying clean cycles and wastage.  Epson replaced some of the ink wasted in these situations without any discussion.  Other related issues as well, including a sever banding issue in the MK.  And the saga continues.  During the following months the dropouts continued, as did the seemingly never ending cleaning cycles, including several power cleans.  Through Christmas 2012 the printer seemed to behave quite well and then into the new year also.  However, last week I noticed a banding issue appearing in the blacks, although all of the nozzle checks were 100%.  Could not get a solid deep midtone through highlight, especially in a B&W print.  Also noticeable in full colour prints, but rather subtle in some.  Called Epson two days ago and the next service call will probably be Wed, Mar. 6.  It's a slow process here in Canada it seems.  

WHEW!!!  Sorry to be so long winded here, but this has definitely been a long journey and I have tried to keep it as short as possible, leaving out repetitive issues.  I started this post with the intention of offering only one piece of advice to anyone in the market for a X900 large format printer, but also felt that some history might help along the way.  My advice is as follows, quite simple actually - RENEW YOUR WARRANTY TO THE LIMIT!!!  I was reluctant to lay out that amount of money until three service calls later.  They would have paid for a new printer easily, so it was a no-brainer at that point.  I now have one month left on my final warranty extension with Epson, so I'll be relying on Eric's site for guidance from that point forward.  I have at least done the Wiper Blade cleaning but not much else, since the machine is still under warranty.  

Once again I will repeat - RENEW THE WARANTY!!!  It's an insurance policy well worth the money.  Believe me, I know from experience.

Thank you Eric, and now back to your site to leave some $$$.

Gary                  
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Eric Gulbransen
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« Reply #1339 on: March 01, 2013, 03:13:08 PM »
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....wow

What a story Gary.  Definitely not too long.  The more detail the better. 

I commend your perseverance, and your positive attitude. 

Gary just paid MYX900.com hosting fees for a year!   

Dream, realized.

Thank you Gary
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