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Author Topic: Epson 4900 - 5 Clogged Nozzles Won't Clear  (Read 9970 times)
markrichardross
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« on: January 29, 2012, 10:39:35 AM »
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I have a relatively new (September 2011) 4900, that I had not used in about two months.  When I tried to make a print, I discovered that 5 of the nozzles are completely clogged -- not even a speck showing up on the print nozzle check.  I think I have tried everything to clear them, but... I have tried the manual (powerful cleaning) on the missing channels, powerful cleaning on all channels, auto cleaning, letting the unit rest overnight (as advised in the manual) and trying it all again, all to no avail.  Is this unit dead or is there anything I can or should try (short of calling Epson tomorrow) in order to get this puppy to work?  I am supposed to deliver a print on Monday (which is now going to be late, sigh).  Any help or advise is much appreciated.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 12:32:43 PM by markrichardross » Logged

Mark Richard Ross
bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 09:45:33 PM »
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Not so sure about the 4900, but in those situations on the 9880 out come to the lint-free paper towels and Windex bottles, long before we have exhausted the manual's suggestions.  I'd better let those who know the 4900 better than I continue this thought, but it's a variation on "get a bigger hammer."

I'm thinking the Epson Wide Format Forum will have a lot to say about this.
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Farmer
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 02:01:15 AM »
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It's under warranty - your best option if you've tried a couple of cleans (and let it sit for a while after doing them), is to contact Epson.  I know that's not really useful when you have a print to get out, but it's the best option.  To reiterate - when you do a clean or two - let the printer sit for a while and do a nozzle check - not lots and lots of continuous cleans.
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markrichardross
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 10:33:10 AM »
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I just called Epson.  I'll let you know how well it goes.  Thanks. One question while they have me on endless hold... does anyone think that it is (or is not) worthwhile to get the 1 or 2 year extended warranty?
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Mark Richard Ross
markrichardross
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 10:44:07 AM »
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I just got off the phone with Epson, and as the printer is still covered under warranty, they are simply replacing the unit.  The tech suggested that since I do not print every day (I do fine art prints in limited volume, alas!), that I run a nozzle check every day (or so).  He stated that it would use "very little ink" and keep the nozzles fresh with ink moving through them.  If this happens again, I will certainly entertain getting the extended warranty (replacement).
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Mark Richard Ross
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 11:20:15 AM »
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I've owned a 4880 for a few years (read: not an expert), and have been following this topic here in the forums. My experience agrees with what I've read as the three most commonly accepted reasons for "clogs" in Epson wide format printers:

1) New printers and sometimes new ink cartridges make bubbles in the lines that, when they reach the head, cause the whole channel to go out. When my printer was new, I could actually see the bubbles in the line. I don't know if the 4900 is built differently to avoid this, but if not your replacement printer will experience it too. I don't know a way around this.
2) Humidity. Winter in most places means dry air. These epson printers seem to fair much better in moderate humidity (not too low and not too high). After going away for Christmas, and leaving my printer unused for over a month (oh, and I live in the desert that is Utah) I was experiencing what you describe - most channels almost entirely clogged. After struggling with it for two days and getting very worried, I remembered that I should have had my humidifier on. After turning that on for a day, I came back to it and the nozzles all cleared up by the second cleaning! (not power cleans)!
3) Cleanliness. Avoiding dust always seems like a good idea for these touchy devices.
When I cut the previous print from the roll, the newly created edge on the roll should be wiped to remove any tiny paper bits. It seems to make a difference for me - or maybe it's just a superstition that I've built up.

Hope this was helpful.
Good luck with your new printer!
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markrichardross
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 12:13:34 PM »
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Thanks.  Someone else just told me about the humidifier solution (which makes sense to me) and suggested that in place of a humidifier, I could place a can of water (for evaporation purposes) in the printer, obviously making sure to remember to remove it every time, prior to printing.  I am not sure how wise (or not) this solution may be, (it would be harsh to forget to remove the can), but short of keeping a humidifier running in my studio all winter long, it may be a viable solution.  Any comments?
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Mark Richard Ross
Randy Carone
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 12:47:21 PM »
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Humidity is diffusive and will quickly disperse in the room it is confined to in order to reach equilibrium. I have high-end guitars in one small room in my house. The target humidity in this room is 45-55 RH. I use a Venta humidifier in this room and it is simple to keep it in that range. Generally, I have to put about a gallon of water in the reservoir each day and the room is only 12' by 12'. I think this is a better method than a can of water in the printer for three reasons. 1. I would NEVER put a water reservoir inside my printer - NEVER. 2. It won't increase the humidity in the room, which is the goal. 3. There is no mechanism - like the humidifier - to get the water dispersed to the air as fast as it needs to in order to do the job. I've heard the 'can-in-the-printer' suggestion a few times on this forum and I cringe every time I read it. Just sayin...
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 08:44:25 AM by Randy Carone » Logged

Randy Carone
markrichardross
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 01:25:22 PM »
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I guess a humidifier does make the most sense.  Knowing me, I would forget that I have the can in the printer and totally screw the pooch.  Which model of the Venta (or others) do you recommend?
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Mark Richard Ross
Randy Carone
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 02:06:37 PM »
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I use the LW14, which was ~$200. Here is the link

http://www.ventahumidifiers.com/

The main reason I like this unit is that it has a finned drum that spins in the water bath and when it spins free of the bath the fan blows on the fins and evaporates the water and blows the vapor into the room. They call the unit an airwasher as it claims to take dust and particulate matter out of the air and into the water. Other humidifiers that I tried put a white dust on everything in the room, which I later found out were the minerals from my hard water that was still trapped in the water droplets. This was an unacceptable situation so I dug and found the Venta that totally eliminates this problem due to the water evaporating and leaving any solids behind.

BTW, I have no affiliation with Venta; just a happy user. Smiley
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Randy Carone
markrichardross
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 02:41:33 PM »
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Thanks.  I will order one today.
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Mark Richard Ross
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 02:45:03 PM »
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From reading these and other forums, it seemed the open container of water is a common approach that works well. If the container is in the printer itself, the humidity can rise locally without affecting the room as a whole. However there was one post about mold growing in the printer (and I've never heard of anyone else experiencing it at all) but that scared me out of ever trying it. Also, the open container is for when the printer is off, but when I use the humidifier it is only before and when the printer is in use.
I'm just relating my approach. If you are willing to spend the time, it would be worth searching and reading through the old threads.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 04:01:49 PM »
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Before I can accept that a can of water can raise the humidity in the immediate area of the printer, I'd want to put a Radio Shack humidity gauge in the printer AND in the room it is in to prove that the humidity will be different in two places in the same room. I have doubts that you'll find two different humidity levels in the same room.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 04:20:07 PM »
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I'm with Randy on this.  Temperature (and rate of variation), air movement and existing relative humidity will have such a significant effect that a "can of water" solution (no pun intended) seems dubious at best without some hard measurement.

I also agree with the comment that sometimes a new printer just needs time to settle.  A good thing is to get a few decent sized prints done as soon as possible and then continue to make some regular use of it for a couple of weeks.  Nozzle checks are an ideal way to keep an eye on things, too.
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markrichardross
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 04:29:19 PM »
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I have now ordered the Venta humidifier (it will arrive before the replacement printer) and trust that the humidifier, along with regular "nozzle test prints," will nip the problem in the bud (so to speak).  The water in the can solution (again, no pun intended) seems interesting as the low tech way to deal with it.  I may just have to get a Radio Shack humidity gauge (or something else relatively inexpensive), just to check to see if indeed two humidity levels can be present in the same basic micro climate. Stay tuned.. 
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Mark Richard Ross
Jim Coda
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2012, 07:16:52 PM »
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I just got off the phone with Epson, and as the printer is still covered under warranty, they are simply replacing the unit.  ....  If this happens again, I will certainly entertain getting the extended warranty (replacement).

Mark, they may replace your unit with a refurb.  If so, make sure it's in as good a condition as yours and check the ink cartridges. 

As for the extended warranty, keep in mind that clogs are a real possibility.  The problem here is that the cost of the Epson warranty is very high.  If I buy another printer I'd be inclined to buy from B&H where you can get a two-year warranty at a fraction of the price for the Epson two-year extended warranty.  Plus, they also offer a four-year extended warranty (after the one-year expires) which Epson doesn't offer.   What I don't know is the track record of the service provider.     

Jim

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markrichardross
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2012, 07:22:12 PM »
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Yes, I am worried that they may replace it with a refub unit.  What should I look for as my unit is really pristine except for the damned clogs...

I did check on the price of the extended warranty and my oh my, but it is pricey - $349 for one year and $549 for two; certainly not worth it is they are going to replace with a refurbished unit.  The replacement is due to be delivered tomorrow.  I will let you know....
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Mark Richard Ross
Jim Coda
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2012, 07:30:59 PM »
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Yes, I am worried that they may replace it with a refurb unit.  What should I look for as my unit is really pristine except for the damned clogs...

I did check on the price of the extended warranty and my oh my, but it is pricey - $349 for one year and $549 for two; certainly not worth it is they are going to replace with a refurbished unit.  The replacement is due to be delivered tomorrow.  I will let you know....

If it were me and I didn't like its looks I'd reject it and tell Epson it is unacceptable.  See if Epson will repaired on-site.  If not, I believe you also have the option of bringing it to an authorized repair shop.  Depending on where you live that may be a good option. 

Jim
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chaddro
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2012, 09:12:09 PM »
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Yes, I am worried that they may replace it with a refub unit.

Mark,

Unless Epson has drastically changed the way they treat their Pro Imaging customers, your "refurb" should be indistinguishable from your original printer. It should be pristine.

I went through this when I bought my 4000. It had an issue (vertical banding which usually mean a drive belt issue), I was told I'd have a replacement ASAP. The tech assured me the replacement would be "better than new" because (at that time) they were hand check and tested. Hope that is still their policy.

I used my first set of carts to prime my new printer and then had a full set of ink for my troubles. I hope your 4900 will receive the same treatment!


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Shane Webster
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2012, 07:44:06 AM »
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Mark,

Other than one replacement 4900 I received (the ink ribbon holders caused friction on the ink lines producing a grinding noise), all have looked and operated like my last.  Epson sends new starter ink and has told me to keep everything from within my old printer when replacing.  The only items that come new are the power cable and roll paper mechanism.  I have a love-hate relationship with my 4900--love the output but it does cause me aggravation with clogs.  The best thing I've done for it is to ensure all head cleanings are activated--on startup, before each print job and random checks--and I don't send more than 5 sheets through per print job so that I'm assured of a head cleaning.  I've only had positive experiences with Epson customer support.
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