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Author Topic: Where failed print head complaints come from  (Read 9453 times)
Scott Martin
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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 09:46:37 AM »
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I don't agree, unless the x900 printers are badly designed. With older printer you could not print for weeks, months or even years and the clogs were fixable.

I agree! Clogs used to be fixable on Epson's and when the heads finally died years and years later people were happy to finally upgrade. I'm alarmed by how many x900 printers are needing replaced heads and all of the complaints I'm hearing about it are coming from low volume users. The x900 printers are clearly a break from the past in this respect. For Canon iPF users, again low print usage leads to premature head failure. So yes, I feel a huge percentage of complaints are coming from people who just aren't using their printer enough.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2012, 09:47:48 AM »
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Often overlooked or minimized is the dramatic affect humidity has on all of these printers.

Excellent point Wayne!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2012, 09:49:50 AM »
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Yes, that's a particularly good technique for Epsons in particular and was the saving grace for Epson 4000 users!

Yes, that and the humidity level. The Epson 4000 was a clog monster; much has improved dramatically since those days.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2012, 09:56:59 AM »
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.............. I'm alarmed by how many x900 printers are needing replaced heads and all of the complaints I'm hearing about it are coming from low volume users.

Well Scott, this seems to beg the whole question, doesn't it? Just how many x900 heads DO need replacement and after what time periods, relative to the number of these printers sold since they were first marketed, and does this number exceed normally expected performance criteria? Who outside of Epson itself would have such information? And wouldn't one need it before becoming "alarmed"?

And we do need to distinguish between "complaints" and actual head replacements. People can complain about anything and everything. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with needing a head replacement. I could complain about my 4900 if it needed a nozzle cleaning after not using it for a few weeks, but that would be a frivolous complaint because I should expect pigmented ink to not flow too well if left idle in the printhead for so long a time. If it suffered clogged nozzles every other day in conditions of sustained use, that would be another talk-show and valid grounds for a complaint (bit it doesn't).
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2012, 10:04:58 AM »
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Well Scott, this seems to beg the whole question, doesn't it? Just how many x900 heads DO need replacement and after what time periods, relative to the number of these printers sold since they were first marketed, and does this number exceed normally expected performance criteria? Who outside of Epson itself would have such information? And wouldn't one need it before becoming "alarmed"?

I advise and watch over a large body of clients using all kinds of printers. Among my own pool I've got several hundred x900 users and I'm alarmed by how many of them have had to throw theirs in a dumpster 6-18 months after their initial purchase due to permanently clogged heads who's replacement by Epson would exceed the cost of buying a new printer. These printers aren't cheap and can understand their complaint. That said, much more head replacement complaints come from Canon iPF users and that's primarily the audience I'm speaking to in my OP. Seems like a lot of hobbyists buy these printers expecting them to be trouble free with extremely little usage and that's just not the case. Need to get the word out on this.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2012, 10:12:02 AM »
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Well, very interesting, and I hope I do not become one of those whose printer is headed for the dumpster next year - as long as it works it really churns out gorgeous prints, as we both know.What you say about the Canons should not come as a total surprise, because those heads are meant to be replaced (albeit pricey), whereas the Epsons are not - for Epsons the head is basically the printer. The main question about the Canons is whether those heads are also failing prematurely for the same low-usage reason.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »
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What you say about the Canons should not come as a total surprise, because those heads are meant to be replaced (albeit pricey), whereas the Epsons are not - for Epsons the head is basically the printer.

It's a surprise for both Epson and Canon users when heads die on a fairly new printer with low usage. Canon heads have been known to last 3-6 years with regular usage (well beyond the expected life of the printer) and yes, we've come expect Epson heads to last as long.

The main question about the Canons is whether those heads are also failing prematurely for the same low-usage reason.

No question about it. Low-usage is the reason for the vast majority of premature head failures on iPF printers.


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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2012, 11:31:12 AM »
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It's a surprise for both Epson and Canon users when heads die on a fairly new printer with low usage. Canon heads have been known to last 3-6 years with regular usage (well beyond the expected life of the printer) and yes, we've come expect Epson heads to last as long.

No question about it. Low-usage is the reason for the vast majority of premature head failures on iPF printers.

The discussion here, and on the other thread, which should probably enter into a web-forum Guinness Book of Records, prompted me to go back to the Epson website (I didn't check Canon because I use an Epson 4900) and read and download all the materials they provide to the public describing the 4900, which of course is an x900 product and shares the printhead technology of the other x900s. There isn't a peep or a hint that people who buy this product should consider it needing fairly continuous usage in order to protect the features they describe - in particular the claim about the ink-repellant head coating making clogs almost a thing of the past. Nor do they recommend anywhere that low volume users should consider buying the extended warranty for the USD 535 they priced it at. For this relatively low price one ends-up with three year's protection from the cost of replacing the machine due to head failure or any other non-user induced cause, and presumably they calculated the price of that warranty based on the cost and expected frequency of it being called, and on a basis whereby they would not lose money on warranty servicing. So based on the published material, there is no reason provided by Epson for users to expect premature head failure as a function of low usage; hence what you are saying about this being a surprise amongst affected parties appears to be understandable, if indeed the low-usage/head failure correlation really has merit as you indicate from your data.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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jenea
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2012, 03:20:47 PM »
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I have had two clogged heads in my 4900 for the last three months. no matter how many cleanings i did the VML and LC were always clooged and got worse after each cleaning. so i tried humidity and everything else I could find. finally called epson and they said that those two colors are on a matched line and that that must be the issues as i never had any issues with any of the other colors. So I called last thurs and today got delivered a replacement unit. They weere very fast and professional. I asked if there was something i did or did not do that caused the clogs. They sai no for the above mentioned reason.

I have to say that reading this thread made me think I could have done something to prevent it but epson said there was nothing i could have done. Oh one more thing, the sent me the replacement printer with full 80ml ink cartridges and told me to send back my unit with no ink, to keep what I had in my old printer. I assumed it would be sent with no ink in it. Gotta say, Epson you really impressed me with your service!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2012, 03:58:17 PM »
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I've had similar experience with Epson's service and I have been likewise impressed.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2012, 08:08:31 PM »
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I would not be surprised if a very active research program is going on behind the scenes to develop a true dye ink with equivalent display life.  Almost all these problems would likely go away then.

If these wide format machines need extended warranties, almost continuous use, humidity controlled locations, replacement of parts such as wipers and others, and none of this is said to a purchaser, well ....   Bad luck for the specialist print business with a low volume, high qualty client base.

Perhaps a new purchase/use method is needed such as a leasing plan from the manufacturers agent - so much a month in return for the machine being kept going? Huh
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2012, 03:06:16 PM »
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There have been some significant advances in dye ink systems, and several commercial systems doing high speed inkjet utilize dye inks. Not sure it's ready to replace pigment, guess we'll see.

As far as heads of the new printers vs the old printers on Epsons, I do think the technology and complexity of current heads is vastly different than the older printers.  The technology was "beta" tested in the 11880 where it proved very good, but then not many spent $15k for a printer that didn't put it into serious production.  Now the technology has filtered into lower priced and lower utilized printers head issues have become more frequent.  I think over cleaning of underutilized printers is hard on the delicate components of current heads thus we see more head failures.

Even the 3880 head doesn't use the same technology.  The new heads are designed for amazingly precise dot placement and shape, with the unfortunate trade off perhaps being more problematic and prone to breakdown with low volume users.

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cybis
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2012, 10:18:25 PM »
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...
I also have an image I create which I use before and after every nozzle check, and I print out about once a week if I'm not using the printers.  I designed it specifically to make sure all colors get some ink, trying to get them balanced.  Still not perfect, but every color gets between .07 and 1.2 ml of ink when printing the page.  Here's a little thumbnail of it ...

Hi Wayne, I'm intrigued by your teaser image; it seems like a very good idea...

I live in arid Arizona and I too run a humidifier 24/7 in my office. My 7900 still does clog regularly but it always goes away with one clean cycle.

I’m curious, when you print the ‘purge’ image, do you find that it actually solves a clog mid-print? Does the print start with some banding but sometimes ends just fine? Also, could printing with known clogs cause damage to the head, like overheating or baking ink in?

Thanks!
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2012, 12:05:05 PM »
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I now normally print this image out on regular paper before I run a nozzle check.  I rarely see clogs anymore.  However when I designed the page I did it because I was seeing occasional clogs of one or two nozzles in  a few different colors.  I figured printing the page might use less ink than a clean, and was probably better on the head and found that just printing this page cleared several of the clogged nozzles.  I also print the page after I do a clean and before a verification nozzle check. 

I haven't ever gotten a nozzle clog mid print with the 9900 and 4900 (knocking on wood now).  Not sure if it's luck or the way I use this page and maintain the head.

Epson recommends printing something after cleaning.  Seems a nice feature would be the printer itself printing about 1/2 page driving every nozzle briefly then printing the nozzle check at the tail end of the paper. I guess something they might not consider because the vast majority of these printers function very well with the auto nozzle detect system, which works quite well except for low utilized machines.
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tmphoto
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2012, 07:24:44 PM »
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Among my own pool I've got several hundred x900 users and I'm alarmed by how many of them have had to throw theirs in a dumpster 6-18 months after their initial purchase due to permanently clogged heads who's replacement by Epson would exceed the cost of buying a new printer.
I am looking for one of those printers to do controlled tested using different cleaning fluids and techniques. A busted head with some good colors would be perfect to test what cleaning fluids are safe. Main concern is that the coating may be damaged which was not a problem with the older printers.
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Farmer
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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2012, 07:47:22 PM »
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Among my own pool I've got several hundred x900 users and I'm alarmed by how many of them have had to throw theirs in a dumpster 6-18 months after their initial purchase due to permanently clogged heads

Where in the world do you have less than 12 months warranty that you're tossing out printers after 6 months?
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tonywong
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« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2012, 04:28:30 PM »
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I've been very happy with my Z3100, aside from a 'dead' formatter (ahem hard disk). The ink stability is great and I print less than I should, and I just leave it on for months at a time with zero clogging. I think the longest time I went without printing was 4 months and it was perfect.

The humidity is very low here (no large bodies of water and is below freezing often) and I had no end of problems with Epsons which drove me to the HP Z series. I haven't regretted it but I really wish there was more of an indication if there will be a followup to the Z3200.

I was thinking of moving to Canon for the print durability (fewer scratches) but after reading about the clogging issues people are having I might just leave enough alone.
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Light Seeker
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« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2012, 05:30:11 PM »
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I was thinking of moving to Canon for the print durability (fewer scratches) but after reading about the clogging issues people are having I might just leave enough alone.

I'm surprised to read this comment. I've read very little complaining about Canon's clogging, and found my 8300 to be exceptional in this regard (clogging is rare).

Terry.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2012, 07:29:50 PM »
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This thread is about where clogs come from and the z3100 and 8300 are not immune to them at all.  It just handles them with a different technology so they're not in your face.  If you live in a dry climate and use your printer rarely you probably have hundreds of clogged nozzles, and your heads will eventually "fail", because that's what they are designed to do.  If you own a Canon those new heads will be pretty pricey. HP's are a little more reasonable, and they have the advantage of not having to replace half of the colors but just two at a time, meaning the failures will be more gradual and easier on the cash flow. 

Head failures haven't been a significant issue with Canon's so far because they have been on a pretty aggressive upgrade path since the initial ipf5000, and so a great many have upgraded before wearing out the heads of their current printer(I have 2 myself gathering dust, and both would require 2 replacement heads to get up and running again, not worth it). This may change since it seems we're at a point now where it may be difficult to squeeze much more quality out of these printers so people will own them and run them longer.

This thread isn't about whose technology is better, I think both have advantages and disadvantages.  It's about the fact that ALL pigment ink printers clog, and there are things you can do to perhaps make it less of an issue. (i'm going on 8 weeks with a 4900 and 9900 used only a couple of times a week without a single clog.  I'm probably gonna turn the auto nozzle detect back on because it's getting to be a waste of time to run manual nozzle checks. Just from an automatic humidity control system).

Keeping the humidity controlled for a Canon or HP will still be of great benefit, as it will most likely add a substantial amount of time to the life of your head.  and I agree, I think the Canon experience in this area is equal to the HP.  The 3100 is older technology, and the 8300 offers a substantial benefit in output quality that in some areas will be obvious.  Not that the 3100 is bad (although I never felt it did very well with reds).
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Light Seeker
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« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2012, 08:07:48 PM »
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This thread is about where clogs come from and the z3100 and 8300 are not immune to them at all.  It just handles them with a different technology so they're not in your face.

I don't disagree with you Wayne. My comment was that clogging is not generally considered a troublesome area for Canon. In fact it's usually seen as a strength, due of course to the technology you've noted.

Terry.
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