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Author Topic: Epson 9900 Lk/Llk banding with clean but strange nozzle pattern  (Read 5687 times)
jack777
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« on: August 31, 2012, 02:58:46 AM »
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We've been happy with our 9900 for quite some time but recently printer started to do some pretty nasty banding. When I first saw it I thought "no big deal - NC -> cleaning and all will be fine". Well to my surprise the nozzle check was clean. Out of routine I did some cleaning, test printing, power cleaning, more printing. After that I updated firmware, tried other papers and still nothing. The banding is clearly visible in Lk and Llk, slight banding is also visible in Vlm, O and G channels but they may be because of them blacks. Funny though pure black looks good. I'm running out of reasonable ideas...

« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 05:57:01 AM by jack777 » Logged
Paul2660
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2012, 07:13:10 AM »
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With a good nozzle check, have you tried a head alignment?  On the 9900 it's pretty straight forward and run from the LCD on the printer.

I have a slight banding in black before that was cured by a head alignment (when I had a good nozzle check).

Paul
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hugowolf
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 10:46:55 PM »
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I would second the head alignment. It doesn't take long and uses very little ink. Do unidirectional and a bi-directional (all) auto alignment routines, either from the printer LCD or through the utility software.

Brian A
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darlingm
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 10:02:37 PM »
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I agree to try the head alignment first.

I doubt it's this, but I'll mention it anyway.  High speed printing is on by default - try printing with it off.  High speed makes the head print when it is travelling in either direction (bidirectional), and high speed off makes the head print not print when it's moving toward the right.  I've seen bidirectional printing cause banding in much darker black areas.  Again, doubt it's this because I haven't seen it happen in lighter black areas, and you said pure black doesn't do it, but it might be another thing worth trying.
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jack777
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 08:22:36 AM »
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I've tried head alignment but it doesn't help. Neither auto nor manual adjusting helps. Right now I'm assuming it's a head slant since the pattern seems to be slightly off. Will try adjusting it tomorrow.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 02:07:30 AM »
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Near empty cartridge replaced with a full one?


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jack777
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 06:02:55 AM »
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Lk and Llk cartridges are more than half full. The banding varies depending on resolution (bigger on 720, smaller on 2880). However in 1440 and 2880 I've noticed a bigger band on the beginnign of the print. I'm posting two more pictures of it. I've pushed the contrast to make it more visible.

The print on the picture is 2880 dpi uni.


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fetish
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 09:31:38 AM »
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that looks like a nozzle clog but your nozzle check says otherwise.
the only other reason I can think of is that your paper feed speed is screwed. try to decrease your paper feed speed/amount via paper config in the printer driver dialogue and see what happens.
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Chris233
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2012, 02:29:41 PM »
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Hi Jack,

A few thoughts about your troubles, not in any particular order.  Smiley

Were you running custom media in the printer with a custom media preset?  Perhaps the media presets were switched by accident, or reset somehow...

Try to run a nozzle check before the print begins and immediately after the print completes to see if the condition of the nozzles are changing at all.  If so, then you could have a leaking cartridge (air), or some other issue with ink delivery to the printhead.

How does the dot quality look around vector based artwork under a loupe?  Check around the corners and vertical/horizontal lines of the text and artwork.  If it is sharp and crisp, then the printer's feed adjustment and head alignment might not be the issue.  If the vector artwork doesn't print sharp, and appears "fuzzy", then it could be printer's feed step, which does also produce microweave patterns in the blacks if uncalibrated as a result.  Keep in mind, unsharp vector artwork could also be the result of a misaligned printhead, platen gap setting, and driver settings, etc..... So try to adjust one thing at a time, run a print, and see the results. 

Sometimes the auto printhead alignments doesn't work out so well.  Perhaps try running a manual Bi-D and then Uni-D print head alignment and check your results verses the printer's automatic results.  They should already be keyed in if you've already ran the auto adjustments.

If you have another set of cartridges, switch them out to see if it could be a leaking cartridge.  And listen for the pumping sound from the back of the machine while it is idle to see if the peristaltic pumps are overworking themselves in order to maintain an adequate air pressure. 

If the MK and PK are printing perfect, then it is likely an ink delivery issue to the print head as opposed to a head alignment or feed adjustment.

Hope this helps you

-Chris
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jack777
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 05:15:44 AM »
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Today I've noticed something very strange about nozzle patterns. I don't know how I missed it before... looked through my junk and it was there before. Let the scan speak for itself but I'm very worried about the head...

Now I'm certain it's not a clog, feed or ink supply issue, but what can it be?


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Chris233
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 06:08:33 PM »
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Hi Jack,

It is most likely a deflected nozzle on the printhead.  It might not be entirely clogged, but there may be a small amount of debris that is changing the angle of the spray as it travels through space and onto the media.  

A couple things to try...

Clean the capping station and focus on the wiper blades.  Remove any ink and sludge that builds up over time. Be careful not to touch the encoder strip  (long thin, clear plastic strip that runs on the top across the entire printer).  Also, as a precaution, check the encoder strip with a flashlight to ensure there is no debris on it.  Clean with water and a soft tissue that doesn't leave behind any particles, etc.  Let the water dry completely before powering the machine. For the encoder strip, you will want to discharge any power in the machine.  turn off the printer --> unplug from the wall --> and turn it on.  This will discharge anything in the printer's capacitors.

Run a paired power cleaning that focuses on the LLK and LK channels.  This sends a little more horsepower through those channels since the full pressure is going through them only.... instead of being spread out throughout all the colors with a standard power cleaning.

If after cleaning the capping station and running the paired power cleaning still doesn't recover the nozzle.... you could run an initial fill (ink charge) as a final step.  If the printhead is recoverable at all, this procedure should do the trick.  Although, it does expend a fair amount of ink.

Run the Supersonic Cleaning cycle, which vibrates the printhead platen.  I don't like this cleaning as the vibrations and the process of the cleaning cycle can abuse the printhead....but it is an option to try.

There are a couple other procedures which could be attempted to draw ink through the printhead for recovery, but if your printer is under warranty, best to have a tech come out to service.  Could also try reseating cables, maybe something has vibrated out of position on the head, but again, best for a tech to do.

Good luck,

-Chris
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 06:25:56 PM by tank172 » Logged
TylerB
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2012, 05:10:28 PM »
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there have been some threads on this in the past. I had my fair share of problems for sure..
First question, are you using a RIP?
The problem turned out to be platen gap settings for me, and lack of RIP access to custom media alignments that are available in the OEM driver.
IF you are using the Epson driver I would recommend going into the custom media settings and doing a custom K alignment available there in the driver settings. These are separate from the alignments you perform at the printer, and are media setting specific.. and specific to the other settings in the same media selectio.. thickness, platen, resolution, etc... and make one for each paper.

If you are using a RIP, not sure what to say.. Depends on the RIP and the access it gives you to to printer control with each environment.
With my setup here, any setting other than default platen gap created this problem. Had me stumped from the beginning since I set it to wide immediately due to head strikes with most media.
Tyler
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Chris233
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2012, 11:10:46 PM »
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With my setup here, any setting other than default platen gap created this problem. Had me stumped from the beginning since I set it to wide immediately due to head strikes with most media.

There is a relationship between the platen distance and the media during a print cycle, which produces a phenomenon with static electricity.  The closer the printhead to the media (narrow gap) results in ink actually being pulled out of the micro peizo nozzles.  The wider the gap results in less of this static pull from the media.  This can be useful in diagnosing some challenges with the ink delivery system or the print head.

Regarding the crashes on the media, you might find that adjusting the vaccum on your custom paper may help.  Bear in mind though, this adjustment may also effect the overall dimensions of your print slightly, which can be compensated in the RIP. If the corners of the media are curling upwards, you might find success by advancing the media a few inches before printing and attaching a few paperclips on the corners.  This added weight might be enough to flatten out the media across the platen during the beginning passes of printing. 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 11:22:57 PM by tank172 » Logged
TylerB
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2012, 06:10:30 PM »
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my initial problems with this are solved including head strikes, I was attempting to point the OP to what has been the source of the problem for some of us- the platen setting and potential loss of alignment when it is changed.

Additionally, if a custom media setting is made, after selecting whatever gap setting is relevant for the media, do an alignment within that custom media setting.. you print the thickness pattern and align.. you may notice it's the black channel .. relevant?
All on page 83 of the manual, it's worth a try.
Tyler
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Chris233
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2012, 07:01:48 PM »
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Hi Tyler,

Calibrating and fine-tuning for custom paper is relevant to the OP, and the feed step setting (which is known to cause banding similar to what was posted in his first couple pics.)  However, due to his most recent scan of the nozzle check, then succesfully aligning the printhead for the black would be a challenge - until the nozzle check is clean  with deflections or banding in prints resolved.  

If that particular channel was avoided during all prints, then he would be ok to fine-tune for print quality.  And that black channel could be ignored entirely.

Looking forward to your progress Jack7.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 07:05:35 PM by tank172 » Logged
jack777
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 06:31:54 AM »
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Unfortunately - no luck so far. To keep the story short:

- I don't use RIP, we print from the epson driver
- I haven't used custom paper settings, for non-epson media we find closest match and use it.
- the deflected nozzle pattern looks the same on thin and thick papers (pk/mk)

- changing feed or platen gap doesn't help the deflections but ruins other channels so I doubt they are the cause
- I've cleaned the wiper blade and capping station fairly recently (about 3 months back, they looked pretty good but nevertheless cleaned them again)
- So far I've tried all kinds of cleaning - power cleaning, paired power cleaning and today SS cleaning. Between every cleaning session I make a print using all colors
- nothing seems to even slightly change the deflected nozzles pattern

From what you've written I can still try: initial filling, checking the encoder strip, adjusting single channel in custom paper (but since I haven't used them I wonder if it makes sense). I'll keep you posted if anything changes.


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TylerB
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 11:42:15 AM »
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I jumped in with my own experience before carefully reading the whole thread, I don't think my info relates to your problem so would ignore my suggestions. An unit fill will cost ink and I'm not convinced it will solve anything the aggressive cleanings don't. I could be wrong. Your nozzle pattern anomaly points the finger, just not sure at what... Encoder strip may be related... Are you out of warranty?
Tyler
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jack777
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2012, 01:23:35 AM »
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yes, I'm out of warranty so I'm on my own. I had little hope for unit fill but tried it anyway - no luck. Also tried contacting epson but their answer is "try power/ss cleaning if it doesn't help call service"... Like you say - I think my best chance now is the encoder strip but if it doesn't help I'm pretty much out of ideas.
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TylerB
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2012, 11:38:10 PM »
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Present your issue here as well-
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EpsonWideFormat/

There is some expertise there not on this list...

Hope you find a solution.
Tyler
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 12:50:01 PM »
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There is a relationship between the platen distance and the media during a print cycle, which produces a phenomenon with static electricity.  The closer the printhead to the media (narrow gap) results in ink actually being pulled out of the micro peizo nozzles.  The wider the gap results in less of this static pull from the media.  This can be useful in diagnosing some challenges with the ink delivery system or the print head.


Is there still a conducting brush in the paper path to take off surface polarity on the paper before the printing area is reached?  I  recall that of my old Epson models. Is it possible that a brush like does not function anymore due to wear or too much paper lint?


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september 2012: Photokina updates going on for at least a month
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