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Author Topic: Epson 3880 Maintenance Cartridge  (Read 4413 times)
orcastu
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« on: September 29, 2012, 10:51:35 AM »
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I just received this printer the other day and I noticed that the maintenance cartridge is reporting 53%.  How often do these need to be replaced?  It is not like this has had a lot of paper run through it already.  Just wondering if I need to ask Epson why I have a cartridge that is already reporting these values as if it is used or faulty.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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darlingm
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 11:36:40 AM »
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You won't have to replace them often.  However, I advise having one or two on hand, like ink, because if it reaches zero it won't print anymore.  You can find replacement foam sponges online that are a lot cheaper than a new cartridge.  It's more messy, but a lot cheaper.  That's the one part I'm comfortable using a third party manufacturer.

Although I'm a little surprised that it's at 53%, the initial ink charge is going to use a decent amount, so I'm not shocked.  Can't remember what my 9900 started at.

If the 3880 has a drainage system from the borderless printing sponges to the maintenance cartridges like the 9900, using borderless will spead up how quickly they fill, but I can't say how big of a difference that makes.

Not sure if the 3880 works like this, but my 9900 has two cartridges, and I've never seen a cartridge installed on the left change its value by even a percent.  (Probably because I never print borderless.)  I let my original right cartridge go down to about 10%, then swapped them.  I leave the 10% on the left, and just deal with the one on the right.
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RachelleK
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 07:14:49 PM »
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Unfortunately with the 3880 you can't just replace the sponge.  You also have to reset the chip.  The chip resetters current cost as much as 4 or 5 replacement cartridges.  I have decided to just get replacements unless the cost of the resetters come down.  Each maintenance cartridge lasts multiple ink cartridge replacements. So the resetters don't make much sense unless you print a lot and do a lot of borderless prints.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 11:31:29 PM »
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When initially filling any of the Epson's other than the 11880, because of the in head ink switching technology, some ink will be wasted.  With the larger printers, it's limited to LK, as that shares a channel with the pk/mk line.  After filling the MK line, the printer will switch to the PK line and when filling it the LK line will basically fill again.  Anyone buying a 4900, 78/9890, or 79/9900 should always purchase an LK ink cartridge with the printer.

I don't believe the 3880 works with color pairs.  It takes much less ink to fill each line but what seems to happen in the initial fill is all of the colors are basically filled twice, pushing quite a bit of ink into the maintenance tank (except for the PK).

The good news is the 3880 rarely clogs, so other than random cleans triggered by the printer, other cleaning cycles are rare.  This means it wastes a little more ink when charging, but that's about it.  It also means the maintenance tank will probably last quite some time even though at first it looks like it will fill up fast,  since it hits the 50% mark pretty quick due to the initial fill.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 07:18:14 AM »
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I have yet to replace the maintenance cartridge on my 3880 and am on the third set of all ink colors at this point.  I don't think it's even 2/3 full.

Alan
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orcastu
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 02:13:37 PM »
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Thanks for all the helpful replies.  I will probably call Epson Monday and see what they say about providing a new product with a cartridge at 53% but it is good news to see that they last a long time.

Stuart
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 02:32:23 PM »
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Stuart,

"Providing a new product with a cartridge at 53%"
Now I am getting mixed signals from you.
Are you saying the cartridge was at 53% when you opened the box even before you installed the inks?
If it was 53% after installing and charging of the inks then that is very normal.

Just went out to my studio and fired up my new 3880.
The tank shows 57% and all I have done so far is loaded the inks and done one switch between pk and mk.
Plus maybe 3 or 4 small prints.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 08:22:08 AM by Dan Berg » Logged

Dan Berg
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 08:20:36 AM »
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Forgot to ask if this was a new or refurbished printer.
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orcastu
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 12:16:45 PM »
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To clarify for Dan the unit was supposedly brand new and after charging it initially it was at 53%.  So it made we wonder if a new unit had been sold as refurbished or something could be faulty.

I just got off the phone with Epson and they confirmed that the unit was new (good news).  Next I asked about the use rates and initial charges.  They seems surprised and as of today with printing over the weekend that included some photo black to matte black exchanges (need to plan better) it was at 43%.  They seemed surprised and I basically said I should not be starting out with a new printer that has a cartridge so low.  After all you will soak me for ink and paper for years so what is a maintenance cartridge to you. True to their service for the pro line they did agree to send me a new cartridge and ask that I monitor the rate in case there was something abnormal happening.

5 stars for Epson for customer service.  It sound like the initial charging might use up the unit to the 50-60% rate at any rate due to the transportation fluids being discharged. 

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