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Author Topic: iPF 8300 head?/data cable faults  (Read 5242 times)
Malcolm Payne
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« on: November 28, 2012, 01:14:33 PM »
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This problem was eventually solved, but I am posting the following summary in case the fault sequence and conclusion might assist anyone else. I would also be grateful for any comments on Canon's response as detailed below.

The original fault symptom was that prints very suddenly began to show a cyan cast; no error messages were reported. A nozzle check showed one whole contiguous block of missing Photo Magenta nozzles, precisely 50% of the total for that ink on the Left head, with all other nozzles on both heads perfect. On the dealer's advice, this head was replaced, which reinstated the missing nozzle block, but the printer then returned a -2F43 error and would not perform a printhead adjustment.

Canon's engineer attended and after examining the original nozzle check printout concluded that this was not the typical signature of a failing head and that it was possible that the original left head may not itself have been faulty. He also noted repeated head overheating (-403E), -2F43, and other miscellaneous errors which had not been present previously and which he was unable to clear, despite both head checks showing 100% perfect nozzles.

Having ordered additional components and requested that I also source a further (Right) replacement head in case this was required, he subsequently returned and replaced the head carriage and relay board, and then also the motherboard, which did not clear the repeated errors.

He then additionally replaced the Right head, with no improvement.

As a final measure, he eventually replaced the flexible data cable between the motherboard and the print heads, at which point all the errors immediately ceased and the printer initialised normally.

Both original heads were out of (time) warranty at the time of replacement at 600 days but had logged only 171,000 Mdot (Left) and 136,000 Mdot (Right) total ink usage, well within rated throughput. The total consumables cost of the service included the two new print heads, the remaining ink in some eight cartridges previously showing 40% full, partial consumption of the other four, and 60% of the capacity of a new maintenance tank.

It appeared that the entire fault sequence was most probably due to the faulty data cable in the first instance, as evidenced by the complete cessation of all errors and the resumption of normal operation immediately upon replacement of the cable. It is very probable that the second (Right) head replacement and much of the consequent ink wastage - the head was removed and replaced several times in the course of the service - was entirely unnecessary, and quite possible also that the original Left head may not have required replacement either.

The major parts were covered by a service contract, but I have requested compensation from Canon in consideration of the excessive ink wastage during the service and also the (unnecessary) replacement of at least the Right head, given the low throughput and otherwise perfect condition of both heads. So far they have responded with an offer of 3 ink carts + a maintenance tank, which I consider is probably reasonable in respect of the ink wastage, but are resisting any concession on the print head(s). The gist of their comment on the latter was that I now have two new heads with a new 12-month warranty, so should be happy with that.

I need to respond to Canon's initial offer tomorrow and would be grateful if anyone has any thoughts on the matter.

Many thanks.
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 01:43:06 PM »
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I'd take the offer, but I'm easy.  Seems likely that the service contract only obligates them to fix your machine, regardless of collateral damage.

Complex machines are difficult to service and diagnose.  Just ask any auto mechanic about microprocessor-filled new cars.  So on one hand it's hard to fault reasonable sounding steps like replacing heads.  On the other hand, complex but easily baffled machines like human beings usually try the easy steps first, rather than the more difficult ones like replacing a probably hard-to-access cable.  Have dealt with a lot of persnickety machines in my day, and printers are near the top of the list.  I might have taken the same wrong paths.

FWIW if you still have the old print heads, you can theoretically replace them on the original side at some later date.  However, I'm not sure how to properly preserve them against drying for the time in storage, other than to use the plastic caps that came with the new ones in perhaps a well sealed plastic bag with a sliver of wet towel.

PS, about a year ago I spent $1300 servicing my wifes car, including replacing the motor mounts, when in the end all that was needed were new spark plug cables.  Has an echo to it.  These are strange times we live in.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 03:08:21 PM »
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A fault I more often reported of a friend's iPF9000, the ribbon cables running to the head carriage wear out and the Light Magenta channel no longer working. May have happened 3 times over 4 years for that particular machine, always the Light Magenta. Your cyan cast in the prints points to the same cause.

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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 03:49:16 PM »
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A new printer every two years keeps the printer doctor away, and service contracts at bay.  Words to live by.  New 8400 rollin' in next month, my 4th exercise of the 2 year principle.  Great deals on 8400's at Lexjet.  8300 amortized at $0.08 per square foot, and almost zero headaches.  But that clock keeps ticking.  Give your old printers to schools, not the landfill or your potential competitors.
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Malcolm Payne
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 05:29:32 PM »
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Ernst, thanks for your confirmation re. similar faults on your friend's iPF9000. I would have expected the engineer to be aware of the issue and perhaps to have tried replacing the cable at an earlier stage in the service, as it seems to be a known problem. The series of intermittent and apparently random error messages might also perhaps have offered a clue.

Bill, I agree with your comment about the complexity of modern electronics and the difficulties of diagnosing possibly intermittent and interdependent faults. However, it is one thing to swap the heads out willy-nilly in the hope of a cure when someone else is paying for them, another when they are 300 each and the cost is coming out of my pocket.

And unfortunately the printer replacement cost equation doesn't work that way for us in the UK. The only real deals available are on end-of-line 8300's and even those are still high at 3300 - I've seen deals of well under $2000 quoted early in its life cycle for that model in the US, literally a third of what we would pay in the UK today for a superseded model.

The iPF8400 is currently listed here at 5758 RRP (recommended retail price), and the best deal I've been able to find is 4100. Adding to the cashflow burden, all prices quoted above are also subject to 20% VAT, though as a registered business I can recover that eventually. The pricing differential makes no sense whatsoever, except perhaps to Canon's marketing department, but 'twas ever thus I'm afraid.
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keith_cooper
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 06:53:14 AM »
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Thanks for the info in this thread - I've linked to it from my own 8300 usage notes page in the hope that it might help someone avoid so much hassle.

As to the prices - we pay an absurd amount here in the UK, compared to the US. One factor is that Canon UK have to buy their printers through Canon Europe, so we suffer an additional hit due to the state of the Euro etc.
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ftbt
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 09:28:29 AM »
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At least you had a service or maintenance contract. My heads failed maybe after 400 days and they had WAY LESS ink through them than yours did. However, the relay board was also bad (according to Canon) and they were not sure whether the failure of the relay board caused the heads to fail, or vice versa. Canon went on to tell me that if they just sent me out a set of replacement heads, installing the heads would not fix the fault and could blow the motherboard itself. So .... it cost me $1,500.00 (plus tax) for that dreaded service call. (Not to mention all the extra ink that was consumed.) For that I got a set of heads, a relay board, and a maintenance cartridge. If it had been a $5.00 part or something simple like a belt, the cost would have been the same: $1,500.00!!

You see, part of Canon's business model is to sell you a service contract, and if you don't buy one, they literally will get their pound of flesh from you on the back end when the machine is out of warranty. They are pretty clever about this: If your machine is out of warranty and you want service and/or parts from someone other than Canon ... well ... good luck. First off, it is extremely difficult to find independent service technicians to work on wide format Canon inkjets. When, and if, you do find a knowledgeable service technician, you then learn that it is nearly impossible for the technician to get the parts that may be needed. Canon is only source of parts ... and while they can get them (eventually) it usually in some round-about way takes a period of time, which only prolongs your agony, when you want your machine fixed now.
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bill t.
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 01:08:12 PM »
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I have to wonder if the UK Canon operation is not quite up to world standards.  The "blow the motherboard" stuff is kind of the nonsense you get from tech supporters recently promoted from the loading dock.  Replacing every possible suspect component in the chain is the sure sign of a diagnostically challenged technician.

With well over 20,000 square feet on my high mileage 8300, and with nearly two years on the clock and no warranty, the phone support here in the US still sends me replacement heads when needed, at no cost, shipped overnight for free.  Total maintenance costs to date: $0.00.  Their tech support consistently connects to an intelligent person who is very knowledgeable about the machine, not just technically but as from first hand experience.  Extremely pleased with my Canon support experience, it's almost uncanny.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 02:57:57 PM »
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I have a gut feeling that Canon keeps track of ink use on a specific printer and adapts its service policy to ink use. The other hypothesis is that the higher  EU purchase price is covering more than the US price. The issues with the 9000 mentioned before were not followed by high invoices either.

Ernst, op de lei getypt.
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ftbt
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 03:05:13 PM »
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... With well over 20,000 square feet on my high mileage 8300, and with nearly two years on the clock and no warranty, the phone support here in the US still sends me replacement heads when needed, at no cost, shipped overnight for free.  Total maintenance costs to date: $0.00.  Their tech support consistently connects to an intelligent person who is very knowledgeable about the machine, not just technically but as from first hand experience.  Extremely pleased with my Canon support experience, it's almost uncanny.

Well ... good for you! All I can say is LUCKY ... extremely LUCKY! I guess you have the magic MoJo with Canon. Next time (God forbid) maybe I can have you call Canon for me. (I guess my 8300 was just made on a Friday or right before some big Japanese holiday.)
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enduser
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 03:44:20 PM »
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Bill t,  I'd love to know how, with no warranty, you get no-cost replacement heads when you need them.  Do any others on this forum get the same?  Please ask them for two more and send them to me, I'll pay postage.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 03:46:36 PM by enduser » Logged
bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2012, 03:46:59 PM »
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I think I'm exploiting the original warranties on the heads themselves, separate from the printer.  But I do think Canon has given me a very liberal interpretation of how the warranty from the old head is pro-rated onto the free new heads.  But enough of that, I'm going over to kiss that printer right now.

PS...Frequent use seems to be good for the mechanical hearts of printers.  Looking back at the long line of printers behind me, the ones I used the most were the least troublesome.  The high use printers tended to develop ordinary diseases like head clogs.  The least used ones tended to develop more exotic maladies like contaminated head electrical contacts.  Sort of like Google finding its most exercised hard drives were the most reliable ones. 
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