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Author Topic: Can Ink Levels Foul Up Profiles?  (Read 1903 times)
Paris1968
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« on: February 04, 2013, 09:25:54 PM »
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I have an Epson 7900 and I use i1 Profiler with an iSYS to make profiles.  Until recently, I've had no problems, but being somewhat cheap I let two 150 ml starter carts get to about 10%. The other carts had already been replaced and were full.  While that was happening, I made some profiles, and for the first time noticed that the resulting prints were unsatisfactory, too dark and too red.  I repeated everything, calibrated the monitor, checked and rechecked, printed and scanned new targets, but achieved the same result.  Finally, when the carts got to 8%, I replaced them with 300 ml carts. Then I made new profiles with the same paper as before, and, surprise, everything was back in order, the colors were spot on.  Is it possible that the low ink levels affected the pressure in the nozzles so that the small patch colors would print okay, but when a larger print demanded more of one of those inks, the color failed and could not reproduce the colors as in the patch charts.  I have no idea if that's possible, but has anyone else noticed a connection between low ink levels and poor profiles?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 09:29:19 PM »
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For me the answer is no. I print till the cartridge says "empty" and must be replaced. The Epson manual (4900) also says one can do this. I have not noticed any impairment of image quality and I am well-enough colour-managed that if anything were amiss I would notice it immediately. That said, I find your experience most interesting and it will be useful to read a broader range of experience here.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 11:32:39 PM »
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Have you compared the superimposed 3D graphs of those various profiles in i1Profiler?  Might be interesting.  It's pretty easy to change the state of one's color management default settings during profiling and then forget about it, which is the usual reason for wiggy prints right after profiling.  But if you've got an iSYS you probably are a cut above that.  Smiley
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smilem
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 10:13:09 AM »
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Paper or humidity variation, perhaps operator error is more likely than the ink level being 10%.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 07:11:50 PM »
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Not sure if anyone has tried this but thought I'ld post the results of a little experiment I've been wanting to conduct concerning how much ink is really left over when the Epson software and onboard printer alerts indicate "Low Ink" warning.

The yellow DuraBrite pigment ink cartridge on my $50 Epson "All In One" I use for quick 8x10's indicated low on both the Epson driver and on the printer itself. So I created a yellow color fill of RGB 255,255,5 that would print full saturation yellow with none of the other 3 CMK inks printing a quarter a page at a time until the driver prevented printing the next quarter page with a "Replace Ink Cartridge" alert instead of "Low Ink".

I also wanted to see if the Epson electronics within the cartridge chip intelligently analyzes and compares and communicates within the print spool how much ink is left in cartridge to complete the job and stop the process in order to save paper or prevent the print head clogging due to non-completion from a completely spent cartridge. I've read somewhere online some time ago with older more expensive Epson inkjets it's not good for the print heads to have them completely run out of ink from a completely spent cartridge.

Anyway see the photo posted below I shot showing how much ink was really left over in the cartridge upon a "Low Ink" alert. I ended up throwing away quite a bit of ink on the cyan cartridge because I didn't know how much was actually left over before the driver prevented printing with a "Replace Ink Cartridge". I immediately replaced the cyan cartridge on the first "Low Ink" alert. Now I know better.

I realize most here are using more expensive Epson printer with larger and more expensive ink capacity cartridges so I doubt you'ld want to waste ink like I did with this experiment. My cost for each moderate use ink cartridge is $14 so I'm not out much.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 07:21:55 PM »
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I have an Epson 7900 and I use i1 Profiler with an iSYS to make profiles.  Until recently, I've had no problems, but being somewhat cheap I let two 150 ml starter carts get to about 10%.

There's still a boat load of that ink in the lines so the likely hood this affected your output is pretty tiny. IOW, I agree with Mark. Something else happened.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 07:23:52 PM »
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The yellow DuraBrite pigment ink cartridge on my $50 Epson "All In One" ...

Who's build, inks and behavior (and the amount of ink within the lines) is about as far away from the OP's 7900 as one could hope unless he had maybe a 9900 (or 11880).

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Andrew Rodney
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 07:35:14 PM »
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Who's build, inks and behavior (and the amount of ink within the lines) is about as far away from the OP's 7900 as one could hope unless he had maybe a 9900 (or 11880).



Then is there any way of knowing for sure how much ink is left to print with so the user of the more expensive printer using more expensive paper doesn't waste it on a botched print run?

Like for instance if a user decides to print a poster sized job and he has just enough ink, is there some kind of intelligence within the Epson driver or electronics that would stop the job from going through due to there being some ink but not enough for a poster size area?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 07:37:09 PM »
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Then is there any way of knowing for sure how much ink is left to print with so the user of the more expensive printer using more expensive paper doesn't waste it on a botched print run?

I print until the printer refused to continue, then add new inks. I've yet to have an issue, even if it stops midway on a print. Add ink, continue.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 07:39:37 PM »
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Then is there any way of knowing for sure how much ink is left to print with so the user of the more expensive printer using more expensive paper doesn't waste it on a botched print run?

Like for instance if a user decides to print a poster sized job and he has just enough ink, is there some kind of intelligence within the Epson driver or electronics that would stop the job from going through due to there being some ink but not enough for a poster size area?

I was just about to say exactly the same thing as Andrew just said. My experience too. Ink runs out, printer stops, replace cartridge, printer resumes; never ever a hint on the print of any interruption in the printing process. But if a job is in progress and you suspect an ink may run-out, you should be around the printer to replace the cartridge when it happens.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 07:43:36 PM »
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I print until the printer refused to continue, then add new inks. I've yet to have an issue, even if it stops midway on a print. Add ink, continue.


Not concerned about the printer stopping in the middle of a print. Just wondering if it would allow the printing to continue with color balance off due to a lack of ink in one of the cartridges.

If there's a botched print due to off colors on expensive poster sized 100% cotton rag paper on a professional grade printer, that's a pretty big waste of resources.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 07:44:21 PM »
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Not concerned about the printer stopping in the middle of a print. Just wondering if it would allow the printing to continue with color balance off due to a lack of ink in one of the cartridges.


NO
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 07:47:59 PM »
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Then the OP's problem could be that when he replaced the ink which corrected the problem, the print head may have been clogged prior to printing the target and the new cartridge cleaned the print head.

Inkjets use the ink to clean the print heads even in expensive models, right?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 07:48:57 PM »
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Not concerned about the printer stopping in the middle of a print. Just wondering if it would allow the printing to continue with color balance off due to a lack of ink in one of the cartridges.

Maybe with a $50 printer, but with the Epson's I use (3880 on up, even real old Epson's), as Mark says: No.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 07:53:38 PM »
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Then the OP's problem could be that when he replaced the ink which corrected the problem, the print head may have been clogged prior to printing the target and the new cartridge cleaned the print head.

Inkjets use the ink to clean the print heads even in expensive models, right?

Yes, ink cleans the heads when you commission a cleaning cycle, but changing cartridges does not automatically trigger a cleaning - at least not in any of the Epson Pro printers I've used over the past 10 years. I have not used a 7900 however. It also depends on settings. He didn't mention whether any cleanings happened (if he had auto-cleaning enabled) at any point during the sequence of events he initially described.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 08:06:51 PM »
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So we can assume he had clogged printheads as the cause of his color balance issues that was corrected by replacing the ink cartridge.

What else could it be?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 08:08:37 PM »
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So we can assume he had clogged printheads as the cause of his color balance issues that was corrected by replacing the ink cartridge.

What else could it be?

In light of how these printers normally perform in the respects we discussed above, and absent any further detail on his case, it is not possible to conclude this or any thing else just now.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 08:54:10 PM »
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In light of how these printers normally perform in the respects we discussed above, and absent any further detail on his case, it is not possible to conclude this or any thing else just now.

I would think for a $3000 printer one wouldn't have to rely on getting free troubleshooting advice online to solve their problems. That's the one aspect about these printers and their owners I can never understand.

For that amount of cash Epson and any other high end inkjet printer manufacturer should be bending over backwards with every little thing that goes wrong with these behemoth printers and help their customers.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 08:57:55 PM »
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I would think for a $3000 printer one wouldn't have to rely on getting free troubleshooting advice online to solve their problems. That's the one aspect about these printers and their owners I can never understand.

For that amount of cash Epson and any other high end inkjet printer manufacturer should be bending over backwards with every little thing that goes wrong with these behemoth printers and help their customers.

You have a point - a lot of stuff comes onto this forum that should be directed to the manufacturers. In some cases it is because the posters have been frustrated by the manufacturers when they tried to do this; in others it is because they didn't know the extent of support from the manufacturers they have open to them, especially out of warranty. While peoples' experience is all over the place, speaking for myself, I have always found Epson America's Pro Graphics support to be very forthcoming with advice even when called on issues beyond warranty.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Paris1968
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 09:10:52 PM »
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Operator error is always a possibility, as is mere coincidence, post hoc ergo propter hoc.  These are complicated machines, after all, and I often wonder that they work so well as they do, but it was still an interesting occurrence.  Here are some more facts.  The carts that were low were 110 ml starter carts, so when they reported back 10%, we are probably talking about ~10 ml in reserve, not 30 or 70 ml as might be the case with larger carts.  My routine is to do a nozzle check and head cleaning before printing any patch charts.  On the whole, I've been very lucky and have experienced few clogs anyway. After replacing a cart, I always turn off the printer once it runs its priming cycle, pull the plug, wait a bit, then restart the printer, do a nozzle check and head cleaning if needed. My intent is to re-initialize everything, and that may have fixed the problem itself, whatever it may have been.  

I agree that there is a large amount of ink in the feeder tubes, but I wonder if there is a shortage of ink in the cart, would it effect the pressure in the line. This might not make much difference when printing a tiny spot on a 8" patch chart, but when the head is swinging back and forth through 24" printing in each direction, the demand on the ink supply must be much greater.  I am just guessing, but to me it's an interesting suggestion.

I can say that with the Canon 6300, and before that the 6200, I do run the carts until they are dry, which sometimes happens in the middle of a print.  And with the Canon, I have never noticed any color errors due to low ink, before it just stops, that is.
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