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Author Topic: Epson 4900 clogging and might need printhead replaced! Less than 2 years old!  (Read 10835 times)
Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2013, 08:32:22 PM »
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First, where's some wood to knock on...

Both my 4900 and 9900 have been working beautifully. I've never had a serious head clog in my 4900 (of two years), but left alone over Christmas holidays, or something like that, I may have to run a power clean and a few pair cleanings to get back to work again - but it hasn't been anything over the top.  The 9900 is only a few months old and I've had to do one power cleaning.  The odd time I'll do a pair cleaning, but once or twice and I'm good to go.

The interesting thing is that my humidity over the past few months has been hovering just around 33% - but I also keep the studio fairly cool too (66-68F) so that may be a factor.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2013, 01:40:42 PM »
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Tom, In what proximity to the printer do you place the humidifier? By humidifier, I guess you're speaking about an active, rather than passive, unit.

If this issue of relative humidity is the potent point that it's discussed to be, what don't the printers have built-in humidifiers local to the head assembly? It would make much more engineering sense, in my mind, to put the moisture where it's needed rather than in the entire room around a printer. No? It is the head and, in specific, the piezo nozzles than require the moisture - correct?

Thanks, Tom.

John-

Humidity control "near" the head is rather impractical.  There are many locations where these printers are sold that have no need for humidity control because they operate in a fairly humid environment.  Controlling humidity for ANY inkjet printer will extend it's life.  While Canon and HP printers very effectively hide their clogging problems they suffer just as well.  After using both I can't say which is cheaper to operate, but I know I don't use much ink any more with my Epson printers once I regulated the humidity in the room.  Certainly this would also mean a Canon printer in a similar environment would get much more life out of the head before it fails.  So humidity is important.

Personally I decided to install a room humidifier that automatically keeps itself  full.  I purchased the XXL model with dial controls from Habitat Monitor.  They modify a standard humidifier with a float/fill system.  (This wouldn't be difficult to do yourself if you are handy with stuff like this).  The supply tube comes from an r/o water unit which extends the life of the wicks.  A set of 4 wicks is about $20 from amazon, each wick lasts about 4 months with the r/o water.  I also add a little bacteria treatment to the water every week or so.

It has three speed settings for the fan, I use the lowest so it isn't too loud.  How much it runs depends on the current humidity.  I have in floor heat so my furnace does not dry my air out too much in the winter, but the air conditioning in the summer does dry the air a little. But Utah is a pretty dry environment, so it always runs some.  I have a humidity gauge on the opposite side of the room where the printers are and I have the humidifier set to keep that at 45%.  The room itself is about 20 feet by 20 feet, but it is open into a hallway so there is no door, and the humidity can escape to the rest of the house.  Despite this it can still keep the room regulated without running all of the time.

Works well, not much effort, and I don't spend much time or ink cleaning any longer.  Last time I fired up my 4900 (after 4 weeks of non use) a lot of nozzles were missing, but I printed my cleaning page instead of doing a clean, and they all were back.  Indicates that some "clogs" are just air getting pulled back in.

One additional item, I've heard maintaining humidity is also good for many of the papers used in these printers as well.
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rotipom
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2013, 03:25:06 PM »
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Wow guys,
This has been incredible incredible support and feedback from y'all. I can't thank you enough for how helpful this is and how much I appreciate this! After thinking about whether I should attempt to do some cleaning myself (ammonia/windex, paper towels, initial charges, etc) I thought I'd give the Epson technicians a try since they quoted a $275 for the first hour and I was hoping maybe then they could at least do some cleaning/servicing for me that might not result in a head change.

Do you all think that's wise? Or do technicians get told to try to push for an expensive head change always? I have no way of knowing Sad

The reason why I have held off on trying to attempt it yet myself is because I was thinking, until they saw it I didn't want to actually cause an expensive head damage myself until the official troubleshooting since I have absolutely NO experience with trying to do this.

But unfortunately, it seems that the winds are not blowing my way, and the local tech company that Epson has farmed this out to is SEVERELY overbooked with managers leaving left and right and technicians on vacation and it's been 3 days and NO WORD on when someone can even come in!!! Preposterous for this being a business machine and out of commission for that many days. It is my main printer and I am just unable to run any production.

A little note on my environment:
I haven't used it often this past few months because I lost my production assistant and I'm developing a different mode of my business. Production is anticipated to be back soon but now I have no printer.
I live in SoCal so yes it IS dry here but I wasn't aware of the humidity problem because my 2400 works just fine, with barely any cleaning needed even months sitting in neglect.

Possible Next Actions:
Should I wait for the Tech or try to get it running myself with all your helpful tips?

I'm SOOO frustrated with Epson especially since they can't even get me an on site technician, after years of being a loyal Epson user, and now I'm seriously considering switching brands altogether and never buying another Epson again! But what would that brand be? What's a great alternative?

And if I write this printer off and want to stay with Epson, do I consider the 3880 or 4800? I don't mind downgrading because it's starting to look like I won't be using the 4000 series enough and I don't want this to happen again. Is the 3880 reliable enough to buy used or do I buy refurb? So many questions and so not what I need right now Sad
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2013, 04:11:26 PM »
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I never say dude...but dude, the 3880 is a no-brainer.  A printer that just works, year after year with no clogging and waisted ink for cleaning is an upgrade, not a downgrade.

A refurb from Epson costs more than a new one at B&H - $879 w/free shipping.  That's only about $400 more than the ink that come with it.  A used one will be priced based on how much fresh ink it has onboard, but why not get a new one with a warranty?  Print quality is fantastic and I haven't had a clog or a needed cleaning in 3 years.  The 3880 is a bargain, and I'm seriously considering buying another one for mk ink use only.

Sal
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rotipom
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2013, 09:23:08 PM »
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Sal, oh thank you for this! This is great to know about the 3880. If I cannot revive my 4900 I will be getting the 3880, NEW.

Phil/Orchidblooms:

Thank you SO much for your tip! An update on my case. I got off the phone with the Epson local technician (finally!) and fortunately he's a really nice guy and he told me straight off it's possibly 1 of 2 things depending on whether my printer has been sitting around for a few weeks or not. Since it HAS not been printing for awhile, it's most likely a case of printhead change Sad

He told me this on the phone so I don't have to pay $275 for him to come out and say the same thing.

He recommended I try Phil/Orchidblooms' method BUT with Simple Green instead of Ammonia or Windex because it's his secret weapon of dissolving ink WITHOUT damaging the printhead.
I'm going to pick up a bottle and try it out tonight.

Oh and he also said, to turn the printer on (with auto nozzle check) daily to prevent a clogging. He says the x900 series has had serious clogging problems because they are designed for HD and the nozzles are really tiny, and prone to clogging that the other series doesn't. Interesting to know.

I just wished the 4900 had come with a "Turn your printer on/nozzle check or print everyday to prevent head damage" instead of " we have solved ALL head clogging problems of previous models" which is a bunch of expensive baloney Sad

Will update y'all on what happens next....
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2013, 09:28:31 PM »
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Oh and he also said, to turn the printer on (with auto nozzle check) daily to prevent a clogging. He says the x900 series has had serious clogging problems because they are designed for HD and the nozzles are really tiny, and prone to clogging that the other series doesn't. Interesting to know.


What is "HD"?
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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
orchidblooms
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2013, 11:27:14 AM »
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how would simply turning the printer on daily prevent a possible clogging issue?

my final soaking - i did use windex... went to walgreens and got 'regular'.... ( my local mom-n-pops are gone... )

my 4900 would not do squatt when i turned it on.. before my soakings ...

printing many BW's last few days - all look great - starting colors today

i will keep plain old copy pager in this 4900 henceforth and run a nozzle check every few days..

P.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2013, 11:54:53 AM »
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What you are suggesting will most likely not work. You need to make several real prints of photographs at least every few days.
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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
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2013, 11:59:38 AM »
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Last time I fired up my 4900 (after 4 weeks of non use) a lot of nozzles were missing, but I printed my cleaning page instead of doing a clean, and they all were back.  Indicates that some "clogs" are just air getting pulled back in.


Wayne, I just returned after an absence of about three weeks. All the nozzles in my 4900 were missing. I printed your cleaning page, which came out feint and it did absolutely nothing to improve the nozzle check. I then did a regular cleaning of all the nozzles and the nozzle check came back to normal. I suppose there is no one solution; as usual for so many things, "it depends".............
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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
Tom Montgomery
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2013, 06:55:58 PM »
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[...] but I printed my cleaning page instead of doing a clean, and they all were back.  Indicates that some "clogs" are just air getting pulled back in.


Wayne, big thanks, BTW, for posting that cleaning page jpg! When I'm printing nothing but B&W I add your page to the queue just to keep all the colours exercised. Seems to help...
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JimGoshorn
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2013, 10:13:05 AM »
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Where did Wayne post the cleaning page?

Jim
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jrsforums
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2013, 12:38:25 PM »
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Where did Wayne post the cleaning page?

Jim

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=75383.msg601885#msg601885
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John
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2013, 10:36:48 PM »
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Are there any engineers out there who can explain why designing a printer that is resistant to clogging is technologically infeasible? The Epson 4900 has been on my shopping list for some time now. What's holding me back is reading so many horror stories about this printer. Most reviews on Amazon.com are scathing.

http://www.amazon.com/Epson-Stylus-4900-Inkjet-Printer/product-reviews/B004FT0UN4/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

I'm going to wait for the new and improved version of the 4900 to come out before committing (if only my 3800 hangs on to dear life). I guess clog-free printing IS rocket science, after all.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 11:29:56 PM by texshooter » Logged
Sal Baker
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« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2013, 06:43:45 AM »
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Are there any engineers out there who can explain why designing a printer that is resistant to clogging is technologically infeasible?

Well, they made it feasible with the 3880.  Mine never clogs (3 years), and that's with intermittent use.  It would seem that the technology in newer Epson print heads is not so compatible with current pigment ink formulations.  Time to stock up on 3880s before they go away.  Smiley

Sal
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 06:45:27 AM by Sal Baker » Logged
gbillett
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« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2013, 09:51:39 AM »
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Humongous and entertaining thread about 7900 ( but applicable potentially to all Epson x900 printers ) here.
Answers your questions comprehensively.   http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61585.0
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Geoff Billett
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