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Author Topic: Epson 4900: Exposing the Capping Station  (Read 6898 times)
John Caldwell
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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2013, 11:17:04 AM »
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Epson is replacing our 4900 with a new/refurb machine. Epson asked few questions once I explained the portion of nozzle drop out and that Powerful Cleanings over a three-day period had failed to restore nozzles. They do not employ Decision One for 4900 field service unless the original 12 month warranty is in effect.

The ease with which Epson complied made me think they have been down this road enough times to know that its best and cheapest to get it over with and consider the unit unrepairable in the field.

John Caldwell
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2013, 12:01:01 PM »
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That sounds good John. It would be good to find out whether you are getting a refurb or a new printer, and if a refurb what the warranty is on it. There can be issues with refurbs.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »
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Mark, Epson is sending a refurb 4900. The refurb bears the same warranty is if our original 4900 was still in our hands, meaning 23 months are remaining on the two-year extended warranty that we bought with the unit. Epson is on the hook to keep this replacement (refurbished) 4900 working correctly for 23 months.

What are your thoughts on issues that might plague a refurb above and beyond issues that affect a product design in general?

Think of the dollars Epson pours in the direction of replacing a 4900 shipped overnight to Pittsburgh. It's got to be a fiscal inconvenience. So if they are eligible for the same misery or replacing the refub with another refurb, I'd think they would avaoid sending out a marginal unit. Just a (hopeful) thought.

Thanks for your interest.

John Caldwell
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2013, 01:23:14 PM »
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OK, you don't know the reason why I wrote that. At a totally different level in the pecking order of Epson printers, I also own an all-in-one called Work Force Pro 4530. An el-cheapo office machine, but it is supposed to work. Before the warranty expired, the yellow channel dropped out completely and there was no getting it back. Epson promptly replaced it with a refurb. Three additional refurb units later - they were collecting in my living room - I was still without a yellow channel - all these refurbs had the same defect that had developed in my original unit. I was getting tired of setting up and installing one defective printer after another, so I escalated the issue to a higher level in the service organization and told them I was running out of space in the house to stockpile defective Epson printers, hence I thought it would be best to simply replace it with a new machine untouched by any repairmen. They agreed, sent me the new printer, I trundled down to FedEx with all the other machines, which amused the FedEx Agent quite a bit, and that was the happy ending - the new 4530 is working as advertised. I mean not to say that all people who get any refurbs of any product model will have this kind of experience, but so it was in this case.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2013, 01:24:55 PM »
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I should add, throughout the whole experience, the Epson people were really very forthcoming and good about it. They were innocently implementing the routines they were trained to implement, politely, promptly. I can't complain about the customer service angle at all.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2013, 01:26:11 PM »
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Quite a story. One aspect that may keep Epson in the spirit of assuring a happy ending from the start is the freight bill associated with shipping a 4900 both directions, CA to Pittsburgh. We'll see.

John-
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« Reply #46 on: May 20, 2013, 01:34:09 PM »
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At least! :-)
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #47 on: May 20, 2013, 07:14:03 PM »
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Scott at American Inkjet Systems, the maker of Symphonic Cleaning Fluid, spent an hour on the phone with me today. I called to report my frustration that 5 days into the regimen with his cleaning fluid, I completely lost LK/PK from my Epson 4900 machine. I stressed that when I began the Symphonic Fluid applications, the nozzle checks were intact; that my purpose was simply to maintain what I had working at the moment on that printer.

In fairness I'll say that he seemed genuinely disturbed by my experience; that he did not blame me, my method, or even insist that something else on the machine must have failed unrelated to the use of his product. He did insist that there are times that the head absorbs enough of his cleaning fluid that as many as two or three cleaning cycles may be needed to purge his fluid from the head - not that the head is clogged - but that the cleaner has displaced the ink. To me this implies retrograde flow of the ink into those conduits proximal to the head, and I have no idea if this is physically possible. He insists that under no circumstances will Power Cleanings be needed to purge any absorbed Symphonic fluid from the head so he concedes that my experience is aberrant and one he has never before heard of. Scott insists many thousands of end-users are out there, and are relying on Symphonic Fluid to maintain their Epson machines.

Clearly I do not know, nor will I ever know, if the Symphonic Fluid use had bearing on loss of the LK/PK shared pair on this 4900. Since the machine is going back to Epson, I doubt any final diagnosis will ever be shared with me. I continue to note that I am one of the few on the LuLa forum to bring up Symphonic Fluid and that, alone, probably points to a basis for acting conservatively in using the product.

John Caldwell
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tsjanik
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« Reply #48 on: May 20, 2013, 08:53:42 PM »
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................What are your thoughts on issues that might plague a refurb above and beyond issues that affect a product design in general?..................


John:

As I posted earlier, my 4900 has been trouble free for 1.5 yrs, despite going weeks at a time without use.  I didn't mention that it's a refurb, sent to replace the two-month-old new unit that would not clear some noozles.  I wish you equal luck.

Tom
 
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #49 on: May 20, 2013, 09:54:13 PM »
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Tom, In what climate are you and do you actively humidify your machine, or the room in which the machine sits? Do you use OEM inks?

You're way ahead of the curve in your results, so it's worth teasing out factors that worsen, or improve, performance that deviates from the expected performance.

Thanks for your interest, Tom.

John-
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tsjanik
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« Reply #50 on: May 21, 2013, 06:53:17 AM »
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John:

As I mentioned earlier, I don't take any special measures other than a container of water left inside the covered printer when it's not to be used for an extended period (2-3 weeks) and shaking the ink cartridges every few months.  The printer is next an open window only 100 m from the Lake Erie shore, so perhaps I have a natural humidifier during the summer.  I use only Epson inks.  Although clogging is clearly an issue with these printers, I suspect many users have an experience like mine, i.e., fairly trouble free, so they're not reading or posting on these threads.  I read it only to find out how to expose the station in case I ever needed to do a head soak.

Tom
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benchdog
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« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2013, 07:53:12 AM »
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Reading John's thread brings a question to mind about how I have been maintaining my 4900. I purchased my 4900 a couple months ago after extensive research so I feel I made an informed decision and I feel I have a grasp on how to maintain my printer. LOL I average 1 print a day and will go 2 to 3 days without printing for the most part. I print a nozzle check page before I print that day and catalogue all my print jobs and head cleanings. After 4 or 5 days regardless of what I have or have not printed I start to see a couple of nozzles drop out of LK and sometimes VLM. I will let this go a couple days and see an additional nozzle or 2 drop out and then manually clean the head which takes 3 or 4 minutes. I print another test page and all the nozzles are clear. I average cleaning the print head once a week. I live in Upstate NY and use no type of humidity control in my home office.

My objective is to stay ahead of any serious head clogging issues but am I doing a manual cleaning to often?

Ed
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #52 on: May 21, 2013, 07:56:20 AM »
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Reading John's thread brings a question to mind about how I have been maintaining my 4900. I purchased my 4900 a couple months ago after extensive research so I feel I made an informed decision and I feel I have a grasp on how to maintain my printer. LOL I average 1 print a day and will go 2 to 3 days without printing for the most part. I print a nozzle check page before I print that day and catalogue all my print jobs and head cleanings. After 4 or 5 days regardless of what I have or have not printed I start to see a couple of nozzles drop out of LK and sometimes VLM. I will let this go a couple days and see an additional nozzle or 2 drop out and then manually clean the head which takes 3 or 4 minutes. I print another test page and all the nozzles are clear. I average cleaning the print head once a week. I live in Upstate NY and use no type of humidity control in my home office.

My objective is to stay ahead of any serious head clogging issues but am I doing a manual cleaning to often?

Ed

Your experience is not much differnet from mine here in Toronto. Three days without printing is about as long as my 4900 survives without a cleaning of at least one pair of nozzles. They always come back, but it does need baby-sitting - and use.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2013, 03:44:41 PM »
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John:

As I mentioned earlier, I don't take any special measures other than a container of water left inside the covered printer when it's not to be used for an extended period (2-3 weeks) and shaking the ink cartridges every few months.  The printer is next an open window only 100 m from the Lake Erie shore, so perhaps I have a natural humidifier during the summer.  I use only Epson inks.  Although clogging is clearly an issue with these printers, I suspect many users have an experience like mine, i.e., fairly trouble free, so they're not reading or posting on these threads.  I read it only to find out how to expose the station in case I ever needed to do a head soak.

Tom

Yes, Tom forgive me. You had of course offered this information earlier but I failed to make the proper connection. It's good to hear of your uncomplicated 4900 use. I'm hoping to go in that direction myself.

John-
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #54 on: May 21, 2013, 03:51:06 PM »
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My objective is to stay ahead of any serious head clogging issues but am I doing a manual cleaning to often?

Ed

I'm aware of no disadvantage in (non-Powerful) head cleanings, at any frequency, so long as you make at least some sort of print that exercises the just-cleaned heads, before doing additional cleanings. Mark Segal may amplify but the risk, as I understand it, is the air-entrainment into the head may follow cleanings unless the cleaning is followed buy some form of printing. This has been stressed especially after Powerfull cleaning. It may be that my facts are not correct, meaning this air-ingestion risk may only accompany use of the Powerful cleaning. Power cleanings are apparently best followed by not only printing but also "resting the printer" for some period before additional cleanings are done. Again I think Mark Segal has given this a lot of thought and  written on this topic.

John Caldwell
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 03:53:50 PM by John Caldwell » Logged
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #55 on: May 21, 2013, 03:55:53 PM »
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One thing occurs to me and forgive me if this has been covered.  If you have a poor nozzle check what happens if you ignore it in terms of doing a cleaning and just run a small print through.  Would this be enough to clear the nozzle and get back to normal printing?  The nozzle check really uses a very small amount of ink and any issue might be magnified.  This is somewhat in line with Mark's advice that he got from Epson.  I'm not knowledgeable about the 4900 since I'm a blessed 3880 user who often forgets to even do a nozzle check.  Anyway printing is much gentler on the print head than a cleaning is.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #56 on: May 21, 2013, 04:00:50 PM »
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It depends, Alan, in my experience. I've tried just as you say, meaning run "large prints" through after a spotty nozzle check hoping that the print would purge any air. My result has been that the very small sorts of nozzle check dropouts that may defy additional cleanings may indeed go away with printing. This has made me wonder if those small drop outs were in fact air, rather than clog. But I have certainly not cleared the kind of major nozzle loss that I have recently experienced, as reported above, with printing attempts.
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tsjanik
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« Reply #57 on: May 21, 2013, 10:14:34 PM »
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One thing occurs to me and forgive me if this has been covered.  If you have a poor nozzle check what happens if you ignore it in terms of doing a cleaning and just run a small print through.  Would this be enough to clear the nozzle and get back to normal printing?  The nozzle check really uses a very small amount of ink and any issue might be magnified.  This is somewhat in line with Mark's advice that he got from Epson.  I'm not knowledgeable about the 4900 since I'm a blessed 3880 user who often forgets to even do a nozzle check.  Anyway printing is much gentler on the print head than a cleaning is.

Hi Alan:

Right after posting my last response about my trouble free 4900, I had some clogs and vertical banding!  Sometimes a print will clear the noozles, sometimes even a 2nd nozzle check.  In this case, I did an alignment after 3 nozzle checks and a print and then cleaned the affected noozles; everything is now OK.
So a lot of trouble to produce a few prints. Oh, I got a blue screen on my PC too, maybe a bad day.

Tom
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2013, 12:58:58 PM »
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I stressed that when I began the Symphonic Fluid applications, the nozzle checks were intact; that my purpose was simply to maintain what I had working at the moment on that printer.
So your printer was working, and you were trying to be proactive with the use of the solution?

Applying any solution to the capping station could easily cause the drop out of all nozzles, as the solution will tend to capillary back up into the nozzles. I've seen this frequently when windex is used to clean the surface of the head.  Once this happens the ink up inside the nozzle could harden since it is exposed to air.  Personally I think using any solution like this should be a fairly short length and immediately followed by a nozzle clean.

I don't follow these threads much anymore, (no time), but thought I would mention many times the loss of complete set of nozzles is due to problem with the pump cap assembly, not clogging.  My guess is for some reason it doesn't seal so things don't work right.  I had a problem losing an entire channel on occasion, Epson replaced the pump cap assembly and no problems since.

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John Caldwell
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« Reply #59 on: May 22, 2013, 02:43:19 PM »
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So your printer was working, and you were trying to be proactive with the use of the solution?

Exactly, Wayne.

Applying any solution to the capping station could easily cause the drop out of all nozzles, as the solution will tend to capillary back up into the nozzles. I've seen this frequently when windex is used to clean the surface of the head.  Once this happens the ink up inside the nozzle could harden since it is exposed to air.  Personally I think using any solution like this should be a fairly short length and immediately followed by a nozzle clean.

Maybe so, but that hardening would need to have developed over only 2 or 3 days, and it would need to be refractory to even Power cleanings. Don't you think this is unlikely?

...many times the loss of complete set of nozzles is due to problem with the pump cap assembly, not clogging...

This seems the most satisfying explanation to me, meaning what one failure in the chain could produce complete and refractory failure of an LK/PK pair. I'd feel differently if, say, we'd lost LK and cyan. Does this thinking make sense?

Thanks for your interest.

John Caldwell
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