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Author Topic: Epson 4900: Exposing the Capping Station  (Read 8778 times)
John Caldwell
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« on: May 15, 2013, 09:45:27 AM »
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In the interest of trying Symphonic Cleaning Fluid as a partial means of preventative head clog maintenance on our 4900, I see that I don't know how to uncover the 4900's capping station. It is on the capping station pad that a few drops of the cleaning fluid is to be deposited a regular intervals and, according to those who believe in this method, the printed head is kept in a "moist & fluid" state. Revealing the capping station on the 7900/9900 series is straight forward, as it is done from the Service Mode front panel.

It has been suggested that one method of uncovering the capping station is to pull the 4900's power plug while the head is mid-carriage, say during a print or during boot. Before trying this un-plug method, I was hoping to learn from you all here, and to see if you felt a power loss could be hazardous. Further, after pulling the plug and treating the capping station, what would one do next? My instinct would be restore the head at capping station location and reapply AC power.

Anyone who has tried the Symphonic Fluid that cares to chime in here, for better or worse - that's also welcome. Certainly I plan to publish here what my results are. The good thing is that I'm having enough trouble with the 4900, that at least in the short term, it will be readily apparent if this method deters head clogging and need for incessant cleaning of our 4900.

(American Inkjet Systems http://www.americaninkjetsystems2.com/support/how_to_use_symphonic_cleaning_fluids.html)

Many thanks,

John Caldwell
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JeffW
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2013, 10:23:37 AM »
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John,

To uncap the head: Turn on the printer while pressing menu, paper feed and the OK button, all at the same time. Then select self testing, mecha adjustment, CR un cap. Press OK while enter uncap is displayed. The head can then be slid to the side.

Make sure to keep us informed as to how well this works for you. Personally I have struggled with keeping the head working properly.

Jeff
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2013, 08:45:43 PM »
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Excellent Jeff and many thanks. I'm not certain why I understood the process to be less transparent on the 4900 than it is, and as you very neatly pointed out.

In any case, I have with your help today, begun the process of prophylactic treatment of the 4900 with the Symphonic solution. My intent is to do as I was instructed, meaning an application, once every three days, of "a few drops" of solution to each of the 5 capping station bays. I have no idea if this will be of value, and I note (with some concern) that this product and method hasn't gotten much talk on this forum - meaning I regard the group here as plenty sophisticated enough to know of tools and tips that are of genuine value.

I'll report my observations with the technique. For what it's worth, the treatment took only a 45 seconds of hands-on time, but it ties up the printer for a few minutes going through the capping cycle. Pretty much the same on our 9900. I'll guess that I'll apply Symphonic Fluid at the end of the day, rather than at the beginning.

John Caldwell
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tsjanik
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2013, 09:27:14 PM »
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I look forward to your report John.  I must say my 4900 has been trouble-free despite periods of weeks without use.   Maybe I have just been lucky so far, but I'm not assuming that will continue.

Tom
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 07:15:07 AM »
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Do you print daily? Do you humidify the room in which your 4900 sits, if I may ask?

Our 4900 did very well until we hit about 1200 square feet of throughput, and since then it's been troublesome wrt clogs, cleaning, air in heads and so on. I'm hoping this liquid application is of som evalue.

John Caldwell
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tsjanik
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2013, 07:41:49 AM »
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I do not print daily, often going a week or more between sessions.  I live in the NE US.  During the winter the room is quite cool (high 50s to low 60s ).  Humidity is usually moderate in the summer.  I do leave a pan of water in the covered printer during the summer if I'm away, otherwise no special treatment*.  I always print a nozzle check before a session; sometimes a 2nd nozzle print clears any gaps, if not a clean of the effected nozzles has so far worked.

Tom

* I do remove and shake the ink cartridges every few months.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 07:44:30 AM by tsjanik » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 07:58:09 AM »
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John, Jeff and Tom,

While not exactly the question that opened this thread, I'm interested to drill down a bit into the circumstances causing the problem in the first place, as prevention is often better than cure. I bought a temperature/humidity instrument (cheap) from "The Source" (a.k.a. Radio Shack) here in Toronto and have it set-up beside my 4900. The temperature is normally around 24 C., and the relative humidity fluctuates between 24% and 30%. Under these conditions if I do not make real prints AT LEAST once every three days, there is a virtual 100% probability that two or more nozzles will show clogs/droppages and at least one normal "pairs" cleaning cycle, if not two, will be required. If the printer sits for more than a week unused, the cleaning process becomes more involved (but not to the extent of power cleaning). In discussion with Epson folks, not once, but numerous times, the message that keeps coming back is that two factors are most responsible for these performance issues: (i) inadequate usage, and (ii) excessively low humidity for optimal performance (indeed the manual allows from 20% upward, but recommends minimum 40% for optimal performance). So in your situations, what are the usage and humidity conditions?
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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
Jim Metzger
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2013, 09:36:57 AM »
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I am a long time reader of this forum, very few posts. I prefer to chime in only when I can contribute to the discussion. My profound thanks to everyone who contributes.

I happened to be at the "World Headquarters" of American Inkjet Systems yesterday in NJ. They were the only one in the NYC area to help me get my Epson 7600 (12 years and still going) back up and running with new parts that have not been available from Epson in years.

Scott is a mad genius with Epson Printers, he researches, repairs, refurbs, writes software / profiles, creates and sells his own inks (the images are spectacular) and has developed what I believe to be a premium cleaning / lubricating fluid. I'll be using this on my printer.

I imagine the efficacy of the cleaning fluid will depend on where your 4900 is at this point in time but I would have no hesitation in using the fluid as recommended.

Jim
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stefohl
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 04:42:03 PM »
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John, Jeff and Tom,
(i) inadequate usage, and (ii) excessively low humidity for optimal performance (indeed the manual allows from 20% upward, but recommends minimum 40% for optimal performance). So in your situations, what are the usage and humidity conditions?

While not being John, Jeff or Tom, I will add that we haven't had the tons of problems with our 4900 that some seen to have. It's not used everyday, but on a regular basis. But we try to keep the humidity to not less than 40 %. In winter time we have to have the humidifier going at all times.
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Stefan Ohlsson
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 04:48:26 PM »
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While not being John, Jeff or Tom, I will add ..........

Needles to say the more operational experience that gets reported here the better - so welcome! And that's useful information.
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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
jpegman
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 09:04:37 PM »
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For some side notes - Epson's North-East Field Rep Todd Schneider did a 90 min video at B&H on Inkjet printer maintenance and color profiling. The first 20-30 minutes are very illuminating regarding clogging issues and preventing (minimizing?) them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxxqN_5mNo0

Also, specifically on the 4900 and it's Epson Brother and Sister printer, Jon Cone did 3 blogs on issues he has wrestled with for his customers and his take away which is at least worth a few minutes read.

Part 1 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001ETD-u6eVKYveguhIr5DZUBzitFw_ia7dEjqmcsZjsOfoTssX4PhmLi8RMkiuhIo3eGchX7MyJwpCIT1U_3uJayXmYqZ2Lahp26aMdnmY9t9gx9VDf2jrIpZR21KUawoIRjwv5klRHmtDWGCYhyUSxUbZdBJYlzsv

Part 2 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001OsO-C5786B10IKSLYoIVjui4EnW8HvOeZjmcQtwpc0amXCmy2hHB4gNXOIGw9BN80Xz_STvpPHzlJBomowkaEt9JciSX8G0HeaXu9Tw0X4DXTQqutvy3lDgmtvWWcnpeaanG8jy0r65bPAeqvK94sEw869ww_5ah

Part 3 (with specific help from a 3rd party "2manuals.com" on the R3000, however, it seems ironic that Epson appears to limit the user fixes available on R3000, 4900, X890 and X900 printers) http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001Udjluc4seemPA1tBDzSWclbGtAJwc6WtbqWsVgeM-RmkCsuxfbEbu46eEApHp4jAf27oSzzCXFBRnxgpTDrN4UB-5E8mNzdpuJZhLzYAFtQXUM213PVjodYBu0WzsCxO_bCXnpfFW1FYn_Cu7-Wo8tA-cArP-pme
 
Good Luck

Jpegman
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 10:43:50 PM by jpegman » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 09:50:35 PM »
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None of those links open a webpage for me (Mac 10.6.8. with Firefox)
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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
jpegman
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 09:59:59 PM »
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Don't understand - if I copy and paste those url's into my Firefox v21.0 on a Windows8 PC, they all open up fine for me. I checked each one out.

I don't know how to embed hot links (if one can!) in LuLa's forum posts.

Jpegman
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 10:14:57 PM »
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Sorry - it was another service interruption from my technically unreliable ISP (Rogers Communications of Toronto Canada) that caused this just at the moment I was trying to use those links. I apologize for any consternation Rogers caused both of us. It's the cost of doing business with them. Your links work.

You can hyperlink directly within a LULA post. The button just to the left of the envelope (for email) is a hyperlink button. Click it, a dialog will come up. Insert the URL into the pane (using copy paste is fine). Click OK, and you're done.
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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
jpegman
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 10:44:40 PM »
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Thanks Mark- easy enough and much easier for readers

Hank
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2013, 01:35:10 PM »
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We're four days into preventative care of the 4900 heads by every 2nd day application of Symphonic fluid to the capping station. I am discouraged: Never before have I completely, or virtually completely, lost the LK and PK channels until now. While it's tempting to link the full dropout of LK and PK to the treatment, I don't know if there is a relationship.

From here, I'm going to follow Mark's advice and install a humidity and temperature measurement gauge at the printer interior. It makes no sense to me that there is a humidity deficit in this room, the floor of which is poured concrete that sits on grade, in Western Pennsylvania. As a side note, I don't humidify acoustic and electric guitars that are stored in this room, and those who know will regard this is testimony against dry air.

Frustrating technology, but maybe I'm overlooking something I can do differently.

John Caldwell
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2013, 01:49:25 PM »
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John,

Sorry to hear things are not going as well as desired. Indeed frustrating and unfortunate. From what you are saying I would suggest two things: (1) Whatever way you can, flush-out all the alien materials in your printer. (2) Call Epson support and ask them how to reset the printer for a complete re-install and repriming of the printer, as if you were buying it for the first time. The ink you use fills the lines, most of it does not get wasted (some goes into the maintenance tank - don't ask how much, I have no idea, but it's cheaper than buying a new 4900). Once all that is done, make real prints of real photos with it AT LEAST every third day. Should be OK thereafter.
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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: May 18, 2013, 02:02:26 PM »
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For some side notes - Epson's North-East Field Rep Todd Schneider did a 90 min video at B&H on Inkjet printer maintenance and color profiling. The first 20-30 minutes are very illuminating regarding clogging issues and preventing (minimizing?) them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxxqN_5mNo0

Also, specifically on the 4900 and it's Epson Brother and Sister printer, Jon Cone did 3 blogs on issues he has wrestled with for his customers and his take away which is at least worth a few minutes read.

Part 1 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001ETD-u6eVKYveguhIr5DZUBzitFw_ia7dEjqmcsZjsOfoTssX4PhmLi8RMkiuhIo3eGchX7MyJwpCIT1U_3uJayXmYqZ2Lahp26aMdnmY9t9gx9VDf2jrIpZR21KUawoIRjwv5klRHmtDWGCYhyUSxUbZdBJYlzsv

Part 2 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001OsO-C5786B10IKSLYoIVjui4EnW8HvOeZjmcQtwpc0amXCmy2hHB4gNXOIGw9BN80Xz_STvpPHzlJBomowkaEt9JciSX8G0HeaXu9Tw0X4DXTQqutvy3lDgmtvWWcnpeaanG8jy0r65bPAeqvK94sEw869ww_5ah

Part 3 (with specific help from a 3rd party "2manuals.com" on the R3000, however, it seems ironic that Epson appears to limit the user fixes available on R3000, 4900, X890 and X900 printers) http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=jqwrlkdab&v=001Udjluc4seemPA1tBDzSWclbGtAJwc6WtbqWsVgeM-RmkCsuxfbEbu46eEApHp4jAf27oSzzCXFBRnxgpTDrN4UB-5E8mNzdpuJZhLzYAFtQXUM213PVjodYBu0WzsCxO_bCXnpfFW1FYn_Cu7-Wo8tA-cArP-pme
 
Good Luck

Jpegman

Hank, I've read through those articles on Cone's site and I wonder. Most importantly, his story about Ultrachrome ink being the main cause of the clogging doesn't account for the fact that the 3800/3880 series use Ultrachrome ink and are virtually trouble and maintenance free. You can leave those printers shut for very long periods of time - and I mean very long - I experienced one that was unused for a year, you fire them up, do a nozzle check and they come up clean. Leave a 4900 unused for more than a few days and bingo - nozzle clogs. There's something else going on, and I suspect it is associated with the fact that the x900 series print heads have twice as many nozzles per inch as the 3800/3880s. But there could be other design differences too. Jon Cone says his inks don't clog Epson printers and produce virtually identical results. How does he come up with this magic when Epson, with all their accumulated experience, chemists, engineers, testers and labs can't? Sorry, none of this adds-up in my mind, and John Caldwell's experience just reported here with the cleaning fluid is another unfortunate cautionary tale. The advice from Epson to print, print, print, while obviously in their interest, I think at the same time is obviously correct. It's a win-win.
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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
John Caldwell
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2013, 02:08:19 PM »
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Thanks, Mark. I print every 3rd day, and generally more often than that, as is. The room in which the printer sits is very clean, the printer is kept covered, so I can't understand the origin of alien materials if you know what I mean. The Epson suggestion that "Use Your Printer and You'll Be Fine" isn't true in all instances. The amount of time one spends getting the machine to work, at least in our case, has been just stupid.

Scott, the mad scientist at American Inkjet Systems tells me, for what size grain of salt this is worth, that they have been besieged by desperate owners of dead-head 900 series machines since the 900 series introduction. He, Scott, ties this to Epson's inks more than to the heads, if I understood him correctly. Scott explains that Epson's elimination of a gloss optimizer forced the company to formulate an ink that would offer the appearance of GE prints, but without the GE channel. In his view, this ink formulation -coupled with the size of the small head pores - is the perfect storm. The point that American Inkjet Systems is in the business of selling 3rd party inks, not 3rd party heads, should probably no be overlooked in evaluating his claim. Still though, Jon Cone's advertising claims similar numbers of SOS calls from 900 series owners. One can't help but fear that something is not right with this design.

I ran an HPZ3200 machine for three years with exactly one head clog incident; and that clog was cleared in a 5 minute cleaning. That machine sat where the 4900 and 9900 now sit. Epson is missing some practical points, I am afraid.

Thanks for your interest.

John Caldwell
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2013, 02:19:21 PM »
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The problems with the design need to be evaluated in the context of data we don't have: how many dead heads compared with printers sold? The extent to which those guys are "beseiged" could well still be a small faction of the total number of those printers sold and in use. My experience over and over again indicates that usage is the key issue. But your printing rate sounds as if it should be OK, so something else in your case is clearly going on.
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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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