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Author Topic: And yet another 4900 horror story and Windex advisory  (Read 2366 times)
tsjanik
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« on: February 23, 2014, 11:26:51 AM »
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I've had a 4900 since 2010 which gets very light use.  I've had blocked nozzles previously which always cleared with a cleaning or a print.  On Feb.1, a nozzle print indicated some blockage in PK.  I tried some prints and a cleaning which resulted in a few more blocked nozzles in PK.  Allowing the printer to rest with a tray of water inside recovered a few nozzles.  In the past three weeks I have done about five cleanings, two power cleanings, two PK/MK changes and a new MK cartridge. Every cleaning resulted in more blockage to the point where the printer was not usable.  So, in desperation,  I tried the paper towel soaked with Windex technique.  The treatment lasted about 5 hours.  A nozzle check showed no improvement in PK, but now C and VM are 30% blocked.  Two conversations with Epson on the phone have been of no assistance; they say a power cleaning is the only option I have available.

Tom
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 11:49:59 AM »
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Not good.

Did you do the power cleaning?

When you do, please inform us of the outcome.

Light use has to be the culprit.

I've been away for another two-week stint overseas. This time before I left I asked my wife to run a test print (8.5 *11 inch) that exercises all the inks every other day. She did so and when I returned only the Cyan channel showed about 1/3rd broken lines in the pattern; it did need several two-channel cleans with a test print in between to get it back.

As a result of previous similar absences from the printer with no test prints being run, on my return most of the channels showed heavily broken or no lines in the pattern and it took several general cleanings plus several two-channel cleanings to get the printer back to normal. Moral of the story once again: this is a usage problem. So what happens from non-usage? Ink dries in the head or on the head creating clogs? Pressure droppages allow air into the lines preventing ink flows? I suspect the former, but would be nice to know. Regardless, the operative factor remains usage.
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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
tsjanik
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 07:52:17 AM »
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Mark:

Cleaning has no effect on any of the three colors.  The observation that cleanings don't result in any change in the print pattern makes me suspect that there are causes of non-printing nozzles in addition to simple blockage - air in lines, electrical failure? 

I've been using Epson printers since 2004 and have had my share of blocked nozzles, but have had success with cleanings in the past.  This is the first time I've had intractable problems similar to those that I've seen mentioned so often in printing forums; and now I truly understand the frustration expressed in those threads.  Unfortunately the timing of this is very bad since I have much printing to do in the next few months.   The question will quickly become how much time and effort that I devote to this printer. 

A mystery to me is why the Windex treatment resulted in blocked C/VM nozzles.

I'm trying a puddle soak at the moment but my optimism is rapidly fading.

Tom
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 08:03:00 AM »
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Hi Tom.

I hear you. The "new" element in all this is the apparent intractability that some users are experiencing in trying to restore all the channels to normal operation. As a result, folks are resorting to non-recommended approaches because the recommended ones aren't working. The former could well be making matters worse (who knows how or why), or at best not making them any better, and probably why Epson has not recommended them. The more I read of this, the more I would encourage Epson to become more pro-active with cost-effective solutions, if indeed any are possible.
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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
BrianWJH
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 04:24:46 PM »
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A mystery to me is why the Windex treatment resulted in blocked C/VM nozzles.
Tom, my 2 cents worth why using Windex or other cleaning solutions under the printhead or in the capping station either doesn't work or seems to create clogs in previously unclogged colours:

  • Insufficient soak time, in my experience stubborn clogs are going to take longer for the solvent wicking action of the cleaning solution to penetrate, a minimum soak time would be overnight and possibly several days, sometimes you may have to repeat the process
  • Not keeping the paper towel or capping station moist allowing the printhead nozzles to dry, Windex in particular contains Isopropyl Alcohol which evaporates quickly
  • Previously clear colours become clogged or now show inferior nozzle check patterns after cleaning solution is applied. The solvent action of the cleaner both loosens and dissolves hardened pigment around and in the nozzle orifices, in some cases previously hardened pigment build-up inside the nozzles now becomes mobile so performing a nozzle check or machine cleaning moves aggregated pigment clumps towards the nozzle orifice creating a new blockage or clog.

Brian.
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tsjanik
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 08:07:11 AM »
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Thanks Brian.  I find your response encouraging.  I was afraid the Windex caused irreparable damage to the head.  I spoke with an Epson tech and he said Windex could cause damage to the membranes inside the head.  He suggested a puddle soak using saline. I must admit I'm hesitant to use salt water; at least ammonia will eventually evaporate.  I found another thread where it's stated that Windex caused additional blockage:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=86704.msg704294#msg704294

AIS cleaning solutions is reported there to clear the head   Any experience with that?

Tom
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BrianWJH
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 04:47:19 PM »
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I spoke with an Epson tech and he said Windex could cause damage to the membranes inside the head. 
I don't use Windex as my cleaning solution but I recently posted a link to this youtube video recommending the windex method as demonstrated by a U.S. based Epson Service Dealership. So which Epson dealer/tech do you believe?
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He suggested a puddle soak using saline. I must admit I'm hesitant to use salt water.
Never seen salt water recommended as a cleaning solution before, then again I've seen just about everything else Roll Eyes
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AIS cleaning solutions is reported there to clear the head   Any experience with that?
I don't have any experience with that solution however most appear to have common ingredients like water, glycols and usually some 'secret' solvent, Jon Cone from InkJetMall also has a cleaner named PiezoFlush.

Brian.
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Georgecp
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 06:46:15 PM »
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Tom,

When I have encountered similar problems with my 4900, I perform an "initial ink charge" and let the printer sit with the new ink that is drawn through the heads.  This clears the blockage in most cases.  When this doesn't work, I use cartridges with Piezoflush and perform an initial ink charge with the Piezoflush solution and let it sit.  This has worked on the worst clog that I had on PK and VM channels and recovered them.  The way I perform an initial ink charge is with a maintenance/adjustment program for the printer - the command is sent through software.  There may be a way to do this from the control panel though I am not sure.

Like many who have this experience, cleans and power cleans are a mixed experience for me and general don't clear the issue.  I try to use them sparingly as I have heard that repeated use of the function can do its own damage to the head though I have no way of verifying this.

Now, I keep the printer with cigar humidor humidifiers (50%) humidity inside the printer when not in use.  This seems to help though I do print every other day if possible.
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prepper
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 04:14:00 PM »
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Mark, I would just like to report our story, as repects to usage being a cause.  Our 7900 clogged on the yellow channel after 2 years and 1 month.  Our use is low, it shows 1350 prints, we work 4 day weeks, so it's off every weekend from Thursday night until Monday morning, it's turned off for vacations once in the summer for 3 weeks, once in the fall for a week and for 1-2 weeks at Christmas.  I know there are always exceptions but I'd say if light use or being shut off caused clogs, ours probably should have clogged long before now.

No amount of cleaning has improved it, if we had a 1 yr extended warranty we would have exceeded that by one month, if we bought a 2-yr that would have been half the price of the printer to start with and after being repaired you still have spent $2100 for a head replacement and have no warranty going forward.  Best to us to just replace it now, get at least a 1-yr extended warranty, be covered for next 2 years, keep some cleaner on the pads, don't let ink carts stay in for more than 6 months, print a nozzle check every day so at least a little ink moves, and hope for the best.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 04:18:59 PM by prepper » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 05:09:12 PM »
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A nozzle check isn't enough movement of ink to do the needful.
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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
tsjanik
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 05:54:19 PM »
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Tom,

..........  The way I perform an initial ink charge is with a maintenance/adjustment program for the printer - the command is sent through software.  There may be a way to do this from the control panel though I am not sure.


Thanks.  Is this third party software you use for the ink charge?
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Georgecp
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 08:40:59 PM »
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Yes.  It is called the adjustment program.  It is available from www.2manuals.com.
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tsjanik
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2014, 07:46:16 AM »
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I'm happy to report my 4900 is back.  I ordered cleaning solutions from AIS and followed their directions. Within a day I saw improvement in the blocked C/VM  and MK channels.  I did a paired cleaning of C/VM which restored nearly all nozzles.  I tried a paired cleaning of MK/LK which resulted in nearly total blockage of MK!  More cleaning solution and then a power cleaning of MK resulted in complete clearing of the nozzles. My suspicion is that the cleaning solution loosened some material that caused the blockage as Brian suggested above for experience with Windex.  Good luck to anyone facing these problems.  It's very nice to have your printer back.  

Tom

Of course one report doesn't prove that the solution cleared the heads, it could be coincidental since I have also kept the humidity high(er); however, it seems probable that the solution helped and if so, it seems Epson should have some official guidelines for use and perhaps supply the solution themselves.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 08:19:13 AM by tsjanik » Logged
borjadelgado
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 11:10:58 AM »
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Excuse me Tom, could you please give more information about the specific solution you bought from AIS. I'm now on the same case of you and I'm trying to decide which is the best solution to apply

Thank you so much
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Chris233
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2014, 11:28:04 PM »
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was the nozzle checks changing between these procedures? ie, one nozzle is blocked, and after cleanings... it recovered but yet another nozzle on the same channel or different channel is blocked?

Or, was the blocked nozzles the exact same throughout these procedures and only change is that new (additional) nozzles became blocked in succession?

I ask bc static nozzle checks indicate hard blocks... They don't change between cleanings at all. yet floating nozzle checks (which seems to be described) indicate either air in lines or sludge / dried ink being smeared around the head platen from pump cap or other areas of carriage assy. Perhaps the cleaning solution resolved the root cause of a dirty pump cap / wiper blade or sludge on carriage assy / print head platen.
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jferrari
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 06:53:55 AM »
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Chris - please tell me, short of a faulty bladder inside an ink cart, how does air get into the ink path?      - Jim
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tsjanik
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 07:35:18 AM »
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Excuse me Tom, could you please give more information about the specific solution you bought from AIS. I'm now on the same case of you and I'm trying to decide which is the best solution to apply

Thank you so much

I used both CLF007P and P+ as per directions.  It took about 4 weeks to get complete clearing; there was a persistent block in Y that finally cleared.  You can purchase both solutions as a package for $30.  Good luck.

http://www.americaninkjetsystems2.com/store1/cleaning_fluid_for_all_inkjet_printers.html
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Chris233
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 07:50:13 AM »
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Hi jferrari,

switching cartridges can introduce enough air if the ink bay components are worn. The process changing a cartridge on a healthy system always introduces some air (a very small amount!) which the system is able to recover and never shows up on nozzle check or causes density drops. But if the components are worn, more air than normal is introduced and does become noticeable on nozzle checks and density.

When cartridges are removed for extended period, there can be a pull of air into the lines similar to what happens at the print head when machine is powered down - pressure is relaxed, and air pulls into the system.

Non-airtight seal at the cartridge connection. When you look at the connecting area of the cartridge, it is a soft rubber piece, and there are a couple layers of rubber seals until you get into the ink chamber / bladder.

Running a cartridge after  empty unknowingly by accident (also reported here)

Bulk systems or refillable carts are notorious for air introduced in the lines for a number of reasons.

Removing any component in the ink system for maintenance / repair and then finding a floating nozzle check 6 months later when the air works it's way to the head. (If proper procedures not followed during the service).

The capillary system at the back of ink bay is designed to filter heavy debris, but also functions to trap air bubbles from the cartridges. Sometimes the air bubbles collected at the top of the arches in the capillaries release, and end up at the print head. Not sure if that system is on 4900, but is on 9900 and 11880 families.

Just a couple thoughts how it could happen.
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