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Author Topic: Epson 3800-Mystery ink spots-pic  (Read 2370 times)
pluton
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« on: August 05, 2014, 01:12:20 AM »
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See attached JPEG scan.  Different color ink blobs along one edge of print.  Smeared blobs are from my handling while still wet...the blobs were all circular as the print came out of the printer.
Has anyone here gotten these ink drippings/spots/whatever-they-are on their Epson 3800(or presumably 3880)?
Never got them before in 5 years of operating this printer; first got the spots on several Exhibiton Fiber 8.5x11s, then I printed a Epson ProGlossy that had no spots, then the next Glossy had them again.  
Printer had been well-treated over the years.  I usually print at least once a week, very rarely have a nozzle clog which is always easily cleared. Epson inks, and the waste ink tank shows about 80% full on the LCD annunciator panel.
Any knowledge out there about this?
Thanks, in advance.  -Keith B.
PS: Look at the larger JPEG scan image please!

« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 03:47:28 AM by pluton » Logged
AFairley
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 08:33:54 AM »
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I had something similar on my 3800, but only the black and extending 1/8" to 3/8" from the side of the paper, printing on EEF, intermittent spacing.  I tried a power cleaning and cleaning off the capping station wiper blade and sponges, but it did not fix the problem. Given the cost of a 3880 after rebate and the value of the included inks, plus the fact that I could use the existing in carts from the 3800 (except for the magentas) in the 3880 I decided to buy a 3880 rather than spend money on trying to fix it with no guaranty of success (I called an Epson service shop in L.A., but they did not immediately recognize the problem).  I was able to sell the 3800 without ink and with full disclosure of the problem to someone for $125 as I recall.  Sorry I can't be of more help.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 08:57:18 AM »
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Have you tried adjusting the platen gap control for thicker paper?
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Gerald J Skrocki
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howardm
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 09:42:27 AM »
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probably edge curling upward (humidity issue?) 

try increasing the platen gap and also lay the paper down on a flat surface and see if the edge is curled; if so, try some gentle reverse curling.
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pluton
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 12:49:12 PM »
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Jerry and Howard, Thanks for your suggestions.
I had provisionally ruled out head strikes because the paper seemed very flat, and the spots had the distinct appearance of droplets as opposed to the 'side-hits' of head strikes.  In fact, that's the reason I switched to the Epson Glossy RC paper....Just in case the issue was curl or thickness related with the thicker Exhibition fiber.  
Luckily I have no deadlines involved so it looks like I'll be fiddling and finagling with various experimental remedies.  Platen gap and waste ink tank are the first objects of interest.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 01:00:41 PM by pluton » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 07:42:31 PM »
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Yup, I get them too, and with a regular occurrence that causes me to reject as much as 15% of the prints I make on my 3880.  This problem is the reason I give my 3880 a C rating rather than an A rating for overall performance, and the reason that the 3880 is prosumer and not professional grade, IMHO. Too many wasted prints due to ink dribble, usually in the margins about 1 inch away from the paper edge, but sometimes within the image itself.

My 3880 rarely clogs (which is uncharacteristic of all other consumer/prosumer Epson printers I've owned in the past) and when it does, it's relatively easy to unclog with a single cleaning cycle. However, although the Epson teflon coated head technology may be the reason the 3880 does so well at reducing/eliminating clogs, I suspect it contributes to a slow but stray ink droplet build up on the head surface that finally lets go and lands on the print. Sometimes, when those droplets are large but still haven't fallen off the head, a close paper gap can cause the head to "kiss" the paper surface just enough to deposit those large unwanted ink droplets on the paper. While this situation may not be a true head strike in the sense of the head actually colliding with the edge of the paper, it's a close enough head-to-paper surface gap that the ink buildup on the head subsequently gets transferred to the paper.  A wider platen gap can help reduce the problem by allowing the 3880 to accumulate an even larger glob of ink on its head surface before gravity finally takes its toll and the stray ink blob falls onto the paper by itself. That's my somewhat unscientific reasoning on this issue, but I call it as I see it Angry  

Perhaps turning the machine off more frequently to truly park the head on the capping station might help reduce the problem. I'm still trying to figure what steps the enduser can take to reduce the frequency of occurrence.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 06:10:50 AM by MHMG » Logged
pluton
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2014, 12:29:19 PM »
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The ink drip issue went away and has not returned in several weeks of light occasional use.
If it starts  again, I'll park the heads immediately to drain off excess ink.
Next, if needed, I'll increase the platen gap.
  Thanks, for all the info.
-KB
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JayWPage
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2014, 04:39:29 PM »
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Here is a link to u-tube movie about how to clean the purge pad and wiper on an Epson 3800/3880. It may help prevent the drips, but I haven't tried it myself.

See: Cleaning the Purge pad and Wiper on the Epson pro 3800.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2014, 06:17:21 PM »
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Thanks for that link, Jay. In over five years I have never cleaned the inside of my 3800, but the procedure looks quite straightforward, so I'll try it soon, and then probably every couple of months.

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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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pluton
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 01:05:58 AM »
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OP here:  the ink drips have come back, but with a maddeningly random intermittence.  I'll check that video soon...
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jtoolman
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2014, 02:34:38 PM »
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When was the last time the OP cleaned the Purge Pad and the wiper blade.
If the same paper did not become stained with globs of ink in the past then increasing the platen gap or thickness of the paper setting will only be a temporary fix. The problem WILL absolutely come back with a vengeance.

Watch my  video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKzxAm9QtWo

Joe
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AFairley
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2014, 08:22:45 AM »
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When was the last time the OP cleaned the Purge Pad and the wiper blade.
If the same paper did not become stained with globs of ink in the past then increasing the platen gap or thickness of the paper setting will only be a temporary fix. The problem WILL absolutely come back with a vengeance.

Watch my  video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKzxAm9QtWo

Joe

The OP should certainly try Cleaning the wiper blade and purge pad, nothing to lose.  In my case doing so did not fix the problem, but it certainly is the place to start.  Like I said, nothing lose. 
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pluton
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 01:52:52 PM »
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OP update:
Thanks for taking the trouble to make that video, José.  I performed your cleaning as illustrated, but no cigar.
The ink drip is still intermittently present;  further interweb research leads me to feel that after 5.5 years of trouble-free service*, this particular 3800's time on earth has come to an end.  Maybe I'll try selling it(with full disclosure, of course).
Something about 'cracked heads'; no case can be found where the problem was rectified, except by buying a new printer.  
Too bad I never came close to the stated cycle life of the 3800---I probably only made a couple thousand prints of all sizes.  Kinda like those Nikon D3 cameras I had:  after 4.5 years, I'd only put about 28,000 cycles on shutters that are rated to go 300,000 cycles.
*Except that it took me at least two or three years to figure out how to make prints trouble-free from Lightroom using the rear paper feed.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 01:56:00 PM by pluton » Logged
Some Guy
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 04:50:05 PM »
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One way I found to clean under the 3800/3880 print head is to take a piece of 8.5x11 inch typing paper and fold it one inch from the end, then keep folding it an inch all the way up.  You're left with a flat 1" wide tube.

Pull the power plug when the machine is turned on and the head moves off to the left.  Now you can freely move the head and put the above paper in the absorption mat under the print head carriage.  I soaked the end of the exposed paper under the carriage it with cleaner (Print head cleaner, although others use whatever else.) and slide the head over it.  It leeches all the old ink off the head onto the paper and you have to repeat it several times too.  A lot of junk comes off from under there I found.  Too bad there isn't an easy way to get to the bottom of the head on an Epson (Canon ipf5100 may be in my future as I am growing weary of Epson throw-aways for such nonsense.).

Bad part is the channels will show nothing in a nozzle check as the ink has drained via capillary action so you will have to do a power flush, let it sit an hour or two, then try a nozzle check again.  Might take a few flushes to get it flowing out again, but the bottom should be clean of gunky ink.

SG
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jferrari
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 09:12:51 PM »
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+ 1. This also applies to other Epson printers. Distilled water on a lint-free cloth is what I use.    - Jim
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No, I don't own one. But I have seen one on TV.
AFairley
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2014, 09:08:19 AM »
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The OP Has reached the sad place I did with my 3800.  I was able to sell (with full disclosure) it without ink for $125, keeping the ink carts (except for the magentas) for the 3880, which helped lesson the pain of the cost of the replacement 3880 (if you can, wait for Epson's annual rebate period).  One thing to bear in mind is that if you use the old carts to prime the new printer, make sure they are at least 1/3 full; if any cart is too low, the priming will fail and you will have to do it again, with no credit for the ink already in the lines from the first incomplete priming.
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Some Guy
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2014, 10:28:48 AM »
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I see Amazon sells the 3880 with the option of a Square Trade warranty to extend the warranty 2 years beyond the 1 year off Epson for $179 (They call it a 3 year warranty, but 1st year is for shipping I think since Epson covers it for the first year).  I don't know if it covers the print head as they could maybe call it a normal wear item?  I've seen 5 year offerings on the Canon's for less than 3 year Epson offering, so it might be telling the Canon printer is a little more robust?

Sadly, the 3880 does seem to be a throw-away printer once it acts up as the print head alone costs more than a rebated new one with ink.  I suspect it may also have a shorter lifespan than the older 3800 too.  Friend's 5 year old 3800 is still running, and my 3880 went to trash at 22 months and 1,300 prints.  Maybe cheaper parts in the newer ones.  I have two, and then things do run differently (Auto-power off in firmware of one, and other was always on.).

I'd like to go to the Canon ipf5100, but it is huge (wider!) compared to the 3880 and maybe twice the weight.  The two heads are user replaceable though at $450 each.  Needs two heads due to the 12 colors and no need to mix/waste the PK and MK black on a switch either as in the 3880.  Don't know if the gamut is much different, although the Canon uses an extra blue and green (and something else?) ink.

SG
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Andrew Makiejewski
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2014, 09:09:59 PM »
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A good chance that a new capping station is required. Know 2 persons that had that done and solved that problem. But could also be just change the Maintenance Tank.

About 6 months ago, I had a problem where I was getting reddish/magenta spots appearing randomly on my prints. Looked around and did not see anything. Decided to look at the tank even though it was at only 80%. It was pretty messy. So I replaced it with a new tank that I had waiting for use. Turned the printer off, then on and tested. To this day, the problem never came back.  The capping station usually needs to be replaced at about the 3 year mark. Spoke to Epson while at the ProFusion show about a few things for a friend of mine. Like in a car, you need to do maintenance every so often.

Andrew


See attached JPEG scan.  Different color ink blobs along one edge of print.  Smeared blobs are from my handling while still wet...the blobs were all circular as the print came out of the printer.
Has anyone here gotten these ink drippings/spots/whatever-they-are on their Epson 3800(or presumably 3880)?
Never got them before in 5 years of operating this printer; first got the spots on several Exhibiton Fiber 8.5x11s, then I printed a Epson ProGlossy that had no spots, then the next Glossy had them again.  
Printer had been well-treated over the years.  I usually print at least once a week, very rarely have a nozzle clog which is always easily cleared. Epson inks, and the waste ink tank shows about 80% full on the LCD annunciator panel.
Any knowledge out there about this?
Thanks, in advance.  -Keith B.
PS: Look at the larger JPEG scan image please!


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Some Guy
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2014, 09:36:16 PM »
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Since I really tore into my 3880, I found some sort of black gummy goo on one side of the print head.  It took a lot of work with a Q-tip and solvent to get it off.

Then looking at the rubber wiper on the capping station that moves under or out of the way of the head when it moves off the two white fiber pads, it had goo too.  There is a sponge that Epson put to wipe off the rubber blade as it moves under or out of the way of the print head, but it was gooey too.  All it was doing is moving the black inky goo to somewhere else.  It was building up on the print head pretty well and you can see a bit of it on both sides of the silver metal frame holding the head in place.

I usually clean the capping station every couple of months, but what is under the head will no go away unless you take it apart to get to it.  If it holds ink, I can see it dripping.

I have a shot of the underside of the print head and the capping station both.  The rubber wiper is the long thin thing in the upper right that moves in a track besides the foam wiper in the middle.

The print head might not be able to drag on the paper itself as it is held by a thin metal frame and is recessed a bit.  Mine was dragging on the paper (Some plastic slide tabs broke off in the carriage.) and seems to have built up paper fibers and ink near the frame holding the head in place, but the head seems okay (visually).

SG
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darinb
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2014, 04:01:26 AM »
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I had a similar problem recently with the blue ink. Ink dots all down one side of the paper. Did a little cleaning (nozzle and paper towel) and no real improvement. Then I'm running a nozzle check test print and out comes the paper....with a single cat hair on it, stick to the paper with blue ink. The cat hair is a stiffer variety and about three inches long--half was covered in blue ink. Problem went away.

My working theory is that the hair was stuck on the head in some way with blue ink building up on it, head change in direction caused a drop to fall off once in a while. Not sure why only on one side.

Do you have a cat or dog? Smiley

--Darin
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