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Author Topic: Epson 3800 Yellow Cartridge or Nozzle Problem  (Read 604 times)
pflower
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« on: August 16, 2014, 02:01:49 PM »
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My 3800 was purchased pretty soon after they were first introduced and has worked without problems since then (well technically not since I had an unclearable nozzle block and had the heads replaced about 3 years ago by an Epson technician but since the replacement it has worked perfectly).  Albeit with relatively light use - i.e. not pushing through 1,000s of prints per year.

However I was printing an A4 picture on Harman Gloss Baryta which paper had a slight curl to one end.  I noticed some small flecks of black against the back edge - suggesting a head strike against the curl, but more problematic was banding in a blue sky and misalignment at the rear edge of the picture.  I assumed that both of these were caused by the curl and so did a nozzle check.  To my surprise all nozzles were fine and showed no broken lines not even the Yellow one.  But the problem is with that channel - it was   seriously dark - almost grey in colour.  Now the normal nozzle check for the yellow channel is so light that you have to put the print out under strong light to ascertain whether or not the lines are broken.  Here you didn't it was virtually grey with a tinge of yellow.

A test print showed that things were way off - no warm highlights and yellow areas verging on orange.  So I did a clean cycle, used the utility to align the heads etc., created an A4 page in Photoshop with pure yellow and printed that. I took out the cartridge and shook it about and eventually things returned to normal.

The yellow cartridge in question is about 1/2 full and its expiry date is listed on the cartridge as 09/14 - so it is not out of date and previously I had no problems with it.

Except.

Tonight it happened again - no head strike or other printing problems but suddenly was way off, the nozzle check again showed a very dark yellow, almost grey pattern.  Again I printed out yellow swatches, shook the cartridge, cleaned the heads (even though the nozzle check didn't indicate any broken lines in any channel) and now it is back to normal again.

Any ideas as what might be happening?  Is this the end of printer? 

Thanks

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Michael Schoenfeld
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 10:15:18 AM »
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I too have a "vintage 3800" and just this week noticed the very same yellow pollution - gray predominates in the yellow nozzle check - so far, it will solve with a few cleaning cycles, but I am concerned about "end of life" issues too for this excellent printer.

Anyone else have this issue?

Michael Schoenfeld
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elliot_n
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2014, 10:40:41 AM »
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I too have a "vintage 3800" and just this week noticed the very same yellow pollution - gray predominates in the yellow nozzle check - so far, it will solve with a few cleaning cycles, but I am concerned about "end of life" issues too for this excellent printer.

Anyone else have this issue?

Michael Schoenfeld

Yes. I'd already had an Epson tech in to replace printhead, capping station etc. 18 months later, the yellow nozzle check was coming out grey. I decided to bin the printer and buy a 3880.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2014, 12:13:40 PM »
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These reports do not make me happy, as I have a fairly early 3800 which has never needed any repair, and very few cleanings.

About once a year I ruin a print because I haven't done a nozzle check, but it bounces right back with a single cleaning.

If mine gets the "grey yellows" disease, I'll just go for a 3880.
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pflower
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 02:40:03 PM »
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I contacted Epson via a live chat line which was wholly useless.  Clearly I am not alone in this but they had no idea as to what might be causing it and were concentrated only on solving the immediate problem. Since there was no immediate problem they couldn't help.  My research via google hasn't lead to any other discussion on this point.  It is confusing.

I suspect that my printer is a good 7 years old and only just now is this happening.  However since the last time I have printed out 25 A3+ prints with no problem.  I also have a 3880 at work and printed out a couple of prints for comparison.  As far as I can tell there is virtually nothing between the 2 (very slight differences which may be down to the profiles used). 

I can't see any reason why the 3800 shouldn't go on for a few more years, but not having any explanation as to what might be causing this is frustrating.
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BillK
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »
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I lost 2 3800's to black ink migrating into the yellow. The first one I bought new when they were first released, the second one a refurb.
The first one lasted around 5 years, the second one just over a year. Both were used moderately. Sometimes printing a couple hundred prints in a day
sometimes going weeks without use.

My guess is somewhere either in the head or ink delivery system a leak had developed allowing black ink into the yellow channel. With my second 3800
I completely ran out of black ink without the printer telling me it was low, because black ink had leaked into the yellow channel, that was not accounted for.

The first one I trashed because I didn't think it was worth the expense to repair a 5 year old printer. The second, I had a time crunch and felt I could be back up
and running faster by buying a new 3880. So far, so good on the 3880.

If you decide to get it repaired, I would be interested in what the exact issue is. That is, if they can figure it out without just throwing parts at it until one sticks.

There is definitely an issue with the 3800, I would say it is time to either have it repaired or get a new printer.

Good Luck
 
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pflower
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 02:45:51 PM »
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I shouldn't have posted my last contribution.  The kiss of death arrived immediately (and I mean immediately) after I pressed the "post" button.  After 25 flawless A3+ prints the next one was disastrous.  A nozzle check showed the PK channel was completely blocked.  A cleaning cycle cleared it immediately and the nozzle check showed perfect lines across all channels.  The next print was even worse and the nozzle check showed that every single channel was broken and mostly grey.  A discussion with Epson came up with the analysis that the printer head was "contaminated" and needed repair.

A visit to a well known web site (that I use far too much late at night to purchase books) means that a new 3880 is arriving tomorrow at a very reasonable price.

Checking on this I notice that the 3800 was probably purchased in November or December 2006.  So I have had nearly 8 years of use out of it and I still have most of the cartridges to use with the 3880 (obviously excepting the Magentas).  I can't complain.

So the bottom line is that once channels start to misbehave it's time to move on.
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