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Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks => Topic started by: Eric Gulbransen on January 26, 2012, 08:44:43 PM

Title: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 26, 2012, 08:44:43 PM
I am new to posting here but not to reading here.  Hi everyone.  Thanks for unknowingly helping me in the past.

I have read about many experiences with the Epson 7900 - clogs, cleanings, power cleanings, utilities cleanings, Epson service experiences, total machine replacements, humidity, ambient room temperature regulation, and on and on.  My experience has been different than any I have read so far, so I offer it here.  Perhaps someone like me - a year ago, can learn from me - now.

I am not a professional printer or photographer.  I am just an enthusiast.  I have been printing with two Epson 4800s for a year now - one for PK, the other for MK.  I bought them both used after spending way to much money on printing my photos at a lab.  One machine had 1,800 prints on it, the other 20,000.  They both ran, and continue to run today, flawlessly.  In fact the 20k machine is printing panoramas behind me as I type this.  By the end of today it will have paid for itself nineteen times since I bought it.  I love both machines, never have problems.  Considering this great experience I have enjoyed while entering the printing world, I re-invested some of the money that the 4800s earned and bought a current model Epson 7900 with a good friend of mine.  We bought this 7900 used, off an active member of this very "Printers, Papers and Inks" forum on Luminous-Landscape.com.

When we first got this Epson 7900 it had a cluster of clogs in the yellow channel, and one clog in the PK channel.  I won't bore you with unnecessary details.  Familiar story - no amount of any and all possible cleaning cycles cleared either of them.  

That disaster amounted to strike 1 - on our Epson 7900 DIY clog clearing adventure..

After over a month of research, cleaning exercises, calls to Epson service (who have always been very polite, but not helpful considering clog clearing advice.  Instead they always say "we can send someone out if you like?"), we decided NOT to have an Epson serviceman come fix our machine.  Too many threads on this forum suggest these visits amount to no more than some guy blindly bolting new replacement parts onto your machine until finally hitting on a solution.  Money comes too hard to me to justify that kind of bleeding.  So considering this 7900 is not under warranty, me and my photo/printing genius buddy decided to, figuratively, dive into this Epson 7900 ourselves.  Here is what followed:

Clearing print head clogs on the Epson 7900 - Windex and paper towel method:

To revive the entombed Epson 4800s which I rescued from the forgotten retirement home of printers passed, I performed the "Windex on a paper towel under the head for a night" trick.  It worked like a charm, I've never had a problem with either machine since.  So naturally my first thought for this 7900 was "Go for the Windex".  Not so easy though, unlike the 4800, the 7900's head sits vertical.  I managed though, ultimately the technique works just the same.  The wet paper towel sucked ink from the head of the 7900 just the way it did on the 4800.  But it didn't solve the clogs.

Strike 2 - on the Epson 7900 DIY clog clearing adventure..

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/epson_7900_nozzle_clogs.jpg)

This failure lead to our next attempt -
Clearing print head clogs on the Epson 7900 - cleaning solution and refillable carts:

I did about a hundred searches online about clearing clogs on an Epson 7900.  I learned two amazing things.  First, anything you really need to know about an Epson 4800 is in a video on youtube.  Second, nothing you really need to know about an Epson 7900 is in a video on youtube.  Always instead these searches ended us up at home-grown printer maintenance websites looking like a sixteen year old developed them.  Still I called though, not many options out there for an Epson 7900 do-it-yourselfer.  "Cleaning solution" was always the best answer I got.  So we bought four refillable carts for the 7900, with the intent to run this cleaning fluid through the head-clogs on ONLY the channels we chose.  This worked so well I was shocked.  The printer accepted all the third party cleaning carts minus one - which is about on par with what this 7900 typically does with Epson's own OEM carts.  They gave me extra chips for the carts, just in case, which once swapped out on the one problem cart worked perfectly.  Now for the cleaning cycles..

It took ten pairs cleanings for the cleaning fluid to show up in a nozzle pattern check.  That seemed reasonable.  After five more pairs-cleanings we did a nozzle pattern print on glossy paper - which when held up to the light just right suggested that all the clogs in the YW channel were clear.  You couldn't see the color of the ink in the YW pattern, but you could see the sheen.  However from what we could tell the PK clog was still there.  So be it, one out of two aint bad.  We decided to put the ink carts back in and check our actual results.  Here's where things went sideways.

With the lines now fully charged with cleaning fluid, simply re-introducing ink into the line in pairs-cleanings was not effective.  Rather than watching the line turn yellow as ink approached the head, which is what we had planned on, the cleaning fluid-filled lines very effectively diluted the ink as it slowly entered the line.  This is an obvious result now that I think about it, but we did not see this coming.  Instead, theoretically, we could have done pairs cleanings until we went blind and the lines would still have traces of cleaning fluid in them.  

So just so you know - oh you reader of internet forum help threads - this method may sound great on paper, but it's gonna cost you in the end.  Instead of doing four million pairs cleanings to fully clear the lines of cleaning solution, we did two SS cleanings from the utility window.  That charged the line I'll tell you.  Bye bye cleaning solution.  But also good night to the rest of our ink...  Just one SS cleaning filled over 20% of the maintenance tank.

If you think that's a downer, wait till I tell you what happened when we ran a nozzle pattern check.  The PK channel was exactly the same.  The YW channel was worse.  

Strike 2.5 - on the Epson 7900 DIY nozzle clog clearing adventure...

Having failed for what effectively was now the third time, and at this point being psychologically prepared to push this Epson 7900 off a very high cliff with lots of huge rocks below, me and my genius buddy decided to roll up our sleeves and literally dive into the Epson 7900.  What follows is what we found.

Clearing print head clogs on the Epson 7900 - according to the Epson service manual:

So we got a copy of the Epson Service Manual - the very manual service men use in the field as they blindly throw parts at your printer.  I don't know, maybe you all have copies of this manual.  I found it fascinating.  If you would like a copy of it for yourself you can download it online - just google it.  

As it turns out the dampers should be replaced every year.  So my first question was "WTF is a damper?"  

In case you have this question too, here is an Epson 7900 damper:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1136.jpg)

Here is where your Epson 7900 dampers live - this clear plastic box which houses all the dampers is called by some (on ebay searches) - the "Selector Unit".  Others call it the "Damper Unit".   Epson calls it the "Damper Assembly".  It's Epson part # 1504216.  If you study the image you will see there are two dampers (orange and green pair / PK and MK pair) which are capped by a plastic housing which extends rearward, over a small black box with a tiny shaft exiting it's left side.  This is actually the switching station - where your Epson 7900 swaps from PK to MK ink.

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1130.jpg)

If you follow the manual word for word, it suggests you should replace each of these dampers once a year.  Epson sells these dampers for just under $40.  Your Epson 7900 uses 5 of them.  Do the math yourself, 5 x $40 = $200.  But when you shop around you eventually find out you can completely replace the entire Damper Assembly - manufactured by Epson  - for about $250 full retail.  In order to replace each damper you really have to be careful.  The underside of this plastic Damper Assembly, which consists of lots of tiny veins and arteries where all the colored inks flow to your head, is covered ONLY by very wimpy aluminum foil.  Sneeze and you will tear it.  

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1167.jpg)



We decided to replace it.  I shopped around ebay and found a local Epson parts supplier selling OEM units in factory sealed boxes for $230.  No brainer.    FYI, you can buy third part dampers for just under $20 - but why would you.  Just get the whole assembly and be done with it.  

Next up is the Epson 7900 wiper blade.  Everyone I spoke with told me to replace the wiper blade.  Apparently after each cleaning the wiper blade, in a series of passes, wipes the face(es) of your print head clean of any and all traces of excess splooge.  With all the talk of how delicate print heads are on this 7900, I consider this wiper blade to play a critical role in the life and maintenance of your printer.  I'm not sure what I expected this wiper blade to look like, perhaps some space-age self-cleaning bionic rubber blade from the 22 century?  Well it's not.  In fact I hate to disappoint you but it looks quite a lot like this:



(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/7900_flushbox.jpg)


(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1162.jpg)


So as it turns out the Epson 7900 Wiper Blade is about as big as the tip of your pinkey, and it's about as high tech as that bowl of Cheerios you ate this morning.  I guess that's good though.  Maybe it's not so expensive?  It's $16 bucks.  What keeps it clean is that white(ish) strip of nice soft cleaning pad - or so you think its soft, right?  It IS after all called the Wiper Blade Cleaner, and the Wiper Blade is made of soft rubber - so maybe it's felt you think.  It's not felt.  It may as well be made from concrete.  Go ahead bite it, you'll see.  Yet somehow, hard as it is, if you look closely this cleaning brick actually got warn out by the rubber wiper?  


(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1165.jpg)


Trust me that is no small accomplishment - something soft destroying something hard.  Our wiper blade did not come out of it's 900 prints unscathed though (yes that's all this 7900 has ever printed, so it's likely your 7900 is worse off than this one).  Upon close examination our wiper blade is torn, and has a bit of "listing to the right" problem.  This is likely one of our worst problems.  I can imagine clumps of dried ink building up wherever this wiper blade does not touch the head properly.

So how do you replace the wiper blade.  I could tell you but I won't.  Rather I will tell you that the next thing the Epson manual, and anyone you call and ask advice from, suggests is to replace the "Capping Station".  Here we go again right - WTF is the capping station?   Here is the capping station:


(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1145.jpg)

This capping station parks itself directly over each individual bank of the Epson 7900 printer head - to form a seal, so no ink dries up on the head.  So here-in lies a potential problem.  If your wiper blade is out to lunch it leaves gobs of dried ink on your head, which in turn affects the seal that the capping station can make on your head, which in turn causes more ink to dry up on your head.  Think of it like Dominos - one element of this chain fails and the whole printer goes to hell in a hand-basket.


Three images up you can also see another replaceable part on your Epson 7900 - the flushing box.  It's simple to follow what this does - just behind it are pipes leading to your maintenance tank.  It's the dump station for your cleaning cycles - where your head parks itself while spewing all your ink down the drain.  Each of these parts are special order items.  Wanna know why?   Because they all come included, and pre-assembled as part of this great family of cleaning system parts when you buy what most call the Epson 7900 "Pump and Cap Assembly".  Epson part # 1523796


So what all this seems to be amounting to are the replacement of two parts - the Damper Assembly and the Pump and Cap Assembly.  But we still need to flush out this existing head, which for sure would already have been replaced for just about what we paid for this entire Epson 7900 - if we went with an Epson Service technician coming out to fix this clog.  Instead we are hoping to avoid that.  I have reservations about our strategy for flushing this head.  I just don't think throwing it in the dishwasher is a good idea...


Tomorrow morning I am picking up both of these OEM parts, in factory sealed boxes, for a grand total of $320.  I promise to update this thread with our results.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Tony Jay on January 26, 2012, 09:59:17 PM
Fascinating article.

Looking forward to the update.

Regards

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on January 26, 2012, 10:07:00 PM
Can you please share where you found the replacement parts online and the amount of time involved with each of the procedures?

Looking forward to the next posting...

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 26, 2012, 11:18:54 PM
Sure Jeff.  Sorry, my name is Eric by the way but Eric G. was taken.

The best contact that I have found for Epson parts so far is a guy named Justin, in San Francisco.  I first bought a Black Ink Conversion Kit from him a few months ago, for my 4800.  That's how we met.  His ebay profile is immaculate.  My experiences with him have been just the same.  Good guy.  Here is a link to his ebay store - http://stores.ebay.com/Ink-Fleet?_trksid=p4340.l2563

As far as time goes, I estimate it took us 1.5 hours to get the Epson 7900 to this state:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1150.jpg)

Mind you we had no idea what in the hell we were doing, or where we were going.  The service manual is surprisingly thorough, and very easy to follow.  At first we were surprised to find out it had no notes on how to remove the individual dampers from the Damper Assembly.  But now that I learned the replacement of the entire Damper Assembly is the choice procedure, it makes sense they don't go into individual damper removal detail.  The same rang true with the Pump and Cap Assembly - IE, no instructions on how to replace the cap all on it's own, or the flushing box.  Again, because these all come with the complete replacement unit.

I bet first run you could replace your Pump and Cap Assembly in two hours.  Next time far quicker.  Add an hour and you could replace the Damper Assembly as well, all in one DIY service.

FYI, once you remove the Damper Assembly the head is right there in the open.  Four more screws and that's changed too.  Be sure to use a magnetic tip screwdriver.  Makes life easier.  If you are going after your head you will need a long handle, thin shank phillips head.  Most of the rest of the printer all you need is a regular phillips head.  All the wires and plugs are impossible to confuse - they only fit one place each (every plug is different - thank you Epson).

As far as flushing the head, we haven't done it yet.  Still deciding on technique.  There are "pizo electronics" inside the 7900 print head.  Not something you want to submerge in cleaning fluid I don't think.  Dishwasher is out...   :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on January 26, 2012, 11:23:50 PM
Fascinating, if not a bit unnerving.  I'm looking forward to your update. 

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: wtlloyd on January 27, 2012, 01:20:35 AM
This could be huge, and you well may end up famous if successful. This issue is probably the largest single thread generator on the Yahoo Epson Large format printer group forum.

I am very satisfied with my 4900 but have lusted for the next Epson size up through a 4000, 4800, and now 4900. Space for the printer and these unresolved cloggings ( the x900 series were supposed to be the ones with all the bugs finally ironed out, damnit!) have kept me away, but if reasonable expense in yearly maintenance can achieve reliability, I'm gonna be looking to buy...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 27, 2012, 03:45:45 AM
I wonder whether it has 5 wiper blades in total (10000 style) or one that does all (9000-9600 style) ?

Edit: two pictures of the HP Z3100 wipers in the capping station. It has a kind of Gillette double blade system per two channel head, 12 blades for six 2 channel heads. The pads + wipers + a lid is a kind of flexible drawer that moves under the head when the last is parked above the capping station. On both sides there is "felt" where the wipers transfer the scraped ink on. In the top left corner a small fixed wiper may be visible which takes off any ink/dirt that may be on the head carriage (also partly visible at the top left) so no dirt is transferred to the pinch wheels on the transport axle. This is a 5 year old Z3100, maybe four times cleaned over that period, still working without much issues.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 27, 2012, 06:18:54 AM
Eric,

Considering all the time and expense you've put into this printer thus far, do you think it would have been more economic in the final analysis to buy a new one? A lot of what you pay for is ink when you buy a new machine. The machine itself often turns out to be not that expensive. OK, you took the route you did, so two further questions: (1) did the person you bought the printer from ever advise you that the machine was clogged-up (sounds as if it hadn't been used in a long time) and (2) do you live near enough an Epson authorized service center to let professionals refurbish it for you, or for that matter, what would Epson have charged to refurbish it? While your account is indeed fascinating and you have more tinkering courage than I could ever muster, it does raise some nagging questions about the genesis of this whole experience and whether there weren't more cost effective ways of dealing with it, taking into account of course that all the time you put into research, learning, acquisition etc. is money.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on January 27, 2012, 06:52:42 AM
Before anyone starts chewing on Eric you need to know the entire story.

It was my 7900 he purchased. For the 3 years I used it,it has run just about as good as one of these can run including the day it went out the door.
I even ran 3 prints the night before it was picked up. I really wish I had kept my 100 or so nozzle print outs as they show its history.
A very unfortunate dilemma for Eric. Not his fault and not mine. He is in Ca.and I am in Pa. He had a very good friend in the shipping business that could get it to Ca. for a resonable rate.
 So he purchased it.
He starts it up and right out of the get go it has these 2 colors that will not clean up. I was of little help only knowing the standard and service mode cleaning options.
Eric never once complained to me,asked me for anything or most important to me never accused me of selling him this machine that now has these clogs.
As a 25 year business owner I take great pride in the business and personal relationships I have built over the years. I did not get where I am today by taking advantage of anyone especially not Eric.
To see him have to deal with this is a very painful experience.
The only thing I can do at this stage is offer my support as he works on getting this thing back up to speed.
Eric,please contact me offline as I have a check here for you to help with your parts.




Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 27, 2012, 07:32:31 AM
Hi Dan,

That is all most reassuring to Eric, no doubt, and for clarity, it was not my intention to "chew" on him. I think he did a valiant job and much more than I would have had the courage to do. My intent, for the benefit of others to perhaps avoid the pain of this kind of experience, is to wonder out loud about the merits of invoking the theory of comparative advantage in cases like this. I too have sold my used Epson professional printers in the past and like you made sure they were functioning perfectly before they went out the door. Fortunately in my case the customers were near enough at hand that I could help them set-up, produce test prints in their own operating environment, and make sure they were fine. From then onward, of course, it becomes their responsibility. It is good that you have written, offered Eric the support he needs and clarified an important aspect of this unfortunate situation. One wonders whether something went wrong in transport, which can happen to any kind of machinery.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 27, 2012, 09:03:19 AM

It was my 7900 he purchased. For the 3 years I used it,it has run just about as good as one of these can run including the day it went out the door.


Interesting to read that the dampers should be replaced after 1 year according the service manual. A kind of penalty on the normal warranty. Has it ever been serviced in the 3 years passed? With an extended warranty is there any preventative service done on a printer?

This is not about the second hand deal which seems to me a normal deal, it is more about what you get for your money if you buy the printer new with or without the extended warranty. The damper's predicted life sheds another light on the x900 woes that appear in more forums.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on January 27, 2012, 10:15:18 AM
I have a friend who just bought a brand new 7900 after his 3800 died. I'm going to send him a link to this thread just so he has an idea of what might happen down the road.

I just hope my 3800 doesn't die soon.

Eric (M., not G.)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: deanwork on January 27, 2012, 10:26:41 AM
Yea Ernst,

I still can't understand how they can go from the 10K series we used to use that never needed the waste tank or dampers or heads replaced after 10 years of daily use to having to replace parts in six months and constantly do head cleanings. It just doesn't make sense. They both had big pressurized carts and both were fast printers. They really screwed something up bad.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 27, 2012, 11:43:39 AM
Wow Dan, thanks for the offer.  I think this is why I am poor, I won't accept your check.  This is not your fault or responsibility.  But thank you very much again for your offer.  I actually am excited about this 7900, Dan.  I know we'll get it printing again, and I know it's not going to cost me an arm and a leg.  Maybe just an arm.

In retrospect of course, if I had it to do again I would have waited for Epson to offer some ridiculous discount and bought one new instead.  I buy used stuff mostly, to save money.  All my camera gear is used.  My two 4800s are used.  My wife had a kid already when we met.  Whatever...

The way I see it I am no different than most of you, now.  I own an Epson 7900 with a little time on it and I have clogs.  Also like many of you, I am not under warranty anymore.  So looking forward, which is my preferred perspective, I've got a mountain between me and greener pastures but I am willing and able to climb it.  If sharing this journey me and my genius buddy have set out on helps someone else then that makes it all the more worth while.  I am well aware that posting a story like this leaves me vulnerable.  Truth is I really could have used something exactly like this thread, for myself, two months ago.  That's why I took the time to put this together and post it all here on Luminous Landscape, in case I am not alone in this sea of Epson 7900 maintenance questions.

What I have learned so far:

1 - If a reasonable number of cleanings do not clear your clog, five more cleanings won't clear it either.
2 - SS maintenance mode cleanings stand for "Super Sonic" - they purge a LOT of ink
3 - Don't waste your money on refillable carts for cleaning to run solution through your head.  Between them and the ink you waste re-charging your lines you're better off replacing parts.
4 - The wiper blade, of which there is only one, is a critical part which wears out (everything wears out) sooner than you'd expect.
5 - You can change the wiper blade without taking the entire machine apart.  Not the whole pump and cap assembly mind you, just the wiper blade.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 27, 2012, 12:05:10 PM
Eric,

I think from your current perspective, looking forward is the right way to approach it, and the experience you are having could be valuable for others facing similar problems, so I would encourage you to keep us abreast of your discoveries as you proceed. Not many people are as "gutsy" as you are, so sharing the learning experience could be valuable. Best of luck with it.

Mark
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 27, 2012, 12:39:42 PM
I should have acknowledged your comment David, you are right that americaninkjetsystems site is super helpful.  Lots of good information on printer maintenance. 

I have to admit the thought/site of an Epson 7900 in so many pieces in front of you is a little worrisome.  But surprisingly the service manual is very easy to follow.  Good pictures, descriptions, warnings, and troubleshooting tips. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 27, 2012, 09:37:58 PM
Yes David, the capping station moves quite a bit.  If you look at your pump and cap assembly, the capping station lives in the big square empty space - when the head is over it.

We took the left side of the machine apart to get to the Damper Assembly - following the service manual to a "T".  They make you slide the head all the way to the left as the very first step.  FYI, the damper assembly sits on top of the head.  Real easy to access it when the left side of the machine is removed.

How did you get your head loose - so you could move it to the side?  Reason I ask is I have read people suggest pulling the printer's plug as the machine starts up.  This is unnecessary, you can release the head via the control panel.  It's all in the service manual
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 28, 2012, 01:02:50 AM
The capping station retracts back into the machine when the head is in motion.  I believe this is why you can't see it, but I can't be sure until ours is back together again to confirm.  At this point I can't remember which way let me access it so well - by pulling the plug to release the head, or by releasing it through the menu.  Keep in mind I didn't even know what a capping station was before we took our 7900 apart and I held ours in my hands.

Stay tuned, my next post will be fascinating.  Major breakthrough on clearing our clogged head tonight - pictures included.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 28, 2012, 01:15:43 AM
It's worth noting that, apart from the service manual being proprietary IP belonging to Epson (its publication without their permission being a breach of copyright - it still amazes me how many photographers think this is OK - I'd love for them to send me free copies of their images to print...) it's also not designed for public release or consumption, so you can imagine that additional material is provided to those persons authorised to do the work and use the manuals that puts much of it into perspective.  You also don't know if you have most up to date version being pirated and placed on the net.

As per my previous comments on this subject, this is a note directed at those who put these things (from all vendors, of all sorts of products) on the web and not people who simply go Googling and come across them (such as Eric).

Eric's done an admirable job, but whereas he states 1 year for the dampers someone else states 2 years.  I'd suggest that recommendations are exactly that and usage patterns and other things come into it beyond what a restricted service manual might suggest.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 28, 2012, 04:37:54 AM
Are there 5 wiper blades in the 7900?  I'm still curious.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 28, 2012, 10:25:10 AM
Thank you Farmer, for suggesting to me a perspective that I had not considered.  I will take the link to the service manual down now.  If anyone wants a copy, just google it and download it like I did.  FYI there are at least two available for download versions that I know of.  The one I used is a free version.  We are also using a $10 version, which is also available online, which we purchased, but I did not offer a link for you to download.  Both versions are easy to find.

I feel kind of bad about offering to all of you what I did here, now.  Especially the service manual thing.  So HERE (http://gotagteam.com/epson/_D3X4580a.jpg) is a free copy of one of my images, for you to print.  


Finally, here is my "Epson 7900 from the inside - out" disclaimer:   I am not an Epson service technician.  This thread on Luminous Landscape is not intended to be a platform for me to teach anyone anything.  Like I said at the beginning of this, I am just an enthusiast - offering to you all something which I desperately needed for myself, two months ago.  I would LOVE to have found a thread like this back then.  So I offer it to you all now.

My statement that the dampers need replacing every year was a quote from a service manual which we are using.  I have no idea if it is accurate.  In fact I have no idea if this Epson 7900 clog journey that me and my genius buddy have undertaken will even be successful.  We both are reserving the "push it off a cliff into the ocean" option as a viable plan - B.

Any of my postings here are intended, quite simply, to share accounts of our unique experience diving into the Epson 7900 ourselves, rather than calling a service tech.  I apologize if they come off as my advising anyone.  That's not my intent, or qualification.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 28, 2012, 10:33:08 AM
Ernst, there is only ONE wiper blade on the Epson 7900
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 28, 2012, 10:33:20 AM
Eric, congrats on a truly impressive photograph. Thanks for sharing it.

There is, perhaps a somewhat personal - so don't feel compelled to answer - question I would like to put here - not out of idle curiosity but because it may be useful for Epson to know this and better understand at least one other dimension of the "service environment" they are providing or not providing as the case may be. Did you decide to go the self-directed route because the cost of a servicing from Epson was just going to be too expensive, or regardless of cost - too hard to access logistically, or are you doing it out of curiosity to learn how much of the innards of this machine you can master and fix as sort of a hobby for personal satisfaction?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 28, 2012, 10:35:58 AM
For anyone who is curious, here is how you remove your head:

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1169.jpg)


and here is what your print head looks like if your wiper blade is compromised:


(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1203.jpg)


Pretty disgusting.  I will post tonight about how we cleaned our head.  Amazing results
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 28, 2012, 10:38:17 AM
Mark, sorry I am having a family emergency so can't reply properly until tonight.  More later I promise.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 28, 2012, 10:39:14 AM
Sure, and sorry to hear that. Hope it works out well for all concerned.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on January 28, 2012, 02:49:45 PM
....What can you do? And then they claim copyright for the service manual. Bravo!

....

Very true regarding manuals and schematics with products in the past.

But I don't think I've seen a manufacturer yell copyright protection regarding service manuals yet.  (Perhaps they don't want to draw more attention to why some consumers are scrambling for the service manual in the first place...)  I think its more cost-cutting and profit incentives that instruction manuals are often scant.  I'm surprised that my Epson 9900 came with a decent manual with faux leather case, like getting a new Lexus automobile.   ;D    Most simply provide a pdf file-----what a pita to print.  But to be sure, a nice recommended Service Manual ala Epson would be nice to include.  Hell, all the automobile manufacturers including Lexus on down know to include recommended service intervals....

Knock on wood (no problems with my 9900), but I do find the thread fascinating and educational.  And to that end, I don't have an issue with looking at a service manual, for services/maintenance that these flagship printers don't need.   ::)     Perhaps it would be a nice idea to offer some sort of service schedule, similar to automobiles, short of a full-blown what-the-hell-do-I-do call for an Epson Tech or pay for my kid's college tuition.

Many thanks, Eric.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: cranberrycoho on January 28, 2012, 03:39:25 PM
I've been searching for this repair manual online and not getting what you've obviously found. Could you please email me at [email protected] - yes it's so frustrating using this printer! Thanks and looking forward to more posts.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 28, 2012, 03:45:46 PM
Eric - firstly, sorry to hear that you have an emergency with which to deal - I hope that everything is OK and works out to be all good.

I wanted to reiterate that my comments were not directed at you.  You have, though, responded with such grace and consideration that we should all take a leaf from your book.

Yes, that head has real problems and it's easy to see now why you would have issues.

Also, that is a lovely photograph!  I particularly like the two silhouettes under the main arch - a man and a woman it seems to be?  Just enough to add a bonus bit of interest :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: kaelaria on January 28, 2012, 04:48:18 PM
Great info!  As this is a model I was considering when my Z3100 bites the dust it's certainly good to know what can happen and be done.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 28, 2012, 04:59:57 PM
Bryan, what's your experience been with the Z3100? Happy? Any idea how the print quality compares with an Epson x900?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: kaelaria on January 28, 2012, 05:03:43 PM
Not to derail but I'm still very happy with print quality, couldn't ask for more.  It has operational quirks and limitations though that new units don't like the paper loading and such.  Big problem with the belt (see my replacement and teardown thread/video).  Problem with failing hard drives and very expensive parts.  But I LOVE the output.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on January 29, 2012, 12:54:19 AM
       Eric....thank you very much for your info on this printer. I am looking forward to your results. I am having very similar problems. TO FARMER !!!! thank you very much for making life much harder for many of us.... I do not believe this manual has a copyright. Besides what many of us have payed for these printers ...plus the money for all the ink waisted cleaning.....the many hours waisted with very poor tech support I think we at least deserve access to the service manual. If you have not had problems consider yourself lucky.....but please don`t make life harder for many of us that have been jerked around by Epson. Once again thank you Eric for exploring this and I`m looking forward to your results.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 29, 2012, 01:02:49 AM
I do not believe this manual has a copyright

But all YOUR photos and IP do, right?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on January 29, 2012, 01:31:28 AM
I had my printer serviced four times before the my 7900 actually worked.   One of the points the service man made was that the wiper needed to be cleaned every 6 to 9 months.   The wiper is a single piece of rubber (small piece)  that is used to clean the print head.    The wiper ends up with dried ink on it after prolonged use and there is nothing that cleans the wiper.   It is a rubber squeegee for cleaning the print head.  The Service Man let me rotate the gears that controlled both the capping station and the wiper assembly.

This is what needs to be done to clean the wiper.  You will need both the "Pro 7900 and 9900 field repair guide"  and the Epson Stylus Pro 7900/9900 Service Manual.

1) The right side skins must come off in order to clean the wiper. Service Manual page 179 steps 1 -5.

2) The print head must be uncapped.  This was done manually by "Rotate the White Gear counter clockwise to unlock the Carriage"  page 390 field repair guide.  The print head is then pushed to left out of the way.

3) The Wiper blade is made accessible by "Rotate the flusing Box/Wiper Blade Motor until the Wiper Blade is exposed"  page 189 field repair guide.   The Wiping assembly will rotate down and eventually the rubber blade will rotate towards the front of the printer.

4) A foam swab dampened with warm water was used to clean the wiper.   Do not use q-tips because lint can be left behind.  I bought 50 foam swabs from the following source - Swab-its 74-4501-50  for $14 dollars.
 
 http://yhst-66879715068660.stores.yahoo.net/prso.html

When taking off the right side skins the LCD Display must be removed by detaching a ribbon cable with an edge connector on it.   If the cable is not plugged in correctly I was told that power and ground would be shorted and several circuit boards could be fried.

The items that were replaced on my printer: capping station, ink selector(damper), and print head.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 02:56:23 AM
Thank you for your support guys.  You don't even know me.  


Last night my buddy Steve and I (no he is not my invisible friend), removed our clogged Epson 7900 print head.  It was very exciting.  Up until that point the only obvious problems we found were the torn, gooey, worn out and cockeyed wiper blade.  Yes the capping station looked a little messy but I never got the feeling the capping station was the cause of our clogs.  More it was the result of them.  The Damper Assembly we decided to change because the manual recommended it - not because it looked like it needed it.  Neither of us expected new dampers to make any measurable difference.  But the head we both knew would reveal everything.  The head would make our journey, or break it.  We had to remove it.  We had to inspect it.  After all this build-up, how could we not..?

As you can see from the image a few posts up, it looked pretty nasty.  Obvious, definite connection between the condition of the face of our head and the condition of our wiper blade.  As sloppy as the wiper blade was, is as sloppy as our head was.  

I had all these visions of taking microscopic macro shots of the face of our head, blowing them and searching for visible clogs.  I doubted we'd be able to see them, but I was ready to try every trick in the book in order to do so.  Much to my surprise though all we needed to do in order to see them was turn the head over - there they were.  PK clog was clear as day.  YW clog cluster right out there in the open.  These pics were taken of the head exactly as it sat ready to print - no external wiping, cleaning - it wasn't touched.  

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1211.jpg)

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1195.jpg)

If you want to look closer, click HERE (http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1199crop.jpg)


In my opinion the cleanings actually added to our problems.  With the wiper blade compromised the cleanings just ended up spreading more crap over the head.  When we got to it our wiper blade was not just wet with ink, it was coated with layers of ink.  The surface area of the rubber wiper which touches the head was dry, but just past those areas the ink began to build up - first just wet, then wet but thicker, then kind of gummy, then simply crusty.  I am pretty confident this is what CAUSED our clogs, not what failed to clear them.  Think about it - microscopic holes just dying to be clogged, critically sealed over a capping station while not in use, routinely flushed with expensive ink to help keep them clear of any ink build-up - then smothered with a butter knife covered with chunky peanut butter.

No brainer, this is a critical, weak link in our Epson 7900 routine maintenance chain.


Cleaning an Epson 7900 print head:


For a week now Steve and I have lost sleep plotting a safe course through the hazards of manually cleaning a 7900 print head.  All you ever read about is how delicate these things are.  But what you don't read about is why they are delicate, or how they actually work.  Pardon me while I trip over my tongue trying to explain something I do not understand.  These heads are far more than a series of nozzles lined up in rows.  They're actually not "nozzles" at all.  At least not like we know nozzles in the garden hose world.  Instead the 7900 print head nozzle technology is built around a fascinating phenomenon called "Piezoelectricity".  This is pretty high-tech tiny world type stuff but in monkey language the concept is rather simple - tiny crystals which change their shape when electrically charged.  Your Epson charges the line leading to "nozzle" 18b, it flexes and ink squirts out of your print head.  Do that fourteen million times in a row over a slice of Gloss Baryta and you and I end up staring into 80 square inches of the final resting place of more technology than we will ever fully understand or appreciate.

So yea, now that you think about it, an Epson 7900 print head is not something you want clean with a shovel.  The solution we came up with is something I think is working remarkably well.  We suspended the head, face down, JUST over the surface of a mixture of cleaning solution mixed with distilled water.  Due to the mysterious characteristics of yet another physical phenomenon, called "Surface Tension", we actually did NOT have to submerge the face of the head into the solution.  Instead hovering the face ever so close to the surface of the solution caused the area of the solution just below the head face, to rise up from itself and cling to the head.  It was kind of magical actually, but even more amazing is what happened next.  The solution instantly began to suck ink from the head.  It was oddly beautiful actually.  I wish I filmed it.  Instead I took a few photos.  We left the head hovering there last night.  After today's drama I came home tonight to completely black solution under the head.  I lifted the head to inspect it.  It looks immaculate - virgin.

Been one hellofaday I'm off to bed.  More tomorow.


(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1229.jpg)


(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1231.jpg)


(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1218.jpg)


(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1225.jpg)



Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 29, 2012, 03:10:41 AM
Let's hope for some great prints once the head is back in (and if I may suggest, take extreme care when placing it back in to ensure position is correct and that you don't press too hard on any of the assembly).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 29, 2012, 05:05:30 AM
I do not believe this manual has a copyright. Besides what many of us have payed for these printers

What I recall of the availability of Epson Service Manuals is that with each new generation wide formats it became more difficult to get one. It must have been with the 9800 that I was told a SM had a key that could help to find the service man who made it available. At that time the spare part purchase in the US became more difficult too. Copyrights would fit that scheme. It is not that long ago that Lexmark abused the DMCA to protect cartridge chip policies:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexmark_Int%27l_v._Static_Control_Components

An advice to Eric; open up that machine but be careful with your sources.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 29, 2012, 05:50:23 AM

Last night my buddy Steve and I (no he is not my invisible friend), removed our clogged Epson 7900 print head.  It was very exciting.  Up until that point the only obvious problems we found were the torn, gooey, worn out and cockeyed wiper blade.  Yes the capping station looked a little messy but I never got the feeling the capping station was the cause of our clogs.  More it was the result of them.  The Damper Assembly we decided to change because the manual recommended it - not because it looked like it needed it.  Neither of us expected new dampers to make any measurable difference.  But the head we both knew would reveal everything.  The head would make our journey, or break it.  We had to remove it.  We had to inspect it.  After all this build-up, how could we not..?


The new dampers will make a difference, the sieves will capture ink pigment particle agglomerations due to the volume printed or ink aging with little volume printed. Having that printer open is enough reason to replace them. You might clean the old unit with an ultrasonic cleaner and keep it as a spare part but usually the membranes (PET I guess) age too and harden.

I see there is nothing wrong with the way you analyse its problems. One wiper blade that has to run over the length of all the ink channels and then get rid of the scraped ink/dirt on yet another surface. It will not be the volume of prints that corresponds with the wiper's wear but the age and the times it is used in cleaning actions including the one just before a print. The wiper blade is not that simple, it can be a sandwich of a fabric with different elastomer surfaces on back and front. Has to withstand glycols and other mild solvents + paper coating particles and paper lint. There will be a huge difference in wear between printing on the rougher art papers and RC photo papers.  Polyurethane could have been used as it has most of the properties for the task. The Epson 10000-10600 had 3 wiper blades for the 3 head - 6 ink channel assembly. Many users praised its reliability. The HP Z3100-Z3200 have 12 wiper blades for the six 2-ink-channel separate heads.

Be careful with electrostatic charges while working on the printer and head. Your head cleaning method is nice, avoid too drastic methods later on when not all works as expected. I think your head and damper system now has a lot of air included that has to be removed by an initial fill or otherwise. A vacuum applied on the waste ink tubes running from the capping station was what I sometimes used when it really was difficult, closing other ink channels when one channel showed print issues so that channel was sucked more. That already falls in the more drastic methods category though.

I have to clean my Z3200 capping station, a green head shows banding while it still gets an OK from the sensors. Have done too little maintenance last year.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/six-canvas-wrap-actions.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 07:13:36 AM
............I do not believe this manual has a copyright. Besides what many of us have payed for these printers ...plus the money for all the ink waisted cleaning.....the many hours waisted with very poor tech support I think we at least deserve access to the service manual. ............

Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean that it isn't correct. You would probably agree that Epson has umpteen patents on the technologies going into these printers. From there it's not a stretch to expect they would also copyright the intellectual property that exposes considerable portions of that technology. Remember, the people given authority to use these materials are extremely likely to be bound by confidentiality clauses built-in to their employment contract with Epson, whether as employees or third-party service providers. In fact, if you look at the user manual that comes with the printer (in my case a 4900), the flip side of the title page in the lower left corner says Copyright 2010 Epson America Inc., but we're entitled to - indeed need - that document so they provide it to us. We are not supposed to need service manuals because we aren't and are not supposed to be printer technicians, so they do not provide the service manuals. If you are having problems with your printer, the correct channel of resolution is that Epson should fix your printer on terms and conditions at least commensurate with your warranty. If they are failing to do so, that needs other kinds of remedies, but not ideally and not necessarily access to their service manuals. Even if they gave the vast majority of their clients access to service manuals tomorrow, that would not be the preferred route of resolution for 99% of them; Eric is an exceptional guy.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 07:33:05 AM
Eric, bravo - really excited to learn whether you end-up making good prints once the whole thing is reassembled. Not that I envision myself doing what you are doing, but anyhow could be useful to know what kind of cleaning solution you are using and in what proportions you mixed it with distilled water. This could be helpful info to other do-it-yourselfers.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: john milich on January 29, 2012, 08:48:17 AM
how bad is it ($) if you have to pop in a new head, rather than clean it?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 09:20:12 AM
Good question. I have in the past been informed that with these Epson Pro printers the head is the printer and the printer is the head. That doesn't tell you exactly how bad it is - because I don't know - but indicates it may be pretty bad!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on January 29, 2012, 09:23:15 AM
Indeed this has been a fascinating thread  to follow. I haven't had the sides off of a wide format since the 9880. "Popping" in a new head would bring about a whole set of other problems like having the software to calibrate the head. Eric thanks for all the time, photos, and follow thru as we feel like we are taking a journey with you. I to am awaiting for the beast to be put back together and a beautiful print to appear. And Dan although you probably feel bad because it was your 7900 that has entertained us for the last few days I do agree with your handling of the situation and a "mensch" is a perfect description. Mark, Ernst, Farmer,
Jeff, etc. your knowledge, thoughts and insights are always welcomed additions to this forum. And Eric, really your tenacity and attitude towards this project (problem) is remarkable.  
Again, thanks for sharing and I anxiously await that first print once you're back together.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on January 29, 2012, 09:40:54 AM
how bad is it ($) if you have to pop in a new head, rather than clean it?

1000 Euro incl VAT in Germany but I think you need special software to calibrate the total. In the past it was a serial number on the head that had to be entered in service mode.

http://www.prosando.eu/index.php?cat=WG708&lang=opfzmshzkv&product=F191010&sidProSando=1d6c034ae5e586c0c3ad3831fb1b983c


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm



Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 09:57:39 AM
1000 Euro incl VAT in Germany but I think you need special software to calibrate the total. In the past it was a serial number on the head that had to be entered in service mode.

http://www.prosando.eu/index.php?cat=WG708&lang=opfzmshzkv&product=F191010&sidProSando=1d6c034ae5e586c0c3ad3831fb1b983c


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm





Uhuh - interesting - that's about 1300 dollars. The street price for the printer here is about 3000 dollars, then subtract probably about 500 dollars worth of starter-ink, leaving about 2500; so the head is about half the value of the printer before any installation cost; it's not quite as bad as I thought - the ratio of head/total cost is probably higher for the smaller format machines.

Note: final point above confirmed; the same site quotes the same cost -  1000 Euros - for the 4900 head, while the 4900 is a much less expensive printer than the 7900. The 4900 street price net of the initial ink value is about 1500 dollars, so the replacement head is most of the value of the printer - give or take some VAT.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on January 29, 2012, 10:05:39 AM
~US$1800.00 for a new print head here:  http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/sc.18/category.52335/.f

Replacing the head under warranty, no problem.  I'd be scared to do so otherwise---you're already about half-way there to a new printer. (maybe that's part of the strategy to keep you in that lucrative buy my ink business model too).  And that's what I'd be doing at that point, absent a warranty, do I just get a new printer considering the wear and tear on the other parts.

I think Mark Segal is right----except it's maybe only 98% that won't do what Eric did here.   ;D  Count me on that 98%.  Perhaps a good middle ground would be an Epson recommended service interval----just like Toyota recommends oil changes every 5000 miles...  I wouldn't mind paying a little for a minor service/maintenance for my printer.  I do a bit of maintenance on every other piece of equipment in my business, why not the printer?  (cuz I'm scared sh*tless in the 98%)....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on January 29, 2012, 10:11:02 AM
 Perhaps a good middle ground would be an Epson recommended service interval----just like Toyota recommends oil changes every 5000 miles...  I wouldn't mind paying a little for a minor service/maintenance for my printer.  I do a bit of maintenance on every other piece of equipment in my business, why not the printer?  (cuz I'm scared sh*tless in the 98%)....
I'm not sure this is a workable model.  Sure it works for cars but that's because there are millions out there and the dealers have dedicated service departments (and you bring your car to them).  Far fewer large format printers and you would be looking at a service call to your home/business for this maintenance.  It would probably require a rather large field force to do this type of servicing if all installed users buy into this program.  Economically it is problematic.

Regarding the copyright issue, I've yet to see any user manual that isn't copyrighted.  Whether the company wants to enforce it is another matter but Phil is correct, this is intellectual property owned by Epson.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on January 29, 2012, 10:22:24 AM
I'm not sure this is a workable model.  Sure it works for cars but that's because there are millions out there and the dealers have dedicated service departments (and you bring your car to them).  Far fewer large format printers and you would be looking at a service call to your home/business for this maintenance.  It would probably require a rather large field force to do this type of servicing if all installed users buy into this program.  Economically it is problematic.

....

And sadly, you're right because it would basically require altering a business model.  I'm just gonna send out for Eric to come visit my studio... ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on January 29, 2012, 12:45:14 PM
If the print head is changed there is Non volatile ram(Nvram) in the printer that must be updated.  This is done with Servprog.exe for the Epson 7900.   One of the service manuals describes how to do this procedure.   The problem with changing the print head is that it is very expensive and requires an ink purge.   For the 7900/9900 the Epson part number for the print head is  F191010.

I could not find where it said that the dampers need to be replaced every year in the manual.   Can you give me a page number and the manual name(Service manual or field repair guide)?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: AFairley on January 29, 2012, 01:09:16 PM
Eric, thank you for taking the large amount of time to document and share your experience with us.  I was considering heading down this road with my 3800 after partial dissasembly and cleaning the head, capping station and wiper blade did not fit chronic but intermittent clogging and ink splooge issues.  In the end iI decided it would be  more cost effective to buy a new 3880 with the then available Epson discount, factoring in the value of the ink with the new machine and that most of the carts in the 3800 were getting low, than to risk buying parts for the old machine which might or might not resolve the problem.

 I won't go into the IP issues with the service manuals, but my approach to my gear has been, since the days I had the engine for my VW bus spread out in pieces on the floor of my parents' garage, is that if I can, I'm going to fix it myself, and believe that a manufacturer should make the necessary information available on request for a reasonable price.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 02:08:39 PM
Eric, congrats on a truly impressive photograph. Thanks for sharing it.

There is, perhaps a somewhat personal - so don't feel compelled to answer - question I would like to put here - not out of idle curiosity but because it may be useful for Epson to know this and better understand at least one other dimension of the "service environment" they are providing or not providing as the case may be. Did you decide to go the self-directed route because the cost of a servicing from Epson was just going to be too expensive, or regardless of cost - too hard to access logistically, or are you doing it out of curiosity to learn how much of the innards of this machine you can master and fix as sort of a hobby for personal satisfaction?


Sorry for the delayed response Mark.  Good question.  A few different points led us to the "roll up your sleeves and dive in" approach:

1 - the impression I get from many posts here on Luminous Landscape, and other forums actually, is that a large part of the Epson tech repair process seems to be somewhat randomly bolting new parts onto your machine until it works again, or in some cases until it still does not work again.  Then they leave.  Then they come back.  Or maybe they replace the entire machine - yet sometimes even then the problem is not solved. 

2 - I have read many threads about problems with these Epson 79/9900 printers, specifically about the incessant clogging, endless ink wasting, maintenance tank replacements, huge money being flushed down the drain and then most importantly wasting the one thing more precious to us than anything, time.  All these things made a hell of an impression on me - yet considering reason # 1, I saw no viable solution.  And trust me - I searched, I wrote, I read, and I asked.  I found no answer.

3 - I am a carpenter, work for myself.  When I produce, I get paid.  When I do not produce, no matter how much I sweat or how long I work at something, I do not get paid.  The reality of that aspect of my life completely skews my value system.  As a result I am uncomfortable paying someone by the minute while they rack-up what could possibly be an entirely unnecessary parts and labor bill.

4 - One simple lesson my father etched inside my brain forever is this, "If you don't understand it, you can't fix it." 

So maybe it's a personal defect, I don't know, but following protocol didn't seem like my answer.  That's why I dove in.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on January 29, 2012, 02:56:47 PM

4 - One simple lesson my father etched inside my brain forever is this, "If you don't understand it, you can't fix it." 


Were we separated at birth???  My dad said the same thing to me!!!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 03:17:28 PM
Very understandable.

The difference between you and me is that I would have given them a chance to prove themselves, and if they failed, not let go of them until they did the needful properly and at reasonable cost. But being a carpenter you are a much more hands-on kind of guy than I am in terms of working with tools and equipment, so we each approach issues based on how we've wired ourselves to do so - most interesting. I'm really keen to hear the outcome of all this. My vibes tell me you will succeed.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on January 29, 2012, 04:38:05 PM
I had come across this interesting tidbit of info about cleaning the wiper blade of the 7800 model yesterday...
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=FAQ&oid=60321&prodoid=55197365&foid=76766

I still have my 7800 along with my 3800. Recently sold my venerable 4000 to a photog that drove two hours to get it with his buddy. I haven't had to even look at the 3800 (like ZERO clogs), but I regularly cleaned the wiper bladed on the 4000, and also the 7800.

To think that the x900 and x89x printers have made this part so inaccessible is quite disturbing. This should have been designed as a user replaceable part since it is subject to such wear and it's failure can cause so many problems.

Nothing like spending a $1,000 dollars to replace a 3 dollar part!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 29, 2012, 05:33:22 PM
David - that's how it works here in Australia, too.

Authorised repairers or parts distributors will sell parts as requested and will provide exploded diagrams so that people can identify the parts they want / need.  I'm sure there are variations in different parts of the world (different delivery models), but that seems very similar to how it is here.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 08:21:00 PM
Progress report:  

This Epson 7900 is back together, almost.  As it turns out the "Pump and Cap Assembly" comes completely assembled from Epson.  No small feat indeed.  This "one" part includes everything from the metal framework which supports all these parts, to the two drive motors, their sensors, a wiring harness with a total of nine plugs, gears used to move the capping station back and forth, the flushbox up and down along with the wiper blade mechanism, the pump motor, it's hoses, a huge plastic shroud containing all these moving parts, and on and on.  This "Pump and Cap Assembly", no kidding, it's 1.5 cubic feet all together, weighs 3lbs and looks like it's taken from a scene in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory".  All that for $250?  Doesn't make sense.  You know what else doesn't make sense though?  

....The wiper blade is not included.  

My first reaction to learning that was, "WTF?"  But then I thought about it.  What does that tell you?  I don't know what it tells you.  But I know what it tells me - you and I are not the only ones who now know the wiper blade is meant to be replaced more often than the pump and cap assembly.  FYI, the wiper blade mechanism snaps into place, and out of place, with nothing more than a simple squeeze of your finger tips.  You don't even have to remove the right side cover of the machine.  The only hitch in so simply replacing the wiper blade mechanism will be coordinating the placement of it with the release of your printers head.  At this point, because we won't fire this printer up until mid-week, I can't tell you if the wiper blade assembly will be retracted up into it's "garage" when the head is released or not.  It travels up and down in a range of about three inches.  When it is up you can't access it.  When it is down it's right there out in the open.


We lost so much ink in the first and second failed DIY clog attempts that we have to wait for new carts to show up mid-week before we can charge this machine.  At least now it's together though.  Almost.


Once done soaking it's chin and upper lip in cleaning solution, our head looks fantastic.  We checked it with a loop.  Pretty wild looking device.  But still I had a lingering concern that if something foreign was lodged inside this head, up against an opening the Epson pump pressure was never able to force it through, well most likely it would still be there.  After all our soaking method looked amazing, and sounded really cool, but the one thing it did not do was reverse the direction of ink-flow - something both Steve and I felt was a necessary step.  We took a syringe with a section of clear hose fastened to it's tip, fit it over the nipple on the rear of the head of each color - one at a time - and sucked cleaning solution up through the head's face from the small bowl just below it.  Each color filled this clear tube with traces of it's native color channel.  All but the PK channel was crystal clear of any foreign pollution.  But the PK channel definitely drew up some crap.  It's a good thing we took this extra step.


So we wait now for the Lone Ranger to show up with carts filled with ink.  It's good to see this 7900 together again, almost.  Assembly went without a hitch.  But I do have to admit, at this point there is a terrible lingering fear I can't seem to shake that the first landscape we run through this machine will come out look more like an infrared wartime surveillance image than a fall mountain range in mid-October.  Time will tell..

Again and again and again I need to hear myself advise anyone looking to clear un-clearable clogs all on their own, on an Epson 79/9900, do NOT waste your time or money buying re-fillable carts with the intent to fill them with cleaning solution to flush your system and head.  HUGE waste of money, won't solve the real problem your printer is suffering from, and it will re-define for you what exactly a "Huge waste of ink" actually is.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 29, 2012, 08:30:59 PM
.......... won't solve the real problem your printer is suffering from, and it will re-define for you what exactly a "Huge waste of ink" actually is. 

Eric, now that you've done all this work - what do you think is "the real problem" the printer was suffering from? I can see several from what you've reported. And BTW - the name of the cleaning solution you used?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on January 29, 2012, 09:32:53 PM
There are three manuals for the Epson 7900.   You should be able to Google for them and get them for free on the internet  (It does take a bit of searching to find the free versions).

Epson Field repair guide - download at American InkJet Systems
Full name: Pro 7900 and 9900 Field Repair Guide

Google - <"Epson Stylus Pro 7900" "service manual">  
Full name: Service Manual  Epson Stylus Pro 7900/9900

Google - <"Parts Manual" "epson Stylus Pro 7900">  
Full Name:  Parts Manual Epson Stylus Pro 7900/9900

The Parts manual contains the mechanical drawings for the Epson 7900.  Any one of the 5 parts distributors should be able to cross the mechanical part number for the actual Epson part number.  This is how I ordered a capping station for my Epson 3800.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 09:42:23 PM
Mark, two cartridges that our 7900 came with have expired dates.  Want to guess which ones?  That's right, PK and YW - our two un-cloggable clogs.

I called Epson, asked them about expired ink causing clogs.  They told me expiration dates have nothing to do with clogs - only color shifts.  I told them the only channels I have clogs are on my expired carts.  Again they told me, "No connection."

I don't know, like I said originally all of you know more than me - I am just an enthusiast.  But I don't have much faith in that advice.

What I think our problem was, and what I personally think most of everyone else's problems are, are related to wiper blade condition/wear/effectiveness.  The impression I got from holding it in my finger tips, and examining the cruddy splooge built up on it's torn and listing shape, was that this wiper was causing more problems than it was clearing.  Once I held our head in my finger tips, and took the photos I have uploaded for everyone here to see, my original impressions were reinforced.  Our head was a disgusting mess, and the only thing that's ever touched it is our wiper blade.

I am actively developing my understand of this Epson 7900.  So far I plan to approach running it successfully like I might consider lines of defense in a preventive war against clognsplooge.  First line of defense is pre-nozzle - dates on carts.  Dampers come second.  After those we go post-nozzle.  Capping station seals.  First they need to be in good condition, next they need to be clean.  Wiper blades need to be perfect.  Not great, not good enough - but perfect.  Once not perfect they leave crap behind them on our heads and our capping station seals can't seal properly.  Air enters the picture, dries the clognsplooge and suddenly we need cleanings on the LK channel.  We do a cleaning and suddenly we've got crap on the MK channel.  Then rather than printing we're on Luminous Landscape.  

I don't know, I'm not there yet, but my idea for the future is to drop cleaning solution on our wiper blade before any cleaning.  Also on the capping station regularly.  Periodically I plan to snap out the wiper blade to inspect it.  If it is not easily accessible when the head is released I will modify the machine so that it is.  Too critical not to.  With the right side cover removed you simply reach around back of the pump and cap assembly, spin the gear which lowers the wiper blade assembly until it is accessible, then snap it out/in to replace it.  But this is too much work.  Too hard to access for such a vital/simple/thirty second key maintenance practice.  With the right side cover in place (huge plastic right side outer-body panel) you can't reach around back of the pump and cap assembly to spin that gear.  If releasing the head via the menu system does not sync with the wiper blade assembly being out from behind it's recessed hiding place, I will cut a permanent hole in the back of the printer body panel so we can very easily access the gear to lower the wiper.  If you can open the back of a human you can open the back of an Epson 7900.  This thing pisses me off bad enough I'll design an Epson 7900 wiper blade access door and hire a machinist to produce six hundred to hand out at the next large format printer convention.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 29, 2012, 09:49:01 PM
Hi Phil,
 My  gripe is that of the 5 that Epson says are authorized dealers, only the one I linked to actually has any useful info at all and even that is sketchy to say the least.
A exploded diagram without a description of the parts is pretty chancy if one needs a better breakdown.

  We do have to remember one thing which is that these machines are designed for  Pro use on a very regular basis, and knowing that, casual users should be aware that they are buying at their own risk if they don't use  them often enough to prevent clogs, which are the primary reason for most of these posted problems. ;)

  My only (and I think very substantial gripe) with Epson, is not disclosing recommended service intervals that are very much necessary to keep these machines running smoothly!

Hi David,

Well, exploded diagrams are there for visual reference so you can go "that one!" without needing to know what it does specifically beyond the fact you've decided that it doesn't work or it's broken.  For most users, it's a cosmetic item, but someone technical or specifically trained, the diagrams are generally easy to work with.

With regard to information from the dealers, then that's certainly something you should feedback to your local Epson.  But I would say, have you called them?  They might not have great web info, but that doesn't mean that they can't help you.

Also, regarding service intervals - my experience is that even very heavily used machines in the main do not require any service or maintenance - certainly not within 1 year.  That doesn't mean that users can't decide to take a pro-active stance and on a 6 monthly or yearly basis have a service tech come out and give the unit a quick health check.  If I had an expensive piece of equipment upon which my business relied, I'd certainly be pro-active about it.  It also doesn't mean that other users haven't found the need for this - it's always a case of YMMV, but the manfacturer can only go the normal or average patterns as best they can and for a product used in such wide ranging environments, that can be tough.

To use another anology - Toyota has a set schedule for maintenance of a Landscruiser model, but in the past when I've done long distance outback trips either myself when I was much younger or more recently with friends, it seemed very prudent to have a check up and service before going regardless of what the mileage was reading at the time.  Why?  Because a mechanical failure in outback Australia will be at the very least exceedingly expensive to deal with and it's no exaggeration to say it could be life threatening.  A single point of failure in my business is something that needs to be managed, regardless of what the manufacturer might suggest based on normal usage :-)

But, yeah, my suggestion would be to tell Epson that you found their appointed agents to be below your expectation in regard to the amount of info available - they can't possibly do anything about it if no one tells them.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 29, 2012, 09:58:01 PM
Eric - from personal experience I can tell you that expired, but UNOPENED cartridges which have been kept in reasonable condition (ie not in direct sunlight or very excessive heat etc) won't be a problem.  Even in terms of colour, typically you just need to agitate them to deal with possible pigment separation.

To be specific, I've used carts that have been 3 years out of date on previous models (7880/9880) and with the HDR insket about 2 years out of date is the longest I've used.

Now, if they had been used (ie opened) or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods and so on, then yes I could understand that causing a problem.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 09:59:33 PM
Mark,
I have linked to the AIS site many times in the past threads about 7900/9900 clogging, and referred to their cleaning solution(s) for applying to the capping station to keep it moistened.

http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/Unclogging_print_head_nozzles.html I have asked eric if this is what he used.

 I was admonished for suggesting using a solution that could possibly have detrimental consequences to the head.
Apparently at one time Epson offered a cleaning solution according to some references I have found... hmm

David


Hi David, sorry I've been bouncing around goals and subjects my mind is mush right now.  The solution I purchased was not from AIS.  I had a hell of a time navigating around their website.  On my browsers - both safari and firefox - all the text goes janky when I scroll up or down on any and all pages.  Impossible to read.  Can't explain or understand it, never saw it before.

The solution I purchased is called "Pemla".
Product code:  PJSE10273-1000
Description:  EDI Cleaning Fluid
Reference: JDW101-MC
Lot #: 48981-1


I did see your post describing the wiper blade not being included with the Pump and Cap Assembly.  But the image of the unit I purchased, which was admittedly wrapped in clear plastic, looked like it had it.  I was wrong.  That's 1,456 for the year so far...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 10:02:44 PM
Now, if they had been used (ie opened) or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods and so on, then yes I could understand that causing a problem.

I have no idea how long these expired carts have been opened for, Farmer.  I can assume but I'm already up to 1,456 "wrongs" for the year...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 10:19:06 PM

Have you been able to purchase the wiper blade assembly?.


Thank you David that's what I need in my life - big red letters - I'd never forget anything..

The wiper blade assembly, here's what I have so far:

Wiper blade assembly
568 1504179 
$16

Ordered from the same guy I bought the cleaning carts and solution from - Anthony Creek.  Nice guy, supplies lots of Epson printer parts.  His email is [email protected]

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 10:23:43 PM
BINGO

This is why you never do things alone;  my buddy Steve just found in the Epson 7900 service manual the following about replacing the wiper blade assembly:

There is a command in in the serviceman mode that will:
1) move the head carriage out of the way
2) bring down the wiper assembly.



So that's it brothers, simple wiper blade maintenance/replacement.  Oh the power of reading.

Crap I really wanted to make six hundred doors
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 29, 2012, 11:12:49 PM
I only know of the Pemla product from the parts guy whose contact into I gave you.  Never went to their site.  

In the 7900sm.pdf service manual, on page 182 under 4.4.6.2 "Wiper Cleaner Assy":

1 - turn printer ON in serviceman mode ( Power on while pressing "menu-right arrow", "paperfeed-down arrow", and "OK button")
2 - Select "SELF TESTING"/Maintenance/Wiper Exchange/Sequence
3 - Press "OK button"
(carriage unit moves, then the wiper cleaner assy moves to the replacement position)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 30, 2012, 06:38:26 AM
Mark,
I have linked to the AIS site many times in the past threads about 7900/9900 clogging, and referred to their cleaning solution(s) for applying to the capping station to keep it moistened.

http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/Unclogging_print_head_nozzles.html I have asked eric if this is what he used.

 I was admonished for suggesting using a solution that could possibly have detrimental consequences to the head.
Apparently at one time Epson offered a cleaning solution according to some references I have found... hmm

David

David, thanks, I've seen that site before - looks to be very useful at least for understanding the problems. I'd like to be using materials that Epson recommends if I were to ever do this kind of stuff myself - admittedly, rather unlikely.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 30, 2012, 07:01:46 AM
Hi David,

................... have a service tech come out and give the unit a quick health check.  ...............

Phil, I don't know what the situation is in Australia but here in Toronto I'd be pleased if someone could point me to an authorized Epson service facility for an Epson x900 series printer. The first three pages of a search on Google turned up nothing, and from my experience, Epson's preferred solution for machines under warranty is to replace them. The procedure is smooth and the company's support in these matters has been stellar, hence it looks to me as if Toronto owners would best be advised to buy extended service warranties. The Epson presence in the Toronto area no longer includes their own repair facilities. When Epson vacated the repair function of their support platform in Canada, they developed a contract with a firm called Treck-Hall, which since became Mondrian-Hall and later again became Unisource. They no longer advertise service and Epson did not refer me to them last time I needed help.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on January 30, 2012, 08:32:15 AM
I only know of the Pemla product from the parts guy whose contact into I gave you.  Never went to their site.  

In the 7900sm.pdf service manual, on page 182 under 4.4.6.2 "Wiper Cleaner Assy":

1 - turn printer ON in serviceman mode ( Power on while pressing "menu-right arrow", "paperfeed-down arrow", and "OK button")
2 - Select "SELF TESTING"/Maintenance/Wiper Exchange/Sequence
3 - Press "OK button"
(carriage unit moves, then the wiper cleaner assy moves to the replacement position)

Eric,
After replacing the wiper via the above method. Do you do anything to reset out of the service mode,if you know? Will everything just go back into place on its own?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on January 30, 2012, 10:44:01 AM
I have my fingers crossed that when you fire it up the printer will work.

If it looks like it is working, look at the following items in the Service Manual to make sure the print head is aligned correctly.

5.4.4 Printhead Slant Adjustment (CR) page 277

5.4.5 Printhead Slant Adjustment (PF) page 280

5.4.6 Auto Uni-d Adjustment page 282

5.4.7 Auto Bi-D Adjustment page 283

Check the Service Manual for any other adjustments needed on the printhead.

The Decision One serviceman did all four things when my printhead was replaced.

When replacing the wiper do not touch the rubber piece with your hands.  You do not want to get human oils on the cleaning part of the wiper.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on January 30, 2012, 10:55:24 AM
In the case of the OP, he is not replacing the head. The head that goes back in is the original head and if he has been careful, which it seems he has, he should be good to go when the head is re-installed.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on January 30, 2012, 11:07:47 AM
Hi Dan,
 I can answer that for you..
According to the manual, the right cover, waste tank, and control panel is removed, and then the contol panel is plugged back in when the covers are off. The head is then released through the service mode as Eric indicated, and the wiper assembly is changed out ( all  while powered up!).
The manual CAUTIONS NOT TO PRESS ANY BUTTONS ON THE CONTROL PANEL DURING THE PART CHANGEOUT.
After the change there is a counter clearing adjustment that needs to be performed and when that is done you then press the OK button on the control panel to finalize the proceedure which then  returns the head to 'home' position.
Then the machine is turned off to replace the cover waste tank and control panel. Fini !
David

Thanks David.
Sounds pretty simple just have to get the nerve up to do it.
After seeing what my 7900 looked like, just am wondering how my 9900 looks?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 30, 2012, 11:27:33 AM
Eric,
After replacing the wiper via the above method. Do you do anything to reset out of the service mode,if you know? Will everything just go back into place on its own?



Good question Dan.  Here's the rest of the wiper cleaner assembly replacement procedure:

*NOTE:  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE YOUR MACHINE APART IN ORDER TO CHANGE YOUR WIPER CLEANER ASSEMBLY.  The procedure is simple, I suggest (this marks my first official suggestion on Luminous Landscape) that EVERYONE with an Epson 79/9900 forces themselves to get comfortable with this procedure.

6.   Turn the printer ON in the Serviceman Mode. (Turn the power ON while pressing [Menu-right arrow], [PaperFeed-down arrow], and [OK] button.)
7.   Select SELF TESTING → Maintenance → Wiper Exchange → Sequence.
8.   Press the [OK] button.
The Carriage Unit moves, then the Wiper Cleaner Assy moves to the replacement position.

DISASSEMBLING PROCEDURE:
CAUTION - The following procedure is performed with the power ON. Therefore, do not touch any other part specified in the procedure or press a wrong button on the Control Panel. If the [OK] button on the Control Panel is pressed, the Carriage Unit returns to the home position, so be careful.

1 - Push up the tab of the Wiper Cleaner Assy, and remove the Wiper Cleaner Assy.

ADJUSTMENT REQUIRED:
Be sure to refer to Chapter 5 “Adjustment” (see p252) and perform specified adjustments after replacing the Wiper Cleaner Assy.  

<Adjustment Item>
1 - Counter Clear (Wiper Cleaner Assy)



*Note:  from what I gather this is not a physical adjustment.  This is simply a "reset" of the printer's log on your wiper's life cycle.  According to the Adjustment Items chart, the Epson 79/9900 printers log the usage life of an amazing number of it's replaceable parts - all of which apparently are accessible/resettable in the "Adjustment Item" menu.  When you replace the wiper cleaner assembly, reset the log.  If you fail to do this nothing bad will happen, just the printer's log of your wiper cleaner assembly will be inaccurate.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 30, 2012, 11:44:41 AM
I have my fingers crossed that when you fire it up the printer will work.

If it looks like it is working, look at the following items in the Service Manual to make sure the print head is aligned correctly.

5.4.4 Printhead Slant Adjustment (CR) page 277

5.4.5 Printhead Slant Adjustment (PF) page 280

5.4.6 Auto Uni-d Adjustment page 282

5.4.7 Auto Bi-D Adjustment page 283

Check the Service Manual for any other adjustments needed on the printhead.

The Decision One serviceman did all four things when my printhead was replaced.

When replacing the wiper do not touch the rubber piece with your hands.  You do not want to get human oils on the cleaning part of the wiper.

Great advice.  Thank you.  Special note, in the "Adjustment Items Chart", if you read it closely there is not only a list of the "parts-replaced"  that need adjustment, but actually an order in which they need to be adjusted in.  This is all listed clearly so it shouldn't be a problem to follow. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on January 30, 2012, 11:48:41 AM
Hi Eric!

Perhaps you'll consider making a video of the wiper assembly procedure?

Also, if you only remove the wiper assembly to clean it, do you think the counter should be reset or not?
I was very glad to hear that the machine doesn't need to be disassembled to to this!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 30, 2012, 12:19:52 PM
No you do NOT have to reset the counter if you remove the wiper assembly and then re-install it.  Service manual specifically states this.

Yes I plan to make a few videos on maintaining the 7900.  These won't be your average youtube tutorial videos though.  I plan to hire Sports Illustrated swimsuit models to star in each of the tutorials.  That, or maybe just my genius friend Steve.  I'm open to suggestions. 

If I can find someone local with a 9900 I'll be glad to include any differences between the two machines.  Problem I face right now is my house was robbed on the 20th of December.  All my stills gear, all my video gear - gone.  D3X, eight of my specially cherished pro lenses, my Sony EX3, my Sony EX1, mattebox, filters, etc. etc. etc.  So I'm parked for a while - banished from a life of creativity - left instead to live a life posting about un-breaking my Epson 7900...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 30, 2012, 12:47:41 PM
.........Problem I face right now is my house was robbed on the 20th of December.  All my stills gear, all my video gear - gone.  D3X, eight of my specially cherished pro lenses, my Sony EX3, my Sony EX1, mattebox, filters, etc. etc. etc.  So I'm parked for a while - banished from a life of creativity - left instead to live a life posting about un-breaking my Epson 7900...

Terrible. I hope you were insured so at least you can recover some of the value. The Silver Lining may be some new gear for making new photos that get printed in the finally refurbished 7900? (One always has to look on the bright side - but those experience aren't nice. One feels violated, quite apart from the loss.)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 30, 2012, 12:55:44 PM
Me again ;-0

According to the Dissasembly instuctions on the wiper it says this is all done while powered up.
I'd imagine you first take the right cover, waste tank ,and control panel off first while the power is off, and then replug the control  panel,turn on the power and proceed from there.
Th way it is explained sounds like you do everything with the power on and I think removing the control panel and replacing it while powered up would be dangerous?

Can you in fact remove the wiper assembly without any dissassembly.  Is it within reach without the right cover off?


STOP THE PRESSES DAVID

The way the service manual is being interpreted is misleading you.  DO NOT take any part of your machine apart in order to replace the wiper cleaner assembly.  Go a few posts up and find my quoted procedure on how to do this properly.  

If you read the manual and follow it step by step, it is confusing for this procedure.  Skip steps 1 - 5, these steps list the procedure for disassembling the right side of your machine - which you need to do in order to replace your entire pump and cap assembly, and which you do NOT do while the machine is powered up (you have to remove the control panel in order to remove the right side of the machine, first step they list after releasing the head is un-plug the machine).  DISREGARD these steps, 1 through 5, and you arrive at step 6 - which is the FIRST step to take while changing only the wiper cleaner assembly.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on January 30, 2012, 05:35:32 PM
Phil, I don't know what the situation is in Australia but here in Toronto I'd be pleased if someone could point me to an authorized Epson service facility for an Epson x900 series printer. The first three pages of a search on Google turned up nothing, and from my experience, Epson's preferred solution for machines under warranty is to replace them. The procedure is smooth and the company's support in these matters has been stellar, hence it looks to me as if Toronto owners would best be advised to buy extended service warranties. The Epson presence in the Toronto area no longer includes their own repair facilities. When Epson vacated the repair function of their support platform in Canada, they developed a contract with a firm called Treck-Hall, which since became Mondrian-Hall and later again became Unisource. They no longer advertise service and Epson did not refer me to them last time I needed help.

Hi Mark - obviously I can only speak about the local experience in any real detail.  I would suggest asking Epson locally (North America) if they have any authorised/trained service partners in Toronto who could do this.  Extended Warranty is a good plan for a critical business printer, but my thinking is that spending a few extra dollars is something that many customers find worthwhile to have it checked over and regularly serviced.  Doing it with an authorised service partner avoids any issues of warranty.  It's also important to realise that general wear and tear or excessive detritus etc are not warranty matters, hence the health checks.

For a home printer or someone who has few or no time pressures to have a unit back up and running, there's far less reason to worry about it.  Most pro photogs have back up cameras, possibly lenses and so forth - if you rely on your printer, why not treat it the same?  (The answer is probably the same as to why people will ugprade a camera body regularly at bleeding edge prices but baulk at upgrading software at a fraction of the cost... :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 30, 2012, 06:04:37 PM
Hi Phil, yes, that makes sense. I do intend to get in touch with Epson Canada about the servicing situation; some firms do come up in a search, with no indication about whether they are authorized Epson service facilities, or have technicians specifically trained on these printers. If anything, this thread has demonstrated the usefulness of having knowledgeable and useful support close at hand for when small repairs or maintenance tasks come up that make a huge difference to machine performance.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 30, 2012, 07:46:48 PM
David, thanks, they are in Markham, which lies Northwest of Toronto proper. I do not believe they are an Epson-authorized printer repair facility.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on January 31, 2012, 11:59:11 AM
Progress report:  

We lost so much ink in the first and second failed DIY clog attempts that we have to wait for new carts to show up mid-week before we can charge this machine.  At least now it's together though.  Almost.


Eric,

I truly appreciate the updates and progress you are making with the printer... As I might just be heading down the same road shortly.  Are you going to stay with the "official" Epson inks or do you plan to use a different source?  Where did you find the Pemla EDI Cleaning fluid for the head?  What was your final mixture of fluid and distilled water? 

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 12:52:54 PM
Thanks Jeff.  I have yet to operate this printer smoothly or successfully with the Epson inks, so most likely I wouldn't experiment with other inks at least until I do.  At this point I have no knowledge on alternate inks.  I found the Pemla EDI cleaning fluid as a result of one of my seven million online searches for help cleaning Epson 7900 print head clogs.  That's where the "Anthony" contact came from.  His email is some number of posts above.  As for my other contact, where I found the great prices on the pump and cap assembly, that was a result of one of my three hundred ebay searches. 

I need to get better at searches..

I was instructed to dilute the Pemla cleaning fluid to the following ratio:   15% Pemla to 85% distilled water.  I was then told to pre-heat the solution before pouring it into the cleaning carts, because apparently warm solution cleans better than cold. 

Keep in mind though, this cleaning cart and solution procedure was not successful for us.  But the solution definitely WAS successful every other way we used it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 01:30:55 PM
UPDATE:

I called Epson.  Asked them for a wiper cleaning assembly.  They gave me the part number, and three telephone numbers to the only (3) official Epson parts distributors in the US.  I called every one of them.  Are you ready for this?

NO ONE STOCKS EPSON 7900 WIPER CLEANER ASSEMBLIES

Here are the three numbers they gave me:

1 - Oregon - Compass micro (http://compassmicro.com/home.cfm)
no automated menu nonsense - human answers the call.  Horrible website, call instead.
2 - New York - National Parts Depot  (http://www.nationalparts.com/corp/articles/epson-printers.html)
annoying automated menu nonsense, just press 5 to get where you want.  Crap website, just call instead.  *NOTE:  if you are lucky like I was, the hottest telephone operator on the east coast simply melts you into submission.  You will order every part they have.
3 - Georgia - Vance Baldwin  (http://vancebaldwin.com/)
best website of the bunch.  Don't order the wiper from them, they have a $15 minimum order - the wiper cleaner assembly is less than that.


Of the three Epson parts distributors, I went with Compassmirco.com.  They sell the wiper cleaner assembly for $13.  The price I quoted in a previous post, $16, was from my Pemla contact, Anthony.  Now I understand where he gets his parts from - he had told me direct from Epson, which I now understand is impossible.  While I had Compassmicro on the phone I told them about this thread on Luminous Landscape, and how important the wiper cleaner assembly is to the 79/9900's successful use.  They said they might stock them in the future.


I ordered FIVE wiper cleaner assemblies - part # 1504179.  Why five?  Just in case any of you guys want one now.  If so send me $13 plus $5 shipping, I will mail it to you in a $5 usps flat rate box.  It'll get anywhere in two days for that amount.  I will have them Friday, 2/3/12

Eric
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 31, 2012, 01:35:04 PM
UPDATE:


NO ONE STOCKS EPSON 7900 WIPER CLEANER ASSEMBLIES


Eric


Eric, in a way, this may be very good news - because if more people needed them it would be a moving item and the distributors would stock them. :-)

Now that doesn't help much when the odd order comes in that DOES need one and it's not there, but.......moving from the particular to the general, you see what I mean.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on January 31, 2012, 01:49:56 PM
I've ordered from CompassMicro for years, I think I have listed them on this site before for parts. Years ago I actually ordered Epson's cleaning fluid from them - came from Japan at the time. I still have the gallon jug. They have always been a good company to deal with. I can't wait for that first print, wish the ink would arrive.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 01:54:08 PM
Quote
Eric, in a way, this may be very good news - because if more people needed them it would be a moving item and the distributors would stock them. :-)

Now that doesn't help much when the odd order comes in that DOES need one and it's not there, but.......moving from the particular to the general, you see what I mean.


Actually I see this as an indication of a problem.  Which kind of makes sense.  I think if more people KNEW they needed them, they would order them, and replace them regularly - which could possibly lead to less people having frustrating, time and money wasting clogging issues which actually get worse sometimes with cleanings.  But they don't know they need them, like my friend Dan who I got this 7900 from, so they don't order/replace them - which is likely why none of the US distributors stock them.  You see the condition of the wiper on this 7900 I got from Dan.  And Dan knows printing.  He has a 9900 as well.  He takes care of his equipment too.  Trust me I can tell from the condition of this 7900 I bought from him.  But his wiper cleaner assembly was completely shot.  My bet is, Dan had no idea it was shot.  My next bet is, Dan is likely checking the wiper cleaner assembly on his 9900 right now.  My third bet is Dan will order a wiper cleaner assembly today, even if his 9900 doesn't need one.  How do I know this?  Dan is also a carpenter - we all think alike..
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on January 31, 2012, 02:28:23 PM
Yes, that is indeed another way of looking at things - if people don't know what they need, they wouldn't order it and the business wouldn't be there. Raises an intriguing question about how much of the total trouble one sees reported isn't due to this one relatively simple factor? And just think of it - as a result of this thread there will probably be a run on wiper blades.............  :-) and even a resale market......:-) Life can be fun!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on January 31, 2012, 02:37:30 PM
I checked my wiper assembly on my 9890 last night. The menu's are slightly different.

This is such a simple procedure that I'm surprised Epson buried this in service mode instead of making it user replaceable like the cutter. I have less than 300 prints on my 9890, but there was some nice dried crusty ink on the back of the wiper blade.

I don't know if it is the same as the 9900/7900, but after replacing the wiper assembly and closing the lid, the head returned to home position and the machine acted like I'd pressed OK.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on January 31, 2012, 02:51:34 PM
I appreciate all this great information. I am fighting clogs in a 7900 also, in the LLK.

There is an alternative cleaning method, if you're willing to enter Service Mode. Below "Maintenance" is "Cleaning", and you can clean, or super clean, or clean with colors. I choose to clean only my LLK, and even within that mode, there are four choices: CL1 through CL4; I am assuming degrees of intensity.

The same bars are missing in each and every nozzle check. Frustrating. Cannot blast thru them.

Eric thought that maybe cleaning thru this Service Mode might use less ink. I have not solved my issue, but I thought it worth reporting about this Service Mode option.

To enter Service Mode, power down the printer, then hold down MENU RIGHT, and PAPER DOWN, and OK, and then power it up, and then let it go thru some paces, and then choose MENU.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on January 31, 2012, 02:54:15 PM

Actually I see this as an indication of a problem.  Which kind of makes sense.  I think if more people KNEW they needed them, they would order them, and replace them regularly - which could possibly lead to less people having frustrating, time and money wasting clogging issues which actually get worse sometimes with cleanings.  But they don't know they need them, like my friend Dan who I got this 7900 from, so they don't order/replace them - which is likely why none of the US distributors stock them.  You see the condition of the wiper on this 7900 I got from Dan.  And Dan knows printing.  He has a 9900 as well.  He takes care of his equipment too.  Trust me I can tell from the condition of this 7900 I bought from him.  But his wiper cleaner assembly was completely shot.  My bet is, Dan had no idea it was shot.  My next bet is, Dan is likely checking the wiper cleaner assembly on his 9900 right now.  My third bet is Dan will order a wiper cleaner assembly today, even if his 9900 doesn't need one.  How do I know this?  Dan is also a carpenter - we all think alike..

Yes we do think alike. I have not checked this one yet but it is now on my mind.
If the ones you have will fit my 9900 I will buy one. Let me know.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 04:57:51 PM
Quote
Yes we do think alike. I have not checked this one yet but it is now on my mind.
If the ones you have will fit my 9900 I will take one. Let me know.

I bought one of the four extras with you in mind, Dan.  I'm confident it's the same part but I'll cehck for you.  In fact the 7900 & 9900 seem to share a lot of the same parts.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: multigary on January 31, 2012, 05:35:56 PM
Hi Eric,
I have only been a silent observer of your journey through the inner world of the 7900 printer, but I would like to say "thank you" for having the patience and fortitude to figure this problem out.  All of us 7900 owners will benefit greatly 
as a result of your efforts, and you deserve to be commended!
If you still have a wiper blade available, I'd like to take you up on your offer and buy one from you. And I'm keeping my fingers crosse that your printer will be working flawlessly soon!
Thanks.     Gary 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 06:28:51 PM
Yes we do think alike. I have not checked this one yet but it is now on my mind.
If the ones you have will fit my 9900 I will buy one. Let me know.


Confirmed, Dan.  The wiper cleaner assembly, part # 1504179, is the same for both machines - Epson 7900 and Epson 9900.  I'll put you down for wiper cleaner assembly #2 of my spare 4.

Jeff = #1
Dan = #2
Gary = #3
#4 is available or I'll keep it as a spare
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: JohnHeerema on January 31, 2012, 06:44:38 PM
Well, I'd love to jump in for a wiper blade too!

I've been mesmerized by your description of the journey through the 7900 - thanks for keeping us all informed on your progress!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on January 31, 2012, 10:30:57 PM
I appreciate all this great information. I am fighting clogs in a 7900 also, in the LLK.


I am writing an article for Photo Technique magazine on the reliability of the x900 printers with an emphasis on the clogging disease, typically with LLK, that some of these printers have.  "gwhitf" you seem to be one of those users, and I'd like to hear from you off line if you can spare a couple of emails.  That is true for all the others who feel that their machine has been affected as well by what I describe.

You will find ways to contact me on this page: http://jean-christian.net/about/page5/page5.html

Eric, I am one of your numerous fans, and I hope that your problem is not the one I am writing about.

Jean-Christian Rostagni


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on January 31, 2012, 11:57:50 PM
Jean-Christian, thank you for the kind words.  

By now I am warming up to the reality that what initially drove me to share this journey of my genius buddy and mine, may actually come to fruition - people other than the two of us will benefit from our definitely bold, but possibly stupid, journey.  

Oddly, this is not the first bold but possibly stupid journey that we have undertaken together.  The first one landed us a hair shy of 11,000 feet with just half a water bottle between us.  If we survived that one, we will likely survive this one too.

... I hope

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/_D3X1096.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 01, 2012, 02:45:59 AM
Is there any relation between the clogg frequency per channel and the order of channels wiped?  For example the LLK channel more often mentioned, is that one of the last or one of the first to be wiped?


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 01, 2012, 03:23:39 AM
Is there any relation between the clogg frequency per channel and the order of channels wiped?  For example the LLK channel more often mentioned, is that one of the last or one of the first to be wiped?

That's an on-the-ball thought.

.. I like your thinking

*EDIT:  Looked at my images of the head from the back, before it came off.  Best I come up with is this.  Doesn't look like LLK is on either outer bank, right or left..

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1151b.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 01, 2012, 05:10:54 AM

.. I like your thinking


Does not deliver much on this case though :-)

Edit; I expected a wiping order where the dark blacks are at the end and the lightest colors at the beginning. With the stronger colors and light grey in between. The wiper goes over one two channel nozzle surface and is "cleaned" on the "felt", that 5 times. I now assume: first LC-LM, Y-LLK, RED-Green, LK-K, C-M or reversed order. With the "felt" 5x in between (and working well) it will not make much difference which order.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/six-canvas-wrap-actions.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 01, 2012, 07:49:07 AM
I resorted to desperation yesterday, after speaking to Eric on the phone. I was (am) on a deadline, and was trying to salvage a solution on the spot, without calling a service tech. I took a shower cloth, like a loofah, similar to this:

http://www.amazon.com/Salux-Nylon-Japanese-Beauty-Cloth/dp/B002BEHQWI

and I cut off a strip about 12 inches wide by about 3 inches high, and I sprayed Windex onto it, and with the printer in Service Mode, I was able to slide the printhead to the center, raise the lid, and get to the head. I gently slide the wet loofah underneath the printhead, and grabbed each end of the loofah fabric, and with the head in place, stationary, I pulled the loofah fabric back and forth gently across the printhead, in the pattern similar to shining your shoes. The hope was that the fabric would dislodge whatever dried ink was stuck to the LLK area.

Sadly, after doing this twice, the nozzle pattern was the same -- missing bars only in the LLK area, and in EXACTLY the same places. The missing bars never change; always in the same place, and enough of them so that, even printing UniDirection at 2880, the prints have horizontal banding lines, similar that what you might think of as the picture on a BW tube television.

Today, I'm going to soak the loofah in very hot water, and not use the Windex, and try it again, gently.

I am not competent to remove the actual printhead. The printer is out of warranty. And my deadline is looming.

I appreciate everyone's contribution. I now know my printer better than ever, now that I've been in Service Mode with it.

You almost wish that the design of the printhead would allow it to "flip up" or somehow "unsnap" so that the User could get at it. But I doubt Epson wants that to happen.

Scan attached, of Nozzle Check. Levels are skewed to show the colors better. Missing bars seem so subtle, but are enough to cause very obvious banding.

What I've learned from this: I'll always buy a new Epson from now on; never a used one, and I'll buy the extended warranty. And I'll monitor the performance closely. I'm sure the replacement printhead will cost almost as much as the printer is worth.

Note/Update: Just downloaded new Utility and realized that my Firmware was out of date. I have been told that new firmware gives you more cleaning options. So make sure you have Remote Utility downloaded.

(http://199.237.236.200/a/Banding.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 08:07:22 AM

I am writing an article for Photo Technique magazine on the reliability of the x900 printers with an emphasis on the clogging disease, typically with LLK, that some of these printers have. 
Jean-Christian Rostagni


Interesting - you are going to write an article on the *reliability* of the x900 printers (how do you define reliability and what's the context?), wherein we already know the slant, as there will be an *emphasis* on the clogging *disease* (there is a "disease", huh - like you know this already), *typically* (you know this already of course because you've read some web posts about it) *LLK* that *some* of these printers have (and how many is *some*, what percentage of the total number of these printers on the market? - remember Epson probably has far more market share in the fine-art inkjet market than probably every other make combined). I can already detect from that one sentence how the chances of this article being an objective scientific piece with real operational significance could emerge to be pretty low. I hope Photo Technique magazine has good editors and a taste for objectivity. If they do, they'll make sure you understand pigemted-inkjet technology as implemented not only by Epson, but by Canon and HP too, so you can evaluate it in context and with the objectives of the different technologies at the forefront; they will make sure you have an operationally significant definition of *reliability* in the context of the operating environment these machines are supposed to perform in; they will make sure you know at what point an "issue" becomes a "disease"; they will make sure your sampling methods in respect of sample size sourcing and stratification on a number of dimensions is large and representative enough of the user population from which to draw valid statistical inferences; and finally they will make sure you have the technical background in respect of managing all these variables to satisfy themselves that you can be credible on this subject.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 08:42:13 AM
........... I now know my printer better than ever, now that I've been in Service Mode with it.

You almost wish that the design of the printhead would allow it to "flip up" or somehow "unsnap" so that the User could get at it. But I doubt Epson wants that to happen.


It's easy to be misled into thinking we really *know* something well enough to do anything with it  just because we've poked under the hood a bit. If it were me, I'd be less confident, but that's just me. And yes, I agree, I doubt very much Epson wants any of us to be able to muck-around with flipping printheads and doing stuff with them. This is high-tech precision equipment and from their perspective, knowing the innards of these machines better than any of us ever will, the risk of users screwing it up worse than it was to start with would probably loom pretty large in their thinking about what components to make user-accessible (easily).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 10:52:25 AM
I'm not the least bit surprised. The printhead is the crown jewel of their technology and they will do whatever they think they need to do in order to keep it under their own control, for both commercial and reputational reasons.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 01, 2012, 11:23:54 AM
I might lose all credibility by sharing this bizarre thought I woke to this morning.  I do my most imaginative thinking just before and after sleep.  

What if....  now you really have to have an unrealistic imagination to even picture this - you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Nice thought but the plan has flaws, I know.  Neither the capping station OR the head on the 79/9900s are horizontal.  So we are screwed.  No-can-do on the manual head soaking method.  Isn't that just a heart breaker?  If this thing were a 4800 these un-clogable clogs wouldn't stand a chance.  And all because, possibly, the 7900 stands vertical instead of horizontal.

And here is where I threaten my credibility (*DISCLAIMER - I watched a science fiction movie last night, I can't be held responsible for what follows).  Release the head, tilt the machine way back, fill the capping station with solution, power the machine down, tilt the machine way forward, come back 24hrs later and do your pairs cleaning.

I don't know.  It's unorthodox.  Go ahead and shoot me.  But after knowing what I do now, I have to confess, I will try this before diving under the 79/9900's hood again, or pushing it off a cliff.

...Dam Buck Rogers

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 01, 2012, 11:29:22 AM
At about ~$1,800 for an Epson 79/99** printhead, I wouldn't exactly be clamoring to replace it myself, even if out of warranty---and that's assuming I could do it correctly (hey, what are all these leftover parts here?).  I'd seriously be considering a new printer, and from a common sense business perspective, that's dangerous territory, because I'm not limited to buying another Epson.  I could just as easily buy a Canon, HP, or simply send my work out.

But printer maintenance items (e.g., wipers) should be easily accessible and user replaceable to help users keep their printers singing happily.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Let Epson continue to sell us that liquid gold....  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 11:34:25 AM
I might lose all credibility by sharing this bizarre thought I woke to this morning.  I do my most imaginative thinking just before and after sleep.  

What if....  now you really have to have an unrealistic imagination to even picture this - you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Nice thought but the plan has flaws, I know.  Neither the capping station OR the head on the x900s are horizontal.  So we are screwed.  No-can-do on the manual head soaking method.  Isn't that just a heart breaker?  If this thing were a 4800 these un-clogable clogs wouldn't stand a chance.  And all because, possibly, the 7900 stands vertical instead of horizontal.

And here is where I threaten my credibility (*DISCLAIMER - I watched a science fiction movie last night, I can't be held responsible for what follows).  Release the head, tilt the machine way back, fill the capping station with solution, power the machine down, tilt the machine way forward, come back 24hrs later and do your pairs cleaning.

I don't know.  It's unorthodox.  Go ahead and shoot me.  But after knowing what I do now, I have to confess, I will try this before diving under the x900's hood again, or pushing it off a cliff.

...Dam Buck Rogers



Eric, I know your concern and area of hard-earned expertise is the 7900 - but just for clarity when we talk x900, that includes the 4900, and it does have a conventional horizontal head configuration. I'm hoping never to have to take advantage of that fact with my 4900, but then again, one never knows.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 11:38:43 AM
At about ~$1,800 for an Epson 79/99** printhead, I wouldn't exactly be clamoring to replace it myself, even if out of warranty---and that's assuming I could do it correctly (hey, what are all these leftover parts here?).  I'd seriously be considering a new printer, and from a common sense business perspective, that's dangerous territory, because I'm not limited to buying another Epson.  I could just as easily buy a Canon, HP, or simply send my work out.

But printer maintenance items (e.g., wipers) should be easily accessible and user replaceable to help users keep their printers singing happily.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Let Epson continue to sell us that liquid gold....  

KD, this makes a lot of sense to me - if in fact the wiper is truly such a consumable and if in fact it could be made easily accessible without running the risk of users damaging a bunch of other stuff, it would indeed be a good idea for Epson to either design it for better accessibility, or provide instructions to users on how to replace it safely in their existing printers. I too have come across this issue of -possibly- the wiper smearing sludge to other places on the head, but that was years ago in the Epson 4000 days.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 01, 2012, 11:40:15 AM
...one never knows.    ;D   I like that Mark.  Thanks for the correction.  I am NOT an expert at any of this.  I will edit that now.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 01, 2012, 11:44:52 AM
I'm not the least bit surprised. The printhead is the crown jewel of their technology and they will do whatever they think they need to do in order to keep it under their own control, for both commercial and reputational reasons.
I guess I would disagree here.  Look at the automobile industry.  Each manufacturer implements their design differently and uses differing components.  True, it is more difficult to be a DIY (do it yourselfer) these days because a lot of what has been done in the last 15 years is to put computers on cars.  However, a lot of 3rd party repair facilities are open and certainly a lot of the mundane stuff (fluid changes, brake repair, etc) can be done by the user should he/she wish (and without voiding any warranty on the automobile!).  Epson printers are not any more difficult from a 2012 car in terms of the mechanics and design (though one could argue the printer is a lot less rugged).  Epson have chosen (in my view not wisely) to keep everything close to the vest which really doesn't make sense.  Their two major competitors have very different technology implications and I doubt that Epson's approach to printing is threatened in those terms.  

A number of us probably have the necessary skills to do maintenance and overhauling of these printers if we had both the time and inclination.  Unfortunately, Epson have made this quite difficult.  I can see them making an argument that doing self-repairs would void a warranty but I'm really talking about the out of warranty printers.

alan
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 01, 2012, 11:50:52 AM
This is high-tech precision equipment and from their perspective, knowing the innards of these machines better than any of us ever will, the risk of users screwing it up worse than it was to start with would probably loom pretty large in their thinking about what components to make user-accessible (easily).

Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Maybe they ought to treat this segment of the market like PhaseOne/Hasselblad/Leaf, and let their cute little consumer printers be Nikon and Canon.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 01, 2012, 11:52:49 AM
- you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Problem is we really don't know what the optimal cleaning solution might be.  The chemistry of the inks is a trade secret of Epson and while the black and grey inks are based on carbon black, the polymers and other solvents that make up the remainder of the active part of the ink (I discount the water!!) are not disclosed.  There is an issue of making sure you had the right cleaning formulation which would require some type of solvent in addition to water to work.  It would have to be mild enough not to chemically damage the print head but strong enough to dislodge the clog (we also don't understand the actual physical properties of the clog, it could be poor quality control of the ink resulting in particles that are too large for the nozzle or something physically wrong with the printer where part of the head dries out, etc.).  I think it's more difficult than just "soaking" or "wiping".

Alan
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 11:57:47 AM
Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Maybe they ought to treat this segment of the market like PhaseOne/Hasselblad/Leaf, and let their cute little consumer printers be Nikon and Canon.

Hi GW, I didn't say the reason has anything to do with "temperamental". I'm not sure in general that they are so temperamental. But when you are dealing with machinery of this character, certain aspects of its servicing obviously requires specialized training. Epson, or any manufacturer for that matter, needs to make judgments about how much they think is "safe" to put in the hands of users - remembering the vast range of adeptness out there - not everyone is an Eric - and how much they should reserve to trained technicians. I have no basis for second-guessing that judgment. And no - I'd still prefer to have a one year warranty with my printer, and an option to buy a service contract pretty much as they offer it now. That's a decent protection package.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 12:02:08 PM
I guess I would disagree here.  Look at the automobile industry.  Each manufacturer implements their design differently and uses differing components.  True, it is more difficult to be a DIY (do it yourselfer) these days because a lot of what has been done in the last 15 years is to put computers on cars.  However, a lot of 3rd party repair facilities are open and certainly a lot of the mundane stuff (fluid changes, brake repair, etc) can be done by the user should he/she wish (and without voiding any warranty on the automobile!).  Epson printers are not any more difficult from a 2012 car in terms of the mechanics and design (though one could argue the printer is a lot less rugged).  Epson have chosen (in my view not wisely) to keep everything close to the vest which really doesn't make sense.  Their two major competitors have very different technology implications and I doubt that Epson's approach to printing is threatened in those terms.  

A number of us probably have the necessary skills to do maintenance and overhauling of these printers if we had both the time and inclination.  Unfortunately, Epson have made this quite difficult.  I can see them making an argument that doing self-repairs would void a warranty but I'm really talking about the out of warranty printers.

alan

Hi Alan - not sure the analogy works here. I'm referring to one specific and key component in a printer. A car has a huge number of assemblies and parts that are and should be third-party serviceable. Even with the cars as you correctly point out how they are made these days, for certain components the third-party folks have no choice but to revert to the manufacturer for certain replacement assemblies. In the specific case of the Epson printhead - let's face it - this is the core of their IP and it's quite reasonable to expect they'd be leery of losing control over it for any number of sensible reasons. Wiper blades is perhaps another story.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 01, 2012, 12:28:29 PM
RE: Windex Method

I would not "shoe shine" your print head! You want to use a lint free cloth like the pec pads. Let the head sit over the dampened cloth for a time-say 20 minutes, and then swipe in only one direction. You may have to repeat several times.

If you have a super glob of ink, you'll likely have to put cleaner on the cap for that channel and let soak over night.

RE: LLK... and capping station.

Each color pair has it's own "cap" with a rubber seal. I think perhaps you are not getting a perfect capping of the LLK channel. If the cap is off just a fraction, you'll have your head exposed to air, and ink drying. My 9890 has more issues with the yellow channel than the LLK, but the LLK can drop out.

Also look for AIR in your lines. If you can see large gaps of air in the lines, only a power clean can pull them through. I have bad memories of my 4000's habit of drawing air into the lines when not in regular use.  If the nozzle isn't capped, then air could also be drawn into the head/damper...

... at least this is my take on the issue ... looking at the capping station it'd be very hard to see if you're getting a perfect seal.


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 12:35:38 PM
RE: Windex Method

I would not "shoe shine" your print head! You want to use a lint free cloth like the pec pads. Let the head sit over the dampened cloth for a time-say 20 minutes, and then swipe in only one direction. You may have to repeat several times.

If you have a super glob of ink, you'll likely have to put cleaner on the cap for that channel and let soak over night.

RE: LLK... and capping station.

Each color pair has it's own "cap" with a rubber seal. I think perhaps you are not getting a perfect capping of the LLK channel. If the cap is off just a fraction, you'll have your head exposed to air, and ink drying. My 9890 has more issues with the yellow channel than the LLK, but the LLK can drop out.

Also look for AIR in your lines. If you can see large gaps of air in the lines, only a power clean can pull them through. I have bad memories of my 4000's habit of drawing air into the lines when not in regular use.  If the nozzle isn't capped, then air could also be drawn into the head/damper...

... at least this is my take on the issue ... looking at the capping station it'd be very hard to see if you're getting a perfect seal.


Hi chaddro - you are on to something here. I also think the seating of the capping station can be an important issue and a good clue is when one channel is more systematically affected than any other. I've seen that, but I did not delve into the capping station - it was suggested to me as a possible cause of a problem.

On the issue of air - YES - and this goes back to my days on the Epson 4000. When I discussed this matter with Epson, one of their senior technical support people recommended to run prints between regular cleaning cycles, because repeated cleaning cycles in tight sequences can trigger such issues. It helped improve cleaning effectiveness a lot when I followed that advice, and worked around the need for power cleaning which uses a lot of ink.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 01, 2012, 12:51:50 PM
Hi Mark,

Yes, I broke my teeth in on the 4000. Read endless posts on the issue of clogging with this baby. I bought new when it came out and only JUST sold it a couple months ago. I had the extended warranty twice just from sheer concern. But, back in those days, the Epson techs seemed to have a great degree of training.

My observations are from those and later with my 7800. These printers have 1 seal for the entire head. But these new x900 and x980 printers have a seal for each color pair. You can see the capping station when it's printing, but I haven't tried to look closer at it.

Instead, I've pestered Epson enough to get some ink for my inconvenience. The tech I spoke with didn't want to admit a problem with the printer. Said it "might" be the ink cartridge...

Me, I think it's either a capping station or damper issue.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 01, 2012, 02:06:46 PM
Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Ironically, I just received a call today from Epson about my recent service experience and gave them this very same feedback!  A professional printer without establishing a realistic warranty period is absolutely crazy, the lack of service guidance on how to properly maintain the unit in optimal condition (under the right environment) – is totally off the mark, and options for support (besides Decision One) is paramount in keeping loyal customers.

As for the “out of warranty” service experience, I’m sitting on the sidelines with a clogged LLK nozzle (80-90%) and no immediate resolution insight…

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 02:31:13 PM
Jeff, on new machines they offer a one year warranty and then a service contract one can buy for two more years. Do you think that's unreasonable? It's not as good as the warranty on my car, but that's a different animal in a different market. I haven't looked into this, but are Canon and HP offering better warranties? My main concern about service here in Canada isn't so much the length of the warranty, but the *apparent* (at least to me, after some digging) lack of in-city trained, authorized service, even in a market as large as Toronto. This was not the case back in the days of the 4800, when they did have an authorized and very decent third-party service provider. As for your clogged LLK channel, I would suggest you NOT let it sit on the sidelines, just keep at them - with escalation as needed - until it gets fixed in whatever manner you and they agree.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 01, 2012, 02:46:46 PM
Hi Alan - not sure the analogy works here. I'm referring to one specific and key component in a printer. A car has a huge number of assemblies and parts that are and should be third-party serviceable. Even with the cars as you correctly point out how they are made these days, for certain components the third-party folks have no choice but to revert to the manufacturer for certain replacement assemblies. In the specific case of the Epson printhead - let's face it - this is the core of their IP and it's quite reasonable to expect they'd be leery of losing control over it for any number of sensible reasons. Wiper blades is perhaps another story.
Any potential competitor can buy an Epson printer and take it apart to see what makes it tick and see if it can be reverse engineered.  The thing that controls the IP in this case are the patents and trade secrets.  Patents would apply to the print head and the trade secrets to the inks (though an enterprising chemist could potentially figure out the inks and the fact that their are third part inksets for Epsons implies that someone has done exactly this).  I don't see this as a "control" issue since with most all consumer goods, the manufacturer only covers repairs under the warranty period.  My understanding of the thread so far is that getting the service manual from Epson is not possible as is getting the replacement print head.  I suspect that Epson are trying to control who is "licensed" to repair these printers and this is what I'm objecting to particularly since it appears that customers have had various degrees of satisfaction.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 03:21:35 PM
Any potential competitor can buy an Epson printer and take it apart to see what makes it tick and see if it can be reverse engineered.  The thing that controls the IP in this case are the patents and trade secrets.  Patents would apply to the print head and the trade secrets to the inks (though an enterprising chemist could potentially figure out the inks and the fact that their are third part inksets for Epsons implies that someone has done exactly this).  I don't see this as a "control" issue since with most all consumer goods, the manufacturer only covers repairs under the warranty period.  My understanding of the thread so far is that getting the service manual from Epson is not possible as is getting the replacement print head.  I suspect that Epson are trying to control who is "licensed" to repair these printers and this is what I'm objecting to particularly since it appears that customers have had various degrees of satisfaction.



Alan,

Yes, any potential competitor can buy each others' machines and dissect them, and I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that ALL of them do exactly that. So?

Yes, Patents and trade secrets control IP. BUT, there are most likely patents covering not only the printhead per se but every patentable component of the printhead. And likewise for the inkset. There are three registered patents on each ink for my 4900, so it goes beyond trade secrets. Third-party manufacturers may have analyzed the content of Epson inks, but they may have gone about it differently too. We don't know that. Interestingly, at least as far as I know, there are no pending lawsuits against thirty party ink manufacturers, so presumably no clear evidence of patent infringement.

Now about patents and control: my understanding is that patents are meant to control the dissemination of technology for the benefit of the patent-holder for the duration of the patent. Otherwise what else are they for? If part of that control means not releasing components to third-parties, it would seem they have that right, otherwise they would face legal challenges on grounds of restrictive trade practices; I wonder if anyone has tried suing for this. Whether they SHOULD operate this way is of course another matter.

Many companies control who is allowed to service their stuff by having authorized service agents. That doesn't prevent others from trying to service whatever - until they need parts they can't get, and then we are back to the item just above. I would like to have the comfort of knowing that whoever services my Epson printer has been trained by Epson on that model. My concern actually is the apparent shortage of trained service personnel, at least here in Canada.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 01, 2012, 03:43:49 PM
Alan,

Yes, any potential competitor can buy each others' machines and dissect them, and I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that ALL of them do exactly that. So?

Yes, Patents and trade secrets control IP. BUT, there are most likely patents covering not only the printhead per se but every patentable component of the printhead. And likewise for the inkset. There are three registered patents on each ink for my 4900, so it goes beyond trade secrets. Third-party manufacturers may have analyzed the content of Epson inks, but they may have gone about it differently too. We don't know that. Interestingly, at least as far as I know, there are no pending lawsuits against thirty party ink manufacturers, so presumably no clear evidence of patent infringement.

Now about patents and control: my understanding is that patents are meant to control the dissemination of technology for the benefit of the patent-holder for the duration of the patent. Otherwise what else are they for? If part of that control means not releasing components to third-parties, it would seem they have that right, otherwise they would face legal challenges on grounds of restrictive trade practices; I wonder if anyone has tried suing for this. Whether they SHOULD operate this way is of course another matter.

Many companies control who is allowed to service their stuff by having authorized service agents. That doesn't prevent others from trying to service whatever - until they need parts they can't get, and then we are back to the item just above. I would like to have the comfort of knowing that whoever services my Epson printer has been trained by Epson on that model. My concern actually is the apparent shortage of trained service personnel, at least here in Canada.
I just looked at the 3880 cartridges and Epson list four patents.  Now some of these patents can actually be on the cartridge itself and how it is designed as well as the ink formulation.  Formulation patents are fairly weak since they can be engineered around pretty easily by changing components.  Actually, the original function of patents was/is to encourage innovation by disclosing inventions rather than keeping them secret.  In return the inventor gets a period of exclusivity where the invention cannot be infringed upon.

I don't think that non-release of parts except to "certified" repair facilities is a restrictive trade practice.  Of course there is always the question about whether the repair personnel are competent (which appears to be questionable given what we have read in recent days).  You hit the correct nail on the head about whether Epson "should' operate in this manner.  I suspect part of the problem that is being experienced is that folks are purchasing large format printers that are really designed to be production machines and used frequently and that this is not necessarily the case.  I continue to be amazed at my 3880 (and I think you had a similar experience with the 3800) at how trouble free it is.  Perhaps the larger machines require longer ink lines and other stuff that contributes to problematic behavior if not in a commercial setting.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 03:52:02 PM
OK, we're talking two sides of the same coin on patents. They encourage invention by giving the inventors are period of legal respite from competition. You would know all about that in terms of the brand-name versus generic drugs industry. :-) Right?

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head re the primary issue with these x900 machines. They are intended to be production machines, and used regularly they will experience far fewer ink flow issues than otherwise. I've seen it in my own small way. If I use my 4900 every other day, it's fine; leave it alone for a week or more and it needs to be cleaned. The 3800/3880 is indeed a different animal in this respect. I could leave my 3800 alone for weeks, turn it on, print the nozzle check and it was fine. I seldom experienced any issues with that printer. So that of course raises the question of why - what's the difference? As you point out, major design differences. For one thing, longer ink lines. Heads are different, ink formulation is different. Hard to know exactly, but this question of *why the difference* has been on my mind and it would be really interesting to know the answer.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 01, 2012, 04:01:55 PM
OK, we're talking two sides of the same coin on patents. They encourage invention by giving the inventors are period of legal respite from competition. You would know all about that in terms of the brand-name versus generic drugs industry. :-) Right?
It's even worse.  Brand name companies come up with a new formulation (usually an extended release form of the drug, reducing the number of pills that need to be taken) and get patients to switch over.  It's not uncommon for the original formulation to be off patent with the newer ones still on patent (and of course the company has now convinced patients that the new formulation is more convenient, etc.)

Quote
Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head re the primary issue with these x900 machines. They are intended to be production machines, and used regularly they will experience far fewer ink flow issues than otherwise. I've seen it in my own small way. If I use my 4900 every other day, it's fine; leave it alone for a week or more and it needs to be cleaned. The 3800/3880 is indeed a different animal in this respect. I could leave my 3800 alone for weeks, turn it on, print the nozzle check and it was fine. I seldom experienced any issues with that printer. So that of course raises the question of why - what's the difference? As you point out, major design differences. For one thing, longer ink lines. Heads are different, ink formulation is different. Hard to know exactly, but this question of *why the difference* has been on my mind and it would be really interesting to know the answer.
Yes, I've had my 3880 off for up to two months, turn it on and a perfect nozzle check.  I would be surprised if the ink formulation were different but that's just a guess.  I think that there are some parts of the printer that require exacting tolerance and that a slight deviation can lead to issues (capping station being one of them).  I agree that it would be interesting to understand this and I'm sure Epson are keen to as well as money they have to spend on warranty support impacts their bottom line and ultimately higher prices for consumers as this ultimately has to be factored into their balance sheet.

Whenever my 3880 dies, I'll probably take it apart to see what makes it tick (but I don't anticipate that happening anytime soon).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 04:15:28 PM
Alan, based on the advertising (FWIW), the 3880 uses K3+Vivid Magenta, while the x900 series are using "HDR" inks, whatever that means. We'll never know whether the difference is in name only (i.e. marketing hype) or truly a different ink formulation, or a combination thereof. I got some insight from a family member in another service-related branch of industry that every customer support call costs these companies a lot of money (they do cost-out the support infrastructure, divide it by the number of calls and track how much they could reduce costs as a function of reducing the need for calls) - and that's even before they need to spend yet more money on remediation; so yes, clearly, the less trouble to which they need to respond the better for them, and there's no doubt they monitor for this very closely. If our anecdotal evidence is correct that the 3800/3880 series is less prone to ink laydown issues than the x900s, we can trust that they know all about that in depth, and probably knew it from the time the machines were designed; but they are, as you said, aimed at different usage segments so it probably wasn't seen as anything to fret about. But that's speculation.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 01, 2012, 05:46:13 PM
I would suggest that if you think the wiper blade should be a user replacable component (and I can't disagree - if there's no pressing technical reason then it could be a very useful innovation) then you need to feedback to Epson.

Remember, most users (I'm talking 99% here, literally) are not capable of doing anything even remotely technical with their printers.  Most printers are not used by photographers - they're used by graphic designers or press operators or architects - then some photographers or print shop operators.  So the number of technically capable people is very small.

So what needs to be asked for is an end user level designed replacement process.  Judging by what people have said here, I suspect most would be fine even if it cost a few more dollars (maybe $25- instead of $16-?) to make a part that was specifically designed for end user replacement.  Anyway, feed it back to Epson.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 01, 2012, 06:53:06 PM
It reminds me of how Apple changed where the RAM was located in the MacBook Pros. Early on, the RAM was buried inside the machine. I guess they realized how many people wanted to upgrade the RAM, so later, they changed it where it was on the topmost layer -- very easy for most any user to install it.

I agree that this 7900 is meant to be run. I had gone on vacation for a week; when I came home, that's when the problem started with the LLK. I'm not Catholic, but now I feel guilty for going on vacation. More therapy: "Every time I have fun, I come home to problems".
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on February 01, 2012, 08:32:46 PM
Alan, based on the advertising (FWIW), the 3880 uses K3+Vivid Magenta, while the x900 series are using "HDR" inks, whatever that means. We'll never know whether the difference is in name only (i.e. marketing hype) or truly a different ink formulation, or a combination thereof. I got some insight from a family member in another service-related branch of industry that every customer support call costs these companies a lot of money (they do cost-out the support infrastructure, divide it by the number of calls and track how much they could reduce costs as a function of reducing the need for calls) - and that's even before they need to spend yet more money on remediation; so yes, clearly, the less trouble to which they need to respond the better for them, and there's no doubt they monitor for this very closely. If our anecdotal evidence is correct that the 3800/3880 series is less prone to ink laydown issues than the x900s, we can trust that they know all about that in depth, and probably knew it from the time the machines were designed; but they are, as you said, aimed at different usage segments so it probably wasn't seen as anything to fret about. But that's speculation.
     
      Hi Mark..........HDR x900 ink is the same as K3+vivid magenta......just has green and orange added. Epson has informed me about this.......a way to verify this is the Epson 7890 uses K3+vivid magenta......the ink carts are interchangeableable between the 7890 and the 7900.
 Peter
Title: Re: Wiper
Post by: Dan Berg on February 01, 2012, 08:57:22 PM
Phil,
There is no problem obtaining the part,(from an Epson authorized dealer) and it is a relatively easy snap out -snap in proccedure to replace it the old way , which was to use a command in service mode and reset the usage counter with a bundled utility (Serveprog exe that used to either  be in the LFP remote panel  or accessed through the service menu in the printer menu itself.
Epson has removed this utility as of over a year ago,  and it is now only accessable to serice techs through Epsons Insider site.
According to the manual, the right cover needs to removed to have access and turn the gear that activates the wiper assembly and brings it forward to change it. There used to be a command in the old service  menu that would do this without having to remove the cover, but I believe Epson has removed that command also. I haven't tried to do it through the service menu  yet because I cannot afford to have my machine down this week untill I finish a large print run I just don't want to risk ant screw up this week. I have in fact ordered 2 wipers from Compas Micro, to have on hand though once we get this issue sorted out.


FROM THE 7900/9900   Field Repair Guide 10/6/10  
Servprog.exe Printer Component, Software Item, LCD Display, Printer Button Page 466.
Servprog.exe
Note: Servprog.exe is no longer an ASI enabled service utility. It is available for download on Epson
Insider.
Note: Servprog.exe is the utility that enables counter resets, and some electronic alignments for the
7900 and 9900.
Note: Servprog.exe will work when the Printer is in Ready mode, or in Self Testing mode.
Note: Self Testing mode will allow the Servprog.exe to function with the Printer, when the Printer is in
an error condition.
1. Ensure that the 7900 or 9900 Printer Driver is installed on the system that will be running the
Servprog.exe.
1.1 Verify that the Printer Driver can read the Printer’s ink quantities.
2. Ensure that the Servprog files listed below are all in the same folder.
 
The problem arises  if and when the wipers  counter life exceeds the useful wiper life because the age is cumulative from the original wiper life count, if it cannot be reset when doing a self install of a new wiper, Even though Epson will gladly sell you one through their distributer) an error code will essentially shut the machine down!  

So now the million dollar question.
What is the wipers service life?
Title: Re: Wiper
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 01, 2012, 09:10:00 PM

The problem arises  if and when the wipers  counter life exceeds the useful wiper life.....

An error code will essentially shut the machine down! 

David, we are only two days away from leaving the trenches and once again attacking this hopefully humbled giant of an Epson 7900.  On our radar we now have a few key concerns, one of which you have inspired here.  I would like to clarify:  Is this terminal error code theory based on fact or fear?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 01, 2012, 09:34:54 PM
I mean no disrespect.  Just wondered if you had come across something definite, or if this was based on a (definitely knowledgeable) hunch.  Either way it's on our radar, just like to know how far up the "hurdles to get over" priority list we should put it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 01, 2012, 09:59:58 PM
I know how it's done from a service perspective.  I'm suggesting that people feedback to Epson to request to be able to do it without needing to access service utilities and menus.

Epson has never made freely available the service adjustment software (it was most definitely not in the LFP Remote Panel software) - any copies available were obtained and distributed illegally, just as the service manuals are (including the field service manuals).

Again, feedback to Epson that you'd like to be able to replace the wiper blade as an end user consumable - otherwise, what chance do you really think there is for them to decide to do it? :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 01, 2012, 10:28:13 PM
Reading Phil's post, I don't see any sensitivity - just a helpful suggestion about how to get messages across to Epson, and a statement of fact that the materials are copyrighted, meaning it is not legal to make them available by any means without the permission of the copyright owner. I think that's pretty standard stuff. I don't own a 7900 - I own a 4900, but I clicked that link anyhow and it immediately downloaded the manual. I moused through it and nothing is mentioned about copyright. Perhaps the cover and back pages were not reproduced, or perhaps Epson did not draft this manual. I don't know who else could, but it is"orphaned" as presented from that link, so it would seem its status is unclear. Even if I were interested, I don't think I could seriously use that manual without having had formal, hands on training - but that's just me.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 01, 2012, 11:03:34 PM
"(it was most definitely not in the LFP Remote Panel software)"
Phil,
as I said, Epson removed it from wherever it did reside at one time.I'm not sure where it was maybe the driver itsef in the 'utility' tab


AIS....    http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/index.html

distributes the Field service manual freely on their site along with others and they are not in China.
 I am quite sure they would not risk legal problems publishing links to the manual.A big Co like Seiko /Epson could shut them down if they desired
to and I'm sure they are very aware of that.
You seem to be very sensative on the matter of IP have you been burned yourself in the past?
I think Epson should be asked why they do not allow users to perform a simple wiper change, just like the cutter blade!

The problem may be that if it is not done exactly as it should you can really screw up the head, and they may feel the risk is too great for the average user to tak that chance?

David - I'm not sensitive about it, and I've posted often enough (well, so I thought) that my comments are *not* directed at people who Google for info and come across this material and have a look at it.  They're not to know it's restricted material because it's not presented as such.

As to why Epson does not pursue this?  I don't know.  It's not my place to say or guess.  I make the point, though, because this is a photography forum and photographers rely on protection of IP.  It tweaks my sense of irony.  I've certainly never been burned (in either direction).

Take a look at the manual for the 3800, for example, where it clearly states on the first or second page, "Copyright © 2006 SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION."

Now, regarding the service software, let me assure you that it was never, ever, distributed publically for general use in any form what so ever, regardless of what that website might say or suggest.  It never resided anywhere that the public were allowed to access it.  Anyone distributing it is doing so illegally.  Should photographers be supporting this, or should they be contacting the vendor and asking for supprot (for example, by providing access to change a wiper blade by an end user)?  I think the answer is pretty obvious :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 01:27:44 AM
Just in case anyone is curious, there is a huge difference between changing your pump and cap assembly compared to changing your wiper cleaner assembly.

The pump and cap assy, yes, if you're not comfortable with thirty seven scrambled parts on your table top - don't attempt it.

The wiper cleaner assembly a seven year old could change.  And it's critical to.  Seems almost ill willed to keep you from it (IF in fact they do.  We don't know yet.  I will confirm over the weekend).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 02, 2012, 03:11:01 AM
Sorry, but I think this is not true (I was close to call this argument BS). Graphic designers, architects, press operators are usually very capable. I know a lot of them in Europe at least. Very often they are much more capable than photographers when it comes to output of images on paper.

I think they expect that equipment like a printer simply works. In a production environment they don't have the time to deal with things like this.

Of course they're very capable - they're very capable graphic designers, architects, press operators and so on.  No doubt they are also very capable in other areas as well.  But it's very unlikely that they're technical minded in terms of pulling a printer apart and doing mechanical or electrical or electronic work on them.  Most of these are office environments and the very same people who call someone to fix the office copier (far less complex machine), small desktop inkjet, monitor, computer, etc.  There's nothing wrong with that, but often times there are posts here that seem to suggest that just about everyone could (or would want to) pull their own printer apart.

It's again the lens of the internet forums.  People who are technically minded are already more likely to post and participate on forums.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: frankric on February 02, 2012, 07:00:39 AM
Eric, thanks for your time and effort in documenting your 'journey' with your 7900. It has motivated me to do some (probably long overdue) maintenance on my 7800.

I've done a little online digging about the Service Program which has been mentioned earlier in this thread. It seems to be called "Adjustment Program" for the x800 series and "Service Program" for the x900 series. Among other things, it is used to reset the service counters for maintenance parts, perform various serviceman type adjustments, etc.

The reason for my post is that I believe you will need that program after you reinstall the head. In the 7800 service manual (and I see no reason why the 7900 would be different) at the beginning of the Adjustment section there is a table which specifies the various adjustments required after particular parts are replaced. According to this, a Head Slant Adjustment is required even if the original head is reinstalled. You need the Adjustment/Service Program to do that adjustment. The adjustment itself is described further on in the Service Manual.

A Google search will turn up at least one site where these Adjustment/Service Programs are for sale. No free sources that I could find. Perhaps one of your parts sources can provide it, I don't know. But I think you will need it.

I hope that your machine will soon be turning out some stunning prints.

Regards

Frank
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 02, 2012, 09:34:05 AM
Maybe the 7991 will either have a way for the user to manually drop some cleaning fluid on the printhead, to clear a clog, or better yet, have some internal way for the printer to inject some cleaning fluid when it auto-detects a clog.

When I entered my Zip Code into the Epson site, to find service, the closest service site was five hours away. I was envisioning me with my 7900 bungied-corded to the roof of my BMW Mini, going down the freeway for five hours. Not pretty.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 02, 2012, 09:36:25 AM
For all of you living in the Toronto area or who would want service from an Epson authorized facility in this area, it may be helpful for you to know that (Epson Canada has just informed me) a firm called Unisource Canada is the authorized outlet. This is not not well-known because it isn't advertised and the Unisource website is very ambiguous on the service side. Back in the days of the Epson 4000, the original service supplier Epson referred us to here was Treck-Hall, which subsequently became Mondrian-Hall, and since been merged into Unisource Canada. So there would appear to be continuity.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 11:11:40 AM
Eric, thanks for your time and effort....

The reason for my post is that I believe you will need that program after you reinstall the head. In the 7800 service manual (and I see no reason why the 7900 would be different) at the beginning of the Adjustment section there is a table which specifies the various adjustments required after particular parts are replaced. According to this, a Head Slant Adjustment is required even if the original head is reinstalled. You need the Adjustment/Service Program to do that adjustment. The adjustment itself is described further on in the Service Manual.

A Google search will turn up at least one site where these Adjustment/Service Programs are for sale. No free sources that I could find. Perhaps one of your parts sources can provide it, I don't know. But I think you will need it.

I hope that your machine will soon be turning out some stunning prints.

Regards

Frank

Right there with you Frank.  Downloaded it last night.  Another hurdle down, followed by another hurdle up - it's windows only and I'm on a mac...

Good thing I love challenges
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 02, 2012, 11:22:04 AM
Right there with you Frank.  Downloaded it last night.  Another hurdle down, followed by another hurdle up - it's windows only and I'm on a mac...

Good thing I love challenges

Perhaps you can borrow a Windows laptop from a friend and install it all there temporarily. Another more permanent solution in case you would need recurrent use of PC-only applications is to install Parallels 7 on your Mac, and run Windows 7 as a virtual machine under Parallels. My experience with it is that it works very well; integration is seamless - at least on the current vintage of Intel Macs. Of course you then need to put-up with the endless stream of patches and fixes from Windows, but the basic objective gets achieved.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 11:36:43 AM
Exactly Mark.  Thanks for the tip - the next hurdle.  I have been so happy since leaving windows eight years ago.  And my wife, good lord.  Some collect Persian rugs, others exotic cars.  Apparently I collected Nikon lenses until they were all stolen.  My wife?  She collected viruses.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 02, 2012, 11:37:57 AM
As long as they were only computer viruses.........:-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 11:42:20 AM
Oh hell no you did NOT just say that...

I'm on the floor now.  Thanks a lot!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 02, 2012, 11:45:26 AM
Laughing I hope.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 02:19:28 PM
This morning I called Epson technical support.  Told them I bought a wiper cleaner assembly from one of their three US Epson parts distributors, and installed it myself.  Guy wasn't familiar with the part.  I told him what it was, how easy and vital it was to replace regularly.  He agreed.  Then I asked him the million dollar question:

Eric; "How do you reset the counter for the wiper cleaner assembly once you've installed it?"

Epson; "Oh I don't think you can do that.  ....Yeah, you used to be able to do that on older models but not these new machines.  Now a service tech has to do it for you.  They use a special computer program on their laptop and reset it for you."

Eric; "I'm pretty confident users used to be able to do this, actually on these particular 79/9900s.  But then I think Epson blocked that option with a firmwear update last year."

Epson; "Yeah, that might be true.  ...Could be.  ....So no, you can't reset the counter on the wiper cleaner assembly."

Eric; "I'm not complaining to you right now, I just want to be clear and fully understand you.  We both agree a fresh wiper is vital to the successful use of these 79/9900 printers.  We both agree that nozzle clogs on these machines is a particularly common problem.  We both agree that while users think they are doing good, by performing multiple cleanings to clear clogs, that in the case of a compromised wiper they are likely making their problems worse.  We both agree being that this one part is not included with a pump and cap assembly, which includes every one of the rest of it's parts, it is most likely that Epson expects the wiper cleaner assembly to be replaced far more often than the entire pump and cap assembly  And finally we both understand that the 79/9900's wiper cleaner assembly is a $13 part which is painfully simple to replace - a simple snap in and out with your finger tips."

Epson; "Yeah, I do agree"

Eric; "So what you are actually telling me is that to replace this vital $13 snap-in part on on my 7900, it'll cost me $300 in a service call because I can't reset the counter?

Epson; "Yeah, that does seem crazy doesn't it.  I don't understand it.  But that's how it is.  You can't reset the counter yourself."

Eric; "I am a member of a huge community of 79/9900 users, many of whom would like to be able to successfully run and maintain their printers - without having to pay some $300 repair bill to replace a $13 part that takes a tech less than four minutes to replace.  So at this point I would like to ask you, because I do believe Epson is a company that wants their users to be successful and happy, who do I call?  Who do I email?  What form do I fill out and where do I send it - so that Epson can hear feedback and possibly make an adjustment?"

Epson; "That's a very good question.  We have nothing in place for that though.  There is no one to call or write to.  All I can offer you is that I put this request in my log, and submit it.  We do log our tech calls - the problems and the requests.  If enough requests come through for something like your user-performed wiper cleaner replacement, they do consider it."

Eric; "OK so here is my request - I want users be able to change their wiper cleaner assemblies and reset their counters, all on their own - with no service calls and therefore no unnecessary expense."

Epson; "OK I will submit that"
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 02, 2012, 02:27:30 PM
Is there a JPG on the web anywhere that clearly shows where the Capping Station and the Wiper Blade are located, inside the 7900? Thanks.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 02, 2012, 02:37:29 PM
Eric, that conversation with Tech Support is a very good one, and the point you made about not paying 300 dollars to exchange a 13 dollar consumable part I think hits the nail on the head as far as that aspect is concerned. Very well put. I have no doubt that between this thread and the feedback from tech support, Epson will definitely pay attention to these issues. What they decide to do about it of course is a different matter and remains to be seen. I would wonder whether they could develop a firmware up-grade that allows users to reset the counters (from one's own computer or the printer control panel) for those parts users could replace without running much risk to other parts of the printer.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on February 02, 2012, 02:40:56 PM
Epson; "That's a very good question.  We have nothing in place for that though.  There is no one to call or write to.  All I can offer you is that I put this request in my log, and submit it.  We do log our tech calls - the problems and the requests.  If enough requests come through for something like your user-performed wiper cleaner replacement, they do consider it."

Eric; "OK so here is my request - I want users be able to change their wiper cleaner assemblies and reset their counters, all on their own - with no service calls and therefore no unnecessary expense."

Epson; "OK I will submit that"[/i]

Ok.. so I suggest that we all go and contact Epson support and specifically ask them to log this call and see where it goes - it would also be worth us all sending a PM to "Dano" - or better still if anyone has his email address to send it to him directly also..  it can be done over email and it's very quick - and they are quick to respond, or simply call them..

I'll send mine tomorrow from work.

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on February 02, 2012, 02:48:32 PM
Actually the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 does not have a clogging problem! I just read the following on the Epson Pro Imaging website, describing the 7900 & 9900 features and technology:

"Our advanced Epson MicroPiezo TFP print head is capable of producing higher quality prints, at speeds almost twice as fast as our previous generation. And, with our latest ink-repelling coating and auto nozzle verification technologies, clogged nozzles are virtually eliminated."

I know there is often a chasm between marketing speak and reality... but please! This is a bit insulting.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 02, 2012, 02:57:36 PM

Eric; "I am a member of a huge community of 79/9900 users, many of whom would like to be able to successfully run and maintain their printers - without having to pay some $300 repair bill to replace a $13 part that takes a tech less than four minutes to replace.  So at this point I would like to ask you, because I do believe Epson is a company that wants their users to be successful and happy, who do I call?  Who do I email?  What form do I fill out and where do I send it - so that Epson can hear feedback and possibly make an adjustment?"

Epson; "That's a very good question.  We have nothing in place for that though.  There is no one to call or write to.  All I can offer you is that I put this request in my log, and submit it.  We do log our tech calls - the problems and the requests.  If enough requests come through for something like your user-performed wiper cleaner replacement, they do consider it."


I would also suggest we all send an email to Rand Rozar the Director of Service and Support via the following web site form:

https://epson.custhelp.com/app/ask/p_webform/ContactRand

In addition, the feedback should be given to our suppliers, sales representative so they can communicate this request to the local Epson representative.  In my case, this is DTG out of Florida.

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 03:07:54 PM
Is there a JPG on the web anywhere that clearly shows where the Capping Station and the Wiper Blade are located, inside the 7900? Thanks.
(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/epson-7900_pump_and_cap_assy.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 02, 2012, 03:18:10 PM
Actually the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 does not have a clogging problem! I just read the following on the Epson Pro Imaging website, describing the 7900 & 9900 features and technology...

Thanks Jeff.  I'm on the floor again.  Twice in one day...


...I need to vacuum this place
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on February 02, 2012, 03:22:35 PM
Servprog.exe for Epson 7900 was written for the XP operating system.  So almost any old Pc with a Usb port will work.

I really appreciate the tip about using service mode to get the wiper in the correct position without having to take the machine apart.   I have already cleaned it once using your tip and plan on cleaning it once every 3 months.   After taking it out of the machine, I used a foam swab dampened with warm water to clean it.  Then I put the wiper assembly back in the machine.  It took about 5 minutes total.
 
I bought 50 foam swabs from the following source - Swab-its 74-4501-50  for $16 dollars.
 
 http://yhst-66879715068660.stores.yahoo.net/prso.html

You need to use a lint free swab.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 02, 2012, 05:37:48 PM
NOTE: On my 9890 I can reset the counter for the Wiper from within the service menu!

Bought my machine last August. The 9890 is the basically the same as the 9900 less orange/green... I even think the tubes are there for the inks if I counted correctly. I would be very surprised if the 7980 was differently.

I have not seen a service manual or field repair guide in the wild for either the 9890 or 7980 so just be aware if you own one of these that the 9900's manual may not be the same. It's quite possible that there have been minor improvements in the firmware that distinguish the two.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jstar on February 02, 2012, 07:19:05 PM
It looks like you should be able to Reset the Wiper Counter(Epson 7900/9900)  through the Service Mode Menu system.


Turn the printer ON in the Serviceman Mode.
Turn the power ON while pressing [Menu ], [PaperFeed ], and [OK] button.

Select SELF TESTING →Maintenance →Wiper Exchange →Counter Clear
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Pedron on February 02, 2012, 09:39:43 PM
Hello,
On my 9900 bought 3 years ago and whose firmware is updated, I just clean the wiper (following the instructions of Eric) and I noticed the ability to reset the wiper counter such that you described. Note that I do not know if it could work, but the function was there.
For those interested, I just used a damp paper towel (gently). There was a little ink and dust stuck, but less than what I expected to find. I've always managed to clean my printer before this one (HP650C and Epson 9000 (which I always work very well).
For my part, I have not had any big problem with my 9900, except for a month, cyan is more and more clogged. It does not appear on prints so far, but now with 90% of clogged nozzles, it is another matter. I think it's the cartridge that is defective, even if it is almost new. I should receive a new tomorrow (Friday) and look forward to see if the problem is resolved.
I watch almost the whole saga because I know that one day I will have trouble and I will not have the means to pay a technician. Epson service is really bad and moreover, there is no service in French and I do not speak English (long live Google translation).
Eric thank you so much tell us your experience. It's really reassuring to know that you can get help on this forum. If I can help someone, it would be my pleasure.

Pierre

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 03, 2012, 01:51:51 AM
...It's really reassuring to know that you can get help on this forum. If I can help someone, it would be my pleasure.

Pierre

Pierre I promise you, this is only the beginning.  More and more information, help, and understanding will be the result of all this.  One goal is to fix the printer just down the stairs.  Another goal is to go far beyond that.  Stay tuned, and good luck with your 9900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 03, 2012, 04:10:51 AM
I have added some pictures of the HP Z3100 wipers, 5 year old machine, on page 1 where the 7900 wiper is also visible.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 03, 2012, 11:29:08 AM
Make sure you have latest firmware. Somehow I did not have Epson Remote installed, and somehow that seems necessary for the Firmware Upgrade feature to be enabled. The driver walks you thru the Firmware upgrade effortlessly. It takes about fifteen minutes to achieve. Don't rush it.

For the record, my issue is still present. The same exact bars missing in the LLK channel every time, after repeated cleanings. I"m starting to think that the printhead might be damaged or breaking down.

I'm out of warranty. Two year old machine. Microbanding continues. Time to call Decision One I guess.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 03, 2012, 09:31:15 PM
Quote
I'm out of warranty. Two year old machine. Microbanding continues. Time to call Decision One I guess.

Please share what they say, what they do/propose to do, and what their estimated cost for the repair is (if you don't mind of course).  We've got to beat this thing..

As it stands now everything is in place for tomorrow's final assault on our 7900.  Just got back from the city where I stocked up on ink for our recharge.  Got a huge deal thanks to Justin, our ebay parts contact in SF (http://www.ebay.com/sch/jjwjswu/m.html?hash=item4ab2933a4e&item=320823573070&pt=BI_Toner&_trksid=p4340.l2562).  I couldn't make Justin's 2pm deadline for pickup so I met his father instead.  Pretty cool guy.  We talked for a while.  I gave him my input on what I thought he should stock up on and why.  I even told him about this thread - and David buying one of his damper assemblies just to have on stand-by, most likely due to what we have shared here.  He seemed happy.  Just before we signed off I said, "Don't forget.  Keep your eye out for x900 printer heads.."  He responded with a classic smile - "You are my friend.  ...Come with me."  I followed him through a maze of printer parts boxes so impressively stacked even a Bloodhound would struggle to get through it.  About mid-way through the maze we arrived at his desk.  He reached from it's cluttered top holding toward my face a small square box in a manner suggesting it's worth was unparallelled.  "It's a 7900 print head.  Did you know they are made in Germany?"

Needless to say that was not the end of our conversation.  So nice to know at this point we have a backup plan.

Fingers crossed gentlemen.  Tomorrow is the day.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 03, 2012, 09:47:25 PM
And women, I can hardly wait.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 04, 2012, 03:00:51 AM
It's not really measuring ink flowing through the nozzles, but rather ink being fired from them, using an electro-static method - it's a subtle but important difference.  It's so senstive, if your dot is not properly formed it can give a false positive that it's blocked (because it doesn't receive the correct return), although a misformed dot could be from something near the nozzle so cleaning isn't an entirely bad idea.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 04, 2012, 09:04:36 AM
It's not really measuring ink flowing through the nozzles, but rather ink being fired from them, using an electro-static method - it's a subtle but important difference.  It's so senstive, if your dot is not properly formed it can give a false positive that it's blocked (because it doesn't receive the correct return), although a misformed dot could be from something near the nozzle so cleaning isn't an entirely bad idea.


Hi Phil. Sensitive indeed and as long as one leaves auto-functions enabled it doesn't like being contradicted. On my 4900 yesterday, after not using it for three days, the manual nozzle checked showed a very small gap of two missing strokes in Cyan - so trivial I decided to ignore it and just print, because small gaps like that can just cure themselves from printing. Well, the printer didn't like that decision, so after sending the image to print, it did an Auto Nozzle Check and promptly launched an Auto Clean - I guess by way of showing me who's boss. :-) Fun and games. But I've decided to leave the Auto functions enabled, because I think although it may consume a bit more ink on maintenance than I would judge necessary myself, it's probably better insurance against cumulating issues. My only concern about this level of generosity to the cleaning system is whether it will consume the limit of the wiper blade counter sooner than desirable (desirable being a minimum of three years in my case).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 04, 2012, 09:43:35 AM
Attached is a scan of the LLK Nozzle Check block by itself. Every other color is just fine, and has been just fine. After many power cleanings, and individual color cleanings, the missing bars never change. It never gets worse; it never gets better. The same number of bars are always missing, and always in the same position. (Sorry for the lame scan of the bars; I pushed the Levels and Contrast, to show the effect, since the ink is very light LLK).

Also for the record, it seems that the printer does "know" that the LLK head is clogged, because it reports back to me, after some cleanings, that it does detect a clog. This is a dialogue box on the printer LCD. But like a person trying to scratch his own back, the printer cannot seem to fix itself; it knows it's sick, but it can't heal itself.

You'd think, even with these few bars missing, and all other colors just fine, that the micro banding would not be that pronounced, but it is, as shown in a prior post -- a scan of a detail area of a 13x19 print. I had a phone conversation with a very knowledgeable person on Thursday, and he suggested that the role of the LLK ink is also to be a slight degree of "varnish effect". I asked him if I could just "turn off" the LLK channel; he said you could, but only when using a RIP, (which I'm too cheap to buy).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 09:50:29 AM

4- a situation similar to dead pixels on an lcd or sensor, which would be dead nozzles due to them not receiving electrical signals to open. There should be some way to diagnose that. Is there a option in the self test portion of the service menu.?
I think a new head is definitely needed if that is the issue.



As mentioned before, I am studying this issue, and writing an article on this for Photo Technique magazine, as my own printer is affected by it. 

Other people that I have been in contact with and who had that issue, called D1, changed the head and then checked on the head which was then letting ink flow through ALL nozzles under pressure.  Changing the head though, was the step that resolved their problem.

I have installed cartridges with cleaning fluid in the LLK channel (tinted one from AIS, unlike what Eric used) in my printer, and was able to see that even with no more ink in the channel, the more I was cleaning, the more the channel was getting clogged.  That defies reason, as it is completely impossible that cleaning fluid would clog any nozzle in the universe.  That plus those other heads that were changed, yet had no nozzles actually clogged, lead me to believe that we are not talking here of actually clogged nozzle, but rather of some electronic not firing the nozzles that then appear "clogged" on a nozzle check.

The interesting factor here, is that in my research, I have found 13 cases that fit the pattern of illness, and all but one have that problem with LLK.  The 13th case is with green.  I have not found any case with any other color.  Eric could be one, but I hope that his problem is of a different nature, probably just regular clogging.

I have alerted Epson at the highest level on this, and am awaiting for them to get back to me after looking into the situation.  They were not aware of this.

Jean-Christian Rostagni
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 04, 2012, 10:56:27 AM

I must say also, that repeated attempts at multiple cleanings, especially power cleanings, is a definate no no!
David

That's correct David. Epson's advice to me in the past has been to run prints between regular cleanings for dealing with stubborn issues, and not to sequence power cleans one after the other. If one Power Clean doesn't clear everything up, call Tech Support.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 04, 2012, 11:48:01 AM
I have installed cartridges with cleaning fluid in the LLK channel (tinted one from AIS, unlike what Eric used) in my printer, and was able to see that even with no more ink in the channel, the more I was cleaning, the more the channel was getting clogged.  That defies reason, as it is completely impossible that cleaning fluid would clog any nozzle in the universe.  That plus those other heads that were changed, yet had no nozzles actually clogged, lead me to believe that we are not talking here of actually clogged nozzle, but rather of some electronic not firing the nozzles that then appear "clogged" on a nozzle check.

Jean-Christian Rostagni



This has been my quiet suspicion as well.  Or maybe fear.  Could be electronic.  It's been about a week this idea has been wandering around my noodle.  After all how could a clog, or clogs in my case, sustain themselves even with cleaning fluid running through the head.  Only explanations I come up with are:

1 - Typical hardened ink lodged before, or on top of the "nozzle", which simply does not clear with cleanings. 

2 - Old damper let crap into the line, likely from old ink (I suspect both our PK and YW inks were opened longer than six months ago but I do not know this for sure, I bought this printer used.  The dates on these particular colors are 2010), which lodged itself just over these particular nozzles - because they were too big to go through.

3 - Dirty, old, crooked and compromised wiper (which we confirmed our machine had) left splooge on the printer head (which we confirmed it did), which compromised the seal of the capping station - which dried ink either over the nozzles, in the nozzles, or behind the nozzles in question.

4 - These nozzles in this head have stopped firing due to some electrical failure.  But who knows whey the electrical failure - maybe it's dried ink...


Right now I can confirm, because I saw it with my own eyes, there was debris in the PK channel lodged in our head BEFORE the nozzle.  I watched it come out into the clear hose of the syringe we used to suck cleaning fluid through our head in reverse direction.  I did not, unfortunately, watch the fluid come out of the YW channel.  Moron.

Either way, no matter what happens or why, later today we will all know a lot more about these clogging x900 heads.  I am confident that if our head still has the same clogs, after all we have done to it while it's been outside our machine, the source of this un-cloggable clog problem that none of us can seem to work through - lives behind door #4
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 04, 2012, 11:57:33 AM

I have installed cartridges with cleaning fluid in the LLK channel (tinted one from AIS, unlike what Eric used) in my printer, and was able to see that even with no more ink in the channel, the more I was cleaning, the more the channel was getting clogged.  That defies reason, as it is completely impossible that cleaning fluid would clog any nozzle in the universe.  That plus those other heads that were changed, yet had no nozzles actually clogged, lead me to believe that we are not talking here of actually clogged nozzle, but rather of some electronic not firing the nozzles that then appear "clogged" on a nozzle check.

The interesting factor here, is that in my research, I have found 13 cases that fit the pattern of illness, and all but one have that problem with LLK.  The 13th case is with green.  I have not found any case with any other color.  Eric could be one, but I hope that his problem is of a different nature, probably just regular clogging.
 
Jean-Christian Rostagni


If pigment settling happens and that can be caused in more than one way and on different spots, you will see dampers clogging up. Rigorous cleaning steps can increase that build up on the sieves of the dampers and cleaning fluids are not the remedy in all cases where pigment particles agglomerate. So what may look like a clogged head could well be a starved head not getting enough ink supplied through the damper. There is a delicate balance of forces that keeps pigments suspended in inks, less pigment in more ink medium does not have to be an ideal base, the LLK could be an example. Yet I have seen all kinds of ink channels mentioned when Epsons clog and the LLK channel is not as dominant as you see it. I think statistically your observations are far from sound and the cause for the trouble may have a completely different base than you think. I agree there is an issue but I see no simple answer what causes it. It could be the rudimentary wiper technology if compared to what the 10000 had and the HP Zs have, it could be the frequency at which the droplets have to be squirted in competition with the Canon models. One thing is sure, the promise of coated heads with less cloggs, less banding, is not fulfilled in the x900 and 11880 models. It works far better on the 3880 though. A 180 nozzles per channel head that may not be as much challenged as the x900 heads are. I fear that Eric's brave adventure and the life report may enter another mood when the end of this thread comes closer. I have worked on Epson 9000s, a 5000 and a 10000 and when a head gets infected by particles of whatever kind (fungi included) it becomes extremely difficult to get them working normal again. Thank god for user replaceable heads, the more when they have the dampers/sieves included. What I write is what I call an opinion, mine, and not more than that. I'm glad there is no urge to write an article on this subject.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 04, 2012, 12:20:16 PM
Ernst raises a good point and I was about to say the same thing but was off on my morning walk.  Remember these cleaning solutions are not sanctioned by Epson and it's unclear what their effectiveness might be.  The clogs are caused by particulate matter and can be a function of a number of different things that have all been mentioned.  If a clog is big enough a cleaning solution is not likely to do much good unless you did a reverse suction to pull the clog away.  It's clear from this discussion that there are multiple factors at play here and maybe no easy solution.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on February 04, 2012, 01:05:34 PM
Hello, I'm new to luminous-landscape, and I am so glad I found this forum. I had a rough month of January with Epson large-format printers. At the end of 2011 I decided it was time to upgrade my 9600. I won a used 9900 on eBay and found a new home for my 9600. The description on eBay stated that the printer "printed perfectly", but the auto nozzle check would not verify that the green channel was clean. When the guy delivered the printer I ran a couple of tests and it seemed to be printing green ok, but the next morning I did more tests and in fact the green was not printing at all. I was just seeing green in the test prints I did because it was using cyan to mix the dark greens, and the green ink is only really utilized on lighter greens(which I found out were all printing as yellow. I filed a dispute with eBay and I lost because they said if I knew there was a possibility of the green having issues I should have run more tests. This is true, It was late when the guy delivered the printer and I trusted that it "printed perfect". Lesson learned. So in the meantime I was out a fully functioning printer and I had orders backing up so I found an 11880 printer on eBay. I had this one shipped and when the freight truck arrived another crate had been set on the printer crate and smashed the whole top of the printer. By this time I was really regretting the upgrade and I had a lot of money invested in broken printers (btw, I did get reimbursed for the broken 11880). At that point I was desperate for a printer and I found two 9800 for $800. For both, so a friend and I bought them for $400. Each and it has been working great!
In the meantime I have this brick of a 9900 sitting in my studio that won't print green. I tried every cleaning cycle and the result was always the same-the middle of the green channel missing. Epson wanted to send out a decision one tech to replace the head at a cost of $2400.(parts & labor!) that's just about what I paid for the used printer. I am in the same mindset as Eric- I would rather take my chances trying to fix it myself. Before I started ripping apart the printer I thought I'd try everything I could externally to fix the printer. I bought the edi fluid and I had planned to fill an almost empty Epson ink cartridge with warm distilled water and fluid to flush the head, but after filling most of the cartridge with fluid (which was difficult) the printer would not recognize the ink cartridge.  This may be a blessing in disguise as I found this forum yesterday and read about what a horrible waste of ink this could be. I really thought the tilting the printer back and filling the cap with cleaning solution was a great idea. So this morning I pulled out my wiper in service mode and cleaned it. Then while the wiper was still visible I leaned the printer back against a table and manually pushed the wiper assembly up to access the cap station. I filled the cap up with a syringe using a 70% distilled water/30% EDI cleaning solution mix. It is soaking now. I will post an update later to let you all know how this worked. In the meantime I will anxiously be awaiting Eric's test print results. If this lean back method does not work, and Eric's head cleaning is successful, I think that will be my next course of action.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 04, 2012, 03:17:56 PM
Interesting.  and bold.  Had I to do it again this would be the last step I take before disassembling the machine.  Are you leaning it forward now that you filled the capping station with solution?  In my science fiction inspired vision I picture the solution just saturating the face of the print head, for hours and hours - but only if the machine is tilted forward.  Otherwise it'll just soak the bottom of the head.

*Disclaimer - I can't even say this is a recommendation.  More it's a creative (ok twisted) vision, inspired by desperation.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 04, 2012, 03:28:05 PM
......... I think statistically your observations are far from sound and the cause for the trouble may have a completely different base than you think. I agree there is an issue but I see no simple answer what causes it. ............. I'm glad there is no urge to write an article on this subject.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm


Ernst - given your intimate knowledge from working with such a range of printers it is interesting to see you saying this, as I have the same impression - albeit from a lesser knowledge base - but still enough experience and reading to understand that there could be multiple causes of these problems - who knows - perhaps a batch of heads or some other assembly that weren't manufactured quite correctly, or a range of other factors which could differ from one complaint to the next even though the complaints may be about a similar outcome.

I also like to look at such issues from historical and market perspectives. This printer came into commercial circulation early 2009 and machines were available for testing late 2008. Micheal Reichmann reviewed it on this website (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/7900-9900.shtml). It is now early 2012. Given what we know about how quickly product problems go viral on the internet, and the fact that large numbers of these printers have been working in all kinds of commercial establishments and private homes all over the world for several years, if there were really something systemically wrong with it, this would have been known, understood, widely and prominently discussed and most likely dealt with long ago. Not to say that late-blooming problems wouldn't have late-blooming discovery, but one really has to ask oneself carefully whether these problems relate to usage patterns, bad luck with a few handfuls of printers in a sea of many thousands, or in the worst case scenario - late-blooming "new" issues. One would hope and expect that competition between the major brands is keeping them all on their toes in respect of design, QC and support, understanding of course that when it comes to printing with pigmented ink, they all clog. What differs is how the clogs are handled in the product design (and therefore which approach may be more or less suitable for which kind of user). The Epson approach is more immediately self-evident.

All that said, it is good we have these forums for the airing of such issues, and like all of us reading this thread, I'm awaiting with interest the outcome of Eric's hard and daring work.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 03:36:48 PM
Ernst:  You probably think of unresolvable clogs in other printers but the x900 when you say that you have encountered many on other than LLK, don't you?  Because between myself and another fellow, we have looked at all the posts mentioning clogs on the Epson LF forum for the x900 since the inception of that series, and same thing here  until 1 year back, and pretty much only found LLK ones, with the exception in green previously mentioned.

I also have spent hours talking with AIS, who is a De facto telephone center for folks who experience clogging with inkjet, and Scott could not remember any call for any other color but LLK for x900 printers.  I'll concede that these are more or less circumstantial evidences, but the odds that all other colors would have even unconsciously plotted to elude my search are not very good, hence my conclusion so far that there is a problem with LLK.  I am posting here so that people can prove me wrong, but remember, only x900 (and that does not include 4900 in this case).

I have also made a test on LLK ink, letting some dry at the air in a ramekin, and amazingly, that stuff does not dry, or more exactly does not harden, it becomes way thicker, like grease on a bicycle chain, but it does not harden.  It is hard then to imagine how it could do the kind of thing that Eric showed on the head capping station part of the head.

Alan, about the cleaners I used, they have been tested by AIS as being safe with x900 heads for up to 3.5 weeks, and once again, whatever problems was there, existed before the cleaners went into the head.  It just does not make sense that they would clog anything, especially two weeks after being introduced in the head.  And if they were causing delamination, they would most likely cause clogs randomly, not around the existing problem as is the pattern.  Again, I post here to hear some sensible contradiction.

Eric: the cyan and yellow clogs I saw on the picture of your head would most likely have been cleaned by putting the cleaners (007 and 007+) from AIS for two days or less on the capping station.  I hate to break you the news so brutally, but hey, if it was just that, we will all have learned nevertheless and your name will remain in our memory for a few centuries.  The gunk going out by reverse pressure, that you write about, seems more worrisome.

I also need to emphasize that the LLK issue that I write about, affects relatively few printers as far as I can see, but enough that there is statistical evidence, whether or not one factors in that a lot of printers from this series are under warranty, extended or otherwise. Only Epson mostly hears about the warranty cases which are nevertheless few enough that even they don't feel that there is the plague out there.

Can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on February 04, 2012, 04:22:49 PM
Go349, Bold, I don't know, desperate-maybe. I did tip the unit forward after capping the head with the solution, but I only let it sit for a couple hours. I just wanted to see if there was any results at all. I figured i could do it again for longer. I did a cleaning and ran a nozzle check, and the nozzle check looked the same. I also cleaned the wiper which had very little gunk on it. So after I tried that I placed a folded paper towel saturated with solution in the position where the head stops for the wiper replacement. Then I executed the wiper replacement command and the head moved over the paper towel with solution. While the head was parked there I used a syringe filled with warm edi solution and I injected warm solution onto the paper towel to over saturate it and cause it to swell up and meet the bottom of the head. I let it sit for about 30 minutes, and when I moved the head back the paper towel had a large amount of green gunk on it, but not really any other colors. This makes me think that the head is pretty clean except the problematic green channel. Still the nozzle check looks the same, but I think I am making some progress...
FYI, when I have spoken to The decision one tech he said that the green and light light black were the most common to clog because those inks are used the least and have a higher chance to clog due to the reduced amou t of ink moving through the head. He said that there weren't many people that utilize the full gamuts of the printer especially the extended green gamut.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 04, 2012, 04:57:12 PM
Ernst:  You probably think of unresolvable clogs in other printers but the x900 when you say that you have encountered many on other than LLK, don't you?  Because between myself and another fellow, we have looked at all the posts mentioning clogs on the Epson LF forum for the x900 since the inception of that series, and same thing here  until 1 year back, and pretty much only found LLK ones, with the exception in green previously mentioned.

I also have spent hours talking with AIS, who is a De facto telephone center for folks who experience clogging with inkjet, and Scott could not remember any call for any other color but LLK for x900 printers.  I'll concede that these are more or less circumstantial evidences, but the odds that all other colors would have even unconsciously plotted to elude my search are not very good, hence my conclusion so far that there is a problem with LLK.  I am posting here so that people can prove me wrong, but remember, only x900 (and that does not include 4900 in this case).
This is a small sample compared to the total installed user base of this printer and while they may be reporting more LLK clogs it's likely not statistically significant.  It also does not include and Epson authorized service calls done under warranty or extended service contract.  Unless we know those data it's difficult to do any firm conclusion.

Quote
I have also made a test on LLK ink, letting some dry at the air in a ramekin, and amazingly, that stuff does not dry, or more exactly does not harden, it becomes way thicker, like grease on a bicycle chain, but it does not harden.  It is hard then to imagine how it could do the kind of thing that Eric showed on the head capping station part of the head.
Did you look at any of the other inks?  All we know is from the MSDS for the various ink sets and I've looked at all of them (put something up on this site last year when there was a discussion about drying of inks).  The LLK and LK ink are pretty much the same in terms of components, both based on carbon black with glycerols and water as the solvents with the proprietary polymer encapsulation the remainder.  If anything this would point to an equal number of LK clogs.  I'm not sure what your ramekin test shows.  It clearly is not the same as looking at ink deposits on paper and if you put a large droplet down it's not surprising that you saw something that did not fully harden.  I wouldn't put much faith in this.


Quote
Alan, about the cleaners I used, they have been tested by AIS as being safe with x900 heads for up to 3.5 weeks, and once again, whatever problems was there, existed before the cleaners went into the head.  It just does not make sense that they would clog anything, especially two weeks after being introduced in the head.  And if they were causing delamination, they would most likely cause clogs randomly, not around the existing problem as is the pattern.  Again, I post here to hear some sensible contradiction.
This may be a perfectly good cleaning agent but my point is that it is not sanctioned by Epson and only users with out of warranty printers would be going down this route.  Because we fully do not know the chemical composition of the Epson inks, it is difficult to say whether this cleaner is the most optimal for that purpose.  As Mark and others have said these printers are quite complicated and clogs can arise from a variety of factors.  As I have noted in the past, I have a 3880 and so far have never had a clog.  How much different this head is from the x900 series, I don't know.

Alan
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 04, 2012, 05:00:51 PM
FYI, when I have spoken to The decision one tech he said that the green and light light black were the most common to clog because those inks are used the least and have a higher chance to clog due to the reduced amou t of ink moving through the head. He said that there weren't many people that utilize the full gamuts of the printer especially the extended green gamut.
I don't doubt what he told you but I've observed on the 3880 that the LB & LLB are used almost in equal amounts.  This may be because I do a lot of B/W printing where LLB maybe used more than with color printing.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 04, 2012, 05:06:06 PM
This is a small sample compared to the total installed user base of this printer and while they may be reporting more LLK clogs it's likely not statistically significant.  It also does not include and Epson authorized service calls done under warranty or extended service contract.  Unless we know those data it's difficult to do any firm conclusion.

Did you look at any of the other inks?  All we know is from the MSDS for the various ink sets and I've looked at all of them (put something up on this site last year when there was a discussion about drying of inks).  The LLK and LK ink are pretty much the same in terms of components, both based on carbon black with glycerols and water as the solvents with the proprietary polymer encapsulation the remainder.  If anything this would point to an equal number of LK clogs.  I'm not sure what your ramekin test shows.  It clearly is not the same as looking at ink deposits on paper and if you put a large droplet down it's not surprising that you saw something that did not fully harden.  I wouldn't put much faith in this.
I've also run this test on the LLK and Cyan and it's evident the LLK will not harden!

This may be a perfectly good cleaning agent but my point is that it is not sanctioned by Epson and only users with out of warranty printers would be going down this route.  Because we fully do not know the chemical composition of the Epson inks, it is difficult to say whether this cleaner is the most optimal for that purpose.  As Mark and others have said these printers are quite complicated and clogs can arise from a variety of factors.  As I have noted in the past, I have a 3880 and so far have never had a clog.  How much different this head is from the x900 series, I don't know.
Well, what would you then recommend for users and printers that are beyond the 3 year warranty period?  Do you just expect everyone to go out an replace the printers after three years of service?  Hmmm... and yes the print heads are different!

Alan
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 05:08:46 PM
FYI, when I have spoken to The decision one tech he said that the green and light light black were the most common to clog because those inks are used the least and have a higher chance to clog due to the reduced amou t of ink moving through the head. He said that there weren't many people that utilize the full gamuts of the printer especially the extended green gamut.

In my personal experience, I cannot remember any clog that required cleaning on the Orange and green channel in the two years I have had this printer, certainly not on the green, on the orange maybe, but very rarely.  Although those two colors are indeed those that people use less on average.  In other words, Orange is used way less than LLK, on average, yet I have not been able to find any trace of an unresolvable clog on the orange.

Now the green, you would be my second case, if your problems persist, plus 12 LLK!

AIS theory and mine, is that there is something in the LLK ink, possibly in the green one (?), that under some circumstances (that would go from manufacturing to ?) causes some internal degradation of the head, delamination (unlikely given the non randomness of the dropouts on a nozzle check) to electronic.

Any other theory?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 05:24:29 PM
This is a small sample compared to the total installed user base of this printer and while they may be reporting more LLK clogs it's likely not statistically significant.  It also does not include and Epson authorized service calls done under warranty or extended service contract.  Unless we know those data it's difficult to do any firm conclusion.

Alan


I am sure that you understand that neither you nor myself have access to Epson Data or are in charge of establishing word statistics.  The point here is not academic, but practical.  When after looking at already a sizable amount of data through two forums and various other networks, I could find stories of 12 head replacement (needed or effective) due to LLK "clog," and 1-2 due to green "clog," and none due to any other color, my jury concludes that there is something fishy with LLK, possibly Green.  Maybe it has to do with what their father did before conception, their astrological signs or their position in the cart, but those two colors are suspect, especially LLK.

Find me cases where other colors have lead to a head change on a x900 and I'll be interested.

Beyond that though, regardless of color speciousness or blindness, if we don't talk real clog but rather internal head failure, the question will be: why would that happen in printers that young, and should the user be held responsible?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 04, 2012, 05:29:40 PM
@Jeverton - please describe your testing procedure.  I'm a chemist by training and would really like to understand this better.  Certainly the inks dry in a perfectly acceptable manner when on paper otherwise one would see this on a print.  Putting a drop on a hard ramekin surface is likely not to be of great utility in understanding why something clogs.  We also don't know whether the clog is external or internal to the head or what the mechanism might be.  Please don't take my comments the wrong way, I'm extremely sympathetic to any user who is going through these problems and self help remedies are perhaps the route of choice when a printer is out of warranty.  I think it's also useful to learn from users experiencing these clogs what their print volume is.  We've heard from a number on LuLa who do a lot of printing that they don't experience clogging with the x900 printers.  I do understand that the print heads are different but clogging has been reported over the years with all Epson printers and it may be that it's because of the approach Epson has taken in designing the print head.

@clic - both the LK and LLK inks are based on carbon black as the colorant and I doubt are materially different.  What is key is the encapsulation process and that is what we don't know much about as it is an Epson trade secret as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 04, 2012, 05:31:46 PM

Maybe it has to do with what their father did before conception, their astrological signs or their position in the cart, but those two colors are suspect, especially LLK.

Find me cases where other colors have lead to a head change on a x900 and I'll be interested.

Beyond that though, regardless of color speciousness or blindness, if we don't talk real clog but rather internal head failure, the question will be: why would that happen in printers that young, and should the user be held responsible?

LMAO  :P... I'm glad we can periodically add some humor into this dialog.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 05:58:02 PM
Alan,

Of course you should assume that I was not born last spring.  I have only 40 years of photography in my boots and while I would not call myself a chemist, I do my entire analog chemistry, although that is perfectly irrelevant when it comes to inkjet inks.  I am though probably sensible enough not to just drop a drop on a piece of glass.  Excuse me, but it is somewhat annoying to have to make that clear.  Once again, notably who I write for, I would consider that part of the assumptions.  So no it is not a drop, it is a film, more or less like a quality plastic wrap (Glad), and on glass with plenty of air contact, even heat, it does not fully dry.

Now, I understand that it dries on paper, I have had that printer for 2 years, I have made a few prints with it, that is kind of the way I make a living when I don't post here, or write articles, but when only in contact with glass and air, it does not dry. And actually that is much closer to the conditions it is in the head than paper is.

Now it could be that high volume users do not typically have problems, that data I don't have (Do you? Probably not huh?), although it seems that some of the people in my count of patients seem to be rather solid users as far as volume goes, probably reflecting the proportion of those fellows in the pool of users, but:

* Epson does not provide warning about those printers saying that they should be used, what?  Every day?  And if not, go buy yourself a Canon.

* in my case, the nozzle check was good 2 days before this problem occurred.  So would it seem sacrilegious to you that such a printer could possibly be not used for 48 hours?


Since you are a chemist, I can tell you though, that AIS had once discovered in their testing that when introducing a certain compound that promotes penetration and the loosening of resin in the 9800 inks, at a certain concentration after two weeks of sitting in the head, that was causing similar symptoms as the ones I and 12-13 others are known to have experienced.  That is all we know.  IS would not tell me the name of that compound as it is part of their proprietary formulas.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 04, 2012, 06:15:03 PM
After some discussions about this issue, and being a photographer and not a graphic design production house dealing with Pantone colors or matching logos, if I was to do it again, I'd go for a 9880 or a 9800. I've been told by some knowledgeable people that the 9800 especially is a much more simple design, and the printhead can be replaced easily.

I know for me, I am guilty of buying the 7900 because "the latest greatest just must be better", but I'm almost feeling that the x900 series might just be too much glitz for an average photographer. The green and orange inks, I now know, do very little for the average photographer; they're more for graphic design houses.

Again, simple seems better and that seems to be the x880 and x800.

When I look on Atlex.com, only the 9890 and 9900 are available. (I'm moving up in size if I replace the printer). And I fear that, since I'm out of warranty, the fee from Decision One will be more than what my two year old 7900 is worth. Very sad to chuck a completely good printer, when the only issue is a few missing bars in the LLK line.

I wish the 9880 was still in production. As luck would have it, I sold my 9880 because of tight space, and later replaced it with the 7900, thinking that the orange and green would give me more gamut.

Lastly, if I was dreaming, I'd love one ink cart that was a clear gloss varnish, for use with Epson Exhibition Fiber. I still see that ink differential when the prints are held at a certain angle.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 04, 2012, 07:24:06 PM
@Clic - I wasn't casting any aspersions at your testing on the other post that said ink was put in a ramekin.  I shall do some testing of my own as I have some almost spent cartridges on my 3880.  I don't have any experience with the x900 machines and maybe they are more fickle/problematic than the x800s.  Believe me I'm sympathetic to the users who are having problems and perhaps Epson bears some of the responsibilities here.  That being said I doubt they would be keeping a machine on the market if it were costing them more in warranty service than their profit margin (but I could also be wrong on that count).  We do have a problem in not knowing the ink formulation and whether in fact it is much different from the ink formulations used in the x800s (which seem to have a better record of no clogs).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on February 04, 2012, 07:28:28 PM
Clic, i have a 9900 and LK is clogged.  I may not be the only one with a clog on this forum other than LLK.  The other day I scanned another thread entitled "Re Epson 7900 - LLK channel clogging, banding - what a disappointment" where Jstar responded that he had been having nozzle check failures on "PK,MK/LLK" paired nozzle checks.  Decision One fixed that and then he had a clog on the "LLK" nozzle that wouldn't clean so Decision One came out again and that time replaced the head under his original warranty.  LLK isn't paired with PK,MK, it's paired with Yellow.  So, I'm thinking Jstar may have meant LK with respect to the failed nozzle checks.  I can't make the same argument about LLK and the head replacement, but since he said LLK in the first instance, I'm wondering if he meant LK the second time too.  Maybe he'll find this post and clarify.  I will say that Y/LLK was the pair I most often had to clean (always successfully). 

I think it would be useful if we gave a bit of info for our clogged X900s like how old it is, how many prints were done on it (find via the menu) and whether use was on a regular basis or intermittent basis and, finally, where the clog is. 

I bought my 9900 in December 2008 and it clogged 37 months later.  I ran 600 prints through it.  That's not many over 3 years, but there are probably more than a few owners who have run less than 200 prints a year.  Use was intermittent.  Sometimes I'd go a month or more without printing.  Never had to clean more than two pairs after those long rests.     

I'd also like to hear from the members who use their machines on a daily or regular basis.  How long have they had the printer?  How many prints?  Have they have had to do any maintenance or repairs to their machines? 

With the possible exception of those who have used their X900s every day to keep the ink flowing and "wet," I'm thinking it's not a question of whether a clog will occur, but when. 

Jim     
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 04, 2012, 07:46:03 PM
Not to start any conspiracy theory, but I actually did just find a new 9880 on Atlex, and strangely, it's the only one that does not have the Instant Rebate of $1000.

(http://199.237.236.200/a/atlexgrab.png)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 04, 2012, 08:07:27 PM
I could find stories of 12 head replacement (needed or effective) due to LLK "clog," and 1-2 due to green "clog," and none due to any other color, my jury concludes that there is something fishy with LLK, possibly Green.  Maybe it has to do with what their father did before conception, their astrological signs or their position in the cart, but those two colors are suspect, especially LLK.

Find me cases where other colors have lead to a head change on a x900 and I'll be interested.


I don't see what the "jury" can conclude about this data. Firstly the sample may be statistically insignificant as others have mentioned, and secondly, the problem may relate to other issues that affected the LLK nozzles, quite apart from the ink. Only the people with the repair or analysis data would know the answer to this. The problem with coming to premature or inadequately informed conclusions about such things is that the true causes may well remain obscure, when transparency would be in the consumers' interest.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 04, 2012, 08:26:55 PM
Alan:  really I have no idea what difference may or may not be with the 3800 inks, so I will not venture there.  The only thing I know is that AIS, which I trust, tells me that he has rarely seen an Epson head fail before the x900, and now that is current, or common, let's say not a rare occurrence anymore.  Now that could be because the nozzles are so thin, but that does not explain very well why a couple of heads removed were actually flowing just fine, nor why my head with cleaner in it, no ink, kept clogging some more for as long as I left the cleaner in it.  


Jim: well, now I have one case of LK clogged.  What have you done about it?  Have you tried AIS cleaners on the capping station, and then if that does not work, the cleaner from inside solution?  

What I can tell you is that the issue I am studying always manifest itself as a clog in the type of pattern on the test attached: not on top or bottom at first, always as a group, not random nozzles in the color.  

About the other fellow on the other thread, if I remember well, what he was describing was unclear, and once again, it is one thing to have a more or less stubborn clog, it is another thing to have one that just does not go away and actually grows constantly.  So I only consider clogs that are persistent enough that people change the head or the printer and complain clearly about it.  In other words, if you post twice and don't complain, don't scream to high heavens in pain, I am going to assume that you are either extra terrestrial, that your pain threshold is higher than allowed in civilization, or that you just did not have to work that hard and that the clog went away but did not bother to tell us.

I have 13 cases of people aiming for a spot at the Blues hall of fame, and possibly one more pending.


Gwhitf: Why wanting a perfectly uniform glossy print?  For several decades in the latest part of the 20th century, photographers saught to have texture in a print, like in a die transfer for instance, that added a richness to the print, vs. a C print or a Cibachrome one at the time, which were the standards, and had as much texture as a chrome plate.  In b&w, my mentor had developed a te4chnique to remove part of the gelatin in order to bring the silver to the surface, there again among other things, in order to create texture, different ways for the light to be handled across the image.  Certain toners would metalize the shadows, in essence creating "bronzing" to everybody's delight, so why wanting to avoid that now?

Also, as far as Epson goes, only the x900 and x890 can both do glossy and matte at the same time.  That was the selling point for me, as I can't have two printers.


Mark: we already have had this discussion privately, but you are stubborn at confusing the issues. The fact that I only have found so many cases, yet more than one can count on one hand might make it a small amount of data, but the fact that the overwhelming part of that data is related to LLK, that is statistically relevant.  Once again, there is no reason that logic conceives, why all the other users who would have had head failures on a different color would have massively deserted the places where I gathered the cases I know.  Everything points in the direction of an LLK problem, but if you want to be in denial for academic or other reasons, that is your prerogative.

You are right though, that "transparency would be in the consumers' interest."
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 04, 2012, 09:24:45 PM
Not to start any conspiracy theory, but I actually did just find a new 9880 on Atlex, and strangely, it's the only one that does not have the Instant Rebate of $1000.

(http://199.237.236.200/a/atlexgrab.png)
If it's a 9880, it's an old unit (epson doesn't sell them anymore) so certainly epson isn't going to have a rebate offer on them.  amazing they still have a new one available.  They probably need to discount it substantially just to unload it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 04, 2012, 09:49:48 PM

Mark: we already have had this discussion privately, but you are stubborn at confusing the issues. The fact that I only have found so many cases, yet more than one can count on one hand might make it a small amount of data, but the fact that the overwhelming part of that data is related to LLK, that is statistically relevant.  Once again, there is no reason that logic conceives, why all the other users who would have had head failures on a different color would have massively deserted the places where I gathered the cases I know.  Everything points in the direction of an LLK problem, but if you want to be in denial for academic or other reasons, that is your prerogative.

You are right though, that "transparency would be in the consumers' interest."


Well, if by raising valid technical concerns about statistical inference is being stubborn and confusing, so be it; but I would have thought that systematically ignoring these principles creates more confusion than it resolves. The simple fact of the matter is that neither of us know whether a sample of 12 complaints is statistically significant, or even if it were, what it is significant about, apart from a coincidence of outcomes whose causes are not known to us. I'm not saying these people didn't have the problems; I'm only cautioning about how much to read into them absent much better data.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 04, 2012, 10:29:28 PM
Wait - there's a suggestion that the LLK is clogging because it will NOT dry and harden?  Seriously?

/boggle
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 04, 2012, 10:34:19 PM
I just want to know if Eric got a print out yet.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 04, 2012, 11:07:45 PM
Eric and Steve's most excellent adventure has finally come full circle.  What have we learned?

If you have an un-cloggable clog on an Epson 7900:

1 - Changing the Damper assembly won't cure it.  It may however avoid one in the first place.
2 - Changing the head-only on an Epson 7900 takes 45min - start to finish.  You lose no ink except what it takes to re-fill the head itself (minimal).
3 - Yes you can reset the counter for the wiper cleaner right there from your printer's control panel.  No special service programs necessary
4 - Yes you DO need the service program to swap heads - successfully.
5 - No, changing your pump and cap assembly won't cure a clog either.  It may however avoid one in the first place.

And finally, the one we've all been waiting for, number 6 - Yes, taking your 7900's head off, soaking it overnight in cleaning solution, then sucking cleaning solution back up through it in reverse until it runs pure and clear, and then reinstalling it - is a lot of work.  It can also be a great exercise in male (or female) bonding.  As far as it's effectiveness in clearing un-cloggable clogs - I can speak confidently and from experience now that my genius buddy and I have successfully re-fired our Epson 7900 up and run it through it's paces again - that beyond any measure or trace of doubt, it doesn't work for $*&%@!!!


Yes we replaced the damper assembly successfully.  The pump and cap assembly too.  Took the head out, put the head in.  Swapped the wiper cleaner assembly.  Purged our lines, filled our lines, reset counters, performed power cleanings on single colors rather than pairs only, aligned the head again through extensive procedures, etc. etc.  It all came apart flawlessly.  It all went together flawlessly.  Not a single problem in the bunch.  But the resulting nozzle pattern is IDENTICAL to what it was before.  Not surprising in the least, to either of us.


For anyone following this unique journey to the center of the Epson 7900, relax, this is only the end of the beginning of this.  Now we strive forward, in a quest for more knowledge.  Who makes this head.  How exactly does it work.  What are it's weak points.  And why.  Answers to these questions and more will be the key to seeing our way through these endless storms of speculation.  

I suspect now, like I have feared for days, that the problem with our head is not actually a "clog" at all.  Perhaps it was caused by a clog.  Could have been old ink, crap through old dampers, ill-sealing capping station, compromised wiper blade, and on and on.  You know the drill.  But the reason I suspect that our "clog" is un-cloggable, is that our head is not firing properly.  Tonight that's my best guess.

Ironically, our LLK channel is perfect.  PK and YW are our problem.

Chin up people.  The journey goes on...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on February 04, 2012, 11:23:06 PM
    Wow what a bummer.....but don`t give up Eric......keep following this path, it may lead to the source of these problems......Peter
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on February 04, 2012, 11:26:10 PM
If it's a 9880, it's an old unit (epson doesn't sell them anymore) so certainly epson isn't going to have a rebate offer on them.  amazing they still have a new one available.  They probably need to discount it substantially just to unload it.

Based on this thread, Epson may need to increase the rebate on the X900s.  :-) 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on February 04, 2012, 11:40:44 PM
How dissappointing! I gave it a go today as well, and soaked my 9900 head via a folded paper towel under the head with edi solution on it for 4 hours. When I moved the head it had saturated the paper towel with a BUNCH of ink. I would say enough to dissolve off any surface clogs on the head. I ran a service clean #4 with the green/orange pair, then a nozzle check, and it looked exactly the same, as before the soaking. Even though i didnt go through quite the extensive cleaning Eric did, and I think this leads me to the same conclusions as Eric. Now, what to do next????
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on February 04, 2012, 11:46:00 PM
Eric and Steve's most excellent adventure has finally come full circle.  

Ironically, our LLK channel is perfect.  PK and YW are our problem.

Chin up people.  The journey goes on...

Sorry to hear that.  Thanks for taking us on the first leg of your journey. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 08:02:26 AM
Eric,

Let me start by saying how sorry I am to hear that after all that effort, the problem remains. Your approach to it is really commendable - take it as a further challenge and not as a defeat. At the very least the learning experience for you guys and the rest of us has been very worthwhile, and it is isn't over yet.

I think for the rest of us, this episode demonstrates clearly the dangers of coming to conclusions about the causes of problems based on incomplete knowledge and information.

If the nozzle check pattern is identical to the way it was before you did all the work cleaning out the whole system, this would lead one to infer, but not necessarily conclude yet, that the problem has nothing to do with ink and clogs, the qualifier being whether despite all the cleaning you did, it failed to dislodge whatever was preventing those nozzles from delivering ink to paper. How likely is that - I have no idea.

Now, I go back to the statement from Dan Berg on page one of this thread: <<It was my 7900 he purchased. For the 3 years I used it, it has run just about as good as one of these can run including the day it went out the door. I even ran 3 prints the night before it was picked up.>>

So that leads one to wonder what happened to it from the time it left Dan Berg until you made your first print? How was it prepared for shipment? Were all movable parts properly immobilized? Were the inks removed and cartridges well-sealed? How was it transported, how was was it set-up (was it based on the set-up instructions), how long a time period elapsed from the time you took delivery till the time you started printing? There may be other questions one could ask - one also needs to know what to ask! I assume you are asking yourself about all of this and more.

But I would like to openly suggest a completely different line of investigation. This thread has generated a tremendous amount of interest. This website is read by about one and a half million unique visitors per month. The thread will exist in the archives probably for as long as the Luminous-Landscape exists - and perhaps longer. This thread has delved into more detail about the workings and working-around of an Epson 7900 than possibly any other resource on the internet, so it will be a reference source for many people long into the future. The outcome is truly unsettling simply because of the fact that the problem remains identical to what it was when you started. If it hadn't, one could ask what you did to aggravate it it, but that isn't the line of inquiry the evidence points to.

For all of these reasons, I would like to see Epson America take a direct, pro bono interest in your case, (pro bono meaning at their expense). Yes the printer is out of warranty, yes it is second-hand and yes it is three years old and yes it has been transported. I am suggesting they set all those fences aside and plunge-in with good-will to help resolve this - at least as far as unambiguously diagnosing correctly what the problem is. They may well need to send the head back to Japan to do this - fine; it can be done. And the understanding would be that once they know for sure what caused the problem they will tell you, they will tell you what needs to be replaced or re-serviced and at what cost and they will not prevent you from reporting this information back to the Forum. I think Epson and the community at large have everything to gain from this.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 05, 2012, 09:04:37 AM
Mark,
What a great idea!

Dano S. Can you help with this?

Ps. To add it was taken from my studio with the head securely taped with all the inks in place.
Strapped in the upright position. Regarding the  packing and shipping cross country from Allentown,Pa. To California I was not present for those efforts.
Eric can tell you how it came into town.
The only thing not discussed to date would be temperature and it's effect on the inks.
But then why only one or two inks and not them all?
Middle of winter and took a week to make the trip?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 05, 2012, 09:27:42 AM
Darn, by now the machine is as new as a baby's butt. I think I can say that. Are you saying you did put in a new head and had the service program? And thank you for including the "other" gender. I caught that one. I'm still impressed. You do realize Epson charges thousands of dollars to certify someone every time a new model comes out. So, you could look at it as all the money you saved but gained the knowledge. Something like that. I still have faith that the printer is going to put out a print it just may take longer than expected.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 05, 2012, 09:31:54 AM
Eric,

I commend you for your valor and quest to resolve the 7900 printer issues.  The outcome is not what anyone anticipated on this thread and now beckons the call to Epson to help this community understand what is happening with the x900 series printers and the print head. 

This fact still remains; Epson has not endorsed a proper preventative maintenance schedule.

Furthermore, we now must take our journey to another level to reach nirvana and commence investigative efforts around the print head. I’m sure you are already thinking about a contingency plan… Will you be replacing the print head?  Are you planning to call back Epson Technical Support to report the results – to document the situation?

Or perhaps it’s time for us to unite and sign a formal complaint to Epson management. 

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 09:35:37 AM
Jeff, for clarity, my recommendation is to maintain a non-confrontational approach to Epson, emphasizing the community of interest between the company and its clients to get to the bottom of this highly publicized case.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Shane Webster on February 05, 2012, 09:40:08 AM
Eric,

Thank you for your detailed journey--I'm sorry it did not end as we would have hoped. However, I think you've provided some valuable preventative maintenance for our printers.

Mark- I think that you have a great idea concerning Epson and the only item I would add regarding your ponderings is about ink cartridges being removed prior to shipment. On my current replaced 4900, I had Epson test it prior to shipping it to me. The printer was tested and shipped to me with ink cartridges in place. I suspect this ensures a sealed delivery system.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 05, 2012, 09:56:30 AM
Eric,

Thank you for your detailed journey--I'm sorry it did not end as we would have hoped. However, I think you've provided some valuable preventative maintenance for our printers.

Mark- I think that you have a great idea concerning Epson and the only item I would add regarding your ponderings is about ink cartridges being removed prior to shipment. On my current replaced 4900, I had Epson test it prior to shipping it to me. The printer was tested and shipped to me with ink cartridges in place. I suspect this ensures a sealed delivery system.

Which is why they were left in place in the 7900 for shipping.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: multigary on February 05, 2012, 11:29:30 AM
I would like to propose another way of helping Eric. Kind of like farmers getting together to help a member of their community whose barn burns down by organizing a barn raising event.
Eric has already invested a large amount of money in trying to get his printer running. He is likely to have to spend alot more if he has to replace the print head, or if he abandons the project, he's out everything he invested, including his original purchase price.
If Epson comes through and helps, that would be great, but I'm sure that will take awhile to happen. And I wouldn't count on that.
What I'm proposing is that we all make a small contribution to a fund to help defray Eric's cost in this project.
Anyone reading this thread knows what he's been through, and how generous he's been in taking the time to share the details of his ordeal with this community, which will ultimately serve to help us all in the maintenance and possible future repair needed for our own printers.
I have Eric's address, (I bought one of the extra wiper assemblies he graciously offered to sell), but I'm not comfortable offering that without his permission. Instead, I will coordinate forwarding any contributions to him.
If we keep the contributions small, let's say only $1 - $10, then it's no big deal for anyone financially, and hopefully Eric won't tear up the checks (as he refused to accept any refund offer from Dan who sold him the 7900).
Eric, please accept any funds that come out of this and think of it as payment for a maintenance manual you can eventually post for all of us to benefit from.  If by some miracle, you end up with more funds than you need, I'm sure you'll figure out a worthy cause to donate them too.
So here are the details:
Send a check written out to "Eric G" for a small amount (leave a little room after the "G" for his full last name)
Send it to my office:     
                                   Gary Sapolin
                                   171 Katonah Ave
                                   Katonah, NY. 10536
Let's put a time limit of sending it, within the next 3 weeks, so I'm not spending the rest of the year forwarding checks!
I will keep everyone posted as to how it's going, and send everything to Eric in three weeks.
And Eric, don't say you won't accept anything!!!  This is not charity, you have earned it!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 05, 2012, 11:47:21 AM
Eric,

Bummer about not being able to bring your 7900 frankenstein back to life.  As a relatively new 9900 owner, I find this has been a very educational thread thus far, and I'm primarily interested in gaining further insight/tips & tricks to keep my Epson 9900 running smoothly.  I think a slow, step-by-step tutorial and/video on basic maintenance items like cleaning the wiper, replacing the wiper, and resetting the counter would be very helpful to the community at large.  I think it's pretty safe to say that the vast majority would not delve into their printers to the extent that you have, but basic maintenance/replacement could be what helps to prevent or alleviate a catastrophic clog or head failure.

I was talking to Don Libby who also recently acquired an Epson 9900.  He described the 9800 (which I still have) as that good ole reliable pick-up truck parked out in front. It keeps starting and working reliably no matter what you threw at it.  The 9900 is more like a high-maintenance finicky hot new mate (gender-neutral for na goodman  ;D) that requires you to pay more attention otherwise he/she won't perform for you.  Treat the printer well (whatever that means), and he/she really delivers like no other.

So like the 9800, I do watch humidity levels with a hygrometer---though with the 9900, I actually do pay more attention to the humidity reading.  Luckily along the central coast it stays fairly humid year round.  I've had more "nozzle clogs detected" with the 9900 in one month than I have with the 9800 over the course of about five years. Knock on wood, I give the 9900 a simple affectionate loving nozzle check and she (yeah, my 9900 is a female) says all is okay, I'm ready for you.   ;D  I've decided to do daily nozzle checks, regardless of if I'm printing that day, she seems to like the attention.  The 9800 never cared if I let her sit for a week or so.  I keep the 9900 covered and tucked in when not in use.  I bought a small vacuum (love the Dirt Devil Scorpion!) and take the time to clean the small debris from canvas rolls (both on the canvas ends and on the printer deck).  My thinking is to keep anything that may fall into the abyss from clogging or upsetting my sweet 9900 head.  The 9800 never cared in the least, as the dust bunnies I discovered when moving her can attest.

Anyway, thank you much Eric for sharing your journey.  I'm sure more than a few would be happy to contribute to a Paypal account to compensate you for your time and efforts should you wish to document a step-by-step primer and/or video on basic 79/99** printer maintenance, like the printer wiper assembly.  

Ken

p.s.  While writing this response, I see Gary has responded similarly with regard to donations on behalf of Eric's effforts. (I've met Gary ---he's an upstanding guy, though he may deny knowing me!  :D)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on February 05, 2012, 11:47:39 AM
I have been following this thread.  I have limited knowledge of the working of the printer.  I think it appears now that the "dead pixel / electrically dead" syndrome is the likely cause of the problem?  If so, I now wonder if electrically dead is cause or effect?  Did the electrically dead portion prevent ink from flowing by not opening, or did a clog become so clogged that the pressure applied trying to push it out caused that portion of the piezo head to become electrically dead, or did the damaged wiper leave ink on the head causing pressure to be applied to the head from the outside?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 05, 2012, 12:16:36 PM
I would like to propose another way of helping Eric. Kind of like farmers getting together to help a member of their community whose barn burns down by organizing a barn raising event.
Eric has already invested a large amount of money in trying to get his printer running. He is likely to have to spend alot more if he has to replace the print head, or if he abandons the project, he's out everything he invested, including his original purchase price.
If Epson comes through and helps, that would be great, but I'm sure that will take awhile to happen. And I wouldn't count on that.
What I'm proposing is that we all make a small contribution to a fund to help defray Eric's cost in this project.
Anyone reading this thread knows what he's been through, and how generous he's been in taking the time to share the details of his ordeal with this community, which will ultimately serve to help us all in the maintenance and possible future repair needed for

I have Eric's address, (I bought one of the extra wiper assemblies he graciously offered to sell), but I'm not comfortable offering that without his permission. Instead, I will coordinate forwarding any contributions to him.
If we keep the contributions small, let's say only $1 - $10, then it's no big deal for anyone financially, and hopefully Eric won't tear up the checks (as he refused to accept any refund offer from Dan who sold him the 7900).
Eric, please accept any funds that come out of this and think of it as payment for a maintenance manual you can eventually post for all of us to benefit from.  If by some miracle, you end up with more funds than you need, I'm sure you'll figure out a worthy cause to donate them too.
So here are the details:
Send a check written out to "Eric G" for a small amount (leave a little room after the "G" for his full last name)
Send it to my office:     
                                   Gary Sapolin
                                   171 Katonah Ave
                                   Katonah, NY. 10536
Let's put a time limit of sending it, within the next 3 weeks, so I'm not spending the rest of the year forwarding checks!
I will keep everyone posted as to how it's going, and send everything to Eric in three weeks.
And Eric, don't say you won't accept anything!!!  This is not charity, you have earned it!


Gary,
Thanks for taking the initiative.
My checks in the mail.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 05, 2012, 12:17:02 PM
Treat the printer well (whatever that means), and he/she really delivers like no other.

This is the part that I'm beginning to question -- unless you're trying to hit a weird PMS for a logo or something, I'd love to hear from someone printing real photographs, whether the 9900/7900 "delivers like no other", or whether, side by side, you couldn't tell a print from a 9900 from a print from a 9800. Virtually identical quality and gamut. Again, photographs, not logos.

For the record, my 7900 has printed fine, for months, but when I left it turned off for a week is when my problem began. Something happened during that period that now seems irreversible.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: multigary on February 05, 2012, 12:58:00 PM
Thanks for the endorsement, Ken! As you know, I'm not a big poster, but this story has moved me enough to want to take whatever small action I can to help.  Just thinking of the ink wasting expenditure Eric has is painful to me, so I'm hoping this move will raise enough money to help defray those ink costs. I hope folks agree, and I hope my offer is not perceived as being silly, but it felt like something I wanted to try to do for a guy who is giving so much of his time keeping us updated, in such detail, about his efforts.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Don Libby on February 05, 2012, 01:33:57 PM
Ken was close in capturing my rambling conversation as I compared the 9900 to the 9800. 

The worse printer, meaning high maintenance that I can recall owning is the 4000 with al its clogs.  Replaced it with the 9800 and never had a moment of trouble in the 61-months of use.  In short the printer became that prick up truck you use to haul stuff around (reminds me of how warthog pilots feels about the A-10) it'll take a beating and still be there for more.

I have no doubt the 9900 is soon be in the same position.  However, I had the printer for little over 2-weeks and already had 1-cartridge failure (350mil Photo Black).  And yes it seems to be more finicky about reporting clogs.  I've decided at least for now to keep the auto clean option on and that seems to help.  I've also noticed that just running a nozzle check helps keep the number of warnings down. ck the It's odd however I had a nozzle check show up really bad clogs.  Ran it again and they were gone.  So far the only trouble I've had with a print is the very first when I failed to check the platen gap.  User error on my part.

I live in what could be considered an arid environment.  Compared to here Ken lives in a rainforest.  The heat goes well over 110 for days at a time with the humidity under 10%.  I routinely run a humidifier in my studio keeping it around 40% year round.  I started doing this shortly before I sold the 4000 and it certainly helps.

Now to answer gwhitf's question....

I've been busy printing images for a show in Jackson Hole next week.  I spent 2-months in the area late last year and left there with a print order of 7-sold images and an offer to have a show.  I've been balls to the wall processing and printing everyday since we returned.  The majority of the printing has been done on the 9800.  I actually thought I had all the canvas prints done when I ordered the 9900 however I ran into a major problem with the media that resulted in reprinting on the 9900.  I won't go into the problems here however if you can go on our blog to get a flavor.

So, long story cut somewhat short.  "Treat the printer well (whatever that means), and he/she really delivers like no other."

As in any other change of equipment there is a certain amount of a learning curve.  The workflow I used on the 9800 had become second nature (close to muscle memory).  The 9900 seems to require a little closer detail.  I needed to be double-checking all my setting prior to printing.  I feel this will soon become like the 9800 was and become second nature.  I'm speaking about the lcd panel and CS5 speaking to one-another.  I will admit that I've been too busy to really see what the communications are as I needed to get the prints done.

Can you tell the difference?  I feel I can.  It might be subjective on my part however I feel the images are richer with better tones to them.  Is it on count of the extra inks?  I like to think it is. 

There several other aspects of the 9900 which I fell in lust with right away.  The cutter is scary fast.  I actually feel its the loudest function on the printer.  I can now cut canvas without having to invest in a $500 extra cutter.  It works.

Not having to screw around with a spindle is great.  I've always felt the 2-most dangerous times for media was placing it onto the printer and taking it off the spindle.  No need for it.  This makes changing rolls much easier and faster.

The last of my high-three most favorite is the auto changing of black ink.  I use Breathing Color Lyve canvas which is a matte.  All I have to do is hit a couple buttons and presto the printer is set up with the proper black.  Replace the roll with say Breathing Color Vibrance Rag, press a button and I'm back to printing with Photo Black.

I no longer have the 9800 having donated it to a local high school.  The 9900 was delivered late on a Friday afternoon and early the next morning the first print was coming off it.  I don't miss the 9800.  Is the 9900 that finicky girlfriend Ken mentioned?  Sort of.  But our relationship is young and I have no doubt we'll get along with time.  After all, I married my wife after knowing her less than 28 days - 30 years ago.  If it's right for you you'll know it right away.

This turned out way too long and for that I apologize.

Don
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 02:13:34 PM
Mark,
  While it would be an upstanding way to deal with this issue, I'm afraid that Epson/ Seiko would be setting a precedence which would place themselves in a position for major liability or culpability problems in the future . Companies tend to shy away from issues like this.
  There are just too many factors to consider as to the actual cause of failure in each individual case,  as to make any declaration to that effect.
  

David yes, this is a very possible outcome and I thought about all that before I posted. On top of that, I also thought of the fact that Epson owes Eric nothing and need not do anything, for reasons I stated - and the obvious one I forgot to state - that he did a lot to the printer and poured substances into it that Epson may not support. So for all of those reasons they need not get involved and if they don't it would be completely understandable and not reproachable. BUT, all that said, diagnosing a problem does not expose them to liability on a used out-of-warranty printer and makes them culpable for nothing. It's a one-off diagnosis of a one-off problem and the state of the machine can be diagnosed - it's a piece of machinery they know inside-out. Nor was I suggesting they do any more than that pro bono. As for setting precedents - doubtful. It can be handled in a manner that assures this won't be the case. It's all in the messaging and the context. What other factors are there to consider?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Martin Ranger on February 05, 2012, 04:17:22 PM
As far as it's effectiveness in clearing un-cloggable clogs - I can speak confidently and from experience now that my genius buddy and I have successfully re-fired our Epson 7900 up and run it through it's paces again - that beyond any measure or trace of doubt, it doesn't work for $*&%@!!!

Your un-cloggable clogs might be different from other people's clogs. A little while ago, I shipped a printer during winter (from myself to myself, so I know it's history). When it arrived, pretty much all the print-heads were no longer working (clogged?). They had been working properly before the printer's journey across the freezing US. I suspected at the time that freezing ink might have destroyed them. Now, it was an HP Designjet whose print heads and ink are completely different from the Epson, so your problem might have a completely different cause. But given that something obviously happened during the trip and that you shipped the printer in winter, I wonder if freezing ink might have anything to do with your problem.

Good luck,
Martin
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 05, 2012, 05:37:26 PM
I don't know what to say other than thank you to all of you for your generous thoughts, kind words, and helpful advice so rich with knowledge and experience.  Like I said at the beginning of this journey, I am just an enthusiast.  You are all more knowledgeable, talented and experienced in this world of photography and printing than I am, by far.  But I do seem to have one rare gift - not necessarily the ability to tell a story, but the will to.  And so here I have, on Luminous Landscape.  Why here rather than on my own blog?  Because no one reads my blog.  Also because most of you have already helped me.  It's been years now I have come here to absorb knowledge I never took the chance to in school.  Sharing this journey has been my way of finally helping you back.  

Would I create some great tutorial videos on 79/9900 maintenance?  I'm already a step ahead of you.  Yes I will.  Been my plan ever since my own endless searches on the subject turned up nothing.  

Would I accept donations of thanks or support?  This would screw up my entire life-plan.  My goal is to live and die broke...  So I offer you the following idea:  At the end of each tutorial video I produce, I will include in the credits a matter in which you can send whatever donation you see fit to.  I am comfortable with whatever comes of that - everything or nothing at all.  

*True story;  While at a shop I race for last week, where they have on display some panoramic photos I both shot and printed, I casually walked by a woman who had two of my photos stretched out over a desk.  I made no eye contact, I didn't even slow down, but I definitely paid attention to her compliments.  As I left the room I heard her say "I'll take both of them please."  

That story does it for me.  It completes the circle, if you will.  I have been passionate about photography for seven years now.  Until recently all my work simply died inside my hard drives.  I visualize everything.  I picture the beginning of my photography to be reading, on here.  The next part is buying gear then learning how to use it.  I plot these steps visually, on an arc.  The arc continues around it's shape while I am out there shooting, then finally back home in post - on the same computer it all started at.  But then forever it has died for me about 75% around, always leaving an empty gap near the end - in my passion, in my reason, and in my results.  But the day I bought these two Epson 4800s and started printing my work, suddenly it all came to life.  The arc became a circle then the circle became a whole new world.  

In truth I have a lot more to thank you all for than you have to thank me for.  So I really am happy to hear that sharing our journey has, and will for a while yet, help others.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 05, 2012, 06:02:53 PM


So that leads one to wonder what happened to it from the time it left Dan Berg until you made your first print? How was it prepared for shipment? Were all movable parts properly immobilized? Were the inks removed and cartridges well-sealed? How was it transported, how was was it set-up (was it based on the set-up instructions), how long a time period elapsed from the time you took delivery till the time you started printing? There may be other questions one could ask - one also needs to know what to ask! I assume you are asking yourself about all of this and more.
I might add that I also just recently sold a 7900 (which had been moved a couple of times).  while we removed the ink cartridges and locked the head, the distance was only about 5 minutes so we didn't do extensive preparation.  a couple of weeks later it has also developed an identical problem in the same channel (LLK) where about 30% of the nozzles (a large block in the middle)  will not clear, the nozzle check pattern is identical no matter what we have tried.

I've moved many epson printers and never had an issue, but I suppose there is some chance moving of these more delicate heads could cause some damage.  However, I'm suspecting issues with the wiper might be similar since it has never been cleaned or replace.  we'll be plunging in (we've repaired a lot of other Epsons, never tackled one of the x900 series yet) soon.  We'll soon see what condition the head is in.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 06:15:34 PM
Hi Wayne,

Once you plunge in, if you can detect what the problem is it would be very useful to any one contemplating moving (or having moved) one of these printers to know what you find. This is an interesting observation, but at the same time very puzzling. A small sample (indeed perhaps insignificant) of factors-in-common seems to suggest the possibility that merely moving the printer can have something to do with its performance. That said, the printers need to be moved from where they are manufactured to markets many thousands of miles away in various kinds of transport arrangements and conditions; but they do pack them extremely carefully. Perhaps when the head of a used printer gets jarred in transport it causes an issue. But if you locked the head, why? Perhaps locking doesn't prevent all types of internal damage from jarring. Did the printer get knocked much in a five minute transport? It would be good for the community to know more about this possibility so that any one else transporting machines that aren't covered by service contracts will know what the risks are and how to mitigate them. Again, only Epson can be definitively helpful here.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 05, 2012, 06:53:02 PM
OK back to the task at hand -

This 7900 was actually shipped in the middle of fall, not the middle winter.  I know because I just read lots of interesting stuff about winter in this Northern Hemisphere.  This year's winter solstice (shortest day/middle of winter) started our winter on December 22.  On November 25th however, this Epson 7900 was actually en-route to California mid-way across the US, tucked inside a Fedex eighteen-wheeler, inside a 200lb wooden crate lined with multiple layers of cardboard.  Ironically this particular fall will likely go down in history as one of the mildest on record.  Here is Noas snapshot of the average temperature of the US during the month of November.  I am not saying this machine was not exposed to cold, or possibly freezing temps.  But strictly in the interest of fueling a more accurate understanding of why this printer doesn't work anymore, I was definitely on Route 80 traveling over the Sierras this December in shorts and a tee shirt.  It's been alarmingly warm this year.  So while it is possible that the ink froze in the head, I actually doubt it.
(http://gotagteam.com/epson/nov-temps-11.jpg)

I will also add to this head-failing mystery the experiences following the machine's arrival:  Packed unbelievably well.  Crate alone weighed 200lbs and took an hour to disassemble - and I'm a carpenter.

Very first print was a nozzle check.  PK showed the same clog I see today, only not as bad.  YW showed the same clog grouping that I see today, only not as bad.  These two clogs have haunted this machine since day-one of my possession.  Cleaning attempts have only made these clogs gradually get worse.  Cleaning solution run through it's lines on these problem channels made absolutely no difference.  Removing the head, soaking it's face in solution for 24hrs, then sucking a fresh mix of that same solution up through it's face also made NO DIFFERENCE.  Not worse, not better.  Exactly the same.

The only difference I have seen on these clogs is them gradually getting worse.  That suggests to me that freezing ink damaging these particular nozzles, leading to these particular clogs, is not the most probable cause.  I am not saying this is not possible.  It just doesn't feel like the answer.  

I am, however, suspect of these two carts/colors having such old expiration dates on them (both 2010).  The PK and YW carts were both 700ml carts, both about 60% empty.  From what Dan told me he also has a 9900, and therefore used this 7900 less often.  I don't know, maybe these two carts have been opened far longer than 6 months?  Maybe the older ink has more of a tendency to clog.  

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_0581.jpg)



Finally, considering clogs, I would like to put a request out there to all who know so much more than I do about these heads, and Piezoelectricity
in particular;  What happens to these electrically charged crystals if they are kept from "changing their shape" once an electrical field is applied to them?  For instance, if I run my circular saw through a wet beam, which results in tremendous resistance and binding of the blade, the saw's motor will burn out.  Now I know Piezoelectricity is entirely different than my circular saw's alternating current motor, but can the same laws apply?  If you lock up these tiny crystals and charge them with an electrical field which would otherwise cause them to "move" but in this case they cannot, could this cause them to burn out?  Because if this is possible, it would then be possible for dried ink to lock up a group of crystals and burn them out.

If this theory holds water then I can understand how a compromised wiper blade, which jammed more "tar" into the head than it cleaned off, could possibly ADD to a clogging problem - which in turn could explain why my clogs in particular have only gotten worse with cleanings - not ever better
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 07:00:41 PM
You may be on to something - hence all the more interest to see it properly analyzed by people who know the technology intimately.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 05, 2012, 07:13:45 PM
I apologize.  I have hit my head far too many times, nut just my thumbs.  The more I read about Piezoelectricity the less I understand.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 08:15:15 PM
I've also been trying to figure out the Peizo effect as related to the nozzles. I understand the concept but not much on how the nozzles could be damaged.I don't think moving the machine is what caused damage such as this.If it were the case Epson would not be able to ship them at all. They would stand the risk of having to replace a lot of heads under warrantee! Just doesn't add up!  I also agree with your non freeze assessment. Dried ink so deeply embedded is much more likely, and as you say possible? to burn out the nozzles, we may never know.
  The field guide ( http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/epson_mimaki_roland_printer_rep/pro79_fg.pdf )starting on page 231 has a list of diagnosis for the causes and remedies for clogged nozzles but  it is  somewhat ambiguous to say the least.
 I believe you followed the correct path!

David

On page 233 it says this: "Note: If the same nozzle or nozzles are always missing, this indicates that the Print Head has a problem mechanically or electrically."

Based on what Eric has related, it sounds as if the problem could be a mechanical or electrical problem in the printhead. If so, we still don't know what caused it from the time it was shipped till the time he used it. Eric mentioned the possibility of expired inks. Eric: do you have the precise expiry dates of the cartridges for the offending colours? I have always been given to understand from Epson staff that those dates are pretty conservative (to be safe) and that in practice the inks should be good for much longer than the stated expiry. When you loaded the inks, did you gently shake the cartridges first? They always recommend this.

The next item of interest in that manual, and Epson staff have mentioned to me before, is the entrapment of air in the printhead from the cleaning cycles themselves, which would show up as nozzle pattern breaks - but usually IN DIFFERENT PLACES from one cleaning to the next. To mitigate that risk, Epson staff have recommended running prints between cleanings to try to force the ink through in the printing direction. But Eric's symptom is that the problem is lodged in the same place, so perhaps air entrapment is not the issue.

On reflection it's really hard to fathom how ink could dry-up so severely within such a short period of time to permanently prevent the in-built cleaning routines from freeing the ink and allowing the nozzles to operate normally, let alone permanently damage them. This is the part of the whole story that actually concerns me the most: why did the basic, ordinary consumer-accessible cleaning routines fail to work? Clogging that users can easily clean-up is an occupational hazard one can live with to an extent, but ink flow problems that users can't clean-up at all seem to be deadly.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 05, 2012, 09:00:00 PM
Hey Eric!

Here's a crazy idea that just popped into my head...

If these nozzle are still clogged, I wonder is an ultrasonic cleaner would work to break what ever particles are possible preventing the nozzle from firing/working? I googled it and found this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poEDY4f5_4Y

...maybe hope is not lost? In one of the several vids you can see them checking the nozzle to see if they are clear... you see a stream of fluid coming out each nozzle.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 05, 2012, 09:08:42 PM
I expect politics may throw up some walls here but I am already actively pushing the limits of standard protocol.  My goal is not to find a source to buy print heads from.  Rather my goal is to develop an understanding of how these heads work, what are their weak points, and how best to care for them - and therefore ultimately our Epson x900s.  My parts contact in SF mentioned to me on Friday that he understands Epson does not make the heads of the x900 printers.  He suggested the heads are made in Germany.  I do not know if this is true.  However there is a US company called Dimatix which specializes particularly in the production of Piezoelectric inkjet printheads and related systems.  I do not know if Dimatix makes Epson's heads.  The more I research this though, the less I believe Epson makes their own heads.  I therefore suspect the most direct route to acquiring more knowledge on Piezoelectric printhead technology and maintenance is likely not through Epson.

My understanding of electricity is pretty basic.  Piezoelectricity even less.  But I do know that sending electric current (electrons) through a substance that will permit this flow (a conductor - like a wire) is always met with some level of resistance.  That resistance generates heat.  Think of a fuse - one with higher resistance stands up to more heat than one with less resistance.  A 2amp fuse has a thin wire with low resistance - it burns out easily.  A 20amp fuse has a thicker wire with a higher resistance - it has a higher resistance to burning out (melting). 

Considering this I am suspicious of the following:

1 - just how thin are the "wires" sending electric current to these microscopic piezoelectric crystals?
2 - what is their ability to resist melting?
*3 - how much of a cooling role does the flow of ink past, or through these piezoelectric crystals, play?

*if the healthy flow of ink past, or through these electrically charged crystals does play a key role in their cooling - then my friends we might now have yet another possible scenario to consider in the explanation of one clog growing into groups of clogs.  "Overheating"


Again, this unfortunately is all just speculation.  But it stands to reason that a nozzle won't get hot until you send a charge to it, so under those circumstances it doesn't need cooling.  But if you print a page that's 90% black for instance, your PK nozzles will be firing full time in back to back sequence of about what - four million continuous firings?  I don't care how big you are, because I imagine it's all relative, if you charge a microscopic line four million times in a row and don't cool it - it's probably going to overheat.  Exactly what happens inside these heads during a power cleaning I wish I knew.  Do all nozzles fire continuously flat out?  Does SS really stand for super sonic CHARGING?  If a nozzle is clogged are they sending it MORE power to help release it?  Does more power mean more heat? 

These are all questions I think we might all be better off knowing the answers to.  I may just be a carpenter but I happen to be one about ten miles from Dimatix.  If I have to I will dress in drag and apply for a job answering phones there...

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 09:24:18 PM
The people who design the printheads and the people who manufacture them could well be different, but I recommend you have a look at the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiko_Epson, and this: http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/10511/epson_micro_piezo/; and this: http://www.selectsign.hk/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=280; http://fotoflock.com/index.php/learn-photography/tips-tricks/29-tips-and-tricks/2958-the-piezoelectric-phenomenon.

I think it's pretty clear whose technology this is.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 05, 2012, 09:29:29 PM
The people who design the printheads and the people who manufacture them could well be different, but I recommend you have a look at the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiko_Epson, and this: http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/10511/epson_micro_piezo/; and this: http://www.selectsign.hk/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=280; http://fotoflock.com/index.php/learn-photography/tips-tricks/29-tips-and-tricks/2958-the-piezoelectric-phenomenon.

I think it's pretty clear whose technology this is.


Well there goes that theory.   Thank you Mark.   I can never get the lipstick right anyway
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 05, 2012, 09:37:30 PM
chaddro,
 Great find, but this system is designed for solvent based inks.

It sure would be nice though if it worked  for a clog,but would not help  totally dead nozzle due to an electrical problem.!

David

Hey David,

Looks like the main site has some interesting info, including using with water based inks.

http://hp9000inks.com/store/catalog/Technical-Support-sp-6.html

One thing to note is the red warnings in the pdf.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 05, 2012, 09:37:57 PM
There's absolutely no doubt that Epson design and make their own heads, and they're not manufactured in Germany.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 05, 2012, 09:46:26 PM
There's absolutely no doubt that Epson design and make their own heads, and they're not manufactured in Germany.

Phil, this means then that the guy who told Eric the head is made in Germany was wrong:

(ref early on in this thread: "Got a huge deal thanks to Justin, our ebay parts contact in SF.  I couldn't make Justin's 2pm deadline for pickup so I met his father instead.  Pretty cool guy.  We talked for a while.  I gave him my input on what I thought he should stock up on and why.  I even told him about this thread - and David buying one of his damper assemblies just to have on stand-by, most likely due to what we have shared here.  He seemed happy.  Just before we signed off I said, "Don't forget.  Keep your eye out for x900 printer heads.."  He responded with a classic smile - "You are my friend.  ...Come with me."  I followed him through a maze of printer boxes so impressively stacked even a Bloodhound would struggle to get through it.  About mid-way through the maze we arrived at his desk.  He reached from it's cluttered top holding toward my face a small square box in a manner suggesting it's worth was unparallelled.  "It's a 7900 print head.  Did you know they are made in Germany?" )

Until I read this I was under the impression that Epson made these heads in Japan, but then again these days companies make so many things under their supervision in so many parts of the world one never knows, so I thought this could be possible. Thanks for clarifying.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 05, 2012, 09:54:59 PM
Eric, you're too funny! At least you can still have a sense of humor about the situation. I think just your creativity and personality would be enough to get you the job, forget about the drag thing. Could you please clarify if you did install a new print head and if you had the service program to run. And thanks guys for being gender sensitive.  :-*
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: davidh202 on February 05, 2012, 10:19:46 PM

Well there goes that theory.   Thank you Mark.  I can never get the lipstick right anyway

Eric,
  The manufacturer may be wrong but your  overheat theory could still be valid.
Under normal operating conditions the head may run cooler than other systems, but given a clog it may indeed overheat and cause detrimental issues with the nozzle circuitry. The warnings in the operating manual for the cleaning machine chaddro pointed out, say that it is possible to damage heads by overheating, while cleaning with that machine.
Of course this does not specifically say the Epson heads, but overheating due to clogs, and consequential failure of nozzles, cannot definately be ruled out!
 David
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 06, 2012, 01:04:01 AM
I paid $2350 new after the rebate including shipping  1 1/2 years ago for the 7900.
Those machines are $2300 and up + accessories ( even if they worked for an Epson head)

The problem that arises is there is just no way todetermine if the nozzles are simply mechanically clogged with dried ink, or dead due to an electrical -mechanical problem, the later of which, would make the cleaning machine useless!
David
actually I think there might be.  after following this thread and the efforts to unclog a nozzle including flushing, removing and soaking etc. the symptom of unrepairable seems pretty clear ... nozzles that will not clear or change at all despite any attempts to clear it most likely means the piezo effect of those nozzles no longer functions.  Despite all efforts (which have been extensive and interesting to follow) not a single missing nozzle cleared, only new ones.  Unfortunately head seems dead.

I'm not clear on the technology.  However it seems possible that they are sensitive, perhaps more sensitive in the new printers, and moving them might be more risky than before. Maybe even static electricity.  Interesting to note that Epson recommends in the 9900 user manual when moving the printer to leave the ink cartridges in place.

I don't think the outdated cartridges are an issue.  There are thousands of users that use outdated cartridges all the time.  I don't think the ink really "settles" out.  Issue with old cartridges has more to do with potential color variations.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 06, 2012, 01:33:34 AM
Before you consign a head to the dead pile, may I suggest that you check the ribbon cables?  Both for a secure connection and for possible damage.  Even if you can't see a break, it's possible.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 06, 2012, 04:17:46 AM
Before you consign a head to the dead pile, may I suggest that you check the ribbon cables?  Both for a secure connection and for possible damage.  Even if you can't see a break, it's possible.

Oh great, two birds with one stone:  My friend in SF with the allegedly bad information about where Epson's heads are made, not only held that spare printhead up to me - but he actually gave it to me.  For free.  Apparently he had sold this head to someone a year and a half ago.  They couldn't get it to work right so he gave them their money back.  The head has sat in a box in his possession ever since.

After extensive testing with our original cleaned head once we fired our machine up Saturday afternoon, the writing was pretty clear on the wall.  Our head is toast.  That's when I started the clock, and the job of swapping printheads.  Like I said it took us 45min start to finish, mechanically.  The next step is "registering" the head.

These heads come with a series of letters and numbers printed on a sticker, glued to one side.  There are 45 characters in all.  In the adjusting program you have to enter those numbers in order for the head to work properly.  The head will work, and the printer will print without registering these specific numbers in the system - but it won't work properly.  I don't know yet what those numbers represent or do, but I expect it has something to do with how each head is calibrated, or aligned, or lord only knows what.  The point is on a nozzle pattern with this replacement head our PK and YW clogs were clear - printing fine.  But many of the other channels needed alignments or had miss-fires. 

The reason we couldn't get this head's numbers registered in the system properly is because one row of them simply wasn't there.  This left us with three missing characters.  End of story.

So I am right there with you Farmer, and already tested it.  Unfortunately I believe our head may be hosed.  This will not, however, deter me from my goal of communicating with Dimatix.  I could be wrong I do this a lot, but I still think the most potent source for getting answers on the characteristics of these piezoelectric printheads is not Epson. 

I say we post an attractive prize, perhaps a box of chocolate in the spirit of na goodman (because I know women far better than I know printing - chocolate fixes everything) offered to the first one who finds answers to these questions:

1 - just how thin are the "wires" sending electric current to these microscopic piezoelectric crystals?
2 - what is their ability to resist melting?
3 - how much of a cooling role does the flow of ink past, or through these piezoelectric crystals, play?
4 - what is the best way to clear a piezoelectric printhead clog?
4 - what is the best way to avoid clogs.


If I win I want ice cream.  I'll even buy it for myself - I just need an excuse to celebrate something
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 06, 2012, 04:20:13 AM
However there is a US company called Dimatix which specializes particularly in the production of Piezoelectric inkjet printheads and related systems.  I do not know if Dimatix makes Epson's heads.  

My understanding of electricity is pretty basic.  etc


There are many companies that manufacture piëzo heads of different designs: Spectra, Xaar, Dimatix, Seiko, Hitachi, Fuji, HP, Konica. They are used in all kinds of inkjet printers from mail address printers to 5 meter wide solvent printers. Epson manufactured heads themselves and licensed the manufacturing to other companies for some designs. For example the 9000 heads are still available and at low prices, I am told that is the result of a continuing license to Chinese manufacturers. In contrast some heads are no longer available or very expensive where Epson could influence the production. See the German pricelist I gave a link for. A tale here going round  in Eindhoven is that Philips made the very first Epson heads possible with their galvanic processes that were developed to fabricate electric shaver heads. Modern manufacturing processes follow another path and piëzo heads are also made with MEMS technology like the large thermal heads are.

I have written in the past that piëzo heads used at high frequencies will heat up despite fresh ink cooling the system, it simply depends on the droplet size squirted , the frequency and the total nozzle area what the heating up and cooling effect will be. Thermal heads will heat up too for obvious reasons but are cooled with the ink as well and then the frequency per nozzle + the nozzle area has to be considered. The print speed of the Canon iPF models, HP Z6200 will be comparable to the x900, 11880 models, their thermal head printers have 2000 nozzles per ink channel, the Epson 360 nozzles. That is roughly 5x the number, if we keep in mind that Canon and HP keep nozzles in reserve for others to fail. Minimum droplet size is about the same; 3.5 versus 4 picoliter, the Canons have only that 4 picoliter size the HPs have 4 and 6 picoliter depending on the ink channel. In the highest resolutions the Epson will not use the larger droplet sizes it can also produce from the same nozzles, it has to squirt at a 5x rate similar droplets said thermal heads have to squirt to cover the same media area in the same time.

Then there is air in the ink lines, the much simpler thermal nozzle channel and its "steam" pump seems to deal better with air in lines than the piëzo heads do, HP docs often refer to that advantage. Piëzo pumps become ineffective when some air just acts as a shock absorber in the nozzle channel when the piëzo element deforms for pumping. What happens to the ink at that point when no ink is really flowing and heat builds up is something you can imagine. What becomes a permanent clogg and worse may have actually started with air in the lines for whatever reason. It will be hard to determine what a nozzle permanently not functioning contains, simply a build up of dried ink, pigment agglomerations or all that plus electronic damage as well. You probably need an electron microscope and slices of the head to get the information. Epson will know for sure, we do not.

Edit: considering the transport of this 7900 and the multiple 4900s in the other thread I wonder whether air getting into the head from the nozzle side when the printer is tilted etc may be the cause in those cases and possibly even with some new ones delivered. Would a process help where the waste tank pump is first activated + the ink carts pressurised to bring ink back into the head before the heads themselves are activated?  On the 5000, 9000s and 10000 I worked on I had for maintenance etc the waste tank tube running outside the waste tank to a vacuum pump with a bottle in between. That way I could reload other inks fast, clean channels and deal better with cloggs without using the heads. All had third party inks then and in the end all went belly up due to pigment settling, fungi or me going too far with DIY approaches.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/










Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 06, 2012, 04:28:32 AM
Fascinating..
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 06, 2012, 05:36:54 AM

The reason we couldn't get this head's numbers registered in the system properly is because one row of them simply wasn't there.  This left us with three missing characters.  End of story.


Would it be possible to ask the SF people to look at other heads from the same production batch and copy the numbers to the spare head you got? There is a possibility that the total sum (or alike) of the numbers has to be correct if it is a code but it could also be that they represent a certain character of the head channels. On the 9000s the number represented the voltage that had to applied to let the piëzos act to a standard pump activity. According a Chinese from HK they changed the voltage themselves that way when the thicker sublimation inks were pumped instead of the dye and later pigment inks used with Epsons. I doubt that today's head numbers are that simply related.

Edit: Google - K T Chan Epson -


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware now:
Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/six-canvas-wrap-actions.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: multigary on February 06, 2012, 08:03:20 AM
This thread is starting to read like an international high tech suspense story!  A working guy carpenter in California tries to save a buck by buying a used printer from another carpenter across the country, hoping to promote his passion for printing his photographs, only to be drawn into an all consuming "journey inside the 7900"!  Now even the Chinese in Honk Kong are becoming characters!  Eric, forget about the technical tutorials - write a novel instead! You can call it something like  "The Piezo Code" or  "The  Printer That  Ate Brooklyn". My favorite scenes so far are when you made your way through the maze of boxes and discovered the German made print head; and the color map of the printer's cross country journey, with the  daily average temperatures included.
I do hope this story has a happy ending!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 06, 2012, 08:41:02 AM
If the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu makes an appearance I will really know all is lost!  On topic, I started doing a patent search yesterday (the US system is on the Internet and pretty easy to search) to see what is disclosed.  Interesting that the ink cartridges for the 3880 and 4900 (thanks to Mark Segal for the 4900 numbers) share the same patent numbers.  These patents only relate to the mechanics of the cartridge (hard outer shell and a polymer bag inside that contains the ink) and not the ink itself.  I have not yet found any patents on the Epson inks and these may be protected by trade secret (I'm still searching so can't be certain this is the case).  I did find one patent on the piezoelectric use to lay down ink but suspect there are more.  This may not be the whole story since it is the implementation of the technology in the move from the x800 to x900 machines that may be the major difference.  I will certainly report further on anything I dig up.

My read of what has gone on to date with the various posts leads me to think this might be head failure but the cause still remains to be determined.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 06, 2012, 08:59:40 AM

My read of what has gone on to date with the various posts leads me to think this might be head failure but the cause still remains to be determined.

This is exactly where my mind is at, and I really think it would be in everyone's interest to have an authoritative determination of what happened. So many theories have been floated here, some more plausible than others, that it runs the risk of creating numerous and for the most part probably needless doubts in peoples' minds about the robustness of the technology. Once the cause or the most likely group of causes are known, people will know what to be careful about and this could save both Epson and its customers a lot heartache down the road, as well as preserve confidence in what is, after all, fantastic printing technology when you think of it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 06, 2012, 12:22:32 PM
The "Ranking" process required to assure your Epson 79/9900 gets along with your new head is simple to follow.  You enter the letters and numbers in the order they appear on the sticker glued to the head - from upper left to lower right, until but INCLUDING the last digit in the grouping which falls in the place of in this case, the "%".  So for the head pictured just below you would enter from "H" all the way to "%", then disregard "C1R.AH".  Here is a screen-grab showing the rank logging procedure as it is described in the manual:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/Ranking_7900_printhead.jpg)


This is a picture of the "Ranking Tag" on our original 7900 printhead.  As you can see, easy to log - from the first "H" to the last of the qualified digits, in this case "1", there are 45 characters - like there is supposed to be.

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/_MG_5472.jpg)


This is a picture of the Ranking Tag on our replacement "7900 printhead".  As you can see, not so easy to log - from the "O" to the last of the qualified digits, in this case "*", there are only 42 characters.  Incomplete ranking info.  Both Steve and I suspect this particular head is not for a 7900 at all, even though it is identical in every other aspect that we can see.

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/_MG_5471.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 06, 2012, 03:47:54 PM
Hard to imagine which other printer it could be, the x900's are all the same I think. If one channel on that head is without any nozzles you got an 11880 head but that should be visible on the nozzle side.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 06, 2012, 03:51:41 PM
I don't know for sure, but I think the 4900 head may not be the same as the 7900 head.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 06, 2012, 04:32:41 PM
Mark,

You could be right, the German price list shows another order number for the 4900 head and a slightly different price.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 06, 2012, 04:35:07 PM
Eric,

That is a QR code on the head (the 3 squares and squiggly marks) ... use a QR reader and see if it gives you the proper numbers for registering your head.

-chadd
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on February 06, 2012, 04:49:52 PM
When I scan the QTR it reads as follows:
0H6A6460QVTSWZUUYRTXUVVTRUQQSVTSVVZVUXXWW*MQMSLNNLLLMLPMNMLPMN.....F85291A010060202916AB.

I hope this info helps.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 06, 2012, 05:23:38 PM
The instructions guide you to enter all characters up to and including the "*".   From your scan Randy, it looks like we entered all that we can enter, and that we did this correctly.  I do not know what all those extra characters stand for.  Maybe part #s?  Model #s?  So much of this is still a mystery.  But it won't always be.  I believe our answers are drawing nearer by the moment.


Please excuse me but the current stale-mate of this thread reminds me of a scene from Jason and the Argonauts.  I can't avoid the looming feeling that by people who already know the answers to the riddles we face today, we are being watched...

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/mount-olympus.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 06, 2012, 06:03:32 PM
I did some digging. The 11880 head uses a 42 digits. The 9880/7880's appear to use a 40-digit id.

So, it is simply the wrong head.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 06, 2012, 06:08:00 PM
Awesome find Chaddro.  How did you come up with that?  Do you have an 1180 manual? 

Again, awesome find.  That's another hurdle under us.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 06, 2012, 07:38:20 PM
That also means that success in certain channels doesn't prove that the ribbon cable isn't a problem - they may not connect/fire in the same order.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 06, 2012, 08:07:25 PM
Phil, what are you referring to here?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 06, 2012, 10:01:39 PM
If the second head wasn't a head designed for that printer, then Eric's note that the second one printed the channels that the first one didn't, doesn't prove that the cable is not the culprit.  Indeed, if the first head had say 4 failing nozzles (always the same ones) and the second head also had 4 failing nozzles (always the same ones) you might very well find that the different head had a different electrical order for the heads, so a broken cable could be quite feasible.

Of course, in this specific example, a second hand 18 month old head as the replacement isn't a good yardstick by which to compare because it may have it's own failings.

Basically, because it's not the right head, you can't read into it that, the fact it appears to fire nozzles that appear not to be firing in the original head, means that the cable is not faulty.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 06, 2012, 10:29:52 PM

Basically, because it's not the right head, you can't read into it that, the fact it appears to fire nozzles that appear not to be firing in the original head, means that the cable is not faulty.

Up to that sentence I'm with you. Then I got tangled up. I think you're saying the cable may still be faulty even though the second head, which is an incorrect one, fires nozzles that appear not to be firing in the first head. Right?

Anyhow. the more I read in this thread from highly experienced and knowledgeable people such as yourself, the more I'm convinced this case needs systematic, hands-on expert diagnosis, if that's still possible in light of all that has transpired.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on February 06, 2012, 11:40:15 PM
Up to that sentence I'm with you. Then I got tangled up. I think you're saying the cable may still be faulty even though the second head, which is an incorrect one, fires nozzles that appear not to be firing in the first head. Right?

Anyhow. the more I read in this thread from highly experienced and knowledgeable people such as yourself, the more I'm convinced this case needs systematic, hands-on expert diagnosis, if that's still possible in light of all that has transpired.

Right! :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 07, 2012, 02:16:36 AM
My idea is to get this head analyzed by someone, or something, that has intimate knowledge of these heads and this technology.  I am actively trying to make that happen.  Might be a dream, but then so was printing at 24" wide.  Look how close I came to that...

Ultimately I would like us all to know exactly what we are up against considering clogs, maintenance, and successful use of these x900 printers/heads.  Right now our knowledge seems a bit blurry.  We should be able to improve on this.  After all what good is it to be told your head is bad by a service tech, if you aren't told exactly why it is bad, or how exactly it went bad.  You'll just end up there again.


...and Dan Berg, thank you for trying to get "Dano" to chime in on this thread.  I just read your blatant thread hijacking in his "Epson Exhibition Canvas Recommendations" thread.  It seems he ignored your request but it was a great gesture by you to stick your neck out like that.  Thank you


Trust me I am a determined little %&(*#$$.  We will get answers.  It would be great if they came from Epson themselves but I am not getting the impression that will happen.  If push comes to shove I will take this head apart with a razor blade and microscope
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 07, 2012, 05:36:31 AM
Eric,
Actually Dano personally  called me and we talked on the phone for sometime.
He is very limited on what he can say on a very public forum as you can understand.
Behind the scenes he just might be the guy that can help with this?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 07, 2012, 10:35:54 AM
Dan,

Did you have any exchange of ideas with Dano on a preventive maintenance plan for the Epson Stylus Pro printers?  If so, what was his perspective?  I have to presume – just like with an airplane the pilot would expect a maintenance schedule to keep flying.  Therefore, with a professional printer, there should also be a documented prescriptive maintenance scheduled – beyond the internal printer notifications – perhaps something written in a user’s manual?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 07, 2012, 10:42:18 AM
Jeff,
Sorry,we did not get that deep into this issue.
Just wanted to make sure he was following along,and he was.
All we can hope for is that he now passes this on to someone in the know.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 10:55:21 AM
Jeff, this idea of a "preventive maintenance plan" has surfaced elsewhere in this thread. When I got to thinking about it, it struck me that perhaps it isn't really feasible. Look at it this way. When manufacturers design sophisticated machinery like this, you must assume that they think carefully about maintenance, and what parts of the machine should be user-serviceable and which not. Think of the number of things you buy where there is a notice in the manual or engraved on the unit itself saying "There are no user serviceable components in this product", or "The opening of this panel by unauthorized service personnel voids the warranty" - all to the same effect - intended to keep people with no training or inappropriate training out of the innards. Whatever maintenance they do think is safe for most normal untrained users they include in the manual. Having seen what I've seen in this thread and perusing the reference materials people have made available here, my sense of the matter is that Epson has most likely decided very consciously what is user serviceable and already provided for it - as laid out in the manual, the software and the LED panel. I personally would not even attempt to change the wiper blade in my 4900 if that ever became necessary for example, as straightforward to the unsuspecting that may sound, because of what needs to be done to access it, and the risk of expensive collateral damage I could do trying to save dollars on a service call. There are economies that are real and economies that are false, and the theory of comparative advantage actually has practical merit.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 07, 2012, 11:10:04 AM
Jeff, this idea of a "preventive maintenance plan" has surfaced elsewhere in this thread. When I got to thinking about it, it struck me that perhaps it isn't really feasible. Look at it this way. When manufacturers design sophisticated machinery like this, you must assume that they think carefully about maintenance, and what parts of the machine should be user-serviceable and which not. Think of the number of things you buy where there is a notice in the manual or engraved on the unit itself saying "There are no user serviceable components in this product", or "The opening of this panel by unauthorized service personnel voids the warranty" - all to the same effect - intended to keep people with no training or inappropriate training out of the innards. Whatever maintenance they do think is safe for most normal untrained users they include in the manual. Having seen what I've seen in this thread and perusing the reference materials people have made available here, my sense of the matter is that Epson has most likely decided very consciously what is user serviceable and already provided for it - as laid out in the manual, the software and the LED panel. I personally would not even attempt to change the wiper blade in my 4900 if that ever became necessary for example, as straightforward to the unsuspecting that may sound, because of what needs to be done to access it, and the risk of expensive collateral damage I could do trying to save dollars on a service call. There are economies that are real and economies that are false, and the theory of comparative advantage actually has practical merit.

Mark,

I think what we are discussing here is a wiper blade change "Out of warranty"
If you add a k for thousand to your save dollars comment it changes everything.
Very little chance you would get Decision One out for a service call for much less than a grand.
I agree I would not touch a thing while this is covered by Epson.
Today with no warranty I'll change that wiper in a heart beat.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on February 07, 2012, 11:16:13 AM
Regarding preventive maintenance: Well then, maybe Epson needs to re-think their strategy. Throwing out a 3 year old, 3 hundred pound printer because Decision One charges insane fees for service and parts is somewhat criminal. BTW... how do you properly dispose of one of these things?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 11:23:36 AM
Even if you run a high risk of destroying a $4000 printer? I'd be really surprised if a service call to change a blade would be that expensive - a few hundred is more credible; but then again, very few of us have probably had the experience to know for sure. As well, one can buy a 2 year extended service warranty from Epson for about $565 or so, providing a seamless warranty for the first three years of the machine's existence. Not even clear to me what the probability of most users ever needing to change that blade would really be. It could be extremely low. You know the story - web forums are a very skewed sample of the population because forums largely attract complaints to leverage attention and get results - it's the power of the internet, to be used or abused as the case may be. But getting back to these service calls - the cost of the extended warranty should give you a clue about the expected trouble level, in the sense that these warranties operate like an insurance system. They create a pool of cash deployed from the total pool of participants to those who need it. The more who need it the higher the insurance premium. That's why car insurance rates are linked to the claims experience and life insurance gets more expensive the older you start buying it. So when I look at a "premium" of around 500 for two years of coverage on a 3000-4000 piece of machinery, knowing that the average single service call is billed in the hundreds of dollars, it tells me that the expected frequency of recourse to the pool is projected to be very low.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 07, 2012, 11:47:30 AM
As well, one can buy a 2 year extended service warranty from Epson for about $565 or so, providing a seamless warranty for the first three years of the machine's existence.

Mark,  

Under warranty or extended warranty now makes total sense -knowing what we know now.  Thinking beyond the three year coverage... What should someone do to retain a printer’s operational state?  Hire D1 for service?  I think not, but then again it’s your prerogative to make your own call.  I personally want guidance from the manufacture (in writing) on what should be done and when (under warranty or not) based on usage models (light or heavy volume).  I don’t think this is too much to ask for this type of an investment.  Do you?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 12:33:16 PM
Mark,  

Under warranty or extended warranty now makes total sense -knowing what we know now.  Thinking beyond the three year coverage... What should someone do to retain a printer’s operational state?  Hire D1 for service?  I think not, but then again it’s your prerogative to make your own call.  I personally want guidance from the manufacture (in writing) on what should be done and when (under warranty or not) based on usage models (light or heavy volume).  I don’t think this is too much to ask for this type of an investment.  Do you?

Jeff


Yes I do; I think it is way beyond the pale of anything reasonable. You would need months - perhaps many months - of bespoke training just to learn to do the diagnostics on such complex, precision machinery, and then the correct tools and instruments to do anything safely and properly. You - and almost any one else getting into this - wouldn't even begin to know whether a problem that arises on your nozzle checks is due a wiper blade or umpteen other things without this training - just look at the range of speculation within this single thread. I'll bet you've spent a lot more money on your automobile than you have on your printer. Do you expect Toyota or whoever to provide you with complete written guidance on what to do if your engine (most of which are computer managed these days) konks-out on you once the warranty is expired? No you don't - you take it to a reputable, likely authorized, service outlet for professional attention. Like I said, I'm a believer in the theory of comparative advantage. But of course YMMV - we all have different ideas about how to spend precious time. :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Pete Berry on February 07, 2012, 01:18:38 PM
Regarding preventive maintenance: Well then, maybe Epson needs to re-think their strategy. Throwing out a 3 year old, 3 hundred pound printer because Decision One charges insane fees for service and parts is somewhat criminal. BTW... how do you properly dispose of one of these things?

In California you can take it to an electronics recycling center. I've disposed that way of a couple of beasts that occupied the garage far too long. Whether Epson or Canon, the value a 17" printer with dead head/heads lies pretty much in the discounted remaining ink value. I've harvested cassette trays and roll spindles for handy extras in addition to the ink before the final trip...

Pete
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 07, 2012, 01:28:33 PM
...Not even clear to me what the probability of most users ever needing to change that blade would really be. It could be extremely low. You know the story - web forums are a very skewed sample of the population...

This reads better in the voice of Rod Sterling:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/Rod_Sterling.jpg)

"Dan Berg.  An artist.  A craftsman.  A gifted man possessed not only by his vision, but by the rare ability to form that vision at his fingertips.  A competent man.  A mechanical man.  An Epson journeyman large format printer for whom one 900 series printer was not enough, so he bought two.  Soon big overshadowed little so he sold his 7900 at barely a step into it's promised life.  Hardly warn?  Immaculate condition?  Dan thought so himself.  But beyond this Epson door lies another dimension.  You unlock it with the key of your imagination.  You open it with your wallet.  You enter it with your faith.  Faith that the cumbersome nozzle clogs of the past, promised by Epson to stay in the past, will actually remain there.  But this is the Twilight Zone.  Another dimension.  A place where reason defies reality.  A place where less clogs actually means more.  A place where cleaning can create filth.  A place where maintenance can form harm" - if your wiper cleaner assembly is compromised....

Below is the wiper cleaner assembly on Dan's Epson 7900, after just 900 prints (unfortunately AFTER the tar and splooge was cleaned from it).  Note the tear in it, which obviously kept it from sitting flush on the face of the head during cleanings.  I post this because maybe "the probability of most users ever needing to change that blade" is actually not extremely low at all.  Seems like it took a lot of cleanings for Dan to get 900 prints out of his Epson 7900 - and Dan is a pro:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1160crop.jpg)



(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1162.jpg)



(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/DSC_1203.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 01:44:02 PM
This is very poetic and I almost split a gut laughing, but I know, Eric, you are trying to deliver a serious message, so forgive me. But unfortunate as it is, your wiper blade finding seems to me unlikely to reflect a representative sample of the total number of these machines operating in performance environments around the world; otherwise it would not have endured on the market for the past 3 + years it has been available. No production run of anything most consumers use is 100% fail-safe - that we can take for granted; the important issue is whether the failure rate is above the manufacturer's norm or high enough to impair the market for the product, and on that we don't have the data.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 07, 2012, 01:48:17 PM
This reads better in the voice of Rod Sterling:

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/Rod_Sterling.jpg)

"Dan Berg.  An artist.  A craftsman.  A gifted man possessed not only by his vision, but by the rare ability to form that vision at his fingertips.  A competent man.  A mechanical man.  An Epson journeyman large format printer for whom one 900 series printer was not enough, so he bought two.  Soon big overshadowed little so he sold his 7900 at barely a step into it's promised life.  Hardly warn?  Immaculate condition?  Dan thought so himself.  But beyond this Epson door lies another dimension.  You unlock it with the key of your imagination.  You open it with your wallet.  You enter it with your faith.  Faith that the cumbersome nozzle clogs of the past, promised by Epson to stay in the past, will actually remain there.  But this is the Twilight Zone.  Another dimension.  A place where reason defies reality.  A place where less clogs actually means more.  A place where cleaning can create filth.  A place where maintenance can form harm" - if your wiper cleaner assembly is compromised....


Well, I see you've been working on your intro to your maintenance video.....    ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 01:52:27 PM
But will he remain as calm and collected as Rod Sterling? :-)

Just not to put too fine a point on it - crap happens to all of us at one time or another. Recently, Michael Reichmann, positively reviewed the Sigma 8~16mm lens for the Sony NEX system. Based on the sample he had I have no doubt his review was correct. I went onto the B&H website and read a slew of positive reviews of this lens. So I ordered one. It came to me, I tried it, and I found that beyond the center of the image, it performed somewhat better than I would expect from a Coke bottle. So I sent it back to B&H. (B&H are wonderful that way; their order fulfillment and product return processes are efficient to an extent unbeatable anywhere in the world.) So do I think the Sigma lens is junk - no - I just got one that probably wasn't aligned quite correctly; it can happen with a mass-produced wide-angle zoom lens and I've seen it before. So much to say, we need to take all this kind of stuff in perspective.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 07, 2012, 02:14:06 PM
Good of you to receive that so well Mark. 

again I say what drives me to post is to help others.  From what I have read, which is likely as you say "skewed", I get the impression that I am not the only 7900 user who has experienced cleanings which seem to add clogs rather than remove them.  I do not know yet exactly why this happens.  I can only draw conclusions from what I read, and from what I hold in my own two hands.  Soon enough we will all have a uniquely fascinating view, and therefore understanding, of what exactly goes on during a cleaning cycle on an Epson 7900 printer - from the inside out. 

Also soon enough we will all have three months of Epson service training jammed into three minutes - which will hopefully set you especially at ease as to how undangerous it is (yes I just made that word up) to change your own wiper cleaner assembly.  Until then I hope you can assemble any traces of faith you have left in what you read on the internet - there is almost a comedic level of "risk of destroying a $4000 printer" in changing your own wiper cleaner assembly.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: TSJ1927 on February 07, 2012, 02:21:03 PM
I've often thought that many of these returned products are simply returned to the next buyer and so on and so on and so on.......... until someone finds it "acceptable'
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 07, 2012, 02:46:24 PM
Eric,

Cannot tell you how many hours I watched the Twilight Zone trying to imitate that crushed velvet airline voice.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on February 07, 2012, 02:50:32 PM
Dan,

You may have to smoke his brand to match the voice. But - don't do it. :)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 07, 2012, 02:53:50 PM
Eric,

Cannot tell you how many hours I watched the Twilight Zone trying to imitate that crushed velvet airline voice.
Dan, the answer to his voice is seen in his left hand!  (EDIT added - Randy beat me to it)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 03:52:07 PM
Good of you to receive that so well Mark. 

again I say what drives me to post is to help others.  From what I have read, which is likely as you say "skewed", I get the impression that I am not the only 7900 user who has experienced cleanings which seem to add clogs rather than remove them.  I do not know yet exactly why this happens.  I can only draw conclusions from what I read, and from what I hold in my own two hands.  Soon enough we will all have a uniquely fascinating view, and therefore understanding, of what exactly goes on during a cleaning cycle on an Epson 7900 printer - from the inside out. 

Also soon enough we will all have three months of Epson service training jammed into three minutes - which will hopefully set you especially at ease as to how undangerous it is (yes I just made that word up) to change your own wiper cleaner assembly.  Until then I hope you can assemble any traces of faith you have left in what you read on the internet - there is almost a comedic level of "risk of destroying a $4000 printer" in changing your own wiper cleaner assembly.

I shall await my three-minute wiper-blade training with keen anticipation Eric!  :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 04:27:12 PM
We are not talking about DYI necessarily.
My Toyota Truck User Manual gives me a very definate maintenance schedule to provide for keeping it in as best running condition as possible. If I don't adhere to the reccomended sevice intervals and inspections (too numerous to mention ),I have no one to blame but myself if it conks out.
It appears that at least the the wiper assembly in the 7900  has been designed so that it can be changed easily("even a cave man-woman can do it") ,but absolutely no mention that it should even be examined for wear and tear!!!
The faqs on the 7800 tell users to inspect and clean the wiper in that machine!!!!

David

My Epson 4900 printer comes with a manual that has a whole chapter on user-performed maintenance. Everything they want to let users do is explained there. What isn't explained there is what they don't want users to do, and that includes inspecting and changing wiper blades. The printer is also programmed for auto-maintenance (nozzle checks and cleaning). Different models have different designs and what is recommended to users for one may not be for the others. Doesn't mean to say I'm unwilling to be demystified, but..............well, let's see what we'll see. Time to give it a rest for now.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on February 07, 2012, 04:34:18 PM
Even if you run a high risk of destroying a $4000 printer? I'd be really surprised if a service call to change a blade would be that expensive - a few hundred is more credible; but then again, very few of us have probably had the experience to know for sure. As well, one can buy a 2 year extended service warranty from Epson for about $565 or so, providing a seamless warranty for the first three years of the machine's existence. 

The 2-year extended warranty for the 7900 and 9900 is $1,375.00.   
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 07, 2012, 04:51:49 PM
The 2-year extended warranty for the 7900 and 9900 is $1,375.00.   

OK, I was quoting for the 4900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on February 07, 2012, 07:38:05 PM
I think there are a lot of users of this sort of machine who have a great deal of "hands-on" experience with electro-mechanical machinery.  Many build computers from the ground up and have had some professional exposure to handling the innards of complex equipment in their lives.  I put myself in this category and when my Canon DSLR refused to fire I opened it up, cleaned gunk from behind the shutter blind  and got it working perfectly again.  So for me threads like this are invaluable.

On the other hand, my wife calls the serviceman if the TV remote need a new battery.   This thread has been very useful and I believe that the apparent possibility of clogs being the fault of electronics and not blockages that has been revealed here is possibly a real breakthrough.   Could it be that these printers were brought to market before they were really ready?

Keep digging guys. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 08, 2012, 05:20:13 AM
Hi,

sorry i jump in this thread with my first post here, but i folow this part of the forum for a while and this thread in particular and i might have a few words to say that helps.

first of all i'm not a photographer, but i print for living. one of my printres is a 9700, not so different as your 9900 photoprinter. for some reasons i use dye inks in this printer, not pigment inks. dye inks are much more thiner than pigments so the clogs are not being produced by pigments accumulating in dampers or head. most of my clogs do occur especialy in the midle of the prints. not if the printer is idle, but in the midle of a very large print with a lot of ink used. after 4 prints of 180g coated paper 1,5 meters by 90 cm i ususly get some clogs.
but i also get clogs on my mutoh draftstation printer both with dyes and with pigments. but not as much as epson 9700.
that is not all, i also have a roland solvent printer. guess what, that clogs to.
all the above printers have various epson heads. for me it is half clear: epson heads do clog by design. more nozzels, more clogs.
but roland user manual describes very well how to take care of your printer. ok, it is solvent , i have to take care of it one, twice a week, but i was very confused that in mutoh and epson manuals thay do not specify any type of deep cleaning. more, for roland i was sugested to replace the whiper ebery 6 months (but again there are different inks). anyway, when i clean the roland i also clean the waterbased printers the way roland told me to clean: clean the whiper, clean carefuly arownd the head, clean the capping station. and cleaning the caping station seems to help the most. there may be debris, hair whatever that prevent the proper sealing of the head and conducts to dry ink and improper cleanings.
i think this was a good approach because i have no missing nozzels and i realy print alot. i have over 5000 pages printed with epson, printed with a RIP, some pages may be over 10 meters long.

i don't know i my sory tells clearly what i wanted to tell: all epson heads clogs. more or less. no matter what ink they carry. i don't think it is heat related, since roland prints even 10 hours without a problem but epson may clog even after 6 sqmeters. a proper maintenance must be done. why it is not specified in the manual it is a mistery to me.

again, sorry for the long story and for my bad english.

Adrian
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 08, 2012, 09:16:14 AM
Adrian - Do you keep the printers on all the time?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 08, 2012, 10:25:22 AM
no, the 2 waterbased, the mutoh and the epson are turn off during night (hit the power button). the roland i'm not allowed to turn off more than e few hours if i want to work with it. but roland in stand by mode turns a short cleaning circle every 12 hours or so, just to prevent ink drying in the heads. a smart move i'd say even for waterbased printers. this way a waste about 1/2 liters of ink every 2 months, including regular clenings.

 oh. one more thing regarding heads i forgot earlier: roland suggests that DX4 heads only last about 6 bilion shots. this is part of solvent ink, part, of wearing (?) of the piezo elements. they say that the piezo elements in the head get tired over time (around 6 bilion shots, but i can work OK even after 12 bilion shots) rezulting missfire. i don't have data for the dx6 heads in the 9700/9900. one ideea is to check an dx6 solvent printer and see what number of shots they guarantee the head.  how do  i know the number of shots? roland tells me that in service menu. i do not know if epson in service menu can tell the number of shots per head's colour. anyway i suspect the number of dropletsthat an epson can safely shot can be substantialy higher since the ink is much softer for the heads. but, still...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: narikin on February 08, 2012, 01:05:31 PM
On the endless subjest of wiper blades, maintenance and capping, this is in an old thread on 11880 maintenance:

there's 6 blades that self clean and the head's locked in place by the capping unit so i wouldn't try it.

edit: the capping system and blades are good for the life of the printer, so you won't need them replacing under normal running.

it's a very short thread, located here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=25311.0
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 08, 2012, 01:08:34 PM
OK who knows how to embed a youtube video on this Luminous Landscape forum?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 08, 2012, 01:27:15 PM
You can post a hyperlink to the video.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on February 08, 2012, 02:44:44 PM
Based on what I'm reading here and in other forums, nearly anything I have a technician do to a X900 printer is going to cost between roughly 25% and 60% of the purchase price, or considerably more if it was purchased with one of those big rebates. Given that, having a technician perform preventative maintenance makes no sense economically. A few service calls would cost as much as the printer, so unless you do preventative maintenance yourself it’s a matter of hoping the printer lasts for a while before it eventually fails. For similar reasons, if the printer is several years old it makes no economic sense to have a technician perform a major repair. Of course there’s a gray area if the printer is out of warranty, between 1 and about 3 years old, and doesn’t work. It seems like anything except a head replacement might make sense then, but it’s a judgment call. For the most part, unless you can maintain and/or repair the printer yourself the economics of the situation makes these things throw-away devices. That in turn creates some need for what Eric is doing.

I’ve got an Epson 7900 that’s still going strong after 3 years and 1 month of use. Every device fails at some point, and when that happens I’d have nothing except the parts cost to lose by attempting a fix myself. That’s fine if the problem is caused by the dampers, capping station, wiper, or other similarly priced parts. If the $1800 print head is the cause of the failure there would be no point in attempting any repair. The key is being able to diagnose the source of the problem so you don’t end up spending $500 on parts plus a bunch of time only to determine that the $1800 part is bad. I’ve read here and elsewhere some keys that Epson uses to determine what parts to replace. That may be as good as it gets, but on the other hand a head does not cost Epson $1800, and given burden rates for labor they can better afford to replace parts to see what's broken.

I read the theory here that repeated powerful cleanings used in an attempt to clear "un-clearable" clogs might cause heat buildup that in turn ruins the piezoelectric elements or associated parts in the print head. That makes a lot of sense. These “un-clearable” clogs could indeed be caused by a bad wiper and might not occur if the wiper functions as it should. Piezoelectric transducers (essentially what’s inside the print head) can build up heat, especially along the transducer face. I'd assume they use the ink to keep these cool, and when a head is clogged the ink is not flowing. Enough heat could delaminate the piezoelectric element making it inoperable in terms of pumping ink. If that happens before you pull the head and manually clean it as Eric did, there's no repairing it. All of that seems completely reasonable to me, which of course doesn’t mean it’s what happened. It’s just my two cents.

My thanks go to Eric and his "genius friend". This has been to most fascinating printer discussion I've ever read. If you didn't want to "live and die broke" you could do well as a writer, or better yet a writer/photographer. When the inevitable happens to my 7900 I’ll have you to thank for providing a road-map of sorts should I decide to dive into it. Best of luck and thanks again for all the information!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 08, 2012, 04:40:47 PM
I spoke with a very experienced photographer friend today, about my clogged or damaged LLK 7900 channel. He responded, and gave me his permission to post this. He's a photographer, but he's actively engaged in a business that prints in high volume; mostly on canvas. I'm not trying to stir anything up, with brand wars, but earlier in this thread, when I read the post about the design differences between Epson, Canon, and HP, it tweaked my interest. If I chuck this 7900, and start fresh with a 44" unit, I don't want to make a mistake. I've always been an Epson loyalist, up to this point. Below are his comments:

I use the HP Z3200ps.  It has a built-in i1 spectro and all the software needed to profile anything you can put into the printer.  Great advantage.  One thing I'm hoping to do is trying the emulsion you shared a link about. You can put that on a piece of sheet aluminum (or any other substrate) and this printer will do a great job profiling it.

Also, the Z3200 doesn't need a "wasted ink" tank.  Nothing like it on this printer.  To me that seems to be a much better design.  In the 14 months since I bought it, I have not had to perform maintenance on the printer once. Instead, I leave it on all the time (per their instructions) and it goes through a routine every once and a while to keep itself in tip-top shape.  My Canon is different.  Has a maintenance tank, but still keeps itself in good shape, sometimes pausing before printing to check and make sure.

The HP printer comes with a maintenance contract for the first year.  I extended it for another year in January, and will continue doing this as long as I have it.  I just don't have the time or interest in tearing my printer apart. Use to be gang-ho for anything, but I'm focused on being productive, not saving money to keep the printer running.  When I first got it, something didn't work right and they systematically replaced every single component in the printer until the problem was solved.  Turns out the cause was my using illegal characters in naming profiles.  So they replaced 100% of the components first, and then started looking elsewhere. Impressive.

All that was done under warranty, and it taught me a very valuable lesson - let the pros do it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 08, 2012, 05:15:15 PM
...So they replaced 100% of the components first, and then started looking elsewhere...[/i]

Quotes like this are the exact reason I rolled up my own sleeves and got into our 7900, rather than calling the pros.  Did I make a mistake?  The question isn't if I made a mistake, but how many did I make in a row - starting with buying this printer used.  If I had to do this all again would I instead have an Epson service tech come work on this thing right off the bat?  Not a chance.  Of the many mistakes I made, I'm glad I did not make that one - BEING THAT THE SERVICE CALL WOULD NOT BE UNDER WARRANTY.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 08, 2012, 05:26:51 PM
I'll say this for HP, you can even buy a warranty for a used printer... even one years old! You just have a 30 day or so period before you have problems.

Eric - where's that youtube vid? did you ever call that print head doctor place to see what they said about your 7900 head?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 08, 2012, 08:50:00 PM
Epson Stylus Pro 7900
video tutorial # 1
WIPER CLEANER ASSEMBLY EXCHANGE

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/SERVICE_WIPERCHANGE-tag.jpg) (http://gotagteam.com/epson/Epson_7900-Wiperblade_change.html)

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 08, 2012, 09:38:44 PM
Ok, so I haven't watched the video yet but I do have to say I do love the construction worker! Got my video working to the end. Great job!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 08, 2012, 10:52:18 PM
+1 Epson Stylus Pro 7900 - video tutorial # 1: WIPER CLEANER ASSEMBLY EXCHANGE

Thanks Eric!  This is simple enough to make anyone confident with the procedure.  What’s the game plan for other DIY videos?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 08, 2012, 11:08:47 PM
Nice video, Eric.  Simple step-by-step and easy to follow.  I can handle that.  Now if only I could locate an Epson 9900 wiper assembly to keep on the shelf....
Thank you for providing a Paypal address at the end of the video.

Any good sources for Epson printer parts?

While I haven't had any notable issues with my 9900 (knock on wood), I appreciate being able to learn more about how to handle potential maintenance issues with my printer, particularly the easier ones that might help avoid more serious issues later or a service call.  Thank you!

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 08, 2012, 11:49:46 PM
Thank you, David.    I agree with you---I wouldn't attempt to do anything more than the wiper assembly and replacing the cutter on my 9900.  That I can handle! 

I found it interesting to stumble on an article by Epson on inspecting and cleaning the wiper blade and pump cap assembly for the 9800 (I still have my 9800).  see, http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=FAQ&oid=60322&prodoid=55197367&foid=76588
Too bad there isn't much on user (read basic) level printer maintenance tips for the 79/9900. 

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: VeloDramatic on February 09, 2012, 12:46:19 AM
Fantastic video Eric. Clear simple instructions and you're great in front of the camera. This is easier than adding a hard drive or RAM to a PC.

Paypal donation made thanks.

::Michael
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Sven W on February 09, 2012, 03:25:47 AM
Users in EU can purchase their 79/9900 wiper assy from here (http://www.gedat-spareparts.com/index.php?sess=980720120205049331030&model=STYLUS%20PRO%209900&refnr=568&artnr=1504179&action=epsdetail). €7 !

Eric, a small contribution from Scandinavia will drop in from Paypal.
Thanks

/Sven
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 09, 2012, 05:22:10 AM
The San Fran man with the New Yak accent. ;)
Sent a check by mail through Gary and enclosed enough to cover the wiper assembly if your still holding it for me.
Good job!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 09, 2012, 08:59:49 AM
Eric, your video is very well done and the instruction well presented. For 7900 owners it could be useful (I use a 4900). But first they should be sure that if they are having ink delivery issues, the wiper blade exchange is the whole cause and the whole solution. That is where recourse to a trained technician would come in handy. Having said that - there are basically two approaches for resolving operational problems - (1) the analytic approach, (2) the trial and error approach -  just trying out various things that one has reason to think could be the culprits and seeing what happens. When that approach is as cheap as sixteen bucks and as apparently low-risk as your video would suggest, and just takes a minute with your guidance, it would appear to be worth a try before going the other route. I suspect that beyond what you have shown here, it starts getting more complicated pretty quickly, but I'll be watching for your next installments with interest.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eudemian on February 09, 2012, 10:54:26 AM
Humour and information, a stellar combination.
 I laughed out loud at your video and I learnt something at the same time that was extremely useful, you have a remarkable gift and I give you hearty thanks.
Cheers
Tom
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 09, 2012, 12:26:18 PM
Awesome.  I am so glad you guys like the video.  I knew Mark especially would appreciate the stop watch near the end.  Thank you very sincerely for the generous donations.  It's a fine proposition I think - spend a little and save a lottle (another word I just made up).

jeverton ;  my intention with the video(s) is to create a channel on youtube - specific to 7900 maintenance.  It's been suggested to me that a video on cleanings would be useful - from the serviceman mode.  I have small video cameras from another element of my life (no not FBI) that I can use to get some never-before seen angles on exactly what goes on during cleanings.  Not sure yet if we'll be able to see anything but I intend to try.  I think it will be useful for people to see their wiper blade in action.

I am open to other suggestions as well.

Special thank you for any and all support offered in thanks.  Every dollar here goes toward the purchase of a new head for this Epson 7900.  It's a handsome machine no doubt, but it'd be better looking with a 24" print coming out of it's chin.  Still have yet to experience that.


PS - true story.  Obviously I am from NY.  My whole family still lives there.  I sent this video to my younger brother Justin - a NYC Fireman.  Bed Stuy is his territory.  If that name doesn't ring a bell, just imagine it's a rough place.  His response, written from the firehouse, said so much in so few words, "You're gonna wake up with the fishes."  So if I suddenly go silent, check the Harbor

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: AFairley on February 09, 2012, 06:04:49 PM
+10, that tutorial is great, just to watch for fun.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on February 10, 2012, 05:45:16 PM
that video is class! brilliant!  :)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 10, 2012, 09:58:01 PM
Can't even explain how great it is you guys like the video.  Thanks for watching it.


I wish I could update the printhead diagnosis saga but I'm struggling to break through the barrier walls of Dimatix.  I really want to talk to someone who can give me straight information on what exactly makes these things clog/fail/die.  Not what might cause these problems.  More what exactly causes these problems.  May have to resort to dressing in drag after all.  Dam lipstick..
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 10, 2012, 10:08:39 PM
Eric, failure analysis can be tricky stuff, I seem to recall from years gone by in other endeavours - what I took away from it is that failures are seldom caused by just one thing. It's usually a sequence of events, each one of which compounds on the other to produce an inevitable outcome, once you know the chain and the potential impacts, meaning one needs an understanding of the underlying science and engineering. As mere mortals, most of us aren't terribly well-positioned to get into that stuff for an Epson Stylus Pro print head, which is a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment whose functioning depends on a number of critical systems, as you've seen. In your particular case, I'm still fixated on unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions about what happened to that printer from the time it left Dan's house until you set it up and started using it. In this case, the answer MUST lie somewhere within that chain of events, whatever they were.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 11, 2012, 07:05:39 AM
I wish I could update the printhead diagnosis saga but I'm struggling to break through the barrier walls of Dimatix.


Barking up the wrong tree, Dimatix knows its own products, I doubt it can tell you why an Epson 7900 head failed.

BTW, have you tried to clean the head in an ultrasonic bath or shifting the nozzle area over a vacuum tube end while feeding cleaning fluid into the head, preferably with a damper in between. The more drastic methods.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 11, 2012, 07:13:08 AM
Ernst, are you sure after what Eric has done with the head that it can properly survive the treatment you are proposing, or is that a suggestion to experiment along the lines that perhaps he has little to lose at this stage? But do we know this? Would it not be preferable for that head to be sent to professional service people for an evaluation? Suppose the head is damaged in a manner that cleaning will not help it any longer. Isn't it worthwhile knowing whether that's the case before spending more time and effort on it? Or suppose the head isn't damaged beyond repair yet, but it needs treatment of a particular kind otherwise it could be damaged beyond repair? Shouldn't he know that too? This is expensive, delicate, precision technology to tinker around with, don't you think?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 11, 2012, 08:21:28 AM
Expensive it will be as soon as professional service people get their hands on any part of your printer. Vacuum is 1 bar at most, I have seen more drastic methods. The capping station pump will probably apply a similar vacuum but not on individual nozzles so it is not as effective. Ultrasonic cleaning has been used often for cleaning inkjet heads, both thermal and piëzo. Google for it and also try to find the cases where it did not work. If you can not get that head cleaned get a new head and forget all about what may have caused the problem. You need X-ray microscopes for the best hypothesis then and with that hypothesis the head is still not open. Today I saw an ad for a water pick, too sophisticated for my teeth but with the advertised maximum 6 bar I thought it could help Eric get through the debris in the nozzle holes, with warmer water for example. If I had to spend approx. 1000 Euro on a head I would make sure that the old one is actually dead, and yes it may die in the process to resurrect it. If it still shows life in 90% of the nozzles it is not dead to me but as unusable as a dead head.

All an opinion of course. Using HP gear here and I had to exchange two heads last week, total 120 $. I might revive one for curiosity but I do not feel the urge right now, sealed it in the cup of the new one with a moistened cloth in there too.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: deanwork on February 11, 2012, 12:53:11 PM
Why would piezo heads that  should last for many years die on such a new printer? I don't get why Epson is going around replacing heads on these printers that are a year or two or less old. Our previous models could go a decade without replacing heads, and that was with everyday use. Actually the only Epson heads I ever had to replace were ones I shorted out by spraying cleaner in them trying to break clogs.  I've seen a lot of these reports of having to replace the heads prematurely in the latest series. It that really what is going on or is it the pressure leakage issues?

john
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 11, 2012, 12:55:14 PM
I can't get this image of my head now.  Thanks a lot Ernst.  There I am on all fours barking up a tree at some innocent Japanese man in a white lab coat.  I just know I'm gonna wake up to that tonight..

Do you really think piezoelectric printheads from different manufacturers will vary greatly in general design?  I am not baiting you here - I am sincerely asking.  My idea in asking the very scientists who design these piezoelectric printheads themselves, is to break away from endless speculation and gather a more specific understanding of how they work, how they are cooled, what exactly their tolerances are, etc.  I can't help thinking that rather than abiding by some arbitrary rules we are told to follow, that if we all had specific knowledge about what exactly goes on in our heads, we would be better prepared/motivated to provide more appropriate care for them.  For example I see many posts about moisture, capping stations, and drying ink.  Some put jars of water in their machines and hope for the best, others monitor their rooms daily and run humidifiers.  But what exactly is the moisture doing?  Does it keep the ink from drying around the seals of the capping station only, or is it more.  Is the moisture intended to reach the printhead itself?  And if it is, it must also make it's way into the ink in the printhead itself?  I am just thinking out-loud here but what I am after is actually less random.

I would like to understand exactly what happens during the time your printer sits between prints.  For however long, doesn't matter - because theoretically whatever happens begins to happen the instant your head parks itself over the capping station, and gradually works toward clogging your head.  When I say I want to understand things like "tolerances", what I am referring to is the relationship between the size of the nozzle opening in the x900 printhead, to the viscosity (thickness) of the Epson UltraChrome HDR ink.  For instance - in monkey language, using whole numbers so I can understand this better - if the ink measures 1mm wide and the nozzle openings measure 2mm wide, then in this case we have 1mm of tolerance for our ink to get "thicker" as it is exposed to the open air through the face of the printhead, and still fit through the nozzle opening when it gets fired out during a print.  Obviously the reason we have such a thing as a capping station is to protect the face of the printhead from exposure to the "dry" open air.  And obviously, even with a capping station, the face of our heads are not completely protected from dry open air - otherwise we could leave our printers idle for a week and have no clogs to clear.

imagine for a moment, Ernst, that you are a piezoelectric printhead engineer wearing a lab coat.  You are in a tree.  I am barking the following questions at you:

So for instance just on the subject of humidifiers, which I am confident not every Epson x900 user runs in the room of their machine, what EXACTLY is going on with all this extra moisture in the air of the room that houses our printer?  Because it's not purposely affecting our printheads, per-say, but rather the ink that is inside them.  Is it a "thickness" thing?  I assume it is.  How much of a thickness thing is it?  And then how exactly does ink in the printhead react as it sits idle over time?  And how does this in turn affect the piezoelectrics?  Is a "clog" (dried ink blocking the nozzle opening) actually even a clog?  Or could it mean the ink in the printhead has simply "thickened"?  And if it has indeed thickened, what exactly goes on now?  Does this thicker ink slow down the piezoelectric movements?  Does that in turn build up resistance, which leads to overheating causing misfiring, which shows up as "clogging"?  Is "overheating" sometimes what we are actually referring to as clogs?  Is the reason we are supposed to let the printer sit after cleanings meant to allow the Piezoelectrics to cool?  Is there some tolerance to overheating then - like do cleanings clear thickened ink from the head to provide thinner ink and in turn better FUTURE cooling?  So are automatic cleanings actually then maintenance, or could they be preventive maintenance?  In the case of these uncloggable clogs then, are these indications of what we sometimes call "dead pixels" on our sensors?  Is a dead head really a dead head - an electronic failure, or is it simply a drain-o clog clearing clog failure?  Is this why our printers are set by default to regularly clean themselves - to run thickened ink out of our printheads?  Is THIS the preventive maintenance step we are all screwing ourselves out of by "saving ink" and changing our default cleanings settings?  Is it actually not clogs Espon is concerned about, but instead "thickend" ink that's been exposed too long to open air entering the face of the printhead?  

Are you scared yet Ernst?

Stepping back a moment - questions like these are what I want answers to.  Maybe the guy in a lab coat would laugh me out of a room for asking such nonsense.  But, then, maybe he would look up at me and say, "That's our biggest challenge."

Because if overheating is what causes clogs, rather than clogs being what causes overheating - and ink is what plays a key role in piezoelectric printhead cooling - then maintaining the proper tolerances of Epson UltraChrome HDR ink viscosity would soon be appointed the new sheriff in town.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 11, 2012, 03:13:04 PM
I get clogs with dyes. In the same head as you have. Clogs are not ink thickness related. You say that a clog is dried ink in the nozzle. It may be paperdust as well. Combined with ink can easily get cement like.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 11, 2012, 03:22:58 PM
I get clogs with dyes. In the same head as you have. Clogs are not ink thickness related. You say that a clog is dried ink in the nozzle. It may be paperdust as well. Combined with ink can easily get cement like.

Just to be clear what I really am saying is I would like to avoid speculating.  At first my go-to response to gaps in the nozzle patters of this 7900 was clogs.  I understood clogs back then to mean dried up ink in the nozzles.  Now after all this open communication about clogs and printheads I understand it the problem(s) could actually be more involved than what I originally assumed. 

Thanks for your input.  Cement sounds horrible - I see enough of that crap in my day job.  And by the way it's pretty thick, so maybe clogs are thickness related?   :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 11, 2012, 03:23:21 PM
Eric,

Check Dimatix products, there is a PDF file. Not one of their heads squirts droplets smaller than 10 picoliter. The nozzle strips are one channel mainly and often a single trip of nozzles so several are assembled next to one another to print the colors needed. If water based inks are used in them it is in the textile industry. They squirt typically solvent or UV curing inks for industrial uses, sign industry etc. Used on systems that can clean the heads in the evening etc. All kinds of piëzohead patents exist, Epson is just one of the developers and its goal has been photo quality printing with water based inks. They are not really used in the sign industry for example just one Epson printer and some Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland models with Ecosolvent inks. When inks get really tough you will see Spectra heads, Konica heads, etc. Printers like that asks for much more maintenance and are build for that service. Rolands and Mimakis allow more maintenance by the user even when equipped with Epson heads.

Humidity at 55% is a general condition for working with papers and will not be bad for inkjet printers either. But an inkjet printer that is not in use but used often enough should have enough "humidity" within the capping station. If not, the seal of the capping station to the head is compromised by paper lint etc. and should be cleaned. When that issue often happens and users increase the humidity in the print room there will be less issues but the real problem is a bad seal in the capping station that should be cleaned. The glycols and glycerols in the ink medium function more like a retarder than the water in the ink medium does, humidity in the print room is no equivalent to their function. The waste ink pump underneath the capping station pads is a tube pump, it seals off any air getting into the pad/nozzle area if no tube or valve there is leaking. I guess in transport of your printer the capping station was not completely sealed off and possibly some ink retracted into the head. When started up again the bad condition of the wiper blade was no help either. The piëzo pumps can not handle air in the head and any dried ink on the nozzle surface makes it worse. Imagine the situation where the piëzo pump tries to pump air through a hole that is blocked, without a fluid there is no pumping done, no pressure build to blow out the dried ink, no fresh ink reaching the dried ink to dissolve it. The ink has not lost much of its normal consistency but does not reach into the actual pumping area.

Pigment particles are a factor of 200 or more smaller than the nozzle diameter. Already talking about microns for the nozzle diameter. The rheology of an inkjet ink is based on much more components than pigment and water and has to suit the nozzle geometry, pump activity, travel, paper coating and drying while keeping the pigment particles suspended in the carts. You can read endless documents on the web, patents, whatever and it will not help you in resolving what happened to your printer.

The advice to stop with extensive cleanings and let the printer rest for some time may be related to air bells near the nozzles that could escape in time and to give the glycols and water time to dissolve dried ink near the nozzle. I do not relate it to the electronics in the first place but it could be that the latest heads are more prone to overheating too. Blocked nozzles, air in the pump and no fresh ink around will not help then.

Based on some educated guesses, gut feelings or just my intuition.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 11, 2012, 03:33:40 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, that's barking up the RIGHT tree.

I feel like I should send you brownies now Ernst.

Thank you
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 11, 2012, 06:51:23 PM
I get clogs with dyes. In the same head as you have. Clogs are not ink thickness related. You say that a clog is dried ink in the nozzle. It may be paperdust as well. Combined with ink can easily get cement like.

This may not be related, but I had been printing many prints with Epson Cold Press Bright the week before going on vacation, and shutting down my 7900. I wonder if something related to "paper dust" from the rag paper could have contributed to my nozzle clog. I had done an entire week with Matte Black and watercolor-type papers.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on February 12, 2012, 01:22:05 AM
I posted earlier, and i think I got discouraged after my simple cleaning attempts, and Eric's thorough head cleaning didn't provide any positive results.  I have decided to sell my 9900 with a tough green clog as-is. I guess I just don't have the repairman stamina that Eric does and I have decided to sell it as is on eBay. (item #220952497644) if anybody wants a "fun" project or a parts printer. I'm starting it at a "low" price. ($1000.) its just over a year old and only has 300 pages on it (50 of which are nozzle checks) prints good except the green channel.....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 12, 2012, 01:39:37 AM
Ernst +1. I think you are right.

Ultrasonoc cleaning maybe a good thing. Or not, but the head is compromised anyways. And i suggest a weekly maintenance for al 9900 users. Each friday afternoon take a few minutes and clean the whiper and the edges of the caping station. And leave some drops of cleaning fluid on the flushpad and in the caping station. For those who dare i suggest to clean arownd the head itself. NOT the bottom of the head, just the edges. Head is 90 degres rotated and is hard to see, but with a swab you can doit.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 12, 2012, 04:37:20 AM

 I did read an article on clogging a while back that stated that printing with the art (rag)type papers can indeed induce more chance of fiber dust and clogs, as opposed to resin coated and glossy type papers.
 

Right, you only have to look on the surface beneath the head carriage path what dust paper lint and coating particles of art papers can create. I noticed my Z3200 had too much of it last Friday. Vacuum cleaning should be done but I have to make sure that the felt there stays flat. Self discipline for cleaning is a virtue. I think the users that have little issues must have RC papers, films, etc on their printer, that makes a lot of difference.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 12, 2012, 09:09:48 AM
One of the advantages of sheet feed printers (3880) is that you can brush all papers to get rid of paper lint prior to printing.  I do this whether using gloss or matte paper and maybe it's a contributing factor to no clogs.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on February 12, 2012, 11:11:59 AM
I have gained alot of knowledge about my newly purchased, one owner, 7900 and I thank everyones input. I sold my trusty 7800 and it truly was like the old pickup that kept starting in the morning day after day. As my friend had trouble with his 9900 he bought from someone with a known clog issue I have followed this thread to keep mine from doing the same thing and possibly facing a $2500 head repair visit. Being more paranoid I guess I have printed out a daily nozzle check status and turned on my 7900 everyday (which I never did with my 7800 and it was fine) to stay on top of a possible problem. I will also do the wiper blade exchange in the near future. I was wondering (maybe I missed it in the earlier pages) was if keeping the machine off for longer lengths of time initiates the clogging and is the humidity level a factor? It is more humid where I run my printer and think that will help keep the clogging at bay? Also, as I was reading the manual last night I ran across this on p.176 regarding after you move the printer after the initial setup:

"Keep in mind that the first time you start printing after moving the printer, the print head nozzles may be clogged _ especially if the printer hasn't been turned on for a long time. You may need to run a cleaning cycle (p 154) and realign the print head to ensure good print quality."

This struck me kinda weird as the problem seems to be with print head nozzles being clogged and don't know if it was in my 7800 manual. Just my little 2 cents worth ... but with products being rushed out the door and the consumer seems to be the testing ground (an electrician pointed out that these days alot of electrical devices go bad and they seem to use the field electricians to cull out the bad switches/plugs/etc) rather than fine tune a product until any known bugs are out (an ideal world I know)!

Thanks Eric for the video and anyone sharing their knowledge and experiences with the 7900/9900 Epsons. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 12, 2012, 11:52:16 AM
I posted earlier, and i think I got discouraged after my simple cleaning attempts, and Eric's thorough head cleaning didn't provide any positive results.  I have decided to sell my 9900 with a tough green clog as-is. I guess I just don't have the repairman stamina that Eric does and I have decided to sell it as is on eBay. (item #220952497644) if anybody wants a "fun" project or a parts printer. I'm starting it at a "low" price. ($1000.) its just over a year old and only has 300 pages on it (50 of which are nozzle checks) prints good except the green channel.....

SacredEarth this is very unfortunate and I for one will not let this happen to all of us in this clogged predicament!  It’s time to get to the bottom of these recurring concerns… if the manufacture will not respond to this community and identify recommendations on a prescriptive or suggestive maintenance schedule, and identify alternative service providers with reasonable repair costs it only leaves one avenue worth our pursuit.

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 12, 2012, 11:56:52 AM
..........Being more paranoid I guess I have printed out a daily nozzle check status and turned on my 7900 everyday (which I never did with my 7800 and it was fine) to stay on top of a possible problem. I will also do the wiper blade exchange in the near future. ........... 

I'd be interested in some clarity on the following questions relating to your experience with your recently acquired 7900: when did you get your 7900? For how many days now have you been printing the daily nozzle checks? What have the results been? Have you made any prints yet? What do the prints look like? What first-hand experience have you had or observed with YOUR printer that makes you think you need to change your wiper blade?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on February 12, 2012, 03:45:05 PM
I got the 7900 a month ago from a neighbor a mile away (we babied it home). He bought it new July 2010 and had 71 prints on it.  I read the pages last Sunday after my friend at sent me the link since he was the one who was initially happy about his 9900 until it looked like it may have expensive repair work after trying some solutions on his own. I was starting to have buyers remorse and the sweetness of the deal was becoming tarnished. I did a regular morning nozzle check printout and have only seen great results. I print regularly but don't want to turn the 7900 on everyday due to being paranoid it will clog if I don't. I called the previous owner and asked him the longest he went without turning it on and he said a couple of weeks. He had it set on an automatic nozzle check/clean which I have turned off. It makes great prints and can see a subtle difference than my 7800. I mainly had issues with out of gamut colors on my 7800 as well as the Apple operating system possibly causing color management issues. I don't have any issues with the printer and just want to be aware of potential problems/issues and their solutions as a minimum $1000 service call is not what I live for. Hope this helps. My 7800 spoiled me; I know there are 100's of 7900/9900 owners with no problems and want mine to be as trustworthy as I have been used to. I don't think I can get the new 7800 owner of my machine to let go of it as he loves it! 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 12, 2012, 03:50:34 PM
All that sounds fine. I would recommend forgetting about the wiper blade and forget about ANY fiddling around inside the machine unless real trouble erupts - and then be real careful about what you do so you don't compound the problem. Your preventive measures sound sensible to me, especially as you don't need to print with it every day. x900s are meant to be production machines.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 12, 2012, 04:39:20 PM
x900s are meant to be production machines.

It would be interesting to know how many 7900's are production machines, and how many are used for lower volume. You'd almost wonder if a more consumer-friendly version of a 24" printer might be desirable; something like a big brother to a 3880. It's a bit off-putting to think these 7900's are so delicate that you have to turn them on and off every single day in order to avoid a printhead disaster.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on February 12, 2012, 04:53:06 PM
What would you define a production machine mark? I am a photographer who also prints for other artists. Sometimes I print very little and other times I run the printer all day. Is there a print qty amount that ones use? 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mr.Gale on February 12, 2012, 05:05:35 PM
It would be interesting to know how many 7900's are production machines, and how many are used for lower volume. You'd almost wonder if a more consumer-friendly version of a 24" printer might be desirable; something like a big brother to a 3880. It's a bit off-putting to think these 7900's are so delicate that you have to turn them on and off every single day in order to avoid a printhead disaster.

I have a 9900 and after reading this thread I decided I should check mine. It hasn't been on for more than a month and I have auto check/clean turned off, ran a nozzle check and it is perfect. IMO what you usually read on forums (not only here) are those that are having problems and seldom from those who are not. I have owned a 7600 and a 9600 before buying the 9900 (used) and it is by far the best printer of the three and has been problem free, but you never know :-).

Gale
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 12, 2012, 05:09:13 PM
What would you define a production machine mark? I am a photographer who also prints for other artists. Sometimes I print very little and other times I run the printer all day. Is there a print qty amount that ones use? 

A production machine normally means that it spends some time every day actually making prints. I have a 4900 and find that it can sit turned off for 3 or 4 days without needing to be cleaned, but beyond that it will need a light cleaning to get all the nozzles laying ink on paper. If I use it daily, there are fewer cleaning cycles.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 12, 2012, 05:11:40 PM
It is so great to hear good news like this thank you very much for sharing it.  I've had this looming feeling of doom hanging over my head for a while now.  Like if we get ours working somehow how long will it last?  Maybe it's not worth fixing?  Etc. etc.  I am very glad to hear not only about your good experiences, but also in other new threads.  What a relief
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 12, 2012, 08:54:27 PM
I did a regular morning nozzle check printout and have only seen great results. I print regularly but don't want to turn the 7900 on everyday due to being paranoid it will clog if I don't.

One question has been puzzling to me… Do you leave the wide format printer on or off?  What is the manufacture’s recommendation?  What does your experience or the distributor tell you?  If you turn off the printer for a period of time and then power up the unit… Are you more likely to experience clogging?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on February 13, 2012, 01:06:09 AM
I usually turn the printer off at night. Always did this with my 7800 for years. Not sure what Epson recommends. Once I turn it on in the morning I leave it on as it goes into a sleeper mode. Starting today I did not print out a nozzle check status and will probably move it to a weekly or every 10 days routine. I really am starting to believe the reported issues are the exception to the norm and there are alot of happy running 7900/9900 machines out there in use and may never have any problems. Let's hope I'm right.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on February 13, 2012, 07:48:16 AM
I know this is an Epson thread, but a few things I know about my Canon 6100 might be worth sharing.  A Canon distributer told me never to continue printing after the menu tells me the cartridge hasn't enough ink to finish the job.. It's possible to continue because the menu offers that choice.  The risk is the ink will then completely empty during the print, and the head will suffer overheating and nozzle damage due to no cooling by the flow of ink.  I'm not sure if  Epsons allow the printing to continue like that, so I offer the info for what it's worth.

The Canons perform much better if left on, they wake up at odd times and when they do the panel says "Agitating" or "Checking temperature and humidity" or "Nozzle check".  Leaving it on also consumes less ink than only turning it on to do a print.

I recall earlier in this thread a discussion about the electrical impulses that force the  piezo operation which shoots the ink from the nozzles.  Later discussion seems to be more about clogging than electrical or piezo failure.  Are we closer to knowing which really is the most likely cause of failure?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rothberg on February 13, 2012, 08:04:24 AM
I have read this thread with great interest and wish to share my thanks along with many others for the OP's courage and open discussion of his clogging problem and solutions (and the delightful video).  I own a 7900 and a 4900 and have owned Epson printers back to the dark recesses of time. I replace them about every third generation (my last 24" printer was the 7600) With acknowledged fear (or superstition) for breaking that which does not need to be fixed, I am happy to report that I have never had a clog that was not easily cleaned.
My printers are certainly "light duty". If I am not planning to use the 7900 in the next 24 hours I turn it off.  Sometimes it remains off for a week or more. The 4900 powers itself off after about 6 hours of idle time. My studio is in a non climate controlled basement and both printers are within 15 feet of a oil fired furnace which produces prodigious amounts of dust and ash. I do not cover either printer when not in use. Epson printers just seem to work, at least for me.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 13, 2012, 08:07:37 AM
This is not an Epson issue. There is always ink left in the cartridge after the system forces you to change the cartridge for exactly this reason.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 13, 2012, 10:52:48 AM
A few observations:

* "x900s are meant to be production machines."  Where is this coming from?  Where is the evidence?  If that is so, then Epson would need to make that clear as not to sell printers to people who clearly would not "qualify" to use/own one.  As a matter of fact, I have talked to Epson management people and they clearly expressed interest in selling these printers to more than just "production" folks, so I guess that it is safe to write that Epson never intended x900 printers to be only production machines.


* Eric, you don't have a clog anymore, and your current situation is probably not due to a clog.  As posted much earlier in this epic saga, I have collected data that so far shows that most printers affected by this "dead head syndrom," have that occur in LLK.  So, yes, especially with this thread, we learn that other colors can be affected too, albeit so far not cyan for instance, one of the most clog prone color in the x900.  Beyond that, verified experimentation establishes that LLK hardens much less than cyan for instance, it remains more fluid much longer.  It is therefore nonsensical to imagine that it could clog more, and as a matter of fact, most users would agree that LLK clogs less than most other colors, especially cyan and yellow for instance.  This goes further in demonstrating that typically a head failure on the LLK channel cannot be caused from actual clogging. Now we do not know if Eric's case is exactly similar as far as the causes go, but I tend to think that it has the same symptoms, except for the color(s) and that it therefore is likely to be actually the same problem on different colors.


* Eric and the rest of us affected by this have a head with either premature delamination, most likely in the upper chamber, or fried nozzle connections.  A good way to eliminate the delamination theory would be indeed to flush thoroughly the head from the nozzles out, reinstall it and see if anything has changed?  If delamination is the cause, then surely flushing the head with cleaner in the opposite direction as the normal flow, should have a tendency to clean the particles that presumably obstruct the filter before the nozzles.  If delamination is the problem, then surely such a job would change the situation, the physical obstruction would have a tendency to either be expelled, or at least move.  So by comparing a nozzle check done before and after, there should be a noticeable difference.


* But I am leaning more toward a "frying" of the nozzles'connections, as the issue does not seem completely in line with the normal symptoms and behavior of delamination.  Except that the frying could not possibly due to blockage or heat, given what I have observed both in my printer and the rest of the cases that I know.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 13, 2012, 11:52:04 AM
A few observations:

* "x900s are meant to be production machines."  Where is this coming from?  Where is the evidence?  If that is so, then Epson would need to make that clear as not to sell printers to people who clearly would not "qualify" to use/own one.  As a matter of fact, I have talked to Epson management people and they clearly expressed interest in selling these printers to more than just "production" folks, so I guess that it is safe to write that Epson never intended x900 printers to be only production machines.

....

I think this comes from the basic premise that in general these Epson printers need or like to be used.  They simply run better---unless you like doing multiple nozzle checks and cleanings.  And the time in between usage that the printer can sit unused (imho) is a variable that varies greatly with environmental factors, humidity, etc. of individual users.  Even a car if left garaged (unused) needs servicing---fluids breakdown, battery drains, etc).  I would guess Epson doesn't care if the end-user is in a "production" environment or not.  The business model is just to sell relatively inexpensive pro-printers and ink.  It's up to the user to determine how to make the best of their printers and maintain.  And yes, I think it'd be helpful to have an Epson recommended tips/maintainance/service schedule.  Until then---we have Eric and this forum.   ;)

So, in my "production environment" I do try my best to run at minimum a nozzle check on days I'm not printing.  I shut off the printer each day.  I do wonder about printer utilities like www.harveyheadcleaner.com (runs nozzle checks automatically) for times when I leave the studio for days/weeks at a time on vacation/assignments.  Humidity kept between 40-60%.  Carefully vacuum media roll ends and printer areas with dust from canvas and fine art papers.  And now with Eric's shared experience here I will be occasionally inspecting and cleaning the wiper---as well as replacing it after about a year or so.  That much I can do----and I've had basically a great trouble-free experience with my more-finicky 9900 (than 9800) thus far.  And I suspect that is what the vast majority of 49/79/9900 users experience: a great printer.  But I also believe in doing the little things noted above helps to protect my investment and keep my 9900 running, just as I would with any other piece of equipment in my studio.

This is not to say that those that do suffer clogs/difficulties with their printer are necessarily to blame or to diminish their frustations.  But I do believe the vast majority of 49/79/9900 users don't experience these mortal printer head deaths, and do enjoy their Epson printers.  I do appreciate those that have had difficulties with their printers, sharing their experiences so everyone else can perhaps learn from their experiences.  So I am thankful for Eric's detailed breakdown and experience.  I can now confidently clean my wiper and replace it.  Anything more and I know quite confidently I'll be calling on Decision One.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 13, 2012, 12:52:27 PM
A few observations:

...

* Eric, you don't have a clog anymore, and your current situation is probably not due to a clog....

* Eric and the rest of us affected by this have a head with either premature delamination, most likely in the upper chamber, or fried nozzle connections...


I want to understand you better;  You are saying I "don't have a clog anymore", but at one point I did?  And my current situation is probably not due to a clog, but rather fried electrics?

Just so I am clear(er) here is my experience:  Purchase machine used / first print a nozzle check - PK clog, YW group-clogging / many cleanings later "clogs" gradually get worse, not ever better / remove printhead, soak-etc, reinstall / clogs exactly the same. 

At this point I lean more toward the problem in our 7900 printhead being fried electrics.  BUT...  there is one lingering piece of this puzzle which may not match up with the fried electrics theory so appropriately - the "clogs" have ever so gradually gotten worse.  Grown, if you will, like a virus.  From my experiences electric failures happen two ways;  1 - total blackness indicating what in this case would be a dead nozzle, or 2 -  intermittent temporary failures, or reduction in power, due to faulty connections.

So I don't know.  To me my clogs grew organically.  They didn't appear like an electric failure would.  That's just my gut feeling.  Not scientific.  I am probably wrong.  But I expect an electronic failure would be brought on by overheating.  If one nozzle had failed electronically it would produce no heat - therefore it would not jeopardize the life of the nozzles surrounding it (at least not from overheating).  But I definitely can see a clog which was formed by dried or gummy tar completely blocking the nozzle from behind, growing like a virus and affecting other nozzle around it.

I do not understand what you mean by "delaminating".  I know what the word means, I just don't know what elements of these printheads are laminated.  Could you please explain more about this?  Because delaminating I can definitely also see as something which would slowly grow, like our clogs did.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 13, 2012, 02:31:50 PM
Some interesting reading...

US Patent Application 20100007706 - LIQUID EJECTING HEAD, LIQUID EJECTING APPARATUS, AND PIEZOELECTRIC ELEMENT - http://www.patentstorm.us/applications/20100007706/fulltexhtml

Inkjet Printheads
http://mindmachine.co.uk/book/print_42_inkjet_heads.html

J
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 13, 2012, 03:30:48 PM
Nine to five I am a carpenter.  I live the life of a thug. A heavy steel framing hammer hangs from my belt.  Something won't go in, won't go up, or won't come down - it gets smashed.  Life is very simple.  Things makes sense.

Five to nine I am a husband and a step-father, to a rebellious 19 year old boy.  I live the life of finesse.  No framing hammer hangs from my belt.  Something won't go in, won't go up, or won't come down - I can't smash it.  Life is very complicated.  Little makes sense

...and then I met my Epson Stylus Pro 7900, which doesn't work.  So I traded my clumsy thug of a framing hammer for the finesse of my fine-tipped philips head screwdriver.  "If it doesn't work I will learn how it does.  If it's broken I will fix it.  I hope."  

Two months ago I came to Luminous Landscape to learn.  Two weeks ago I came to share.  I never expected the monsoon of learning we would all soon unleash.  But somehow after all this learning, after all this sharing, and especially after all this speculation - two remarkable things remain:  We still don't have the answer.  I still dream of finding it.

So it's time I think I trade this gentle philips head screwdriver for my trusty thug of a framing hammer..

What if Ernst is right?  What if this might still be a clog, and possibly not electric at all?

LARGE BOLD PRINT HERE, I'M GOING OUT ON A LIMB...

I followed Chadd's advice and called the Print Head Doctor.  Asked about his machine, our x900 heads, our ink, our clogs, and then for his advice:

Eric - WTF is wrong with my printhead?

printheaddoctor.com - Could be it is clogged.  With those Epson heads we have 100% success cleaning, but only 60% success with them working again - because 40% of the time the problem is electrics, not clogs.

Eric - Do you perform the cleanings?

printheaddoctor.com - No we do not.  We only sell the machines.

Eric - How much are these ultrasonic printhead cleaning machines?

printheaddoctor.com - $1,700, plus you need a specific adapter for your printhead.  Yours is $250.  Then you need the cleaning solution.  We have four grades.

Eric - So it's two grand for your machine

printheaddoctor.com - Yes

Eric - But it's $1800 for a new printhead

printheaddoctor.com - Yes I know that.  You wouldn't buy this machine to fix one head one time.  It would be to service many.

Eric - That's a big ask - $2,000 when I don't know if it will work.  How about I make you a deal?  

printheaddoctor.com - I am listening

Eric - I will mail you my head, you clean it with your machine and send it back to me.  I will install it in my machine.  If it prints like new I will buy your machine, then I will fix all the un-clearable clogs in the printheads of all my friends on this tiny web forum which nobody ever reads.  Deal?

printheaddoctor.com - Deal




I do not know how long this will take but I just mailed my Epson 7900 printhead.  So we will all know for sure in time exactly what the problem with the printhead on this Epson 7900 is.  If it's electrical the "clogs" will remain.  If they shoot clear the clogs were simply clogs.

...I love my framing hammer
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on February 13, 2012, 04:13:06 PM
Let's hope when you get it back it's not "Hammer Time" :)


"Can't touch this..."
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 13, 2012, 04:54:39 PM
printheaddoctor.com - Could be it is clogged.  With those Epson heads we have 100% success cleaning, but only 60% success with them working again - because 40% of the time the problem is electrics, not clogs.

Wow!  I can’t wait for the final verdict.  Any side bets on the outcome???
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on February 13, 2012, 05:18:34 PM
It's really time for EPSON to step up to the plate and answer some questions / give some guidance, otherwise we are fishing in the dark. Hello Epson PR department? This thread has 9,000 views so far and that will surely grow everyday. MANY people come to this forum to figure out what printer to purchase. I just bought a box of Epson Fine Art Velvet Paper, on the box is a big photo done by LuLa's own Jeff Schewe. Jeff has mentioned numerous times that he has a "relationship" with Epson. Perhaps he can point someone with clout at Epson to this thread. I don't expect them to spill trade secrets or anything.. I just want them to be helpful, after all, its their product.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 13, 2012, 05:35:39 PM
I have more potentially great news for anyone who feels like they are backed into a corner with no way out of their failed printhead completely negating the value of their entire Epson X900 printer.  No your printer is not suddenly a worthless pile of rubbish.  No a replacement printhead for your machine is not $1,800.  In fact it's quite a lot less.  

Brand new printheads purchased directly from Epson (this price was just quoted for me 12/13/12 by Epson themselves) are $1,132.12.  They are in stock.  They can ship today.

Here is the deal on buying Epson replacement parts from Epson themselves:  You can't.  You have to buy Epson parts from any of their distributors.  And the parts are sold with the intent that a qualified service technician will be installing them.  Here is where it gets interesting though..  There is an exception to this rule.  If YOU are installing the printhead yourself, you CAN order it directly from Epson.  They offer no assistance, no manuals, no programs used for installation.  But they DO offer you the part.  It's expensive, but it's not the end of your printer expensive.

I already pm'd the new-to-Luminous Landscape member who stated his 9900 was for sale on ebay as spare parts because he has unclearable clogs only on his green channel.  I told him to end the auction.  

Something is changing here, finally.  Our answers are drawing near.  In fact we may soon have 2 solutions to unclearable clogs.  But we definitely already have one - replacing the head at an unprohibitive cost.  Yes I just made another word up.

Before you jump on the "Oh hell no I can't take the printhead off by myself " bandwagon, rest easy.  If enough people are cornered by this unclearable clog dilemma, and you support the cause I will create an Epson 79/9900 printhead replacement video that a Chimpanzee could understand.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 13, 2012, 06:25:54 PM
Eric,

I was doing more endless searching and found this print head recover service ... and they DO perform the clean and TEST before returning:

http://inkjetperformance.com/id33.html

They don't list the x900 printers, but the page may be old. Might be worth a call to pick their brains also. They put a nice bold red notice about the drawbacks of using ultrasonic "jewelry" cleaners... 

Take a peak! I also saw that 9900 on ebay and was about to email him with a link to this thread!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 13, 2012, 07:21:44 PM
Some of you may find this interesting, but the dx5 printhead (from the 9800/7800 printers) has been marketed pretty widely for a variety of printers including solvent printers. I also read a couple recent FLAAR reports talking about epson's dx5, dx6 and dx7 print heads:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Flarge-format-printers.org%2Fcomparative-reviews_evaluations_price_wide-format-inkjet-printers_UV-cured_solvent_textile_resin_latex-ink%2F55_D-PES-Dongguan-2011-China-Sign-exhibitor-list-Epson-DX5-DX7-printheads-Lexmark-Lenovo_printers.pdf&ei=0Kc5T_H0BOns2gXCi_WhCg&usg=AFQjCNFTpH3QJfwMFCNi4w758uYKMMv2Sw&sig2=wZEeFkNc7oahOUsbavz3kg

http://www.large-format-printers.org/comparative-reviews_evaluations_price_wide-format-inkjet-printers_UV-cured_solvent_textile_resin_latex-ink/55_D-PES-Dongguan-2011-China-Sign-exhibitor-list-Epson-DX5-DX7-printheads-Lexmark-Lenovo_printers.pdf

And for your viewing pleasure:

http://support.chinaprinter.net/ECO-Solvent-Printer-Installation/Epson-DX5-Printhead-Install/

My 7800 never made THAT much racket!

PS: FLAAR has a lot of free reports:
http://large-format-printers.org/large_format-download_page/free_pdf_reports.php

And while we cut our teeth on the new 9900/9890/etc. other manufacturer's are doing interesting things like this with that "out dated" 9800 print head:
http://www.kingsign.net/products/printer/epson.html


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on February 13, 2012, 08:20:06 PM
Ok, Eric just convinced me,  and I just pulled my clogged 9900 off eBay. I'm going to wait and hear Eric's results with the ultrasonic cleaning. $1200. For a new print head is still just out of my budget for repairing this printer. I already put $$$ into purchasing what I thought was a working printer, wasted a bunch of inks trying to clear the clog,  and then needing a working printer right away and putting more $$ into a 9800, to get my back log of print orders out the door. I'll just wait and see..., but it still may end up on eBay. Thanks again to Eric for his time and willingness to put his printer through the paces and post his findings on this forum!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 13, 2012, 08:21:54 PM
Eric,


Nobody can say whether you had a serious clog originally or not, but correct me if I am wrong, my understanding is that at least since the head dip in cleaning solution overnight, there is just no clog left in the head, right?  Yet the head still has drop outs on the nozzle check, so there is something else, and that something else can either be premature delamination (premature because such a young printer should not be subject to delamination) or its nozzle connections are fried.

If you have delamination, I think that everybody will agree that it is extremely unlikely that it may have been caused by a clog, which means that you probably did not have any serious clog in the first place.  The only problem with the delamination theory, is that one would think that delamination would manifest itself more randomly in the nozzles than the rather regular order of progression it is known by.  And this is really why I believe more in the fried nozzle connection theory.

If you have nozzles connections fried, then who knows what caused it, but it is unlikely that it is nozzles clogged, because even as we post here, your head does not have any nozzle clogged, and yet it keeps loosing nozzles, just as mine does, and just as all the other heads I know do or have done.  The fact that the number of damaged heads still seem to be overwhelmingly affected in the LLK channel makes me think of a chemical component of the ink that would promote a "corrosion" of the electronic/electrical contacts under specific circumstances, and if you admit that for the sake of the argument, then it seems to make sense to envision contamination just like rust propagates.  But my understanding of this is no better than my expertise in what propulses the Star Trek space ship.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 13, 2012, 08:34:38 PM
God dammit that's the Enterprise, not the Star Trek space ship!

Hey you started it.  It's your fault I now assume you have a sense of humor   :-)


Yes we soaked the face of our head in distilled water and cleaning fluid.  Mixture about 20% solution, 80% distilled water.  However, do we know if that cleared our clogs?  We definitely do not.  After soaking our printhead's face in the solution for 24hrs we then very gently sucked fresh cleaning fluid mixed at the same proportion, up through the face of the head and out the back into a clear tube attached to a syringe.  In this clear tube we did see crap come out of the PK channel.  I was not watching during the YW sucking.  By assumption yes, this gave us the impression our head would be clear of clogs.  But no, we do NOT know if they were actually cleared.  We don't even know if our clogs are clogs at this point.  The only thing we know for sure is our head has drop-outs in the very same places it has since we got this machine.  Only difference since day-one to now, they are slightly worse.  But not from the soaking.  Mostly from the cleanings.  The soaking made absolutely no difference.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 13, 2012, 09:01:49 PM
But my understanding of this is no better than my expertise in what propulses the Star Trek space ship.

Indeed, same here, because I don't design piezo-electric printheads nor the chemistry of the inks. It could be a number of things and those of us who are allowed to converse have neither the data nor the expertise nor the context to diagnose it with any confidence.

Perhaps just getting on the right track for diagnosis needs to start with the initial conditions. As I've said before, if the printer was working fine the night before it left Dan Berg's house and it was not working fine when it arrived at Eric's house. whatever caused the problem *most likely* happened in-between, unless by a low probability coincidence a problem unbeknown to Dan was brewing from some time before and  just happened to erupt as the printer came to Eric, perhaps exacerbated by what happened between their two houses. I think Eric's current path of investigation makes a certain amount of sense. It will probably reveal whether clogs remain the issue. Failing that, I believe it unlikely that the root cause will be definitively nailed on this Forum.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 13, 2012, 09:17:46 PM
Wow!  I can’t wait for the final verdict.  Any side bets on the outcome???
Well, I'd bet the head still has issues.  This sounds like a classic head failure, which unfortunately does happen. they are pretty rare, but evidence does seem to point to the new heads being more prone to this, and after moving a 7900 and seeing a similar failure one has to wonder if moving these printers can cause problems. Maybe we should be flushing the heads before moving printers.

The printer I sold and moved developed a few clogs that were challenging (in the LLK channel), and the user executed several cleans consecutively, even a couple of SS cleans.  that begs the question whether aggressive cleaning can actually damage the head.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 13, 2012, 09:20:55 PM
that begs the question whether aggressive cleaning can actually damage the head.



Epson technical staff have advised me that successive heavy-duty cleanings can introduce air into the system and this is to be avoided. Hence they recommended running prints between cleanings and not to run successive power cleans.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Pete Berry on February 13, 2012, 10:14:35 PM
Eric,

If you have nozzles connections fried, then who knows what caused it, but it is unlikely that it is nozzles clogged, because even as we post here, your head does not have any nozzle clogged, and yet it keeps loosing nozzles, just as mine does, and just as all the other heads I know do or have done.  The fact that the number of damaged heads still seem to be overwhelmingly affected in the LLK channel makes me think of a chemical component of the ink that would promote a "corrosion" of the electronic/electrical contacts under specific circumstances, and if you admit that for the sake of the argument, then it seems to make sense to envision contamination just like rust propagates.  But my understanding of this is no better than my expertise in what propulses the Star Trek space ship.

This sounds like the typical modus exodus for Canon iPFxxxx thermal bubble jet heads, which seems to be thermo-electrical burnout rather than reversible ink clogs. I have yet to hear a report of reversible clogging associated with banding and/or printhead error messages in 6 years of following the Canon LF printer Wiki closely.

The design difference is that Canon iPFx300 series printheads (two of six colors each) have a large nozzle redundancy, with auto re-mapping as they fail - 2560 nozzles/color, vs. Epson's 360/color for the x900 series. The downside is that every few years you replace printheads as they fail, which takes about a half hour's time between purging and removal of the old and refilling of the new - at $450 each for the new x300, and $600 for the earlier gen. x100 series. Then total freedom from nozzle checks or forced cleaning cycles - for 5 years of regular use with my iPF5000 after the original PF-01 heads failed and were replaced under warranty with the x100 series PF-03's.

Pete
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 14, 2012, 10:51:16 AM
Well, I'd bet the head still has issues.  This sounds like a classic head failure, which unfortunately does happen. they are pretty rare, but evidence does seem to point to the new heads being more prone to this, and after moving a 7900 and seeing a similar failure one has to wonder if moving these printers can cause problems. Maybe we should be flushing the heads before moving printers.

The printer I sold and moved developed a few clogs that were challenging (in the LLK channel), and the user executed several cleans consecutively, even a couple of SS cleans.  that begs the question whether aggressive cleaning can actually damage the head.


You might be on to something here... I was thinking the same thing last night.  What if too much electrical current is sent through the printer head during several cleans consecutively?  This is definately not highlighted in the printer manual under the maintaning and transporting the printer.  And if we should print in between cleaning cycles - where is this documented?   ???
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 14, 2012, 11:02:11 AM
I'm thinking like Wayne as well.  If you're shipping your printer maybe do more than what is advised - leaving carts in place.  Perhaps those flushing carts are a good idea.  Might suck to feel like you're wasting ink but really you could be risking a lot more expense than ink.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 14, 2012, 11:33:34 AM
I watched the videos of their machine in action, but do not undestand how you could possibly do a back flush drawing cleaning fluid through the head without removing it on a 7900/9900, and drawing fluid though the nozzle plate itself as Eric did.
I think the ink connections on those other machines are set up differently allowing  fluid to be drawn through the head in a different manner.
 

It could be done on the Epson 10000 if I parked the 3 head assembly at the left side of the printer with the cover there removed. Two empty cartridges in the two corresponding slots for the head (2 channels) I wanted to clean, tubes in the carts to a bottle + vacuum pump. A small perspex + rubber plate with a tube to a bottle with cleaning fluid and that plate put on the nozzle surface in the very narrow space between the nozzle surface and the media transport axle. I also had to keep two channel valves open at the back on the other side. The 10000 had dampers in the head assembly so you could not replace them (at least I did not know how), a reverse flow could take out the pigment settling on the damper's sieves. Running MIS inks on that printer then. I do not have fond memories of jobs like that.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 14, 2012, 12:08:15 PM
If you have nozzles connections fried, then who knows what caused it, but it is unlikely that it is nozzles clogged, because even as we post here, your head does not have any nozzle clogged, and yet it keeps loosing nozzles, just as mine does, and just as all the other heads I know do or have done.  The fact that the number of damaged heads still seem to be overwhelmingly affected in the LLK channel makes me think of a chemical component of the ink that would promote a "corrosion" of the electronic/electrical contacts under specific circumstances, and if you admit that for the sake of the argument, then it seems to make sense to envision contamination just like rust propagates.  But my understanding of this is no better than my expertise in what propulses the Star Trek space ship.
This is highly unlikely given the chemical composition of the inks.  LK and LLK are basically the same thing with different amounts of carbon black ( think MK is based on carbon black as well while PK has a dye based component).  Corrosion in the classical sense is ionic in nature and there are no salts in the Epson ink formulations.  Glycols and the ink component which is a  polymerized dye/carbon component would not be sufficient to do this.

I also suspect that Epson are reading this thread.  We know that one of their marketing people is a contributor to LuLa and Dan already had corresponded with him with regard to this thread.  Whether Epson reply directly or indirectly to what is being discussed is unknown at this point.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 14, 2012, 12:16:18 PM
I also suspect that Epson are reading this thread.  We know that one of their marketing people is a contributor to LuLa and Dan already had corresponded with him with regard to this thread.  Whether Epson reply directly or indirectly to what is being discussed is unknown at this point.

Maybe it’s time Epson steps up and sets the record straight… a whole lot of conjecture going on with no position?   ::)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2012, 12:50:27 PM
Maybe it’s time Epson steps up and sets the record straight… a whole lot of conjecture going on with no position?   ::)

At this point, I'd be very surprised if anyone at Epson seriously thought it was "time" for them to do anything of the sort on this particular case. How can they? They didn't see the printer, they weren't consulted on anything that was done to it, all manner of things were done to it that they had no control over and haven't seen first-hand. If you were them under these conditions what would you do, being a manufacturing enterprise with reputational risk and potential commercial liability - as far-fetched as that may be insofar as no warranty provisions would appear to apply?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 14, 2012, 12:59:03 PM
If you were them under these conditions what would you do, being a manufacturing enterprise with reputational risk and potential commercial liability - as far-fetched as that may be insofar as no warranty provisions would appear to apply?

At the very least the company should make a more proactive positioning on preventive maintenance and best practices to dealing with ink clogged nozzles and the nozzle test pattern.  I’ve heard many times on this thread and others the recommendation by technical support is to print in between nozzle pattern tests… Where is this documented? 

With respect to the liability and company’s reputation, it would be prudent to be proactive vs. reactive to all the conjecture and set the record straight… regardless of what happened to a specific printer.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on February 14, 2012, 01:05:21 PM
At this point, I'd be very surprised if anyone at Epson seriously thought it was "time" for them to do anything of the sort on this particular case. How can they? They didn't see the printer, they weren't consulted on anything that was done to it, all manner of things were done to it that they had no control over and haven't seen first-hand. If you were them under these conditions what would you do, being a manufacturing enterprise with reputational risk and potential commercial liability - as far-fetched as that may be insofar as no warranty provisions would appear to apply?

If I where Epson, I would give some general guidance, try to clear up any misunderstandings about how their technology works and try to be helpful. They don't need to comment on specifics of the particular 7900 that started this thread. Based on past LuLa readership, this thread will probably hit 30K+ views, that is too big to ignore... of course they can choose to ignore it, but that shows hubris.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2012, 01:09:31 PM
At the very least the company should make a more proactive positioning on preventive maintenance and best practices to dealing with ink clogged nozzles and the nozzle test pattern.  I’ve heard many times on this thread and others the recommendation by technical support is to print in between nozzle pattern tests… Where is this documented? 

With respect to the liability and company’s reputation, it would be prudent to be proactive vs. reactive to all the conjecture and set the record straight… regardless of what happened to a specific printer.


I checked my 4900 manual and indeed this recommendation from tech support is not documented. If Epson as a company officially supports this recommendation (which can differ from tech support advice given by staff of the company - believe it or not), then yes I agree with you, it should be documented in the manuals that we get with the printers.

As for pro-activity, given where things are at now, they are being neither proactive nor reactive. They are saying nothing. I have to assume they are well aware of what's being said around them and they have done their homework on what to say or not say. They would have their own view of what's in their best interest, taking more information into account than we have access to, and obviously, their judgment of what is in their interest to say or not say about either this case or the technology in general may not be the same as that of some others here.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 14, 2012, 05:07:55 PM
At this point, I'd be very surprised if anyone at Epson seriously thought it was "time" for them to do anything of the sort on this particular case...

I'd like to make myself clear on this - I do not hold Epson responsible, I do not hold Dan responsible, I do not expect or even hope that either of them should come to my rescue.  In fact Dan offered and I denied him.  It's a used printer, it's out of warranty, there is no service contract, I had it shipped across the country, AND I worked on it.  At this point I may as well have built this printer out of spare parts from Stanford's robotics classroom down the street - I am on my own.

What would be great though is someone with lab-coat-like Epson knowledge chiming in to help us better understand what we are all up against considering these X900 heads.  Because as time goes on we are only going to need more knowledge and more help.  Could be it's impossible for them to nail the cause of our specific problem to the wall, but I bet it's very possible for them to eliminate some of the ideas which we have considered, but they likely know are non-sense. 

Like Mark suggests, I am sure they have angles to consider here which some of us can't even imagine.  So be it.  Maybe we'll never hear a word.  But it sure would be helpful.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 15, 2012, 12:01:27 AM
Based on past LuLa readership, this thread will probably hit 30K+ views, that is too big to ignore...
While I agree this site is certainly one of the most visited photography sites on the internet, for good reason, are those "unique" visitors or are they just visitors?  (meaning I count as 30 or 40 of those visits since I've checked this thread once or twice a day since it started, just like many others).

It still does represent a pretty large group of interested parties, but all it has really shown is a few users out of thousands have had head failures which may not be any larger of a % than is typical of earlier epson printers, just means no one has done this extensive of a discussion about them.

I will admit it does seem strange, as head failures in most other epson printers seem rare (they just seem to run for years), and the LLK channel does seem to be the most common channel affected. Still it's an extremely small percentage.

This has been a very interesting thread and I think Epson should perhaps look at doing some changing, for example I see no reason they shouldn't recommend replacing the wiper every 12 months.  It appears easier to change than the cutter blade.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on February 15, 2012, 01:47:33 PM
This has been a very interesting thread and I think Epson should perhaps look at doing some changing, for example I see no reason they shouldn't recommend replacing the wiper every 12 months. 

They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by even acknowledging any issue. I doubt you'll ever hear a peep out of Epson.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 15, 2012, 01:53:54 PM
They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by even acknowledging any issue. I doubt you'll ever hear a peep out of Epson.

I don't think that's the operative consideration. My sense of it is that if they were of the view that the wiper blade should be a user-replaceable consumable like a cutting blade, inks or the maintenance tank, they would have provided clear instructions in the manual for doing so. Of course nothing prevents them from rethinking this down the road, but I imagine if they were to do so at all, it would be on the basis of accumulated world-wide performance data on the machines.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 15, 2012, 11:44:21 PM
You're not the only one Wayne.  My genius buddy Steve reads this thread every day as well.  But I'm starting to wish he didn't..

We bought this 7900 together, Steve and I.  We set it up at my house next to my heat press machine.  Oh the printing dreams we shared.  He even brought his rolls of paper over.  But it's been a couple of months by now with nothing good come out of this machine yet.  So last night after my genius buddy came over for dinner, he left with all his paper. 

...heartbreaking.  I think he's lost hope.  And he's way smarter than me so if he's lost hope, oh brother that's not a good sign. 

I don't know a lot but I do know our 7900 will print again.  Sometimes I think it's an advantage not being so smart. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 16, 2012, 02:29:36 AM
If you google: "Epson Micro PiezoTM Print Head Technology" you'll find an Epson Published white paper on the new print heads. Although it's really an advertising piece for marketing the new print heads, the comparison to the old 9800/7800 heads is interesting. They tout how much better the new generation heads are by showing the relative size of nozzle and chambers on page 8.

A single piezo layer 1 micron thick vs 16 layers 25 microns thick. Hmmm... I have no idea how tough these new heads are but it makes you wonder.

That tiny chamber make me wonder if despite the back flushing that Eric did on the head, that ink was still plugging said nozzles and that the clear nozzles were simply allowing for the back flush... and the possible dangers of doing just that... 1 micro is thin? Wow. That head may have needed DAYS to soak in the proper cleaning liquid. Unless, of course, there was some mysterious electrical failure.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 16, 2012, 09:55:58 AM
Could you please post the link to that paper, that sounds interesting, and when I google this, there are quite a few docs that pop up, and are not the one you seem to mention.


Thanks.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 16, 2012, 11:10:59 AM
Hope these links paste correctly. First is the consumer version, second more scientific published by the designers of the heads.

http://pos.epson.com/lp/epson-color-works/pdf/Micro_Piezo_White_Paper.pdf

http://www.imaging.org/ist/publications/reporter/articles/Rep23_1_NIP2007_OKUMURA.pdf

I'm sure there is more out there if you know how to dig for this stuff. The second article is much more interesting from an engineering point of view.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 16, 2012, 12:27:01 PM
Chaddro - the google mercenary of hidden resources
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 16, 2012, 02:28:26 PM
Thanks Chaddro.


It seems that it would be conceivable that if some ink dried in the upper chamber, it could then flake and go obstruct the path of each nozzle's chamber, possibly following the non random pattern we have witnessed all across the known incidents.  The problem that is stubbornly defiant with that theory is why then would that occur predominantly in LLK channels?  Especially when LLK seems to be thinner and less prone to clog than most other colors.

Of course even if some ink dried in the upper chamber, then why does it dry there?  It is not supposed to, air is not supposed to be present there.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 17, 2012, 10:01:01 AM
How many times do I need to repeat the same thing?  Out of all the post on the Epson LF forum regarding clogs on x900 printers, and going back on Lula to June 2011, plus various other networks, I have found:

* 11 issues of "clogging" resulting in head needing to be changed.

* 9 of them were about problems with LLK.  Eric is one of the two others.  And for the record there a couple of other cases presumably caused by LLK that I do not count, as the users never contacted me back.


That's what pollsters would qualify as a "valid sample," and while there are undoubtedly many more users who have experienced the issue than the ones I have found, there is no credible reason that would explain that my sample is "biased" toward people not "liking" LLK.  Given the relative and unhelpful stubbornness, let me chew it down for you: I understand that people with issues (I am not talking of people with intellectual issues that would prompt them to want to appear as more scientific than their neighbors for instance.  I am talking of people having technical issues) are more prone to post or just be present on the forums, but nothing would explain that out of all the people who need a head replacement, the LLK ones would be overwhelmingly more present than the other ones combined.

If after this you are still not convinced, you might want to check the definition of "denial" in your favorite dictionary.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 17, 2012, 12:04:14 PM

Of course even if some ink dried in the upper chamber, then why does it dry there?  It is not supposed to, air is not supposed to be present there.



The ink feeding system is no longer based on a siphoning effect like available in the 9000 - 9600 generation. Ink is delivered from carts that are below the head(s) in most of Epsons wide formats. When switched off there is no pressure on the air around the cartridge ink pouch and the ink flow backwards into the carts is prevented in 3 ways (based on my old 10000):
1/ a small backflow preventing valve in the cart (makes refilling difficult for the same reason)
2/ an electronically activated valve just after the cart slot that is closed when the printer is idle or off power
3/ the capping station sealed against the head nozzle surface and the waste ink tube pump seals the other side

Of the three I have the least confidence in the capping station seal, the cart backflow valve comes second.

While the electronically activated valve may be enough to withstand the ink pressure down in the channel there are other physical phenomena that could retract ink from the nozzles into the channel when the printer is off power:
1/ changed atmospheric air pressure could already have that effect
2/ changed temperature affecting a different thermal expansion of the channel length of ink to the channel length of tubing

The damper membrane could prevent part of the mentioned effects but it becomes a delicate balance.

When on power I can imagine that there is some prevention with sensors and/or scheduled ink flows to let this not happen but off power and worse on transport it will be much more difficult. Taking the carts out does not change that, it is about the inks already in the channels.

On transport, a pallet forklifter in a warehouse can do a lot to the ink gravity that valves ot seals will not control, up or down. Depends how macho the operator is and his coffee break near or not. That box does not have to drop off the pallet for the effect.


On statistics: I would like to see an independent poll with unbiased questions on a randomly selected group of 3000 users, throwing in some odd questions too, before I would make any assumption on what the most affected ink channel could be.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 17, 2012, 01:24:57 PM
Ernst,


And I'd like to be able to go on week ends on the Moon!  At least once in a while.

The fact is that polls on say elections, are currently done on panel samplings sometimes as small as 500, rarely much larger than 1000, and they can still predict the result quite accurately on average.  I have no idea what's the size of the sampling I am pooling data from.  I would have to guess how many people visit the forums I have researched, deduct from that mass how many would not post their problems unless threatened of examination by the McCarthy commission, add how many people are reached by the networks I pool from, deduct there again the "McCarthy" factor etc...  But my barely educated guess is that altogether, that "pool" is anywhere between 500 and 1000.  IF that is true, then my stats are perfectly revealing.

Other than that, your analysis of how air could get in the channel in pretty convincing, the question is then, would that be enough to thicken the ink so that head failure occur?  I am not convinced of that, because in my testing, which have been verified by somebody testing independently, LLK thickens, but does not harden just by contact with the air.  It is therefore beyond unlikely that it would flake.  Then the cleaners that I have used inside my head, and probably the cleaner that Eric used, would definitely have cleared that.  It therefore does not seem very probable that dried ink is at stake here, but of course, all I just wrote is not a scientific demonstration, just an educated guess.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on February 17, 2012, 02:31:57 PM
clic,
Do you have 1000 respondents or are you drawing from a pool of 1000 possible respondents? You are also limited to 1. folks who read forums and 2. folks who read forums AND are willing to answer a poll. I also suppose (unscientifically) that those with problems are much more likely to respond to a poll about problems. I think your poll is dreadfully skewed to the negative.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 17, 2012, 02:39:39 PM
Actually over the years, polling has become a highly scientific undertaking based on the professional application of rigorous statistical methodology. Unfortunately, with the advent of web forums and the internet, it has become all too easy to cull or solicit information and then cite it is a "poll". No one trained in this field or familiar with its methodology would consider much of what passes for polling on web forums to be of any real value.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: John R Smith on February 17, 2012, 03:02:11 PM
Folks, Epson would just not still be in business if the generality of its customer's experience was as black as it is being painted here. Especially with these big, very expensive professional printers. So I am inclined to think that we have a pretty small sample.

John
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 17, 2012, 03:08:42 PM
I am more than *inclined* to think.........
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on February 17, 2012, 03:45:39 PM
I am more than *inclined* to think.........

 ;D funny.. Agreed!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 17, 2012, 03:51:40 PM
Randy,


I don't now how many people there is in the pool of people qualified in my previous post, but as I wrote, my guess, for what it is worth, is that we are talking of probably 500-1000 folks.  Out of that number who could and probably would have posted or manifested themselves, had they had any head failure on a x900, I have identified 11 cases.  I have also heard of three other cases, but have more than one degree of separation with them, and therefore I do not retain them as valid enough.

So for the nth time, yes, we are talking of a small fraction of users.  It is difficult to know how small a fraction given the bias of the methodology as well as the non negligible amount of people experiencing the issue under warranty and therefore non reporting to me, that's the other bias of this study.  My estimate, once again for what it is worth, is that it seems that we are talking of something around 1% of users, maybe slightly less.  That is not a whole lot, but given the severity of the situation when that happens to you, that is no joking matter.

A little bit like if it became known that you have a 1% chance to die tomorrow, randomly, from an unknown killer.  1% then start to be far too many, and you'd want to get the guy before he gets you.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on February 17, 2012, 08:02:20 PM
Clic,

As I recall, you got most of your data on which channels clogged on the Yahoo wide format group.  Why don't you take the opportunity to do a poll here, using a new thread so people can't miss it, asking people who have (or had) 4900, 7900 and 9900 printers that clogged (despite cleanings) to specify which channel or channels they were? 

I don't know how many people will respond, but any additional data you get would seem worthwhile whether it supports your hypothesis or not. 

 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on February 17, 2012, 08:34:44 PM
Actually I have gotten the Data on Lula as well, foraging through all the posts since June 2011. Ideally I would have gotten back to Oct 2008, when these printers got out, but I was starting to get a headache and this issue seems to have started to get strong last summer.  I have also gotten data from AIS and ASMPFA.  

I could do a litany of things, but at some point one's time become better used somewhere else.  About Lula, the presumption is that anybody who comes on Lula these days and has a relevant problem is likely to see this thread and express her/his case on it, since it has been consistently on the top of the list.  This is how I actually found 2 other cases on top of Eric. I found another two on another thread which has dried now.  

If somebody wants to disprove my case by coming up with a verified list of people having had head failures with Cyans, Magentas, Yellow, Blacks, Orange, (so far I only have Eric for Yellow and Black) please step up to the plate, and I will stand corrected in total humility.  Until then I'll have to assume that my theory has legs.

Of course if those cases were to surface, the cause would then seem to have more possible origins, but the problem would still remain, only bigger with a larger pool, because no matter what, there does not seem to be such a percentage of head failures that require a head change in previous generations.  In those days if you had a terrible clog, worse case scenario you would used some cleaner in a cartridge and that would take care of it in 99% of the cases, and the remaining 1% would get cured by a manual unclogging.  Most of the time letting the head sit on Windex for a while would have put you back in business in the first place.


Does anybody know if it possible to find out how many people have come to this thread, of course only counting once the folks who came 29 times?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on February 17, 2012, 09:43:39 PM
Shouldn't the problem be identified as clogging or electrical before going much further with this discussion?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 17, 2012, 09:46:56 PM
Shouldn't the problem be identified as clogging or electrical before going much further with this discussion?

You think after 23 pages of inconclusive discussion with close to zero probability of resolution about exactly these issues it shouldn't kinda get to wind-down yet?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 17, 2012, 11:23:16 PM
Shouldn't the problem be identified as clogging or electrical before going much further with this discussion?

I understand you enduser.  And I agree.  When my head gets back here after this ultrasonic head cleaning procedure, and it still has clogs (if it still has clogs) - we will then have some concrete evidence as to whether or not these "clogs" we have been discussing are even clogs at all.  My bet is if this is the case, these 23 pages of inconclusive discussion might actually arrive at some helpful "resolution".  That would be great actually.  And that is the single greatest reason I sent my head out for this procedure earlier this week.  Enough guessing already...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2012, 08:20:17 AM
I understand you enduser.  And I agree.  When my head gets back here after this ultrasonic head cleaning procedure, and it still has clogs (if it still has clogs) - we will then have some concrete evidence as to whether or not these "clogs" we have been discussing are even clogs at all.  My bet is if this is the case, these 23 pages of inconclusive discussion might actually arrive at some helpful "resolution".  That would be great actually.  And that is the single greatest reason I sent my head out for this procedure earlier this week.  Enough guessing already...

Eric, nothing I said above diminishes the value of the step you have taken to send the head for another round of intervention, because at this point I sense you have little to lose. That procedure either works or it doesn't, and then you always have the choice of taking the matter up with Epson's authorized service facility to see whether that could yield any useful outcome at a reasonable cost. If the ultrasonic cleaning works - yes in that case it would be reasonable to conclude it was just extremely stubborn dried gunk. But my skepticism about that goes right back to the beginning of the sequence of events underlying this whole saga. And if it is not dried gunk that this outfit succeeds in dislodging, I'm afraid what I said above may be the bottom line at this point. But as you say, let's see..........and for your sake I hope for the best.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on February 19, 2012, 02:31:46 PM
If the head comes back from the ultra sonic cleaning and still doesn't work, will that prove that the head is not clogged with ink or other substance(s)and that it is an electrical problem, or could it also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the ultra sonic cleaning?  An autopsy may be required to actually see if the head has no ink or other residue in it.  Not sure this is even possible as I don't know how the head is constructed.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 19, 2012, 02:58:19 PM
If the head comes back from the ultra sonic cleaning and still doesn't work, will that prove that the head is not clogged with ink or other substance(s)and that it is an electrical problem, or could it also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the ultra sonic cleaning?  An autopsy may be required to actually see if the head has no ink or other residue in it.  .........

I agree. Unless it comes back working, we don't really know what the problem is or how it started.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 19, 2012, 04:14:45 PM
I did some reading on the ultrasonic cleaning. Some head designs are very suitable for the process especially solvent based printers where the size of the nozzles seem to be much larger. But it also appears that the Epson heads can be damaged during this cleaning process if too much pressure is applied during the flush/back flush so there is STILL a chance that a nozzle can be obstructed because the force necessary to clear the clog would damage it.

Interestingly, these heads are designed by physicists, and diving further into the science and design behind piezoelectric heads, I found that the nozzles should have a life span on the order of 1 Billion to 10 Billion drops (this higher limit was described as zero failure acceptable). Another reference described this life span as about 5,000 hours. Also, Piezoelectric heads do not suffer from heat like bubble jet (bubble jet heads deteriorate with time due to the affects of high heat and eventually need replacing), so the idea that the Epson nozzles over heat and fail seems insignificant. Nozzle failure was attributed almost entirely to air trapped in the nozzle, or dried ink obstructing the nozzle usually cause by poorly capped heads. I found very little reference to "electrical failure" and the couple that did gave no further explanation.

From an industrial point of view, I found machines using the "older" heads (with 1 to 4 heads in the machines!) and some with recommendation to replace heads every 1-1/2 to 2 years. These industrial machines have been designed with head replacement in mind. I think most of us would be printing FAR FAR less and should expect years of use from our machines. New head: $700.

The 9900 and newer 9890 have been around for 3 years, right? In that time we've seen issues with ink carts being bad and Epson swapped these out without question until FINALLY changed the packaging. Even so, I haven't found a definitive explanation as to why these cartridges were getting damaged. Oh, and there were some firmware updates that were supposed to help with unrecognized carts. I myself have had 4 cartridges exchanged since my purchase last August.

Of more interest to THIS thread is the recent (Nov 2011) firmware update that now allows for Paired Power Cleaning - but it did take them some three years to get around to adding this! I can imaging endless complaints to Epson's Techs when told "Please Sir, do a power cleaning... Still one color clogged? Well, then do another power cleaning. No, no way to clean just that one color, sorry Sir." The new firmware was a small concession to the fact that a nozzle pair can get really fudged up!

Hey Eric!
Perhaps when you shinny clean head comes back you can give us some pictures of how well that capping station covers the heads? It looks like there is a seal for each color pair. I wonder how resilient that seal is to damage and if it can be knocked out of alignment somehow.



Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 19, 2012, 06:59:57 PM
Chaddro the google mercenary of hidden information, strikes again. 

If this head comes back with clogs I plan to do an autopsy on it.  Have to figure out how to take pics of things so incredibly small.  Since all my gear was stolen in December all I have to shoot with is my wife's D700 and an 18-200.  I am open to ideas if anyone has any.

Back to the capping station making a proper seal on the face of the head - if you ask me this aims a finger back at having a good wiper blade.  Splooge left on the face will definitely compromise your capping station's seal. 

Yes I plan to take pictures Chaddro.  Video too.  I've been working on camera angles up inside the machine.  The capping station moves differently than the wiper cleaner assembly.  The wiper travels up and down.  The capping station moves forward and backward.  This will all be clear soon enough.  Right now I'm saving my ink for cleanings with a purpose other than just filming.  Waiting to hear back from my friend Vladimir on Monday.  He should have our head by now.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 22, 2012, 01:50:41 AM
UPDATE:

1 - Vladimir from printheaddoctor.com contacted me this morning.  They are designing/building a bracket to mount the X900 head to their cleaning machine now.  No idea how long this will take, but things are in motion on the printhead cleaning front.

2 - Who did I say is the google mercenary?  Chaddro?  Well guess who emailed me last night with a hot tip on a brand new printhead listed on ebay - for 800 bucks?  That's right.  Chaddro.  So I instantly shifted my ever so calculating money saving mentality into high gear and contacted the seller.  I don't know what's wrong with me, like I'm not broke enough already with this flipping (beautiful, sorry) Epson 7900 from the Twilight Zone.  So I emailed the seller and asked for a break.  Told him I'd send him cookies if he said yes.  "Mo's" response was classic.  "I have been there, and I totally get it.."  Next email I got was the sale going through at Mo's discounted price.  

...and here is where it gets interesting;

I thanked Mo this morning by telling him a bit about our story here, on Luminous Landscape.  I just came home to his response - apparently he read this entire thread - "Dude I'm hooked!  I can't wait to see what happens next!"  And then Mo went on to tell me that his father actually lives in Oakland (thirty miles from here), and has worked in the service/repair industry for thirty years.  You wanna know what's been his specialty for the past decade?  

Come on dammit I know you want to know.

That's right, Epson printers.  Mo's dad has been one of the only two (that's right, I said 2) Epson service techs serving ALL of California, parts of NV and OR.  The story actually gets better.  In fact it gets way better, but it's not my story to tell.  Let's just say for now, maybe I better get on this head swapping video tutorial sooner than later.

Thank you Chaddro
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: raydee on February 22, 2012, 06:19:50 AM
You sure know how to keep tension in an evolving storyline... keep the updates coming ;)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 22, 2012, 08:21:45 AM
I can't believe it! This may make up for your "genius" friend taking his paper home. That was heartbreaking. I can hardly wait. I'd tell you my gut feeling of what is going to happen but I'll keep that to myself. I hope they get that bracket built fast.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 22, 2012, 10:50:18 AM
Yellow yellow yellow! I have had to do so many power cleans to clear JUST the yellow on my 7900 it's pathetic. In addition, I've had numerous 350 ml carts of all colors that...brand new...wont  work...bad chips. In addition the button that loads the paper is tricky...sometimes I have to wiggle it back and forth a little to get it to connect.

I also have the 9880 and 7800 and by far have more problems with my 7900. Eleanor

Actually I have gotten the Data on Lula as well, foraging through all the posts since June 2011. Ideally I would have gotten back to Oct 2008, when these printers got out, but I was starting to get a headache and this issue seems to have started to get strong last summer.  I have also gotten data from AIS and ASMPFA.  

I could do a litany of things, but at some point one's time become better used somewhere else.  About Lula, the presumption is that anybody who comes on Lula these days and has a relevant problem is likely to see this thread and express her/his case on it, since it has been consistently on the top of the list.  This is how I actually found 2 other cases on top of Eric. I found another two on another thread which has dried now.  

If somebody wants to disprove my case by coming up with a verified list of people having had head failures with Cyans, Magentas, Yellow, Blacks, Orange, (so far I only have Eric for Yellow and Black) please step up to the plate, and I will stand corrected in total humility.  Until then I'll have to assume that my theory has legs.

Of course if those cases were to surface, the cause would then seem to have more possible origins, but the problem would still remain, only bigger with a larger pool, because no matter what, there does not seem to be such a percentage of head failures that require a head change in previous generations.  In those days if you had a terrible clog, worse case scenario you would used some cleaner in a cartridge and that would take care of it in 99% of the cases, and the remaining 1% would get cured by a manual unclogging.  Most of the time letting the head sit on Windex for a while would have put you back in business in the first place.


Does anybody know if it possible to find out how many people have come to this thread, of course only counting once the folks who came 29 times?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on February 22, 2012, 10:51:34 AM
You just have to love the character names in this dramatic saga (okay, so maybe everyone is snoozing except those of us with 79/99** printers), Vladmir and Mo...  Next scene opens with Eric walking down a dark seedy alleyway, Mo's shadowy figure seen just ahead.  "Hey buddy, wanna buy an Epson printhead?"   ;D

I look forward to hearing/seeing the next installment, Eric.  Thank you for the great video---while I would not myself dig into my 9900 as you have, I certainly have adjusted my maintenance/attention paid to my 9900.  Inspecting, cleaning, and/or replacing the wiper assembly is very easy, and something I'll be doing every few months.

I'll be chipping in a small donation to your 7900 repair----or perhaps more aptly, filming the maintenance pointers videos for the 79/9900 series printers.   :)
Fyi for others wanting to help with Eric's printer exploits, Eric's paypal address from his video is:  [email protected]

Ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 22, 2012, 11:13:46 AM
Eleanor are you talking about when it says to push the pause button to load? One thing I have learned over the years is if you want your paper to load correctly never push the pause button. I've been on site with Decision One techs and they say the same thing. If that is your situation try without pushing the pause button. I tell all my clients never push the pause button, just let the printer load the paper. If you don't push it the printer just goes ahead and loads correctly.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 22, 2012, 11:17:58 AM
I didn't even know you could push the pause button to load...what I push is the bottom arrow button below the "OK" button in the center.  Is this correct? thanks, Eleanor

Eleanor are you talking about when it says to push the pause button to load? One thing I have learned over the years is if you want your paper to load correctly never push the pause button. I've been on site with Decision One techs and they say the same thing. If that is your situation try without pushing the pause button. I tell all my clients never push the pause button, just let the printer load the paper. If you don't push it the printer just goes ahead and loads correctly.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 22, 2012, 11:23:15 AM
I don't want to distract from this thread so I'll send you a PM if that's ok.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 22, 2012, 02:47:10 PM
Eric! I gotta say man, you're making me blush! LOL! I hope Mo's dad can fill in some of the gaps of our knowledge!

Unfortunately, I've only touched the tip of the iceberg. I broke up with my gal some time ago and no longer have access to Korean, Japanese and Mandarin/Cantonese - she was multi-lingual, and her father was a retired translator... we here in the west have no idea the amount of info out of our reach in those markets.   

Anyway, here's something to ogle at while we wait on your head: The MOTHER LOVING GODZILLA of all CIS!

http://factory.dhgate.com/continuous-ink-supply-system/mdb05003-large-bottled-bulk-ink-system-for-epson-7900-/-9900-printer-continuous-ink-system-ciss-p45531241.html

Click the link for some interesting photos. 1700ml ink tanks!

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on February 22, 2012, 05:32:22 PM
 

Anyway, here's something to ogle at while we wait on your head: The MOTHER LOVING GODZILLA of all CIS!

http://factory.dhgate.com/continuous-ink-supply-system/mdb05003-large-bottled-bulk-ink-system-for-epson-7900-/-9900-printer-continuous-ink-system-ciss-p45531241.html

Click the link for some interesting photos. 1700ml ink tanks!


But the real question is are these inks clog free??????????? ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 22, 2012, 06:27:41 PM
But the real question is are these inks clog free??????????? ;D

Hi Alan... I have no idea about the quality or archival nature of the ink they make. But it seems few (if any) of these industrial versions of our Epson printers use Epson ink. Of note, they are selling dye, pigment, solvent and dye-sublimation inks. I was just amazed at the size of their CIS unit and the fact it provides a vacuum based system like our cartridges.

Here is the manufacture's site, and the godzilla printer (much like a GS 6000) that they make:

http://www.3vdg.com/en/ITTEN%20Photojet-1620.asp

Of note is this statement: "There is a self-adaption structure between the print head and cap station.When the printer is shut down,the cap station and pump will be sealed automatically so that the print head can be kept in a humid condition."

As I pointed out much earlier in this thread, the Epson piezo heads are being use widely in non-epson manufactured printers. What really drew my interest was the different approach to capping/replacement and repair. From everything I've dug into and read, so much leads me to believe that the capping station is of paramount importance in maintaining a clog free printer and so many of these other market machine have really robust looking capping solutions.

I think so much of the success of the 3800 has been due to a well designed capping station. I had a 4000, and the capping station was easy to knock out of alignment. This is why I am so curious about Eric's Epic. If the capping station is off by 1/2 mm it could have a huge impact on the seal of the head. From what I can see, each nozzle pair has it's own seal.
If this is true, and a single pair is miss-aligned, then you will have trouble with that pair.

My 9890 has had problems with the Yellow (like Elanor's). I've used MORE YELLOW than any other color. Yellow, the blasted color that supposed to outlast every other by nearly double!

It is very easy to examine the capping station on my other printers to make sure the sealing gasket is in good shape... Not so easy on these 79/9900 printers. I was lucky 4000 owner because my machine kept a good seal. Didn't keep it from drawing air back into the ink line when not in use, but these new capping stations appear to be design to give a tight seal. Can the seals be adjusted? Were they miss-aligned by some poor sob working for $2 an hour at the end of his 60+ hour work week?

I see absolutely NO reason for my 9890 to clog any more than my 3800. It was my amazement with my 3800 that encourage me to get the 9890 over a 9880 to replace my 7800. I expected the same performance if not better.

Off to see the wizard...

[edit] Speaking of capping stations, look at this:

http://www.3vdg.com/en/serviceshow.asp?id=317

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: themo on February 23, 2012, 12:26:12 AM
Enter the Mo. I've always wanted to say that. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the opportunity. ;)

Anyhow, to clear up a few things - Mo (me) is a lady. Just kidding, I'm not particularly lady-like, but I've got all the requisite parts to achieve that title. You do get partial credit for spelling my name correctly, though. I'm definitely not a stooge. Technically I'm a Maureen, but I've sort of always been a Mo.

Now, I have read this thread in its entirety, and I'm at the edge of my seat to find out how this saga ends. I'm really hoping it is with some exceptionally well crafted prints. A couple of years ago, I opted out of my corporate gig and bought a struggling little antique shop in Portland. I'm in love with it, even the part where I never have any money, and I hate Mac'n'Cheese now. I get to do what you guys are trying to accomplish with this printer, just with old stuff. It's awesome. I've been trying to figure out a 1940s National register for about 3 weeks now. I've only nearly electrocuted myself twice. I'm getting there, baby steps, etc.

Enough about me, let's get on to the Epson saga, and the tale of my Pop. He's the guy who has been working on these printers for about a decade now. His company used to work on big main frames, and then those went away. Then they started working on medium computers, and those went away. Then it was small computers, but now people just toss them and buy new ones, so the company partnered with Epson to provide in-home/office Epson printer repair for these, what I like to call 'Mo'Money Mo'Problem' machines. I have noted in this thread the general belief that most Epson repair guys kind of mash around and swap out parts until something fits. I can tell you, that's pretty much the truth. In large part its because Epson provided these outsourced techs with about as much training as you guys get when you buy the printer in the first place- a repair manual that references 8 other repair manuals that you can maybe find online. There's good business in parts, and since you spent your last penny to get the machine, you sure aren't going to toss it and start over- you are going to a) spend money on one of the Epson guys or b) become like Eric, and essentially go "nucking futs" with determination, tackle the problem head on, and teach others the inner workings of one seriously involved machine. I think most people probably opt for route A. In both cases, replacing a lot of expensive parts while wasting a lot of expensive ink ends up being part of the solution.

Some guys, like my Pop (and Eric it seems) are born to fix things, and dang good at it. My Pop knows these machines inside and out, and he did tend to curse them when his job involved driving all over CA, parts of NV and parts of OR to fix them. He can talk for hours about the parts shortage on these machines, and the frustration of working for a Company that doesn't provide adequate support in finding solutions for the techs that actually do want to fix the issue in a timely fashion and go home to their families; and not just because they were told by their Company that driving to/from a repair job, in their own cars (even if it was 8-12 hours away) no longer merited pay, but because being home tinkering for fun is awesome and way more rewarding.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but suffice to say that being good at repairing these printers meant actively trying to point out methods that would improve the repair process as a whole- for both you guys and the repair guys. Ultimately, I suspect this was the cause behind my Pop being laid off via a phone call, from a guy across the country that he had never met. No 'Thanks for 30 years of service, or here's a broken Epson to tinker with in your early retirement.' I'll be nice and assume it was simply because no one knew my Pop had been there for 30 years, because he was the only one who had been there for 30 years- even as the Company was sold and consolidated over time into a decentralized outsourced labor group that does Epson's 'dirty' work.  So now there's one guy servicing all of CA, parts of NV and OR. There may be others, at other decentralized outsourced labor groups, but I bet they have the same parts issues and 'here's a bunch of .PDFs and manuals training.' Some of them, hopefully, are like my Dad - and able to roll with that set of punches. But let's face it- not everyone is. And, even if they are, they might be kind of tired from driving 8 hours with no pay, and might just do things the "standard operating procedure" way and just throw parts at it until it works. That appears to be the way to not get laid off.

Moral of this story, if you'd call it that, is a few things:
1. The kind of strategy Eric, and others of you are taking is critically important and totally awesome. It's messy, painful, frustrating, and probably kind of expensive - but its success will certainly help a lot of other folks get more hands on. I love the information sharing I've read on here, and I think you guys/gals deserve to bask in your own coolness for a few. Done and done!
2. I'm sure at the end of the day Epson printers are relatively no different than other compatible brands with regards to failure rates, internal weakness, design flaws, etc. I also can't speak to whether other compatible brands have more active/friendly repair process and training strategies for their third party outsourced labor groups, but I sort of imagine that parts are probably big business in general, so maybe not.
3. Too bad my Pop is legally prohibited from repairing these machines himself for awhile, as part of the terms of his severance package which turns out to be significantly less than it originally seemed when it becomes clear the cost of insuring a man (in CA) in his 60s who has pretty bad arthritis in his hands- gained from decades of fixing everything from old school main frames that took up entire building wings- to Epson printers, to anything else that broke in between. Don't think the third party outsourced labor groups would want competition from a guy that actually just likes to get things fixed the right way.  But this is all just my opinion, and of course not the opinion of any printer company, or decentralized outsourced labor group. Etc. It's a shame because fixing stuff the way you guys are, is what my dad loves to do best. Though, now that he has been laid off, he's fairly aware that the likely hood of him finding a job in his field, in CA, at his age, are pretty slim. If he does get a job before he's actually old enough to formally retire, I guarantee you it will be along the lines of "Would you like fries with that?" Way less frustration. I think for now he is content not driving 8 hours a day, and getting to kill zombies in his expanded free time.

Sorry for the long side-story to the real story of this thread. I'll go back to eagerly anticipating the outcome - from a dark, shadowy alley way (I liked that!). I really really hope the print head is the solution! I'm always a sucker for a good project spearheaded by what seems to be some pretty stand up folk. Besides, as I said to Eric - getting to play artsy shouldn't be so much damned work!

Best of luck.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 23, 2012, 01:08:54 AM
Holeey MOleey.  Mo isn't a dude at all.  This feels like "The Crying Game" only backwards - and I don't have to run for the shower now. 


...so you see what I mean about the videos?  I gotta get a camera man
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on February 23, 2012, 11:07:21 AM

I see absolutely NO reason for my 9890 to clog any more than my 3800. It was my amazement with my 3800 that encourage me to get the 9890 over a 9880 to replace my 7800. I expected the same performance if not better.



This is exactly what I have been wondering about through this entire thread. I have been using a 3800 for the past 4 years (7,600 pages printed) with very little problems. We don't hear about many clogging problems with the 3800/3880. So much of the core technology is the same with the 3800/3880 and its larger siblings. So what are the differences? A more finicky capping station may be the culprit!

~ Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 23, 2012, 02:23:01 PM
Well I resorted to doing a power clean on my 7900 couple of days ago just to get the yellow unclogged (after trying several targeted yellow cleans plus a regular clean to no avail) !  Today all colors have clogs!!!  Had to do a regular clean to get clogs free.  I have the 9880 and 7800 printers also and have never had this much trouble with clogging. Eleanor
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on February 23, 2012, 03:14:33 PM
Well I resorted to doing a power clean on my 7900 couple of days ago just to get the yellow unclogged (after trying several targeted yellow cleans plus a regular clean to no avail) !  Today all colors have clogs!!!  Had to do a regular clean to get clogs free.  I have the 9880 and 7800 printers also and have never had this much trouble with clogging. Eleanor

Hi Eleanor,

Have you updated your 7900 to the latest firmware. I believe it's Nov. 2011. There were a number of firmware updates last fall to deal with unrecognized carts, and the Paired Power Cleaning was added in Nov.

If you are still under warranty, definitely give Epson a call to discuss the issues with them. They sent me out a free replacement cartridge for my Yellow since I had mysteriously used more yellow than any other color. YMMV. I had a different tech give me 'guff' over my TWO BAD 700ml cartridges... made me mail them out first. And yet another tech had yet another bad 350ml cartridge out to me like next day and I could return when I had time!

Did you check your wiper to see if it's clean? It's so simple to do it can't hurt!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 23, 2012, 04:24:08 PM
Many thanks for all the excellent suggestions!!  I need to update my firmware and what is the "wiper"?? thanks again, Eleanor
PS-have been trying to update my firmware via Epson Printer Utility 3 and it won't recognize the connection to my 7900.  I've also downloaded the firmware to my Mac computer but it won't open when I try to double click on it.  What am I doing wrong??


Hi Eleanor,

Have you updated your 7900 to the latest firmware. I believe it's Nov. 2011. There were a number of firmware updates last fall to deal with unrecognized carts, and the Paired Power Cleaning was added in Nov.

If you are still under warranty, definitely give Epson a call to discuss the issues with them. They sent me out a free replacement cartridge for my Yellow since I had mysteriously used more yellow than any other color. YMMV. I had a different tech give me 'guff' over my TWO BAD 700ml cartridges... made me mail them out first. And yet another tech had yet another bad 350ml cartridge out to me like next day and I could return when I had time!

Did you check your wiper to see if it's clean? It's so simple to do it can't hurt!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on February 23, 2012, 04:33:29 PM
Eleanor,
Start at the beginning of this 450 post thread and you will know more about the wiper when your finished then you want to know.
Or just watch Eric's video on page 18.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 23, 2012, 04:35:07 PM
Eleanor,
Start at the beginning of this 450 post thread and you will know more about the wiper when your finished then you want to know.
Or just watch Eric's video somewhere in the middle.

This is a riot Dan. I think this thread is making Luminous-Landscape history - may even get into the Guinness Book of Records.........   :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on February 23, 2012, 05:09:53 PM
Eleanor here is a link to updating the firmware: http://files.support.epson.com/pdf/pro79_/pro79_gd.pdf go to page 54.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on February 23, 2012, 05:17:09 PM
Wow!!!  If this is not compelling enough for you to replace your wiper blade assembly periodically… then I don’t what will convince you otherwise.  Thanks Eric for the replacement unit  :)

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on February 23, 2012, 10:43:45 PM
Wow!!!  If this is not compelling enough for you to replace your wiper blade assembly periodically… then I don’t what will convince you otherwise.  Thanks Eric for the replacement unit  :)




Awesome to see that your wiper looks like crap.  ....Too

Sure feels like we're zeroing in on a weak link in the chain here - wiper/capping station/seal/ and air. 

They relate to one another just like our camera's aperture/ISO/shutter/(come on I need a fourth one dammit) and ice cream
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 23, 2012, 11:53:04 PM
Thanks very much everyone for your suggestions.  My firmware is being updated as i type this.  I needed to have paper loaded in the 7900 to update which I had not done.  Now it is updating fine.  I will also work on getting any air that night be in my lines, out...
thanks again, Eleanor
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on February 24, 2012, 12:06:50 AM
Does anyone know how to check what firmware version you have on a Mac with a Epson 7900?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 24, 2012, 07:30:54 AM
i was never beeen abble to update the firmware. i can print, by driver, by RIP, but when i want to upgrade the FW the LFP remote 2 cannot find the printer :D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eleanorbrown on February 24, 2012, 11:05:29 AM


That happened to me... You have to have paper loaded and ready to print and it will find the printer! Eleanor

i was never beeen abble to update the firmware. i can print, by driver, by RIP, but when i want to upgrade the FW the LFP remote 2 cannot find the printer :D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: davidgp on February 24, 2012, 12:18:11 PM
Damn... what a story!!! Waiting to see how it ends... I started reading this morning (I live in Spain) before going to work... and I finished it now (I have not read all comments, mainly Eric posts). I really enjoyed it!

And nice video...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on February 25, 2012, 01:31:41 AM
Pronter is ready, paper loaded. Printer conected by wired network, all ok.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on February 29, 2012, 06:07:32 PM
Can't thank you enough for posting your experience here. Just finding this now, but I jumped through just these hoops about a year ago when lt. mag. suddenly dropped a bunch of nozzles on my 7900. I had had a head strike within a day or two of when it went bad, so I blamed that. Replaced dampers with high hopes, then the head itself. (By myself) (hands quaking with fear), and went on printing happily for the last 10 months or so. But today I've got the Cyan dropping just the same way. A very consistent pattern. Trying to justify getting another head...$1200 every 10 months really isn't sustainable.

I've got to make a move here before you will get to see how the cleaning machine works, but if you end up with it, I may have not 1 but 2 heads that you can try it on next!!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out 3/2/12 UPDATE
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 02, 2012, 01:01:31 PM
So Mo came through.  Every morning now I stare at a great white box containing a virgin printhead full of promise that our Epson 7900 will soon print clog-free again. 

But it isn't printing clog-free yet, is it. 

We haven't installed it yet, have we. 

Me and my genius buddy Steve have decided to sit idle, and not get this 7900 printing again, yet, for the good of all of us here on Luminous Landscape.  After all, these twenty five pages weren't filled by the singular hope that this one particular 7900 would print again.  These pages were filled with the hope that any and all of us would some day understand WTF is happening with these x900 printheads.  Why do they clog like they do?  Is it dried ink, is it bad capping station seals, is it air in the lines, gooped up wiper blades, old ink and on and on....?   or is it the mother of all hellishly looming threats, the piezoelectric nozzles simply failing, and ever so gradually showing more and more "clogging" like some hauntingly expensive computer virus - regardless of how many combinations of cleanings we come up with?

These are the questions which we have in some ways already addressed, and already answered.  The answers are yes to all of these I believe, and they are all also very solvable problems.  All but one that is.  The piezoelectrics.. 

So this 7900 will sit, and wait instead for the arrival of it's original head - like some sacrificial lamb trembling in the corner of a room I once called the "The printing room", but now call "The Twilight Zone".


Vladimir's latest update suggests he has completed design of the new bracket which will attach our x900 heads to his ultrasonic cleaning machine.  Now he is producing the brackets.  So at this point we place our our mysterious faith in a man no one here has ever seen, met, or spoken to - Vladimir of printheaddoctor.com.  And we continue to wait...


There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going.
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing.
Is it raining?
Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a blowing?

Not a speck of light is showing
so the danger must be growing.
Are the fires of hell a glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing. And they're certainly not showing
any signs that they are slowing!





.
(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/Wonka.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 02, 2012, 04:44:12 PM
Sorry if this causes confusion but my manager just made me change my old Luminous Landscape screen name (go394) to my new Dancing With the Stars screen name, for marketing purposes.  I'm so excited..


 ::)


OK that's not really the reason
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: stormyboy on March 02, 2012, 05:26:59 PM
Please promise you won't change your name to Metta World Print before the new season starts.

Tom
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: James Haswell on March 05, 2012, 11:25:48 PM
hi folks.

Count me among the masses. bought a 9900 a little over a year ago. Right when the warranty ran out, it developed a clogged(uncloggable) LLK. When I first called Epson I was told that I had 4 days left on may contract. Then later that day I was asked for proof of purchase and was informed that I WASN'T under warranty after all and it would be a out of pocket expense call.

Needless to say this is crippling for a small business that didn't realize that the machine could go up in a puff of techno magic smoke. (metaphoric only- there was no smoke-event related with this devices failure).

So tomorrow I'll call Epson again and try to convince them that the right thing to do is to help me out in this case with some sweet sweet warranty action. I have serious doubts, but worth a try. If not, buying a new machine will be the most reasonable course of action, which is seriously Effed up.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on March 06, 2012, 10:05:46 AM
James,

Check your Private Messages
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 06, 2012, 12:26:21 PM
To be clear, is the basic printhead the same in the 7900/9900, but also the 7890/9890 as well?

Is it the "xx90" that we are to be concerned about, or is the "x890" a different setup?

Or do you have to go all the way back to the "xx80" in order to get the more stable printhead?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 06, 2012, 02:56:36 PM
It is believed that the basic design of the x900 head is the same as for the x890.  As a matter of fact, I have found in my research, 1 case of x890 affected by the LLK syndrom.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 07, 2012, 09:54:07 PM
As a matter of fact, I have found in my research, 1 case of x890 affected by the LLK syndrom.

Well, I still am down with a bad case of 7900 LLK Syndrome.

Only solutions seem to be the dumpster, or Decision One.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: James Haswell on March 07, 2012, 09:58:25 PM
Well, I have an update. I called Epson back, and seeing that I was just over my 1 yr. warranty, they were willing to grant an exception to fix the machine under warranty and let me purchase the two year extended plan, which (all things considered) is a good deal when you're facing replacing the print head. The techs were out the next day to fix it. I suppose I couldn't be happier unless a better understanding of these issues were to be had.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 07, 2012, 11:15:46 PM
I suppose I couldn't be happier unless a better understanding of these issues were to be had.

It's coming James.  A better understanding of these issues is around the corner.

...now if I just knew how long this corner was
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 08, 2012, 03:28:55 AM
Well, I have an update. I called Epson back, and seeing that I was just over my 1 yr. warranty, they were willing to grant an exception to fix the machine under warranty and let me purchase the two year extended plan, which (all things considered) is a good deal when you're facing replacing the print head. The techs were out the next day to fix it. I suppose I couldn't be happier unless a better understanding of these issues were to be had.

Did the tech offer any explanation of what was wrong?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 08, 2012, 03:32:30 AM
It is believed that the basic design of the x900 head is the same as for the x890.  As a matter of fact, I have found in my research, 1 case of x890 affected by the LLK syndrom.

The value of your research is of course limited by the quality and scope of the data base you have access to. It is a good idea to remind your readers of these limitations. As for "syndrome", whether such a situation constitutes a "syndrome" depends on the facts underlying the value of the research.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on March 08, 2012, 09:29:18 AM
Well, I have an update. I called Epson back, and seeing that I was just over my 1 yr. warranty, they were willing to grant an exception to fix the machine under warranty and let me purchase the two year extended plan, which (all things considered) is a good deal when you're facing replacing the print head. The techs were out the next day to fix it. I suppose I couldn't be happier unless a better understanding of these issues were to be had.

That sounds like a very fair and equitable solution.  I plan on extending the warranty on my 9900----no problems so far, and I hope it's the biggest waste of money!   ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: James Haswell on March 08, 2012, 09:31:08 AM
Nope. No words of wisdom, but I was actually out of the shop for the day. They showed up within 12 hours of my phone call to EPSON. They changed the head directly, no playing around.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: John R Smith on March 08, 2012, 12:47:30 PM
Well, I have an update. I called Epson back, and seeing that I was just over my 1 yr. warranty, they were willing to grant an exception to fix the machine under warranty and let me purchase the two year extended plan, which (all things considered) is a good deal when you're facing replacing the print head. The techs were out the next day to fix it. I suppose I couldn't be happier unless a better understanding of these issues were to be had.

I don't know, but all of this just seems ridiculous to me. Surely you shouldn't ever expect to have to replace the print head after only a year of usage? That's like having to put a new engine in your car after 10,000 miles and everyone at the garage saying this is quite normal, sir.

John
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 08, 2012, 01:04:22 PM
I don't know, but all of this just seems ridiculous to me. Surely you shouldn't ever expect to have to replace the print head after only a year of usage? That's like having to put a new engine in your car after 10,000 miles and everyone at the garage saying this is quite normal, sir.

John

There's nothing ridiculous. Until you know the total number of machines that have had this kind of failure and the intensity of their use relative to all the 7900s that have been sold world-wide from the day the model was introduced to now and the intensity of their use, you have no way of knowing whether the failure rate is above or below that expected for the model. All equipment has expected failure rates. It's only when a piece of equipment exhibits failure rates above the expected value that there is what the industry would consider to be a problem. The main thing is whether the company makes good on its warranty, and in this case it would appear that Epson has more than done so. It's nice to read of stories with happy endings. Still keeping my eyes open for the final episode of Eric's saga! :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 08, 2012, 01:30:54 PM
I would only add to Mark's point that MTBF (mean time before failure) was a key issue in evaluating disk drives in the early PC days.  Some manufacturers had real problems with lots of drive failures (I had a Compaq computer that went through three drives in 18 months).  These days drives are much more stable and failures are rare (don't get complacent, back up every week).  We really don't know what Epson's MTBF for the print head is.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 08, 2012, 08:25:10 PM
As another point of information, I was away recently and my 7900 was turned off for four weeks. There were some clogs when I turned it on. These "clogs" moved all around on consecutive cleanings of various color pairs, but after perhaps 4 such cleanings not all the nozzles were clear. I removed the wiper (wearing powder-free latex gloves so as not to contaminate it) and found it had a lot of "gunk" on it, consisting of liquid ink and particles of dry ink. It's easy to see how this thing wiping over the head would clear some nozzles while depositing junk in front of others. I cleaned the wiper as best I could with a dry PecPad, which is lint-free. I didn't use solvent because I didn't know what could safely be used on the blade. Of note is the fact that the wiper blade itself was in perfect condition after being in service for 38 months. I reinstalled the wiper and one cleaning then cleared all the remaining clogs.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: John R Smith on March 09, 2012, 03:50:26 AM
There's nothing ridiculous . . .

Yes, Mark, fair comments. Unless you know the service history behind a failure it is pointless to speculate, of course. It's also possible that you can get this sort of failure because you haven't used the printer enough, perhaps.

John
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 09, 2012, 10:53:43 AM
Thanks for that Dean.  Good information & experience
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 09, 2012, 11:54:09 AM
It is true that we can design a mechanical device to never fail, however it would be cost prohibitive to do so.  Every device can fail and the more complicated a device the more likely it will fail.  Imagine spending $80K for a Mercedes and having the transmission go south and the MB rep telling you "This never happens, there's not a transmission in the USA because they never break down", but they do, even after 195 miles.  I know a lot of people are happy with their Apple products, I have about a 50% failure rate with Apple products, I'm positive Apple doesn't have a 50% failure rate.  And it's difficult to determine via these types of forums because people are more apt to complain than commend.    Anecdotally one could surmise Epson does have a major issue with clogging, however to be fair, my 3880 I just fired up for the first time in 3-4 months, I did a nozzle check and it was perfect, printed some photos, not a problem.  The clogging issue does seem to be a problem with the large format printers and I'd be curious as to why?  I wouldn't expect a printer to have the print head go bad within 1 year, but if it did, it wouldn't surprise me.

"Those who always have great expectations are usually disappointed and those who never expect anything are always pleasantly surprised"

I'm totally surprised that my Epson 1280 is still running since 2001.... I was hoping it would last for a few years...

It's OK to be a little frustrated and upset when something breaks that we hope won't, however put it into perspective.



Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: deanwork on March 09, 2012, 12:06:22 PM
This is a lot of non-sense talk. I had an Epson 10K that I ran for 12 years with the same heads, and I specialized in using cotton rag Hahnemuhle media with all the nasty cotton fiber. Hundereds and hundreds of rolls of everything went through that machine. Every other 10k I heard about functioned the same way.  Actually I ran absolutely everything trough it including kozo papers etc. It never once clogged more than would take one single standard head cleaning to clear, and even having to do that was rare. My two 9600s went for like 7 years without having to have heads replaced. I've also had many little epson desktop units that produced thousands of prints with alternative inks and rag papers and the heads NEVER went out on these either.

Epson makes good heads, that isn't the issue. The issue is this retarded pressurized system they designed for some of the latest printers. Everybody knows that. Even the Epson techs know that. Look, using that many big carts in one unit where the carts are inserted horizontally surely doesn't help. Maybe if the 10K had used 8 carts instead of 6 it would have had issues too. Whatever the cause of it, it isn't a problem with poorly made heads, it is a bad ink flow system and it's driving people nuts.

I've got a 9890 and it's been running great, but now all of a sudden out of nowhere my MK channel just totally disappeared causing a wasted day or two and more ink down the drain ( you can't just clear one channel you have to clean at least two at a time). I thought these new 890 series were immune to that. Guess I was wrong. If they want to fix something on the new versions, fix that.

john
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on March 09, 2012, 04:51:14 PM
It's OK to be a little frustrated and upset when something breaks that we hope won't, however put it into perspective.

That is extremely well said.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 09, 2012, 05:07:49 PM
Epson makes good heads, that isn't the issue. The issue is this retarded pressurized system they designed for some of the latest printers. Everybody knows that. Even the Epson techs know that. Look, using that many big carts in one unit where the carts are inserted horizontally surely doesn't help. Maybe if the 10K had used 8 carts instead of 6 it would have had issues too. Whatever the cause of it, it isn't a problem with poorly made heads, it is a bad ink flow system and it's driving people nuts.

It just may be that Epson need more pressure to deliver the ink for this class of printers.  Of course this is difficult to tell from the specifications but they do have double the nozzles compared to the x880 class of printers.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 09, 2012, 05:10:40 PM
It definitely doesn't seem to be a nozzle / head issue with the larger printers.  There's a fix just waiting to be found.....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: deanwork on March 09, 2012, 06:49:38 PM
I think your right, and I think they will solve it eventually.

I don't want to come across knocking the 9890 printers. I'm producing some giant outstanding work with it and these heads are excellent. Most of what they are doing with this line of printers, including the price, is outstanding. I just think that if they WERE to improve anything the next time around, the pressure distribution situation would be first on my ( and many people's) list. They do that and they will stay in first place.

john

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 09, 2012, 06:56:58 PM
I would be truly surprised if there were a GENERIC problem of the type you are pinpointing. Firstly, one has to surmise that the company would have tested these systems THOROUGHLY before committing the huge amount of manufacturing and marketing resources needed to put a new model on the market. Not to say that companies haven't had these kinds of failures, but again - really surprising. Secondly, I'm not sure how much I would rely on the information from EVERY tech (how many have you discussed this with?) because their own knowledge of these systems is not necessarily all that deep - depends. I'm not saying there isn't a problem here, but how systemic it is remains an open question in my mind.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Farmer on March 09, 2012, 07:52:21 PM
I think your right, and I think they will solve it eventually.

I don't want to come across knocking the 9890 printers. I'm producing some giant outstanding work with it and these heads are excellent. Most of what they are doing with this line of printers, including the price, is outstanding. I just think that if they WERE to improve anything the next time around, the pressure distribution situation would be first on my ( and many people's) list. They do that and they will stay in first place.

I think that's a good angle to come from and a good suggestion.  May I suggest that, if you haven't already, feed that back through your dealer or direct to Epson?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 09, 2012, 10:42:31 PM
I would be truly surprised if there were a GENERIC problem of the type you are pinpointing. Firstly, one has to surmise that the company would have tested these systems THOROUGHLY before committing the huge amount of manufacturing and marketing resources needed to put a new model on the market. Not to say that companies haven't had these kinds of failures, but again - really surprising. Secondly, I'm not sure how much I would rely on the information from EVERY tech (how many have you discussed this with?) because their own knowledge of these systems is not necessarily all that deep - depends. I'm not saying there isn't a problem here, but how systemic it is remains an open question in my mind.

I wouldn't be surprised by any type of "generic" problem, cars have them and they put a lot more testing into cars than printers.  Obviously software has issues all the time, though more complicated than a printer.  I can recall (pun) Canon 10D having a back focus issue (I had to send mine in), wouldn't they have tested that camera "THOROUGHLY"?   Wasn't there an orange shift issue with the Epson 1270 or 1280?  Nothing surprises me, I believe these companies allow us to be guinea pigs to a certain extent.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 09, 2012, 11:45:37 PM
Nothing surprises me, I believe these companies allow us to be guinea pigs to a certain extent.

Yes, "to a certain extent" - noting that companies need to make judgments about when products are ready for "prime time", and in haste to satisfy revenue objectives they may "jump the gun". BUT, whenever they contemplate doing so, they also need to consider the cost and reputational risks associated with fiascoes. Given how fundamental the ink supply system is to the overall functioning of the printer and the accumulated experience Epson has had designing these things, it is these considerations that make me wonder whether the problem John ("Deanwork") identified is indeed a generic issue. Again, I'm not saying its inconceivable - I'm just wondering how likely.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 10, 2012, 12:15:01 AM
Yes, "to a certain extent" - noting that companies need to make judgments about when products are ready for "prime time", and in haste to satisfy revenue objectives they may "jump the gun". BUT, whenever they contemplate doing so, they also need to consider the cost and reputational risks associated with fiascoes. Given how fundamental the ink supply system is to the overall functioning of the printer and the accumulated experience Epson has had designing these things, it is these considerations that make me wonder whether the problem John ("Deanwork") identified is indeed a generic issue. Again, I'm not saying its inconceivable - I'm just wondering how likely.

Mark, I'd hope very unlikely, but that would be an altruistic POV.  I suppose my naivety has waned since 1996 when my wife educated me on how big businesses are run, since then I have a much different outlook.  I'd love to believe that companies test products and make sure they are "perfect" before releasing them, but I believe they get them to the stage of "Good Enough" and then start to ship them.  They probably know what percentage will come back, how many repairs per unit (just like cars) and adjust accordingly.  Also, being surrounded by so many engineers some of whom do finite analysis and failure analysis work for some pretty large and well known corporations leads me to believe a lot of products are released before they should be.  You don't think Apple knew about the antenna issue before they released the IPhone 4?  Sure they did and to placate their customers they gave us all a "Free" case.... Was it worth it to them to release the product without fixing the problem?  HELL YEAH, it didn't hurt their reputation and they sold millions of them, no delays in shipping or cash flow.  It was the cheapest way to solve the problem and what's a public company's number one priority? 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 10, 2012, 12:32:36 AM
I don't disagree with any of this in principle. Notwithstanding, it is still reasonable to be not totally convinced of its applicability to the case at hand.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 10, 2012, 12:50:16 AM
I don't disagree with any of this in principle. Notwithstanding, it is still reasonable to be not totally convinced of its applicability to the case at hand.

One can't be totally convinced in this case or any case until the problem has been fully diagnosed and documented.  My opinion is if clogging were a major issue with a mass produced printer there would be a lot more "squeaky wheels".  I don't know what the percentages are, but I would guess Epson only sells a handful of large format printers compared to their consumer / prosumer units.   Has Epson ever gone on record as saying "We have a clogging issue with our large format printers" ?  I've had nothing but success with Epson products, so I can't commiserate with the poor souls who are having time consuming problems.... I'm sure trying to get a print completed only to have a printer not work would be frustrating.   "Product Karma" there's something to be said...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 10, 2012, 01:03:28 AM
Yes, I agree. I would add that we are unlikely to be given access to the kind of data that would definitively make these determinations, but it's likely that the total number of x900 models in use world-wide is probably quite large.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on March 10, 2012, 02:01:53 AM
As a statistician might tell you, rather than seeking to validate the absolute importance of an issue from a single sample, it can be a lot more enlightening to take a comparative approach.  In this case I see that compared to other brands, printer forums with "clogging" threads combined with the Epson brand, are much, much more common than "clogging" threads combined with the Canon or HP brands.  (No "brand-wars" please)

As for "expectations", I think it's reasonable that a printer will work for a long time before becoming unusable without major expense.  This a reasonable user expectation.  I think that if auto makers can offer 5 year, unlimited mileage warranties, large format printer makers should be doing something similar.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 10, 2012, 03:06:51 AM
As a statistician might tell you, rather than seeking to validate the absolute importance of an issue from a single sample, it can be a lot more enlightening to take a comparative approach.  In this case I see that compared to other brands, printer forums with "clogging" threads combined with the Epson brand, are much, much more common than "clogging" threads combined with the Canon or HP brands.  (No "brand-wars" please)

As for "expectations", I think it's reasonable that a printer will work for a long time before becoming unusable without major expense.  This a reasonable user expectation.  I think that if auto makers can offer 5 year, unlimited mileage warranties, large format printer makers should be doing something similar.

Much depends on the quality of the sample and how representative it is of the population. As for a comparative approach - sure it can help, but then you want to be sure about what you are comparing. There is much discussion here and elsewhere about "clogs", but the issue may not be clogs. Then there is the fact that even if it were clogs,  different printer technologies have different ways of dealing with them. One technology makes clogs apparent to the user to do something about; others do not. The difference between measuring what you see and not what you don't see can be very large and distort the value of the exercise.

I'd love to have a five year warranty on my printer (but then the price would have been correspondingly higher); however, I just don't know on what the basis to expect that just because I get a 5 yr./ 60,000km. limited warranty on my car, I should expect the same of a printer.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 10, 2012, 07:47:07 AM
As a statistician might tell you, rather than seeking to validate the absolute importance of an issue from a single sample, it can be a lot more enlightening to take a comparative approach.  In this case I see that compared to other brands, printer forums with "clogging" threads combined with the Epson brand, are much, much more common than "clogging" threads combined with the Canon or HP brands.  (No "brand-wars" please)

As for "expectations", I think it's reasonable that a printer will work for a long time before becoming unusable without major expense.  This a reasonable user expectation.  I think that if auto makers can offer 5 year, unlimited mileage warranties, large format printer makers should be doing something similar.

I think Mark's statement is straightforward and I agree.  There's no doubt that there are a lot more online complaints regarding Epson printers regarding "clogging" than the other two...Is it because Epson sells a lot more printers or is there another reason?  It's been established that pigment printers from all of the Big 3 (sounds like the car industry) clog. but that HP and Canon deal with it in the background while with Epson it's a part of the user experience (I have never had a clogging problem with an Epson printer).  I do agree that one should be able to own a printer for several years without expense, but as I have mentioned before, warranties are used in marketing and not engineering.  Hyundai has perhaps the longest warranty in the car industry (as long as you own the car), why?  It was a way to gain market share (they have) Apple doesn't need to gain market share (they'll eliminate PCs someday) and therefore don't give much of a warranty. what are they now 90 days?  That brings us to Epson, do they need to give a longer warranty in order to sell more printers?  I highly doubt it and neither do the other 2.  Warranties are also a way of getting customers back who have left the brand, imagine Epson or another company saying, "We are better now and we'll give you a 5 year 10,000 print warranty" 

The question is still, what's the problem?  Are any of the inks in the 7900/9900 the same formula as the 3880?  If the answer is yes, than I'd say it's probably not the ink.  What about the heads?  It's possible it's not a clogging issue at all, it's possible it's a delivery problem.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 10, 2012, 08:40:51 AM
The question is still, what's the problem?  Are any of the inks in the 7900/9900 the same formula as the 3880?  If the answer is yes, than I'd say it's probably not the ink.  What about the heads?  It's possible it's not a clogging issue at all, it's possible it's a delivery problem.
It is likely that the inks are the same.  They are covered by the same patents and Material Safety Data Sheets (which give you the composition of the various chemicals).  We don't know the exact compounds since they are covered by trade secrets and one could reverse engineer them (as has been done by some third parties).  We've been all over the clogging issue with regard to Epson printers and as has been said, Epson has chosen a different print head technology than either HP or Canon.  Only Epson know for sure the scope of the clogging problem with regard to number of units in the field vs. number of repairs for this issue.

With respect to the engineering issues and testing about when a particular product is ready to go into the market, this is a call by the manufacturer.  It is very difficult to identify every single problem prior to market entry since a relatively small issue cannot be identified prior to "large" scale introduction into the market.  In my field of pharmaceutical development we see this a lot with respect to rare adverse drug events.  Routine clinical trials of a new drug involve maybe 5000 patients in a clinical trial at the high end (not counting vaccines which are given to healthy people).  If you have a rare event that occurs in 1 out 10,000 patients, you cannot reliably measure that unless you have a clinical trial of 30,000 (which leads to much higher development costs).  "If" clogging is a rare event, the manufacturer may not know about the issue until the printer sees widespread use and the question then becomes should the manufacturer do lots more pre-market testing (and delay sales which could lead to a weaker competitive position if say Canon or HP enter with a comparable printer).  Complicated business decisions.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 12, 2012, 10:03:27 AM
Here's a Nozzle Check from yesterday, on Epson Exhibition. For weeks now, the same exact identical missing bars, only in the LLK area. Power Cleanings; Pair Cleanings; nothing will budge it. Frustrating on just how few bars need to be missing in order to show very boldly, on an actual print. It shows up as "horizontal banding".

(http://199.237.236.200/a/Strip013.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2012, 11:52:58 AM
I seem to recall reading in my 4900 manual that in such situations they recommend calling Epson technical support for a solution. Have you done that yet?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2012, 10:21:44 PM
Aww c'mon Mark,
 All 'tech help' (and I use the term lightly), is going to do, is tell him to do what he already did! We already know the routine... If the printer is under warrantee it will be a free service call, if out of warrantee, good luck!

Two points: (1) Don't under estimate them, and (2) if there is an established route for problem resolution, use it. If it doesn't work or proves unsatisfactory for whatever reason, web forums become an excellent resource for sharing experience and alerting the company in a public kind of way to what the issues are - but first give them a real chance to help you - that's why they make a service option available both during and post-warranty. The main point I'm making is first things first.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2012, 10:37:31 PM
Time for a service call.
  ;)
David

Indeed - we end up at the same place! :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 12, 2012, 10:58:39 PM
I seem to recall reading in my 4900 manual that in such situations they recommend calling Epson technical support for a solution. Have you done that yet?

I did that the first day after reading this thread, weeks ago. I called Tech Support. Once determined that the printer was out of warranty, I got the canned impersonal response to contact Decision One. And that was that.

So much for your snide arrogant remark. Do you even own a 7900?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 13, 2012, 01:20:35 AM
Sorry, there was nothing snide or arrogant meant or implied - you didn't say you had done that, so put yourself in the position of another reader - what was he to presume? There are people who run to web forums before they exhaust the discussion with their equipment suppliers, either out of frustration, fear or because the first person they spoke to didn't do them right. My suggestion - in case that wasn't done - was simply to exhaust that route first (including appealing for escalation if necessary) because one can often be pleasantly surprised. I was actually trying to be helpful. You don't know me and I don't know you, so please be mindful of how you react to what it is said in such circumstances.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Garnick on March 13, 2012, 09:34:05 AM
Sad but true,

There's been a lot of reference in this thread concerning warranties.  When I call Epson I simply give them my phone number and they take it from there, usually two or three minutes for them to get caught up on the issues with my 9900 and then back on the line.  I cannot complain about their service, but that's because my printer is still under an 'extended' warranty, which I will be extending one more time in a few weeks.  After that I'm on my own I guess, since three years seems to be the limit.  I suppose I could probably get a contract with Glodyne Decision One, but not sure I can afford that.  I have aired out just a few of my issues here in past posts and will not go there again now.  I will however put in another word or two concerning my belief that an extended warranty on the x900 series printers is an excellent investment.  Had I not taken that route after the first year I would have paid for another printer in repairs on the current one.  It's a great piece of business when it works as expected, and it is just that, a big piece of my business.  Therefore, I cannot be taking any chances on it being out of commission for any length of time.  The warranty is the best insurance policy I could possibly have taken and it has paid for itself in spades.  Just a thought.

Gary
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on March 13, 2012, 10:47:37 AM
I hate hate hate buying "extended warranties."  But this is one of those times that in all likelihood, I'll be buying an extended warranty for my 9900.  She's simply much more finicky than my 9800 (which is still performing perfectly, btw).  The 9900 demands a bit more attention otherwise she becomes passive aggressive with needed nozzle checks generally appeasing her.  The 49/79/9900 series are simply more technologically advanced and require a bit more attention to workflow and details.  Yup, the extended warranty is probably a good investment in this situation.

Still waiting to hear from Eric on next season's episode/finale, and looking forward to picking up more maintenance tips on my printer....

ken   :)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 13, 2012, 11:44:29 AM
Mark, I think that one more guy has become somewhat impatient with your tendency to apologize for Epson every inch of the way, paired with assuming the best from them, and the worse from the users.  Had you paid attention, you would have remembered the story of this poor fellow a few pages ago on this thread.

Personally I was not born with a prejudice for or against Epson, I just wish they would take responsibility for what is clearly a manufacturing of engineering defect. warranty or out of warranty, period.  It is ludicrous to contemplate LLK drying inside the head, clogging and the like.  LLK is one of the most fluid inks in the lineup, one that hardly ever clogs (regular clogging) and it does not dry solid at air contact.  If by extraordinary it could have "solidified" it would have been dissolved by the cleaners that I have put in the channel, and instead, while there was no ink left to create clogging, the head kept "clogging."  The only logical conclusion is that there is no clogging going on in this case.  On another hand most head failures on x900 are extra overwhelmingly on the LLK channel, and anybody with logic and a reasonable understanding would start to assume that the likelihood of an engineering or manufacturing issue here is quite high, and certainly the first presumption.

The extended warranty is a solution for volume printers.  For others, it prices Epson well outside of the affordability range let alone that the alternatives are already roughly 50% less before the extended warranty.

Thank goodness for Epson that there are people like Mark distracting us from the real issues at play here, otherwise they might have a real problem selling their printers to more than a handful.  Oh and Mark, don't post any question toward me, even if you clearly have nothing better to do, I will not answer.  You have exhausted my patience, can't teach a donkey how to bark.

Epson should bite the bullet.  I have very good reasons to suspect that they don't know how to technically resolve the problem, prevent those premature head failure to occur.  But since the users are not responsible for that, and since we are talking of a relatively small numbers of users, it would be feasible and the honorable thing to do, to rescue that relatively small amount of people, just like they did with James Haswell (page 25), and emerge ahead in terms of image.  Don't you think?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 13, 2012, 12:06:45 PM
It is unfortunate that you interpret my recommendations for objective analysis and logical procedure to be "apologizing for Epson every inch of the way". I have absolutely no interest in that and it makes no sense to impute that I do. I am also recommending disciplinary action to the moderator because referring to another forum member as a "donkey" is unacceptable behaviour under any circumstances.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Garnick on March 13, 2012, 12:13:00 PM
It is unfortunate that you interpret my recommendations for objective analysis and logical procedure to be "apologizing for Epson every inch of the way". I have absolutely no interest in that and it makes no sense to impute that I do. I am also recommending disciplinary action to the moderator because referring to another forum member as a "donkey" is unacceptable behaviour under any circumstances.

I AGREE!!!

Gary
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 13, 2012, 12:30:21 PM
Just to be clear, I did not call anybody a donkey.

I referred to the fact that one person in particular here, systematically displays what amounts to stubbornness in face of a body of evidence, and that spending any more energy in trying to convince that person, would for me as frivolous as trying to teach a donkey how to bark.

There so called "skepticism" of the person in question here, amounts to be a consistent apologist, whether on purpose or not.  When that person does not even own the equipment in question while I and others do, and we are the persons who actually have a grievance here, and a serious one jeopardizing our businesses, the persistence of the said stubborn fellow, becomes quite difficult to take.


I was not trying to insult anyone, just making it clear that I and others have had enough with the so called "skepticism," which at this point is irrational.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 13, 2012, 12:38:26 PM
I'll add to what I said by also bringing to your attention that calling some one an "apologist" for a corporation is also impugning that person's character and that too is completely unacceptable - in fact it is slanderous.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 13, 2012, 01:26:03 PM
Mark,


For someone who bills himself as the paradigm of logic, you do not seem to understand the subtleties or logic of language very well.  It would be slanderous to accuse you of being a covert apologist, in other words somebody who acts benevolent, but is in fact compensated for advocating in a certain manner.  And I have only accused you of being an apologist, a plain one, somebody who day in and day out, find all the possible excuses for one party while expressing irrational skepticism for the other, a fact that anybody can verify by combing through this 27 pages long thread.

In fact, apart from being illogical, borderline idiotic, it might be slanderous in this case of accusing me of slander.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 13, 2012, 02:55:01 PM
Mark,


For someone who bills himself as the paradigm of logic, you do not seem to understand the subtleties or logic of language very well.  It would be slanderous to accuse you of being a covert apologist, in other words somebody who acts benevolent, but is in fact compensated for advocating in a certain manner.  And I have only accused you of being an apologist, a plain one, somebody who day in and day out, find all the possible excuses for one party while expressing irrational skepticism for the other, a fact that anybody can verify by combing through this 27 pages long thread.

In fact, apart from being illogical, borderline idiotic, it might be slanderous in this case of accusing me of slander.




Finita la commedia.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: michael on March 13, 2012, 02:59:03 PM
This is gone far enough.

While I think the comment made was overly aggressive and inappropriate, it falls short of being a ban-able infraction.

I would suggest an apology and then let's let the matter drop.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 13, 2012, 03:26:38 PM
Michael,


Out of deference for your opinion, I will apologize for having used language that could be interpreted as insulting, and above all became a pretense for distraction from the substance of my original post.  I will submit as attenuating circumstances though, that as one of the few people whose business is indeed jeopardized by the premature failure of my 9900, which has a near 100% probability of being imputable to a defect in manufacturing or engineering, it becomes really aggravating to read some posts which are consistently, and beyond reason, advocating in the defense of the manufacturer in a way that is very insensitive to our pain.


So now, please bear my re posting some of my comments that this incident has distracted us from:


Personally I was not born with a prejudice for or against Epson, I just wish they would take responsibility for what is clearly a manufacturing of engineering defect, under warranty or out of warranty, period.  It is ludicrous to contemplate LLK drying inside the head, clogging and the like.  LLK is one of the most fluid inks in the lineup, one that hardly ever clogs (regular clogging) and it does not dry solid at air contact.  If by extraordinary it could have "solidified" my testing demonstrates that it would have been dissolved by the cleaners that I have put in the channel, and instead, while there was no ink left to create clogging, the head kept "clogging."  The only logical conclusion is that there is no clogging going on in this case.  On another hand most head failures on x900 are extra overwhelmingly on the LLK channel, and anybody with logic and a reasonable understanding would start to assume that the likelihood of an engineering or manufacturing issue here is then quite high, and certainly the first presumption.

The extended warranty is a solution for volume printers.  For others, it prices Epson well outside of the affordability range, let alone that the alternatives (Canon, HP) are already roughly 50% less costly before the extended warranty.

Epson should bite the bullet.  I have very (let me retype VERY) good reasons to suspect that they don't know how to technically resolve the problem, prevent those premature head failures to occur.  But since the users are not responsible for that, and since we are talking of a relatively small numbers of users, it would be feasible and the honorable thing to do, to rescue that relatively small amount of people, just like they did with James Haswell (page 25), and emerge ahead in terms of image.  

Don't you think?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on March 15, 2012, 12:23:14 PM
I am not a usual forum user or poster, but because my 9900 has an uncurable clog I have come to follow this thread daily. It does surprise me how people can become worked up over other peoples comments. Like it or not, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and is free to voice them!
With that aside, when I compare this situation to my own business, here is what I think Epson should do:
Let's say I get 1000 orders for large mounted and framed Fine-Art prints at a cost of $5000. Each. 10 of those clients call me because the mounting process I used, for whatever reason (humidity, dryness, they hung it in their bathroom...) the photograph began to bubble up from the mount. These 10 customers become dissatisfied because the photograph no longer looks as it did when they purchased it. I offered no warrenty, or extended warrenty when they purchased the photograph. So should I tell them too bad, here is the name of a framer who can fix it for $2500.-$3000., or should I offer to replace or fix them myself at no charge? Personally to keep a customer like this happy (a customer who also might refer some of their wealthy friends to purchase more of my work) I would offer to fix the issue. If I chose the other path, it only takes those 10 disgusted, unsatisfied customers to reach out to thousands of other potential customers and steer them away from purchasing my work and purchasing work from someone else. And, especially with a web forum like this and the way people communicate today bad business could spread very quickly. The cost for me to replace that photograph will be far less then the price I might pay to not fix it.
In the case of a corporate giant such as Epson in a very competitive market it seems to me that they would want to keep those printers printing so they can sell more ink! (isn't that where they
Make their highest profit margin anyways) something to think about....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 15, 2012, 04:55:05 PM
Michael,

  I have very (let me retype VERY) good reasons to suspect that they don't know how to technically resolve the problem, prevent those premature head failures to occur.  

Don't you think?

Hi Clic...

perhaps it would lend more credibility if you explained your VERY good reasons - or are they just what you have already mentioned? 

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 16, 2012, 06:14:50 AM
I offered no warranty, or extended warranty when they purchased the photograph.
I'd do the same thing and replace their print. But if I did offer a free warranty period, and an extended warranty they could purchase (presumably priced to help defray some of my expected costs), it might be a different story. If someone comes in with a problem after the free warranty expires, who did not purchase any extended warranty, should I give that person the same service my other customers had to pay paid for? What would be the reaction of the customers who did buy the extended warranty if they find I'm giving those who didn't buy it the same service? If it's a couple days after the warranty expired then perhaps no one would care, but when does that end -- a week, a month, 6 months, or a year out of warranty? The whole thing quickly becomes a quagmire and I suspect I'd be better off following a set policy that's written down on a piece of paper that I give to everyone who buys a print. That way everyone knows what to expect up front, and they can even have the entire free warranty period to decide whether to buy the extended one.

From any large manufacturer's perspective it's all statistics. They all produce large numbers of printers, and they are complex devices. There is always some "infant mortality" as electronic parts "burn in" and there are always some manufacturing defects. I have no inside information regarding Epson, but it would be a huge problem if these issues affected more than a fraction of a percent of the units they produce. This sort of thing typically happens during the warranty period, but it's a statistical distribution and sometimes it takes longer. Also, it's normal for complicated systems to have a few common end of life failure modes, or ways in which the system typically fails, usually due to some specific "weakest link" component or subsystem that on average fails earlier than the rest. Subjectively speaking that usually that takes a long time, or "long enough", relative to our need for the device. Statistically some units will fail prematurely while most will last far longer.

With all that said, I didn't purchase an extended warranty for my printer and I'd have been as upset as anyone if it had a major problem after the warranty expired. The first thing I'd think is that I should have purchased the extended warranty. The next thing I'd think is that I probably shouldn't buy another one of these, but if I did I'd certainly buy the warranty next time. I virtually never buy extended warranties, but that's the same as placing a bet that you're not going to need it. As with all wagers, sometimes you lose.

I've been reading this thread regularly with great interest and wanted to share these thoughts. There's no intent to ruffle any feathers.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 16, 2012, 07:53:50 AM
Excellent post Dean. I think from the macroscopic perspective this lays out the whole issue in a very rational and sensible manner, much as, also logically, the bigger picture doesn't really cure the pain felt by those who have been affected by major out-of-warranty issues.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 16, 2012, 12:39:15 PM
I feel shy now.  I'm surrounded by more knowledge and talent than I'll ever possess.  I won't even mention experience. 

"But I did save 15% by switching to Geico!" 


Latest update on our Canadian head cleaning; I talked to Vladimir and he predicts the end of this month we will have the head back.  So our answer is looming...

Congratulations Clic.  I wish I was that good at anything.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 16, 2012, 01:15:34 PM

For an L.F. Epson printer, a reasonable life expectancy is 6 to 10 years unless intensive usage, maybe more for really low volume, and the real life expectancy is typically actually determined by technological improvements available in newer machines than by actual deterioration.  That is the situation and what warrants Sacred Earth eloquent demonstration of what should be a no brainer for the manufacturer.
According to whom?  What is the criteria here? 

Quote
I have already demonstrated on this thread that the problem is not one of clogging, but rather one of engineering and/or manufacturing.  Beyond that, I enjoy a rather high consideration in the photo industry.  Apart from my work having been recognized by Leica among others, a full feature documentary film is currently hitting the festival circuit about my work.  You pretty much can take to the bank that the director of that movie would not have committed his resources if he did not think that I had quite a bit of credibility.  As a matter of fact, a good part of the film is about affirming what apparently is an off the charts artistic integrity.  
The fact that you are a more than capable photographer does not make you an engineering expert (I couldn't find any reference to your educational background that would make you knowledgeable about anything more than a bunch of Internet anecdotes).

Quote
In order to erase any doubt, I should also be able to post early next week, evidence of a new recognition from the Rolls Royce of photography (leica would be Bentley).
Congratulation but see the above comment.  I have also received a number of awards during my working career but none of them relate to making value judgments about engineering issues (though my late father was a very capable civil engineer so maybe part of my genetic makeup predisposes me in that direction).


Quote
It is quite obvious that the credibility deficit here, is in the camp on the other side of this story, the one who thinks that it can erect a wall of silence and pretend to be in denial.  So really, for now,  please just take my word for it, as I am not the one with a credibility issue here.  We shall see later if there is a need for going public about the nuclear grade, wilkipedia type of information, that I am sorry to be in control of.  It should suffice to say that the world does not like cheaters, and the mood is not especially tolerant of corruption lately.  The recent Greg Smith/Goldman Sachs story should inspire better behaviors here.
Rather strange analogy here.  Epson offer a solid one year warranty on their professional printers and an additional 2 year extension for those willing to purchase it.  I can tell you point blank that if my livelihood depended on a wide format printer regardless of the manufacturer, I would get the extended warranty.  If you don't like Epson, there are two other manufacturers out there that would be pleased to sell you a printer (I've had two medium format Epson K3 inkset photo printers that never had a single clog in 3 1/2 years of moderate use).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on March 16, 2012, 01:58:38 PM
Alan,

I knew if I waited a while someone more eloquent than I would put my thoughts into words. Thank you.

I've said this before on threads and it bears repeating. We have sold thousands of Epson printers from 17" to 63" and ALWAYS advise our customers to call us first when they have a problem. We get very few calls with ink delivery issues on Epson printers. Our sample is quite large - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - and if I were Epson I'd be happy with the track record. This does NOT mean they should put their feet up on the desk and light a cigar and I don't believe that is their attitude. I'll bet Epson is constantly striving to make better printers, which seems obvious, as their products have gotten better with each new generation. Oh, am I straying into 'apologist' territory? No problem.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 16, 2012, 01:59:54 PM
In an altruistic world Dean's post resonates with pure sincerity and accuracy, however, I can commiserate with Clic and certainly can understand his thought process and POV.  

Allow me briefly digress

The check engine light on my ex-wife's SUV came on so I took it to the dealership (it's the Mercedes of cars :-) ).  The warranty had expired, I hadn't purchased the extended warranty (I never do, invest it and pay for repairs) so when they told me it would cost $2000.00 to repair the vehicle I wasn't too happy... The service advisor ( FYI, they are salesman) was attempting to explain the problem and told me they had to replace the intake manifold because a part broke and the flaps inside the manifold wouldn't operate which would screw up the emissions....... I wasn't quite following him (I have never replaced an intake manifold except for restoring or modding a car) so I drove to the dealership to have the mechanic show me what the problem was.  The mechanic took me into the shop and showed me a unit they had off another car with a broken piece of plastic, it had two metal levers attached to it that operate the air flaps inside the manifold, the piece of plastic is about 2mm thick - 4" x 2" approximately and I'd say it cost about .05 to manufacture.  The intake manifold "assembly" which the aforementioned piece of plastic is a part of is $1,200.00, YES, this cheap piece of plastic can fail costing the customer $2,000.00 to repair.  I had the option of buying an extended warranty, however I thought since I was paying $80K for a vehicle it should last 250,000 miles or at least ten years without major repairs, Mercedes of the past seem to last this long.  How could I possibly know that a .05 piece of plastic could cause a $2,000.00 repair?  Is that reasonable?  I didn't think so and called Mercedes, the bottom line on the repair, they refunded me $1200.00 and I got the "old" intake manifold, we are currently reverse engineering the part, will make it, do the stress tests on it and probably approach MB with a fix and solution, if they don't change it we will proceed with litigation.

I'm sure I don't have to explain the above analogy how it relates to Epson printers?

I agree with what Dean writes:

Quote
From any large manufacturer's perspective it's all statistics. They all produce large numbers of printers, and they are complex devices. There is always some "infant mortality" as electronic parts "burn in" and there are always some manufacturing defects.

However, isn't it reasonable to expect a printer not have an engineering defect from the factory (I'm not saying this is the case here) or that a .05 part can cost $2,000.00 to repair?  IOW, if Epson (or any or the others) is producing a product they know will have a high rate of failure once out of warranty isn't that conning the buying public?   I certainly don't know how widespread the "problem" is regarding Epson printers, however it could be 50% and the paying public wouldn't know, this isn't the auto industry, nobody was ever killed by an inadvertent squirt of ink....lol  While I can understand what Clic is saying, how widespread is the "problem"?  If it's within industry standards then que sera, sera.  If Epson is knowingly selling a "defective" product then something should be done about it.  Every industry works the same way, but there are some that play by the rules while others don't.  It would be difficult for me to believe Epson would risk their $11 billion revenue corporation by knowingly putting out a defective product, then again, It's difficult for me to believe Mercedes Benz would use a .05 piece of plastic to control a $1200.00 part.... They all do the same thing and that's why it can be frustrating, but they look at the bottom line, how many will fail.  Dean is correct, it's all statistics.

I do believe in product karma and fortunately for me I have had 100% good luck with Epson printers and I have used and owned all 3 of them....Epson makes my favorite inkjets and HP my favorite lasers, when I deviate from that I tend to have issues...

Ps,  Listen to the dealers, they have more of an individual vested interest in selling you reliable products, they don't want 20% of their customers complaining.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on March 16, 2012, 03:55:17 PM
I've said this before on threads and it bears repeating. We have sold thousands of Epson printers from 17" to 63" and ALWAYS advise our customers to call us first when they have a problem. We get very few calls with ink delivery issues on Epson printers. Our sample is quite large - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - and if I were Epson I'd be happy with the track record.

Randy, what is your basis for assuming your customers call you first (and not Epson) when they have a problem?  Do you offer some solution for customers with ink delivery issues?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on March 16, 2012, 04:45:28 PM
One reason is that we ask them to call us first and another is that we try to keep in touch with our customer base. If they don't call us, we assume that all is well OR they chose to call Epson and were happy with the result of the phone call. We advise our customers, either repeat or new, that if they have issues that are unresolved, we will get involved with pursuing a solution.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Gemmtech on March 16, 2012, 04:48:40 PM
Randy, what is your basis for assuming your customers call you first (and not Epson) when they have a problem?  Do you offer some solution for customers with ink delivery issues?

Isn't Epson like most manufacturers?  When you have a problem they want you to call the dealer first?  You don't call Ford when your engine blows up, you take it to the dealer?  Granted, I'm making an assumption here that the LF printers are sold by people who are a lot more knowledgeable than the guy selling a $300.00 printer at BB.   I'd call a dealer first and then work my way up the ladder, why have a dealer network if you don't "need" them?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on March 16, 2012, 07:56:24 PM

Isn't Epson like most manufacturers?  When you have a problem they want you to call the dealer first?  You don't call Ford when your engine blows up, you take it to the dealer?  Granted, I'm making an assumption here that the LF printers are sold by people who are a lot more knowledgeable than the guy selling a $300.00 printer at BB.   I'd call a dealer first and then work my way up the ladder, why have a dealer network if you don't "need" them?

Hi Gemmtech,

I don't see the analogy to cars and I'm wondering if you have an Epson Stylus Pro printer.  When I bought my X900 printer I got an "Epson Preferred Limited Warranty Program" booklet that describes an "Epson Preferred Plus Service and Support Plan."  It says "[f]or Epson Preferred Technical Support [f]ollow these easy steps to obtain technical support."   It then says to have your serial number handy and it gives a toll free number to call.  It ends with the statement to "Be prepared to work with the Technical Support Specialist to diagnose the problem."   I've called that toll free number many times. 

I've purchased a lot of vehicles and never gotten a booklet telling me to anything like that.  It seems to me that Epson wants you to call their tech support when you have a problem.  Furthermore, unlike my local car dealer, my Epson dealer isn't set up to overhaul my printer.  If you know of any Epson dealers in Northern California equipped to repair Epson Pro printers please let me know.   
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on March 16, 2012, 09:12:50 PM
I believe this is the second issue here: in comparing to cars the average person can go to an auto parts store and order the parts and make the repairs themselves, but as I understand it Epson will not directly sell you a replacement head for an out of warrenty printer for you to make the repairs yourself. Maybe a reasonable solution for out of warrenty head issues would be for Epson to compile a larger parts list LF printer owners could order from -and a knowledge base / forum for users to acces when attempting the repairs themselves?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 17, 2012, 03:52:41 AM
Actually Sacredearth, Epson will sell you a replacement printhead directly for $1,200, "if you intend to install the printhead yourself."  

That is the line I got when I called them directly.  I was investigating my options and wanted to hear it from the horse's mouth.  There were rumors written on this very thread about printhead costs being upwards of $1,800.  Those rumors are right, but also wrong.  As it turns out they do cost you $1,800, when you pay for them through your service call via the markup you get banged for by the guy wearing the toolbelt.  But like I said before, "If you intend to install the printhead yourself" Epson themselves will sell the printhead to you directly, for $1,200.  But you get no support with it - they make it a point to warn you of this.  No software system for synching the head once you put it in.  You are on your own there.  Sounds scary.  Trust me it's not.  

I am not a professional printer.  I can afford to wait so I am, for the good of this "clog" investigation.  But if I wanted I could be printing with our 7900 in 40 minutes.  I found my way past the "23 to $2,500 service call scenario $1,800 printhead plus $xxx labor + travel time/expenses.  And that's if they replace the printhead directly.  Pray to God they don't throw other random new parts at it first...  

My repair bill will be $700 for a brand new printhead-install, plus the cost of one power cleaning.  Anyone is welcome to contact me if you, like me, are on your own (out of warranty and facing an overpriced printhead replacement repair bill which completely negates the value of fixing your X900 printer) and need help replacing your printhead.  

Knowing what I do now I would not buy a used x900 printer.  Earlier models are apparently no problem from what I read here.  But not an x900.  Something is very different about these models, and it aint all good.  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on March 17, 2012, 04:27:35 AM
Be aware that in the sign market with piëzohead printers squirting (eco)solvent inks, the maintenance and replacement of parts by third parties is much more common than in the aqueous ink based photo printer market.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: RoderickBalle on March 17, 2012, 05:28:52 AM
Knowing what I do now I would not buy a used x900 printer.

I wouldn't be buying a new one either.

Quote
Earlier models are apparently no problem from what I read here.

Seems so, fingers crossed my 4880 remains problem free. It's out of warranty and I'm miles from a major metro, so if I have problems - inspired by your gungho approach - I'd probably dive in myself.
Quote
But not an x900.  Something is very different about these models, and it aint all good. 
There does seem to be a problem with these machines, with the same fault occurring on a lot of them. If enough of you got together a class action may be worth investigating.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 17, 2012, 11:15:23 AM
I'd only stress here that unless you know how many of these print heads have been produced, what their expected life is (not in years, but in some meaningful unit like milliliters of ink they have pumped, number of piezo activations, etc), and the number of these heads that have failed prematurely relative to their design lifetime, no real conclusions can be drawn. For example, if the manufacturer produced 500,000 of these heads and 500 of them have failed prematurely, that's 0.1%. If half, failed outside warranty, that's 0.05%. That's a non-issue for the manufacturer, though it's a big issue for 250 people. I'm making up these numbers, but you get the idea.

We all have expectations of various product brands based on history, but things can and do change. In any product a new design or technology that produces better quality and/or lower cost and/or lighter weight might be more fragile or have a shorter average life. That's a perfectly legitimate compromise if the average life is still "acceptable", and industry spends tons of money to find out what "acceptable" means to most people in every category from color to longevity to smell. In fact, if a company finds its products are lasting far longer than most people expect or require, using cheaper or lighter materials that will knowingly shorten the expected lifetime is a legitimate way to cut costs to hold or decrease consumer prices and/or increase profits if the resulting product remains "acceptable" to most customers. These things are done on a daily basis all around the world in every imaginable product category. Frankly, I want my printer to last for 6 to 10 years, and some printers have done so, but no manufacturer has ever stated or warranted such a thing. I don't expect my printer to last that long because no one capable of backing up the statement has ever said it would, but I'll be happy if it does. In another 2.75 years it'll be 6.

I'm sure many people who frequent these forums are following a passion from which profits have resulted, while not being the primary motivating force. Conversely, large corporations exist primarily, even solely, for the purpose of making profits. That's why only statistically significant issues get attention at high levels, and why decisions on such issues are always made by comparing the cost of doing something with the cost of not doing it. That runs contrary to the strategy used by most print makers, which seemed worth mentioning.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Anton Omaz on March 17, 2012, 01:33:47 PM
I discover this thread, which is of major interest to me, and I have to react to Alan’s post:

Alan, why so much skepticism?  The situation seems pretty clear to me, on the one hand there is Epson, who is apparently happy to rely on people like you to systematically diffuse any criticism of their behavior, but surely we can all agree that their silence speaks volume.  We all know that Epson is monitoring this thread and many others, yet they never say anything.  Could it be that they have nothing good to say?

On the other hand, “clic” offers what appear to be very plausible explanations, and my understanding is that the only thing that he is saying is that his credentials as a photographer are such that we should have a tendency to take his opinion for an informed one.

So in a situation when I have on one side a silent party which does not offer any explanation, and whose silence is somewhat telling, and on the other a credible fellow with a three miles long resume who presents a rather good case, my inclination is not to be skeptical of the latter.  For me being skeptical of “clic” at this point, is analogous to when the flight attendant arrives next to your seat and says “what would you like for dinner Sir?  We have chicken or human excrements” you then reply “how is the chicken cooked?”
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 17, 2012, 02:14:09 PM
Yes you make a good point DeanChriss.  This has been brought up before as well - how forums listing threads talking about clogging issues are typically populated by the victims mainly, while the happy masses are busy printing issue free.  I get that.  But still I can't help getting the impression, inspired initially by my very first communication with Dan Berg when I contacted him about buying his 7900 used, who said "A lot of people have issues with nozzle clogs on these printers, but I have never had a problem with either of mine."  So way back then before this thread even bagan, a happy user of not only an Epson 7900, but also a 9900, knew that there was something very different about these X900 printers, which wasn't all good.

Don't get me wrong DeanChriss, I am not bitching about being screwed over by Epson.  I knew I was taking a risk buying this machine used, and I took it.  I don't feel Epson owes me anything.  I will admit though, a great part of my false confidence in buying this 7900 used from Dan was built up by the misleading marketing put out by Epson which boasts things like clogs being a thing of the past, and wasted ink not being an issue anymore, etc. etc.  To this day I have not fell for more convincing, yet misleading marketing claims in my life (based on my experience anyway, and on those who have also reported their nozzle clogging problems here on this forum).  Again this is my fault though, for believing something mostly because I wanted to believe it, not because it was true or not.  It's my loss and my poor judgement.  But you can bet your ass I will never put my faith, or money in Epson's marketing again.

Unless you are like me, and you are willing to dive under the hood of your x900, a fair used price for one of these printers out of warranty is about $500.


Here's a fascinating development:  In an attempt to copy and past some of the marketing propaganda Epson generated about these x900 printers, I did a search for one for sale on B&H - just like I have done so many times in the past.  Only this time I couldn't find one.  Anywhere.   Not sure what this means but I challenge anyone here to find a new Epson Stylus Pro 7900, or 9900, listed for sale at B&H or Adorama...     :-\
  
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on March 17, 2012, 02:36:42 PM
....Here's a fascinating development:  In an attempt to copy and past some of the marketing propaganda Epson generated about these x900 printers, I did a search for one for sale on B&H - just like I have done so many times in the past.  Only this time I couldn't find one.  Anywhere.   Not sure what this means but I challenge anyone here to find a new Epson Stylus Pro 7900, or 9900, listed for sale at B&H or Adorama...     :-\
 

I think B&H may just be revamping their website---but that's my speculation.  No worries, you can find wide format Epson printers for sale (hey, there's rebates too) at www.itsupplies.com (hi andy), www.shadesofpaper.com (hi Randy), www.tastarsupply.com (hi tony)....   ;D

I really do think these forums are magnets for the "squeeky wheel" ---and that's not to say that complaints are not legitimate; I'm sure the pain is very real.  But there are far too many variables to make any concrete conclusions.  (I call it hasty generalizations).  I'd much rather Eric's thread and experiences here remain a means to share/learn about the Epson 49/79/99** printers  "from the inside - out," tips on normal maintenance and repairs, etc. to keep these printers and their owners happy, rather than digress into finger-pointing and Epson conspiracy theory. 

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 17, 2012, 02:38:32 PM
I discover this thread, which is of major interest to me, and I have to react to Alan’s post:

Alan, why so much skepticism?  The situation seems pretty clear to me, on the one hand there is Epson, who is apparently happy to rely on people like you to systematically diffuse any criticism of their behavior, but surely we can all agree that their silence speaks volume.  We all know that Epson is monitoring this thread and many others, yet they never say anything.  Could it be that they have nothing good to say?

On the other hand, “clic” offers what appear to be very plausible explanations, and my understanding is that the only thing that he is saying is that his credentials as a photographer are such that we should have a tendency to take his opinion for an informed one.

So in a situation when I have on one side a silent party which does not offer any explanation, and whose silence is somewhat telling, and on the other a credible fellow with a three miles long resume who presents a rather good case, my inclination is not to be skeptical of the latter.  For me being skeptical of “clic” at this point, is analogous to when the flight attendant arrives next to your seat and says “what would you like for dinner Sir?  We have chicken or human excrements” you then reply “how is the chicken cooked?”

I wouldn't normally respond to what is likely a troll post but since my name is the one mentioned here it is deserving of comment.  We know that Epson monitors this forum (and likely others as well).  As I noted, they are the ONLY ones who know the percentage of printers that require a service call when under warranty.  No company stays in business for a long time if they market a substandard product.  Customers will quickly move on to other manufacturers.  Your support of 'clic' is fine for you but I see nothing that would persuade me that he has a sufficient background in engineering or quality control that makes what he says the last word on the subject.  I know of two people who have 7900s that have not had any printing problems, you would be a great fool were I to say that this means all 7900 printers are problem free.  Anecdotes do not make data.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 17, 2012, 03:06:40 PM
I think B&H may just be revamping their website---but that's my speculation.....   ;D

ken

I thought the same thing Ken, until I also checked Adorama's site.  None there either..  And typically when you do a search, like for say a discontinued Epson 4880, you still get a resulting page where the printer is listed, it's just listed as "Discontinued".  Here is an example   (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/518784-REG/Epson_SP4880K3_Stylus_Pro_4880_Large_Format.html)

Same is true for Adorama.  Interesting I think.  Yes I know you can find plenty of places to buy them, it's just these particular sites are typically on the cutting edge when it comes to timing.  It's not an accident these printers are vanished
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 17, 2012, 05:04:10 PM
Yes you make a good point DeanChriss.  This has been brought up before as well - how forums listing threads talking about clogging issues are typically populated by the victims mainly, while the happy masses are busy printing issue free.  I get that.  But still I can't help getting the impression, inspired initially by my very first communication with Dan Berg when I contacted him about buying his 7900 used, who said "A lot of people have issues with nozzle clogs on these printers, but I have never had a problem with either of mine."  So way back then before this thread even bagan, a happy user of not only an Epson 7900, but also a 9900, knew that there was something very different about these X900 printers, which wasn't all good.

Don't get me wrong DeanChriss, I am not bitching about being screwed over by Epson.  I knew I was taking a risk buying this machine used, and I took it.  I don't feel Epson owes me anything.  I will admit though, a great part of my false confidence in buying this 7900 used from Dan was built up by the misleading marketing put out by Epson which boasts things like clogs being a thing of the past, and wasted ink not being an issue anymore, etc. etc.  To this day I have not fell for more convincing, yet misleading marketing claims in my life (based on my experience anyway, and on those who have also reported their nozzle clogging problems here on this forum).  Again this is my fault though, for believing something mostly because I wanted to believe it, not because it was true or not.  It's my loss and my poor judgement.  But you can bet your ass I will never put my faith, or money in Epson's marketing again.

Unless you are like me, and you are willing to dive under the hood of your x900, a fair used price for one of these printers out of warranty is about $500.

Hi Eric.

The X900 printers do clog more than previous models. Mine does. Sometimes it'll go months without clogs and sometimes it needs a cleaning almost every time I turn it on, but the clogs (or whatever they are) always clear easily. The clogging could be the result of some defect, but it could also be the logical result of the smaller nozzles that produce smaller ink droplets. The head failures you and others have experienced could have some different cause, or there could be a connection. I have no idea what the actual cause is.

One point of my post was to illustrate that designing something to make one feature better (ex; print quality) might make other features (ex; clogging) worse. In most engineering efforts there comes a point where you can have A or you can have B, but you can't have both. It may be due to the release date, project budget, the resulting product cost, or simply the lack of a technology to do both. Another point of my post was to point out that the motivation of all these manufacturers is not to make the best printer on the market, it is to make the best selling printer on the market. There's a strong correlation between those two things, but it is not 100%. It's also important to realize that "best" means different things to different people. Someone who has to have one feature might tolerate inadequacy in other features, for instance.

I have never thought you are "bitching about being screwed over by Epson". In fact you have approached this in a very reasonable way, with far more patience than I'd have had. I've seen Epson marketing for the 7900 (mailed to my home) recently that I'd definitely call misleading. Clogs are definitely not a thing of the past, but I've found them to pose no real issue. I've found ink use, even with the clogging, to be very economical so I can't take issue with those claims.

It's odd how "touchy" internet forums are, which is the reason I post so infrequently. My educational background is in mathematics and physics, and I have some experience developing automated process control systems, implementing statistical quality control, and designing industrial products. I hope I've provided a little info to make some of these issues easier to understand, if not easier to tolerate. I'm not defending Epson nor am I convicting them. Given the large volumes of equipment they produce and the lack of meaningful data it's just impossible to draw any conclusions, or even to say that a serious and pervasive issue exists. The only certainty is that some people, you included, have had serious problems. At the same time there's no product out there that doesn't have its horror stories, and users who would swear it's the worst thing ever made. The bottom line is that nothing I've seen posted here or elsewhere would stop me from buying Epson again, though I'd consider the additional warranty I didn't consider previously just for peace of mind.

Good luck with the printer and all else.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 17, 2012, 06:30:08 PM
I agree DeanChriss.  And I appreciate your posts.  I am not saying I won't buy Epson again either.  But I definitely I won't base my judgement to buy or not to buy, on their marketing claims like I did last time.  I'll read about them here before I read about them there.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: WallyM on March 17, 2012, 09:57:27 PM
Not sure what this means but I challenge anyone here to find a new Epson Stylus Pro 7900, or 9900, listed for sale at B&H or Adorama...     :-\
 

The 3880 was also removed from the B&H website just a few days after I ordered one in late February.  All of the wide format printers were removed, but the 3880 is back now (it was still missing 3 days ago).  The current price of the 3880 is the same as I paid 3 weeks ago.

Wally
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 17, 2012, 09:59:21 PM

I really do think these forums are magnets for the "squeeky wheel" ---and that's not to say that complaints are not legitimate; I'm sure the pain is very real.  But there are far too many variables to make any concrete conclusions.  (I call it hasty generalizations).

I've been reading this forum for a long time. Years and years. I've own 7600, 7800, 9880, and now 7900.

I do not remember any thread, related to these other printers that generated anywhere near this amount of almost exact failure conditions -- LLK blocked, and almost nothing makes it break free. And at a time when any 9900 or 7900 is still a relatively new printer, no matter when it was purchased.

No, this is not Science, or Exact Data Collection, but my Smell Test makes me wonder what's going on. Why would ALL these people be having almost the exact same issue....? And yes, I've got a horse in this race, because my LLK is blocked on my 7900, but I'm trying to be level-headed about it. Yes, I'm upset and disappointed that my printer has been sitting idle for weeks now, unable to print anything other than horizontal banding. I just want to see if someone solves this, so that I can know whether I've got to pony up to the bar with Decision One, or just chuck this almost perfectly good, very low volume printer, right into a Dumpster.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Anton Omaz on March 18, 2012, 12:42:03 AM
I wouldn't normally respond to what is likely a troll post but since my name is the one mentioned here it is deserving of comment.  We know that Epson monitors this forum (and likely others as well).  As I noted, they are the ONLY ones who know the percentage of printers that require a service call when under warranty.  No company stays in business for a long time if they market a substandard product.  Customers will quickly move on to other manufacturers.  Your support of 'clic' is fine for you but I see nothing that would persuade me that he has a sufficient background in engineering or quality control that makes what he says the last word on the subject.  I know of two people who have 7900s that have not had any printing problems, you would be a great fool were I to say that this means all 7900 printers are problem free.  Anecdotes do not make data.

Alan,

I don’t understand your point, or why you keep repeating that the only ones who have data are Epson.  That is self evident, but since they are playing dead, the rest of us have to interpret the little bits of information we have.  And so far the case has pretty much been made that there is a manufacturing or engineering issue that has resulted in a few cases (maybe not an enormous amount, but enough to be a concern) of head failures, that under any measure is utterly premature.

Sacredearth and Gemmtech made a very good case that most honorable manufacturers in comparable situations, being electronics, cars, you name it, typically would be gracious in such a situation, in order to preserve their customer base.

Your statement “No company stays in business for a long time if they market a substandard product.  Customers will quickly move on to other manufacturers.” is seductive, but does not verify here.  Canon for instance has the 8300 currently 50% cheaper than the 9900 once you factor in the amount of ink that the printer ships with, yet they sell 1 for every 9 that Epson sells.  Add the controversy that we are all talking about here, and it does not seem that your theory holds water.  At least if customers are moving away, it is not quickly, which I find mind boggling, but a stubborn fact.  And really by dispersing that kind of myth, you participate in the perpetuation of Epson’s isolation from any real competition and incentive to resolve this issue. 

Nobody says that Epson x900s are substandard products, they just say that there are some lemons, probably more than usual, but regardless of how many more or less, there are lemons, and Epson should draw the consequences from that, and the victims users should not be the ones who bear the price. 

I would like to purchase a 9900 myself, but as long as I do not hear a valid explanation for the situation here, and see a solution, I will stay away, or buy a Canon, which is probably the most sensible choice anyway.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on March 18, 2012, 07:12:16 AM
I've been reading this forum for a long time. Years and years. I've own 7600, 7800, 9880, and now 7900.

I do not remember any thread, related to these other printers that generated anywhere near this amount of almost exact failure conditions -- LLK blocked, and almost nothing makes it break free. And at a time when any 9900 or 7900 is still a relatively new printer, no matter when it was purchased.

No, this is not Science, or Exact Data Collection, but my Smell Test makes me wonder what's going on. Why would ALL these people be having almost the exact same issue....? And yes, I've got a horse in this race, because my LLK is blocked on my 7900, but I'm trying to be level-headed about it. Yes, I'm upset and disappointed that my printer has been sitting idle for weeks now, unable to print anything other than horizontal banding. I just want to see if someone solves this, so that I can know whether I've got to pony up to the bar with Decision One, or just chuck this almost perfectly good, very low volume printer, right into a Dumpster.

There were no real alternatives to Epson up to the the 9800 generation. Then Canon and HP appeared with suitable wide formats and Epson had to speed up its answers to that challenge. With the introductions of new models Epson claimed that new nozzle surface treatments would reduce clog issues, the competition already showed better behaviour on that aspect. Potential buyers must have been attracted by that promise which seems to be kept on the 3800 and 3880 but not so on the x900 and possibly not on the x980 models. For whatever reason. I think both the unfulfilled promise of an improvement and the availability of alternative wide formats without those issues must have created disappointment that caused these threads.

Epson's service policies is not enforcing public relations either. Canon wide formats did have issues too with heads in three generations since 2006, Canon showed more flexibility in replacing those heads in and out of warranty. The costs for that extra service must have been lower for Canon as the heads can be user replaceable, part of the total concept of thermal head printers. For Epson head failure on a printer above the 17" models means sending a service man to whatever location.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: On the subject of heads
Post by: jeverton on March 20, 2012, 04:15:41 PM

In the Brochure
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Pro/SeriesSureColorS30670/Overview.do?RMID=PI_20120315_S_Series_Signage&RRID=EPSONP300307
 on page 30 they make a very strong to point out what might be expected of these heads under variable user conditions, and stress "maintenance" to prolong the head life.
4 - The print head is a maintenance part which the user is responsible to replace when necessary. However, Epson covers head replacement while
the printer is under the Epson Preferred Limited Warranty and under any Preferred Plus Plan (limited or unlimited number of head replacements,
depending on the Preferred Plus Plan purchased). The life of the print head will vary depending on the user's print volume, print patterns and heater
temperature for print settings. Doing proper user maintenance of the print head will help prolong its life.



I'm sure these machines are designed for more use and abuse that the standard WF ones, but it really sounds like Epson almost expects problems, and covers their butts with a choice of extended warrantees with different head replacement options.  


I'm catching up on this thread... it's very interesting to see Epson's disclaimer being placed within the S30670 brochure on the warranty programs and head replacement(s). 

•   Footnote Definition 4:  I wonder why this statement is not included in the x900 series literature?  Plus, “Doing proper maintenance of the print head will help prolong its life.” What maintenance?  I’m not aware of a preventive schedule or recommendation from the manufacture.  Are we missing something here Epson???

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 20, 2012, 04:18:44 PM
Be aware that in the sign market with piëzohead printers squirting (eco)solvent inks, the maintenance and replacement of parts by third parties is much more common than in the aqueous ink based photo printer market.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/

Ernst - To what degree?  Is there something documented on the differences between maintenance and replacement of parts between the (eco)solvent ink and aqueous ink based printers?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 20, 2012, 04:22:48 PM
I agree DeanChriss.  And I appreciate your posts.  I am not saying I won't buy Epson again either.  But I definitely I won't base my judgement to buy or not to buy, on their marketing claims like I did last time.  I'll read about them here before I read about them there.
+1 All the more reasons for us to be diligent on making our printer investments wisely.

Eric - Do you have an ETA on the print head repair?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on March 20, 2012, 06:25:10 PM
Ernst - To what degree?  Is there something documented on the differences between maintenance and replacement of parts between the (eco)solvent ink and aqueous ink based printers?

Jeff

I am not familiar with Epson's documented policies in both markets. I referred to what is common knowledge in the (eco)solvent printer market so far. DX4 and DX5 heads in that market are advertised and sold by third parties, often Epson 10000 heads that are split and equipped with ecosolvent resistant parts to be used in Roland and Mimaki ecosolvent printers. Check Alibaba for parts like that though Epson seems to make that grey market more difficult. 10 years ago the first Roland based ecosolvent printers were made by third party service companies before Roland itself got involved. An ecosolvent printer needs more care otherwise the heads are blocked in a month and no easy way to get them working again.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 20, 2012, 06:28:03 PM
Yes Jeff, Vladimir says by the end of this month he'll have the head done and on it's way back to us.  I am losing my mind waiting but finally having an answer will be worth it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on March 21, 2012, 06:42:34 AM
Ernst - To what degree?  Is there something documented on the differences between maintenance and replacement of parts between the (eco)solvent ink and aqueous ink based printers?

Jeff

yes. an ecosolvent printer must be cleaned once a week at last. that means: manual head clean, manual capping station and whiper clean. replace whiper every 6 months. replace capping station once or twice a year. replace dapers once or twice a year. but the inks are more agresive than waterbased inks and can corode and age some parts quicker than waterbase ink.
as the spare parts market. there many online shops that sell original spare parts for roland, mimaki, mutoh. at a far better price than buying directly from original. also there are more users tehnicaly cabale to self repair a big printer, change a head, a whiper, a capping station, even more. also the sign comunity is very helpfull in case of a failure.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on March 21, 2012, 11:20:44 AM

An infrequently used printer appears to be a worst case scenerio for clog problems.
 

not necesarily. i have clogs on my epson 9700 (same mechanics as 9900 but CMYKCMYK ). and i have clogs while i print large graphics with large areas of solid colors. and i use dye inks not pigment (more fluid and thin inks). yes, you may say i'm not using epson's ink, that it may be the fault of the inks, refillable carts etc. it is possible. BUT. i have a mutoh with the same inks and the clogs are muuuuuch more rare. mutoh is printing on and on and it get cloged mainly if i have a head stike. but not while i'm printing. head clean is more efiicient when clogs occur and it  takes way less ink and time
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 21, 2012, 12:36:06 PM
An infrequently used printer appears to be a worst case scenerio for clog problems.

Please.

This would be akin to me buying a Nikon D3x, and after mostly sitting idle on the shelf for the first year or so, I get it out to shoot something, and roughly 15% of the pixels on the sensor are dead. Just because I used it infrequently?

This reminds me of what my father used to tell me when I was a kid: "Take your mother's car out on the freeway and drive it hard. She only drives it in town. What it needs is a good blowing-out, because she rarely drives it".

An almost new 7900, and right out of warranty, the LLK just locks up solid?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Streetshooter on March 21, 2012, 02:01:03 PM
Here I am about to take the plunge and buy a large format printer so this thread is very interesting to me. I have read all the posts from beginning to end and am quite incredulous at Epson's behaviour over this matter. You would have thought they would care about keeping any of their customers happy if there is a problem...and there clearly is a problem.

I have used Epson printers for years and have had problems but the printers were cheap so I swallowed and bought another. Several of my friends in the market for a large format printer have decided to buy Canon because of Epson's increasing reputation for ignoring their problems and complaints on their smaller domestic printers. This sort of behaviour reminds me of the days when Kodak thought they were untouchable and could do what they wanted despite customer concerns over some of their products. - in my case I was in a constant battle with them over their crap Kodachrome processing in the UK-  Look what has happened to them now.

All it would take would be for Epson to help these guys out with their printers and show some generosity. It would go some way to give a prospective buyer a bit of confidence that the printer he is just about to purchase isn't going to clog a few months down the line. Thanks to the internet lack of confidence in a product or a company can spread very quickly these days.

Pete
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jmlamont on March 21, 2012, 04:39:09 PM
I have had a 7900 since September 2011, and had only minor clogging problems (once I turned off the automatic detection bug... I mean "feature"). And of course the print quality and everything else about the machine makes me happy, in fact extremely happy, every time I use it.

However, I can not help wondering why someone doesn't send the URL for this thread to someone high in Epson marketing? If they are deliberately ignoring us, this would make it explicit. If their behavior is due to ignorance of the problems here, then this would help to educate them. This issue, it seems to me, is too important to merely blow off steam here in a user forum. Action is called for if we are to have any peace of mind.

Anybody interested?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 21, 2012, 06:16:14 PM
Here I am about to take the plunge and buy a large format printer so this thread is very interesting to me. I have read all the posts from beginning to end and am quite incredulous at Epson's behaviour over this matter. You would have thought they would care about keeping any of their customers happy if there is a problem...and there clearly is a problem.

I have used Epson printers for years and have had problems but the printers were cheap so I swallowed and bought another. Several of my friends in the market for a large format printer have decided to buy Canon because of Epson's increasing reputation for ignoring their problems and complaints on their smaller domestic printers. This sort of behaviour reminds me of the days when Kodak thought they were untouchable and could do what they wanted despite customer concerns over some of their products. - in my case I was in a constant battle with them over their crap Kodachrome processing in the UK-  Look what has happened to them now.

All it would take would be for Epson to help these guys out with their printers and show some generosity. It would go some way to give a prospective buyer a bit of confidence that the printer he is just about to purchase isn't going to clog a few months down the line. Thanks to the internet lack of confidence in a product or a company can spread very quickly these days.

Pete

I know for a fact that “clic” has had talks with Epson management about this, so Epson is aware at least since then, a couple of months ago, and there is no telling if they were not already before then.  I also know that they have not addressed his arguments.  Actually it is even worse than that, but I am not at liberty to say what happened exactly.
 
From my own information, Epson is known in the photo industry for being a hard ball player, and for killing any bad publicity they could get, at all costs.  You guys may deduct from that all the possible conclusions that fit.
 
As far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t buy an Epson x900 or x890 printer with what’s hanging over those, especially when Canon has printers on the market which are much cheaper and do not require you to get the extended warranty since the head change is much cheaper and does not require a service tech.

I've also approached a law firm on this matter and plan to contact the state attorney general’s office...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 21, 2012, 06:24:49 PM

However, I can not help wondering why someone doesn't send the URL for this thread to someone high in Epson marketing? If they are deliberately ignoring us, this would make it explicit. If their behavior is due to ignorance of the problems here, then this would help to educate them. This issue, it seems to me, is too important to merely blow off steam here in a user forum. Action is called for if we are to have any peace of mind.

Anybody interested? Yes!!!  Everyone should start by contacting their respective state attorney general's office to file a formal complaint.  In addition, we can capitalize and advocate these concerns on Epson’s social media sites.  This might raise a few more flags with Epson management.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: blpanther on March 21, 2012, 07:21:04 PM
We're gone play the hardball now :)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Consumerlaw on March 21, 2012, 08:08:08 PM
I do class action litigation on behalf of consumers.   I’ve been following this issue for a couple of days now. 

If you have purchased an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 (24-inch) or an Epson Stylus Pro 9900, and have had clogging issues with your printer that have not been satisfactorily addressed by Epson, I would be very interested in talking with you further. 

Please send a private email to:
Consumerlaw1       at     earthlink   dot    net 

Please feel free to google the email address to verify my credentials:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Consumerlaw1%40earthlink.net%22&num=100&hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&prmd=imvns&filter=0&biw=1016&bih=624

In compliance with Rule 1-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, I am required to include the following language with this message:  This is communication may result in professional employment for pecuniary gain.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on March 21, 2012, 09:43:33 PM
I do class action litigation on behalf of consumers.   I’ve been following this issue for a couple of days now. 

If you have purchased an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 (24-inch) or an Epson Stylus Pro 9900, and have had clogging issues with your printer that have not been satisfactorily addressed by Epson, I would be very interested in talking with you further. 

Please send a private email to:
Consumerlaw1       at     earthlink   dot    net 

Please feel free to google the email address to verify my credentials:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Consumerlaw1%40earthlink.net%22&num=100&hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&prmd=imvns&filter=0&biw=1016&bih=624

In compliance with Rule 1-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, I am required to include the following language with this message:  This is communication may result in professional employment for pecuniary gain.


Ambulance chasing on LuLa?   :'(
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Consumerlaw on March 21, 2012, 10:32:01 PM
Ambulance chasing on LuLa?   :'(

The term “ambulance chaser” (at least in my mind) evokes images of unscrupulous attorneys taking advantage of dazed and vulnerable casualties.  I don’t see injured people lying on stretchers here.  

What I do see is:

•   People have invested a lot of money in a product.  
•   That product isn’t performing as the manufacturer promised.  
•   The cost of repair is unconscionable, and the manufacturer refuses to step up to the plate to solve the problem to anyone’s satisfaction.  

In situations like this, large corporations hold all the cards, and they play them against their customers on a tilted playing field, without thinking twice.  

That’s where litigation can be useful.  Litigation it does several things simultaneously:

•   It levels the playing field;
•   It gets their attention;
•   It generally gets results.  
 
With almost 600 replies to this thread, there is a lot of consensus on the problem, but . . . Epson doesn’t seem to be listening.  

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chichornio on March 21, 2012, 10:55:15 PM
I haven`t read all this "long and winding" thread... but all I can say about "clogging" issues is that: Buy an HP z Line (mine it`s a z3200ps) or a Canon LFP, and you`ll be happy. NO clogging issues and no need to suit a company.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on March 21, 2012, 11:06:45 PM
The term “ambulance chaser” (at least in my mind) evokes images of unscrupulous attorneys taking advantage of dazed and vulnerable casualties.  I don’t see injured people lying on stretchers here.  

What I do see is:

•   People have invested a lot of money in a product.  
•   That product isn’t performing as the manufacturer promised.  
•   The cost of repair is unconscionable, and the manufacturer refuses to step up to the plate to solve the problem to anyone’s satisfaction.  

In situations like this, large corporations hold all the cards, and they play them against their customers on a tilted playing field, without thinking twice.  

That’s where litigation can be useful.  Litigation it does several things simultaneously:

•   It levels the playing field;
•   It gets their attention;
•   It generally gets results.  
 
With almost 600 replies to this thread, there is a lot of consensus on the problem, but . . . Epson doesn’t seem to be listening.  



Have you read all 600 posts?  I have.  I don't think there is a consensus at all.  The OP is not even sure of the nature of the problem, clog or an electrical issue.  He has stated that the ink was expired and that the printer took a cross country trip in a truck.  Not sure of the packing for that trip, and I don't won't to look back and see if it was mentioned.  It is a bit premature to pin the blame for this problem on Epson.  I would also say that no post in this thread has stated the number of known "problems" with these printers compared to the number of units that have been sold.  Now if you want to start researching the number of people experiencing problems compared to the number of units sold and post some statistically significant information, let's have it.

Meanwhile, you have a total of two posts on this forum as a new member, and they are both solicitations.  Call it what you want.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 21, 2012, 11:22:57 PM
This goes way beyond the OP... And for those of us who are in this predicament it's time for action – enough speculation. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jmlamont on March 22, 2012, 08:42:16 AM
I should perhaps clarify my invitation to action:

I believe we should assume the best intentions on Epson's part, unless and until proven otherwise publicly. No anger, no talk of legal action. Not at this time anyway. Epson has been a good friend to many of us for many years, with marvelous printers that have let us do things that we could not otherwise have done.

However, we should not acquiesce when even a good friend does bad things; we should not accept an unjust situation. And I believe the way forward here is to make public what is currently largely secret. Calmly, without anger, without threat. I hear several of us say that people have been in private, unsatisfactory talks with senior Epson management. Yet I do not see these talks made public, I do not know what was said, nor to whom. So I do not really know what to believe, if I am honest with myself and quell my growing sense of unease and incipient anger.

My suggestion is that those of us who understand Epson's management structure formulate and then send a public e-mail with the URL for this thread and a summary of its concerns to someone as high up as possible in the marketing executive, with copies perhaps to other senior Epson sales executives. Send a friendly but firm e-mail expressing our concern and belief that Epson will really want to do the right thing here. Send it in a way that should Epson not respond, or not respond properly, there can be no doubts as to their intentions by even 3rd party individuals who do not want to get into a "he-says-she-says" fight. Then if it comes to it, we have something we can fight with to win the marketing campaign with the broad mass of people who won't have the time or inclination to understand all the subtleties here.

The first step is for the knowledgeable members to identify who should be contacted...

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 22, 2012, 08:45:48 AM
This goes way beyond the OP... And for those of us who are in this predicament it's time for action – enough speculation. 
Take this threat of litigation somewhere else.  The OP was raising a valid issue and sharing a lot of good information with fellow forumites (the posted pictures were excellent).  If you don't like the way you have allegedly been treated by Epson you can pursue other options but I don't think that LuLa is the place to troll for parties to a "class action" suit which is probably doomed to failure.  I will repeat once more, "anecdote does not equal data."  Your constant complaining is getting to be quite tiresome.  If you don't like Epson, buy a Canon or HP printer; this is what the free market is all about.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 22, 2012, 09:01:51 AM
Take this threat of litigation somewhere else.  The OP was raising a valid issue and sharing a lot of good information with fellow forumites (the posted pictures were excellent).  If you don't like the way you have allegedly been treated by Epson you can pursue other options but I don't think that LuLa is the place to troll for parties to a "class action" suit which is probably doomed to failure.  I will repeat once more, "anecdote does not equal data."  Your constant complaining is getting to be quite tiresome.  If you don't like Epson, buy a Canon or HP printer; this is what the free market is all about.

I agree with all of this.

Furthermore, no one should assume any of this has gone unnoticed where it matters. It would be most incredible if it did.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on March 22, 2012, 09:29:30 AM
Take this threat of litigation somewhere else.  The OP was raising a valid issue and sharing a lot of good information with fellow forumites (the posted pictures were excellent).  If you don't like the way you have allegedly been treated by Epson you can pursue other options but I don't think that LuLa is the place to troll for parties to a "class action" suit which is probably doomed to failure.  I will repeat once more, "anecdote does not equal data."  Your constant complaining is getting to be quite tiresome.  If you don't like Epson, buy a Canon or HP printer; this is what the free market is all about.

+1.  Thank you.

I'd much rather Eric's thread continue along the lines that he started it:  sharing/divulging the inner workings of the Epson 79/99** printers from the inside - out.  Not pointing fingers.  There are just too many different user and environmental variables, which isn't to say that those that have suffered or continue to suffer from out of warranty repairs/clogs do not have a legitimate complaint.  But I'd much rather see this thread follow along its original path, lightly humored tongue-in-cheek, while offering good tips on the workings and maintenance of Epson 79/99** printers as well as workflow/environmental tips.

Sure it sucks to see others have difficulties with their equipment (regardless of how small a minority that may be of total users), but I would rather learn from the pain of others (like Eric) who are willing to share, so that perhaps happy 79/99** owners like me can make educated efforts to maintain their printers and avoid similar fates, regardless of whether those potential head/resistant clog issues are statistically significant or not.  Epson doesn't have a recommended maintenance or user tips booklet (wish they did), but I've certainly collected a lot of valuable user tips and information along the way going years back to my old 9800.  Eric's given a lot of great tips/knowledge in this thread, and I'd like to see it continue in that same vein.

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 22, 2012, 11:53:14 AM
+1.  Thank you.

I'd much rather Eric's thread continue along the lines that he started it:  sharing/divulging the inner workings of the Epson 79/99** printers from the inside - out.  Not pointing fingers.  There are just too many different user and environmental variables, which isn't to say that those that have suffered or continue to suffer from out of warranty repairs/clogs do not have a legitimate complaint.  But I'd much rather see this thread follow along its original path, lightly humored tongue-in-cheek, while offering good tips on the workings and maintenance of Epson 79/99** printers as well as workflow/environmental tips.

Sure it sucks to see others have difficulties with their equipment (regardless of how small a minority that may be of total users), but I would rather learn from the pain of others (like Eric) who are willing to share, so that perhaps happy 79/99** owners like me can make educated efforts to maintain their printers and avoid similar fates, regardless of whether those potential head/resistant clog issues are statistically significant or not.  Epson doesn't have a recommended maintenance or user tips booklet (wish they did), but I've certainly collected a lot of valuable user tips and information along the way going years back to my old 9800.  Eric's given a lot of great tips/knowledge in this thread, and I'd like to see it continue in that same vein.

ken

+1 to that, and Mark's and Alan's comments. Eric started one of the most informative, useful, and entertaining threads I've seen. It'd be a shame for it to degenerate [into] a nonproductive blame game. If my printer died with one of these problems today the options I'd consider would be repair or replacement, and Eric's thread might make the decision easier. Litigation wouldn't be among my potential choices. Life is just too short, and I'd rather lick my wounds and get on with things.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 22, 2012, 12:13:04 PM
I refused Dan Berg's very generous offer of a partial refund for buying his clogged (ever since I got it) 7900.  Chances are I wouldn't fight to hold anyone else responsible either.  This is my (and my genius buddy's) problem, we bought this printer used, I created this thread to share what we have learned.  I never expected to learn so much in return.  I am an enthusiast only here.  This is not my business.  I have very little printing experience.  So thank you for that added learning bonus everyone.

I have little grasp on corporate strategies or perspectives, so maybe this thought is unreasonable but I'll tell you what I would love - how about someone who knows the answers to our problems step up and share EXACTLY what we're up against and WHY.  Then perhaps they could suggest a more appropriate preventive maintenance strategy than our guess-work can produce, or we could formulate one on our own based on real facts rather than imagined ones.  It seems right now at least a few of us are printing with a lump in our throats, just waiting for the mysterious phantom menace of concrete clogs to turn from around a random corner and haunt our X900 heads until their death.  If anyone of you printers, who have NOT experienced concrete clogs on your X900 printer yet, feels this way you should be hoping for (asking for?) the same.

IF "Epson" is following along, and IF they know what causes these "clogs", it would sure be great if they chimed in to help.  




Who says they have to identify themselves?  




They could even use some random name to save us all, like maybe "Dorothy"






.
(http://vigilantcitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/22281ozthe-wizard-of-oz-posters2.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 23, 2012, 09:37:32 AM
Folks, I hope that the following will put the most irrational skeptic out there at peace. Jon Cone--whose expertise and integrity cannot be questioned, unless there is someone out there willing to question anything that is faulting Epson’s party line—just published a blog article that settles the matter.

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/product-use/epson-79009900-considerations/

We now have another source that confirms what has been said for a while, except that Cone has a source of data on a much larger scale. I do not see how it is possible to doubt anymore that there is a problem with the x900, and even the x890, which prompts Cone to recommend purchasing the additional warranty.

I encourage everybody here who has had any problem with an x900 or x890 printer to contact the lawyer who has posted here, and file papers with him. His course of action sounds brilliant and pertinent to me. And Eric, you qualify for joining the non-complaisant party, you too are a victim of Epson bad engineering and management of all this, you did nothing wrong, you bought this equipment based on their propaganda, they fooled us all.

I only really wish Epson would cooperate, they have known about this since at least January 4, 2012. The least that they could do under the circumstances if they wanted to avoid litigation would be to communicate with us.

I will just add that I am incredulous at those who talk of ambulance chasing in this situation. Valliant rescue of the wounded is more what comes to mind. I am personally thankful that a gentleman is willing to step up to the plate, especially when Epson does not. That those who have no stake in this (assuming that there is no one in that group) are so self-righteous about somebody sent by the providence, shows at best a lack of sensitivity and respect for those in need that makes me very suspicious of their real motives.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 23, 2012, 10:53:02 AM
I normally might agree with the "squeaky wheel"/invalid sample argument. In this case though, the thing that convinces me this a serious and hidden issue is the way epson and dealer techs respond. They are stunningly unsurprised when you report the problem, and at least in my case, unwilling to give me anything at all on a machine that was 1 month out of warranty, moderately low total count, and had been developing the problem over a few months prior. I offered to buy the 3 year, no dice. I offered to pay the parts if they threw in service, no dice. The tech at the dealer very much had the "ah, another one..." attitude and suggested it happened from too little use.

I bought a new head, changed it myself, and went along happily for several months, confident that the dealer tech's advice that it really NEEDED to be used frequently would keep me in action--I used it at least every 3 days. Then the exact same thing on a different channel. My best guess is that it is something systemic in the cleaning system that is damaging the head. But who knows. What I do know is that no one who deals with these machines at this point finds this experience at all surprising. Buyer beware.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jack777 on March 23, 2012, 11:05:04 AM
Wow it took some time to read the entire thread. First of all I want to thank Eric and all you great guys here for sharing so much stuff about Epson x900 series. Erics pursuit for knowledge and working printer is really inspiring:)

So now it's time to add my little piece to the jigsaw. We are running two epson 9900 for more than two years now and have been generally happy with them. Before that we used 9880 on MIS inks and in the end it was a nightmare.

Our printers are moody... if they are happy they print for 8 hours straight without clogging but on a bad day you have to be ready for a few cleanings. Our rule of the thumb is: "nozzle check before printing" and "don't leave the printer unattended". Even if they have been printing fine for a long time, the minute you walk out of the room the banding will start. However annoying we assumed it's the nature of this fragile createrus. Every device has it's "dark side".

Now about clogs I would say they fall into few different categories:
- "weekend clogs" or "hangover clogs" - you come to work on Monday, run nozzle check and find few nozzles missing. 99% of the time 1 channel cleaning is enough. Very, very rarely half or entire color gets block but still one cleaning is enough. On the scale of annoyance 1/5
- "middle of the print clogs" - you begin to print and it's fine but halfway through some nozzles get clogged. Usually on only one channel. 3/5 on the scale of annoyance cause they are easy to spot.
- "between the prints clogs" - you print one big image and it's perfect so you go to make some tea. When you come back you see that the moment one imaged finished printing, printer cut off the paper and the next one started printing a dozen of your nozzles decided to have a break to. Sometimes half a channel, sometimes entire one... I find it really odd that in a matter of a few seconds, during a common procedure an entire color can be dropped... The funny things is that still one channel cleaning is usually enough. This is the moment when I start to wonder if they are really clogs.
- "wandering clogs" - I haven't seen them on 9900 but have been a huuuuuge problem on our 9880. It looks like this - you have few blocked nozzles on let's say C and PK (different channels so you have to initate full cleaning). You let the printer do it's job, print the nozzle check and... C and PK are good but Y and LK are screwed. And usually with every cleaning it got worse. The thing that helped was leaving the printer turned off for 1-2 hours.

There is one more thing we have noticed and haven't seend mentioned here. Sometimes (though rather rarely) when the nozzles get clogged you can see black "splatters" on the print. They are the size of a pinhead and in constant distance from each other. Our assumption was that when a nozzle is clogged and there is enough ink "in the back" it splatters. But then the nozzle should unclog right?

Just some food for thought.

Hope you like our "clog glossary"... But like I said in the beginning - we are happy with our 9900. Clients love the prints, clogged nozzles are an issue but they are easy to calculate to the costs. There are some other things which are annoying but in the end we are satisfied.

And once again - in the Old Continent, we're keeping our fingers crossed for Eric's head:)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 23, 2012, 11:08:51 AM
Folks, I hope that the following will put the most irrational skeptic out there at peace. Jon Cone--whose expertise and integrity cannot be questioned, unless there is someone out there willing to question anything that is faulting Epson’s party line—just published a blog article that settles the matter.

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/product-use/epson-79009900-considerations/

We now have another source that confirms what has been said for a while, except that Cone has a source of data on a much larger scale. I do not see how it is possible to doubt anymore that there is a problem with the x900, and even the x890, which prompts Cone to recommend purchasing the additional warranty.

Wrong, there is no more data presented in the article than has been presented on this thread.  BTW, did you read the whole article?  The key thing is the following:  "My opinion is that an extended warranty is an excellent (if not necessary) investment. You need to purchase one before your printer is one year old – so pay attention!"  Why on earth anyone would make such a capital expenditure and not by an extended warranty/service contract is beyond me.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 23, 2012, 11:25:00 AM
I would like to purchase a 9900 myself, but as long as I do not hear a valid explanation for the situation here, and see a solution, I will stay away, or buy a Canon, which is probably the most sensible choice anyway.

I agree with the whole post Anton, but especially the last part. As a fellow that's been through 2 heads in 1.5 years of moderate use (something Epson does not blink an eye about when I've called) I will not trust any more Epson models until the track record is in (2-3 years down the line). The Canon's are an unbelievable deal now, I could have bought 3 of them for what I spent on this machine total and the print quality is finally equivalent now in the 8300.

I'll happily join a class action too, more to try and recoup all the time I spent in total stone wall conversations with Epson than anything else. If they would just subsidize replacement printheads, everything would be cool. I know that part isn't costing them anything like $1200 to produce, and they completely lost a ink-guzzling fanatic.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 23, 2012, 11:47:14 AM
Why on earth anyone would make such a capital expenditure and not by an extended warranty/service contract is beyond me.

The reason is because given the track record of other Epson models occupying this space, extended warranties have been no more necessary than their competitors. IMO, the x900 are proving not to have Epson's usual quality, and are also surprisingly expensive to repair. You live and learn, but I'm not sure it's 100% correct to throw the blame on trusting consumers like myself. From 7600 to 3800 I thought I had learned what to expect with this company. I now have no idea what to expect, and so yes, the $1400 warranty is not really as optional as you would think and has to be included as part of the real cost of this machine if you plan to use it more than 365 days. I'm assuming you have the extended warranty and I congratulate you on your foresight.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on March 23, 2012, 12:08:48 PM


 somebody sent by the providence


Really?  A lawyer trolling a forum looking to sue someone is sent by the providence?  If he was a long time contributing member that had finally reached the limit of his patience on a subject that drove him to want to pursue legal recourse, maybe I could accept that.  You think he read all 600 posts on this thread?  You think he searched this forum for other threads related to the subject?  Other forums?  If he did, let him state his case based on facts.  Providence?

You want to rush to action and slay the might corporate monster?  Start a new thread, please.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 23, 2012, 12:15:43 PM
Normally, I do not buy extended warranties because when you think of it, the general case should be that the odds are against you, otherwise the sellers would not come out whole - one must assume they have no intention of losing money on that business. This is a classic insurance conundrum - a "game" of probabilities of occurrence and impact cost versus cost of the insurance. To make a rational decision about the value of buying such insurance, we need information that isn't being made available to us. We have partial knowledge of impact costs, but no reliable data on probability of occurrence, as web forums are not a reliable basis for making such determinations and the company isn't saying. So buying this insurance cannot be a well-informed decision and I have a penchant for well-informed decisions. Buying the insurance is a 100% deadweight loss unless/until I need to call on it; not buying it gives me a substantial - but unknown - probability of coming out ahead, because despite the unfortunate and regrettable negative experiences we are reading about, I think there are probably far more satisfied than dissatisfied users of these machines all over the world. So I held back. Time will tell.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 23, 2012, 12:33:04 PM
Normally, I do not buy extended warranties because when you think of it, the general case should be that the odds are against you, otherwise the sellers would not come out whole - one must assume they have no intention of losing money on that business. This is a classic insurance conundrum - a "game" of probabilities of occurrence and impact cost versus cost of the insurance. To make a rational decision about the value of buying such insurance, we need information that isn't being made available to us. We have partial knowledge of impact costs, but no reliable data on probability of occurrence, as web forums are not a reliable basis for making such determinations and the company isn't saying. So buying this insurance cannot be a well-informed decision and I have a penchant for well-informed decisions. Buying the insurance is a 100% deadweight loss unless/until I need to call on it; not buying it gives me a substantial - but unknown - probability of coming out ahead, because despite the unfortunate and regrettable negative experiences we are reading about, I think there are probably far more satisfied than dissatisfied users of these machines all over the world. So I held back. Time will tell.
I have never bought an extended warranty on household appliances and have spent significant amount over the years on various upgrades (including a kitchen remodelling).  In these cases, I think your assessment is correct.  However with the case of the large format Epson printers, I suspect that most purchasers are either making or trying to make a living printing photographs and other graphics.  Since this is a business and down time is a critical factor as opposed to having a refrigerator go down, purchasing an extended warranty makes sense to me.  The costs can be amortized into the business and built into the costs of goods and services.  Maybe I'm wrong and a lot of these folks just like to print big for their own personal use (maybe they have lots of wall space that needs to be decorated) but if I'm not build the cost into the business plan.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Garnick on March 23, 2012, 12:39:21 PM
The reason is because given the track record of other Epson models occupying this space, extended warranties have been no more necessary than their competitors. IMO, the x900 are proving not to have Epson's usual quality, and are also surprisingly expensive to repair. You live and learn, but I'm not sure it's 100% correct to throw the blame on trusting consumers like myself. From 7600 to 3800 I thought I had learned what to expect with this company. I now have no idea what to expect, and so yes, the $1400 warranty is not really as optional as you would think and has to be included as part of the real cost of this machine if you plan to use it more than 365 days. I'm assuming you have the extended warranty and I congratulate you on your foresight.

My 9900 is rapidly approaching the expiry of its first extended warranty and I will be purchasing the second extension very soon.  By the end of the first year it became blatantly obvious to me that I had little choice but to buy the extended warranty.  Before I took possession of the printer I had already set up a '9900 Issue Log' based on posts here and on another forum.  That log now contains 97 entries, and when I call Epson I simply give them my phone number and they can than access the service history of this machine.  That's less time consuming than going through the whole routine every time I place a call, which is rather frequent.  My last call was about a week ago and as soon as the Tech Rep at Epson checked the history she said "Whoa"!  I caught that and commented on her response.  We both had a chuckle.  That call was not service related, but instead to verify the actual warranty extension date.  I then asked her to check with her supervisor and find out if it would be possible to get the third year for the same price it would have been had I initially purchased a two year extension.  The answer was no, since it is indeed a 'part' and 'part' price are fixed.  I thought that sounded like some sort of 'legal shmeegal', but didn't pursue it any further.  Reason being that perhaps with my 9900 service record Epson could possibly chose not to offer an extension this time round, so better to let it lie.  Although it is a lot of money to lay out for an insurance policy, I'm not sure where the $1400 figure comes into play.  In CDN dollars it is $930 + HST = $1050.90.  YES, a lot of $$$!!!  After this extension I'll be on my own, as are a lot of you folks, but thanks to this thread I have learned a few valuable lessons concerning some rather simple maintenance practices.  Most of these are of course procedures that I've been using for years on other printers, but somehow the 9900 seemed to be more prohibitive.  Thank you Eric.      

Gary
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 23, 2012, 01:21:41 PM
Since this is a business and down time is a critical factor as opposed to having a refrigerator go down, purchasing an extended warranty makes sense to me.  The costs can be amortized into the business and built into the costs of goods and services.  Maybe I'm wrong and a lot of these folks just like to print big for their own personal use (maybe they have lots of wall space that needs to be decorated) but if I'm not build the cost into the business plan.


Alan, you assume that people who are in business make money, which is a line that I have heard before from people in the upper echelons at Epson ...  The fact is that anybody who is a photographer (and others with any ability to see and empathize) knows that way more photographers struggle than live on easy street.  Add to this that this printer has more interest for fine art than for commercial photography, and then we are really talking of people who do not make any money, struggle to make ends meet, and cannot afford whatever makes sense on a corporate business plan.

The bottom line is as Bupalos and others have mentioned: those x900 printers need an extended warranty (which is only becoming a know fact now) and consequently over the minimal expected life of such an equipment, the Epson model will cost about 4 times as much as the equivalent Canon one.  I wish Epson had told me that when I purchased my 9900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on March 23, 2012, 02:40:14 PM

Alan, you assume that people who are in business make money, which is a line that I have heard before from people in the upper echelons at Epson ...  The fact is that anybody who is a photographer (and others with any ability to see and empathize) knows that way more photographers struggle than live on easy street.  Add to this that this printer has more interest for fine art than for commercial photography, and then we are really talking of people who do not make any money, struggle to make ends meet, and cannot afford whatever makes sense on a corporate business plan.
I spent 90% of my working career in the corporate sector.  The companies I worked for had extended service contracts on every piece of office equipment.  My point stands.  I you are printing for commercial purposes make sure you have the necessary coverage on your equipment (you do have insurance on your cameras and lenses don't you?).  It's just good business sense.  If you are in my position and photograph as an avocation and sell a little bit every year, it's less of an imperative.  I also don't see any need to print beyond 17 inches wide.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 23, 2012, 03:36:54 PM
Alan,


How can you say that your argument stands when I just explained why it did not?  I have only been in the business of fine art photography for 40 years, most of them as a professional adult, so please...  I have made my meager living all my life from photography and nothing else, so please take me at my word: most photographers don't make money, especially these days, and can barely afford the equipment they need.  This is why many of them have switched career and work for the photo equipment industry or outside of photography altogether.

Now because one does not make enough money, does not mean that one does not have ambition.  I specialize for instance in large format prints from photo-journalistic style photographs, and given that my other characteristic is to deliver prints that are supposed to be among the best ones in the world, I do need to perform them myself on my own printer, until now a 9900.  Now none of that means that I make much money at it.  Given the marketing complexity of fine art it is very easy to loose money on a show, and it is not as easy as you think to include insurances of all sorts on equipment.  We are happy to just be able to purchase the very needed equipment in the first place.  The same goes for camera equipment, especially when like me, one uses film equipment whose value is hard to prove to an insurance company, not to mention that the insurance cost is prohibitive for that as well, unless again you are working for National Geographic on a regular basis, and that then becomes just part of your costs.

And actually, it is a good thing for Epson, that many photographers, professional and not, have been lured into believing that they could own their own printer because in the end that just boosts the sale of ink.  If that were not the case, if only the big guys could own an L.F. printer, that Epson division would not be half as profitable. 

Now the problem is that people have not been told the full story about these x900 printers, and clearly, the fact that the extended warranty de facto necessity was not made clear, is a big problem.  We bought printers as "Bugalos" mentioned, based on the the track record of the previous generations, and everything from Epson's marketing lead us to believe that the x900 was a quintessential achievement topping the previous ones.  So please don't try to fault us ( I don't even understand why you even try or want to), as the responsibility here can only come from the manufacturer.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on March 23, 2012, 05:07:33 PM
They could even use some random name to save us all, like maybe "Dorothy"






.
(http://vigilantcitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/22281ozthe-wizard-of-oz-posters2.jpg)

Well, I had really hoped that this thread would/could continue along the same educational vein it started with---divulging the innner workings of our 79/99** printers and sharing some helpful maintenance/repair tips along the way.  I wish Dorothy could just *click* her red heels together and those that seem so entrenched in being litigious or some sort of Epson conspiracy start their own thread or go elsewhere.  Again, I'm not saying that out of warranty Epson printer issues are without merit.   I'm outta here.

Eric, if you could drop me a note when something substantive comes up.  It's become too time consuming trying to wean through the thread separating the wheat from the chaff...

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on March 23, 2012, 05:34:00 PM
Start. A. New. Thread.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 23, 2012, 07:30:48 PM
the $1400 warranty is not really as optional as you would think and has to be included as part of the real cost of this machine if you plan to use it more than 365 days.

keep an eye out for deals.. they were available for crazily cheap price - I can't find the deal I got, but I think it was close to 50 bucks! here's one for free http://www.photowholesalers.com.au/forum/topics/bonus-2-year-extended-warranty and another one.. http://blog.creativefolks.sitemaker.com.au/epson-extended-warranty-offer/

I got mine from myepsonprinter.eu

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on March 24, 2012, 12:03:13 AM
I spent 90% of my working career in the corporate sector.  The companies I worked for had extended service contracts on every piece of office equipment.  My point stands.  I you are printing for commercial purposes make sure you have the necessary coverage on your equipment (you do have insurance on your cameras and lenses don't you?).  It's just good business sense.  If you are in my position and photograph as an avocation and sell a little bit every year, it's less of an imperative.  I also don't see any need to print beyond 17 inches wide.
   
     Alan if I may politely say this is probably why you have a hard time understanding this problem and the average Epson user. Your 90% working career in a large corporate sector has blinded your understanding of who actually owns many of these printers. I would be willing to bet more then 50% of these large format printers are owner by very small one or two person companies, many fine art photographers that help pay for their printers by printing for other photographers. They do not run them 12 hours a day every day and Epson surely was not discouraging these people from buying the printers. If these printers were only owned by large corporate businesses that can afford all kinds of service contracts as you infer Epson would probably go out of the printer business by losing probably more the 50% of their sales.
     Myself any really all the other Epson large format printer owners that I am friends with flat out struggle to stay alive.....but we do it because we love the art and are passionate and dedicated to it. Shelling out another 1400 for a extended service contract is not something to be taken lightly. All the Epsons I have had prior to this were work horses that with a little care just ran and ran and ran. When I stepped up to the new 900 series as many others did Epson did not say anything about getting a extended service contract with these new models because you are really going to need it.
      I don`t know where this is all going to go....and I really doubt Epson is going to acknowledgewledge any problems. Where I am sure they will see it is in loss of future sales. I and many other people I know will be taking a lot closer look at Canon when the next printer is purchased...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 24, 2012, 12:25:31 AM
I have never bought an extended warranty on household appliances and have spent significant amount over the years on various upgrades (including a kitchen remodelling).  In these cases, I think your assessment is correct.  However with the case of the large format Epson printers, I suspect that most purchasers are either making or trying to make a living printing photographs and other graphics.  Since this is a business and down time is a critical factor as opposed to having a refrigerator go down, purchasing an extended warranty makes sense to me.  The costs can be amortized into the business and built into the costs of goods and services.  Maybe I'm wrong and a lot of these folks just like to print big for their own personal use (maybe they have lots of wall space that needs to be decorated) but if I'm not build the cost into the business plan.

Alan, Speed of service doesn't necessarily depend on whether or not one has an extended warranty. As for building the cost into business overhead, MAYBE this reduced the tax-adjusted cost of the warranty thereby somewhat reducing the insurance premium, but in the final analysis, the cost of it comes out of the bottom line unless it can be fully passed-through to customers. Some owners don't have customers, and for others who do, that may or may not be possible depending. Markets have constraints, especially for small players and even for large ones. You need to be a price-maker and not a price-taker to do this.

Bringing this tangent back to the main theme of this extensive thread, based on previous experience, the probability of needing to draw on these warranties was probably low, why many people haven't bought them. If it's really true that "on average" these new printers are much more exposed to maintenance issues because of design differences relative to their predecessors, then perhaps the risk factor changes and the economics of buying this protection points towards getting it. That means potential customers for a large format printer would need to factor this variable into their shopping alternatives between manufacturers producing machinery that all delivers very high quality results. But as I said, reliable data is still an issue.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on March 24, 2012, 10:17:16 AM
 
     I would be willing to bet more then 50% of these large format printers are owner by very small one or two person companies, many fine art photographers that help pay for their printers by printing for other photographers. They do not run them 12 hours a day every day and Epson surely was not discouraging these people from buying the printers. If these printers were only owned by large corporate businesses that can afford all kinds of service contracts as you infer Epson would probably go out of the printer business by losing probably more the 50% of their sales.

     Myself any really all the other Epson large format printer owners that I am friends with flat out struggle to stay alive.....but we do it because we love the art and are passionate and dedicated to it. Shelling out another 1400 for a extended service contract is not something to be taken lightly. All the Epsons I have had prior to this were work horses that with a little care just ran and ran and ran. When I stepped up to the new 900 series as many others did Epson did not say anything about getting a extended service contract with these new models because you are really going to need it.
      I don`t know where this is all going to go....and I really doubt Epson is going to acknowledgewledge any problems. Where I am sure they will see it is in loss of future sales. I and many other people I know will be taking a lot closer look at Canon when the next printer is purchased...

+1 I also echo this POV... As a fine art photographer and printing enthusiast, I did not have the luxury to purchase an extended warranty.  I also did not want to outsource printing – which permitted greater output control.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on March 24, 2012, 11:26:41 AM
keep an eye out for deals.. they were available for crazily cheap price - I can't find the deal I got, but I think it was close to 50 bucks! here's one for free http://www.photowholesalers.com.au/forum/topics/bonus-2-year-extended-warranty

Wow.  Thanks Designpartners.  I think that's quite remarkable.  

In Australia you can buy a 7900 with the Epson two year extended warranty for only $2,090.  In U.S. dollars that's only $2186.  

If you buy a 7900 in the U.S. (B&H - with current $1,000 rebate) it's $3,000 just for the printer plus $1,375 for the two year warranty for a total of $4,375.  

Why is Epson charging U.S. customers nearly $2,000 more for a 7900 printer?  That's twice the price in Australia.  Why doesn't Epson offer the same deal in America?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on March 24, 2012, 12:42:58 PM
     Alan is very correct in his statements about building these costs into overhead. If you cannot afford the costs of ownership you shouldn't be purchasing these printers in the first place....  I don't buy all this starving artist crap. I'd be willing to bet a good many of the complainers (not all), don't even have a business license and are doing this thinking they can make a few bucks on the side.  Set up a website online, and bingo your a professional photographer, taking business away from legitimate businesses and pros.

I don't know that there is any data or evidence to show that all or most of the people that are having clog problems here are in the printing business.  Many, if not most, are hobbyists or "enthusiasts" who like to photograph and want to do their own printing and want to print wide format.  People like Eric.  They read the Epson X900 brochure that says clogs are a thing of the past.  Now that they own these printers they are finding that clogs aren't a thing of the past.  If anything, they are more common than ever.  I don't know why, but maybe it's because these printers have double the number of channels of previous Epson printers and they create droplets smaller than before (2.5 picoliter versus 3.5 picoliter).  

The way things are going it seems to me that when you get to the 10th or 11th month you should definitely buy the extended warranty (1 or 2 year), expensive as it is, or sell the printer if there is one out there then that you think is better (maybe the next one will actually prove to clog less).  If you have an X900 printer and you don't have a warranty you're pushing your luck, especially if you don't print regularly.    
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 24, 2012, 01:45:26 PM

  ...Alan is very correct in his statements about building these costs into overhead. If you cannot afford the costs of ownership you shouldn't be purchasing these printers in the first place...

...I don't buy all this starving artist crap. I'd be willing to bet a good many of the complainers (not all), don't even have a business license and are doing this thinking they can make a few bucks on the side.  Set up a website online, and bingo your a professional photographer, taking business away from legitimate businesses and pros.

David



I am an enthusiast.  An amateur photographer.  A starving artist if you will.  This past October I finally decided to get some of my photos printed.  I went to the greatest lab I could find here in the Bay Area.  Amazing place, incredible samples.  It was there that I fell in love with the idea of printing every dam photo I have ever taken.  In the end I could only afford to print twenty.  It cost me fifteen hundred dollars. 

I loved the idea of hanging my photos on my walls.  I loved the look of them as well.  But the closer and more frequently I looked at them, I noticed more and more that they just weren't what I created.  "A little too dark, they clipped the whites, maybe not canvas for that one, I wish I made this one bigger" etc. etc.   But the cost I faced for printing more, larger, and on different mediums was quite a daunting expense for something I was simply passionate about.  Something NOT for business.  So I started reading here, on Luminous Landscape, in the printers papers and inks section.  That's how I learned about printing.  That's how I learned about Epson's great Stylus Pro 7900.  And that's how I found Dan Berg, selling his 7900 for $1,700, which he raved about - stating among other things that it had very little use, which it did.

So this "starving artist" read and read and read about the Epson Stylus Pro 7900.  And the more I read the better it sounded.  No more clogs, no more heaps of wasted ink, easily change from matte black to photo black, incredible resolution, depth and color in prints seeming almost to lift your images off the paper, etc. etc. etc... 

I looked at what I paid to get much smaller versions of my photos printed - $1,500 - and I wasn't entirely happy with the results.  I imagined possessing the freedom myself to experiment with tonal changes, color shifts, different mediums, larger sizes, and so on.  I read, I learned, and I decided to buy Dan's 7900 for $1,700.  I figured one year's worth of printing alone would pay for this printer easily - compared to what I would be paying Bay Photo Lab to print my photos for me.

To me it seemed like a no-brainer.  So I made a mistake I guess, I decided to become a photographer taking business away from legitimate businesses and pros, by printing my own photos myself.  And that's where things went nuclear on me and my genius buddy Steve.  But it's not as bad as you might think..

You see I didn't really pay $1,700 for this 7900.  Steve and I split it.  In fact we have split every expense related to this 7900 so far.  So neither of us are quite a bad off as it seems here.  Plus our Epson clog-spending spree is over now.  If the printheaddoctor (Vladimir) comes through, and our original head prints clog-free, great.  We will all know that our clogs are actually clogs, and maybe I'll buy Vladimir's machine and start a small business offering X900 printhead-saving-solutions for other Epson owners who get cornered by concrete clogs on one end, and ridiculous repair bills on the other - which render their great X900 printers useless piles of junk.  Then also Steve and I can finally start printing like the starving artists we will forever strive to be, but never afford to be. 

But if Vladimir's ultrasonic head cleaning work proves the alternate point - that our clogs are not clogs at all, and our problems are actually piezoelectical, then we will lick our wounds and install this new printhead which we have waiting in the background.  And if this new head installation gets this 7900 printing again, great, we will begin again our endless pursuit of chasing our dreams.

...However if this printer STILL does not work?  Come on I know you want to know our alternate, alternate plan..  That's right, we're going hollywood.  I'm gonna buy three sticks of dynamite, fire up a video camera, and we're gonna launch this exploding fireball of an Epson 7900 off the tallest cliff we can find.  End of hopeless starving artist printing career.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on March 24, 2012, 04:58:04 PM
That's right, we're going hollywood.  I'm gonna buy three sticks of dynamite, fire up a video camera, and we're gonna launch this exploding fireball of an Epson 7900 off the tallest cliff we can find.  End of hopeless starving artist printing career.

Now the thread gets interesting. Here's where it can go Viral, and here is where we might get Epson's attention.

I have a big cargo van; I'll load up my LLK-jammed 7900 and drive it to meet your 7900, and we'll built a giant sculpture of ruined 7900's, and set them on fire, a la Burning Man. We'll video the whole thing, and send it round the world.

Yes, this is where it gets interesting.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on March 24, 2012, 06:18:30 PM
Eric, do you why it is taking so long to get the print head back?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 24, 2012, 07:43:29 PM
From what I have been told by Vladimir, they were not tooled up to service X900 heads.  In fact in all the head cleaning service websites that I called over the past months, who advertised all sorts of head cleaning promises and history, NOT ONE was prepared to service X900 heads.  Lines always went dark when this head was mentioned.   Vladimir is not in the business, necessarily, of cleaning heads.  He sells the ultra sonic cleaning machines.  He manufactures the brackets needed to mount different heads to his machines.  But he does not clean heads.

When I called Vladimir I offered him a deal - if his machine cleared our head of it's clogs, I would buy one.  My thinking was I would then service everyone's X900 head on this forum, who couldn't clear their clogs.  Vladimir agreed, then went to work on designing and fabricating brackets to mount our X900 heads to his machine.  As I understand it all of these processes will be completed by the end of this month.

That's why it has taken this long.  Makes sense I think.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on March 24, 2012, 07:50:31 PM
Yeah, I guess it makes sense. You have more patience then me. At least it's almost the end of the month.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: kevk on March 24, 2012, 08:46:00 PM
Wow.  Thanks Designpartners.  I think that's quite remarkable.  

In Australia you can buy a 7900 with the Epson two year extended warranty for only $2,090.  In U.S. dollars that's only $2186.  

If you buy a 7900 in the U.S. (B&H - with current $1,000 rebate) it's $3,000 just for the printer plus $1,375 for the two year warranty for a total of $4,375.  

Why is Epson charging U.S. customers nearly $2,000 more for a 7900 printer?  That's twice the price in Australia.  Why doesn't Epson offer the same deal in America?
Nope, unfortunately the prices in Australia are actually much higher - the link you followed shows the normal price of the warranty only - i.e. the bit they are giving away for free as a 2 month promo. Indicitive pricing for the printers in Australia are: 3880 - $1,808.00; 4900 - $2,987.00; 7900 - $6450.00; 9900 - $10999.
Still sound cheaper in Australia?

Also the Aussie dollar is currently worth a few cents MORE that the US dollar so in AU the printer should cost even less!  :)

Kevin
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: rmyers on March 24, 2012, 08:51:28 PM
Eric,
I am rooting for you and for Vladimir's process to work.  If it does, it could offer hope to those with clogs.  

I do a lot of trouble shooting of equipment at my job, and I really think you are approaching this in a sound manner.  Have you given any thought to what it will mean if by chance the ultra sonic cleaning doesn't work?  If this is the case, are you thinking about autopsying the head to see if you can physically see a clog or somehow else try to determine if there is nothing physically blocking the head which might indicate an electrical / piezo problem?

Again, I hope this isn't the case, but something tells me you might have considered it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on March 24, 2012, 09:05:11 PM
   People have been complaining about clogging and wasted ink  on mostly all inkjet printers from day 1, whether it be cheap desktops to expensive WFs, and Canon and HP are no exception!
Some models appear to be more prone to clogging and other issues than others!
  Alan is very correct in his statements about building these costs into overhead. If you cannot afford the costs of ownership you shouldn't be purchasing these printers in the first place.  All equipment has a given life expectancy and gets depeciated each year untill it's useful life is over and needs to be serviced or replaced. It is some of these very factors that too many small business people never take into account that is the reason why a very large percentage of them fail to succeed in their businesse endeavor within the first year.
 
DONT blame Epson for wanting to sell product.

If you can afford to, and wish to purchase a Buggati Veyron, you'd better be prepared to mainain it and cover the costs of ownership.
Don't tell your dealer that you cannot afford a repair or maintainance when it becomes necessary and then blame it on Bugatti.
   I don't buy all this starving artist crap. I'd be willing to bet a good many of the complainers (not all), don't even have a business license and are doing this thinking they can make a few bucks on the side.  Set up a website online, and bingo your a professional photographer, taking business away from legitimate businesses and pros.

David


   

        WOW......that is  some outlook  on life........I can say this.....if I bought a Bugatti  and they gave me no schedule  of maintenance  and the engine blow up after one year......I,you and most people would be a little mad I would think.....

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on March 24, 2012, 09:55:50 PM
Nope, unfortunately the prices in Australia are actually much higher - the link you followed shows the normal price of the warranty only - i.e. the bit they are giving away for free as a 2 month promo. Indicitive pricing for the printers in Australia are: 3880 - $1,808.00; 4900 - $2,987.00; 7900 - $6450.00; 9900 - $10999.
Still sound cheaper in Australia?

Kevin

Ah, no, not cheaper in Australia.  So the price in Australia for a 7900 is twice what we pay, not half as much.  My condolences.  Same question though in my mind.  Why such a gigantic price difference? 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on March 25, 2012, 07:56:49 AM
   People have been complaining about clogging and wasted ink  on mostly all inkjet printers from day 1, whether it be cheap desktops to expensive WFs, and Canon and HP are no exception!

My HP Zs do not have that kind of problems, a total of 8 years of use. No clogging, no high head replacement costs, no ink waste worth mentioning. Reliably starting up after two idle weeks, reliable in two weeks running 16 hours a day, consistent output quality at different dpi resolutions. They have some issues mainly in software, ask for some maintenance, a belt should be replaced soon. Both are without an extended maintenance contract and did not need a service man in the first year either. If a formatter goes belly up it will cost me real money, has not happened so far. All together nothing worth a thread like this one and we do not see threads like this one on HP Z's or Canon iPFs, the last must have a market share comparable to the recent Epson wide format printers  (360 nozzles per channel models).


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on March 25, 2012, 08:38:55 AM
Two years use with a Design Jet followed by three years intensive use of a Canon 6100 and never a hold-up with either.  Still on original heads in the Canon.  If you study forums here and elsewhere you find that topics about Epson/clogging is a big issue that hardly features for any other brand.  Some will say  that is because more Epsons are out there, but the difference is too big for that.

I do understand that brand loyalty can blind one, and big purchases have to be justified in the face of logic, so I understand those who might just wish the whole thing would go away.  I don't understand an attitude that says a small start-up is "taking business away from legitimate businesses and pros."  As a retail professional I can say that competition is your friend, not your enemy, for the obvious reasons that serious retailers understand.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 25, 2012, 09:32:32 AM
Nope, unfortunately the prices in Australia are actually much higher - the link you followed shows the normal price of the warranty only - i.e. the bit they are giving away for free as a 2 month promo. Indicitive pricing for the printers in Australia are: 3880 - $1,808.00; 4900 - $2,987.00; 7900 - $6450.00; 9900 - $10999.
Still sound cheaper in Australia?

Also the Aussie dollar is currently worth a few cents MORE that the US dollar so in AU the printer should cost even less!  :)

Kevin

Woops... should read my searches a little better. but here is the original offer I got through myepsonprinter..
(http://i42.tinypic.com/28lf79e.jpg)

my reseller (Sheldon Photo in Dublin) (http://www.sheldonphoto.com/)  actually went out of his way to let me know about it.

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dan Berg on March 25, 2012, 09:47:38 AM
So with a 9900 purchase you will pay $50 and get 2 additional years of warranty.
Just remember you no longer are eligible for the 9900 $1,000 rebate.(If still offered in your country.)
 Which makes your total cost come to $1050.00 for a 2 year extended warranty. (1 year comes with the purchase.)

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 25, 2012, 10:24:09 AM
I got a epson loyalty discount (I think €800 or something like that) when I bought it and then picked up the extended warranty 10 months later for €50..

James
Title: Re: An Apology
Post by: Peter Le on March 25, 2012, 08:05:42 PM
  Eric, and fellow forum members,
  I sincerely apologize to all of you who I may have offended with my uncalled for remarks pertaining to costs of ownership and taking business away from legitimate businesses.
   I was reacting to a personal situation that arose in my business causing me a very bad day,which should not have carried over to this thread.
I have removed my uncalled for post,and ask that you forgive me for my poorly thought out comments.


David
 
   

         No problem here........it is something I all to often do myself.........Peter
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 25, 2012, 08:14:17 PM
Speaking of BAD DAYS, I'm having one of those myself with my 9890....

First observation, don't turn your printer off if you are low on ink as this seemingly fudges something up in the printer. Well, it did for me.

Never mind that I had a perfectly fine nozzle check before hand (and for several weeks). But after powering down the printer I suddenly have 4 channels drop completely out! WTF??? Oh, and not channels that were even low! A simple pairs clean would not bring them back either, I had to do several before deciding to do a "powerful" pairs clean. Still not a clean nozzle check either.

And then to really kick me in the nutz, I have TWO bad brand now 700ml cartridges. The LLK won't recognize for shatz, and the LC must have an air leak because when I put it in, one of the pressurizing pumps runs constantly!

A whole freaking Sunday afternoon lost! BAH!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: kevk on March 25, 2012, 10:16:31 PM
Ah, no, not cheaper in Australia.  So the price in Australia for a 7900 is twice what we pay, not half as much.  My condolences.  Same question though in my mind.  Why such a gigantic price difference? 
I assume it would be pinned on being a smaller market (there are only about 22 mega people here rather than 313 in USA), therefore higher per sale overheads, etc, etc.

But of course if the printers cost less then more people (like me) would buy one!
(Instead, I get my prints done by a company with 7900 and 9900 and provide ICCs for a number of papers.)

Kevin
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on March 26, 2012, 02:43:49 AM
A bit off topic, (but there are now "topics-within-topics" on this thread), but the Aussie market is moving towards US pricing in many ways as a reaction to on-line buying.  For example, buying a Canon SLR as little more money here than in the US as Aussie wholesalers and retailers bring their prices down to keep their market share.  It's a huge topic here these days and many outlets here are rushing to get their on-line presence up-to-date.

I've been in retailing for many years at research level for big companies and a buyer for small sport goods businesses.  It was always the case that where buyers met wholesalers and importers at trade shows, the buyers drove economy type cars, the importers and wholesalers drove Mercs and BMWs.  So there's a bit of fat still left to extract from the importers etc.  A Canon 6300 is $5,600 in Oz and often in the high $2,000s in the US.  I can freight one here for about $500.  I'm sure Canon freights for less from Japan. Expect prices in Oz to go down.  I get my inks from the US at about $85 incl postage, they cost up to $145 here. etc etc.  (Have I reached 100 postings yet?)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 26, 2012, 03:01:49 AM
Yea I felt that David.  Thanks for the apology.  

It's all good, we all have our days.


rmeyers; sorry I didn't answer you earlier.  Yes, if Vladimir's ultrasonic cleaning does not prove successful we do have more delusion planned for this head.  First Steve wants to soak the head for a solid week, followed by a gentle internal pressure rinse injecting fluid through the head via our syringe method.  Steve still feels confident that these clogs are actually clogs.  

Then, if this printhead STILL shows these concrete clogs, we are planning on sacrificing this head to the mighty printing Gods above.  My genius buddy Steve is actually an engineer.  He's got access to some pretty high tech lab technology where he works.  So yes we WILL be performing an autopsy, we will be taking photos, and we will be sharing our results here on Luminous Landscape.  Our poor 7900 may be one of the worst purchases I have ever made in my life, which pretty well blows, but at the same time due to all that has come to life here in this thread, I don't know, somehow it's alright.  And if we can ALL finally know exactly what's the weak link in this X900 chain, well then it'll be far better than just alright.  

I have made so many phone calls to people so much smarter than I am.  So many emails.  I can't seem to inspire anyone to solve this mystery for us.  So we'll do it ourselves.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eheffa on March 26, 2012, 12:32:22 PM
Eric said:
I am an enthusiast.  An amateur photographer.  A starving artist if you will.  This past October I finally decided to get some of my photos printed.  I went to the greatest lab I could find here in the Bay Area.  Amazing place, incredible samples.  It was there that I fell in love with the idea of printing every dam photo I have ever taken.  In the end I could only afford to print twenty.  It cost me fifteen hundred dollars.

I loved the idea of hanging my photos on my walls.  I loved the look of them as well.  But the closer and more frequently I looked at them, I noticed more and more that they just weren't what I created.  "A little too dark, they clipped the whites, maybe not canvas for that one, I wish I made this one bigger" etc. etc.   But the cost I faced for printing more, larger, and on different mediums was quite a daunting expense for something I was simply passionate about.  Something NOT for business.  So I started reading here, on Luminous Landscape, in the printers papers and inks section.  That's how I learned about printing.  That's how I learned about Epson's great Stylus Pro 7900.


I too bought a 7900 for many of the same reasons.

Just prior to Christmas I paid a local Print shop $180- to print an image on Canvas  24 x 36 that I had printed 16 x 24 on my Epson 4800.  My own version (albeit smaller) blew the commercial print out of the water.  It was at that point that I decided that I would get my own 7900 so that I would not have to argue with someone else as to the qualities (or lack thereof) of any particular print and satisfy myself that I was getting the best quality according to my own definition & interpretation of the image.

So far I have not printed as much as I would like but the 7900 I have has been performing well enough.  Any clogs have been pretty easily cleared.  I don't know how long that will last though...

I appreciate this thread  & the video on changing the wiper blade was quite excellent.

Thank you Eric.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 26, 2012, 01:20:39 PM
So far I have not printed as much as I would like but the 7900 I have has been performing well enough.  Any clogs have been pretty easily cleared.  I don't know how long that will last though...

Including myself, I know 4 people who own 7900s. All are working fine and have never required service. Two are over 3 years old, one is just over 2 years old, and one is less than one year old. This is anecdotal "data" and does not mean there are no problems out there, but it's a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of these machines are doing what they're supposed to do.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 26, 2012, 02:22:12 PM
Dean,


If you are trying to reassure yourself or dispense some feelgood therapy, what you write is perfect.  It is otherwise perfectly useless.  Nobody has ever suggested that there was a pandemic, just that there was a problem affecting a number of users, too many for anybody to feel safe.  I had found that much, and it has been by now corroborated by Jon Cone. 

So if I were you, in order to keep feeling good, I would pray and burn candles all day or abandon myself to whatever voodoo is your karma, because what has happened to many users, could happen to you tomorrow, and that really would be terrible, wouldn't it?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 26, 2012, 02:49:35 PM
Sorry to hear that chaddro, been there a couple of times now!  It does sound like air in the lines,and or a pressurization problem as you say due to a bad cart.
I've experienced the same with low carts and bubble sprays also. First of all do not do any more cleaning cycles, let the printer sit for a day.I have had better luck doing a regular complete cleaning, than pairs when this has happened to me.   Even Epson says repeated cleaning will introduce more problems !  Call Epson or whoever you purchased them from, and politely insist on replacement carts if you just installed them.This is not an unheard of issue. If air has been introduced into the lines it may take some printing before the ink flows through the nozzles again.Just print  some office paper don't waste good stuff.
Check your wiper!
 
  Check your carts and see where they were produced.  I am just curious.
Prior to recently, all the carts I received were from Japan, all the new ones are made in Indonesia.

Good luck  

I didn't look at country of origin on the carts, but they are new, dec 2012 and july 2013 expiry dates in the NEW packaging, and I do have the new firmware that was supposed to address this issue. I have not had this bad of an issue with the machine before, so I don't know why it freaked out on me. Waiting over night may help, but not good when you have production to get out.

I guess I'll have to try out new carts when I get down to, oh ... 5%?? ... so I don't get stuck on a weekend.

I'll give Epson a call after work for the new carts. I, so far, have not had any issue with getting replacements. You'd think they would have this fixed by now. TWO bad 700ml cartridges (and I have 4 more unopened waiting for those channels to get low) in one day really is infuriating.

Had to chill out to some Tom Baker era Doctor Who :p
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: blpanther on March 26, 2012, 03:26:37 PM
Chadro, generally epson gives 90 days guarantee for all cartridges bought at any shop (but new ones only not ebay). From my experience, just contact epson, they will give you address and you send them with proof of purchase, few days later brand new ones in the post  :)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 26, 2012, 04:43:37 PM
what you write is perfect.  It is otherwise perfectly useless.  Nobody has ever suggested that there was a pandemic, just that there was a problem affecting a number of users, too many for anybody to feel safe. 


Clic, you found 12... 12 clogs.. granted 12 is a number, but I really feel that you are massively skewing your results and misleading others on the forum. I'm really not arguing that clogs don't happen on the 9900, they do, and that some of them are probably head failures for whatever reason.. BUT.. it's not too many for anybody to feel safe - this is simply scaremongering..

and before you go and rebut any of this statement with your photographic creds - which I'll admit are stunning! and truly, I wish that I will someday come close to your skill, but I fear I never will. It would have been more relevant to say you had a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters degree in Product development, which others on this forum also have.

I put products into production for a living - it's something that I have many years experience with (and have my fair share of awards to back it up, including Red Dot, iF, Good Design and MoMa to name but a few), and the simple reality is that products are manufactured to a tolerance, they are tested, companies, (and by companies I mean people, because people make product) try very hard to make the best product they can, BUT... mistakes happen, which inevitably leads to product failures. This is why you get a warranty, and this is why you get an extended warranty, and it's not cost prohibitive to do so and I've already demonstrated..

the reason I love this thread, is because I'm intrigued by it - I too want to know what happened to Eric's head, and I LOVE what he's doing showing us what it's like from the inside out! it's exactly what I would do if I personally was faced with a potentially HUGE repair bill, it's not what I would recommend for my company however.

I would however pose a question, is it the head, or the ink? Clic I applaud your ramekin test, because it show you are looking at this from more than one way, but perhaps something more scientific/diagnostic would be more prudent - I'm not sure if it's technical possible, but I would like to push the LLK ink to a different set of nozzles and see if that clogs - it would obviously cost an amount of ink to test that however. Maybe there is a way to  just print an LLK print only? on cheap paper it should only cost a little over €100.. just a thought..

Eric, we are coming close to the end of the month -  here's hoping your guy sorts you out! :)

James


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 26, 2012, 05:54:53 PM
Designpartners,


Thank you for your comments on my work, but I only mentioned my photographic relative expertise because the prior response to my post was questioning my credibility.  My photographic relative accomplishments would also tend to suggest that my experience is rich and long, and can hardly come without some understanding of the technical aspect of the process.  All proportions aside, for instance, you probably would not question very long Ansel Adams' ability to judge an enlarger.  But some here question not only mine, but Jon Cone's judgement on this, which I can't help but qualifying as utter denial.

There is no fear mongering in what I write here.  I have no idea why in the world I would have any interest to steer fear, I certainly have other things to do.  On another hand, there is a problem, and it is left unaddressed at the moment.

One of the reasons why this issue is so stubborn, is that fixing their printer would not only cost an unfair amount to users touched by the problem, but in absence of Epson solving the mystery, there is no telling that the issue would not re-occur on people.  That has happened already.  I know that one could spend $2500-3000. to fix the printer, and then $1500. for a two year extended warranty, then another $1400 two years later and so on, but if anybody here find that fair, let alone affordable or cost effective, then be my guest, because that is not what we signed on when purchasing our printers, which so far amounts to falling into a trap.

You and others are certainly free to try to solve this problem on your own, which I really don't think is realistic, that is Epson's job.  Now if you go read the statement on this page

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.epson.jp/&ei=1WFwT8LxE8Lg0QGcv5zjBg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CEIQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Depson%2Bjapan%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3D0Yp%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26prmd%3Dimvnsz

I am pretty sure that what the photographic community has experienced recently with those printers, is not in line with the statement of purpose expressed there.   Please feel free you all, to write to Mr. Seiichi Hirano CEO of Epson (Global) because I am not sure that he would approve of how the L.F. Printers part of the U.S. branch behaves.  

Chaddro, since you have not much to do lately (ˆ_ˆ) can you blind us once more with your internet skills and fetch that gentleman's email?


Love to all.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 26, 2012, 06:15:17 PM
Well, new cartridges are on the way. BTW, they were manufactured in Japan. The Epson rep said that there were still some issues with cartridges right after the move to the new packaging... my 12/2012 LLK may have fallen into that category.

Thinking about this issue in general, I'll pose this supposition:

The 9900 series printers use a pressurized ink system. The cartridges have a void which is charged, and I assume the dampers are also under pressure. When the printer is turned off, or you open the doors to replace cartridge (and possibly when you lift the door on the printer), pressure is released. All sounds good...

The crux: What if a SUCTION is being created somehow in the ink supply when pressure is released in turn pulling ink away from the nozzles and the mini reservoir???

I can almost think this is what happened with my Cyan and Light Cyan. After power cycling the machine, both channels were completely gone. No way they can be clogged, they were fine for several solid weeks (printer never off in that time). Same with Yellow and LLK - completely gone. Now, I expected to maybe have to do a paired cleaning, but one by itself would not work. I had to use the "powerful" one to get ink to the nozzles.

Just food for thought.
 

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 26, 2012, 06:18:14 PM
Designpartners,


Thank you for your comments on my work, but I only mentioned my photographic relative expertise because the prior response to my post was questioning my credibility.  
Love to all.

In fairness, I said your statement lacks credibility, or if you were to expand more it would lend more credibility.. I really wasn't questioning your work.. 

but lets leave it at that... as you said Love to all!  ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 26, 2012, 06:21:09 PM
clic, which statement btw? there are a few of them from the last few days on that link but none that I see are relevant? but it's late, maybe I'm missing something
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 26, 2012, 06:27:28 PM
I am pretty sure that what the photographic community has experienced recently with those printers, is not in line with the statement of purpose expressed there.   Please feel free you all, to write to Mr. Seiichi Hirano CEO of Epson (Global) because I am not sure that he would approve of how the L.F. Printers part of the U.S. branch behaves.  

Chaddro, since you have not much to do lately (ˆ_ˆ) can you blind us once more with your internet skills and fetch that gentleman's email?

What! And get whacked by the Ninkyō Dantai? NOT ME!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jeff Magidson on March 26, 2012, 07:37:49 PM
Dean,
If you are trying to reassure yourself or dispense some feelgood therapy, what you write is perfect.  It is otherwise perfectly useless.  Nobody has ever suggested that there was a pandemic, just that there was a problem affecting a number of users, too many for anybody to feel safe.  I had found that much, and it has been by now corroborated by Jon Cone. 

So if I were you, in order to keep feeling good, I would pray and burn candles all day or abandon myself to whatever voodoo is your karma, because what has happened to many users, could happen to you tomorrow, and that really would be terrible, wouldn't it?

Most of us read this forum to learn and share. Can I ask you to please not assault other contributors?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 26, 2012, 09:03:43 PM
Dean,

If you are trying to reassure yourself or dispense some feelgood therapy, what you write is perfect.  It is otherwise perfectly useless.  Nobody has ever suggested that there was a pandemic, just that there was a problem affecting a number of users, too many for anybody to feel safe.  I had found that much, and it has been by now corroborated by Jon Cone. 

So if I were you, in order to keep feeling good, I would pray and burn candles all day or abandon myself to whatever voodoo is your karma, because what has happened to many users, could happen to you tomorrow, and that really would be terrible, wouldn't it?

Dearest Clic,

I was responding to a post by eheffa that implied some trepidation regarding how long his 7900 would last. You would say I was dispensing "some feel good therapy", I would say I was providing some realistic perspective. Both are the same, so I am guilty as charged. I wanted to reassure this user that there is a far greater chance of making wonderful prints for a number of years than of experiencing any premature catastrophic failure. As you said, it's not a pandemic, and that fact is easy to lose when reading these threads. The premature failure rate may be abnormally large relative to the fraction of a percent that's usual for such things, but it's certainly nothing like 50%, 25%, or even 10%. It serves no useful purpose to make people who have invested in these printers, and have units that are working well, feel "unsafe" or bad about their decision. Their worrying helps no one, and there's a very good chance they will never be affected.

None of this means I have no sympathy for those who have had these failures. The situation is quite the opposite, and I believe I said in an earlier post that I'd be as upset as anyone if my printer failed in this way. But being realistic about it (after some swearing) I'd simply have to decide whether to repair or replace it. Given its age replacement would probably be the best option, unless I could repair it for a reasonable price. Perhaps Eric will have some breakthrough and I could send my print head to him for unclogging at a reasonable price. ;-) Regardless, it's a just a matter of fact business decision that has little to do with religion or voodoo.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 26, 2012, 09:59:51 PM
David, yes, it's good to remind people of this. I have mentioned it before in other threads - Epson tech support had recommended to me some years ago (in the days of the 4000 model) to run a print through the printer between each cleaning cycle in order to minimize the risk of this condition developing, and for sure not to do more than one power cleaning at a time without first printing.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 26, 2012, 10:36:13 PM
Hi David & Mark!

Hey, nice find! I should read the manual more, LOL! But it IS good info to share and to make aware to everyone that may be unaware of this.

BTW, I do print an 8x10 color swatch between cleanings. Sorry I left that out. I was also told that eons ago by an epson tech when I first had my 4000. However, letting the printer relax over night also seemed to help as it did with the older printers.

Oh, and don't go lifting the lid in mid-print ... it seems to make the printer spazz. Better to hit the pause button first.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on March 27, 2012, 12:19:46 AM
I am a newer owner of a 7900 and I had to call Epson tech on another printing issue that I used to have happen with my trusty 7800. After solving the problem (had to do with paper feed adjustment on a large print) I asked him about problems with the 900 series. I told him of my friend buying a used one and posting his problem here on LL and others who had similar issues. He pointed out that ... like alot of new things on the market .... he used the Mercedes example .... you get some of the products that may have issues. He said they have sold a big number of these 900 series printers and they still think it's a "cadillac" and the problems are few. Mine has printed (I bought it used with 70 prints printed on it) wonderfully for months and I feel a little better now. I think sometimes, just like our local forum/bulletin board where you think "everyone" is having the same issues" but realize there are only a small number expressing their issues AND a big majority are doing just dandy. I saw that in a recent election .... where if you read the bulletin board you thought it was a pushover win but it wasn't ... got smeared. I am just saying there are probably tons of 900 series owners who don't read this and will not have any 900 series printer issues. Just my 2 1/2 cents on the issue. I appreciate the wonderful feedback on solving the problems and will stay connected .... just in case ..... I have the dreadful clogging event or my friend offers me his clogged 9900 for a song. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 27, 2012, 08:34:46 AM
I'd agree, and for some more "feel good therapy",  I'd add that after a 1 1/2 years with my 7900, I have enough faith in Epson that I purchased a 9890 a few weeks ago to keep my 7900 company, despite some of the negativity being presented on the forums. ;) Today I got a job in from a client that just about totally paid for it already ;D These machines are fabulous, it is truly unfortunate that some are having serious difficulties!
David

If one does contract printing the payback on a printer is quite fast. Congratulations! But even if you just sell your own work or only print for yourself, a printer saves more than it costs in terms of outside printing expenses, not to mention the experimentation and creative options they provide. As printers go WF printers are expensive, but in the grand scheme of things you can lose $3k just upgrading a top of the line 35mm camera body to the latest model, which generally can't be justified in terms of return on investment.

He said they have sold a big number of these 900 series printers.... I think sometimes, just like our local forum/bulletin board where you think "everyone" is having the same issues" but realize there are only a small number expressing their issues AND a big majority are doing just dandy. 

I don't know how many of these Epson print heads exist, but I'm sure it's a very "big number". If there are only 100,000 of them a 1% premature failure rate would mean 1000 very unhappy people, but it also means there's a 99% chance your particular printer will be fine. I'd think a normal failure rate would be a fraction of 1%, and significantly more than 1% would have production stopped at most high tech companies. The whole point in my earlier post was that if you already own the printer and it's working well, you may as well enjoy it because worrying doesn't change the odds of having a problem develop. ;-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 27, 2012, 12:52:15 PM
we'll built a giant sculpture of ruined 7900's
I'd drive a long way to throw mine on the pile too. I still can't believe Epson won't give any love to the supposedly "few" failures if they are so few as supposed by the apologists. I've had two failures on the same machine within 1.7 years of ownership, both out of warranty.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 27, 2012, 02:19:12 PM
I had to reply - the count was 666! :)

even a 1% failure rate would be unacceptable in my opinion - it should be a fraction of that, and judging my Epson's market share, it probably is..

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 27, 2012, 03:00:28 PM
Maybe it's less than 1%. I don't claim to know. All I know is that I've been through 2 heads out of warranty in 1.8 years in 2 different channels, PK and M. My first call was within a couple weeks of warranty expiration, and Epson slammed the door shut hard on me. I bought a new head for $1250, changed it myself, printed fine for about 6 months, and the exact same problem came in on the M channel, the exact same way.

Personally, I think something develops in the cleaning cycle that damages the head or jams stuff up in there or something, and it either happens to you or not. From my conversations with epson and vendors they are not at all surprised to hear about "uncleanable clogs." So I really don't think it's a 1% thing, but of course we don't have access to their information.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 27, 2012, 03:04:58 PM
if you already own the printer and it's working well, you may as well enjoy it because worrying doesn't change the odds of having a problem develop. ;-)


I'd say if you already have it and it's currently working well, get the extended warranty now. If you are out of warranty, ask to extend anyway. They will probably let you IF you pay to have decision one come certify it. I should have done that after I replaced the first head.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 27, 2012, 04:49:12 PM
Did you keep your bad heads? Eric should have some news for us very soon on the success of his ultrasonic cleaning adventure.

Perhaps one of your bad heads can be recovered in the same way if his recovers???

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 27, 2012, 05:00:23 PM
Did you keep your bad heads? Eric should have some news for us very soon on the success of his ultrasonic cleaning adventure.

Perhaps one of your bad heads can be recovered in the same way if his recovers???



I do have them. One is still in the printer cranking out fine B&W, the other is snug and sound in a plastic baggie praying for a trip to see Eric.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on March 27, 2012, 07:17:00 PM
The various points being made by the users of these printers are valid so far as they go - we don't know the failure rate, we don't know the reasons for failure, at least in a true analytic way.   What we can observe though, is a trend developing amongst contributors here that the only way to get acceptable confidence is to purchase extra warranties.   A 7900 is about US$2,500 at the moment from Itsupplies and three years of warranty will cost US$1,286, which actually makes the Total Cost of Ownership, (Purchase) about US$3,786.

That's the actual result of this thread that's important to Epson.  If a lot of buyers are led to believe that they have to spend the extra then sales will definitely be affected.   That must be a result that would disturb Epson. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on March 27, 2012, 10:56:50 PM
Those printers do not ship with the field repair guide, which means that for all practical matter, what it states is rather irrelevant as to implicate the end user responsibility.  Wasn't Farmer even stating that that was Epson's copyrighted property not to be distributed to bozos like us?

The study of known cases does not show a pattern of users with more than 6 months old opened cartridges.  As a matter of fact, my LLK cartridge was installed in September, and the issue occurred in December.


Enduser you are right on, except that it is even worse than that, if nothing else because at that price you only get three years of relative peace, and that does not factor the costof disruption in case of failure, which is enormous.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 28, 2012, 12:17:41 PM
Hey all. Fedex just dropped off my replacement carts. The NEW packaging is more heavy duty. More like a corrugated box, and much more heavy duty than the old. These carts are dated to 11-2013. My old one in a plain box were 7-2013 so they made the change here pretty recently.

I hope my other 5 are problem free as they are in the old packaging (crosses finger). I won't be waiting until the last minute to check them this time.

-chadd
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 28, 2012, 12:18:32 PM
These costs (and maintenance) can easily surmount the costs of outsourcing printing and many don't take that into account. Unless you sell and print a lot of your photos, the costs of expendables can easily overtake your profit if you do not figure your operating costs correctly  and price your product at a high enough margin. (This is what Alan was getting at a couple of pages ago). In that case it is just not feasible to own one of these machines, despite the understandable desire to DIY...

One of these important variables is that Epson repeatedly stresses in many places in the user manual, the need to be using fresh ink not over 6 months old once opened!

David,

I agree. There's a lot more expense in printing than just buying a wide format printer. Buying one starts a chain reaction of expenditures that overshadows the cost of the printer itself. Justifying it as a photographer depends on volume and that in turn depends on sales, which in turn requires some marketing and a host of other expenses like matting equipment and related supplies, display equipment, and inventory. Overall it’s not really something one can just dabble in unless you’re willing to “eat” a substantial and continuing investment. There’s also the fact that all this stuff takes up a large amount of space that needs decent lighting, and may need things like humidity control. Another issue is that these printers need to be kept “alive”, so you can’t just let them sit all summer while you’re busy with other things. You need to be making prints on a somewhat regular basis for as long as you own the thing. Over the years that’s a lot of prints.

I think many get into this without quite realizing all of the ramifications, mostly because it’s extremely difficult to find a high quality personalized printing service. I’m talking about one where you can develop a working relationship with the person who does the printing in order to get exactly what you want. I know there’s a demand for that. I even tried doing it briefly, but found I didn’t have enough time available to do it justice.

The only outside work we take now involves digital restoration and reproduction of photographs, usually antique, from two local gallery and framing businesses. The owners of these have become friends over the course of long standing business relationships.  This started as a favor to one of them when they came to us with a customer who was “in a bind”. They asked if we could help them out, we gave it a try, and things went from there. We only take problem jobs, usually involving fragile and damaged pieces. Often the client has been unable to find someone willing to do the job, or they had the job done but were unsatisfied with the results. We recommend other resources to clients who want straight forward reproduction of photographs. Deliberately being a last resort means that, within reason, schedule is not an issue. That allows me to have a life and do my own work without always being under the gun. My wife and I both do the digital restoration work and I do the printing. That helps keep the ink flowing without being overwhelming. These clients are without exception overjoyed with their new “old prints”, and our friends get the framing business from these jobs, so there’s quite a bit of satisfaction involved.

Outdated ink: I once had a rather long telephone conversation with an Epson service person who said he had been with Epson for over 20 years. He was able to answer any questions I had with no hesitation at all, and one of them was about using 6-month old ink. I was concerned I'd have to throw ink away when it became too old. He said if it was his printer he certainly wouldn't, because he had never seen a single problem in a wide format printer that was related to using old ink, even if it was years too old. I hesitate to write this in case it's bad information. It certainly goes against what's in the manual, but it is definitely what I was told. I have had some ink colors (orange, and green for instance) in the printer for well over a year and never experienced a problem. In fact those colors never clog while others do! I remove the ink cartridges and gently agitate them every few months. I don't know if that's necessary, but with rumors of pigment settling it couldn't hurt. I've never experienced any noticeable color shifts.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on March 28, 2012, 02:40:04 PM
The various points being made by the users of these printers are valid so far as they go - we don't know the failure rate, we don't know the reasons for failure, at least in a true analytic way.   What we can observe though, is a trend developing amongst contributors here that the only way to get acceptable confidence is to purchase extra warranties.   A 7900 is about US$2,500 at the moment from Itsupplies and three years of warranty will cost US$1,286, which actually makes the Total Cost of Ownership, (Purchase) about US$3,786.

That's the actual result of this thread that's important to Epson.  If a lot of buyers are led to believe that they have to spend the extra then sales will definitely be affected.   That must be a result that would disturb Epson. 

good point, but don't forget the benefits of rebates, loyalty deals and warranty deals.. I got €800 off original price and the 2 extra years warranty for €50 - it doesn't have to cost a lot... but I agree that one should't feel obliged to buy the warranty, but admittedly I feel better knowing I have it..

to put it in perspective, I use a number of tools for my line of work, from high end 3d optical scanning technology, to 5 axis CNC machines, to the very latest in software, we generally pay between 20-30% of the original cost per year on "maintenance". sometimes this means a software upgrade... sometimes it's simply if something breaks it gets fixed..

just a thought.. I recently lost my iPhone and trawled some forums looking to see if my phone insurance plan would cover a new one, and people kept on recommending that you don't get the phone plan, but instead, put it on your house insurance under "all risks".. so if your 4 year old spills grape juice over it, you get a new one (minus excess) .. I wonder would the same apply with LFP's at home?  worth investigating anyway..  I just renewed my plan but I'll call them to ask anyway..

James   
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 28, 2012, 04:13:22 PM
Hey Designerparts!

Hmmm... an inland marine policy (same as all risk?) for my epson 9890! Might be worth it if you move. Carrying that sucker down the stairs is not something I look forward to!
Title: Could the ink repelling coating be the problem?
Post by: tmphoto on March 28, 2012, 08:31:41 PM
My experience with older printers (x600, x800) is that no matter how bad a clog is, it can be cleared with some work and patience.  The worst case I have encountered is nozzle deflection with banding showing at resolutions below 1440dpi.  It was probably caused by head strikes and could not be fixed. Recently I cleaned a 9600 which had about 120 printed pages. It had been stored clogged for several years. It is printing fine now with a very crisp nozzle check pattern.

What is different about the new and older printer heads? The only significant difference I can see is the ink repelling coating.
When I first read about the new "Ink Repelling Coating" my first question was, what if it "de-coats", "delaminates", wears off, peels off, or whatever you want to call it?  Then I said to myself, after a while we will see some printers where this will be a problem.

If you look for the word "fluid" in the service manual of the x880 and earlier printer you will find references to cleaning fluid used to clean the head.  There is no mention about cleaning fluid in the x900 service manual.  My guess is that at the time the x900 printers were released Epson knew that the old cleaning formula was bad for the ink repelling coating and they did not have a new formula, safe for the coating.

If this coating is the problem it's very likely that the more you try to clean the head, the worst the problem gets.  It's also possible that ultrasonic cleaning could make the problem even worst.  Or perhaps it could remove the "bad" coating with a slight increase in the amount of ink delivered by the nozzle.

I do not recall reading that the OP’s printer was sent with the head shipping bracket installed.  It is clear to me that if the printer was printing fine before shipping the printer head was damaged during shipping and the cause could have been excessive vibration because the head was not secured with the bracket.  I don’t think it was a normal clog because they are not that difficult to clean.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on March 29, 2012, 02:01:57 AM
Bracket to secure the head..  Yes Dan and I did communicate about that very thing.  I asked about securing the head with the bracket before shipping, but Dan told me he hadn't kept the bracket when he unpacked his 7900.  He secured the head with a styrofoam block and tape instead.  I don't think the head moved much during shipping.  Vibration however, we can only guess at this point.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on March 29, 2012, 02:59:55 AM
I guess I won't be the first to ask you, TMPHOTO, how you cleaned and or kept clean, all those Epson heads when you say "no matter how bad a clog is, it can be cleared with some work and patience"
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on March 29, 2012, 12:04:59 PM
> how you cleaned and or kept clean
For mild clogs there is plenty of information around, for example:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/inkjet_cleaning.html
http://www.americaninkjetsystems.com/symphonic_inkjet_cleaning_fluid.html

For severe clogs I had to first manually clean the ink bay, ink lines, pump and capping station. After that running the printer with household cleaning fluid and giving it time for the clog to dissolve. And,  of  course, the paper towel method.

If you are a heavy user or a very light user, periodically removing the cleaning unit and manually cleaning it will keep your printer running clog free.  How often, when you notice that your money is increasingly going to the waste tank instead of your prints.
If the wiper blade looks bad, replace it. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on March 29, 2012, 12:24:54 PM
>> No, I doubt it is the coating itself or Epson would not be continuing to market
>> all the new models with the same technology. The risks of widespread failures
>>  would quickly put Epson out of the Printer business!
Not really. Take for example professional camera shutters rated to last hundreds of thousands shots. Some of them fail just after a few thousand and some last longer than they are supposed to.  The fact that a few customers have experienced premature shutter failure after the warranty has expired has not put any camera maker out of business.

In a manufacturing process with good quality assurance most defective units are caught before they are sent for distribution to customers. In this case, out of the many thousands of units sold, a relative small number of units have failed and probably most of them failed within the warranty period.

The ink repelling coating is just another point of failure. But I would say that in this respect the older heads are more robust and less likely to be damaged by user actions such as cleaning them with household fluids.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: eheffa on March 29, 2012, 12:38:29 PM
Not really. Take for example professional camera shutters rated to last hundreds of thousands shots. Some of them fail just after a few thousand and some last longer than they are supposed to.  The fact that a few customers have experienced premature shutter failure after the warranty has expired has not put any camera maker out of business.

A number of years ago, the shutter on my 1 1/2 year old 1DsIII failed at about the 40,000 actuation mark.  I bought the camera used so I was out of warranty but Canon Canada replaced the entire mechanism for the price of the basic service fee & no charge for parts.  They didn't have to do that as I technically had no more warranty; but, they won some very valuable loyalty & gratitude from me.  I continue to purchase their lenses & system parts with the belief that they will back their products up with good after sales support.  How much is that worth to them?  I would say that in the final balance, it has paid off very well for them. 

Happy customers = long term brand loyalty = good business.

-evan
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 29, 2012, 04:43:51 PM
A number of years ago, the shutter on my 1 1/2 year old 1DsIII failed at about the 40,000 actuation mark.  I bought the camera used so I was out of warranty but Canon Canada replaced the entire mechanism for the price of the basic service fee & no charge for parts. ... Happy customers = long term brand loyalty = good business.

I also had an out of warranty 1DsIII in which I noticed an odd focusing problem. In poking around on the Internet I found Canon issued a service bulletin for this problem long ago. I contacted them and was told they'd fix it for free. I sent the camera in and had it back in days with a new mirror box and a list of other parts that were replaced. The camera worked great and I was happy.

Should Epson be responsabe for repairs out of warantee?....

No. By definition a warranty defines when the manufacturer is responsible for repairs and what kinds of repairs they are responsible for. It's nice when they go beyond the warranty, but nothing obligates them. Canon used to be strict with their warranty policies but they had what I'd call huge quality issues in successive generations their flagship camera models. The service bulletin list was extensive and included mirrors falling out of 5D bodies and a host of focusing problems on their 1-series. They were so unhelpful with their original LF inkjet printers that users had to form their own self-help Internet Wiki. It's my guess (and it's only a guess) that they saw a huge public relations tsunami coming and that caused them to do a U-turn. They started being extremely helpful, and also started repairing cameras out of warranty and replacing printer heads out of warranty. My guess (again, a guess) is that this was done for survival, not as a gesture of kindness. I doubt Epson is facing such massive problems in multiple product lines, all of which are purchased by many of the same users. In short, they don't have the same incentive.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 30, 2012, 04:17:31 AM
Precisely!

Should Epson be responsible for repairs out of warantee?....

David

It depends. If the cause of the failure is a generic product defect, then I would say they should repair gratis out of warranty. This happens all the time with motor vehicles, where the manufacturers sponsor recalls. If it is not a generic defect, it then becomes the company's judgment as to whether flexibility with out-of-warranty issues would be in their interest. They aren't obligated in this instance.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on March 30, 2012, 10:53:21 AM
There have been a number of good responses here and I'm glad to see the thread is out of it's rut. Hopefully folks can understand the point of view of the folks who have been stuck with lemons (if that's what we're talking about) and realize that trying to rationalize the problem away or minimize it by the 'drop in the bucket' defense only makes lemon owners feel worse. Conversely, we lemon owners ought to realize that we may come off as attacking a brand and company and printer that other folks believe in and/or want and/or need to believe in.

If this problem really were as restricted as some think, Epson would be insane not to take care of us squeaky wheels, it would be the best advertising bang for the buck they could get. Mine was out of warranty a few weeks when the first one went. I went in with a very mild attitude, assuming a company I believed in and patronized over 8 years would take care of me. Not only did they steadfastly refuse to fix it as it stood, they refused to let me pay to extend the warranty unless I paid an unknown amount (likely around $2000) to have decision one do the repair and then recertify it. That attitude says to me they feel they have to take a hard line on this, which says to me they feel it's not a tiny QC issue. Also I have to add that none of the tech people I talked to at Epson or the vendor were the least bit surprised I've had two heads failures in less than 2 years. You'd have to hear how unsurprised to get what I'm talking about.

I'm still hopeful for Eric's cleaning attempt, but my six year honeymoon with Epson is over regardless. Canon Lucia EX has caught up to them by all technical measures, and after rebates from both sides I can get a 42" printer with a thousand dollars of ink in it and a nice printing utility for the same price as Epson's 24" with $250 of ink, most of which will be wasted on cleanings over it's first year anyway. So it's time to get real. I'm frankly glad to be over my "belief" in Epson, even as I hope current happy patrons continue to have no reason to lose theirs.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 30, 2012, 01:12:04 PM
It depends. If the cause of the failure is a generic product defect, then I would say they should repair gratis out of warranty. This happens all the time with motor vehicles, where the manufacturers sponsor recalls. If it is not a generic defect, it then becomes the company's judgment as to whether flexibility with out-of-warranty issues would be in their interest. They aren't obligated in this instance.

I think this is much easier to do with a company that does their own repairs, like Canon. I had an OLD Infrant ReadyNas NV+ I bought off ebay for my bro (I had one myself). It turned out it had a bad power supply. But Netgear honored Infrant's "recall" with no questions asked. They sent me a replacement for cost of shipping only.

I wonder how many ink cartridges Epson has had to replace because of all the bad ones. There must have been literately thousands of bad cartridges. They redesigned the packaging twice and issued new firmware to help address it. On the PLUS side, Epson customer service has been great to replace any bad (non-expired) cartridge you have at no cost to you (and also paying for return shipping). Obviously Epson is capable of stepping up to fix a bad situation when it arises.

None of us know for CERTAIN that there is a specific defect in either the design of the new heads, or the (IMHO) overly designed capping station. Yes, there are "lemons" it seems. And this is a great concern for any stuck with one.

Just remember, this thread was started with the intent of trying to learn to fix these things ourselves should we find ourselves in just this predicament.

I don't think that Epson ever admitted any kind of fault for the 4000's constant clogging issues (which was most certainly a result of the capping stations design that also let air draw back into the lines). How did they fix it? They didn't... they came out with a replacement model.

We may never get any admission from Epson the 9900 series printers, but we may eventually get a new printer. For myself, I was of the belief that we had the ultra super sweet printer of all time .... and that my 9890 would have any updates/fixes found wanting in the 9900 release years earlier.

Hopefully all the time, effort and money that Eric has spent will come to fruition, and there will be an answer to these "clogged" nozzles.

BTW: After reading my warranty, I find it unpleasant that should Epson come out to replace your head under warranty, that THEY get to keep all the old parts.



Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: John R Smith on March 30, 2012, 01:17:58 PM
What I find puzzling is that Epson have for some time produced a virtually clog and trouble free photo printer - the 3800 and 3880 series. You would have thought that the basic design principles which seem to work so well on the 3800 could simply be applied to the larger models too.

John
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 30, 2012, 01:33:28 PM
What I find puzzling is that Epson have for some time produced a virtually clog and trouble free photo printer - the 3800 and 3880 series. You would have thought that the basic design principles which seem to work so well on the 3800 could simply be applied to the larger models too.

I believe the Epson wide format printer using the same technology as the 3800 is the 7800. Both were introduced sometime around 2006. Typically the new technologies originate on the larger models and migrate toward the smaller ones. AFAIK in this case modified technology from the 11880 appeared in the 7900 and 9900, and has since migrated to other printers including 9890, 7890, 4900, etc. Someone please correct me if I've screwed up some facts, but that's my recollection.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on March 30, 2012, 02:32:30 PM
We may never get any admission from Epson the 9900 series printers, but we may eventually get a new printer.
Off topic but they already due for new printers.  I bet they are working on a 12-line printer with a dedicated line for the MK and PK.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on March 30, 2012, 03:49:15 PM
I believe the Epson wide format printer using the same technology as the 3800 is the 7800. Both were introduced sometime around 2006. Typically the new technologies originate on the larger models and migrate toward the smaller ones. AFAIK in this case modified technology from the 11880 appeared in the 7900 and 9900, and has since migrated to other printers including 9890, 7890, 4900, etc. Someone please correct me if I've screwed up some facts, but that's my recollection.

Hi Dean,

The 3800/3880 both use the "new" pressurized ink system. The 7800 did not. The heads of the 3800 are different than the 9900, and the capping station is also very different. Eric can explain better with his Hands ON experience, but the capping station on the 9900 has a rubber seal for each color pair, while the 3800 uses a single seal for all nozzles (not 100% positive on this- it may be a pair of seals). In the 9900 the capping station MOVES out of the way and the wiper assembly takes it's place during cleaning and printing. However, the 3880 uses a single wide rubber squeegee unlike the little rubber "flap" of the 9900.

-chaddro
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on March 30, 2012, 04:05:58 PM
chaddro,

Thanks for the clarification. I guess I was thinking about how the head technology migrated through and from the X900 series while  forgetting there's a lot more to a printer than the head! Thanks again.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on March 30, 2012, 04:15:44 PM
I believe the Epson wide format printer using the same technology as the 3800 is the 7800. Both were introduced sometime around 2006. Typically the new technologies originate on the larger models and migrate toward the smaller ones. AFAIK in this case modified technology from the 11880 appeared in the 7900 and 9900, and has since migrated to other printers including 9890, 7890, 4900, etc. Someone please correct me if I've screwed up some facts, but that's my recollection.

The big 180 to 360 nozzles per channel step in the development from the 7880 > 7900. It took them 8 years from the Epson 10000 to the 11880 to double the nozzle quantity.  The 11880 has 9 of the 10 channels with 360 nozzles in function, one channel is just not opened up in that head, the x900 generation have all the ten active. For the 7890 generation two channels have been removed. That step from 180 to 360 nozzles per channel was possibly still made too fast but competition from thermal head models with way more nozzles per channel and so more speed did not offer more time. This thread is more directed to failing nozzles but there is also a group of users that can not create the promised speed on the x900 and 11880 printers because banding at lower print resolutions force them to use higher print resolutions.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst
Shareware too:
330+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 04, 2012, 12:02:47 PM
UPDATE:

The end of March came.  The end of March went.

No ultrasonic cleaning, no printhead in the mailbox.

Today I got a response from my Monday's grumbling email to Vladimir the Printhead Doctor - "The 7900 adapter is expected to arrive on April 16th from our machine shop.  Please be patient, it always takes time."

April 16th will be two months that our 7900 printhead has been in Canada.  Pardon my impatience, in my world this is two month's time


(http://gotagteam.com/construction/Lowell_Bathroom/IMG_7446.jpg)







(http://gotagteam.com/construction/Lowell_Bathroom/D70_0117-Panorama.jpg)





...not this
(http://gotagteam.com/construction/Lowell_Bathroom/Printheaddoctor.jpg)

Again, printing is not my business.  I will give Vladimir the patience he requests, once more, to build his X900 printhead adapter for his ultrasonic cleaning machine.  Not everyone wields their own saw - I get that.  But this is the last stretch for me and Steve.  If the story remains the same after the 16th of this month I am resorting to plan....   

well, let's see, how many alternate printhead cleaning plans has it been by now? 

Five? 

Could we be on the verge of plan 6???
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on April 04, 2012, 12:16:14 PM
Oh, man this cliff hanger is almost unbearable! A friend of mine who is a master in color management said I could probably purchase a good rip and bypass the clogged green ink and never miss it. (using the cyan and yellow mixture) interesting idea, but isn't a good rip almost the same price as a head replacement? Did i mention he is also in the business of selling hi-end rips? I guess my patience is wearing thin as well.... I am on the verge of reposting my 9900 as-is on eBay again.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 04, 2012, 12:38:54 PM
Oh, man this cliff hanger is almost unbearable! 

...I guess my patience is wearing thin as well.... I am on the verge of reposting my 9900 as-is on eBay again.


Think of the nice drive through our nation's countryside I will get to enjoy if your patience runs out and you sell me your 9900.  You do realize my stretch of stupidity is not nearly tapped out by now, right?  I've got loads more left.  Why end my insatiable dream of printing dropouts at 24"?  I could double that easily with your machine! 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on April 04, 2012, 12:43:30 PM
Funny! It all depends on how good of a April I have! Eric, you will be the first to know if I have some jobs fall through and I get desperate to sell! But my faith is still resting in Vladimir's hands.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on April 04, 2012, 02:29:02 PM
Eric! That's Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bela and Vampira have your head hostage! LOL!  ;D

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Jim Coda on April 04, 2012, 02:30:59 PM
UPDATE:

The end of March came.  The end of March went.

No ultrasonic cleaning, no printhead in the mailbox.

Today I got a response from my Monday's grumbling email to Vladimir the Printhead Doctor - "The 7900 adapter is expected to arrive on April 16th from our machine shop.  Please be patient, it always takes time."

April 16th will be two months that our 7900 printhead has been in Canada.  Pardon my impatience, in my world this is two month's time


Vladimir is beginning to remind me of the customer service guy in the Discover Card ads ("Hello, my name is Peggy.")  If you haven't seen the ads, just google "My name is Peggy."
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 04, 2012, 04:40:04 PM
Eric! That's Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bela and Vampira have your head hostage! LOL!  ;D






I fear I've lost my head..


(http://gotagteam.com/construction/Lowell_Bathroom/Vampira.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: gwhitf on April 06, 2012, 10:55:33 AM
A friend of mine who is a master in color management said I could probably purchase a good rip and bypass the clogged green ink and never miss it. (using the cyan and yellow mixture) interesting idea, but isn't a good rip almost the same price as a head replacement?

I wonder if a RIP like ColorBurst could bypass the LLK?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on April 08, 2012, 11:51:36 AM
Think of the nice drive through our nation's countryside I will get to enjoy if your patience runs out and you sell me your 9900.  You do realize my stretch of stupidity is not nearly tapped out by now, right?  I've got loads more left.  Why end my insatiable dream of printing dropouts at 24"?  I could double that easily with your machine!
Thinking about a  short drive to your place if you then sell me your 7900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 08, 2012, 02:47:09 PM
Thinking about a  short drive to your place if you then sell me your 7900.

So many things hang in the balance of Vladimir's results.  If his machine successfully clear's our clogs, meaning then that these clogs which haunt "select" X900 printers actually ARE clogs, then I expect SacredEarth will not be selling his 9900.  Actually I suspect no one will be selling their X900 printers, rather they will be fixing them.  This of course would mean I'd be forced to hire the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models I promised to about nineteen pages ago, to host another Epson X900 tutorial video - this one on how to safely remove your printhead. 

But if Vladimir's machine is not successful, suggesting then that this is after all a piezoelectrical failure and not a clogging issue at all - well then things will be very different.  Of course we'll perform an autopsy to confirm the actual cause of printhead death, but then yes tmphoto, the game of musical printers may actually commence.

...What a cliff hanger
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: wade4916 on April 14, 2012, 07:10:12 PM
Let me know if you decide to sell your pro 9900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on April 14, 2012, 10:04:34 PM
But if Vladimir's machine is not successful, suggesting then that this is after all a piezoelectrical failure and not a clogging issue at all - well then things will be very different.  Of course we'll perform an autopsy to confirm the actual cause of printhead death, but then yes tmphoto, the game of musical printers may actually commence.

...What a cliff hanger

With a bit of luck April showers will bring us all some May flowers with a resolution on the 7900 print head...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alan Goldhammer on April 15, 2012, 03:14:47 PM
With a bit of luck April showers will bring us all some May flowers with a resolution on the 7900 print head...
If you have some rain, send it to the Wasington DC area; it's been bone dry here for about a month now!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out - CONTACT!
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 19, 2012, 11:49:44 AM
Who else find's it fascinating that in all this time, in all these responses with all these questions, no one from the other side of the great Epson dividing wall has chimed in to help?

For sure some people want to.  I'm thinking there have to be employees, techs, customer service people, engineers...  somebody.  There's got to be somebody who feels compelled to put their job in jeopardy, to put themselves on the unemployment line - all for the good of this X900 clog clearing mystery that so many of our Epson printers struggle with.

Doesn't that sound like a lead-in..?


Well it finally happened.  One single rebel soldier has made it over the wall, and offered us some new perspective and knowledge.  I am to have a telephone conversation with this rebel soon.  I am told the call will come from an untraceable number, and the voice will be computer generated.  The soldier's name;  "HAL 9000"

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/HAL_9000.gif)



Also simultaneously I have heard from Vladimir.  He says the machine shop has indeed finished his X900 bracket system for mounting our heads to his Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine, and that the brackets have been shipped.  They are in transit to Vladimir now.

So yes boys and girls, the next chapter of our great saga is about to begin!



.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out - CONTACT!
Post by: gwhitf on April 19, 2012, 12:52:06 PM
I am to have a telephone conversation with this rebel soon.

Thank you for your efforts, Eric. My 7900 sits now, the same for months, as the world's largest Door Stop. The pendulum swings back and forth from: Dumpster or Wait It Out. Your humor about it all also makes this a bit more tolerable. Thank you.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on April 19, 2012, 03:34:10 PM
The soldier's name;  "HAL 9000"

I was expecting HAL 9900, or his little brother HAL 7900.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 19, 2012, 06:00:48 PM
I was expecting HAL 9900, or his little brother HAL 7900.

can't believe I missed that...


Dammit!!!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on April 21, 2012, 12:59:42 AM
A word on Auto Cleaning

So I do a nozzle check and have 3 gaps in LLK. Thinking I could solve this with a simple 8x10 of 240/240/240 RGB  I opened up PS and did just that (my usual response to a minor clog on either my 3800/7800/4000 which always did the trick).

Well, I had the AUTO CLEANING turned ON ... you know, supposed to fix those pesky gaps for you. I thought I'd give it a try after all since I was printing out 22 18x24's for a client and didn't want to worry about clogs (yeah, right... I'll get back to that). Machine does it's cleaning thing and then prints out the 8x10 of light gray.

Curious, I print out the Job Information to see if the printer ONLY used ink in the clogged head, or at least the pair. NOT SO! The printer used .4 ml of every color and 1.2 ml for the Y/LLK pair! 4.8 ml if ink for 3 gaps in LLK. Amazing! The 8x10 swatch used only .23 ml (total for all colors) and probably would have done the job.

So AUTO CLEANING if OFF now.  I'm sure I won't have to wait long for the next clog to try out 8x10 swatch :p

Now back to my print job... 21 of the 22 prints were fine, but 1 had some light banding from what must have been a clog that the printer didn't detect or correct. And NO, I didn't get a "Clog Detected" warning from the printer.

It seems that printer will only do an auto clean if the clog is detected at the START of a print. If the clog happens mid-print, it just keeps going. It also seems the printer will not properly detect deflected nozzles either even though it is supposed to do this from what I've read.

Anyone else have similar experiences? Oh, and nearly full 700ml cartridges in the machines, so no excuse of ink starvation.

And just to rant a bit more... Neither of my 3800/7800/4000 would develop a clog in mid print once I had a clean nozzle check. But this 9890 seems to "clog" just about any time regardless of how many prints you are doing at once. This is a serious blow to one's confidence in the machine! I have printed jobs of 80-100 tabloid swap proofs for catalog work on my 4000 and thought nothing of cuing up the job and hitting the sack for the night. 

Am I exaggerating? I don't know. I've heard people talk about their machines "settling down" after a while. Maybe these things need a break in period?

-chadd

PS: On the positive side my Client was very happy with the prints (well, except the banded one that I'll reprint this weekend). New print job coming Monday too!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on April 22, 2012, 10:03:24 PM
Maybe the Apple Siri meets Siri is more appropriate for this 21st century x900 series dilemma ???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBRXA8zmJr8&feature=fvwrel

I too also appreciate the humor as we patiently wait the final word.

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: elisabeth russell on April 25, 2012, 04:26:16 PM

I've been following this thread religiously--having similar issues with my 9900 right now (and some major ones from the beginning)...it's not even 3 years old and in the first year had to have Epson out numerous times; replaced main board, aid board, pump cap, wiper, sub board and eventually the print head. It was fine for a while. I've had great luck with my geriatric 7600s and 4800s and 9600s in the past and was optimistic that this was a fluke since Epson makes some high quality products and it was behaving pretty well. Long story short, we let the warranty expire. Stupid. And almost immediately it started acting up, getting progressively worse until last week the LC and Y channels are almost completely clogged. I've become obsessed. So, fingers are crossed that you'll get to the bottom of this Eric! 
Cheers,
Lis Russell
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 27, 2012, 09:41:47 PM
I saw a comedian start a skit once by saying, "Listen, you've got to believe what I'm about to tell you is true or this joke just doesn't work."  

There's a lesson in that I've always thought...


In the spirit of past lessons learned I am starting my skit here just the same; you've got to believe what I'm about to tell you or this just won't work.  Since the inception of this thread I have been on a journey for knowledge that will reveal the actual answers to our nozzle clogging issues, not just the speculative ones.  I want to know what they are, where they come from, and how to avoid them.  This journey of course evolved over time, eventually branching into various new realms of potential technical mysteries that would easily give Einstein a migrane headache lasting more consecutive days than it took God to create our entire world.

By the way I'm not sure any of you know this but Ernst Dinkla actually IS God.

Curiously, what's become the most fascinating element in all this to me is not actually technically based at all.  It's the barrier.  The wall if you will.  The great Epson divide between those that know (Epson side of the wall), and those that need to know (users side of the wall).  For sure I am not the only one who finds it a painfully daunting reality that of the many thousands of times this thread has been read, pondered, argued and responded to, not one person from the other side of this great divide has chimed in to shed a proper light on the subject.  The more we read, the more we right, the higher up this ladder of knowledge we seem to get - the farther into mystery this ladder seems to lead us.  The more we learn, the less we realize we actually know.  This great wall, for those of you without extended warranties (like myself), might too leave you feeling a little...

(http://gotagteam.com/epson/epson_connundrum.jpg)



I don't know about you but I do OK in the rain.  This quest for knowledge has been a quiet one for weeks now, but that's about to end.  Ladies and gentlemen please fasten your seat-belts and kindly keep your arms in the vehicle at all times.  


It's been a bitch aligning time zones but today it finally happened - I got the call from (http://gotagteam.com/epson/HAL_9000-100.gif).  His real name is not HAL 9000.  It's been changed here, by me, to protect him from the mother ship.  HAL is, after all, from the other side of the great divide.  And HAL has shared with me information which is usually left sealed behind the man-made walls that Epson built, and rather aggressively maintains.

First, there is no Epson X900 LLK printhead channel problem.  There is however a problem - it's just not specific to color, ink, or channels.  The problem, or challenge, is quite simply the fact that X900 heads have smaller nozzles.  Period.  Initially there was indeed a color specific nozzle clogging problem, but it was GREEN not LLK.  Apparently green ink is used the least, which leaves it far more vulnerable to the very same challenges that all of our X900 nozzles face.  This color specific problem was successfully addressed years ago by Epson via changes in ink only.  Lastly, and I can think of one person right off the bat who is likely going to shoot flaming darts at me for sharing this, straight from the largest horse in the Epson Technical corral's mouth - the current X900 printhead clog reporting average aims specifically toward no specific color at all.

Second, who here remembers our first prognosis of the X900 printhead clear-nozzle-maintaining dilemma?  Does the name "Wiper Blade" ring a bell?  How bout Flushing Box, is that doing anything for you?  ...Still nothing?  OK try this, and properly enunciate for me - it'll help you remember.  "Dried up, funky, tar-like, nasty riddled splooge left on your printhead's face from multiple repeated-a-hundred-times-too-many power cleanings ended with a cockeyed wiper blade from hell doing more harm than good to your ever so precious printhead, which just so happens to be DYING to get clogged."  ...That did it didn't it.  You remember now.  The general consensus from the professional world of Epson service and repair states that there is a direct connection between user neglect, and X900 nozzle clogs.  

Turns out we were on the right track with the whole wiper blade changing thing.  But there is more to this than just the wiper blade.  Apparently we need to stay on top of something else too - which is more involved but just as important.  The Flushing Box.  You saw this in the wiper changing video I made.  It's the colorful screen & foam "dumping station" with all the rectangular rubber seals that keep your head from drying while docked.  Apparently this screen has a tendency to clog as well.  Once clogged the ink being forced through your printhead's face during power cleanings does not properly/entirely get drained through the screen and to your maintenance tank - away from your printhead face during docking periods, or more importantly in the case of clogging - during power cleanings.  Effectively what is happening is simple; during cleanings WE ARE IN FACT FORCING tar-like half dried ink left on our Wiper Blades and splashed back up from mucky puddles in our dirty neglected Flushing Boxes BACK THROUGH THE TINY NOZZLE OPENINGS IN OUR PRINTHEADS!

Is anyone else horrified right now?  Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn't it - how sometimes cleanings leave you with more clogs than you had to begin with.  Well now we know why.

Third, no one you ask at Epson will admit to this but Epson has their own cleaning solutions for cleaning these printheads.  You can't buy it because it is yet another Epson thing that does not exist, but it does, you just can't have it, but you can, you just can't tell anybody that you have it, or where you got it from.  Sorry for saying this, I usually have such a nice attitude, but WTF.

I can tell you that this cleaning solution is so powerful it comes colored RED, and it comes in two parts.  One part, the cleaning part, is RED.  The second part is the neutralizer.  The idea is to run neutralizer through your head until no RED traces exist.  The use of this solution is suggested by Epson, to Epson, to be used only as a last resort.  Apparently this RED cleaning solution has a bit of an attitude, and can do damage if used improperly.  Or even when it's used properly, sometimes..  

Fourth, the reason Epson service techs replacing printheads under warranty (be they Decision One or anyone else certified by Epson to do warranty work) take your original head back with them instead of leaving it with you is simple:  They have to return them to Epson.  In fact every part being replaced by Epson under warranty, no matter how trivial, gets returned to Epson at Epson's expense - which think about it, sometimes shipping alone makes that a loss if the part is tiny enough.  Doesn't matter - Epson police this policy with great diligence.  They do not want service guys selling used Epson parts on ebay or anywhere else.

Fifth,
Sixth,
Seventh,
Eighth,

I could go on for hours but I don't want to wake up with a horse head on my pillow.  Suffice to say we all know a little more than we did five minutes ago.  The general consensus of those in the know is that our head, which is being cleaned by Vladimir in Canada right now, has a 50/50 chance of coming back operational.  Apparently there are very delicate barrier walls made of thin almuninum-foil-type material which separate ink channels from one another.  If these barriers are compromised by too much pressure being forced through the head, you can imagine what will happen - Ezmorelda's red lipstick will come out looking like some torrid mix of red/black muck.  The other consensus, from those in the know, is that our particular clogging problem is most likely ink related, not piezoelectical.  


This post took me hours to write, which is disgusting.  

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on April 27, 2012, 09:55:01 PM
So, are you saying my initial gut feeling about the head when it comes back from V is going to come true? I hope not. Is the 7900 never going to see a print come out in your presence?
That would just be too sad. Thanks for posting, even if it did take you an hour to write. At least I'm glad you still have your sense of humor about you. I probably wouldn't be so inclined.
I want to know the minute that head comes back or after testing from the big V.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on April 27, 2012, 11:03:57 PM
This makes sense.  Thank you, Eric.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on April 27, 2012, 11:28:21 PM
Great info Eric!

One question: How do we clean the flush box?

This was easy on the 4000/7800 printers. But how to GET TO IT on the 9900's??
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on April 27, 2012, 11:53:26 PM

Second, who here remembers our first prognosis of the X900 printhead clear-nozzle-maintaining dilemma?  Does the name "Wiper Blade" ring a bell?  How bout Flushing Box, is that doing anything for you?  ...Still nothing?  OK try this, and properly enunciate for me - it'll help you remember.  "Dried up, funky, tar-like, nasty riddled splooge left on your printhead's face from multiple repeated-a-hundred-times-too-many power cleanings ended with a cockeyed wiper blade from hell doing more harm than good to your ever so precious printhead, which just so happens to be DYING to get clogged."  ...That did it didn't it.  You remember now.  The general consensus from the professional world of Epson service and repair states that there is a direct connection between user neglect, and X900 nozzle clogs.  
What you were told is not new information specific to the x900 printers.
A x600, x800, x880 Epson printer may clog because a) you don't use it often and fix clog problems with cleaning cycles (including power cleanings), b) The printer has not being used for long time and needs manual head cleaning and c) the printer has been in use continuously for several years.
If you service the cleaning unit the problem will go away (except for printers that have not been in use for a long time which require cleaning of the ink lines and head as well)
Quote
Third, no one you ask at Epson will admit to this but Epson has their own cleaning solutions for cleaning these printheads.  You can't buy it because it is yet another Epson thing that does not exist, but it does, you just can't have it, but you can, you just can't tell anybody that you have it, or where you got it from.  
My opinion is that the x900 nozzles are so delicate that there is no approved cleaning solution. Older printers had cleaning solutions available to service technicians and documented in the service manual but not the x900 printers.

I am looking for a cheap a x900 printer with nozzle problems to do controlled testing on the effect of different cleaning methods and cleaning solutions (using the ones still printing fine).


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on April 28, 2012, 02:35:25 AM
Ok, eric, all you say it is true. It confirms that a proper cleaning of the whiper and the captop has to be done on a regular basis. But how your inside source explain the clogs during printing? Especialy when i print large areas with solid block of color.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 28, 2012, 03:53:56 AM
Remember I am not the creator of this information, just the delivery boy.

Chaddro, cleaning the Flushing box is way more involved than cleaning/changing the wiper blade assembly.  I regret having to report that.  Best way is to remove your pump and cap assembly, then remove the Flushing box from the pump and cap assembly once it's out of the machine and on your work bench/kitchen table - which of course would be protected from ink spilling on it by an orderly distribution of your wife's most recent copies of Vogue magazine.  Then once you have the Flushing box in hand, simply clean it with water.

iladi, very good question.  I will ask HAL next time I have him on the line.  In the mean time I offer you this little tid-bit of information which may or may not be directly related to your specific problem;  HAL told me today that the reason Epson is so generous these days about replacing faulty ink carts is the result of what I imagine are their bean counters.  The faulty carts are having a tendency, due to poorly maintained manufacturing tolerances I imagine, of allowing air into the lines through bad seals.  These random pockets of air in the lines cause "clogs", or in this case more appropriately "drop-outs".  Once an air pocket reaches the head you have no ink to fire through your nozzles.  Power cleanings remedy this well, but waste ink, and your solution is only temporary.  That's why these days when you call to complain about a faulty ink cart, nobody breaks your ovaries - they just mail you replacements.

This might also help you iladi;  One of my initial printhead clearing exercises included flushing our lines free of all ink, filling the lines with cleaning solution, and then re-charging the lines again with new ink.  I basically stared at our lines through the entire process.  Much to my surprise the lines do not change their appearance as much as you might expect they would, as new fluid enters or leaves them.  IE; when our lines were clear of ink, and firing clear cleaning fluid through our head and onto paper in nozzle checks - the lines still showed color.  I share this experience with you to suggest that random air pockets in your lines might not be visible viewing the lines externally.  Perhaps this helps you, perhaps it only adds to your frustration.  Either way, I was told today by HAL himself that mid-print "clogs" are typically not clogs at all, but instead air in the lines.  So if cleanings always remedy these "clogs" for you, but they come back - leaving you to go through the process once again at yet another random time - my bet is you have air entering your lines.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on April 28, 2012, 05:09:31 AM
What is going on, pages are disappearing.  Somebody is deleting posts.


Mine are still there and gain value in time.


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

Dinkla Grafische Techniek
Quad,piëzografie,giclée
www.pigment-print.com
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on April 28, 2012, 10:55:30 AM
very interesting update.. makes a lot of sense..

so..I think this raises a few questions..

1. what maintenance SHOULD a USER perform and when?
2. what maintenance SHOULD a user OUTSOURCE and when?

Or if you have a warranty,

3. if you have a warranty, does this affect Q's 1&2?

James

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on April 28, 2012, 12:03:38 PM
Thanx, eric for the tips. I allready think about ink starvation, bad design dampers, bad sealing ink lines and that my clogs are not realy clogs.
As far as user maintenance i have experience with 3kind of printers pigment and dye aqua, ecosolvent and aqua-resin DTS ones. They all require regular whiper cleaning, captop cleaning AND , if it is visualy required (solid ink, debris, lint) a manual head clean, not the bottom (forbiden if you have no experience) but just the edges. A clean whiper better cleans the head, a clean captop and clean head edges helps a better sealing when the head parcs. Maybe not every day, but is strictly related to dust in the room, humidity and what kind of media you usualy print.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 28, 2012, 12:12:18 PM
very interesting update.. makes a lot of sense..

so..I think this raises a few questions..

1. what maintenance SHOULD a USER perform and when?
2. what maintenance SHOULD a user OUTSOURCE and when?

Or if you have a warranty,

3. if you have a warranty, does this affect Q's 1&2?

James




1 & 2 - I think this depends on your comfort level about tinkering with your own machine.  If you've got hammer thumbs you most likely are well aware of it, so I suggest you outsource everything but changing the wiper blade assembly.  The wiper blade assembly is easy to see without taking anything apart.  It's need for cleaning/replacement therefore should be easy to monitor.  It's need for attention will be different for everyone.  HAL mentioned cleaning your flushing box once a year in our conversation yesterday, but I imagine this too will be different for everyone.  The flushing box is also easy to monitor without taking anything apart.  However I will have to ask HAL what signs to look for that would indicate a clogged flushing box (besides the obvious).

3 - I don't have a warranty so I don't know the details of it.  I would imagine scheduled maintenance is not covered under warranty, but I don't know that.  If you are under warranty you need not be concerned with cleaning fluids - they will not clean anything.  Warranty work is parts replacement.  They would replace an unclear-able head, not clean it with solution.



*side note;  There is a very real possibility that you yourself could help create a significant savings impact on repairs & maintenance costs involving your machine, if you are willing to move it.  If a service tech has to drive to you, then twiddle his thumbs every time your machine goes through cleaning cycles, waiting periods, etc., you will have to pay him for every minute he stands there doing nothing.  However, and I do realize this is impossible for some, if you brought your machine to his shop you would most likely be charged a lower flat-rate, pre agreed price for the service because there would be no thumb twiddling - he'd be off working on another machine (making money somewhere else).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on April 28, 2012, 12:22:09 PM
Thanx, eric for the tips. I allready think about ink starvation, bad design dampers, bad sealing ink lines and that my clogs are not realy clogs.
As far as user maintenance i have experience with 3kind of printers pigment and dye aqua, ecosolvent and aqua-resin DTS ones. They all require regular whiper cleaning, captop cleaning AND , if it is visualy required (solid ink, debris, lint) a manual head clean, not the bottom (forbiden if you have no experience) but just the edges. A clean whiper better cleans the head, a clean captop and clean head edges helps a better sealing when the head parcs. Maybe not every day, but is strictly related to dust in the room, humidity and what kind of media you usualy print.

I'm interested in your comment about dust in the room. Have you seen much impact, and if so where are the soft spots from your perspective?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 28, 2012, 12:39:30 PM
FYI; According to my conversation with (http://gotagteam.com/epson/HAL_9000-100.gif) yesterday, the general consensus on the cause of clogs on my particular Epson 7900 is misuse, not shipping the machine across the country.  Considering the state of the wiper blade assembly (three years old, completely covered in muck, torn and cocked sideways), and the state of the flushing box when I got it (also three years old, therefore likely dried and clogged), combined with the fact that in three years of use this particular printer had only @900 prints on it (indicating this machine was used infrequently - which apparently violates of the cardinal rule of happy X900 use), this particular Epson 7900 printer failed due to what HAL calls "neglect."

This is something to keep in mind if you are considering buying a used X900 printer.  DO NOT assume that a printer with very little use is in better shape than one used regularly.  Big, ......BIG mistake

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on April 28, 2012, 01:00:08 PM
little use is misuse.. funny one for sure..

so.. how would one define "little use"? once a month? once a week? once a day? once an hour?
I think I have maybe 400 prints on my 9900.. most of which are A1 and above... I would think this is very little use. .

I'm heading to an Expo tomorrow in Dublin where Epson UK and my local distributer are there and I'll ask them about it too.. see what's covered in warranty, what not and see if I can get a handle on costs..

I'd be happy stripping the 9900 right to the bone, but it's not mine, the company I work for owns it and we took out an extended warranty to cover repairs and minimize downtime. BUT... maybe having a warranty and waiting for a failure is not the best way to minimize downtime?

James 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 28, 2012, 01:28:14 PM
This is me talking here, not (http://gotagteam.com/epson/HAL_9000-100.gif)...


I think I will stay on top of my flushing box by cleaning it while still inside/hooked up.  In serviceman mode, when  you release the head it moves far off to the left of it's operating range.  The flushing box moves forward into plain view/access.  Again this has not been suggested to me, it's just my feel, but the flushing box is a pretty simple unit.  It's a screen with a foam pad behind it that ink gets shot through.  Hoses connect to the back of it which take the blown ink and drains it into the maintenance tank.  To me this is a no-brainer - gut an old maintenance tank, install it, then shoot water or cleaning solution into the face of the flushing box.  it's easily accessible and viewable.  I'd be sure to rinse the rubber seals of any solution before wrapping up your home brewed service call.  

I know this is a high tech printer and all but let's be real, the flushing box is not a high tech part.  it's a screen with a sponge behind it.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: iladi on April 28, 2012, 01:47:05 PM
Dust is a very big issue in my oppinion. I have a small shop, about 30 square meters with direct acces from the street. Just one room and one door. The door is frequently open (often by mistake, not that i'm sooooo bussy :D), and i from time to time i have to open a small window due to ecosolvent smell. There is A LOT of dust. The dust settels on the material rolls, inside the printer, nomatter if they are packed inside bags or not, more or less due to statics. So, when the head travels back and forth above a dusty area, lint and dust and ink attach to the edges of the printhead. If you add a accidental hair, there is is a good posibility that one of this can sit bethween the head and the captop when the head is parked, so it is a bad sealing, air comes to the head, you don't use the printer for 2 weeks, and, voila, the clogs. So, if you environment is dusty and you are not going to use the printer for a long period it might be a good ideea to clean the whiper, clean the edges of the head if it is dirty (use a swab and some cleaning solution, i know it is not easy due to head possition, but it is doable), clean the captop with the swab and drop some cleaning solution on the captop, it helps clean the pump and the tubing to thevwaste tank. Then do a normal clean and turn the printer off.


Edit: flush is used for spitting ink during printing. It may be some prints that not require to use all the ink. For that, during printing, head moves to the flushpad spit ink from all the nozzels to enshure all the colors are used and prevent ink dry in the head. Is is a simple pad and some tubing to the waste tank. You can even remove it and clean with water.

PS sorry for my bad english, but i' m shure you will understand
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on April 28, 2012, 01:51:42 PM
Thanks - that's insightful.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: tmphoto on April 28, 2012, 04:50:03 PM
My experience with the older printers:

FYI; According to my conversation with (http://gotagteam.com/epson/HAL_9000-100.gif) yesterday, the general consensus on the cause of clogs on my particular Epson 7900 is misuse, not shipping the machine across the country.  
If the cause of a clog is as explained above I am able to clear the clog.

Quote
This is something to keep in mind if you are considering buying a used X900 printer.  DO NOT assume that a printer with very little use is in better shape than one used regularly.  Big, ......BIG mistake
A printer with little use is in better shape that one with lot's of use. The cleaning unit may need cleaning fluid treatment but not a big deal.
Between a printer that was used to print only 30 pages and left for 1 year without any use and a printer that has been used to print 30 prints every day for a year I take the one that has not been used for a year.

Why is the above not true for the x900 printers?
In my opinion you did all that was needed to fix the clog. Why was it not cleared?

Why Epson needs to hide behind an anonymous caller to blame customers for the problems?
I can assure you that problems caused by little use can be fixed.
User neglect, take a look at this:
http://e7800.printermed.com/kv2v6403.htm
http://e7800.printermed.com/kv2v6455.htm
Got the above printer for $100 with empty cartridges because it was badly clogged.
Serviced the cleaning unit and cleaned the head externally. After that I was able to print a clean nozzle check just using the inks that were left in the lines.
http://e7800.printermed.com/kv2v6463.htm
The wiper blade above did not need replacement, it was in great shape after cleaning. Same with the other parts.

After that I cleaned all the printer parts, ran some cleaning fluid trough the head and lubricated - It's working like new.
http://e7800.printermed.com/kv2v6450.htm
http://e7800.printermed.com/kv2v6410.htm

The above printer was used continuously until the owner bought a new 7900 then set aside for several months.
So, lots of wet ink accumulated over a 3-4 years that the dried off (used a lot and then "neglected", really bad but fixable).

In the attached pic a 9800, similar experience. Behind a 9600 printer, under cover. This printer was stored away in like new condition for several years. It has been cleaned and printing fine now.
 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 28, 2012, 09:29:52 PM
It's been my experience, tmphoto, that the "less used" Epson 7900 that I bought is worthless so far.  I would much rather have purchased a 7900 with more miles on it, that actually printed, than have purchased this nearly virgin one that has yet to work since I bought it six months ago.  You talk about clearing clogs like this is a 4800.  I too am confident that I could clear a clogged, parked for three years, neglected printhead from an older model machine.  In fact like you, I have also done this successfully multiple times.  But when it comes to X900 clogs, these printheads so far have beaten me into submission.  Not so much confidence anymore.  At least not for clearing the stubborn clogs.  And once you can't clear the printhead on an X900 printer, and you're out of warranty, the numbers (replacing the printhead through traditional means) just don't make sense.  $2k minimum to replace the printhead when you can buy a brand new Epson 7900, with a brand new warranty, with free delivery anywhere in the US for $495 more?  That's right, check B&H, $2,495 - free delivery.

So in my case, buying the "lightly used" (clogged) 7900 that I did, for $1,700, turns out to be the worst purchase I have ever made in my life. 

I would have been much better off buying one brand new, or buying one that was used more regularly. 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on April 28, 2012, 09:32:35 PM
Also a big deal in the price comparison between new and used is how much ink you get with the former versus the latter.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Dadioles on April 29, 2012, 09:10:50 AM
Whew...

I have just spent what seems like days (it was days!) reading everything I can about the Epson 7900 and this thread has left me filled with awe and respect for the contributors and hopefully wiser and more knowledgeable. It must be the longest thread that I have ever followed in detail (on any topic) reading step by step technical discoveries and personal views of a surprising variety of people, some of whom I am sure I would find very petty and irritating in real life. Maybe it is me that is becoming a disfunctional human being.

Eric - your wiper blade replacement video is wonderful - my kind of dry humour.  All that and bikes as well.... what a man.

Epsons have always been my photo printers of choice and I still run a 4000 for odd jobs but my trusty old 4880 is the current workhorse sometimes running day and night non stop.
Before the new print run of the day I always print a quick nozzle check and it is a bit hit and miss whether or not a head clean is required.  Unfortunately the 4880 cleans all heads in one go and it is frustrating to see 7 inks being depleted because of an imperfection with just one colour.  If the day begins with clear nozzles I have never known it to clog during a print run, utterly reliable.
I will sometimes find an entire channel (yellow or magenta more often than not) "blocked" with hardly ant ink coming through.  My gut feeling is that this is not so much blocked nozzles but ink starvation.  Several cleaning cycles, and maybe a cartridge swap, will fix it.  Probably air leaking in somewhere, it would not take much.  Maybe when the new 7900 arrives I will have the courage to take the 4880 apart as it is a few years old now and must need a clean out.

Regular usage is definitely important and having been idle for the last month it took me 6 cleaning cycles to get fully operational once more, unusually bad this time.
Nozzle checks at the start of the day are essential but whether or not this has to be followed up with a head clean is just something that I am used to and accept as the norm when owning an ink jet printer.

In the next few days I expect to purchase a new 7900.  My "busy" period is June - September and although I have a feeling that a new model will be released quite soon I just cannot wait, something I may regret but such is life.

I have looked at HP and Canon but having used Epson for so many years I naturally migrate towards a familiar make.

Reading about the problems people have with their 7900's is quite scary but I am pretty good at keeping things in perspective and I am very grateful to Eric for his efforts.  As something of a techie, I too tend to try and fix things myself and despite the traumas that he and others have been through it does give me confidence that fixes are possible and forwarned is forarmed so I shall enter the world of the 7900 with my eyes wide open (and an extended warranty).

Incidentally (I am in UK) the price quoted to me for the printer is (all inclusive of VAT - real money):
Basic photo printer plus an additional (free) set of 11 x 110ml cartridges £2395
Delivery £78
Warranty extended to 3 years £810

Technically I shall write it off over three years so loosely speaking it will cost me about £1000 per annum (£20 / week) in capital.

There is no financial advantage to using 700ml cartridges over the 350ml as both (street price) come out at about 29p/ml, the 150ml cartridges 34p/ml.

Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that all goes well.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on April 29, 2012, 02:32:16 PM
High use Vs Low use..

so I'm wondering if the printer is being left on? if it's on, it goes through a clean every now and again and also parks the head and I'm told that seals it from dust and minimises clogs.
I'm sure Eric mentioned how his printer was stored, powered on or off?

Spoke to Epson today also at an Expo - apparently there are 2 types of warranty- and if you have the more expensive one, it includes a yearly call out for a once over, otherwise, he says leave well enough alone.
no idea which one I have, I'm sure it's the lower one but I'll check tomorrow. 

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on April 29, 2012, 02:41:13 PM

Incidentally (I am in UK) the price quoted to me for the printer is (all inclusive of VAT - real money):
Basic photo printer plus an additional (free) set of 11 x 110ml cartridges £2395
Delivery £78
Warranty extended to 3 years £810

Technically I shall write it off over three years so loosely speaking it will cost me about £1000 per annum (£20 / week) in capital.

There is no financial advantage to using 700ml cartridges over the 350ml as both (street price) come out at about 29p/ml, the 150ml cartridges 34p/ml.


just remember that the carts that come with the printer will be used to prime the printer and while you basically get to use all the ink, it will read that the carts are half empty as soon as you are finished setting up

so you will have to get new refills sooner than you think.

Enjoy the printer!

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: john milich on April 29, 2012, 07:28:59 PM
could someone state the post number describing how to clean the wiper and service the flush box.  maybe make it a sticky?

thanks
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on April 29, 2012, 08:26:45 PM
  Page 15 post 292 is the video for changing the wiper blade......
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 30, 2012, 01:38:14 AM
Jason, I never talked about how I stored the printer while not in use because I never got to store it, or use it.  It's been clogged since I got it.

I was thinking, however, about just this topic in the shower this morning.  I think I might just store it in there..
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: john milich on April 30, 2012, 07:08:23 PM
eric:

am sending some $ to your site, keep up the good work
by the way, my shop is in the brooklyn navy yard, pretty close to bed-stuy.

jm
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on April 30, 2012, 10:42:04 PM
Soft spot in my heart for machinists, John.  Our swingarm, our triple clamps - both designed by the monkey behind the bars.  In fact half our bike was turned on a lathe.

...and you're from NY.  I'll tell my brother to look out for you.  Long line of firefighters - grandfather was Captain of Rescue 4.

Thanks brother

(http://gotagteam.com/KTM_Days/images/racing_2010/Laguna_Seca_2010/NM1U6381.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out - printhead cleaned and on the way
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 01, 2012, 11:24:07 AM
Vladimir called, our printhead has been thoroughly cleaned by his ultrasonic cleaning machine.  He sounds pretty confident that the clogs are clear.  Apparently he can see an obvious difference between his last visual nozzle check, pictured below, and his first visual nozzle check.  That sounds encouraging.  If this procedure works, we just breathed life back into quite a few machines otherwise headed for the scrap pile.  He's mailing our head back today, we should get it installed this weekend. 

YEY VLADIMIR!!!!

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/7900_printhead_cleaned.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Randy Carone on May 01, 2012, 01:03:31 PM
A veritable waterfall of 'ink'. Looks promising.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on May 01, 2012, 01:52:06 PM
I have my fingers crossed Eric. I hope the "cure" did do any damage to that fragile head!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 01, 2012, 02:58:05 PM
I am prepared both literally and figuratively for this printhead to be terminal.  Anything other than that will be a welcome surprise for us all   :-)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on May 01, 2012, 03:07:37 PM
I am prepared both literally and figuratively for this printhead to be terminal.  Anything other than that will be a welcome surprise for us all   :-)

The right attitude I think. You made notes of the serial numbers etc of it before you posted it?


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

Dinkla Grafische Techniek
Quad,piëzografie,giclée
www.pigment-print.com
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 01, 2012, 03:12:36 PM
Yes I did..
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on May 01, 2012, 03:30:57 PM
Hey that's pretty exciting. I've got not 1 but 2 heads to try next...Can't wait to see if it worked for you. How will this work? Are you actually going to take delivery of the machine and offer the service, or will he do the cleanings...

Unbelievably enough, I ordered a canon 8300 on March 31 as the rebates were expiring, and had to go ahead and pay for it YESTERDAY in order to get the rebate filed by the 30 day from purchase deadline. I strung it out to the last possible second hoping for news, and of course it comes the very day after. Not so sad though. I'll have a brand new 44" with a bunch of ink in it for a grand total of $2300.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on May 01, 2012, 04:23:36 PM
Where did you find such a bargain, the cheapest I had seen was $3,400. with delivery.  And I thought that was pretty cheap already.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: 149113 on May 01, 2012, 07:33:33 PM
Where did you find such a bargain, the cheapest I had seen was $3,400. with delivery.  And I thought that was pretty cheap already.

Sale is over now but this was the thread a few months back. If I were not limited in space by my current living arrangement I surely would have gotten one. It was a shade under $2300 with the rebate.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=62848.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=62848.0)


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on May 01, 2012, 09:46:05 PM
Thanks.  That was on a different thread, so I did not see it, but Pro Marketing has typically the best prices I know, and that is where I thought I had seen the 8300 at $3400, with indeed 0% financing.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out - printhead cleaned and on the way
Post by: jeverton on May 04, 2012, 01:32:05 PM
Vladimir called, our printhead has been thoroughly cleaned by his ultrasonic cleaning machine... If this procedure works, we just breathed life back into quite a few machines otherwise headed for the scrap pile.  He's mailing our head back today, we should get it installed this weekend. 

(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/7900_printhead_cleaned.jpg)

Eagerly awaiting the final verdict Eric!  I also would like to add my head to the repair doctor's list of clients  8)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 04, 2012, 02:07:18 PM
Vladimir's ultrasonically cleaned head is here, arrived last night.  We will install it tomorrow and see what she produces.




On a different but related note, I now have more information on how to keep tabs on the next most important element in the clog avoiding chain - the flushing box.  Some have asked how to  know when your flushing box needs cleaning.  Here's how you tell:

1 - Serviceman mode/release the head/flushing box drops down into view/open the printer's front door.
2 - Visual check;  Is it clean/free of muck/dried ink caked on/does it look different on the bottom than it does on the top?  
3 - Spray water into the face of the flushing box.  If it quickly gets absorbed and drains itself away from the face of the flushing box and toward the maintenance tank, you're all good.  If it's slow to drain, you need to clean it.
4 - Clean it once a year

FYI - this flushing box needed cleaning
(http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/7900_flushbox.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on May 05, 2012, 12:15:35 PM
Another great maintenance tip!  And less than 24 hours before we know the final word...
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on May 07, 2012, 03:32:48 PM
Vladimir's ultrasonically cleaned head is here, arrived last night.  We will install it tomorrow and see what she produces.

Eric, you're killing me.. I must have checked 10 different times to see if there was an update.. can't wait any more to see if it works :)
(I had to unsubscribe due to the number of posts)

look forward to the results, hope they are good and you get to make some wonderful prints!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: SacredEarth on May 07, 2012, 03:41:57 PM
My guess is Eric is so busy making great prints on his newly restored printer he doesn't have time to post. Or... He got the printer working, sold it, and is now in Tahiti enjoying his freedom from a burdened printer, or installed the repaired head with ill results and headed straight to the bar and is now passed out cold on the bar floor. Or... In the back yard digging a 30"x20"x 6' deep hole....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on May 07, 2012, 04:46:04 PM
Ha! I think Eric took it out to Salt Flats, strapped a rocket engine on it and is now doing land speed records for the fastest printer on earth!

Take that Epson!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: clic on May 07, 2012, 11:17:27 PM
He is most likely taking a nap waiting for a call from deep throat.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: elisabeth russell on May 08, 2012, 10:58:38 AM
Gaahh the excitement is killing me... Hope Eric wasn't  kidnapped by DecisionONe/Epson? Course he seems pretty McGyver-ish, he'll probably whittle his way out the holding cell using spare change and shoe laces....
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on May 08, 2012, 05:39:42 PM
"...as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things.”

Today we celebrate what would have been Howard Carter's 138th birthday!

Is this the day Eric gives us all a ray of light and hope? Tic Tic Tic the seconds, minutes and hours are slipping away.  Where in the world is Eric?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on May 08, 2012, 06:30:12 PM
doesn't seem like it would be good news.... :'(
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on May 08, 2012, 09:33:53 PM
Maybe some company has given him a new printer so long as he never posts here again?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 09, 2012, 12:03:14 PM
Sorry everybody I have been sick(er) than a dog.  First time I've sat at the computer in days, never mind been productive.  I will update the head project soon.  Sorry.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on May 09, 2012, 12:08:12 PM
That's a relief. I was starting to think we all needed to look into witness protection programs. Hope you're feeling better!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: garyclow on May 09, 2012, 02:18:24 PM
Sorry everybody I have been sick(er) than a dog.  First time I've sat at the computer in days, never mind been productive.  I will update the head project soon.  Sorry.

Whew!  We've been on pins and needles here.  Glad you rejoined the living.  I was afraid the package with the head in it detonated in your hands.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on May 09, 2012, 09:35:54 PM
    Hope you are better soon Eric and glad you are still with us......was worried Epson bought you off or even worse put a hit out on you  ;D
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on May 13, 2012, 10:30:32 PM
Just checking in, I sure hope you're feeling better.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 14, 2012, 12:27:18 PM
Sorry I have been so quiet.  We were geared up to install this ultrasonically cleaned printhead, then all of the sudden I got sick so I couldn't ask my genius buddy over to work on big bertha.  Then the day I finally became a human being again, I had to leave for my first race of this season.  Got back late last night.

...so this is where you'd expect me to say "We will get to working on the printer tonight."  Your expectations would be wrong then.  The printer is up and running as of late last night.  My genius buddy Steve grabbed the bull by the horns this weekend and brought our never-ending Epson 7900 printhead clog-clearing project home.  A text message found me tucked away inside our race transporter on route 5 last night stating "Congratulations, we have a working 7900 again.   But..."

I won't be able to share the details with you until Steve and I get together for dinner and go over all that he experienced this weekend, but I CAN tell you this.  Our ultrasonically cleaned printhead, is dead.  Once installed in the machine the only thing it produced were fatal error messages.  Steve assumes the ultrasonic cleaning procedure was too much for it.  Or too wet for it.  Either way we will be performing an autopsy on it with lots of detailed photos to share here.

I'm sorry about this bad news.  I have been hoping for a very long time now that this ultrasonic cleaning would be a savior to us all.  Unfortunately it is not. 

The next time I face an un-clearable clogged x900 printhead I intend to clean it the way we originally cleaned ours - only this time using the special top-secret Epson two stage cleaner which does not exist and you can't get it or buy it but I am staring at both bottles here on my desk.

More, later.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on May 14, 2012, 02:01:38 PM
Bummer. I wonder what Hal's impressions are.

Ya know, when I was reading about the whole ultrasonic cleaning stuff, one of the sites I was on specifically said you CANNOT verify the Epson heads by seeing the nozzles spray streams as in the photo that was sent to you, that much pressure would damage the head, and after cleaning you'd have to install to check to see if the nozzle were cleared. I think I posted that info some time way back in the beginning. You'd think someone that "specializes" in this would know that.

I crossed my fingers and hoped all would be well, but I think the guy over did it!

I also read that the head must be completely dry before installation.

Did you pickup that head that was on ebay a couple months ago? Well, interested in hearing your buddies install experience.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: designpartners on May 14, 2012, 04:06:40 PM
ohh.. that is a bummer..

Eric, all that I can say is a heartfelt thank you for all your effort and I hope the 7900 with the new head gives you years of great printing.

I think we leave this topic a little bit wiser all be it more frustrated! Hopefully, the knowledge we have gleamed over the past 35 pages will allow us to maintain and minimize any issues.

James
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 14, 2012, 05:52:27 PM
Yea chaddro, I remember your post.  I also had reservations about the ultrasonic process.  Not so much the ultra sonic part, but the letting someone else work on your head part.  HAL says the membranes between channels are critically fragile.  Too much pressure in either direction will blow them out and end you up mixing colors when you don't want to be.  He also warns to only get the face wet.  In that same shower image it looks like more than the printhead face got wet.

Yes, the new head I purchased was the one off ebay that you gave me the heads-up on some months ago, from "Mo".  That's the one we are using now.  It works as if brand new - which it should because it is.  The resulting perfectly clear nozzle check-print looks unfamiliarly amazing.  Suddenly this 7900 has lost all it's character.  All the dynamite I've been stock-piling is now way too much to blow up just one dead head.  I've been secretly planning on blowing up the whole machine.  Dam.

In a pretty huge way I wish HAL had jumped the Epson wall two and a half months before he did.  I likely never would have shipped our head out.  Instead I did, and as a result I am left here today staring at a flirtatious, unused, tiny red bottle on my desk reflecting the afternoon sunlight through it's iridescent inners in a painfully suggestive way.  If plastic could speak I'm pretty sure this bottle would whisper, "You do know I am the answer to all your problems, don't you?"
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on May 14, 2012, 06:30:34 PM
Bummer, yes, although the part of me that is staring at a new Canon 8300 delivered here in the lot today is almost relieved. But then the other part that is staring at a 7900 and two bad heads slaps me back to reality. Also the part that has to figure out how to carry this beast down into the studio.

If you want to continue your experimentation with one of my heads, I'd be happy to send it to you, and if it fixes, send it back to me and I'll send you the other one to keep.

The info you've come upon about the cleaning process and flushing box should be invaluable to those continuing on the Epsons. It strikes me as the most likely culprit, and maintenance in this area might just keep those "permanent" printheads permanent.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: john milich on May 14, 2012, 07:18:00 PM
way back when, when i was in instrument making, the test for ultrasonic cleaning horsepower was how long it took to dissolve holes in aluminum foil...probably with an alikaline cleaner;)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on May 14, 2012, 07:40:33 PM
Hey Eric,

Is this the same place you sent your print head to? In this video, they specifically state that that you cannot blast cleaner through the head like some machines:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poEDY4f5_4Y

Was this the place you sent you head to?

BTW, glad the other head is working out. Man, you know more about the machine now than most repair techs from Decision One!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 14, 2012, 08:52:30 PM
Yes Chaddro, that is the place.  Printheaddoctor.com.  Vladimir is the head honcho.  To his credit, he promised me nothing more than that he would try, which he did.  I sincerely appreciate their efforts.

John, HAL warns about similar "dissolving holes in aluminum" characteristics of this glorious red iridescent cleaning fluid I now have here.  It comes with no guarantees either.

I will say this now in utter confidence - if I had this to do over again from the start I first would have cleaned the flush box, then changed the wiper blade, then done a serviceman mode cleaning procedure.  If the clogs remained, I would then remove the head and try cleaning it manually.  I'd start by gently drawing this Epson cleaning fluid up through the face of the head with a syringe, then let it sit over night.  Next morning I'd gently draw the Epson neutralizing fluid up through the face until all traces of red iridescence were gone.  Then I'd re-install the head and do one power cleaning before the next nozzle check.  If it printed clear I'd jump for joy.  If it printed clogs I'd go straight for the dynamite.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: jeverton on May 15, 2012, 09:50:27 AM
Eric,

A valiant effort to give us all a ray of hope… Thank you for your time, sharing the experience and lessons learned along this journey. 
On a side note, after installing the new print head – What calibrations and procedures were necessary?

Jeff
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: bupalos on May 15, 2012, 10:28:09 AM
Eric how again did you acquire the Epson cleaning fluid that does not exist? Now that I've got the Canon in here and rolling I'm going to use my 7900 as a guinea pig. I'm thinking I'll slurp up some of that magic antimatter into the head, let it soak a bit, strap it to a sonicare toothbrush, and see if I can either clear the clog or create a new life form.

I've got two of these cloggy heads, so the possibilities are endless!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 15, 2012, 10:33:36 AM

If you want to continue your experimentation with one of my heads, I'd be happy to send it to you, and if it fixes, send it back to me and I'll send you the other one to keep.


I'm game.  PM me and we can get the ball rolling.  I so want to revive a "dead" X900 head.


Jeff, Steve and I met last night to talk about the head install.  The process went simply, and by the book.  He installed the head, he register the head (log id numbers into serviceman program), he did a series of head alignments via the serviceman mode, he started printing.  Great to hear how well it all went.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Denniswcr on May 17, 2012, 06:36:32 PM
Well, I guess that this may be the end of this excellent stream of 7900 data.  I do have a question for Eric, however.  I bought a 7900 about a week before I saw this thread.  So far so good with my 7900, but I was wondering, Eric, if you feel the head can be removed when the heads are moved into the service mode (looking into possible future problems).  There seems to be enough room to get at the heads through the front door, but there may be something that I can't see that could get in the way.

Thanks, Dennis
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 17, 2012, 07:50:04 PM
I had a similar conversation at the race track last weekend - about wasting time while trying to save time.  It's always tempting to eliminate steps, trust me I do it all the time, but in this case you'd be shooting yourself in the foot.  Far easier to remove the left side of the machine.  It's just plastic, a few screws, nothing big at all.  There's a wiring harness you need to move up and out of the way, that would be tough if not impossible with just the front open as well.

FYI, this is not the end of the endless stream of valuable X900 information being added to this thread.  I am totally still working on things in the background.

For instance, here may be one of the most sensible X900 maintenance tips ever:  If you are not a print-shop you may not run your printer every day.  Maybe not even every week.  If this is you too, try this in order to avoid ink drying in the face of your printhead -

Download this image, then print it on a plain sheet of paper once every few days.  HAL says three is a good number.  Takes minimal ink to print, saves gallons of ink by avoiding power cleans.  Yes I love you too   :-)

http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/X900_routine_print.jpg (http://www.gotagteam.com/epson/X900_routine_print.jpg)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: enduser on May 17, 2012, 11:46:56 PM
Is anybody going to list all these things Epson owners are recommended to do in this thread?  Hopefully such a list will be in all future user manuals for new models of printer.   There also needs to be a new "Point-of-Sale" information sheet warning off low use buyers and saying why.

I suspect though, that the thread will go to the usual thread graveyard, and just the current readers will be in the know.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 18, 2012, 02:51:08 AM
The thread will end up in the yard but the points will not.  I will organize them and keep them easily accessible.  They will always be one google away.  First, though, more to come
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alto on May 18, 2012, 04:50:46 AM
Hi Eric et Al

I have been following the thread with interest does anyone know the specific RGB values for Epson inks It occurs to me that if you have a problem with say the yellow channel why not just print a block of that colour.

You could have a jepeg patch/wedge/patten for that specific colour and then if there is a problem just print that specific file over and over .

This may or may not save ink, you know how your mind wanders while waiting for a print to emerge.

Just my 2 cents

regards

Jon
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 18, 2012, 11:26:19 AM
My mind wandered there many times already Jon.  It's a good idea, it makes sense, it would save ink.  But in my experience it doesn't work.  I printed soled pages and pages and pages of yellow.  Unfortunately it didn't change a thing for us.

What HAL told me is this is a very simple problem.  The holes (nozzles) in the X900 printhead are just very tiny.  It is therefore so much more difficult to clear a clog because you face an elementary challenge - forcing something big (your hunk of dried ink) through something small (your nozzle).  This is why HAL insists the only way to clear an "unclogable" clog is to draw it up through the printhead in reverse - out the back of the head, not through the face.

You can very easily see now, after all this discussion, how critical it is to have a clean wiper.  Imagine the half dried ink on a dirty wiper blade being forced into the face of your head with each "cleaning" pass it makes after a cleaning cycle.  This really is why sometimes X900 users suffer more clogs AFTER cleanings than they had before them!

The print I attached here helps do something very simple; it flushes that tiny bit of ink just in the face of the printhead that is most susceptible to drying & causing future clogs.

OH, and I know this has been debated back and forth a bunch of times - for what it's worth HAL suggests turning auto cleaning OFF, and leaving your printer ON while not in use.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on May 18, 2012, 11:53:45 AM
Hi Eric et Al

I have been following the thread with interest does anyone know the specific RGB values for Epson inks It occurs to me that if you have a problem with say the yellow channel why not just print a block of that colour.

You could have a jepeg patch/wedge/patten for that specific colour and then if there is a problem just print that specific file over and over .

This may or may not save ink, you know how your mind wanders while waiting for a print to emerge.

Although a good idea, this does not work when printing through the Epson driver. Your RGB values are interpreted and the printer prints what it thinks you want. The best you can do is get close.

You would need a RIP to send CMYK data to the printer without the epson driver getting in the way.  There may be another way. If there is a feature in either the Serviceman mode, or service software to linearize the printer, you should be able to get per nozzle swatches. I saw this in my epson 3800, but will have to look to see if available in the 9900.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: elisabeth russell on May 18, 2012, 12:00:06 PM
I want to post a very sincere 'thank you' to Eric for starting this thread and documenting your finds. My 9900's Y and LC went missing a few weeks ago and I've had numerous issues with the thing from the beginning... I didn't know where to start, my warranty was expired, a repair wasn't in the budget, and I do not know the first thing about electrical repair. (Seriously, I googled how to remove a ribbon cables and wired cables during this project) I'd gotten the Field Repair Guide about 6 months ago but I didn't have the confidence to dive in until I started reading this thread.

After lots of practice runs to get comfortable with taking the machine apart, this week I replaced the damper assembly and the wiper blade and I also pulled the Pump and Cap Ass'y and cleaned it. (Also caused myself more problems by bumping a rubber hose on the backside of it which resulted in massive air suckage and terrifying nozzle checks, but finally got that solved too w/ gaffers tape for now.)

 Bottom line--my printer is now printing LC and Y again!  :D  :D :D ! Thank you so much Eric and Steve--I'm so sorry that your head wasn't repairable and I empathize about the obsession aspect of printer repair--I've been dreaming of the Field Repair Guide for the last few weeks :-\---but I'm so very grateful that you shared your experience. You've probably saved a lot of printers from ending up with a similar fate. I'm off to make a donation which I hope will be used on some beverages for you and Steve.

Many, many, thanks.  Lis

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: na goodman on May 18, 2012, 12:02:36 PM
Although a good idea, this does not work when printing through the Epson driver. Your RGB values are interpreted and the printer prints what it thinks you want. The best you can do is get close.

You would need a RIP to send CMYK data to the printer without the epson driver getting in the way.  There may be another way. If there is a feature in either the Serviceman mode, or service software to linearize the printer, you should be able to get per nozzle swatches. I saw this in my epson 3800, but will have to look to see if available in the 9900.

What is the procedure to get to serviceman mode on the 3800?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 18, 2012, 12:13:42 PM
WOW Lis, you just made my week.  I would say you made my month but last weekend's 180mph victory just edged you out. 

Don't feel bad about having to google the wiring removal/reinstall.  I actually make Steve do that part  :-)

Happy printing again Lis!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Alistair on May 19, 2012, 12:47:01 PM
Although a good idea, this does not work when printing through the Epson driver. Your RGB values are interpreted and the printer prints what it thinks you want. The best you can do is get close.

You would need a RIP to send CMYK data to the printer without the epson driver getting in the way.  There may be another way. If there is a feature in either the Serviceman mode, or service software to linearize the printer, you should be able to get per nozzle swatches. I saw this in my epson 3800, but will have to look to see if available in the 9900.



You can use QTR to do this by creating a curve for each channel. I use this method on my 7880. QTR used to be obtainable for a $50 donation. Presumably this is still the case.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Denniswcr on May 19, 2012, 02:47:29 PM
Using Windows 7 and the print program "Qimage",  I printed the solid color patterns on my 7900.  I set the driver for "no color adjustment" and sent the file to the printer without using a profile and leaving the image in it's original color space.  Using a 10X loop, to examine the printed result, I found the the colors appeared to be using only one ink as no other colored dots were present.  There was a slight exception with the "LK" patch as it did show a few cyan dots but they were very sparse.  From this I feel that occasionaly printing the color patches should do the job of keeping the heads cleaner, as suggested, if the chart is printed with no profile and the drivers color adjustment is turned off.

Dennis
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: LFPTECH on May 19, 2012, 07:00:54 PM
This is HAL.  Eric have done an excellent job to educate and entertain you guys for the past few months. I am setting up a new thread to answer Epson printer question. Check out the thread "Epson 7900/9900 or Epson printer repair questions? Other brands? May be."

PM me for any question with your phone #  (US only). I'll answer your question either by email or phone.  Then, You post the question and answer in your words to the thread.  Please keep the thread with question and answer for Epson printer REPAIR only.

Disclosure:

I am trained technician by Epson with about 20 repairs on 7900/9900. I am certified and trained for all Epson products - scanner, printers, projectors...

Our company does not perform in-warranty repair on Epson 7000, 9000, 10000 pro series printers.  We can do in-warranty and out-of-waranty repair for all products including Pro 3000 and 4000 series. We can do out-of-warranty repair on 7000, 9000 and 10000 series only.  For warranty works, Decision One is the exclusive repair facility. Call them.

When I answer your question, all info are my personal opinion and has nothing to do with Epson. You use my advice at your own risk. If I don't know the answer, I can find the answer from my sources.

If I sell parts to you, I am making a profit. I'll give 10% discount if you mention you are from LULA. We have to follow very strict guidelines for selling print head to my customers.

I am going to repack the print head cleaning solution and sell to my customers. If any one interested, please PM me. No guarrantee and use it at your own risk.

I have to protect the interest for other repair facilities which have invested a lot of money on training their employees, equipemnt, tools and training materials. Don't ask me for manuals, parts list, adjustment and testing programs. My answer is always NO. Besides Decision One, there are many qualifed repair facilities in US. Locate them at Epson Web Site.

If you need ink and paper, I can get you very good price. I worked with a couple small authorized dealers who can sell you Epson ink and paper almost at cost. PM me if you want to knowwho they are. If you live outside CA, you are lucky, there is no sales tax and shipping time and cost is about the same as where you are buying from now. The reason I recommend them beacause if I have questions about printer, ink, paper, rip, software or other related questions, I go to them.

On the other hand, if your dealers give you good support and are very knowledgeable, please support them by giving them more business.

If anyone who want to dispose or give away the DEAD 7900/9900 (I prefer 9900), please let me know. I am trying to do a project on modifying and repairing method on these printers with a friend. I can't afford to pay a lot but willing to pay for all shipping cost within US. If modification works, I will let you guys know.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 19, 2012, 09:41:35 PM
Using Windows 7 and the print program "Qimage",  I printed the solid color patterns on my 7900.  I set the driver for "no color adjustment" and sent the file to the printer without using a profile and leaving the image in it's original color space.  Using a 10X loop, to examine the printed result, I found the the colors appeared to be using only one ink as no other colored dots were present.  There was a slight exception with the "LK" patch as it did show a few cyan dots but they were very sparse.  From this I feel that occasionaly printing the color patches should do the job of keeping the heads cleaner, as suggested, if the chart is printed with no profile and the drivers color adjustment is turned off.

Dennis


Thanks for checking that out Dennis.  Great to know!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: MBrew on May 20, 2012, 11:56:51 AM
Eric, 
      I also bought a used 7900.  As we all know, you are rolling the dice when you buy used w/no warranty.  I stumbled on your thread and am amazed at the detail, effort and tenacity exhibited as you fearlessly attempted to bring it back to life.  Also I commend the exceptionally strong character traits exhibited by yourself and Dan Berg.  I'd like to say a big "THANK YOU" from all of us lurkers that gained insight and confidence that we can do the simple maintenance on our _900 Epsons.  I'm sure now that you have it up and running, you are standing in awe as the phenomenal masterpieces roll out!

Thanks again
Mike Brewington

http://www.brewsphoto.com
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on May 20, 2012, 08:03:34 PM
      I think this thread has and will be very helpful for anyone running a Epson printer.... and now with the inclusion of LFPTECH I think it will be even more helpful. For these things Eric....I and I'm sure anyone venturing in here with a Epson problem want to thank you very much for getting this thread started. I think this thread should be tacked to the top of this forum. NOW if we could only get some input from EPSON !! After all they are the ones getting our money !! I think they would want us to keep them running....they make a mint selling ink I'm sure. As for staying quiet so we just buy a new printer from them.....I think this is very poor reasoning. It seems to me every relatively new large format Epson that becomes a large paper weight before it's time is really just a sale for Canon...not Epson. So where are you Epson.....Speak up
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on May 22, 2012, 10:39:40 AM
Such a wonderful gesture to us Epson 900 series owners. I can't find the PM button to ask you where I can find the great prices on ink as you suggested. Please email me at [email protected] with their names. Appreciate all your help.   Randal21
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on May 22, 2012, 11:14:33 AM
Such a wonderful gesture to us Epson 900 series owners. I can't find the PM button to ask you where I can find the great prices on ink as you suggested. Please email me at [email protected] with their names. Appreciate all your help.   Randal21

Just hit the user's name, which will bring you to their profile.  Near the bottom of their profile under "additional information" hit "send this member a personal message".  That should get er done!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 12, 2012, 08:09:10 PM
Need an advice, please.
The ink pump (I think that is the name) is leaking ink.
It does pump, I can here the motor and I do see the ink moves in the tube.
When I have disconnected the output pipe (tested and I couldn't blow through) I got the error code 1537.
When I switch the printer off ink leaks badly.
(http://)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on June 12, 2012, 11:34:52 PM
Little background will help.  Did you take it apart, and now it leaks - or did it just start leaking?  Not sure what you mean by ink pump - is the leak coming from the unit that houses the head? 

Total guesswork here - if you took the damper assembly out you disconnected the ink lines.  If you did this you came in contact with an O-ring which is critical for sealing the ink lines.  These O-rings are black, all connected to one another in a series of figure-8s, and they are rather delicate.  It sounds like this is the source of your leak(s).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 13, 2012, 08:00:55 AM
No Eric. I didn't take it apart yet. I am not sure what is the proper word for this pump. This is probably not an ink pump. This pump is NOT next to the head assembly and styes behind the circuit boards. Please have a look at the photos.
It is next to the power plug.
I had to take away the printer back panel, or two to be correct to see what is going on and where from the leak coming.
I can be wrong, but a few month ago, before I read your webpages and switched off the auto-cleaning function, I had some clogged issues, and had to use the power cleaning with one of the cartridges at 10%. I can be wrong, but I think the leak started at that time. And the ink in the system (whatever it is) is still from that time.
The pump has one in-line, coming somewhere from the front of the printer and the other one goes out to the maintenance tank area. Hard to say where...
When I connected to the pump output some piece of a tiny pipe and held my finger over the end of it pressing hard, the pump stoped working. When I opened it, the pumps started to work again. Is it controlled by pressure valve?
The ink color is green-blue. I checked the ink cartridges. Some on the left (looking from the front) have at the plug-in end the same ink on a bottom. I use 750 transparent cartridges and can see, that the cartridge has two sections. One is the main one for the printer ink and the second small one for the ??? ink. 
Is it a part of a printer dumping system?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on June 13, 2012, 10:27:26 AM
You need to contact our good friend "HAL".    His screen name is LFPTECH.  Look him up on this thread and PM him, he will take good care of you.  I have never taken this pump apart (or even seen it for that matter).  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67241.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67241.0)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on June 13, 2012, 12:33:53 PM
It's ironic I came home last night to a post on this thread.  Kind of stole my wind, ironically I actually had plans to post here last night and update the state of all things "X900" in my life.  I'll do that now.

My AAA insurance claim is still dragging along at the pace of a senile Tree Sloth.  I have not been reimbursed a dime yet, so I still have no real gear to shoot with.  If I did I would already have taken our head apart and taken some cool macro shots.  I will do this in time, I promise. 

Our 7900 is up and running like the good ole boy it was designed to be.  Of course I challenge it regularly due to the fact that not only am I simply an enthusiast, but now I am actually an enthusiast with no camera.  So what have we all realized an X900 hates more than anything?  That's right, sitting still.  WTF, I am a challenge.

So I've been quietly thinking about this moisture situation.  I do not have a humidifier, but I bet I should.  And considering some of the stories I read in this thread about dust, this has me thinking even more.  When I get back from my drive to Colorado and back I am going to design a special cover for this machine.  Not just a dust cover though, my idea is to make it be somewhat of a moisture barrier as well.  I intend to weight the edges of the cover so it stretches tight to the floor, and make the cover out of something water resistant - this way it holds moisture in/keeps dry air out.  Then perhaps, and of course I intend to test this properly, I will place a pale of water inside the cover under the machine.  Might be this cover/pale combination could help maintain an X900 friendly micro-climate.  We will see, right now it's just a fantasy.

So why am I driving to Colorado and back?  Oh this is the best part of this post.  I am driving 1,200 miles west to Colorado, and my friend Edward the juggler, from this very forum, is driving east to Colorado.  We plan to meet Friday night, where I will ask him to teach me how to juggle and I will buy his not-functioning 9900.  When I get back, the second chapter of this thread will come to life - "How to juggle a dead 9900"

See you in a week!

Eric
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on June 13, 2012, 11:25:21 PM
    Eric.......I am working on what humidity these printers really like ( to much might be as bad as to little) and what has brought me to this possible idea I will explain.......I have a 7890 for all practical purpose it is really a 7900 without green and orange(even has the lines and ink cartridge slots but they are just empty). This printer ran perfectly for about 9 months......many times a week went by with out printing......always did least a nozzle check once a week. But it even went a month with only a nozzle check once a week....but no other prints went through it. Never a clog that a quick pairs clean didn't clear. This whole time it was between 44% and 57% humidity. This March the weather here was cool and kind of humid....ranging anywhere from 55% to 80%. Outside temp was high 50's to low 60's at night and 60's to low 70's during the day. Wonderfull weather so windows opened up day and night enjoying the weather. Not realizing it at 1st but this is when my printer problems began.....dropped the complete cyan channel.......tring to clear it lost the complete magentas channel. Call to Epson brought out the completely inept Decision One tech who couldn't even figure out how to open it up.....then proceeded to acid sweat all over my circuit boards(we will stop there....this is not about them). Any way a power clean, some new parts and wiper blade and it was kind of working. But it was clogging almost continuously. Then it was getting to warm out for open windows and the AC was turned on.......now watching the humidity level it was back to 47% to 57% and to my amazement the clogging stopped instantly. I am not positive and I am afraid to let the humidity level get high again to be sure....but this seems to point to a high humidity level being as bad as to low. I would be careful of putting a pale of water under your cover unless you are in a very very dry climate. Get a humidity and temperature meter from Radio Shack...they are around 16 bucks and work well. See if you can keep it between 45% and 60% and see if it sits well. It would sure be nice if Epson would supply us with info like this so we could save ourselves the stress of figuring this stuff out. Peter
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Ken Doo on June 14, 2012, 12:06:35 AM
Bed, Bath & (way) Beyond also carries hygrometers.  It's a good investment to monitor humidity levels near your printer, as well as where you store media.  A range between 40% to 60% is a good level to maintain humidity.

Eric---I've got a new humidifier for you.   Hate to see you get a clog now after all your hard work...   ;D 

ken
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 14, 2012, 08:14:45 AM
Epson Stylus Pro 7900/7910/9900/9910-->1.2.4 General Specifications->
Temperature Operating: 10 to 35 °C
Humidity Operating: 20 to 80% (no condensation)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: DeanChriss on June 14, 2012, 09:53:02 PM
Humidity: In the room where my 7900 lives it's around 30% RH in winter and humidity is regulated with a dehumidifier to 58% in summer. I've had the printer since December 2008, and each winter without fail I have essentially no clogging issues at all. When summer comes the humidity rises and occasional clogging issues return. I don't claim to have any answers but this is what happens. I can't quite believe the printer likes being in 30% humidity, but maybe it does like being cooler. In winter the room is sometimes as cool as 63 or 64 Fahrenheit. Right now it's 70 and the mild occasional clogging has returned. The temperature usually gets to 75 in the heat of August and I guarantee the clogging will be worse then. It always is. The humidity is already as high as it will ever get (58%) but the clogging will get worse when the temps are hotter. Of course this does not prove any cause and effect relationship, but it's gone through the exact same cycle 3.5 times now. FYI, there's a digital temperature and humidity meter near the printer and it's been checked for accuracy.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Peter Le on June 15, 2012, 12:10:25 AM
Epson Stylus Pro 7900/7910/9900/9910-->1.2.4 General Specifications->
Temperature Operating: 10 to 35 °C
Humidity Operating: 20 to 80% (no condensation)
    Everyone that has been around these printers is quite familiar with what Epson claims.  But most everyone also knows you will probably be in a lot of trouble if you keep your print room at 20%. What I am finding out it seems is you can get in as much trouble  or more at high humidity levels. I was never above 80% this spring......really mostly high 60's and low 70's % humidity.  This should be fine according to Epson and your thinking. But it was not.....it was a mess clogging all the time. When the AC came on and the humidity dropped to low 50,s......high of 57%......the clogs were instantly  gone. This doesn't  make a lot of sense if you think of ink drying on the head. But it seems to create the same problem as to low humidity.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 15, 2012, 07:53:53 AM
    This doesn't  make a lot of sense if you think of ink drying on the head.
A few days ago I visited some other websites and one guy claimed that after he has put a jar with water not far away from the printer the clogged situations were gone. He say that some moisture in the air helps to keep the head from drying out. I am not sure who do I have to believe.
I have to wait for some really hot/humid weather in Australia to know for sure what is going on. (I bought 7900 in November 2011 and didn't pay a lot of attention to the level of humidity).
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: datro on June 15, 2012, 04:32:41 PM
Humidity: In the room where my 7900 lives it's around 30% RH in winter and humidity is regulated with a dehumidifier to 58% in summer. I've had the printer since December 2008, and each winter without fail I have essentially no clogging issues at all. When summer comes the humidity rises and occasional clogging issues return. I don't claim to have any answers but this is what happens. I can't quite believe the printer likes being in 30% humidity, but maybe it does like being cooler. In winter the room is sometimes as cool as 63 or 64 Fahrenheit. Right now it's 70 and the mild occasional clogging has returned. The temperature usually gets to 75 in the heat of August and I guarantee the clogging will be worse then. It always is. The humidity is already as high as it will ever get (58%) but the clogging will get worse when the temps are hotter. Of course this does not prove any cause and effect relationship, but it's gone through the exact same cycle 3.5 times now. FYI, there's a digital temperature and humidity meter near the printer and it's been checked for accuracy.

Like Dean, I have had my 7900 since December 2008 and have also noticed in the past 3.5 years that in the higher humidity months it seems the chance of clogging is a bit higher.  I've kept detailed records on this from the day I installed the printer.  Overall, I've had very few clogging problems with my printer.  In the months of Oct-June, I can go several months without a single clogged nozzle. (For some operational context, I do at least several large prints a week regardless of whether I need to or not, and I also agitate my ink cartridges every 30 days).  During the summer months, where my humidity ranges between 55-65%, I might have the occasional clog, usually on Light Cyan but not always.

Based on my experience so far, I have two observations on the overall theme of "humidity" and how it relates to clogging in these printers:

1) Inexpensive hygrometers are notoriously inaccurate for Relative Humidity (RH) readings, even if based on their specs it would seem they are doing the job.  I discovered this after I purchased an Abbeon Hygrometer (for example: http://www.omnicontrols.com/detail.aspx?ID=830 (http://www.omnicontrols.com/detail.aspx?ID=830)).  It's similar to what museums use and is a bit expensive, but it revealed that all my other so-called hygrometers in the house were typically off by over 10 points of RH.  So you have to be careful about how you interpret the RH numbers you see in forums like this.  I suspect that the values people are reporting are not very accurate and you need to be careful about any clogging conclusions that relate to specific RH numbers being reported.

2) I've been wondering why the summer months seem to be more clog-prone, even though in my case it has not been at all severe.  I am coming to the conclusion that it is not specifically a RH value, but rather the variability of RH in the summer months that is the "culprit".  If you have a dehumidifier in your studio (like I do) the possibility of your RH changing back and forth over a 8-10 point range is likely.  Dehumidifiers pull down the RH, they turn off, the RH rises past a certain limit, then the dehumidifer turns back on and the cycle begins again.  This up-down-up-down pattern of RH change can actually put more stress on things in my opinion.  We know this to be the case for the prints themselves (especially when mounted), but I suspect this may also be a factor for the ink-handling parts in our printers, including the head, seals when parked, wipers, flushing box, etc.

This summer I'll be working on how to reduce the variability in RH in my studio in hopes that this might actually reduce the number of times I encounter the occasional clogged nozzle.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 15, 2012, 06:54:57 PM
A short summary of situation of ink in 7900 air-pressurising system.

    I noticed some ink leak on a floor behind 7900 printer a few months ago.
    I cleaned up the ink and checked the cartridges (I had an original at that time).
    On right side of the printer I found no problems.
    On left side of the printer all of a cartridges had some ink in the air-chamber (the bottom nozzle side of the cartridge).
    It was a time to change most of them as I used them from November 2011.
    I changed and old original for a new 700 ml (I have ordered 1 liter x 11 ink bottles for Epson Pro9900/7900 from Guangdong China (Mainland) via Ali-express). The only one original cartridge left in the printer was the photo-black cartridge, as I didn’t use it.
    Printer was working OK. It took a while for me to notice some ink on the floor again.
    A few days ago I finally took out the printer back cover and found out that the air-pump was covered in ink.
    I contacted Eric. He directed me to Leptech. Leptech answered in a few days.
    I contacted admin from Russian site http://resetters.ru. He didn’t answer.
    Meanwhile I cleaned up the pump and area next to it. The printer's power board is next to the air-pump. The circuit board floor of 7900 is on a angle, so ink couldn’t damage the circuit boards and leaked down away from it.
    I cleaned up the plastic tubes going to and from the air-pump.
    I inspected all cartridges again. No problems found on the right side. The ink in the air-chambers was found on the left side.
    I used syringe (from printer head cleaning solution kit) to pump out the ink from cartridges air-chambers.
    When I was sucking the ink from the original photo-black cartridge I noticed some whistling noise. The noise was coming out somewhere from the top of the cartridge plastic body. The cartridge was damaged.
    I changed the photo-black to a new 700 ml Chinese one. Filled up, resetted the chip.
    I installed the pump and reconnected to cables.
    Switched the printer on. The error 1536 kept coming on.
    Rechecked the pump and wires. Reconnected the motor cable. Error disappeared.
    Printed the nozzle check page. OK.
    Printed the random image. OK.
    Leptech contacted me. He shortly explained the situation. He wrote: ‘It happens a lot on third party ink’.
    I thought it was my only bad luck with such a situation. I do understand that Epson company doesn’t like third party ink suppliers, but in my case it was the original cartridge, that caused the problem. Not the third party one.
    Thanks for the answers, some help and directions.Eric does a good job. I took a lot of notes from his blog Epson 7900 from the inside - out.
    Page with photos is here (for a while):
http://vetrazi.com/Ink_in_air_system/7900_ink_problem15Jun12.php (http://vetrazi.com/Ink_in_air_system/7900_ink_problem15Jun12.php)
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on June 18, 2012, 12:20:46 PM
In the middle of a job my yellow ink on my 7900 wasn't printing fully. I was using an Inkpress Warmtone 300 paper for some wedding invitations. I did 4 paired cleanings on the yellow and kept printing nozzle checks. 1/2 of the yellow seems clogged. Could the paper have caused this? I called Epson and he said to check my humidity ...it's at 80% which is fine. Said to check out another yellow ink cartridge which I don't have. Said if the pair cleanings don't work he can call Decision One for me. Now what?
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on June 18, 2012, 12:34:24 PM
I think it may be premature to call Decision One. After not using my 4900 for two weeks, I found the yellow channel was at first very weak and then dropped out completely. The procedure I used was to do a series of pair cleanings inter-spaced with making a print consisting of one big patch of yellow on a piece of cheap US-Letter sized paper. Do a regular pair cleaning, test the nozzles; if still clogged run the print, then do a stronger pair cleaning (on the 4900 there are two levels of pair cleaning - don't know whether the 7900 also has this feature); then check the nozzles; if not OK, run the print again, then do another strong pair cleaning, etc...I repeated this cycle 7 times and the Yellow channel came back fine and has stayed fine ever since. Running that print is a most important part of the process. If after all this you don't have a properly-functioning yellow channel, then I would agree it makes sense to call in a technician.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on June 18, 2012, 01:06:17 PM
Thanks Mark.... thats pretty much what I am doing. I turned on my dehumidifer for a reading and it was more like 66%. I have a new yellow cartridge coming tomorrow to see if the ink cartridge was the culprit. I will continue as you say and see if it let's go so I can finish the job and not call Decision One. Epson was too easy to suggest that.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on June 18, 2012, 01:31:23 PM
There shows sign of recovery Mark. paired yellow cleaning with a large yellow square and a nozzle check. Cross thy fingers!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on June 18, 2012, 01:52:00 PM
Good - keep redoing it and let's hope!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on June 18, 2012, 02:11:20 PM
Any logic to why it may have happened? The new variable was the Inkpress Warmtone 300 Rag paper. paper fibers clogging my main color=yellow? Should I widen my platen? The yellow is slowly coming to life but have done alot of pair cleanings on the yellow. Stay away Decision One! 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on June 18, 2012, 02:17:54 PM
It's unlikely to be the paper. There is little "logic" to this. Something - either air - or debris is preventing yellow ink from firing properly. You just need to exercise it out by repeated prints and cleans (use the stronger option for the pair), but I'd think if after 7 to 10 of these cycles it's not back to normal you need a tech.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: randal21 on June 18, 2012, 02:49:15 PM
All is well!!!! Back to the job. Took at least 20 power cleanings and nozzle checks and printing the large yellow square. Thanks for sharing your experience with clogging. I got alittle anxious due to the other 900 series problems. The Epson tech people need to get better versed before they call Decision One. What is the higher lever paired cleaning you referred to? Not the total power cleaning right? Don't see the choice on my printer. Hidden?  thanks so much. Made my day!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on June 18, 2012, 05:12:48 PM
It could well be that the Epson 4900, being a more recent model than the 7900, has some different features. In the pairs cleaning utility of the 4900, there are two levels of cleaning - normal and more powerful. It is not a general power cleaning of all channels - just restricted to the pairs. Perhaps the 7900 does not have this feature in its pairs cleaning utility. The most I have had to exercise repeated cycles of pairs cleaning and patch printing is 7 replications, and that was after the printer had not been used for about 4 weeks. Normally, if it is not left idle for more than 5 days the nozzle checks come up fine.

It was an Epson tech quite some years ago, when I was having problems with my 4000, who instructed me about running the prints between cleanings. It would appear that in Epson, like many other companies, the knowledge and experience of the tech support staff is not uniform, and this should be expected. The way around that is for the company to maintain an on-line roster of best practices culled from the experience of their technical support people over the years. Then when a customer calls-in with a problem, the person answering the call would have been trained to consult the best-practices roster before responding. If they aren't doing this, they should be.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Mark D Segal on June 18, 2012, 05:14:20 PM
And by the way, great that you got it back up and running properly. A story with a happy ending! I'm pleased it worked out for you.
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on June 18, 2012, 06:01:57 PM
When did you last update your firmware?

Back in November/December they added an "Execute (Powerful)" paired cleaning to the menu on my 9890.

Also, there are some options in the serviceman menu for stronger level cleanings, but would have to research those or defer to a more experience member. As yet I have
not had to resort to this. Three paired cleanings (with prints in between) has been my limit.

Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on June 18, 2012, 06:44:41 PM
The following information is from the 79/99 Field Repair Guide and has probably been posted here in whole or part before, but I include as a reminder. Please note: Enter serviceman mode at your own risk. You can majorly screw your machine up if you are careless! So do so with caution and at your own risk.

Please also note that, not surprisingly, Epson chose to leave out most of this info from the user manuals. My 9890 User Manual only explains how to perform a cleaning. Does not go into the further, RATHER IMPORTANT, salient points that I believe are quite clear to any of us long time users.

Also note the SS Cleaning Mode. Dread the thought of the amount of ink spent, but this may be faster than 10 cleaning cycles in a row:

Now, for your reading enjoyment... to quote in full:

Cleaning Cycles (Types and Uses)
About All Cleaning Cycles
The Ink System is tuned to the gentle ink flow demand generated by printing.

All Cleaning cycles employ a much stronger ink demand than printing.

It is not unusual for the Ink System to “pull back” after a cleaning cycle drawing air or ink from the Cap into the Print Head Nozzle Plate. This can cause more Nozzles to be missing after a cleaning cycle than before. It also can cause contaminated (used) ink to be mixed with the “fresh” ink in the Nozzle Plate.

If the same Nozzles are missing after each cleaning cycle, continue cleaning.

If different Nozzles are missing after each cleaning cycle, stop cleaning, and print until the air or contaminated ink has been expelled from the Print Head.

Normal Cleaning: User Menu/MAINTENANCE/CLEANING/NORMAL

When a normal cleaning is activated, the Printer cleans all 5 color pairs, and uses the AID Circuitry to check results. According the information reported by the AID Circuitry the Printer increases or decreases the strength of the clean-ing cycle appropriately, and only cleans the color pairs that require additional cleaning.

The Printer always cleans color pairs individually. A color pair is defined as 2 colors that share a Cap. In theory the Printer will only clean the color pairs that have missing Nozzles. Cleaning color pairs individually takes more time, but saves Ink.

Color Pair Cleaning: User Menu/MAINTENANCE/CLEANING/CLEAN FOR EACH COLOR

Color pair cleaning is the cleaning method with the most efficient use of ink. How to use effectively:
1. Print an nozzle check, and identify the color pair with the most missing nozzles.
2. Clean that color pair only. After the Printer cleans the instructed color pair, it will use the AID Circuitry to determine the appropriate cleaning levels for any remaining missing nozzles on other color pairs. This method uses less ink than any other.

Power Cleaning: User Menu/Maintenance

The purpose of the Power Cleaning cycle is to remove air from the Negative Pressure Dampers, or air from the Print Head side of the Dampers.

The Power Cleaning cycle closes the Valves that restrict ink flow from the Ink Bays while simultaneously running the Cleaning Pump to build a vacuum on the Print Head Nozzle Plate. When sufficient vacuum is created, the Printer opens the Valves allowing the ink to “fill the vacuum”. This technique facilitates the removal of air from the system. Air in the system causes Nozzle drop out while printing.

Technicians: Use the Power Cleaning cycle after changing Dampers or Print Head.
User: Use the Power Cleaning cycle if Nozzles drop out while printing.

SS Cleaning: Maintenance Mode 1 (Hold the Pause button at power on)

SS Cleaning has a strong ultra sonic component. The Piezo Elements internal to the Print Head are used to attempt to break up pigment particles that may be clogging the interior of the Print Head.

Use SS Cleaning when a Nozzle can not be cleared through normal cleaning.

Color Pairs on the Print Head (Listed Left to Right)

1. Cyan and Vivid Magenta
2. Photo Black (Matte Black) and Light Black
3. Orange and Green
4. Light Light Black and Yellow
5. Vivid Light Magenta and Light Cyan.

EPILOGUE:

Funny thing happened to me the other day while printing: Service Call error 0010.
This had Epson tech support put me on hold for a good 10 minutes. Turns out this is related to the AID Circuitry's function. I just recently turn AID on after every printer (in an effort to better understand this whole shabang). Now, I CAN still print just fine, but AID fails - the printer cannot self check it's nozzles.

I think this goes all the way back to last August when I bought the printer. I would get "Automatic Cleaning Failed, RETRY?"
Initially, I put my trust in Epson and let the machine perform the cleaning, but it NEVER has a successful cleaning despite clean nozzle checks. I did complain to Epson about this, but they had no solutions. My supposition is that AID had never worked on my printer in the first place, and only after I turned it on to EVERY print did the error code through.

Now I'm waiting on a visit from Decision One. I spoke briefly with the tech over the phone (still waiting on parts) and he said it could be anywhere from easy (1 hour) to hard (4+ hours).

Will keep you updated!

-chaddro


Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: chaddro on June 21, 2012, 02:35:57 PM
My Visit from Decision One -> INDECISIVE!

So it took a solid week for my parts to show up, and low and behold of the three parts ordered (pump cap assembly, main-board, and AID board), only the AID board was correct.

The tech knew the pump cap was wrong at first site, but the main-boards look very familiar. The tech took out the old one and put new one in and didn't notice it was wrong until he tried to plug a connector in that had no receptacle. This board is apparently for the 7890 (!?!).

So out comes the wrong board to put my original board back in. Sounds logical? But nope... (Now, remember... I could print before. It's the printer's AID function that has failed.)
After re-assembling the machine, the USB port doesn't work.  I suggest we try the Ethernet and fortunately I can still print. Tech has no idea what could have happened to
the board to kill USB (we did try two different computers and also cables).

Now this tech says that it's rare to have the wrong items shipped. So I'm the unlucky 2%'er here. No idea when they will get back to me either. I have to wait on a call since they are going to have to order parts again.

BTW, when the tech ran the AID test from withing serviceman mode, he says that it should read "ok" on every line. Mine is in complete failure. Check yours. It doesn't hurt anything. AID is supposed to be superior to running manual nozzle checks. The tech pretty much thinks it's been bad from day one.

... stay tuned for episode two ...


 
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: Eric Gulbransen on June 21, 2012, 09:20:12 PM
Wow Chaddro.  ...wow.

I am just back to computer land now.  Been gone over a week, driving through endless ages of deserts for days it seems on my trip to meet Edward the juggler about his 9900.  Edward's 9900 is in the back of my truck now, awaiting the start of my own episode II  "How To Drown a Dead Printhead In Six Gallons or Less". 

You my friend are an endless supply of information.  Thank you and good luck!

Nice work with randal21, Mark.  Success!!
Title: Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
Post by: viktor_au on June 22, 2012, 05:56:06 PM
Air-pressurising system