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Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks => Topic started by: John Caldwell on February 18, 2013, 09:06:13 AM

Title: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: John Caldwell on February 18, 2013, 09:06:13 AM
Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Many thanks,

John-
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2013, 09:20:17 AM
John, I simply created a bunch of colour-fill layers in Photoshop and collated them onto one letter-size sheet for my 4900 (not attached; the up-loader wouldn't work although the file is smaller than the ceiling allowed). For each patch I dialed-in the colour of the ink it is supposed to represent. That said, these printers mix inks to produce different colours, so I'm not convinced that what I did simply exercises one colour tank per one colour patch. I am reasonably confident however that one way or another all the inks get exercised. I only use this between cleaning cycles when I need more than one cleaning cycle. Needless to say, the most economic way of "killing two birds with one stone" (when all is still well), is to make real prints of real photographs at frequent intervals :-)
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: John Caldwell on February 18, 2013, 09:23:29 AM
Sure, but the real photograph printing rarely exercises all channels equally and maybe some not at all. So this is why I was attracted to the idea of a dummy equally-weighted image.

Thanks, Mark.

John-
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 18, 2013, 09:30:25 AM
Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Hi John,

While it isn't quaranteed to exercise all nozzles equally, they will all be used when you print something like a Granger Rainbow (as attached).

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2013, 09:36:30 AM
I don't think it's necessary to print all channels equally. As long as some ink flows through them all it should be fine. Bart's solution looks fine too. I also think that most real-world photographs do use all the channels (except the inactive black) save for unusual kinds of images and B&W, but even the latter still exercises several colour channels if using the standard driver. If you were ever to examine your prints say through a 30x Microscope (just for fun, the ultimate in dot-peeping) you would begin to see how complex the ink-mixing is. A lot more goes on than meets the (unaided) eye.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: chez on February 18, 2013, 09:50:48 AM
Don't the Epsons have an automated head cleaning feature that does a periodic head cleaning? I use this with my HP printers and they never have problems with clogging?
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2013, 10:01:28 AM
Don't the Epsons have an automated head cleaning feature that does a periodic head cleaning? I use this with my HP printers and they never have problems with clogging?

Yes and there are multiple threads on this website all about that. Many people turn it off, including me, because it triggers cleaning quite often. Every one needs to test for themselves whether automatic cleaning or manual management works better in their conditions. Epson provides for both.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: John Caldwell on February 18, 2013, 10:15:03 AM
Like Mark, my auto head cleaning and checks are turned off. I couldn't believe how quickly my 4900's maintenance tank got full with the ink that burped into the sewage drain through the Auto Nozzle Check paradigm - so it's turned off now.

My HP Z3200 never clogs, but I don't think it's an apple to apple comparison with Epson (wish it were).

Ok I'll accept that we don't need equal depositions of all ink channels to maintain patency, so I appreciate the Granger Rainbow reference, Bart.

I've never seen microscopic examination of our current prints, and how "apparent" colors are created, Mark. I'd like to see that someday.

Thanks to everyone,

John-
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2013, 10:19:04 AM

I've never seen microscopic examination of our current prints, and how "apparent" colors are created, Mark. I'd like to see that someday.

Thanks to everyone,

John-

When "Radio Shack" still existed as such, I bought a real cheap plastic 30x Microscope with an embedded light, made under the brand name "Micronta"  - amazing little gadget that really works. You put it on the paper, turn on the light, focus it and see all kinds of stuff. That's all there is too it - at least as far as that goes.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 18, 2013, 01:25:30 PM
Some of us have the habit of printing an image or nozzle check, for the sheer sake of keeping the liquids flowing in the heads, with the goal of avoiding head clogs. A lot has been said about the risks of Epson printhead non-use, particularly when it is of long duration and in arid conditions, of course. I think Wayne may have mentioned that he devised a multicolor gradient, or some sort of equivalent, that spent similar amounts of ink from his Epson 900-series machines. Do you all have such a file that you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'll create one myself if needed, but I thought I'd politely pilfer such a thing if anyone is willing.

Many thanks,

John-

Here's the current version of my file.  I tweak it a little each time to try and get a perfect balance of all colors but it's getting pretty close now.

Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: plui on February 18, 2013, 02:35:05 PM
Hi, there are some great test images with explanations on northlight-images.     http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/test_images.html
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: John Caldwell on February 18, 2013, 03:24:01 PM
Here's the current version of my file.  I tweak it a little each time to try and get a perfect balance of all colors but it's getting pretty close now.

Wayne, Thank you for your kindness in sharing this file. It's quite interesting that this consumes ink in even to close to even quantities. If I have it right, you tailored the file so channel by channel usage is similar across all 10 colors in your Epson 900 series machines. True?

Thanks again, Wayne.

John Caldwell
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 18, 2013, 04:14:16 PM
yes, similar ink levels for all colors.  That's why the odd patches of grey through parts of it.  There are still a couple of colors that use more or less, and I keep tweaking it to try and get it closer.  This is the current version. When I do a nozzle clean, I throw in the sheet of paper from the last nozzle check and run this right after the clean. I just use plain paper, but set the printer as though it's using luster.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: alain on February 18, 2013, 06:03:08 PM
Thanks Wayne a good tip to tweak and calculate.

Wouldn't it be better to print some more on the least used nozzles?
I expect that on a low volume printer there's printed something from time to time and this will "advance" the ink that's used.

 
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mike Guilbault on February 18, 2013, 08:44:32 PM
I remember those "microscopes" Mark. In a previous life I managed a few Radio Shack stores. I wish I knew where I put mine.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: davidh202 on February 18, 2013, 09:13:20 PM
John,
Absolutely no need to get over technical, just do a screen shot, copy & paste into a file, and print out an 8 1/2 x 11  page of any group of these  on plain office paper, and it will be more than enough to exercize all the colors!
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=color+wheel+chart&qpvt=color+wheel+chart&FORM=IGRE

David
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: MarkH2 on February 19, 2013, 12:49:26 AM
John,

There are some purge print images from Ross Hardie that do just what you're asking.  I use them with my Epson.  See his purge images in the pdf:  http://www.inkjetcarts.us/support/article/how-to-test-and-solve-problems-with-inkjet-printers-avoid-head-cleanings-100.html

Mark
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 19, 2013, 01:06:55 AM
Thanks Wayne a good tip to tweak and calculate.

Wouldn't it be better to print some more on the least used nozzles?
I expect that on a low volume printer there's printed something from time to time and this will "advance" the ink that's used.

  

The problem I'm trying to address is the issue of after cleaning nozzles, some air sometimes get pulled back in.  So the following nozzle test "may" show different nozzles clogged.  Unfortunately the term "clog" has come to cover anytime a nozzle doesn't print, but in reality frequently the reason isn't a clog, but air.  So my idea was to print a small amount of ink out of every nozzle in the head ... trying to not use up too much ink but enough that when you run the nozzle test the issue of the air is no longer there. I believe Epson recommends printing something before running a nozzle check to make sure this doesn't happen, I'm just trying to create a page that insures that happens.  I'm probably going to reduce it down to half a page because this should be enough to accomplish this.

The idea for the page was to make sure every nozzle was getting used.  I also thought it would be better if it happened sort of randomly, that's why the gradient goes from side to side instead of top to bottom.  After the first inch or so, every nozzle should be pushing out a droplet on every pass.  Of course, since I'm no engineer and am clueless how the Epson dithers this thing, I could be totally off base, but it seems a logical assumption.

Personally I think Epson should design this into the firmware ... whenever you print a nozzle check it first prints a small block of each ink color.  Would take very little ink, and each block would be one individual ink so it may even help diagnose problems.

I didn't design this as a way to purge ink lines (I'm trying to use as little ink as possible) , although what you suggest might be a good idea, because some colors see very little usages in normal photographic printing.  I can't imagine anyone who invested this much money would print that little, but then again for some it's not about the money but the quality.

If any Canon or HP users are lurking here, those printers nozzles actually clog just as easy as an Epson, but instead of clearing them it remaps to spare nozzles. This would be a big problem except the printers actively maintain the nozzles with trace amounts of ink as long as you leave it powered on.  If I still owned a Canon I would probably never turn the thing off, even if I wasn't using it for a couple of months.  Takes extremely little power and very little ink, and your nozzles will thank you. (and your heads probably won't need replaced as soon).
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: davidh202 on February 20, 2013, 09:13:53 PM
Just thought of something so obvious.  
Why go through so much trouble to use anything but the feature already built into the machines...

Just printing a nozzle check itself , effectively exercises every single nozzle in every channel evenly, with no worries of backflow , and at the same time uses the least amount of ink!!
The only channel that won't be used no matter what youuse for a exercise print, is whichever black is not set at the time.
I've made it a habit of periodically switching  MK/PK channels also, just to make sure they get the needed flow.  
David
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: hugowolf on February 20, 2013, 10:08:19 PM
Just thought of something so obvious.  
Why go through so much trouble to use anything but the feature already built into the machines...
I think the question is 'does a nozzle check print use enough ink to exercise the nozzles sufficiently to prevent clogs'?

Brian A
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: davidh202 on February 20, 2013, 10:26:25 PM
I believe that the simple act of firing each nozzle regularly with even the smallest amount ink from a nozzle check, is definately enough to do the trick.
I think too many people are way over thinking the entire process, getting paranoid, and way too technical.
 It is primarily the lack of use that causes the biggest problems. If you at least do a daily nozzle check if you are not actually printing often, you should be just fine by just printing 1 or 2 nozzle checks at least every couple of days.!
I use plain office paper and print a check on one side, then flip over and print a second one if I don't print for a few days.
If your talking about not printing for weeks or months at I time, well that's a whole other subject that I don't even care to get into...

 
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 20, 2013, 10:37:30 PM
I believe that the simple act of firing each nozzle regularly with even the smallest amount ink from a nozzle check, is definately enough to do the trick.
I think too many people are way over thinking the entire process, getting paranoid, and way too technical.
 It is primarily the lack of use that causes the biggest problems. If you at least do a daily nozzle check if you are not actually printing often, you should be just fine by just printing 1 or 2 nozzle checks at least every couple of days.!
I use plain office paper and print a check on one side, then flip over and print a second one.
 

You believe that so you can't say it's "definitely enough to do the trick". If you KNEW that it would be a different story. :-)

I happen to "believe" that a nozzle check alone is inadequate to assure trouble free performance. This is because it uses so little ink that virtually nothing actually moves through the whole delivery system to keep it wet. These printers are meant to make prints, not just nozzle checks. If you don't use them to make prints regularly, under-use and low humidity are the two key recipes for trouble. Epson pro-graphics people with whom I have raised these issues make these points consistently every time, so I have no reason to believe otherwise. A page of patches or a rainbow or better still real photographs run through the printers at least every several days is much more likely to keep you out of trouble than doing only nozzle checks.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Darrel on February 20, 2013, 11:25:04 PM
I made the printer exercise image a couple months back for my Canon 8300.  Since I do not print on a hardly any gloss paper, I make a plot file using gloss media settings, but print on plain cheap paper.  While there has been some talk on other threads about printing an 8X11 or nozzle check every few days, I do not think that is enough, as you will be hardly doing anything with PM, PC or BK/MBK depending on media type.  The test print runs about 1ml of ink total, roughly 0.1 ml per color. So printing this out 3 times a week will use 150ml per year.  This was just a quick hack image for now, ideally you would want to send another image with a few squares of MBK ink, to exercise you MBK if your main image is set for gloss papers.

If you would like to print unattended while on vacation, the LPR DOS command will send your plotfile to the printer, which can be scheduled by the windows task scheduler, with the LPR command in a batch file.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: TylerB on February 21, 2013, 12:01:11 AM
printing the calibration page in calibration mode in QTR will print a step wedge of all carts individually, even the light inks separately from their darker component...
Tyler
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: RHPS on February 21, 2013, 04:10:51 AM
printing the calibration page in calibration mode in QTR will print a step wedge of all carts individually, even the light inks separately from their darker component...
Tyler
I second that. A great tool for exercising colors individually, and very easy to make "purge" images that truly use only one ink. Not much use to Canon users unfortunately.....
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Stephen G on February 21, 2013, 04:51:20 AM
printing the calibration page in calibration mode in QTR will print a step wedge of all carts individually, even the light inks separately from their darker component

Yes, useful, but it ignores the orange and green inks.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on February 21, 2013, 05:47:46 AM
When I still used Epsons, >6 years ago, I had a small rainbow image next to the prints on a Qimage print page, left or right or both depending on the paper wasted anyway. A 5 feet long 0.4" wide CcMmYK like RGB rainbow image. Length cropped to the print page length, Qimage has features for clipping on the fly. The CcMmYK description in RGB did not have to be accurate as long as all the head channels were kept busy at some demand during the print page run. So the full yellow that was only in the last image to print still got a functioning yellow channel. Desperate measures in my opinion but I have seen RIPs with that feature, calibrate and profile targets with that addition.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.



Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: TylerB on February 21, 2013, 08:59:32 AM
It does print O & G as well, do you have the 10 channel ink sep file? When Roy was first working on 9900 support I tested it for him, I know it works.
Tyler
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 21, 2013, 03:22:44 PM
I believe that the simple act of firing each nozzle regularly with even the smallest amount ink from a nozzle check, is definately enough to do the trick.
It's definitely not enough to do the trick if you are trying to avoid the problem of some air being pulled back into the nozzle after a clean.  This manifests itself when after doing a clean a nozzle check shows different nozzles "clogged" ... which aren't really clogged, just some air.  You can print several nozzle checks and still not get enough ink.

I don't know how much it takes, and my page might use more than necessary (thus my plan on reducing it down). But a nozzle check isn't anywhere near enough ink.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Scott Martin on February 21, 2013, 03:49:16 PM
a nozzle check isn't anywhere near enough ink.

I agree and wish Epson and Canon had an option to put down what's enough to ensure proper maintenance during periods of inactivity. If they could help us protect ourselves from under-usage it would be a big help! And you would think they would know how best to go about this, and welcome the extra ink usage.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: enduser on February 21, 2013, 05:51:51 PM
With my Canon I just do a calibration and that guarantees every color is used.  As has been said before, "Calibrate often". ;)
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: JohnHeerema on February 21, 2013, 09:14:14 PM
Quote
I don't know how much it takes, and my page might use more than necessary (thus my plan on reducing it down). But a nozzle check isn't anywhere near enough ink.

I've done a bit of experimentation with my 9900. For me, in my environment, one page a day isn't quite enough to completely avoid clogs, but two pages is. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Stephen G on February 21, 2013, 11:31:17 PM
It does print O & G as well, do you have the 10 channel ink sep file? When Roy was first working on 9900 support I tested it for him, I know it works.
Tyler

Ah hah. thank you.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Wayne Fox on February 21, 2013, 11:38:03 PM
I agree and wish Epson and Canon had an option to put down what's enough to ensure proper maintenance during periods of inactivity. If they could help us protect ourselves from under-usage it would be a big help! And you would think they would know how best to go about this, and welcome the extra ink usage.

+1
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 21, 2013, 11:58:56 PM
On one of these other LULA threads about Epson printer clogs someone posted a home-made app called "holiday mode" offered for download. I downloaded it but haven't unzipped it yet so I have no idea how or whether it works. But it's attached - use at your own risk.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: davidh202 on February 22, 2013, 12:04:08 AM
I'm not arguing with what you say Wayne, but it is power cleans and back to back cleans that cause air to be drawn back .My 7900 is now 2 1/2 years old and my 9890 is at it's 1 year anniversary. I have never had to do a power clean on either machine (knocks on wood), and never had a instance of more nozzles dropping out after a clean and nozzle check.
I have had two  instances wherethe 7900 had a complete PK or MK channel drop out after a switch, but have always recovered by allowing the machine to rest for an hour or so and restarting it to pressurize the system again,then re-doing the nozzle check.

I have said before that I have my machines set at the default setting of auto cleans and checks periodically, and I allow them to do their own thing even if it wastes a little ink. Being penny wise and pound foolish with the inks is a surefire way to get into trouble!
My ink costs are built into my costs of doing business and what I charge for my printing services. When I get a "clean me" message I do a nozzle check to see which nozzles are being ornry, and then do a pairs clean. usually when the machine detects a clog it goes into auto clean and it is fixed on it's own without getting "carts too low to clean messages" and having to put new carts in to do the necessary cleaning, and the switch them back out for the old ones .It sure seems to be working for me  ;)  
I guess each machine has it's own quirks, YMMV

David
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: l_d_allan on February 22, 2013, 12:50:05 PM
Here's the current version of my file.  I tweak it a little each time to try and get a perfect balance of all colors but it's getting pretty close now.

I've been doing something similar, especially when evaluating a used printer on CraigsList. IF AND ONLY IF it passes a nozzle check, then I proceed through a series of increasingly challenging "stress tests".

I'm aware this doesn't really test the PM and PC ink nozzles, or the smaller 1 pl and 3 pl nozzles on 4 color Canon inkjets. It does seem to check ink flow overall, especially if the refilled ink cartridges and print-head ink buffers are "breathing" ok.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: cybis on February 22, 2013, 01:00:27 PM
This method (http://lucbusquin.com/content/purge-all-epson-x900-ink-channels) will exercise all nozzles in all channels exactly and equally using QuadtoneRIP on x900.
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: l_d_allan on February 22, 2013, 01:17:36 PM
Personally I think Epson should design this into the firmware ... whenever you print a nozzle check it first prints a small block of each ink color.

Agree !!!!! if for Epson (of which I'm almost completely ignorant).

But I'd have this as a separate check IFF the nozzle check works ok for non-Epson inkjets. Especially with Canon (and HP and others?) using heat too "explode" the ink.

But why stop with that kind of firmware improvement. At one point, I think I recall writting to Canon tech support to suggest adding things like:

And why stop there?
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: TylerB on February 22, 2013, 02:40:59 PM
This method (http://lucbusquin.com/content/purge-all-epson-x900-ink-channels) will exercise all nozzles in all channels exactly and equally using QuadtoneRIP on x900.

cool, I'll try it, thanks!
Title: Re: Dummy Image to Print to Equally Exercise All Ink Channels
Post by: Landscapes on February 22, 2013, 02:43:27 PM
I agree and wish Epson and Canon had an option to put down what's enough to ensure proper maintenance during periods of inactivity. If they could help us protect ourselves from under-usage it would be a big help! And you would think they would know how best to go about this, and welcome the extra ink usage.

I think they much prefer selling new machines, in Epson's case, and new print heads, in Canon's case.  I leave my Canon iPF6100 on all the time, and assume that when I hear it agitate the inks and such that it also spits out a bit of ink.  But I found out that if not used in over 3 days, it does a clean cycle.  In my Epson days, the clean cycle used up 10ml of ink.  Not sure how much the Canon uses since it doesn't report total ink usage like the Epson did, but if it is 10ml of ink then this is far too much when all you wanna do is print a couple of images that would use only 5ml of ink.  So I've gotten into the habit of making sure to either print every 3 days, or do a nozzle check.  This simple procedure has worked well as I have zero clogs, and also it never wants to do a clean cycle before a print.