So, I purchased an Epson 7900 in May of 2010 . It worked BEAUTIFULLY for 13 months, and I was in love with the prints that came out!
This July, however, the LLK channel got clogged, and no amount of cleaning (or power cleaning) would help (still printing the same clogged pattern, consistently only in LLK section - other inks are fine). Along with the clogging came horizontal gray bending (now I have gray lines on my prints), which I am sure is caused by the clogging problem.
I read this forum a lot, and researched the heck out of this clogging and banding problem, and tried just about all the possible solutions in the service manual - to no avail. I am also noticing that this is a VERY common problem with 7900s during their first, second, third year of life.
Of course, the printer by now is out of warranty. So I started calling Epson service centers to find out the costs of repair. I live in Chicago, and was expecting the quote to be maybe $500 – $700 on the high end - but boy, was I NOT prepared for the astronomical numbers they gave me! Turns out, the closest service center is 20-30 miles outside of the city! Over the phone, a rep (who was brief and not very friendly) concluded that a print head replacement was necessary, which alone costs $1300!! What??! Then, a service call would consist of a $100 travel fee, plus a 3-4 hour job at $175 / per hour. And then maybe, just maybe the problem will be fixed. Or not. That's close to $2000 repair without any guarantee whatsoever that I'll end up with a fully working printer! All this for just ONE color not working! ...Gulp...what?!! what???!!!!!!
In hindsight, of course, realize that I should have purchased a warranty extension, which is also pricey, by the way, at $750 per year. But I didn't. Because I thought I had a quality working machine. Which is not supposed to break down after a mere 13 months!!
So my bigger question is (well, make that several questions): WHY are Epsons so darn fragile? Are they just DESIGNED to break? And why does Epson 7900 business model demand ASTRONOMICAL repairs for a minor problem, that is nearly just as expensive as the machine itself? And why does Epson community seem to just accept this as a fact of life? (or do they?)
In the meantime, my very first ever large format printer, the 24" HP DesignJet 130 (now serving as a back-up printer), is a little work horse, and has been plugging along since 2002. Yes, it is not as versatile or fast as Epson, but it makes quality prints, and has not given me a single problem in all of 9 years! (except for seven or eight failed print heads, which are super easy to replace and cost about $35 a piece). So I know technology CAN be durable, and it is up to the manufacturer to focus on making good equipment or to just be in business of selling paper and ink (and I think, Epson chooses the latter).
As for me - no thanks, Epson 7900, I am not spending that much dough just for the possibility of bringing you back to normal. I will go back to printing on my 9 yr-old HP, then save my money, and buy me Canon or a new HP printer. I no longer like you, Epson. You are a huge disappointment. Just remember, that by selling me a flimsy, sensitive, and expensive-to-fix machine you have lost my future paper and ink business as well.
I'm afraid to ask...but anyone has input on this?