Thought I'd add a bit to my ongoing saga of the 9900. As you are aware, Ive been awaiting yet another service call. My first call to Epson for this latest issue was placed a week ago yesterday and the service tech finally arrived about an hour ago. So that's a week and a day after the first call. Hey...just saying. I was originally thinking I would post this outside of this thread, but then decided it might get more input here.
Just a short recap of the present situation. About a week and a half ago I noticed a light band on a print about 1/2" from the lead edge. Ran a nozzle check and everything was 100%, so another print and the same thing again. Now, at this stage I'm going to cut to the chase. Suffice to say that after trying everything the manual has to offer for banding issues and then talking with Epson and sending them a test showing the problem as well as a perfect nozzle pattern, the service call was ordered. And to the point of this post - one of the first things the service tech noticed and questioned me on is that fact that I was using a couple of "expired" carts. Now I can't say that his comment was in any way surprising. I can say that I've been using expired Epson carts on my two 7600s for many years without issue and on the 9900 as well. However, with all of the service calls I've had on the 9900, I don't recall the cart expiry date ever being mentioned. Perhaps this is some sort of new edict from Epson to make sure their cart sales are maintained. Cynical...who, me? I realize this is something that's been covered in the past, but most replies were of course anecdotal by nature. I suppose what I'm looking for here is some replies from those who might have experienced issues that were proven to be directly related to using expired carts. The explanation from the service tech(echoing that from Epson obviously) was that the ink can settle and cause a type of "sludge" in the print head once the expiry date has been exceeded. I suppose that to some extent that explanation does make some sense, although I have used carts in other Epson printers, 4000,7600s and 9900 for many for many years that were past their 'best before' date. And I'm reasonably certain that routine is quite common through this community as well. However, be that as it may, some actual evidence of a relationship between expired carts and print head problems would definitely add some credence to this claim. When the Tech came in this morning I first ran a nozzle check and as usual it showed no problem at all. My next test of an 8x10 neutral grad image showed very noticeable horizontal banding, the reason for the original Epson call. The Tech performed a number of other tests and then finally installed the new print head. Problem solved! Not sure why, but it works. I would love to know if Epson ever runs any sort of diagnostics on 'dead' heads to perhaps discover the cause if their demise.
Anyone experiencing issues with expired carts, please reply. Anyone still using expired carts without noticeable problems, please reply.
Oh yes, one more interesting note here. Well interesting IMO. I have a humidifier running close to the printer and try to keep it above 40% when possible. I asked the Tech his opinion on what effect humidity has on these printers, expecting him to say that it must be maintained at a certain level. His response was actually rather cavalier, as he said that in his experience humidity levels are not terribly critical. Go figure!
Thank you for your patience.