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Author Topic: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?  (Read 5161 times)

Noah Waldeck

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Iíve read quite a few threads here and its been a great resource, but this is my first post. I have an Epson 9900 that Iíve had for just over 4 years, which overall has been relatively trouble free. I use it fine art printing, so the machine runs pretty regularly, although when I was first starting out there were times it sat a couple of weeks between uses. The machine says Iíve printed 2650 pages, but I would say a 1/4 to a 1/3  of them could be nozzle checks, since I preform them between at least every few prints. I also regularly switch between black inks depending on the what jobs I have for the day.

About 6 months ago I started getting getting big black smears (usually in the middle of a large print) after printing one or two images. Since then Iíve had to clean the underside of the print head using the lint free cloth and windex method, along with any gunk on the capping station, pretty frequently to prevent this from happening.

Now yesterday after a routine switch from PK to MK, I developed a clog in the cyan channel that will not clean no matter what I do. I have tried all of the cleaning cycles, including power cleaning, the service mode four stages of pairs cleaning, as well as the SS cleaning. I also cleaned the actual wiper for the first time, and it was very dirty. Iím not sure how I missed doing that when the black smears started happening, but I guess I must have found the windex solution first and I didnít investigate further since it was working. I ordered a new wiper yesterday though. Iíve also tried printing large sheets of only cyan, but hasnít helped either.

After reading quite a bit on the Epson 7900 from the inside - out thread as well as the information on Eric Gulbransenís http://myx900.com/ site, I feel like I probably have one of the unclearable clogs. Reading up on things after I had already gone performed all of those cleanings to no avail, it made me nervous that I might have made things worse, but that doesnít seem to be the case. Itís actually only one segment of the cyan channel in the nozzle check that it is missing, but I have never been one to want to print anything with a nozzle check showing any missing segments for fear of banding.

So far the test prints Iíve made since Iíve given up on cleaning havenít showed noticeable banding, so it probably isnít time to abandon this machine quite yet. I have a few very large projects coming up in the next few weeks though, so if things get worse and this machine is rendered useless, I need to decide what Iím going to do ahead of time so I can move quick. Epson has already quoted me what amounts to $2500 for service and parts to fix it if it needs a head which they said it does about 50% of the time. Reading about the issue here seemed to make it seem even more likely that the Epson tech will recommend a head replacement, which just does not seem worth it. Any recommendations of anything else I should try before it gets to that?

The first option Iím considering would just be buying another 9900 to replace it. It seems like there is a lot of people here that have been turned off these issues the x900 series printers have, but does anyone still think theyíre best option out there despite that?  Does anyone know if Epson has taken what people are saying to heart and worked out any of the issues with the newer machines?

Up to this point I hadnít considered anything but an Epson in my future, but the seeming endless issues others have experienced with the x900ís makes switching to a Canon IPF8400 a possibility, since people around here see it as a viable alternative. What are the positives and negatives compared to a 9900? Iíve read that bronzing can be an issue with certain colors and that the B&W printing isnít of the same quality as with the Epson, but in many ways theyíre very similar and in some ways superior, any experiences from people who have had both?

A third option would be to use this as an opportunity to move up to a 60Ē printer. Iíve had to turn away a fair amount of work in the past because I couldnít print large enough, so moving up a larger machine might make sense now if Iím going to be needing one anyway. In that case that puts it between an 11880 and a IPF9400. Obviously the Canon is a much newer machine, which I would assume has a larger gamut and noticeably faster, but it also seems to be going for about $3000 more. Is it worth it? Any thoughts as to the advantages and drawback of either one? How does an 11880 compare with a 9900 as far as print quality, speed, and reliability?

Thanks in advance for everyones help.

Noah
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John Caldwell

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 07:02:54 PM »

...The machine says Iíve printed 2650 pages, but I would say a 1/4 to a 1/3  of them could be nozzle checks

Your statement says it all.

Be prepared for two camps in the discussion you've opened: Those who say that criticism of these printers is not meaningful without a meaningful statistical analysis of true failure rates; and the others who say something is just not right with this printer series, and it's smelled funny from the start.

What you won't hear, I believe, is any party who says the Epson print quality is anything but best of the bunch, when the machines are performing correctly.

John Caldwell
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deanwork

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 07:26:14 PM »

These black smears suggest something  related to your Mk or Pk channel. If you print more matte prints than gloss prints would look at the Mk channel first. There is a lot of pressure going on with this printer and it could just be a bad ink cart.

The first thing I would do before investing in anything new would be to replace your black cart with a new one, even if it is a small cart to start. At this time I would set up a nice work light in front of your printer and pull the head out of it's position and look carefully at your capping station where the head sits and thoroughly clean that area. Don't spray a bunch of windex back there and short the electronics, just very carefully clean the bottom of your print heads and entire area around them.  It really helps to be able to see what your are doing with a shop light.

Don't do endless head cleanings because that will only damage your head. If a couple of power cleaning isn't going to do the job then stop.

The second thing I would do before calling Epson again is to replace the damper assembly. You can purchase that through compass micro and ask them for instructions on how to do this. It's about 300.00 and you have to replace all the dampers as one unit.  These dampers filter the impurities in the inks from the cart to the head and I've heard of people doing this and ending their problems. https://www.compassmicro.com

Since you have had this printer for 4 years it might not be out of the question to have the heads replaced, if you really like this machine. When they are working good they produce amazing prints.

As to the 11880, from what I hear this is really the only truly professional printer that Epson has made. I wish I had one and my primary printer is a Canon 8300, which I love. The 11880 is capable of some of the finest black and white output anywhere, especially if you are using QTR and doing your own linearization, and the color gamut is great. If you can afford it I would go with that.

 I wouldn't say that the 9900 produces better bw output than the Canon when you are using the True Black and White software though. I think they are very close and the Canon doesn't have to use color inks in the mix for a totally neutral print on matt or gloss media. So there is 0 metamerism issue there under various light sources and the gloss differential on gloss fiber media is non existent for me with the papers  I use.

Apart from the earliest iterations of the 11880 printer, I just don't see a lot of people complaining about the 11880. It's expensive but it's a killer printer and you can do anything with it. Both Richard Misrach and Gregory Crewdson are using this printer and for both of them money is not an issue. http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Pro/SeriesStylusPro11880/Overview.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes

John
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 07:38:54 PM by deanwork »
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 10:21:24 PM »

Your statement says it all.

Be prepared for two camps in the discussion you've opened: Those who say that criticism of these printers is not meaningful without a meaningful statistical analysis of true failure rates; and the others who say something is just not right with this printer series, and it's smelled funny from the start.

What you won't hear, I believe, is any party who says the Epson print quality is anything but best of the bunch, when the machines are performing correctly.

John Caldwell
Thanks for the response John. I expected that, but I look forward to hearing what both camps have to say. Up until the black smearing issues started I had been completely satisfied with my 9900, and the print quality is the best that Iíve ever encountered (although I haven't seen prints from the latest generation of Canon's to compare). Although part of me feels disappointed that I'm running into these issues on a 4 year old machine (unlike many consumer good these days, I feel like well cared for professional equipment usually lasts a very long time), reading some other peoples experiences make me feel like maybe I'm fortunate that I went this long without having any. Do you feel like the 11880 encounters the same criticism from just not right/smelled funny from the start camp?
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Paul2660

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 11:11:13 PM »

I believe you have a similar situation that Eric's 7900 had, not a clog but a failure of the pizeo nozzle or the control line for a nozzle.  With all the cleaning you have done, I doubt you will get this part of the head back.  Remember after Eric finally tore open the head, they found no residual ink, nothing at all.  So his problem had to be an issue with some from of electronics. 

You might try a damper replacement, but I don't feel what you are having is due to a damper.  Damper related issues, tend to be 1/2 a entire pattern or a fully empty pattern for one color.  I also don't feel you are experiencing air in the lines, from the MK to PK, as this change should only effect the MK, PK and LLK (LK) I always forget which one is flushed.  The color inks should be left alone.

You might consider the $2500.00 for a new head via the Epson Decision 1 route, however this is only good for 90 days warranty.  The heads that D1 supplies are not reconditioned, they are new, so in theory a new head, should give you another 3 to 4 years of printing.  As previously posted, if you need to later on replace the dampers, that can be done without D1, but it's a bit involved.  You can also replace your head, Eric's site should still have the video that shows the entire process.  I watched one night, mainly for education on the printer.  Remember, if you replace it yourself, you will need the software to re-align the new head.  I believe Eric, also has a way to get that.  The head costs around 1K, so if you feel you are up to the challenge, it might be worth it. 

I recently had to have a head replacement due to permanent damage that my 9900 received from the newer Vibrance Rag from Breathing color (reverse curl problem).  It took the tech about 5  hours to do it and the re-alignment.  He did not replace the dampers. 

On the new printer, well, you have had a 9900, that only leaves the 11880.  I have only used one, not owned one.  The cost of the printer and the ink kept it out of my budget.  The 11880 only takes the 700ml carts, the 9900 has the option for the 150, 350 and 700, I run a mixed bag of sizes in mine.  The head on the 11880 I believe is basically the same tech as the head in the 9900, however you don't have to do a switch for MK and PK, both being live.  I would love to have the 60 inch capacity, but the jobs I have passed up due to not having it, are not as many as they used to be.  If you can justify the larger size, cost and ink's then the 11880 might be the best choice.  It's been a very reliable printer.

Canon seems to also have their head around printing, and of course you can replace the heads, when you need to.  That alone would make me lean towards Canon, if you can live without the 60" size.  I personally don't feel I could see the difference between the output from a 8400 and 9900, and if it takes a loupe, then it really doesn't matter, most folks are looking that close.  The experts claim the Canon's don't quite have the same dithering detail as Epson but the output I believe is very close.

For B&W, I like the output I get from the Epson ABW module, on rag glossy and satin or canvas.  I have not worked with the Canon solution but have read many good reviews on it.  The Epson ABW module is not near a perfect solution, but it gets the job done for me.  Quadtone supports the 9900 and I may revisit that solution later this year  I tried it on my 9880 printers and never could get a good curve for most of my papers.  From reading the "Digital Print" it seems that Quadtone is a bit more user friendly on the MAC side, and I will most likely try that version.

It it were me, I would roll the dice on a new head, and set of dampers on the existing 9900.  There really is not much else to cause problems, besides a main board and you just don't hear much about those going bad unless lightening is involved. 

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 11:20:26 PM »

These black smears suggest something  related to your Mk or Pk channel. If you print more matte prints than gloss prints would look at the Mk channel first. There is a lot of pressure going on with this printer and it could just be a bad ink cart.

The first thing I would do before investing in anything new would be to replace your black cart with a new one, even if it is a small cart to start. At this time I would set up a nice work light in front of your printer and pull the head out of it's position and look carefully at your capping station where the head sits and thoroughly clean that area. Don't spray a bunch of windex back there and short the electronics, just very carefully clean the bottom of your print heads and entire area around them.  It really helps to be able to see what your are doing with a shop light.

Don't do endless head cleanings because that will only damage your head. If a couple of power cleaning isn't going to do the job then stop.

The second thing I would do before calling Epson again is to replace the damper assembly. You can purchase that through compass micro and ask them for instructions on how to do this. It's about 300.00 and you have to replace all the dampers as one unit.  These dampers filter the impurities in the inks from the cart to the head and I've heard of people doing this and ending their problems. https://www.compassmicro.com

Since you have had this printer for 4 years it might not be out of the question to have the heads replaced, if you really like this machine. When they are working good they produce amazing prints.

As to the 11880, from what I hear this is really the only truly professional printer that Epson has made. I wish I had one and my primary printer is a Canon 8300, which I love. The 11880 is capable of some of the finest black and white output anywhere, especially if you are using QTR and doing your own linearization, and the color gamut is great. If you can afford it I would go with that.

 I wouldn't say that the 9900 produces better bw output than the Canon when you are using the True Black and White software though. I think they are very close and the Canon doesn't have to use color inks in the mix for a totally neutral print on matt or gloss media. So there is 0 metamerism issue there under various light sources and the gloss differential on gloss fiber media is non existent for me with the papers  I use.

Apart from the earliest iterations of the 11880 printer, I just don't see a lot of people complaining about the 11880. It's expensive but it's a killer printer and you can do anything with it. Both Richard Misrach and Gregory Crewdson are using this printer and for both of them money is not an issue. http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Pro/SeriesStylusPro11880/Overview.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes

John


Hi John, thanks for the tip on a possibly bad ink cart causing the black smearing. It seems to happen considerably more on PK prints, although sometime I get it on MK too although it's more likely to be near the edge than the middle of a print. I feel like my usage is pretty evenly split between black inks. Cleaning the capping station along with the underside of the head is what has helped me get around the smearing issue so far. I'm thinking the dirty wiper, which I just found out about may have been a factor in causing it too.

Would changing the damper assembly help with an unclearable clogged nozzle or just prevent further clogs? I'm certainly willing to consider $300 for a fix, but I'm reluctant to spend over half the cost of a brand new machine on something that now 4 years old and has no warranty should the same thing happen again in 6 months. Does anyone know what's been the long term outcome for people who have gone through with a head replacement? I'm still extremely pleased with the 9900's print quality, so I would definitely consider buying another one, and maybe even adding the extended warranty as insurance should the next machine not go 4 years before it starts having these problems.

This is where the possibility of switching to to a Canon might make sense though, if the print quality has gotten to the point where its close to indistinguishable from the Epson, but is a more reliable, trouble free machine. It's good to know good B&W results can be had from the Canon as well.

That's good to know that 11880 are thought to be relatively trouble free, I'd be interested to hear if anyone who has one has had any issues. There is a thread on here somewhere from someone who has three 11880ís that was considering switching to Canon because of an ink dripping issue he was having. Fortunately for the them, Crewdson and Misrach wouldn't have an issue with the cost of replacing one either if they needed to. Since the ink set is the same between the 11880 and the 9900 (with exception of orange and green) I would imagine print quality would be very similar unless you were proofing spot colors. Has anyone here had any experience using both? John, as an 8300 owner what makes you wish you had an 11880 over a IPF9400?
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pfigen

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2014, 05:07:16 AM »

In my studio there is a 9800, a 9900, and an 11880. I can't see any visible difference in output between the 9900 and the 11880, but I'm sure it's possible to find some digitally generated test file that would show something. The 9900 is faster but the 11880 has all inks available at any time, which is a big plus - no black switching. It's a big ass printer but it's solid.
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deanwork

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 12:33:40 PM »

It is a shame that you have to do that switching all the time between PK and Mk. There are situations where people say that is where their problems come from in terms of ink build up, but since I don't use my Epson in that way I'm certainly no expert. That is one of the real advantages of the 11880, not having to switch, and it's not a minor thing if you want to do one print gloss and the next matte all the time like I do.

As to printing black and white on Canon my feeling is that I generally end up with more subtle prints on the HPZ using their quad ink set up than I do with the Canon printing on matt rag and part of that is due to the HP having the best dmax of them all, by far. However I have to say that I'm so happy and experienced with the Z prints on matt paper that I've never really gotten down into making extremely accurate grayscale profiles for the Canon for matte. But for bw prints on the Canon 8300 on the fiber gloss papers like Hah Fine A Pearl, Harmon, and FA Baryta I definitely prefer the Canon prints. They come out of the printer with no gloss differential at all, even with total black backgrounds. I think Canon really worked on that. Epson is not bad in that regard but Canon is better. This is with True Black and White software and only using 3 grays with no color inks. The HP prints look very nice on these papers but I tend to always want to spray them with the uv coat to smooth out that last bit of gloss differential even though it has a gloss enhancer channel, but it is subtle. Honesty I spray the Canon prints too, more to protect the whiteners in the paper and give them a little more durability and the uv coat makes the pure blacks darker.

Epson bw prints done through the ABW driver with a good profile look ok on most papers but there always seems to be something missing to me, especially with neutral output, usually some color cast popping out somewhere. Using QTR I have always gotten much superior results but you need to do good linearization to get the most out of it. The Epson gray inks are not neutral, but rather more the color of pure carbon which can be a little warm tending toward green, so you really need the magenta and cyan to balance things out. I have friends that have made excellent neutral QTR or Studio Print workflows with the new Epson printers, but in all cases that I have seen there is some color change when moving the print from a daylight light source to a tungsten one for exhibition. You see it more when you have a wide dynamic range between lights and darks. This is also true of the Canon OEM BW approach ( not True Black and White software ) that uses some color inks, and if you put much color ink in the HP mix you run into that too. With QTR on the Epsons you reduce this problem to about 90 % but it isn't 100% eliminated.

I believe for large prints especially there won't be much difference in the color gamut and clarity of the 60" Canon and the 11880. For very small prints ( what is not what these printers are generally used for ) I think the 11880 printing at 16 bit 2880 from an excellent file might have a little edge with dither smoothness and even resolution especially with bw were it is more notable. If you were to do massive production of big prints I would go with the Canon because at bidirectional this printer just flies and the quality is excellent at the higher speed, even with 16 bit. The big Canon is truly a monster in size and takes up a lot of space and takes many people to move it. It may end up lasting you longer since you can easily replace the heads yourself and the thing is built like a tank.

The 11880s are running about $6,500-$7,000 and the IPF is running $8,500.00 to $9,500 depending on when and where you buy it. So I'd expect you to pay a couple of thousand more for the Canon, which I see now is not that much of a difference all things considered. You can find factory refurbished 11880s out there though with a one year warranty for about $5,000.00 or less. I wouldn't  buy another Epson except for the 3880 and the 11880. I think they perfected these models in ways the others fall short of with all those ink pressure issues. Just my opinionÖ.

john


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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 09:18:44 AM »

I believe you have a similar situation that Eric's 7900 had, not a clog but a failure of the pizeo nozzle or the control line for a nozzle.  With all the cleaning you have done, I doubt you will get this part of the head back.  Remember after Eric finally tore open the head, they found no residual ink, nothing at all.  So his problem had to be an issue with some from of electronics. 

You might try a damper replacement, but I don't feel what you are having is due to a damper.  Damper related issues, tend to be 1/2 a entire pattern or a fully empty pattern for one color.  I also don't feel you are experiencing air in the lines, from the MK to PK, as this change should only effect the MK, PK and LLK (LK) I always forget which one is flushed.  The color inks should be left alone.

You might consider the $2500.00 for a new head via the Epson Decision 1 route, however this is only good for 90 days warranty.  The heads that D1 supplies are not reconditioned, they are new, so in theory a new head, should give you another 3 to 4 years of printing.  As previously posted, if you need to later on replace the dampers, that can be done without D1, but it's a bit involved.  You can also replace your head, Eric's site should still have the video that shows the entire process.  I watched one night, mainly for education on the printer.  Remember, if you replace it yourself, you will need the software to re-align the new head.  I believe Eric, also has a way to get that.  The head costs around 1K, so if you feel you are up to the challenge, it might be worth it. 

I recently had to have a head replacement due to permanent damage that my 9900 received from the newer Vibrance Rag from Breathing color (reverse curl problem).  It took the tech about 5  hours to do it and the re-alignment.  He did not replace the dampers. 

On the new printer, well, you have had a 9900, that only leaves the 11880.  I have only used one, not owned one.  The cost of the printer and the ink kept it out of my budget.  The 11880 only takes the 700ml carts, the 9900 has the option for the 150, 350 and 700, I run a mixed bag of sizes in mine.  The head on the 11880 I believe is basically the same tech as the head in the 9900, however you don't have to do a switch for MK and PK, both being live.  I would love to have the 60 inch capacity, but the jobs I have passed up due to not having it, are not as many as they used to be.  If you can justify the larger size, cost and ink's then the 11880 might be the best choice.  It's been a very reliable printer.

Canon seems to also have their head around printing, and of course you can replace the heads, when you need to.  That alone would make me lean towards Canon, if you can live without the 60" size.  I personally don't feel I could see the difference between the output from a 8400 and 9900, and if it takes a loupe, then it really doesn't matter, most folks are looking that close.  The experts claim the Canon's don't quite have the same dithering detail as Epson but the output I believe is very close.

For B&W, I like the output I get from the Epson ABW module, on rag glossy and satin or canvas.  I have not worked with the Canon solution but have read many good reviews on it.  The Epson ABW module is not near a perfect solution, but it gets the job done for me.  Quadtone supports the 9900 and I may revisit that solution later this year  I tried it on my 9880 printers and never could get a good curve for most of my papers.  From reading the "Digital Print" it seems that Quadtone is a bit more user friendly on the MAC side, and I will most likely try that version.

It it were me, I would roll the dice on a new head, and set of dampers on the existing 9900.  There really is not much else to cause problems, besides a main board and you just don't hear much about those going bad unless lightening is involved. 

Paul

Hi Paul, thanks for your feedback. If there isn't much else to go wrong after a head and damper replacement on the I still might consider that as an option. I came into the shop this morning with an Fatal Error 3000 message on the 9900, I'm not sure what that's about or if it's related to my other issues, but I read that it's due to AC supply problem. I have it on a surge protector, and when I restarted the machine it seems to be working.  The positive opinions on the 11880 might have me leaning in that direction if more failed nozzles have me needing to move forward with something.
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014, 09:22:15 AM »

In my studio there is a 9800, a 9900, and an 11880. I can't see any visible difference in output between the 9900 and the 11880, but I'm sure it's possible to find some digitally generated test file that would show something. The 9900 is faster but the 11880 has all inks available at any time, which is a big plus - no black switching. It's a big ass printer but it's solid.

Not having to switch between blacks seems like it would more than equal out for the slightly slower speed of 11880 compared to the 9900. Good to hear another positive vote for the 11880 from someone who has both. Thanks.
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2014, 09:47:14 AM »

It is a shame that you have to do that switching all the time between PK and Mk. There are situations where people say that is where their problems come from in terms of ink build up, but since I don't use my Epson in that way I'm certainly no expert. That is one of the real advantages of the 11880, not having to switch, and it's not a minor thing if you want to do one print gloss and the next matte all the time like I do.

As to printing black and white on Canon my feeling is that I generally end up with more subtle prints on the HPZ using their quad ink set up than I do with the Canon printing on matt rag and part of that is due to the HP having the best dmax of them all, by far. However I have to say that I'm so happy and experienced with the Z prints on matt paper that I've never really gotten down into making extremely accurate grayscale profiles for the Canon for matte. But for bw prints on the Canon 8300 on the fiber gloss papers like Hah Fine A Pearl, Harmon, and FA Baryta I definitely prefer the Canon prints. They come out of the printer with no gloss differential at all, even with total black backgrounds. I think Canon really worked on that. Epson is not bad in that regard but Canon is better. This is with True Black and White software and only using 3 grays with no color inks. The HP prints look very nice on these papers but I tend to always want to spray them with the uv coat to smooth out that last bit of gloss differential even though it has a gloss enhancer channel, but it is subtle. Honesty I spray the Canon prints too, more to protect the whiteners in the paper and give them a little more durability and the uv coat makes the pure blacks darker.

Epson bw prints done through the ABW driver with a good profile look ok on most papers but there always seems to be something missing to me, especially with neutral output, usually some color cast popping out somewhere. Using QTR I have always gotten much superior results but you need to do good linearization to get the most out of it. The Epson gray inks are not neutral, but rather more the color of pure carbon which can be a little warm tending toward green, so you really need the magenta and cyan to balance things out. I have friends that have made excellent neutral QTR or Studio Print workflows with the new Epson printers, but in all cases that I have seen there is some color change when moving the print from a daylight light source to a tungsten one for exhibition. You see it more when you have a wide dynamic range between lights and darks. This is also true of the Canon OEM BW approach ( not True Black and White software ) that uses some color inks, and if you put much color ink in the HP mix you run into that too. With QTR on the Epsons you reduce this problem to about 90 % but it isn't 100% eliminated.

I believe for large prints especially there won't be much difference in the color gamut and clarity of the 60" Canon and the 11880. For very small prints ( what is not what these printers are generally used for ) I think the 11880 printing at 16 bit 2880 from an excellent file might have a little edge with dither smoothness and even resolution especially with bw were it is more notable. If you were to do massive production of big prints I would go with the Canon because at bidirectional this printer just flies and the quality is excellent at the higher speed, even with 16 bit. The big Canon is truly a monster in size and takes up a lot of space and takes many people to move it. It may end up lasting you longer since you can easily replace the heads yourself and the thing is built like a tank.

The 11880s are running about $6,500-$7,000 and the IPF is running $8,500.00 to $9,500 depending on when and where you buy it. So I'd expect you to pay a couple of thousand more for the Canon, which I see now is not that much of a difference all things considered. You can find factory refurbished 11880s out there though with a one year warranty for about $5,000.00 or less. I wouldn't  buy another Epson except for the 3880 and the 11880. I think they perfected these models in ways the others fall short of with all those ink pressure issues. Just my opinion….

john

I agree, not having to switch blacks would be a major benefit for my workflow. I usually try to arrange my printing for the day start with prints made with whatever black ink I was using last, make all of those prints and then switch to the other black to make those prints. Sometimes I get more orders as the day goes on though that necessitate me to switch back again that same day. The black switching feature on the 9900 was great compared to the 7880 I was coming from, but is still by no means ideal.

Thanks for the additional info with regards to printing B&W between the two brands. It seems like there are very workable solutions out there for both. Between the 11880 and the 9400 it sounds like you're paying a bit more for a high volume production machine. Since the heads are consumable on the Canon's and meant to be replaced, I wonder if over the lifetime of the machine does the cost of replacing several of them end up equaling out to 1 head replacement on an Epson? How long have you had your 8300 John? Has it needed any heads yet?

Also does anyone have experience with a factory refurbished 11880? Are they a good deal or more prone to issues?
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deanwork

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 11:06:05 AM »

I've had my 8300 for 3 years. I've had to replace three heads but have not paid a penny for any of them and they overnighted the heads to me each time so I lost no time and they were very accommodating. A child could put these heads in, it's that easy.  Canon knew there were some issues with certain batches of heads not living up their projected lifetime and they as much admitted that to me, which I found extremely refreshing. None of that pay to talk to the tech rep crap when I was out of warranty or the we'll charge your credit card a grand to even come out and look, then blaming everything on you. This last guy at Canon assured me that they have an updated head design now and the old issues with bad batches or flaws is fixed. Time will tell, but I don't see anyone complaining about the new heads.  My problems were just in one channel but they replaced both heads anyway and had it done the next morning.

 I have no doubt that if these last ones had any issues they would replace them again. However, I wouldn't complain if I have to pay next time, because I've put a lot of prints through these machines. The difference between the thermal heads in my experience with both the Canon and the HP is that when they go, they go, and you pop another one in. With the piezo heads like Epson you can have to dick around with them for a month or a year or more before you finally give up on it wasting more and more ink along the way. Also some of the issues with Epson channels going out are not the actual print heads but issues with the pressurized system that feeds them and that is a complex situation that I don't fully understand, and that is often why you need to have a tech come out and charge you an arm and a leg to evaluate it. I"ve heard that replacing the heads on the 11880 is not difficult and can be done by most halfway mechanically inclined users ( unlike the 9900 series) . The difficulty is finding heads since Epson are real pricks about offering them to us anymore. I used to just buy the heads from Compas Micro and do them myself. Several years ago Compas Micro told me that Epson made them quit selling print heads for Epson large format machines because " people were doing things they shouldn't be doing with them ", and I said like what? making their printers last longer and saving money?

If I were you I would try to contact a dealer and get the emails of some people who are long term users of both the 11880 and the big Canons. I think probably you would be happy with either but there is no substitute to talking to people who use them day in and day out. One of the things about the Epson printers is that they want to be used, they don't like just sitting there without something going through them.

J
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vjbelle

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 12:18:27 PM »

My 9900, which I've had for 3 years, has developed a Magenta Nozzle clog which I can't remedy...... and I've tried all remedies including starting the printer in maintenance mode.  So, I'm done with Epson.  I moved to Epson from a Canon ipf8000 thinking I would get a better print but that was not the case.  The only thing I gained was better BW printing which Canon remedied with its later series of printers.  My 9900 was troublesome from the beginning with a major teardown and head replacement during its first year.  I told myself then that if/when I developed clogging issues that I couldn't fix that I would move on.... and I am - back to Canon.  My ipf8400 arrives today at a total cost of just around $3000.00 and includes a complete set of 330 ml ink.  My 9900 only came with a set of starter ink.  I never had an issue with my first Canon and have learned all my lessons.  My 2 cents......

Victor
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Pete Berry

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 01:35:07 PM »

My 9900, which I've had for 3 years, has developed a Magenta Nozzle clog which I can't remedy...... and I've tried all remedies including starting the printer in maintenance mode.  So, I'm done with Epson.  I moved to Epson from a Canon ipf8000 thinking I would get a better print but that was not the case.  The only thing I gained was better BW printing which Canon remedied with its later series of printers.  My 9900 was troublesome from the beginning with a major teardown and head replacement during its first year.  I told myself then that if/when I developed clogging issues that I couldn't fix that I would move on.... and I am - back to Canon.  My ipf8400 arrives today at a total cost of just around $3000.00 and includes a complete set of 330 ml ink.  My 9900 only came with a set of starter ink.  I never had an issue with my first Canon and have learned all my lessons.  My 2 cents......

Victor

Canon's iPF series pricing is pretty extraordinary, with the retail value of ink supplied, added to the cost of two replacement heads, coming very close to the cost of the new printer ($2000 + $800 for the 8400). So when the heads eventually fail, a new unit is almost a no-brainer with the year's warranty. I've just done this for the second time in seven years with my iPF 5000/5100.

Pete
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John Francis

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2014, 03:22:59 PM »

Have you considered a third-party flush kit such as one from Inkjetmall?
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deanwork

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2014, 03:31:09 PM »

$3,000.00 for a 8400? That's unbelievable. That has got to be the best value in the business. They really want to take some of that market share away from Epson which still has a vastly larger user base. They are probably selling these for cost or less. Yea you could buy the printer and two extra heads and still be way under the competition.  I really don't see that there is much to wear out on this IPF units other than the heads. They don't have the belts like the HPS to worry about.

j
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2014, 02:03:28 PM »

I've had my 8300 for 3 years. I've had to replace three heads but have not paid a penny for any of them and they overnighted the heads to me each time so I lost no time and they were very accommodating. A child could put these heads in, it's that easy.  Canon knew there were some issues with certain batches of heads not living up their projected lifetime and they as much admitted that to me, which I found extremely refreshing. None of that pay to talk to the tech rep crap when I was out of warranty or the we'll charge your credit card a grand to even come out and look, then blaming everything on you. This last guy at Canon assured me that they have an updated head design now and the old issues with bad batches or flaws is fixed. Time will tell, but I don't see anyone complaining about the new heads.  My problems were just in one channel but they replaced both heads anyway and had it done the next morning.

 I have no doubt that if these last ones had any issues they would replace them again. However, I wouldn't complain if I have to pay next time, because I've put a lot of prints through these machines. The difference between the thermal heads in my experience with both the Canon and the HP is that when they go, they go, and you pop another one in. With the piezo heads like Epson you can have to dick around with them for a month or a year or more before you finally give up on it wasting more and more ink along the way. Also some of the issues with Epson channels going out are not the actual print heads but issues with the pressurized system that feeds them and that is a complex situation that I don't fully understand, and that is often why you need to have a tech come out and charge you an arm and a leg to evaluate it. I"ve heard that replacing the heads on the 11880 is not difficult and can be done by most halfway mechanically inclined users ( unlike the 9900 series) . The difficulty is finding heads since Epson are real pricks about offering them to us anymore. I used to just buy the heads from Compas Micro and do them myself. Several years ago Compas Micro told me that Epson made them quit selling print heads for Epson large format machines because " people were doing things they shouldn't be doing with them ", and I said like what? making their printers last longer and saving money?

If I were you I would try to contact a dealer and get the emails of some people who are long term users of both the 11880 and the big Canons. I think probably you would be happy with either but there is no substitute to talking to people who use them day in and day out. One of the things about the Epson printers is that they want to be used, they don't like just sitting there without something going through them.

J

It sounds like Canon is making a concerted effort to give their customers a positive experience, as opposed to Epson who doesn't really seem to care. I haven't found anyone so far complaining about being unhappy with switching to Canon. That's good advice about contacting a dealer, I think I'll do that.
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2014, 02:09:14 PM »

My 9900, which I've had for 3 years, has developed a Magenta Nozzle clog which I can't remedy...... and I've tried all remedies including starting the printer in maintenance mode.  So, I'm done with Epson.  I moved to Epson from a Canon ipf8000 thinking I would get a better print but that was not the case.  The only thing I gained was better BW printing which Canon remedied with its later series of printers.  My 9900 was troublesome from the beginning with a major teardown and head replacement during its first year.  I told myself then that if/when I developed clogging issues that I couldn't fix that I would move on.... and I am - back to Canon.  My ipf8400 arrives today at a total cost of just around $3000.00 and includes a complete set of 330 ml ink.  My 9900 only came with a set of starter ink.  I never had an issue with my first Canon and have learned all my lessons.  My 2 cents......

Victor

Thanks for your input Victor. The negative experiences a seemly large number of people are having with the x900's and positive experience people seem to have when switching to a Canon certainly makes me consider doing that myself. So does that pricing, can I ask where you purchased yours?
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2014, 02:10:59 PM »

Have you considered a third-party flush kit such as one from Inkjetmall?

From reading other peoples experiences with the same issue it doesn't seem likely to fix the problem. If someone has an experience with that working though, I'd love to here it.
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Noah Waldeck

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Re: Which Printer to Replace an Epson 9900 with Clogged Nozzles?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2014, 02:22:09 PM »

$3,000.00 for a 8400? That's unbelievable. That has got to be the best value in the business. They really want to take some of that market share away from Epson which still has a vastly larger user base. They are probably selling these for cost or less. Yea you could buy the printer and two extra heads and still be way under the competition.  I really don't see that there is much to wear out on this IPF units other than the heads. They don't have the belts like the HPS to worry about.

j

That really does seem like the best value as 44" machines go. I really am leaning toward using this as an opportunity to move up to a 60" machine though In that case it seems like there are much better deals to be had on an 11880 that a IPF9400. Although if you include the value of the included ink maybe it's not really that much of a difference. You mentioned in an earlier post you've seen refurbished 11880 going for $5000, may I ask where that was?
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