How long should the Epson inks be good for before they should be replaced? I know that Epson suggests a life span of 6 months after opening/installation in the printer but I have read here and else where that some people have kept partial cartridges in their printers for well over a year. How long is reasonable to keep an ink cartridge in the printer before replacing it even if it has lots of ink left?
SInce I bought a larger format printer, my 3880 doesn't see much use. I probably have cartridges in that have been there for more than two years. I have heard of users with cartridges that have been installed for over three years.
What happens if you leave a partially empty cartridge in the printer too long? Does it begin to settle out or begin to clog with that colour? What about with the black inks, if you never use one of the blacks, say the matte black, could you leave the original MK cartridge in the printer for the whole life of the printer which may be ~5 years?
The PK/MK is more of a problem. There is no way of preventing an accidental PK/MK swap. On Epson’s larger format printers, if you select a media type that requires a different black ink, you get a dialog asking if you really want to do that or if you want to abort the print. On the 3800/3880 the printer will start the ink swap without asking. You can turn it off, but when you turn it back on it will resume the ink change.
You are far better doing a PK/MK switch a few times a year, just to keep things flowing through both.
Can you prolong the life of a cartridge that you may otherwise never use up by taking it out and agitating it?
I don't know if it prolongs the life of the ink, it will probably help prevent pigment particles settling. I do it once in a while. I also have the printer on a stand with castors. It rocks a little each time it prints.
I have heard that the 3880 users some sort of pressure system for moving the ink about in the cartridge, but I can't see how a gentle agitation would hurt once in a while.
On the other hand, you should really be doing some printing once in a while. It costs next to nothing to do a nozzle check print once a week on A4/US letter sized office paper.