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Author Topic: Print not good: Epson 3880  (Read 6047 times)

ymc226

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Print not good: Epson 3880
« on: June 11, 2016, 09:59:04 am »

I usually use Image Print 9 and an Epson 3880 which has resulted in excellent results.  Having not used the printer for about 6 months, I ran a print through and had this come out.  The colors are way off, no detail is seen and there are thick vertical stripes on the print.  I've never encountered this.  Can someone tell me what is going on so I can try to correct this.  I've tried to print directly from Lightroom and downloaded the El Capitan driver directly from Epson but my Mac mini still states the driver can't be located.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2016, 10:07:15 am »

When was the last time you did a nozzle check and cleaned the printhead?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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ymc226

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2016, 10:37:33 am »

Thank you.  I did a full cleaning and everything is back in order.  I did notice that some of my cartridges have expiration dates dating back to mid 2014.  Is this a potential problem in expired ink clogging up the system?
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howardm

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2016, 10:42:37 am »

no, shouldn't be a problem (many of us are running much older ink than 2014) but you may want to get on a semi-regular schedule of gently agitating the carts eitehr by rocking the printer itself or taking out the carts (an idea I personally strongly do not like since it puts wear-n-tear on the chip reader contacts or the seal around cart outlet.

Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2016, 12:12:56 pm »

no, shouldn't be a problem (many of us are running much older ink than 2014) but you may want to get on a semi-regular schedule of gently agitating the carts eitehr by rocking the printer itself or taking out the carts (an idea I personally strongly do not like since it puts wear-n-tear on the chip reader contacts or the seal around cart outlet.

This is true; I'm using cartridges in my 4900 that expired in 2013 and they're fine. But maintenance other than than agitating the cartridges is recommended to prevent a repeat episode. While the 3800/3880 are likely the most trouble-free printers in the Epson professional line-up for people who don't use them frequently, it is best to run a print or two, even on crappy paper, that exercises all the nozzles every few days. Doing this you need not interfere with the cartridges and the system will remain moistened. The website Marrutt USA has print target maintenance pages designed for the 4900 but they're good for any printer, or just print a download of a Granger rainbow.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2016, 02:12:38 pm »

You are so right, Mark. Some of us 3800 and 3880 owners (myself included) are so blasť about their reliability that we often neglect the occasional nozzle check until after a bunch of prints have come out with funny colors.

I had a new variant of this happen to me just a few days ago. My 3800 had been idle for a few weeks and I printed a batch of about ten letter-size prints without a nozzle check first. The colors were way off, so I did a belated nozzle check which showed significant problems on five of the eight active colors. I did a simple cleaning, which made some improvement, but not as much as I wanted.

I then pulled each cartridge and gave each a shake before returning it. Slight improvement. So then I did a Power Clean (I think this is the first one I've ever done in about eight years). I then left it overnight to settle.

The  nozzle check next morning showed every color to be perfect, except one. The bad one? The PK (gloss black) cartridge showed absolutely nothing! Yet the Status monitor said that that cartridge was at least two thirds full (although I had noticed that it felt awfully light when I took it out to shake it.) So I put in a new PK cartridge and everything was fine.

We often read complaints about Epson claiming that a cartridge is empty when it still has ink in it. But this is the first time I've heard of Epson's Status Monitor claiming that a cartridge had more ink that was really there.

Anyway, my issue is fixed, I'm happy to say. I'm glad that I have the habit of keeping either one or two spare cartridges of each color at all times.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 02:55:10 pm »

Hi Eric,

I think what happened to you is that the reported fill in the first PK cartridge was correct, but you experienced an ink drop and/or some trapped air somehow. So there is lots of ink in the tank but it isn't get out the printhead. Usually a round of power cleaning followed by a purge print of pure black followed by another power clean should eliminate it. By trying the new cartridge, the printer cleared itself by priming that cartridge. If you now replaced that cartridge with the old one I suspect it would still work fine.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 06:16:41 pm »

Hi Mark,

I suspected something like that, but the old cartridge really is absolutely empty and weighs less than a couple of the others that are showing about 1/4 full.

A while back I did have a problem with some black ink blobs on the margins of several large (for me: 13x19") prints, so maybe the seal on the cartridge was bad and it leaked. That problem stopped without my doing anything, so I won't worry.

I'm quite amazed and pleased that this beast is still giving me good prints (except when I forget the nozzle check) after all these years and all the ink and paper that have gone through it. When it does finally die, I will get a P800 (or its successor   ;) .)

Eric
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 06:59:32 pm »

Hi Mark,

I suspected something like that, but the old cartridge really is absolutely empty and weighs less than a couple of the others that are showing about 1/4 full.

A while back I did have a problem with some black ink blobs on the margins of several large (for me: 13x19") prints, so maybe the seal on the cartridge was bad and it leaked. That problem stopped without my doing anything, so I won't worry.

I'm quite amazed and pleased that this beast is still giving me good prints (except when I forget the nozzle check) after all these years and all the ink and paper that have gone through it. When it does finally die, I will get a P800 (or its successor   ;) .)


Eric

Well, if it's empty it's empty, what to say. It is/was an amazing performer. I'm finding the P800 a bit more demanding on cleaning requirements; in my room with humidity ranging between 20%~40%, more often at the lower end of the range, it needs to be used at least once a week to avoid cleaning, but still considerably less demanding than the 4900.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BillK

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 09:33:01 pm »


Eric,

There is a known problem with both the 3800 and 3880. It has to do with the valve used when switching
between PK and MK ink. That valve can allow black ink to drain into the maintenance
cartridge. Resulting in an empty black cartridge when the printer still thinks there is ink in the cartridge, because the leaking ink
was not accounted for.  This problem has been discussed here before, and is probably the culprit in your case.

It has happened to me on both a 3800 and a 3880. Cycling between PK and MK and back again,  has solved the issue for me.
You will need a new cart, because the old one will be totally empty.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 09:44:11 pm by BillK »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2016, 10:01:42 pm »

Eric,

There is a known problem with both the 3800 and 3880. It has to do with the valve used when switching
between PK and MK ink. That valve can allow black ink to drain into the maintenance
cartridge. Resulting in an empty black cartridge when the printer still thinks there is ink in the cartridge, because the leaking ink
was not accounted for.  This problem has been discussed here before, and is probably the culprit in your case.

It has happened to me on both a 3800 and a 3880. Cycling between PK and MK and back again,  has solved the issue for me.
You will need a new cart, because the old one will be totally empty.

Bill, can you point to where that earlier discussion is. Looking at the ink flow diagrams for that series of printers, it's hard to visualize how this would happen. From what I've been able to pull up on the innards of this class of machines (and not much different from the 4900 which I've seen taken-down): each of the black ink cartridges has its own ink supply tube connected to their respective damper. Both black inks are supplied into the damper, and one of them is supplied to the print head at a time by means of the ink selector that changes the ink flow path. The ink change system consists of an ink change motor, selection cam, selection lever, and ink change sensor.  The drive of the ink change motor rotates the selection cam. The ink change sensor detects the rotation angle of the cam. The selection lever moves as the selection cam rotates. The protruded end of the selection lever pushes the selection pin, and the pin changes the black ink flow path inside the damper between PK and MK. The damper sits on top of the print head. The ink flow goes from the cartridge to the damper into the print-head. It's a quite horizontal arrangement. Once that cam rotates, one of those black ink sources in the damper is shut-off from reaching the print head - it's like a train track switching direction; the train can go either left or right. So I'm having trouble visualizing how this leakage occurs - maybe it is explained in that other thread you mention.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BillK

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2016, 10:57:36 pm »

Bill, can you point to where that earlier discussion is. Looking at the ink flow diagrams for that series of printers, it's hard to visualize how this would happen. From what I've been able to pull up on the innards of this class of machines (and not much different from the 4900 which I've seen taken-down): each of the black ink cartridges has its own ink supply tube connected to their respective damper. Both black inks are supplied into the damper, and one of them is supplied to the print head at a time by means of the ink selector that changes the ink flow path. The ink change system consists of an ink change motor, selection cam, selection lever, and ink change sensor.  The drive of the ink change motor rotates the selection cam. The ink change sensor detects the rotation angle of the cam. The selection lever moves as the selection cam rotates. The protruded end of the selection lever pushes the selection pin, and the pin changes the black ink flow path inside the damper between PK and MK. The damper sits on top of the print head. The ink flow goes from the cartridge to the damper into the print-head. It's a quite horizontal arrangement. Once that cam rotates, one of those black ink sources in the damper is shut-off from reaching the print head - it's like a train track switching direction; the train can go either left or right. So I'm having trouble visualizing how this leakage occurs - maybe it is explained in that other thread you mention.

Here is one:  http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=91647.0;nowap
At that time I suggested it might just be a bad cart chip. It turned out to be the problem mentioned by  "mfryd"
2nd to last post.  Sounds like he works on these printers.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2016, 11:17:31 pm »

Yes it does sound like he works on them, but his description of the mechanism differs from what the version of the service manual I saw says.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BillK

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2016, 11:39:56 pm »

Yes it does sound like he works on them, but his description of the mechanism differs from what the version of the service manual I saw says.

He could be wrong. I only know his suggestion to switch to MK and back fixed the problem on 2 different printers for me.
I would suggest that Eric monitor his PK usage for a while by taking the cart out and weighing it. If it is going down at a abnormal rate
for the volume of printing he is doing, it would be a good idea to do an ink switch and see if that fixes it, like it did for me.
Better to waste a few dollars on an ink switch than a whole cart if the problem "mfryd" mentions is the cause.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2016, 11:47:48 pm »

I don't recall reading that earlier thread, so I'll watch it and see whether the new cartridge continues to work OK. I've done about 20 prints since I changed the cartridge and all is good so far.

If the problem repeats, I'll try switching to MK, doing a nozzle check, and then switching back to PK again.

When I first got my 3800 I did a fair amount of matte printing, but soon settled on gloss and I've probably only switched blacks a half dozen times in the last seven years (mostly accidental: printing somethin on plain paper and forgetting to specify PK, the default being MK).

Thanks Mark and Bill for all the suggestions.

-Eric
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NigelC

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2016, 09:56:06 am »

Well, if it's empty it's empty, what to say. It is/was an amazing performer. I'm finding the P800 a bit more demanding on cleaning requirements; in my room with humidity ranging between 20%~40%, more often at the lower end of the range, it needs to be used at least once a week to avoid cleaning, but still considerably less demanding than the 4900.

Having just sold a 3800 and purchased a P800, that's slightly worrying! Humidity in UK homes is usually higher than that, at least in summer - presumably higher humidity = less clogs?
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2016, 10:02:47 am »

Having just sold a 3800 and purchased a P800, that's slightly worrying! Humidity in UK homes is usually higher than that, at least in summer - presumably higher humidity = less clogs?

I think so; not to worry - just monitor its performance and you'll soon understand how it behaves in your environment. The worst that can happen is that you'll need to run one print of all the colours at sufficient intervals to keep the system moistened.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2016, 10:11:32 am »

When I finally have to break down and get a P800 (or its successor), I'll have to start training myself to do nozzle checks more regularly.

In fact, it would probably be good for me to start establishing that habit now, before it becomes imperative.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2016, 10:28:02 am »

Like the human body, it can't do any harm to give it some periodic exercise!

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Print not good: Epson 3880
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2016, 03:33:11 pm »

Like the human body, it can't do any harm to give it some periodic exercise!
Right.
I've been trying that lately with my own body, so let me add the Epson to my routine.   :)
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