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Author Topic: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer  (Read 4687 times)

Roger_Breton

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Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« on: March 04, 2018, 01:25:21 PM »

I'm about to throw the towel on this 7 years old printer.
It's never seen heavy printing, by no means.
Had to unclog it many times over the years, using Epson Maintenance application on the PC.
But seems like it's been less and less capable of resurrecting my printer.
This time around is the worst.
I confess I attempted more than one Ink Eject/Ink charge cycle.
So, here I am about to throw this machine in the dumpster...
Latest nozzle check (from left to right) shows perfect C, VM, PK, LK, OR and GR.
LLK, Y and LC are showing but very faint lines. VLM is gone.

Did I damage the piezo through my multiple Eject/Charge cycles?
Been reading about this possibility but the fact remains that it's next to impossible for me to diagnose the printer as it is.

Naturally (Murphy's law), I'm almost out of LLK, Y, and VLM. I still have a full LC cartridge.
Further testing (Ink Eject/Charge) would require more ink.
But I'm reluctant to buy $$ ink (even "compatible" inks) to put on this printer.

Any suggestions?

FWIW, I think I'll experiment with add'tl Ink Eject/Ink Charge using only cleaning fluid?
Nothing to lose.

I don't want to disassemble the head like I did many years ago, it's quite messy and I still need ink for testing at the end.

Breaks my heart. Everything is working fine, mechanically...
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MHMG

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 03:36:23 PM »

I suspect that a lot of these situations with Epson's are caused by crud and caked ink on the print head surface rather than internally clogged nozzles. If you are about to trash the printer, there's nothing to lose by physically cleaning the print head surface. The technique is to shut the printer off, turn it back on, and quickly pull the plug. That leaves the carriage head free to move along the rails. Then dose a baby wet wipe (they are nicely lint-free) with a liberal amount of windex. Place it on the platten, and gently push the head over the wet wipe. Leave it there for a while if you like. Then slide the head past the wet wipe and you will be surprised how much ink is on it! "Rinse and repeat" with a new wet wipe until it is only showing fresh clean ink spots, not all the black gook. At that point, start your printer up, do a nozzle check, and maybe it will call for another cleaning cycle, but you should begin to see real progress. You might still need one more or two more rounds with baby wipes, but I've managed to rescue both an Epson 3880 and a Surecolor P400 with this technique. They would have gone to the trash otherwise since neither was responding to repeated and very ink wasteful cleaning cycles. The P400, for example, was showing a stubborn red ink channel with only half of the red channel firing properly, as if half the nozzles all in a row were totally dead,  and unresponsive to the normal heavy cleaning cycle despite brand new red ink cartridge. But the wet wipe technique and a little patience brought it back from the dead! The 3880 had a cat hair stuck in the gunk! No amount of Epson printer progressive cleaning cycles was going to dislodge that cat hair, but the wet wipe did.
 
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 03:45:01 PM by MHMG »
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deanwork

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 04:08:10 PM »


The majority of the times people think that their Epson heads are dead they arenít.

What I would do is buy some of the less expensive refillable ink carts from MIS ( ink supply.com ) and fill them with the pink flush fluid by doing an initial fill. Both inkjet mall and mis sell this fluid. I know the cone stuff works very well and it looks like mis is now selling the same thing, thought I havenít used that brand of fluid.They even have it that comes loaded with the flush fluid. Leave this solvent fluid in the system for two to three days. Then do another initial fill. At that point start doing nozzle checks. If you see progress, you should, start running a multi tonal value purge target ( do a search online for that) to flush out the lines of any remaining gunk. This pink flush fluid has saved many an Epson nozzle and printer. But you canít do it half ass, like putting it on the cap station and expecting that to do anything significant. You have to do initial fills.  Some one gave me an Epson 4000 that has no nozzles printing at all . Iím going to try to revive it. This 4000/series needs to be used every week or this happens eventually. Trying to clean things out using expensive ink wonít get the job done.






I'm about to throw the towel on this 7 years old printer.
It's never seen heavy printing, by no means.
Had to unclog it many times over the years, using Epson Maintenance application on the PC.
But seems like it's been less and less capable of resurrecting my printer.
This time around is the worst.
I confess I attempted more than one Ink Eject/Ink charge cycle.
So, here I am about to throw this machine in the dumpster...
Latest nozzle check (from left to right) shows perfect C, VM, PK, LK, OR and GR.
LLK, Y and LC are showing but very faint lines. VLM is gone.

Did I damage the piezo through my multiple Eject/Charge cycles?
Been reading about this possibility but the fact remains that it's next to impossible for me to diagnose the printer as it is.

Naturally (Murphy's law), I'm almost out of LLK, Y, and VLM. I still have a full LC cartridge.
Further testing (Ink Eject/Charge) would require more ink.
But I'm reluctant to buy $$ ink (even "compatible" inks) to put on this printer.

Any suggestions?

FWIW, I think I'll experiment with add'tl Ink Eject/Ink Charge using only cleaning fluid?
Nothing to lose.

I don't want to disassemble the head like I did many years ago, it's quite messy and I still need ink for testing at the end.

Breaks my heart. Everything is working fine, mechanically...
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 04:18:09 PM »

I'm about to throw the towel on this 7 years old printer.
It's never seen heavy printing, by no means.

<snip>

Any suggestions?

In November of last year, I replaced my 4900 with a P800. Smartest thing I've ever done. Not one teensy clog since. I know I'm giving up some gamut, but on balance I'm fine with that.

If I printed every day, I'd be fine with the 4900.

Jim

Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2018, 05:06:14 PM »

Every Epson technician I've ever discussed it with vigorously warns to NOT use Windex on an Epson print head. One I know uses Simple Green, but I've seen one view suggesting even that should be avoided. These chemicals can destroy the print head. You are perhaps better off using this resource for both procedure and materials:  Marrutt USA They appear to have accumulated a lot of experience in this area and the reviews seem to be on the whole positive; I have not used it, so I don't have a first-hand opinion.

As for the printers - the 4900 has a varied reputation. The printer was designed for high volume use in a "production environment" - i.e. running most of the time. As you know, it's built like a brick s..thouse exactly for that reason. Used in this way, from what I hear, the satisfaction level is high. The satisfaction level is much lower for people making much more limited use of them. I've been using its successor for almost a year now. I've printed a total of 760 sq.ft. with it so far, which is not a whole lot, but some at least every few days. It has been performing well - there are deflected nozzles periodically that clear-up easily with one Normal selective clean cycle that takes little time and from what I'm told, very little ink. As such, I think so far the 5000 is a big improvement over the 4900 in respect of moderate to low volume usage even though it too is designed as an industrial strength production machine. The build quality is similarly robust. The image quality is as good as it gets - no compromises on gamut or anything else. Resolution is terrific.

I would suggest, as you appear to have nothing to lose at this stage, perhaps try the Marrutt approach - not a huge investment and from what I've read non-destructive, but I suggest you also do your own research. If that doesn't work, consider replacing it with a 5000 if you think you will be using it at least every several days. For longer intervals of non-usage, you may be better off with a P800.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2018, 09:37:27 PM »

I did invest in refillable cartridges at some point, as that was the only way to introduce cleaning fluid in the system.
I might give inkjetmall Piezo Flush cleaning a try but I have been using a supposedly specially-created inkjet cleaning fluid.
It is transparent and "bubbly". It cost big bucks. First time I tried it, I thought it worked wonder.

FWIW, I purchased two new Maintenance Tanks earlier today.
I tried a new Ink Eject / Ink Charge using only cleaning fluid using my refillable cartridges.
But I could not do a final Ink Charge with what I had left in my Epson ink cartridges.
So I ordered a new 200ml Yellow cartridge I got for $40 off eBay. I know, it's dated 2016. I know!
It's going to allow me further experimentation.
I might consider taking the head apart, soaking it in cleaning fluid. Somehow, the paper towel trick under the print head has not done much to me.

I'm very tempted not to put any more time in this printer and go the easy P800 route. For my relatively low printing volume, it's probably best.

Thank you ALL for the moral support and sharing :-)

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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 09:44:11 PM »

2016 unopened can still be usable. But from all you say it's sounding to me as if it may not be worth too much more sweat and you're in for a new printer.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2018, 06:02:44 PM »

Well, I did what I had to do, I decided to give the printer another chance... So I ordered ink and extra maintenance tanks, and rolled up my sleeves. With the help of Epson Ajustment program, I did a few cycles of Ink Eject and Ink Charge. You can see the result is the image "Before cleaning.jpg". Yellow and LLK were not coming back well, and VLM was a problem. No amount of Power Cleaning would help -- naturally...

So, today, I opened the head (see "Holding the head.jpg"). Didn't see anything suspicious? I cleaned each "ink port" by directly injecting cleaning solution. I was encouraged by the fact that I was seeing what looks like a "ribbon" of solution flowing on the other side of the head, meaning to me that the head was not clogged. So I made sure I cleaned the head as best as I could and inserted it back into the printer.

The result? Everything looks good except that darn VLM. In case you wonder, I put in a brand new VLM cartridge. I did do a few power cleaning on the VLM/LC pair, at that point, to no avail. I'm about to throw the towel :(

I was wondering, perhaps, using a different cleaning solution?

BTW, I had a few "Ink cartridges errors" while changing from my refillable cartridges to my normal cartridges.
Not a good sign.

Thank you for supporting me :-)

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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 07:40:50 PM »

The "AFTER" result actually looks worse than the "BEFORE" result which suggests to me that the cleaning solution is interfering with the ink. Normally successive iterations of clean-print-clean (with ink, not cleaning solutions) is what works best, doing no more than three rounds, then letting the printer rest overnight. After some days it should all come back to normal unless there is head damage. But in your case it looks to me as if you may also need to expend more ink making sure the cleaning agent is thoroughly flushed out of the print head.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2018, 10:45:24 AM »

Mark,

Do you suggest that there is some amount of residual cleaning solution in the head?
You wrote "success iterations of clean-print-clean (with ink) is what works best"...
Are you suggesting I do a few iterations of clean-print-clean with ink?
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2018, 12:51:50 PM »

Mark,

Do you suggest that there is some amount of residual cleaning solution in the head?
You wrote "success iterations of clean-print-clean (with ink) is what works best"...
Are you suggesting I do a few iterations of clean-print-clean with ink?

It could be that there is residual cleaning solution - obviously I can't know for sure - just a possibility.

Iterations of clean-print-clean-print with ink - yes.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2018, 01:20:49 PM »

Thanks for the suggestion, I probably have nothing to lose if I can't get over this VLM clog...

What about Piezo-Flush? From InkjetMall? I'm about to order a bottle?
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2018, 02:40:01 PM »

The whole purpose is to use this procedure to get over your VLM "clog" - or for that matter any "clog". BTW, do you know for sure whether your problem is really nozzles blocked with dried ink, or is it air in the lines, or is it pressure-related, or is it printhead damage?

I've never used Piezo Flush, and cleared many seriously deflected nozzles without such materials, so I have no idea what its ingredients are or whether it works safely (i.e. no short or longer-term damage to the print head).
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 11:44:46 AM »

Thank you Mark for your comments.
Please take a look at the attached photos of the refillable ink cartridges I use for Ink Eject/Charge.

First, notice that I chose not to fill each cartridge to capacity. I figure that the ink is being "pumped" by a vacuum in the channels, so cartridges don't need to be filled to capacity. Right or wrong?

Second, as I had my doubt, this morning, about the needed volume of cleaning solution in each cartridge, I decided to inject an additional 20 ml of cleaning solution. The photos show the appearance of these cartridges with that additional 20 ml. May not seem enough volume? I could not find any information to that effect.

Third, notice the cleaning solution is no longer transparent but slightly colored. I think that's normal.

Fourth, what worries me, now, is the presence of "white foam" in each cartridge? This was caused by hastily injecting the cleaning solution with a 10 ml syringe. I didn't notice I was creating this foam until too late.

Question: should I empty each cartridge and carefully refill them making sure that there is no foam created? I'm afraid that "foam" will turn into air bubbles in the lines and create more hardship for unclogging my printer?

What do you think?


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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 12:26:42 PM »

I decided to order a 700 ml bottle of PiezoFlush.
Will let you know how that worked.
As you noted, Mark, anything in the ink distribution line could wreak havoc, air in the tubes, air in the ink assembly, air in the head, and I have no way to diagnose the problem. I'm considering giving Epson a call ...
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 02:09:55 PM »

I Roger,

I had recommended that you adhere to a particular kind of cleaning and printing cycle with ink and do that for no more than three cycles per day for several days to see whether it clears everything up. I don't know whether you have done that and it failed, but instead of relating your experience implementing that suggestion, you are sustaining your interest in cleaning fluids. That's fine, it's up to you of course to do what you think is best for your situation, but unfortunately, much as I would like to, I can be of no assistance whatsoever when it comes to cleaning fluids because I have never used any of that stuff. Piezo Flush is very expensive, so I suggest you call Epson about it before spending the money.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2018, 03:23:02 PM »

Mark,

The money is gone and the stuff is on order. The reason I have not yet experimented with straight pass-through of inks is that I don't believe that the ink itself as any "cleaning" power? Maybe your experience shows otherwise but I hate to expend more ink (that I'm going to lose anyway, the moment I transform this printer into a boat anchor) when I consider the ink not to have any cleaning power. I appreciate you take the time to help with your experience. I want to experiment with this PiezoFlush and if that does not work, as a last resort, I'll try passing straight ink through.

(I have not called Epson yet as I'm still a little frustrated by the product even though I know I'm probably responsible for not having exercised the printer enough, even though I tried to print regularly with it)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2018, 04:12:05 PM »

Passing ink through is the safest and best way of cleaning it unless there is something really major wrong that isn't fixable by liquid running through the head. Anyhow, will be interested to hear of your experience using the Flush once you get it and use it. Cheers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Roger_Breton

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2018, 04:21:58 PM »

OK Mark. I will give your suggestion a try in a few minutes... What have I got to lose?
Meanwhile, I tried calling Epson support directly -- it's impossible to speak with a real tech specialist.
The lady recommended I take my printer to an authorized service center or set up an appointment for a technician to come at my house...

BTW, the "Epson Adjustment Utility" I been using all these years, paid $29.99 for, to do Ink Eject / Ink Charge, does not come from Epson...
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Terminally ill Epson 4900 printer
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2018, 05:01:36 PM »

Not good. There was a time when if one called Epson Prographics support one got people on the line who knew their stuff. Did you call Prographics support using the phone number on the warranty card (regardless if the warranty is expired)?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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