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Author Topic: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions  (Read 1262 times)

HartmanPrints

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Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« on: May 31, 2018, 01:27:41 AM »

Hey everyone!!

I have had my 4900 for about 5 years now, and the MK channel is giving me ridiculous problems.

As a last resort (or maybe i should have done this earlier) i was going to purchase the 4900 Service Program from 2manuals.com and try the ink charge option, but i saw it will use 115ml of ink.... Well my PK tank is half full, but my LK tank is at about 20% or less.

What i'm worried about is if i get this utility, and try an ink charge, will i not be able to do it because i need more LK? I don't really want to buy more ink if i cannot get this printer to unclog, so i'm kindof at my wits end. Is the 115ml number based on a full ink charge on empty lines? From my understanding, the ink charge closes the print head and pressure charges the line to remove any air bubbles. How would this use 115ml of ink? That's like 65% of a full 200 ml cartridge!

Anyone with experience would be super helpful!

Thanks!!!

-Justin

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Farmer

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 04:16:32 AM »

You realise you'll be paying for something that was stolen, right?  The company selling it has no rights to it - they just stole it from Epson.

When you run normal cleans, do the missing nozzles move around or are they basically locked and always the same ones?  If the former, you should be able to resolve it but you may need a new capping station as the cleaning may not be functioning correctly.  If the latter, then it is likely that the head has failed and no amount of ink through it will help (there are plenty of folks with stories about all sorts of ways to recover heads, a few work sometimes but only a few).

At 5 years old, if you've never had the capping station replaced, that's where I'd be starting if the blockages are moving around, but you'll need to undertake some level of expenditure.  It sounds like the printer is a tool of your trade, so surely  it's worth some investment?
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Phil Brown

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2018, 08:35:00 AM »

You realise you'll be paying for something that was stolen, right?  The company selling it has no rights to it - they just stole it from Epson.

When you run normal cleans, do the missing nozzles move around or are they basically locked and always the same ones?  If the former, you should be able to resolve it but you may need a new capping station as the cleaning may not be functioning correctly.  If the latter, then it is likely that the head has failed and no amount of ink through it will help (there are plenty of folks with stories about all sorts of ways to recover heads, a few work sometimes but only a few).

At 5 years old, if you've never had the capping station replaced, that's where I'd be starting if the blockages are moving around, but you'll need to undertake some level of expenditure.  It sounds like the printer is a tool of your trade, so surely  it's worth some investment?

Phil - please remind me - I seem to recall that unless head failure, after this period of ownership one should expect to need a new capping station assembly, but I forget whether this also applies to the damper. As the O/P is using both MK and PK inks, with the switching forth and back perhaps the damper also needs renewal? I was able to life-extend my 4900 quite nicely by renewing both components after a few years of usage.

The only other comment I would make is that having seen these machines taken down and reassembled, were it me again, I would consider it more sensible to call in an experienced technician rather than buying an illegal manual and becoming an overnight do-it-yourselfer. Yes, there is a cash layout for the service, but likely avoid a whole lot of the user's time and additional complications that could be worth a lot more.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Farmer

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2018, 03:52:00 PM »

It could be an issue with the damper if it's the original one still, but not so much because of PK/MK switching but rather just general wear and tear, but usually (but not always) you'd see issues across most of the channels and not just one.  If you have to replace the head, then replacing the pump cap should be automatic and the damper is a good idea, too.  If it's just the pump cap needing replacement then often that's all you need.

As you say, it could easily add several more years to the life of the printer.  The key is in understanding the nature of the blockages to help to diagnose what's actually wrong.
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Phil Brown

HartmanPrints

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 04:34:06 PM »

Thanks so much for the replies everyone!

Farmer: I understand that it is an Epson Utility, but there is no user-end version of this type of utility as far as I know, so my options are either get this version, or get nothing, correct? I could take the moral high-ground and not get it, but then I would just be throwing my printer out (see below).

The nozzles are moving around a bit but most seem locked in place. I was having one nozzle drop out of VM (it was the same nozzle every time) but i ran off about 100 prints and checked them with a loupe and they were fine. Then I did a nozzle check and the VM was resolved but the MK had a few nozzles drop out. I ran a cleaning, it got worse, rinse and repeat a few times and now half the nozzles on MK are gone. I cannot figure out how it went from working perfectly to suddenly this bad.

The problem with doing maintenance like replacing the capping station, or replacing the head, is the cost.
New capping station: $300
Maintenance Technician: $200 for the call plus $200 per hour of labor.

So just with that, i'm $700 into repairs that may or may not work (if the tech can get it done in 1 hour, which seems unlikely).

Lets say he replaces the capping station, and it still doesn't work, and i need a new printhead?
Add $1,300 to that, plus a few hours to install it i'd assume. The tech would have to come back out once i purchase and receive the new head. $200 for the call plus $200 an hour. Now I'm at $2600 worth of repairs.
Oops, it needs new dampers too. Add another hour of labor and $150 for the dampers. Now i'm at $2,950.
Oh no, it needs a new ink channel too. See where i'm going with this?

The new model of this printer (the P5000) Is $1,400 brand new right now. And for a 5 year old printer with a print count of over 25,000, i'd say spending $30 to at least see if the utility program works (from what i've read, the epson utility will most likely do the trick) then it seems this is my most logical direction, yes? My main goal is to use the remaining ink I have in the 4900. I don't really want to be investing in repairs and more ink for a printer that may or may not continue to have problems.

Mark: While I would totally agree about doing maintenance, since this printer is discontinued, the parts and labor are seemingly more expensive than they were 2 or 3 years ago. I could buy 2 new printers for the potential cost of replacing parts on this printer. And the fact that I've had this printer for 5 years and printed tens of thousands of prints, and NEVER done any internal maintenance like replacing parts, i think i came out on top overall. I took really good care of it :)

To be clear, i am not buying the manual to disassemble the printer. I am just looking into the utility that could potentially fix my problem by using the advanced techniques it offers, that my normal Epson utility does not offer. If i'm ready to throw the printer away then i will disassemble it and try to manually clean the head, but at that point if it doesn't work out i'm in the same boat I was when I decided to throw it out :) I have a p7000 and was going to eventually get the p5000 just because of the wear and tear and long life of my 4900.

So back to my initial questions: is it worth it to at least spend the $30 and see if i can get the line to clear? Will doing an ink charge really use 115ml of ink if the ink channels are all full? From what i read, doing an ink charge will just help remove air bubbles in the head and not completely drain the lines and replace all the ink.

Either way, any input on my next course of action is really appreciated. Kindof leaning towards getting the p5000 while it's on sale.

Thanks!!
-Justin
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2018, 04:45:53 PM »

Hi Justin, you did pretty well on that 4900. A diagnosis and/or repair is likely to cost you $400 from what you say and some ink. Then there is some risk that you may need another component. If the technician is competent and decent about it, he/she will find everything and fix everything within one session, and if that doesn't work not charge you for labour if a second visit were needed. So your real question is whether you risk $400 to avoid buying a new printer. Also enter into the equation that a new printer comes with a one year warranty and a fresh set of (starter) inks - still a lot of ink, and the Black and Yellow inks are improved, as are the maintenance routines (see reviews by me here and Keith Cooper at Northlight). In your position I'd almost be tempted to donate the 4900 to a recycling outfit and buy a P5000.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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HartmanPrints

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2018, 05:13:11 PM »

Thanks Mark, these are good things to consider. It's a big deal that the p5000 has a $400 rebate that ends today, plus a $200 dealer discount (2,000 down to1,400) but tomorrow it will be 1,800! So I'm trying to figure this out quickly.

Other options I haven't yet tried are PiezoFlush or manually cleaning the head, which would continue adding to the cost (I've probably lost around $300 worth of inks already just doing power cleans and the windex trick). But it really boils down to "is it worth it to continue to invest money in this old printer, so much money that it could potentially exceed the cost of a new printer, just for who knows how much more life?".

For posterity, I'll attach my nozzle checks of MK. Top one is from 3 days ago, bottom 3 are from yesterday and today.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2018, 05:20:37 PM »

The patterns of the last three are similar but not identical. Phil's take on what this indicates would be most useful.

Every Epson tech I've discussed cleaning solutions with advises that putting ammonia-based solvents (such as Windex) on the print head can break down the laminates - not a good idea.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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HartmanPrints

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 05:40:06 PM »

I agree about the Windex... it's a risky fix (it does work) but will probably harm the longevity of the print head. It was a last-ditch whiskey fueled endeavor, and it did work on my VM and C channels, but I definitely won't be doing that on my p9000, p7000 or the p5000 if i get it. It did nothing at all for the MK channel on my 4900, and could in fact be what helped make it as bad as it is now.

The great thing about getting a new printer, is now they offer something called Square Trade (maybe they offered this for the 4900 and I missed it, who knows) which extends the warranty for 2-3 years on top of the initial 1 year depending on the plan you purchase. So my p7000 is covered for 4 years, which will help defray the costs of maintenance on it considerably. I will definitely be getting that extra warranty with my p5000, just to be safe.

Again, thanks for the replies! I'm really glad I signed up for this forum and site. I will probably be around always asking dumb questions hahaha. But I have a serious passion for making prints and this seems like a perfect place for someone like me.

-Justin
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Farmer

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2018, 07:00:47 PM »

As you noticed, a single nozzle rarely has much impact, but your MK now is really bad and with so many locked as blocked it's not a good sign.  I doubt you will recover it with a large ink flush (remember, it's not just $30 for the illegal copy of the software, it's all the ink, too).  Even if you do recover it, you're a good chance of failing again unless some parts are updated - it's basic wear and tear.

I agree with your economic assessment - a new unit is better value given the MK channel is so badly blocked and given the overall age of the unit.

Oh, and welcome to LuLa :-)
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Phil Brown

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 08:33:03 PM »

Where I live the legal definition of theft is "to deprive the owner of its use". I don't think HartmanPrints has done that. I also find it distasteful that posters are monitoring others in this way.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 08:40:19 PM »

Where I live the legal definition of theft is "to deprive the owner of its use". I don't think HartmanPrints has done that. I also find it distasteful that posters are monitoring others in this way.

I don't know where you live, but where I live there are different connotations to intellectual property versus merchandise. Your definition works for merchandise, but in the IP context the IP can be stolen and still used by the copyright owner; when something is stolen it's theft. I don't think any monitoring was going on and I see nothing distasteful here. Farmer was simply advising the O/P in case he didn't know it that the version of the manual being offered for sale by 2Manuals is stolen IP. For some people that would be useful and actionable information; others may not care. Up to them.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 11:57:57 PM »

Where I live the legal definition of theft is "to deprive the owner of its use".

You are reading the word too literally, and in a way that some people use to try to avoid or negate the nature of intellectual property. In many (probably most) jurisdictions, there are a whole bunch of crimes that cover what the average person might think of as theft, and cover both tangible property and intangible / intellectual property. If you take someone else's intellectual property without permission or legal authority, then you've done something that is probably illegal (maybe under a crime called something other than "theft") and also probably unethical.

I also find it distasteful that posters are monitoring others in this way.

Got to disagree with you on that. IMO it is entirely right and appropriate that forum members advise others against doing things that are likely to be illegal and/or unethical. I'd go so far as to say that IMO a forum administrator ought to ban anyone who advises and/or assists anyone else to do anything illegal, where that illegality was reasonably clear at the time.

All of that said, IMO there are several nuances:
* It is not always easy to determine whether a course of action is legal or illegal. Sometimes there are substantial differences among U.S. states, and differences among the U.S., E.U., Japan, etc. can be large. We should remember that and be a bit circumspect.
* Ethics are an even tougher area. There are shade of gray, borderline cases, and differing ideas even among reasonable, good people.
* Ethically IMO there's a substantial distinction between intellectual property that you could buy or license as long as you are willing to pay, and intellectual property that formerly was on the market but has ceased to be available. 'I'd pay if they'd take my money,' is much better than, 'I'd pay, but not as much as the owner is charging,' much less, 'Sorry, I just don't want to pay.'

Specifically here, it appears to me, from my position of considerable ignorance, that the OP may not have been aware of the issue at first; that the commercial availability of the item in question is at least unclear or doubtful; and that the OP is grasping for a reasonable solution to economically fix a legitimately-owned Epson product. So I'm sympathetic. But our discussing the legal / ethical issues that Farmer and Mark raised is entirely appropriate.
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HartmanPrints

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2018, 02:02:49 AM »

Oh my, I didn't mean to start a debate!!

First, I did not know the software that I asked about was illegal. In fact, I learned about the software in question from this forum, which is in turn what made me want to join the forum. It's kindof ironic. But I had no idea it was a stolen program. It's totally a good thing it was pointed out to me, so I don't see it as a case of monitoring at all.

Second, I DID NOT BUY THE PROGRAM!! :) I ordered the p5000 just in time to get the big rebate on it. Thanks to everyone's helpful discussion, I hashed out the pros and cons and got the new machine ordered just in time.

Thanks so much!!!
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Farmer

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 03:19:09 AM »

Congrats on your new order - I hope you love the printer :-)  There is an extensive review on it from Mark if you look through the articles - very worthwhile reading, and many people here who are users should you have any more queries.

Regarding the IP issue.  I raised it once in detail and referenced it once more in brief.  I didn't comment after that.  It's not up to me to police things, only to make people aware in the context of a general discussion (I didn't just post that information, for example, I engaged with the OP about the question at hand).

I think Mark and NAwlins covered my position well.  I can't see how my comment was in any way in poor taste.
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Phil Brown

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2018, 08:22:58 AM »

............ I ordered the p5000 just in time to get the big rebate on it. Thanks to everyone's helpful discussion, I hashed out the pros and cons and got the new machine ordered just in time.

Thanks so much!!!

You are welcome, and use it well.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Garnick

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2018, 10:08:14 AM »

Hello Justin,

I do have a question, but I will first welcome you to the world of Epson SC P series printers.  When I moved my business to my home location in early 2017 I decided to sell my Epson SP9900 and downsize to the SC P7000 printer, and have certainly never regretted the decision.  I originally purchased the SP9900 in April 2010 and had a number of issues, which meant that I became very familiar with the tech who worked on the printer several times within the first year and well into the second.  Back then my odyssey with the 9900 was almost a daily post on this forum and was followed by many as I proceeded to extend my warranty for the maximum three year period.  It was a business decision, as a sort of insurance policy.  My P7000 has been showing some nozzle dropouts recently, but I put that down to lack of use, even though I start it up and run a full colour test print ever second day, as well as a nozzle check and accompanying cleaning cycle when necessary.  The initial warranty will be running out soon, so I am now contemplating an extension of at least one year.  However, here in Canada that means another $1,231, and since I'm not doing as much business now I'm hesitant to go that route.  And of course there's also the fact that I know a lot more now about how to maintain these printers than I did when I purchased the 9900 in 2010, as we all do, thanks to Eric  :)

OK, now my question/inquiry:  I am somewhat familiar with "Square Trade", but I'm not sure about who you are referring to in this quote, "The great thing about getting a new printer, is now they offer something called Square Trade (maybe they offered this for the 4900 and I missed it, who knows) which extends the warranty for 2-3 years on top of the initial 1 year depending on the plan you purchase".  Who are you referring to with the word "they", Epson or the distributor from whom you will be purchasing the printer?  I cannot imagine Epson teaming up with Square Trade for warranties, but I could be mistaken.  I must admit, that statement got my attention!

I hope, and I'm sure you will have many years of very acceptable service from your new P5000 Justin, and agian, Welcome.

Gary   


     
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 10:12:40 AM by Garnick »
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LuLa - The source of ALL! -- "There's nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept" -- Ansel Adams
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HartmanPrints

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2018, 04:55:09 PM »

Hey Gary, thanks for the welcome! I'm glad I joined and will be using the forums and the various articles/reviews/videos often!

I am definitely an Epson fan, with the p5000 this will make my 5th Epson printer. If it prints as well as the p7000 and serves me as well as my 4900 did, then i know i will love it.

"They" i referred to was B&H. They offered a 2 and 3 year square trade plan for both the p7000 and p5000 which starts after the initial 1 year warranty is up. I got the 3 year plan with both, so im covered for 4 years... for the p5000 it was $150, for the p7000 it was (if i remember correctly) was $230, which is cheaper than on the square trade website.

I also learned you can go to the square trade website and buy additional warranties for any and all electronic devices.... i had no idea!

Mark-i will indeed use it well! I feel weird not having my trusty 4900 working so im excited for the new one to arrive.

-Justin
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deanwork

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2018, 07:47:18 PM »

I've seen a lot of these Square Trade offerings around lately for all kinds of items. Are they really legit for repairing complex large format inkjet printers? I mean does Epson even recognize them, and supply them with technicians ( as in Decision One ) and parts? I don't have any idea, I'm just asking. Those are  the cheapest warranties I've ever seen in any pro printer context, or even office printer context.  If they do guarantee quick fully guaranteed repair for that price why would anyone buy an Epson, Canon, or Hp extended warranty? Again, just asking, they are totally new to me, though I have seen them offered a lot on Ebay.

John



Hey Gary, thanks for the welcome! I'm glad I joined and will be using the forums and the various articles/reviews/videos often!

I am definitely an Epson fan, with the p5000 this will make my 5th Epson printer. If it prints as well as the p7000 and serves me as well as my 4900 did, then i know i will love it.

"They" i referred to was B&H. They offered a 2 and 3 year square trade plan for both the p7000 and p5000 which starts after the initial 1 year warranty is up. I got the 3 year plan with both, so im covered for 4 years... for the p5000 it was $150, for the p7000 it was (if i remember correctly) was $230, which is cheaper than on the square trade website.

I also learned you can go to the square trade website and buy additional warranties for any and all electronic devices.... i had no idea!

Mark-i will indeed use it well! I feel weird not having my trusty 4900 working so im excited for the new one to arrive.

-Justin
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Garnick

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Re: Epson 4900 Service Program - Ink Charge Questions
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2018, 09:58:09 AM »

I've seen a lot of these Square Trade offerings around lately for all kinds of items. Are they really legit for repairing complex large format inkjet printers? I mean does Epson even recognize them, and supply them with technicians ( as in Decision One ) and parts? I don't have any idea, I'm just asking. Those are  the cheapest warranties I've ever seen in any pro printer context, or even office printer context.  If they do guarantee quick fully guaranteed repair for that price why would anyone buy an Epson, Canon, or Hp extended warranty? Again, just asking, they are totally new to me, though I have seen them offered a lot on Ebay.

John


Hi John,

Like you, I have seen references to Square Trade warranties dating back to when I was still printing on an Epson SP-4000 and two SP-7600's.  At that time I was a member of the "EpsonWideFormatGroup/forum" and this topic would surface occasionally as well.  I did look into it then and a few minutes ago I jumped back to that group again just to check it out.  Of course they have moved since I left many years ago once I found LuLa, but I finally found them again and did a search for "Square Trade".  I only stayed long enough to check the first page, but most of the posts were a couple of years old, with a couple from last year.  All were rather vague about the topic and not of much use at all, so I made a hasty retreat back to my home base, LuLa.  Unfortunately I have nothing further to report at this time, but I think I will do some more research on this topic.  I'm not at all insinuating that Square Trade is some sort of scam, but I do find it rather difficult to believe that for a couple hundred dollars the company will "Replace" your aging printer at the cost of thousands.  These are not my words, they are from the "forum" mentioned previously.  Yes, apparently if the repair is too costly they simply replace.  At that rate, how could they possibly stay in business?  I suppose perhaps the only way I could believe it would be to take into account that they are now being promoted by a company as large and apparently successful as B&H.  As mentioned, I will do some more research.

By the way John, we have communicated before and I believe I asked this question then.  Were you at one time also a member of the "group/forum" I mentioned earlier.  I seem to recall your name while I was a member there, but I'm probably mistaken.  And if I did ask before, I apologize and plea the 332nd amendment, which I believe deals with old age.  WOOPS, I forgot. I'm a Canuck, so no pleas, please!   ???

Gary       

« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 12:31:34 PM by Garnick »
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Even though a big part of my life has been spent dealing with negatives, they generally end up being positives -- gan
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