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Author Topic: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...  (Read 1225 times)

2002BOY

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How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« on: April 10, 2021, 10:50:49 pm »

Hello all,

Kind of a newb question here. Not to bore you with the long story, but I mothballed an Epson 3880 about 4 years ago and honestly just forgot about it. It's been covered, clean, and in a smoke free, relatively dust free, animal free environment that is somewhat humid. (I live in Washington state)

Is there any chance I can run a few cleaning cycles, or even something more extensive, and use this printer again, or am I just out of luck?

Thank you all in advance for your insight!
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Rhossydd

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2021, 03:12:14 am »

You've nothing to lose by trying, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. My 3800 print head became terminally blocked after 9 months without use.
Do report back if you get it working though, that would be amazing.
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deanwork

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2021, 08:49:00 am »

The 3800s are amazingly resilient. I almost never use my 3880 and it never clogs. Many people have restored them. I bought mine from a guy who hadnít used it in a year and it cranked right up.

If after two or three power cleans it isnít clean what I would do is buy a set of the refillable ink carts from inkjetmall, put the flush fluid in them, do a cleaning, and then let it sit for 24 hours. You can easily see the nozzle patterns with the flush fluid. With these carts itís also possible to use their less expensive inks if you want, or like me black and white pigments.

https://shop.inkjetmall.com/ReUsable-Cartridge-Kit-Epson-3880-with-syringes.html?category=147

John



You've nothing to lose by trying, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. My 3800 print head became terminally blocked after 9 months without use.
Do report back if you get it working though, that would be amazing.
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Rhossydd

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 09:00:53 am »

I almost never use my 3880 and it never clogs.
I think there's a world of difference between almost never and never. I think that just a single nozzle check or page every three months can be enough to keep the heads working OK, but nothing for four years will be pushing the OP's luck a LOT.
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deanwork

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 11:56:58 am »

Sorry, I agree. If itís in mothballs that means no ink is in it.  Putting a printer away for 4 years with ink in it is not putting it mothballs.

Anyway, if you donít want to take the risk of wasting that money on empty carts, Iíd try the next best thing which is soaking a bounty paper towel in piezoflush, putting it under the head, do a head clean, and let it sit for a day or two, then repeat.

The guy I bought mine from hadnít used it in a year and it had ink in it, but four years is pretty serious. Now even if that works, using the ink selector to change from MK to Pk might be a whole other liability. It could very well be frozen from dried ink.

John


quote author=Rhossydd link=topic=138068.msg1214602#msg1214602 date=1618146053]
I think there's a world of difference between almost never and never. I think that just a single nozzle check or page every three months can be enough to keep the heads working OK, but nothing for four years will be pushing the OP's luck a LOT.
[/quote]
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2002BOY

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 01:46:07 pm »

Thanks for all the help! To be clear, it did have ink in it when I put it away. But I am encouraged by your answers, so I'll give it a try next week.

We'll see. If not, it's time to buy that big Epson that I've been clamoring for for some time now and get serious about printing again.

:)

PS: what's with all the math to post here? Is that just for new people, or do you always have to solve math problems before you can post?  Just curious...  Again, thanks for the help.
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Rhossydd

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 03:37:40 pm »

PS: what's with all the math to post here? Is that just for new people, or do you always have to solve math problems before you can post? 
I think just stops the bots and spam. It's generally a very clean forum.
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Ray Harrison

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 11:42:45 pm »


PS: what's with all the math to post here? Is that just for new people, or do you always have to solve math problems before you can post?  Just curious...  Again, thanks for the help.

It stops after five or ten, I forget.  Itís a low number  :).
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IPDOUGLAS

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2021, 03:15:20 am »

The problem with the Ops question is that there will always be one person that has left their printer (etc) untouched and unused for n years and it then worked perfectly upon re-use!

This is no way relates to your printer?

I can understand your reason for asking as it is likely that some costly ink may be needed to try it and if not why have you not run a nozzle check or similar and answered you own situation/question for yourself?

The issue (and not just with Epson or this particular model) is we need printers that can be mothballed occasionally perhaps with a cheap fluid filled cartridges that can be installed particularly for this requirement?   It does beggar the question as how long a new unsold printer can sit on a shelf without drying up?
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Rhossydd

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2021, 04:05:25 am »

The issue (and not just with Epson or this particular model) is we need printers that can be mothballed occasionally perhaps with a cheap fluid filled cartridges that can be installed particularly for this requirement?
You can buy cleaning carts for most printers and that would probably work. This would be a very, very niche requirement. It's first time I've ever heard of anyone suggesting it and I've been following inkjet printer development and issues since the Epson stylus color in 1994.
Quote
It does beggar the question as how long a new unsold printer can sit on a shelf without drying up?
You can be pretty sure Epson/Canon/HP will know that.  Anecdotal reports here and elsewhere suggests many printers can be left for many months unused. The rate of drying will also be a lot slower when fully wrapped up and boxed, compared to most end usage conditions.
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IPDOUGLAS

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2021, 11:05:59 am »

Quote "You can buy cleaning carts for most printers and that would probably work. This would be a very, very niche requirement. It's first time I've ever heard of anyone suggesting it and I've been following inkjet printer development and issues since the Epson stylus color in 1994."

Sometimes you have to wait for genius?  :)


Quote "You can be pretty sure Epson/Canon/HP will know that.  Anecdotal reports here and elsewhere suggests many printers can be left for many months unused. The rate of drying will also be a lot slower when fully wrapped up and boxed, compared to most end usage conditions."

Then we should be able to emulate those conditions even if simply wrapping a printer in clingfilm.  However Epson (and other manufacturers) may achieve unblocked nozzles following a period of shelf unsold storage by pumping the shipping fluid through the heads into the maintenance cartridges?  Might be more costly if we do the same with old (expensive) ink.
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RobWignell

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 03:37:39 am »

I have come to this discussion a little late but have a couple of comments from experience with an Epson 3800.  A few years ago I bought a 3800 that had been sitting idle for 5 years but had not been used much as it was on its original cartridges.  My plan was to use it for Piezography printing from Jon Cone. 

Nozzle checks produced large areas of blank space, so, rather than wasting a lot of ink I loaded a set of third party cartridges with Jon Cone's Piezo flush.  The initial install put quite a bit of the flush fluid through the printer head but I still had multiple gaps indicating a worse blockage.  I had read that the filters that sit on the print head and filter out bits that could otherwise damage the head, can get blocked by ink sitting in them and drying out if the printer isn't used regularly.  Altihough these filters can be bought quite cheaply on the internet, they are extremely difficult to install and it is quite easy to break a piece on the head mechanism that governs the printer's use of Photo Black or Matte Black ink. 

After I had broken this part I looked for a better solution and found that you can buy a kit that includes the filters, the part that I broke, a new set of ink lines and the cassette that holds the ink cartridges.  See part 511 on page six of the attached file STYPRO3800.pdf.  This file was sent to me by the Australian distributor of Epson parts.  It was readily available 5 years ago.  I paid about A$150 for the part and delivery.  I also bought a copy of the Service Manual that covers the Epson 3800 and 3880 amongst others.

The Service Manual gives very precise step by step instructions on how to install the part I had bought and after installation and a bit more head cleaning, the printer worked like new.  I can't be sure of the source but somewhere in the Epson documentation I have come across the recommendation that this be done every two years on a printer that is being used commercially. 

I suspect that a lot of Epson printers get dumped because of a diagnosis of a damaged head when in fact they just have dried ink partially or completely blocking one or more filters.  Even with what seems like the overkill of replacing so much, the installation process required very little skill on my part and significantly less cost than a printer head replacement.  Equally importantly, there are no electronic parts that need re-setting or calibrating involved so there is no need to pay for Epson technical support, which, at least in my town, seems to be charged at brain surgery rates.

On storing Epson printers, I have read on the Inkjet Mall site, that they sell Piezo flush and cartridges for a range of printers and claim that numerous schools load their printers with Piezo flush, especially during the summer holiday when printers are sitting in school rooms that can get very hot and dry out the normal ink.  There is an ink cost in doing an initial fill to remove the Piezo flush solution from the printer in the new term, but this is trivial compared to trying to flush out a dried up printer with proper ink or having to junk the printer because it no longer works.







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Rhossydd

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 04:17:37 am »

A very informative post, thank you.
It was readily available 5 years ago.  I paid about A$150 for the part and delivery.  I also bought a copy of the Service Manual that covers the Epson 3800 and 3880 amongst others.
I guess the questions now are;
Are the parts still available ? and will local Epson distributors actually sell you the parts at all ?
It sounds like the Australian distributor is helpful, but I'm not so sure the same will be said of other territories.

This also assumes you have the skills and tools to carry out the work.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 04:20:41 am by Rhossydd »
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bobjoek

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Re: How long can an EPSON 3880 go without printing...
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2021, 06:56:24 pm »

A very informative post, thank you.I guess the questions now are;
Are the parts still available ? and will local Epson distributors actually sell you the parts at all ?
It sounds like the Australian distributor is helpful, but I'm not so sure the same will be said of other territories.

This also assumes you have the skills and tools to carry out the work.

The Epson part referenced is the Ink System Assembly, and is sold for $176 from Compass Micro.  I just checked and it is still available. Several years ago I purchased and installed this in an Epson 3880 that was suffering with blocked dampers and a non-functioning black ink switching valve.  This gave this printer a new lease on life.

Bob
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