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Author Topic: Epson 7900 from the inside - out  (Read 1036026 times)

Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #100 on: February 01, 2012, 05:10:54 am »


.. I like your thinking


Does not deliver much on this case though :-)

Edit; I expected a wiping order where the dark blacks are at the end and the lightest colors at the beginning. With the stronger colors and light grey in between. The wiper goes over one two channel nozzle surface and is "cleaned" on the "felt", that 5 times. I now assume: first LC-LM, Y-LLK, RED-Green, LK-K, C-M or reversed order. With the "felt" 5x in between (and working well) it will not make much difference which order.


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« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 06:08:02 am by Ernst Dinkla »
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gwhitf

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #101 on: February 01, 2012, 07:49:07 am »

I resorted to desperation yesterday, after speaking to Eric on the phone. I was (am) on a deadline, and was trying to salvage a solution on the spot, without calling a service tech. I took a shower cloth, like a loofah, similar to this:

http://www.amazon.com/Salux-Nylon-Japanese-Beauty-Cloth/dp/B002BEHQWI

and I cut off a strip about 12 inches wide by about 3 inches high, and I sprayed Windex onto it, and with the printer in Service Mode, I was able to slide the printhead to the center, raise the lid, and get to the head. I gently slide the wet loofah underneath the printhead, and grabbed each end of the loofah fabric, and with the head in place, stationary, I pulled the loofah fabric back and forth gently across the printhead, in the pattern similar to shining your shoes. The hope was that the fabric would dislodge whatever dried ink was stuck to the LLK area.

Sadly, after doing this twice, the nozzle pattern was the same -- missing bars only in the LLK area, and in EXACTLY the same places. The missing bars never change; always in the same place, and enough of them so that, even printing UniDirection at 2880, the prints have horizontal banding lines, similar that what you might think of as the picture on a BW tube television.

Today, I'm going to soak the loofah in very hot water, and not use the Windex, and try it again, gently.

I am not competent to remove the actual printhead. The printer is out of warranty. And my deadline is looming.

I appreciate everyone's contribution. I now know my printer better than ever, now that I've been in Service Mode with it.

You almost wish that the design of the printhead would allow it to "flip up" or somehow "unsnap" so that the User could get at it. But I doubt Epson wants that to happen.

Scan attached, of Nozzle Check. Levels are skewed to show the colors better. Missing bars seem so subtle, but are enough to cause very obvious banding.

What I've learned from this: I'll always buy a new Epson from now on; never a used one, and I'll buy the extended warranty. And I'll monitor the performance closely. I'm sure the replacement printhead will cost almost as much as the printer is worth.

Note/Update: Just downloaded new Utility and realized that my Firmware was out of date. I have been told that new firmware gives you more cleaning options. So make sure you have Remote Utility downloaded.

« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 11:55:38 am by gwhitf »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #102 on: February 01, 2012, 08:07:22 am »


I am writing an article for Photo Technique magazine on the reliability of the x900 printers with an emphasis on the clogging disease, typically with LLK, that some of these printers have. 
Jean-Christian Rostagni


Interesting - you are going to write an article on the *reliability* of the x900 printers (how do you define reliability and what's the context?), wherein we already know the slant, as there will be an *emphasis* on the clogging *disease* (there is a "disease", huh - like you know this already), *typically* (you know this already of course because you've read some web posts about it) *LLK* that *some* of these printers have (and how many is *some*, what percentage of the total number of these printers on the market? - remember Epson probably has far more market share in the fine-art inkjet market than probably every other make combined). I can already detect from that one sentence how the chances of this article being an objective scientific piece with real operational significance could emerge to be pretty low. I hope Photo Technique magazine has good editors and a taste for objectivity. If they do, they'll make sure you understand pigemted-inkjet technology as implemented not only by Epson, but by Canon and HP too, so you can evaluate it in context and with the objectives of the different technologies at the forefront; they will make sure you have an operationally significant definition of *reliability* in the context of the operating environment these machines are supposed to perform in; they will make sure you know at what point an "issue" becomes a "disease"; they will make sure your sampling methods in respect of sample size sourcing and stratification on a number of dimensions is large and representative enough of the user population from which to draw valid statistical inferences; and finally they will make sure you have the technical background in respect of managing all these variables to satisfy themselves that you can be credible on this subject.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2012, 08:42:13 am »

........... I now know my printer better than ever, now that I've been in Service Mode with it.

You almost wish that the design of the printhead would allow it to "flip up" or somehow "unsnap" so that the User could get at it. But I doubt Epson wants that to happen.


It's easy to be misled into thinking we really *know* something well enough to do anything with it  just because we've poked under the hood a bit. If it were me, I'd be less confident, but that's just me. And yes, I agree, I doubt very much Epson wants any of us to be able to muck-around with flipping printheads and doing stuff with them. This is high-tech precision equipment and from their perspective, knowing the innards of these machines better than any of us ever will, the risk of users screwing it up worse than it was to start with would probably loom pretty large in their thinking about what components to make user-accessible (easily).
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #104 on: February 01, 2012, 10:52:25 am »

I'm not the least bit surprised. The printhead is the crown jewel of their technology and they will do whatever they think they need to do in order to keep it under their own control, for both commercial and reputational reasons.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Gulbransen

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2012, 11:23:54 am »

I might lose all credibility by sharing this bizarre thought I woke to this morning.  I do my most imaginative thinking just before and after sleep.  

What if....  now you really have to have an unrealistic imagination to even picture this - you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Nice thought but the plan has flaws, I know.  Neither the capping station OR the head on the 79/9900s are horizontal.  So we are screwed.  No-can-do on the manual head soaking method.  Isn't that just a heart breaker?  If this thing were a 4800 these un-clogable clogs wouldn't stand a chance.  And all because, possibly, the 7900 stands vertical instead of horizontal.

And here is where I threaten my credibility (*DISCLAIMER - I watched a science fiction movie last night, I can't be held responsible for what follows).  Release the head, tilt the machine way back, fill the capping station with solution, power the machine down, tilt the machine way forward, come back 24hrs later and do your pairs cleaning.

I don't know.  It's unorthodox.  Go ahead and shoot me.  But after knowing what I do now, I have to confess, I will try this before diving under the 79/9900's hood again, or pushing it off a cliff.

...Dam Buck Rogers

« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 11:41:04 am by Go394 »
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Ken Doo

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #106 on: February 01, 2012, 11:29:22 am »

At about ~$1,800 for an Epson 79/99** printhead, I wouldn't exactly be clamoring to replace it myself, even if out of warranty---and that's assuming I could do it correctly (hey, what are all these leftover parts here?).  I'd seriously be considering a new printer, and from a common sense business perspective, that's dangerous territory, because I'm not limited to buying another Epson.  I could just as easily buy a Canon, HP, or simply send my work out.

But printer maintenance items (e.g., wipers) should be easily accessible and user replaceable to help users keep their printers singing happily.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Let Epson continue to sell us that liquid gold....  

Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #107 on: February 01, 2012, 11:34:25 am »

I might lose all credibility by sharing this bizarre thought I woke to this morning.  I do my most imaginative thinking just before and after sleep.  

What if....  now you really have to have an unrealistic imagination to even picture this - you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Nice thought but the plan has flaws, I know.  Neither the capping station OR the head on the x900s are horizontal.  So we are screwed.  No-can-do on the manual head soaking method.  Isn't that just a heart breaker?  If this thing were a 4800 these un-clogable clogs wouldn't stand a chance.  And all because, possibly, the 7900 stands vertical instead of horizontal.

And here is where I threaten my credibility (*DISCLAIMER - I watched a science fiction movie last night, I can't be held responsible for what follows).  Release the head, tilt the machine way back, fill the capping station with solution, power the machine down, tilt the machine way forward, come back 24hrs later and do your pairs cleaning.

I don't know.  It's unorthodox.  Go ahead and shoot me.  But after knowing what I do now, I have to confess, I will try this before diving under the x900's hood again, or pushing it off a cliff.

...Dam Buck Rogers



Eric, I know your concern and area of hard-earned expertise is the 7900 - but just for clarity when we talk x900, that includes the 4900, and it does have a conventional horizontal head configuration. I'm hoping never to have to take advantage of that fact with my 4900, but then again, one never knows.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #108 on: February 01, 2012, 11:38:43 am »

At about ~$1,800 for an Epson 79/99** printhead, I wouldn't exactly be clamoring to replace it myself, even if out of warranty---and that's assuming I could do it correctly (hey, what are all these leftover parts here?).  I'd seriously be considering a new printer, and from a common sense business perspective, that's dangerous territory, because I'm not limited to buying another Epson.  I could just as easily buy a Canon, HP, or simply send my work out.

But printer maintenance items (e.g., wipers) should be easily accessible and user replaceable to help users keep their printers singing happily.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Let Epson continue to sell us that liquid gold....  

KD, this makes a lot of sense to me - if in fact the wiper is truly such a consumable and if in fact it could be made easily accessible without running the risk of users damaging a bunch of other stuff, it would indeed be a good idea for Epson to either design it for better accessibility, or provide instructions to users on how to replace it safely in their existing printers. I too have come across this issue of -possibly- the wiper smearing sludge to other places on the head, but that was years ago in the Epson 4000 days.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Eric Gulbransen

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #109 on: February 01, 2012, 11:40:15 am »

...one never knows.    ;D   I like that Mark.  Thanks for the correction.  I am NOT an expert at any of this.  I will edit that now.

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #110 on: February 01, 2012, 11:44:52 am »

I'm not the least bit surprised. The printhead is the crown jewel of their technology and they will do whatever they think they need to do in order to keep it under their own control, for both commercial and reputational reasons.
I guess I would disagree here.  Look at the automobile industry.  Each manufacturer implements their design differently and uses differing components.  True, it is more difficult to be a DIY (do it yourselfer) these days because a lot of what has been done in the last 15 years is to put computers on cars.  However, a lot of 3rd party repair facilities are open and certainly a lot of the mundane stuff (fluid changes, brake repair, etc) can be done by the user should he/she wish (and without voiding any warranty on the automobile!).  Epson printers are not any more difficult from a 2012 car in terms of the mechanics and design (though one could argue the printer is a lot less rugged).  Epson have chosen (in my view not wisely) to keep everything close to the vest which really doesn't make sense.  Their two major competitors have very different technology implications and I doubt that Epson's approach to printing is threatened in those terms.  

A number of us probably have the necessary skills to do maintenance and overhauling of these printers if we had both the time and inclination.  Unfortunately, Epson have made this quite difficult.  I can see them making an argument that doing self-repairs would void a warranty but I'm really talking about the out of warranty printers.

alan
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gwhitf

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #111 on: February 01, 2012, 11:50:52 am »

This is high-tech precision equipment and from their perspective, knowing the innards of these machines better than any of us ever will, the risk of users screwing it up worse than it was to start with would probably loom pretty large in their thinking about what components to make user-accessible (easily).

Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Maybe they ought to treat this segment of the market like PhaseOne/Hasselblad/Leaf, and let their cute little consumer printers be Nikon and Canon.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2012, 11:52:49 am »

- you have an unclog-able clog like gwhitf does right now.  You take your dropper filled with a sterile mix of cleaning solution and distilled water, and "fill" that bay of your capping station.  Of course this would work better if the capping station was horizontal in it's parked position, but hear me out.  At this point you command the head back into it's parked position and shut the printer down.  It seals itself over the head and the solution goes to work - no lint, no abrasions, to pushing splooge into even more nozzle openings.  You let the printer sit like this for 24hrs.  Come back the next day, with a clean wiper, and do a pairs cleaning on that channel.  "Could be" your un-clogable clog is clear..

Problem is we really don't know what the optimal cleaning solution might be.  The chemistry of the inks is a trade secret of Epson and while the black and grey inks are based on carbon black, the polymers and other solvents that make up the remainder of the active part of the ink (I discount the water!!) are not disclosed.  There is an issue of making sure you had the right cleaning formulation which would require some type of solvent in addition to water to work.  It would have to be mild enough not to chemically damage the print head but strong enough to dislodge the clog (we also don't understand the actual physical properties of the clog, it could be poor quality control of the ink resulting in particles that are too large for the nozzle or something physically wrong with the printer where part of the head dries out, etc.).  I think it's more difficult than just "soaking" or "wiping".

Alan
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #113 on: February 01, 2012, 11:57:47 am »

Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Maybe they ought to treat this segment of the market like PhaseOne/Hasselblad/Leaf, and let their cute little consumer printers be Nikon and Canon.

Hi GW, I didn't say the reason has anything to do with "temperamental". I'm not sure in general that they are so temperamental. But when you are dealing with machinery of this character, certain aspects of its servicing obviously requires specialized training. Epson, or any manufacturer for that matter, needs to make judgments about how much they think is "safe" to put in the hands of users - remembering the vast range of adeptness out there - not everyone is an Eric - and how much they should reserve to trained technicians. I have no basis for second-guessing that judgment. And no - I'd still prefer to have a one year warranty with my printer, and an option to buy a service contract pretty much as they offer it now. That's a decent protection package.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #114 on: February 01, 2012, 12:02:08 pm »

I guess I would disagree here.  Look at the automobile industry.  Each manufacturer implements their design differently and uses differing components.  True, it is more difficult to be a DIY (do it yourselfer) these days because a lot of what has been done in the last 15 years is to put computers on cars.  However, a lot of 3rd party repair facilities are open and certainly a lot of the mundane stuff (fluid changes, brake repair, etc) can be done by the user should he/she wish (and without voiding any warranty on the automobile!).  Epson printers are not any more difficult from a 2012 car in terms of the mechanics and design (though one could argue the printer is a lot less rugged).  Epson have chosen (in my view not wisely) to keep everything close to the vest which really doesn't make sense.  Their two major competitors have very different technology implications and I doubt that Epson's approach to printing is threatened in those terms.  

A number of us probably have the necessary skills to do maintenance and overhauling of these printers if we had both the time and inclination.  Unfortunately, Epson have made this quite difficult.  I can see them making an argument that doing self-repairs would void a warranty but I'm really talking about the out of warranty printers.

alan

Hi Alan - not sure the analogy works here. I'm referring to one specific and key component in a printer. A car has a huge number of assemblies and parts that are and should be third-party serviceable. Even with the cars as you correctly point out how they are made these days, for certain components the third-party folks have no choice but to revert to the manufacturer for certain replacement assemblies. In the specific case of the Epson printhead - let's face it - this is the core of their IP and it's quite reasonable to expect they'd be leery of losing control over it for any number of sensible reasons. Wiper blades is perhaps another story.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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chaddro

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #115 on: February 01, 2012, 12:28:29 pm »

RE: Windex Method

I would not "shoe shine" your print head! You want to use a lint free cloth like the pec pads. Let the head sit over the dampened cloth for a time-say 20 minutes, and then swipe in only one direction. You may have to repeat several times.

If you have a super glob of ink, you'll likely have to put cleaner on the cap for that channel and let soak over night.

RE: LLK... and capping station.

Each color pair has it's own "cap" with a rubber seal. I think perhaps you are not getting a perfect capping of the LLK channel. If the cap is off just a fraction, you'll have your head exposed to air, and ink drying. My 9890 has more issues with the yellow channel than the LLK, but the LLK can drop out.

Also look for AIR in your lines. If you can see large gaps of air in the lines, only a power clean can pull them through. I have bad memories of my 4000's habit of drawing air into the lines when not in regular use.  If the nozzle isn't capped, then air could also be drawn into the head/damper...

... at least this is my take on the issue ... looking at the capping station it'd be very hard to see if you're getting a perfect seal.


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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #116 on: February 01, 2012, 12:35:38 pm »

RE: Windex Method

I would not "shoe shine" your print head! You want to use a lint free cloth like the pec pads. Let the head sit over the dampened cloth for a time-say 20 minutes, and then swipe in only one direction. You may have to repeat several times.

If you have a super glob of ink, you'll likely have to put cleaner on the cap for that channel and let soak over night.

RE: LLK... and capping station.

Each color pair has it's own "cap" with a rubber seal. I think perhaps you are not getting a perfect capping of the LLK channel. If the cap is off just a fraction, you'll have your head exposed to air, and ink drying. My 9890 has more issues with the yellow channel than the LLK, but the LLK can drop out.

Also look for AIR in your lines. If you can see large gaps of air in the lines, only a power clean can pull them through. I have bad memories of my 4000's habit of drawing air into the lines when not in regular use.  If the nozzle isn't capped, then air could also be drawn into the head/damper...

... at least this is my take on the issue ... looking at the capping station it'd be very hard to see if you're getting a perfect seal.


Hi chaddro - you are on to something here. I also think the seating of the capping station can be an important issue and a good clue is when one channel is more systematically affected than any other. I've seen that, but I did not delve into the capping station - it was suggested to me as a possible cause of a problem.

On the issue of air - YES - and this goes back to my days on the Epson 4000. When I discussed this matter with Epson, one of their senior technical support people recommended to run prints between regular cleaning cycles, because repeated cleaning cycles in tight sequences can trigger such issues. It helped improve cleaning effectiveness a lot when I followed that advice, and worked around the need for power cleaning which uses a lot of ink.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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chaddro

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #117 on: February 01, 2012, 12:51:50 pm »

Hi Mark,

Yes, I broke my teeth in on the 4000. Read endless posts on the issue of clogging with this baby. I bought new when it came out and only JUST sold it a couple months ago. I had the extended warranty twice just from sheer concern. But, back in those days, the Epson techs seemed to have a great degree of training.

My observations are from those and later with my 7800. These printers have 1 seal for the entire head. But these new x900 and x980 printers have a seal for each color pair. You can see the capping station when it's printing, but I haven't tried to look closer at it.

Instead, I've pestered Epson enough to get some ink for my inconvenience. The tech I spoke with didn't want to admit a problem with the printer. Said it "might" be the ink cartridge...

Me, I think it's either a capping station or damper issue.

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jeverton

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #118 on: February 01, 2012, 02:06:46 pm »

Of course, they're precision machines, but if they're this temperamental, maybe they should be sold only with a Service Contract. You want a printer -- you're required to buy a Service Contract. You don't buy a Service Contract, then you only get a 30-day warranty.

Ironically, I just received a call today from Epson about my recent service experience and gave them this very same feedback!  A professional printer without establishing a realistic warranty period is absolutely crazy, the lack of service guidance on how to properly maintain the unit in optimal condition (under the right environment) – is totally off the mark, and options for support (besides Decision One) is paramount in keeping loyal customers.

As for the “out of warranty” service experience, I’m sitting on the sidelines with a clogged LLK nozzle (80-90%) and no immediate resolution insight…

Jeff
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Epson 7900 from the inside - out
« Reply #119 on: February 01, 2012, 02:31:13 pm »

Jeff, on new machines they offer a one year warranty and then a service contract one can buy for two more years. Do you think that's unreasonable? It's not as good as the warranty on my car, but that's a different animal in a different market. I haven't looked into this, but are Canon and HP offering better warranties? My main concern about service here in Canada isn't so much the length of the warranty, but the *apparent* (at least to me, after some digging) lack of in-city trained, authorized service, even in a market as large as Toronto. This was not the case back in the days of the 4800, when they did have an authorized and very decent third-party service provider. As for your clogged LLK channel, I would suggest you NOT let it sit on the sidelines, just keep at them - with escalation as needed - until it gets fixed in whatever manner you and they agree.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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