Epson 3880 Photo Black head smearing ink

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jon huggins, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. About a month ago I posted a question about head clogging on the 3880 and trying a few of the suggestions resolved that issue. That problem finally cleared up after about 7 head cleanings with a power cleaning as well. Right after that black ink began to come out in blobs ruining the print and then the head clogged again. Multiple cleanings later I got it to run but now with almost every print job large amounts of black ink get smeared on the prints sporadically. So the question is whether that type of problem is worth the repair cost. I cannot find any info in a web search of this problem and while I have given up and ordered a new one I might fix this one as a back up if that is a reasonable thing to do. Thanks for any comments you would like to share.
  2. It's me again, sorry it has to be you again with 3880 troubles. You'll notice in my response previously to your head clog posting I said that "my 3800 also started depositing blobs of ink randomly across the print". I hope I didn't put a hex on yours.

    Mine were actual blobs rather than the lines you seem to be getting. All I can tell you is that after scrapping prints for a while when it happened it then seemed to go away and hasn't done it since. Is there any chance that ink has got deposited onto the printer internals and is smearing onto the paper as it transports through the printer? Could you run a clean sheet through the printer several times without printing anything to see if you get any deposits on it? Perhaps try different platen gap settings to see if that has any effect.

    As to repair being worthwhile, if it cost less than $200 I'd say possibly, otherwise the effective $400 for a new printer (B&H offer price and ignoring the ink cost) would make it not worth going higher than $200 for me. (No warranty, potential further problems that could crop up)

    And no Mrs Huggins I'm not suggesting he buy two :)

    .yllaer ma I ,noJ thgirla s'tI
  3. Hey Mac I again appreciate the response. I can assure you that you did not hex it as that was something that happened before but was so rare I did not mention it. A sheet of paper does in fact come through the printer unmarked but I will change the gap setting and see what happens for the next several prints.
    I agree the repair probably not worth it and just the shipping would be pretty expensive. The Mrs. is good with the ordering of the new one (be here next Friday) since she realizes my hobby is what keeps me sane and therefore able to continue making enough money to afford the hobby in the first place. Again thanks for taking the time to comment and I will print for a few days changing the platen setting to see what happens and if that helps I will post for future searches.
  4. My 3880 has done the exact same thing just recently, but has now come good after running quite a few prints through. And it was the Photo Black that clogged and took about the same amount of head cleanings for it to come good. Is it possible there could be a fault here. I've had my printer for almost 2 years and it gets regular use and I have never had this problem before.
  5. "never had this problem before." - and it starts at some point in usage, when the foam in the sinking pads for excess ink gets filled up with ink.
    For my old 1800 printer I was able to replace the foam pads myself, by cutting similar foam to the size of originals, but for 3880, I would rather sent the printer for service.
  6. Jon, have you tried replacing the waste ink pad? Normally the printer gives a message when it needs to be replaced but maybe something's gone haywire with the warning. It's only a $20 item so it could be worth a try, and you'll have a spare for the new printer if it doesn't correct the problem.
  7. "and it starts at some point in usage, when the foam in the sinking pads for excess ink gets filled up with ink" - actually my problem happened after I replaced the maintenance tank that holds the foam pads for the excess ink (which is an easy do it yourself job like replacing the inks). I had the Photo Black clog up on me and in the midst of running the head cleaning routine, the maintenance tank full pops up and as I didn't have another tank to replace it or a chip to reset the machine after cleaning the originals, I let the machine sit until I received the new tank. So after putting in the new maintenance tank and then proceeding to finish off unclogging the Photo Black numerous times I finally have a perfect pattern printed indicating that the heads are running as they should. Then when I started printing out photos I get the same streaks and blobs as Jon Huggins has. Took about 6 or 7 A3+ prints before it came good. Sorry I should have stated all this in my original response.
  8. Margaret, mine is 2 1/2 years old and while I regularly use it I do not sell prints so it does not get used like a professional would use it. I use it several times a week but much of that is usage for business related things.
    Don, I have in fact just recently replaced the maintenance cartridge so I don't think that is the issue. When I open the top lid I do see a bunch of foam material surrounding many little pieces of plastic (don't really know what they are) that does have ink in it but I don't know if that is normal.
    I played games with the platen gap setting as suggested by Mac and that did not seem to change anything but (I went from standard to wide then wider) on the wider setting the first print through was very off in the color so I stopped it and ran a head pattern check and the yellow pattern while filled in was in fact black. Three cleanings later it was back to yellow so I did another superA3 print and there were again areas of black blobs of ink.
    Thanks all for the responses. It would be nice to better understand the issue here but like I said earlier I have gone ahead and ordered a new on. Margaret I hope you don't see the problem come back but if I were a betting person I would not bet on it. Good luck.
  9. Jon, I don't use my printer professionally, but do quite a few prints a month so there is possibly one, sometimes two weeks that it's sitting idle. I find it strange that you had black ink in your yellow pattern as I had the exact same thing. It took about the same amount of cleanings as you to clear the black ink. When I was trying to find the answer to this online, I do remember seeing a situation exactly the same as this on the DPReview forums. I too hope the problem doesn't return, but I think Jon you may be wise in not taking that bet.
  10. Margaret, I guess it is nice that I found someone with a similar issue because in my search I could not find anything like this to give me a clue but I do hope you are lucky and the problem does not come back!
  11. I have a 4 year old 3800 and am having the same issues with the printer, ie. excessive PK nozzle clogs, cleanings with the print driver,cleanings with windex, black ink streaks on the print and black streaks on the yellow nozzle pattern. Since the problem was intermittent and solved by a couple of cleanings, I figured that it might be due to advancing age and just deal with it. That is until I noticed that the brand new Photo black cartridge level indication said 64% and it was empty and all of a sudden the maintenance tank is full.This is after only 25- 8x10 prints on the new cart. Epson support's word is that there is a failure in the ink delivery system for Photo Black and that the printer must be serviced. I contacted my local printer service company and he mirrored Epson's word and that it would be an approximate $300 repair to fix. I can still use the printer on Matte Black which is fine. We are currently awaiting for the parts to come in as they are on backorder.
  12. Joe, thanks for the information. Your explanation of ink delivery problems certainly make sense and I did not think to call Epson support since it was out of warranty. That cost might make it worth repairing and passing along to my daughter who has developed the photo bug like me but lacks the resources for a really good printer. I will look around the Houston area for an Epson repair place and take it in for an estimate. Again, thanks for a good explanation of the problem.
  13. Ok so I have experienced the same Issue with my 3.5 yo 3880. Searched the internet, there are several similar complaints on cnet. Thought I would call my Authorized Epson repair center. Talked at length to VERY knowledgeable tech. He immediately diagnosed my problem. It seems thee photo black supply fails commonly on the 3880 and 3800. This is clearly a design flaw. You can switch to matt black and the printer will work normally as the matt supply is undamaged. I need photo black. Repair is $500so doesn't make sense on old machine. So I called Epson hoping to get some assurance the problem was addressed before i bought a replacement. The "support"people were evasive and not the least bit helpful. I have always been an Epson Fan I was very dissappointed with Epson "service" i talked to a supervisor who delivered the party line "we are always upgrading our products" I am seriously considering switching brands as painful as that will be to my business. There is no "professional" support it appears. think long and hard before buying 3880 it will fail 3-5 years in with moderate use. I just expected more from the Pro line
  14. Charlie, I feel your pain and frustration. I replaced mine when Epson was running a $300 rebate that allowed me to buy (from B&H) at the time for around $800 which was really about $400 out of my pocket considering the ink costs. I don't print professionally so could wait to replace when there was a sale and rebate running. As an amateur I continue to be amazed at the quality of the prints off this machine but I have to admit I might look very close at other brands if it happens again. I keep reading other post from pros using it daily without issues so maybe this problem is not that common. If you do switch to another I would love to hear your experience.
  15. Uh Oh. I just discarded my R3000 for dumping black ink on my prints and am in the process of receiving a R3880. My R3000 had other issues as well but Epson wanted $395 to replace it with a refurb model. Unfortunately, my current R3000 was already a refurb model from Epson (replaced under warranty) which didn't last very long either. I seriously looked at the Canon Pixma Pro one but is much heavier and has its own problems. Sorry I can't answer the question but Epson could't either.
  16. Hi everyone!
    Last week, got the exact same black ink drops issue as on the photo with my 4 years old 3880.
    After web researches I found out that it is the matt/photo black ink switch that is not working properly.
    I went to an Epson repair service shop (in Paris, France). I came with a print with those black drops and the guy confirmed me the origin of the drops.
    I left it 2 days and got the switch changed (175 euros + tax). Now it's running well!
  17. Philippe,
    Thank you very much for the info on the details of what was wrong. I could not come up with that when I was researching the problem earlier so just got a new printer. Next time if it happens I will take it in for repair.
    Thanks again,
  18. What do you do with old ink cartridges? Old toners you may give back to the purchase toners. It good solution when you want rid this. Prices are include in price list.
  19. Hi Philippe - Which Epson repair shop in Paris, please? I have the same problem, and I'm in Paris. Thanks.
  20. Hi, I have an Epson Stylus Pro 3880. i just bought 2 sets of ink cartridges and my printer then started started dropping black ink over my prints. Having tried cleaning and a number of options I finally purchased a new ink damper unit from Ali Express. I have swapped out the unit and it seems great. You need to spend some time on Youtube to find videos on disassembling the head and printer but the replacement seems to have worked. The unit cost $108 over here -

    100% Original & New Ink Damper for Epson Stylus Pro 3800 3850 3880 3890 Printer-in Printer Parts from Computer & Office on | Alibaba Group

    If you're adventurous they sell just the black ink damper for $22 - it might have solved the problem.

    Hope this helps

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