epson printer head clog (unclog)

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by will_jefferson, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Hello, I wanted to share as a testament to Epson printers the experience I had with mine recently. I have a PX-5600 (R2880) which has sat unused for about a year. Not only was it unused, but had been shipped by freight from Japan to Seattle, then checked on a plane from Seattle to Honolulu, drug around the airport and finally brought to my residence.
    When I finally plugged it in again it showed low ink so I had to replace a few cartridges (you gotta cut off some plastic stubs to get American cartridges to work on a Japanese machine), and then it had some plugged up nozzles. At this point I was kind of worried that shipping this thing here and there, and letting it go unused for so long may have been a bigger hassle than it was worth. But after running the 'auto head cleaning' function three times, the clogs are gone and the printer is ready to print again. Yay!
    Here are the test prints:
    The software actually directed me to replace the ink cartridge with a fresh one and proceed to manual nozzle cleaning after the first test print was done, but instead I put in a new piece of paper and ran the auto cleaning again, which came up daisies the second time. I ran it a third time just to be sure.
    When I stopped using this printer a year ago, I didn't do anything special to it. And when I shipped it all over hell and back, I just left it in its original box.
    After this experience with the Epson, I would say they did a damn good job building this machine!
  2. Looks good, and a great result in resuscitating a very serviceable unit.
    The manufacturers' method for cleaning heads is extremely expensive. Something like bleeding to clean a wound. My estimate is somewhere in the order of $10-50 each time.

    Anyone know of a simple [cheap] way to clean the heads of old printers?
  3. Not sure why this is a particularly stunning result - isn't this what head cleaning is meant to do? I don't understand it's particular significance. I think the more interesting result is whether 5 years later you still feel so warmly towards clogged heads and having to replace ink cartridges because you had to use up so much ink trying to unclog them, as Otto hints above. When inkjets work they're great, but once they reach a certain age they are nothing but trouble.
  4. I do think that luck, quality of ink, humidity in the room and regular usage all have a part to play in maintaining all printers. I have used Canons for almost 15 years before choosing an Epson wireless photo printer two years ago. As I had been warned in this very forum, leaving the printer unused for a very long time and then continuing to use cheap ink can reduce lifespan of the head. I had much problem towards the end of last year. As an infrequent user I now ensure that I am printing a page or two at least once a month!
  5. The manufacturers' method for cleaning heads is extremely expensive. Something like bleeding to clean a wound. My estimate is somewhere in the order of $10-50 each time.​
    That's why for printing short order 8x10's for personal use I gave my $700 Epson 1270 that was sitting in my closet for 5 years away to Goodwill and bought a $50 Epson NX330 "All In One".
    But still even for that model each CMYK cartridge costs around $14 each (Moderate Capacity) and the printer conducts a random non-aided nozzle cleaning routine I know happens whenever I hear the click sound which is the tiny rubber squeegee wiping the print heads after an initial long whirring sound. I know then I just lost a whole bunch of ink.
    After hearing that several times it doesn't take long after about (5) 8x10's that I'll get a low ink warning. So I conducted an experiment that would've been too expensive on my 1270 to find out just how much ink is left when the printer indicates "Low Ink" warning by creating a quarter page fill (in this case yellow) of RGB 255,255,5 in Photoshop and printed it on Epson Presentation Matte several times until the printer driver prevented printing with "Replace Ink Cartridge" warning. (See image below of the results).
    I realized how much ink I threw away when replacing a cyan cartridge at the "Low Ink" indicator. Now I'll just keep printing until it stops printing with "Replace Ink Cartridge" warning.
  6. I once was given an Epson 1200 that had stood for several years and was completely dried up. It was suggested that I use an ammonia based window cleaner "Windolene" in UK to clean it.
    I sprayed a little onto a sheet of paper and attempted to print on it. After many passes and head cleans I got it completely unblocked, you can also spray some on the foam that the heads rest on when parked and leave it overnight. I used it for several years before buying an Epson 2880.
  7. On a related note I own an Epson 2200 which seems to have a clogged ink tube. After several head cleaning cycles, one color ink cannot get through. It sat for a few years unused. (New ink cartridge for that color).
    Anyway I'm looking to sell this printer but there is not much interest. At least not on Craig' List.
  8. Yes, doing the unclog uses a fair amount of ink, and costs money, and Robin is right, my results may not be particularly stunning. However, reading reports of people who are afraid to let their printer sit a week or two for fear of it getting clogged nozzles might be able to see this and rest easier. Time will tell how well my PX-5600 holds up.
    I am still impressed that my printer has held up through all my moving, and that it was able to rectify its clogged nozzle though. I wonder how well this feature works on other pigment ink printers?
  9. Norman,
    Thanks, that's the kind of tip I was looking for.
    I'm still smarting from buying an Epson R290 printer almost solely for printing BW correspondence and direct-onto-disk BW labeling.
    I must state clearly that as I had no urgency to start using the device, it was over a year (and well out of warranty) before I tried it, but it had been completely sealed and unopened until I did.
    I printed no correspondence and a total of eight simple BW labels direct onto disks before cyan ran out. I replaced that for $45 very begrudgingly and printed another four disks over the next month before two other colours (not BW) ran out and it refused to run, even though there was strictly no colour and all "BW Only" options had been checked. I am aware that the initial cartridges are only part-filled, but the new cyan was now down to 40%.
    At an estimated cost of dozens of dollars per label, I parked the printer, went back to hand labelling and said rude things about Epson printers. (Their scanners are OK.)
    I will also admit that I needed to clean the heads a couple of times, but the rest were done as per the printer's whims. The only thing that stemmed the hemorrhaging was to leave the printer on all the time, as each on/off/on cycle would clean the heads and visibly deplete the ink content in the status dialog.

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