Unused ink cartridges in Epson printer

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by lee_shively, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. I recently bought an Epson r3000. I'm very satisfied with what I'm getting out of the printer. I do have one question concerning the ink cartridges. I think the printer requires all cartridge spaces to be occupied in order to function. From what I've read, switching back and forth from the glossy photo black ink to the matte black ink wastes a good bit of both in the process. Since I only use the printer for photographs and I only print on Epson's Premium Glossy Photo Paper or Glossy Exhibition Fiber papers, the ink cartridge filled with matte black ink will never get used in normal printing. Should I occasionally print something using the matte black ink or is it okay to just leave it unused. If I don't use it for printing at all, do I need to replace this cartridge occasionally even though it will never have any ink used out of it?
  2. You might as well leave it in, just in case you decide to get experimental... ;-) Printing on matte fine art paper may lead to surprises you may wish to duplicate. If you take them out and not reinsert them, the printer may give you an error message and refuse to print at all.
    All cartridges have a shelf life, but usually, they will print on finely even after that due date. If you intend to use the cartridges after due date occasionally, give them a gentle shake (not harsh, else the ink foams up).
  3. Check the manual and/or specs to find out if your printer's print heads are part of the printer or part of the ink cartridges. (I don't know about current Epson printers, but at least in the Olden Days, Epson's print heads were part of the printer.)
    The residual ink that's left in the print head after you've printed tends to dry up if it sits there unused for a prolonged period, and it can get to the point where even the printer's head cleaning function can no longer unclog the print heads. For printers that have the print heads as part of the ink cartridges, buying a new ink cartridge cures the problem quite easily (at the cost of having to buy a new print head every time you buy a new cartridge, even if your current print head is working properly). For printers that have the print heads as part of the printer, though, you're looking at replacing the print head, which is not necessarily designed to be cheap or easy to do.
    So if your printer has built-in print heads, you may want to make sure you use every ink occasionally to avoid having print heads get clogged.
  4. My understanding is that the print heads on Epsons are part of the printer, unlike my HP printer where the heads are built into the cartridges. I'm not sure if the photo black and matte black use the same print head, however. You have to purge the photo glossy black to use the matte black and vice versa. That may or may not mean the same head is being used--I don't know.
    I suppose it would be wise to occasionally run a sheet of paper through the printer using the matte black ink cartridge to keep the print head clear. Seems like a big waste of the photo glossy black ink to me, all this purging of very expensive ink. Wish I could just remove the matte black cartridge and leave the space empty since I cannot foresee ever using any papers that would require matte ink.

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