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Thread: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

  1. #31
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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    This thread sure brings back my Epson 4000 days. (Maybe it's the 4xxx series printers.) I went through TONS of ink with cleaning cycles. An Epson technician with whom I spoke suggested that the problem could be air leaks into the ink lines.

    Anyway, It became just too expensive to continue with that printer. So, I purchased a 3880, and it's been great. I've left the 3880 unused for months, and I've never had a problem. Others have the same experience.

    Hmmm. This makes me ponder whether Epson is leaving technology out of the 4900 that they've included in the 3880??? They make a lot of money from ink clogs. Does it make sense that there would be such a huge difference (regarding ink clogs) between the two printers?

  2. #32
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    This makes me ponder whether Epson is leaving technology out of the 4900 that they've included in the 3880??? They make a lot of money from ink clogs. Does it make sense that there would be such a huge difference (regarding ink clogs) between the two printers?
    I've spent a lot of time over the years fantasizing about hideous deaths for Epson executives. But I doubt the 4900 problems are deliberate. Epson has a lot of competition these days, and whether it's justified or not, Canon and HP seem to have better reputations when it comes to clogs. Epson has already lost customers over this.

    I suspect they just messed up. They made some improvements in the x900 series heads that ended up causing problems.

    When I very briefly thought about getting a 7900, I chatted with a salesperson at B+H. He pretty much told me I'd be crazy. He said their floor model needs to have clogs cleared between demo appointments. This was not the case with most of the earlier large format models.

  3. #33
    Peter J. De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Paul's recipe looks good to me.
    "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." - Helen Keller
    www.peterdesmidt.com/blog

  4. #34
    EOTS's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Well ...

    sold the printer causing this thread for 200 bucks and got an HP Z3200 ...
    sadly not without issues ...
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...HP-Z3200ps-DOA

    Best,
    Martin

  5. #35

    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by paulr View Post
    Here's a good DIY formula for cleaning / flushing. It avoids the ridiculous expense of commercial solutions and the mystery ingredients of home cleaning products.

    -3% glycerine or propylene glycol
    
-20% isopropyl alcohol (pharmaceutical grade without any additives), if you can not obtain it: 96 % potable alcohol (expensive !)*
    
-distilled water to make 100%


    you can add 3 drops of concentrated ammonia per 100 ml if you want a greater cleaning power.

    Source discussions:

    http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3211

    http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/vie....php?pid=56002


    My version (based on what I have around):

    isopropyl alcohol (20%)
    Diethylene Glycol (3%)
    photoflo (0.5%)
    Distilled Water (to make 100%)

    Add ONLY for externally cleaning stubborn clogs:
    household ammonia (20%)
    hello. I had similar problems with my 4000 a while ago. It was sentenced To need a head replacement by a service center. What I did instead was to order new dampers in china for 1euro each, disassemble the print head, clean it with an ultrasonic washer using distilled water and ammonia and reassemble the whole thing together. it took me four hours to get the job done, but the key is to use the ultrasonic washing machine. since you cannot dump the head into the liquid, you just have the printhead touch the cleaning liquid surface while the machine is running, and it destroys any clog inside. you can check the progress by pushing and pulling liquid with a syringe mimicing the ink lines (just attach a small tube to the syringe and to the ink feeding tube on the rear of the head). thats all you need.
    Even just distilled water works fine with this procedure.
    happy new year to everybody here!

  6. #36
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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by ssimoncini View Post
    hello. I had similar problems with my 4000 a while ago. It was sentenced To need a head replacement by a service center. What I did instead was to order new dampers in china for 1euro each, disassemble the print head, clean it with an ultrasonic washer using distilled water and ammonia and reassemble the whole thing together. it took me four hours to get the job done, but the key is to use the ultrasonic washing machine. since you cannot dump the head into the liquid, you just have the printhead touch the cleaning liquid surface while the machine is running, and it destroys any clog inside. you can check the progress by pushing and pulling liquid with a syringe mimicing the ink lines (just attach a small tube to the syringe and to the ink feeding tube on the rear of the head). thats all you need.
    Even just distilled water works fine with this procedure.
    happy new year to everybody here!
    This is quite interesting.

    What's been the history of the 4000 since that time? How often do you use it? Does it still clog, if it isn't used within even a day or so?

    Do you think that, by disassembling the print head, you may have also reduced or stopped possible air-leaks into the ink lines?

    My 4000 has been sitting on the floor in a spare room for months. I may try the same approach.

  7. #37

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    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    My 4000 was terribly clog prone. It was replaced with a 4800, which has been has been very clog free. My memory is that most people with 4000's have had clog issues.

  8. #38

    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    This is quite interesting.

    What's been the history of the 4000 since that time? How often do you use it? Does it still clog, if it isn't used within even a day or so?

    Do you think that, by disassembling the print head, you may have also reduced or stopped possible air-leaks into the ink lines?

    My 4000 has been sitting on the floor in a spare room for months. I may try the same approach.
    I think there are a lot of things where the DIY approach may be better. In my case, the printer was not printing four out of eight channels, no matter how many cleaning cycles I ran. So I took it to a Epson center.the guy there put it back to work at the expense of more than 300 euros. right after I took the printer back home, one channel was misfiring. In a couple of days it was back in the condition as before. I already had the ultrasonic washing machine, so I decided to give it a try. as an additional measure I ordered the dampers on ebay to complete the job as it was meant to be done, which had not been performed as it should have been by the service center.

    It's been two years now that I did this and I only had repeat the procedure once. the machine is still there, I did the same on another 4000 equipped with Piezography K7, but these inks do not clog that much as the UC.
    I use it quite often to print digital negatives, like every other day or so, and so far some issues (missing channel, for example) have been resolved by performing some cleaning cycles, no major clogging since.

    If you look at the service manual, they recommend to change the dampers every year or so, and there is a reason: inside the damper there is a stainless steel filter which prevents any particle of impurities to get to the head. In my case the yellow damper was quite blocked, as it was difficult to get the ink flowing even with the syringe.

    When you change the dampers you have to prime them with the sringe to get the ink back in them before reassmbling, and there it is your opportunity to get a good job done in removing air bubbles. as you suck ink to the damper, you we'll be able to see the air bubbles, if any, flowing thru the tubes. from how the dampers are designed, however, I really doubt that air in the conduct is a real concern until it reaches a certain point. Why? just because the way the dampers sit in place:

    ink comes from above in a little chamber and is sucked thru the filter in a lower chamber. so, even if an air bubble gets there, it's not likely that it will stop the ink from flowing, unless of course there is enough air to empty the chambers.

    it will be pretty straightforward, when you look at the dampers, on how to arrange things in order to fill them with ink before putting the head back on.

    Pieces of advice
    1) NEVER loosen the attachment between the ink lines and the dampers while the ink levers are down, as it will suddlenly empty the ink lines and you have to repeat the disassemble procedure from scratch
    2) if you perform the procedure you will have to get the printhead back to firing inks, which may take several cleaning cycles. so after you put things together again, just go for a power claeaning cycle, oyu know the one where you have to raise the levers a couple of times. It's a bit more expensive, but it will fill back your print head with ink. at least it's what happened with mine.
    3) when the print head comes in contact with the fluid in the machine, you will be seeing ink flowing back FROM the head and pouring thru the channel-to-damper connectors; you can play a little harder by placing a tube to the connectors and having a push-pull action with a syringe which adds power, I think, to the ultrasonic washing action.
    4) my notes are for a 4000, which I think it's prone to clogging just because Ultrachrome inks clog. But I think that it could be applied to any Epson large printer where you have a piezo head and dampers.

    In my case it prevented me to go for a new printer as the guy suggested ("go for the 4900, which is absolutely free from clogging")... which takes us back to the title of the thread

  9. #39

    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
    My 4000 was terribly clog prone. It was replaced with a 4800, which has been has been very clog free. My memory is that most people with 4000's have had clog issues.
    it sure is. I think it's the ink's technology more than the printer itself. as the 4800 uses k3 maybe they are differently engineered and pose less problems.

  10. #40

    Re: Epson 4900 Printer Extreme Clogging Problem

    I consider myself a binge user. Gone for weeks on a trip then return to print results. Last time out, over a month, the 4900 would not clean up after many cleaning cycles. Contacted the local repair center, they said replace print head. Bottom line warranty replacement of entire printer. New printer working fine.

    What to do for next trip?

    Discussion with Epson customer service really had no good suggestions. No procedures listed for long term storage.

    The fellow did note that there is a cleaning cartridge, part #1537913, but currently not in stock. He said four such cartridges were necessary and there was a software for a cleaning process that only the service centers would have access to it. Sounds like they might be working on the problem but not yet shipped. Or perhaps over subscribed.

    My thought is that going through a cleaning procedure with a cleaning solution before a trip. But then not completing the process by recharging with ink would leave solvent in the print head. Then recharge after returning. Any such procedure would be costly in ink but might save the head.

    Any thoughts or comments?

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