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Best of two cleaning techniques

Discussion in 'Epson InkJet Printers' started by Mdavis, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Apr 16, 2017
    Mdavis

    Mdavis Newbie to Printing

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    Hello,
    I have a 1400 Epson, which has a black nozzle clog. There are two ways to clean it, maybe more, but the more popular ones are, syringe with tube pushing alcohol+windex(generic) or carts you fill with cleaning fluid and place them in place, and do a head cleaning. Which, in your experience has worked the best? Also the name of the vendors the you know are reliable? Appreciate your input.
    Regards,
    Millard
     
  2. Apr 17, 2017 at 10:27 AM
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    @Mdavis, Are you asking for our help, or giving advise ? :hu
     
  3. Apr 17, 2017 at 10:43 AM
    Ink stained Fingers

    Ink stained Fingers Printer Master

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    If there is anything in the ink channel - particles etc - you should as the first action pull with the syringe and not push - the nozzles are the tightest areas to pass for the ink and only then push and feed some of your whatever cleaning liquid down the path again, and do that several times. It helps in some instances but not all - missing nozzles can be caused as well by an impeded ink flow - when missing nozzles change from one nozzle print to another you might check the ink path - e.g. the filter in the refill cartridge is clogged up, the cartridge does not fit very well anymore from frequent use and the valve in the cartridge does not open wide enough. The purge unit in the printer may have a problem, the tube from the purge unit to the pump to the waste ink container may be clogged.
     
    berttheghost, PeterBJ and The Hat like this.
  4. Apr 17, 2017 at 6:36 PM
    berttheghost

    berttheghost Fan of Printing

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    Sorry, but I wouldn't recommend either technique. Neither technique puts the cleaning solvent in direct contact with the clogs. Both techniques introduce potentially harmful solvents into the ink path, potentially damaging internal seals and promoting corrosion. Store bought cleaning carts and the associated solvents tend to be costly and are only really appropriate for flushing the ink path when flushing is called for. "Enthusiastic" use of cleaning syringes can also cause excessive internal pressure differences between adjacent ink paths, which can damage the seals that keep the different colors separate. A very expensive mistake for an Epson printhead.

    There is a class of clogs for which the cleaning syringe is likely the only effective technique, as inkstainedfingers mentioned above. I would consider this as a method of third or fourth (or last) resort, to be used only after nozzles themselves are clear.

    I would instead recommend two different techniques to be used together. First, clean the capping station (pump cap) and wiper blade. (this may be called the maintainance unit or service station depending on printer.) This is the mechanism which provides the printer's built-in cleaning mechanism. The capping station must provide a vacuum tight seal against the printhead's nozzle face so that the purge pump(s) can suck semi-dry ink out of the nozzles. This also keeps air away from the printhead when not in use so that it doesn't dry out (at least in theory). So keep it clean. Most consider this preventative maintainance but it is also one of the first things to check when dealing with clogs.

    The other technique I would recommend is the use of cleaner soaked paper towels against the printhead's nozzle face as detailed elsewhere in this forum. It has the advantage of providing direct contact between fresh cleaning solution and the most likely location of the clogs. It also allows use of relative aggressive cleaning agents without introducing them into the ink path.
     
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  5. Apr 17, 2017 at 8:13 PM
    Ink stained Fingers

    Ink stained Fingers Printer Master

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    Everybody makes his own experience, I'm overall successful with the pull/push method, and not very much with any more aggressive solvents beyond a rinse solution - nozzle rocket whatever
     
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  6. Apr 18, 2017 at 3:50 AM
    mikling

    mikling Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Both techniques as described above can work. In the days before the R260 and R2880 era, Epson printheads were more durable/tougher and could take the push pull techniques and survive hard pulls and pushes. The newer printheads however are more fragile and the ensuing risk greater. So keep in mind that the generation of the printer is going to warrant what is tried with the attendant risk level.
    The 1400 belongs to the era of a more fragile printhead. In fact, cracking or delamination between the black and yellow adjacent channels is a known common failure mode of this generation....just a design weakness carried over to today in the Artisan 1430.

    Clogs can occur at the surface and also internally. On the surface it can be due to thickened ink and a normal clean and wipe will fix it. If it is dry, the rehydration technique will fix it especially with liquids that can creep well. However, if the clog is due to ink drying deep inside the printhead, clearing it can be difficult.

    Here's why.

    Imagine a very skinny long tube. Now imagine ink that has dried up in the middle of it and has form a blockage. There is some air to both sides of the dried up clog. Now because the tube is skinny, any liquid that is introduced to the tube, due to surface tension is going to form a complete column. When you try and force liquid in, the air in front of the incoming liquid is going to get trapped. So the air keeps the liquid from reaching the blockage. How to fix this? Forcibly by high pressure? Not a good thing.

    So what is this pull and push technique talking about, is it the pressure that is working........Not really. By pulling first, you generate a vacuum and when this vacuum is released, and liquid enters, it has less trapped air thus getting deeper along the tube. Doing this multiple times might allow the liquid to "creep" deeper inside...or get moved inside. You need to understand what a vacuum really does. The aspect that the tube and syringe is directly above the head allows this technique to work. Keep the attaching tube as short as possible to the point that there is minimal volume and be somewhat gentle intially. You may need to try multiple times.

    Some deep thought might allow you to figure out how this could be more effective than just pushing. But the principles are laid there on the table.....this is no BS. It is based on fundamental physics.

    In any case, I have laid out the scientific principles from which you can develop ideas about how this technique can help.
     
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  7. Apr 18, 2017 at 2:54 PM
    Mdavis

    Mdavis Newbie to Printing

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    Thank you both for your extensive thoughts. I am not sure there are "cracks" as when I set the printer to "fine" instead of normal all the problems go away. I appreciate the caution not to use syringe/tube technique, and use the infused towel. Do you think using 50% windex with 50% of 90% alcohol is too caustic or harmful to the print head? The technique was to infuse a flattened towel, slide the head over it, leave it overnight and see what happened. I also am going to purchase waste tank hook up. Will follow the instructions, should not be a problem, right?
    Regards,
    Millard
     
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  8. Apr 18, 2017 at 6:31 PM
    mikling

    mikling Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    One reason why glass cleaner works well is the modified surface tension allows the liquid to stay on the side and "creep" in better. Keep that in mind with any of the liquids used, even water will clear a clog...but treated water (glass cleaner) lies flatter on glass than distilled water which will bead more. Is this something desirable....you might ask. Detergents ( a small amount is in glass cleaners) modify surface tension. So glass cleaner is easier/better able to enter fine passages as a simplification. Other ingredients might be able to help but the key property you seek is surface tension modification especially with dye ink.

    The biggest problem lies in identifying what is causing the clog....and that comes with experience and knowing the history of how the printer was used. A surface clog or an internal dried up clog and if so, how deep inside it is. You will not be able to identify what you have easily. Printers where the ink has dried over a few days are more likely surface or close to it. The thing to recognize is that if ink recedes and is "clogged" the liquid column will prevent the ink from drying hard. IF however, AIR infiltrated the head and happened to be on BOTH side of a small column of ink...that is when tough clogs starts. Because the air allows the ink to dry out. Had one side been solid liquid, no problem. Using an Epson printhead with a partial clog, while won't burn out the printhead can lead to tougher clogs to clear eventually.

    This "Epson Clogging" is a difficult concept for the layman to understand because there are so many potential causes and each one is not identifiable by inspection and worse ....not easy to understand.

    So we have a host of snake oil being bandied about to cure all ills. Wild Wild West again...because the consumer doesn't get it but is desperate for a cure. In come the opportunists......
     
  9. Apr 19, 2017 at 10:35 PM
    Mdavis

    Mdavis Newbie to Printing

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    Thanks for the info. Hopefully it is not an air bubble. Again if it works on a more "finer"setting, I am hoping that it is just good 'ole clog. As for the waste tank, you have a vendor on your site selling the "printer potty". Looks like a good product, but it is sold from England, where as on ebay and Amazon have similar products.Has anyone used one of these products with a Epson 1400 and like it?
    Also while I got attention, I only use OEM inks, and papers because I was told, that the OEM Ink and Paper, chemically bond together to give you a respectable life. As I sell my photos, I want max archive, so that I get no clients, calling me back, wanting a refund, and blab all their discontent on social media. I know the compatible inks are super cheap and may produce a great image, but how about their longevity?
    Regards,
    Millard
     
  10. Apr 20, 2017 at 12:58 PM
    Paul W.

    Paul W. Printer Guru

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    I can speak very favorably for the Printer Potty. Early on I installed one for an Epson 220 and more recently my 1400. Works like a charm. A little fiddly to install but the owner of the company is very helpful and conscientious. The documentation is excellent. Am now ready to install one in my 1430. At some point you will need to reset the printer's print count. The printer's print counter reaches a point where it thinks the waste pad is full and will not run. Of course the waste pad is bypassed now, the waste ink is diverted to the bottle. The Printer Potty website sells a "key" that resets the print counter, it's about 10 or 15 dollars but well worth it - very easy to use.
     
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