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Epson 3800 with a clogged magenta channel

Discussion in 'Epson InkJet Printers' started by Nigel Harris, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Jan 26, 2019
    Nigel Harris

    Nigel Harris Fan of Printing

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    Hello everyone, I’ve had the 3800 since new and it has served me well to date. It’s had light and intermittent use, all things considered, so in terms of overall number of prints it’s probably only been through a couple of sets of OEM cartridges in its lifetime. It lives in a cupboard when not in use (which is likely 90% of the time), and then from time to time it gets pulled out and used for A2 and A3 photo duties. I really like the results it produces, and until recently was very happy with it. It’s been a fair while since it was last used, and unsurprisingly the last nozzle check i did revealed some clogging on the magenta channel.

    FCBEFBC9-6778-445F-BA12-A74635D332C6.jpeg

    Several cleaning cycles and checks later, I was no better off (in fact, I was significantly poorer as the ink levels had plummeted!). I went in to “research mode” and ended up buying a premade solution called magic bullet. Used paper towels soaked in this solution placed under the print head. Left this overnight, and repeated a couple more times. This *slightly* improved things but not materially.

    Further research ensued, during which I learned about the wonders of pharmacists solution, refillable ink, and cartridges used to clean or flush the printer. I also saw lots of videos with people having half dismantled their printer and thought to myself: I can see where this is going...

    Anyway, i am committed to get it working again, especially as I’m likely to have more spare time available to pursue my photography. To that end I procured the following items:

    85D672C3-A34B-4271-A1E4-57D7BF6B837D.jpeg

    4E9CAEE7-6BE3-44F9-873B-F24B35D7AEA9.jpeg

    I also bought that software that lets you run various admin commands on your printer. Now I am hoping with those cartridges I can do some sort of cleaning / flushing of the printer. Am hoping I can add that ink I’ve photographed to the mixture so I can see the results of a nozzle check.

    That’s where I am up to. I’ve not taken the plunge yet, any advice before I mess things up properly?!

    All the best
    Nige
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jan 27, 2019
    Nigel Harris

    Nigel Harris Fan of Printing

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    I’ve been thinking about how best to go about this. Should I:

    (A) just fill a single empty refillable cartridge with pharmacists solution with ammonia (magenta channel), swap the magenta ink cartridge out for that one, and then print an image with just magenta in it until the cleaning mix comes through. Then if successful fill the full set of empty cartridges with pharmacist solution (no ammonia) and have them as the means to store the printer long term.

    (B) fill The whole set of cartridges with the ammonia mix, and purge all of the ink from the printer using the INIT FILL procedure.

    Thoughts appreciated.
    Nige.
     
  3. Jan 27, 2019
    W. Fisher

    W. Fisher Printing Ninja

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    I'm not fond of ammonia due to it being corrosive to some metals.

    I am interested in the Ranger Industries alcohol ink though. Maybe a mix if it with your alcohol in a cart and trying to use the magenta color patch to print. Mine took about two weeks to clear once and some strong-armed forcing of the ink through the lines and head via a syringe. It did eventually clear though, and it's still working well.

    Fwiw, that Ranger Alcohol Ink seems to be carried by scarpbooking dealers when I used their website to find it: https://rangerink.com/store-locator/

    Good luck on your adventure!

    W.F.
     
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  4. Jan 28, 2019
    Dae

    Dae Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Nige,

    Hello!

    I have went through quite a few Epson 3880 and have had permanent clogs along with clogs that wouldn't come out till I flushed the ink channel. I know you're working with the Epson 3800 but the 3800 and 3880 are almost identical.

    First off I see you're preforming a auto nozzle check instead of the manual nozzle check (PRINT). In my experience over the past ten years with inkjet printers, that auto nozzle check can be a problem with the older model Epson printers. I have notice it tends to use a lot more ink, since the auto nozzle check with do cleanings till it gets it back to a perfect nozzle check.

    As for cleaning out the Magenta line, it looks like you're on the right path. You want to purge that line with a cleaner and let it sit for at least six to twelve. You're getting a decent amount of the magenta channel showing up when you do the nozzle check print so it shouldn't take more than a day of letting it sit with the cleaner and break up the pigments in your dampers and print head.

    But before you go forward with doing any of the heavy cleaning. Did you clean the capping station yet? This might be where your problem is. If your capping station isn't getting a proper seal around the print head it wont be able to clean it properly.

    I will go into detail and help you the best I can. I have been able to get these printers from a clog that won't come out (the whole print channel was missing during nozzle checks) with regular and power cleanings, but when I used a a flush through that line and let it sit. I got a perfect nozzle check back.

    talk to you soon.
     
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  5. Jan 28, 2019
    Nigel Harris

    Nigel Harris Fan of Printing

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    Thanks both for responding.

    Dae, your assistance is very much appreciated.

    I did have a go at cleaning the capping station, however am not proud and happy to present how it looks right now, thoughts welcomed!

    61976FA6-CB7F-4990-8935-1AAD7F76236A.jpeg 00CBA673-8A70-4AD9-8033-759CE04B1390.jpeg 2C3F908F-1F6E-4471-98CF-883AC668F22F.jpeg
     
  6. Jan 28, 2019
    Dae

    Dae Getting Fingers Dirty

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    It looks good from what I'm seeing. You don't have to get it back to the pristine white that it was before ink was introduced, but just have to let the cleaner sit and de solve the pigments in the pads. Did you clean around the capping station (the rubber that is surrounding the pads? If not, just lightly swab around thgem with the cleaning.

    Were you able to clean the wiper? If not that is your next step.
     
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  7. Jan 28, 2019
    Nigel Harris

    Nigel Harris Fan of Printing

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    Thanks. From memory, probably didn’t clean the rubber surrounding the pads. So I will revisit that. I did tentatively clean the wiper, I will revisit that as well. Tomorrow!

    I have been cleaning underneath the head with a kitchen towel soaked in cleaning solution per my first post, left that overnight last night.

    I have this evening removed the magenta cartridge, and moved the chip over to a refillable cartridge, and then filled it up with the same cleaning solution. That has registered successfully as 100% full.

    Subsequently I ran a nozzle check which was virtually blank (not surprising given the kitchen roll treatment). I then tried a couple or three cleaning cycles (CL2 using the admin program) and each one has reduced the number of blockages. From 24, then 14, then 12.

    4CCD51BA-C97A-4020-A5F2-9DE871793D52.jpeg

    Still seems to be the original magenta ink coming through, was expecting to see the cleaning solution make an appearance before now...

    Ran a couple of a4 pages off with magenta colour (according to Marrutt USA.com). I don’t fully understand what’s happening here: I’ve got the ICC profile set to Pro38 EMP, printer is set to matte black, am just using standard plain inkjet paper for this exercise, and it has spat out 2 solid pages as shown below.

    image.jpg

    The thing I’m puzzled about is that the *light* magenta ink level is dropping by a percent or so for each sheet... would have thought it wouldn’t have used ANY light magenta if the colour swatch matched directly to magenta and that particular ink cartridge? Anyhow, the other thing I’m confused about is why the cleaning solution has not made an appearance yet! It has me wondering if the ink is coming from another cartridge (I.e. light magenta) as a result of some strange colour management jiggery pokery.

    This is what the magenta cartridge is now filled with:
    image.jpg

    I’m hoping it’s just a case of printing some more pages off, not sure how much ink is in the line between cartridge and print head. Quite a bit I guess? Anyhow, calling it a night here, hopefully not done anything too disasterous!

    Thanks
    Nige

    Edit: changed it so it made some sort of sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  8. Jan 29, 2019
    W. Fisher

    W. Fisher Printing Ninja

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    It takes a lot of fluid to get the lines clear. I must have run about 6 power cleanings to finally get all the cleaning solution to the head and begin to clear in the capping station pads.

    When I did the two pads on one 3880, I left the print head off to the left and kept flushing the pads until they were white with the alcohol only. If they will not clear and the cleaning solution stays on top of the pads for a while, the hoses beneath the pads to the pump may be clogged. I had to dig mine out as they were blocked up bad.

    I recall I fed one full cart worth of cleaner through one clogged 3800 and had to fill it again halfway before we saw any improvement. At one point we could see the color added to the cleaning solutions through the lines going to the head. The line ink stains and clogs can be bad and take a long time to clear and dissolve.

    You'll probably see a lot of nozzles that are blank in the process as air gets into the lines from the cart changes. Usually the nozzles with air issues move around like your cyan check shows, and the clogs remain stuck much like the magenta.

    I had an episode with one 3880 on here in this thread: https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/how-to-go-about-flushing-all-ink-out-of-a-3880.12502/ I forgot I must have run about 50 power cleanings through that thing as it took about 5-6 maintenance trays and I was in the "Either this thing is gonna work again, or blow up and end up in the trashcan." It's still working fine, even after ~50 power cleanings over the two week period.

    I do think these things mix a bit of other colors and not just use one color cart. I seem to recall the Epson or Fuji black had a greenish cast to it so they might be mixing a bit of magenta with that black so printing just black might be using other colors too. Been a while since I played mixing inks from scratch.

    W.F.
     
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  9. Jan 29, 2019
    Stormlight

    Stormlight Printing Apprentice

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    Nigel,
    Please stop run anymore cleaning cycle. Tell me more about your printer. After a long period(?) of idle, did you run clean cycle using the printer? If so, how many consecutive cycle did you run. What is the maximum consecutive cycle you have ran so far? Your wiper blade look dirty.

    *Cleaning the wiper blade EACH TIME after each cleaning cycle in printer and it will significantly boost your chance to recovering. These older Epson printheads are rocksolid and can handle much abuses unless it is user induced error making temporary clog into permanent (burnt out nozzle). There is no point to clean your car windshield if your wiper blade is baked with mud. You end up with mud breaking as your clean your windshield and making a bigger mess. In term of printhead, you are forcing dried ink into your good nozzles and even compact it! Remember we are dealing with pigment here! Making nozzles overheat after multiple consecutive cleaning cycle and burn out the nozzle. It took years? to dry up so let it sit a few day to melt dry ink away: be patient!

    Most of the 2-3 years old idle printers (+10) only take me 2-4 cleaning cycle to clean and maybe an inkcharge! My rule of thumb:
    1. Clean externally first if it sit idle over 6 months. Get at least 50% nozzle working before running printer cleaning cycles
    2. Wait 12-24hr after each cleaning cycle; any sooner is just a wait of ink in my opinion and will introduce further clogging: slush of dry ink around!
    3. Print nozzle check to see improvement. Use pharmacist formula with 3% ammonia and pad the printhead. Let it sit 24 hr. Then change pad and sit another 24 hr. This will introduce air to the printhead which is fine. The ammonia vapor will clear through the nozzle and enter through the print head through the nozzle.
    4. Run another cleaning cycle to help remove air. This time it should remove 90%-100% of clog.
    5. If the "clogged" nozzle is moving around this mean that there is air in the print head. As long there is a sign all nozzle is working, run ink charge (not power clean). If better but not all clear, then go to step 3.

    Imo, filling the ink line with Peizoflush or pharmacist is a waste of time and ink unless it is for storage. Ink is dried from outside to inward: not from inside out. Ink is also a solvent so highly likely you have no dry ink on the inside of your print head!

    Stormlight
     
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  10. Jan 29, 2019
    Nigel Harris

    Nigel Harris Fan of Printing

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    Both, many thanks for your help and for the information. I am on an iPad so am struggling to snip the appropriate bits of text to respond to, so bear with me.

    Message received: sounds like I was getting ahead of myself. I had executed the steps I described above by the time I read Dae’s advice.

    I had previously cleaned the wiper blade, but have just given it another go over along with around the capping station. Loaded that up with cleaning solution and have parked the head back over it. Hard to tell when the wiper is clean, really, but I’ve used several swabs soaked in cleaning solution to do my best. I shall take on board the point about cleaning the blade each time a cleaning cycle is done.

    In terms of cleaning cycles, I guess the answer is 3 or maybe 4 max one after the other. Pretty much per the posts above. It has been over 12 months since I’ve used the device.

    So, that’s where i am up to. Other than cleaning the blade and capping station again, nothing else done since last post. Next chance to work on this will be tomorrow evening.

    Cheers
    Nige
     

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