Epson Stylus Pro 9600 (7600 & 4000 too) Magenta ink blockage - fix

guymark

Printing Ninja
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Messages
75
Reaction score
79
Points
82
Location
UK
Printer Model
Several
I bought an Epson Stylus 9600 around a week ago which SEEMED at first glance that all nozzles were working, I am still trying to work out why I didn’t see the missing nozzles as I could have sworn that the nozzle check printout was spot on - and I saw it print it out - this was not something that was potentially printed previously.

I can only imagine I was too tired (long drag to get there) as it later became very obvious that anything requiring magenta wasn't working properly.

As I found out in the end, there is no way the magenta was working at the time of purchase - and looking back, the photo he used to show me a very impressive print coming out, on reflection had very little pink/magenta/red shades. It somehow still looked very colourful though with a motorbike in green with black and blue logos etc etc. The light magenta was working so I guess I subconsciously clocked that all colours were there and so was a happy chappy. STILL cannot work out how I missed what must have been a bad nozzle check.

Anyway the magenta nozzle was BADLY blocked - and more to the point, the effort it DID make looked more like a black ink than magenta. Very strange. I did some googling and was relieved to find others had found the same issues with magenta - and some had managed to get things going again.

I had a look at some of the MSDS sheets for inkjet printhead cleaners for water based inks and, as luck would have it, had most of the chemicals already (distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, Propan-1-ol, Pyrrolidone, Limonene & Ammonium Hydroxide. I made up 4 litres of solution (might as well make a batch) and filled a set of refillable cartridges with it and loaded them into the printer.

I had an air bubble in the magenta line which initially I took for a seal problem or worse - but this was a red herring - as when I did an "initial charge" so the printer would pull through the cleaning solution, ALL other lines worked perfectly - and flushed nicely.

But not the magenta - it was as though it is blocked.

The air bubble moved on about two inches to the right (which was more than I had dared to hope as all cleaning cycles had resulted in NOTHING happening at all)

It seems that Epson Magenta for the 7600 and 9600 had some real issues and having searched a lot of forums, it seemed that the magenta pigment ink (the dye version apparently is fine), can turn into something resembling a gel.

Whether this is because over time, some of the pigment settles out into the line over the years and builds up (kind of cholesterol for printers) or whether there is another reason for the ink turning to a cross between a gel and a thick paste (toothpaste thick) I am not sure.

On the upside however it seemed that more than one person has had success by removing the tube as it goes to the head / dampers and then connecting it to a syringe to apply a vacuum to the "head end of the line" and disconnecting the line from the “tank” end and pressurising with another syringe.

I decided to see if careful and gentle use of some taper-nose pliers would allow me to undo the pipe union to the damper and it did indeed. Slightly fiddly to remove the pipe (as it is clamped in place by a little plastic holder and so you need to pull the pipe both forwards AND slightly up too. A little gentle wiggling and it isn't going to baffle anyone for more than 30 seconds or so.

Once I had the pipe free, I made sure the cleaning cartridge was BRIMMING with fluid - (as in coming out of the vent hole). I then put the "filling" bung in and then loaded a 50ml syringe with more fluid, stuck it in the vent hole of the cartridge quite firmly and then pressed down on the plunger.

There was SOME movement in the pipe but not much - though pleasing to see my little trapped air bubble continue on its way.

Found a bit of plastic earth sleeving (though any roughly the right size plastic tube will do) and, using the needle nose pliers, slid it over one of the "needles" as far as it would go to try and "open it up a little". It then fitted on a second, empty syringe with the plunger fully in.

The sleeving needs to be SHORT - because otherwise, when you pull a vacuum on it, the sleeving will collapse. I found that after I had fixed it on to the syringe, trimming it so there was about 8mm allowed me to slide the newly released magenta pipe into the sleeve very easily.

Pulled the plunger most of the way out and nothing for a few seconds then slowly, this VERY gelatinous pink slime filled the syringe. When I squirted it into the sink (not a great idea), it had the consistency of a THICK gloss paint - the “gel type” for non-drip.

Put the syringe back on and pulled through multiple syringe loads of fluid. (The pressurizing syringe on the ink tank can now be removed and left off). I would suggest anyone doing the same might want to pull through at LEAST 150ml as even then, there were still "clots" of magenta that would suddenly appear in the syringe.

Re-assembled the pipe (being careful not to lose the tiny little black o-ring) and nipped it up fairly tight but not to the point where something could break.

Alas another "initial charge" the printer was STILL not pulling anything from the magenta tank so, filling it back to the brim once more and using another syringe full of additional cleaner in the vent hole, I GENTLY pushed AND pulled on the plunger in the hope that it might break-up any final clog.

I am guessing if you use brute force, you may damage the nozzles OR burst the little plastic film on the side of the damper - so I would suggest only moderate force on the plunger.

After about a dozen gentle push-pull-push-pull cycles on the syringe plunger I felt it "give" a little and then saw a drop of magenta ink dribble down the paper.

Ran ANOTHER "initial charge" after emptying and resetting the maintenance tank, and this time the levels dropped on all tanks - even the magenta one.

Getting excited at this point as it seems clear that not only are the lines unblocked but so too is the damper and head for ALL colours. As the cleaning solution was already in the pipe right up to the damper, I figured it was going to get easily 20-30 ml of cleaning solution sucked through the damper and head - and certainly by the time it had finished the damper looked clear instead of magenta.

Last stage was to get the other set of refillable cartridges (bought two sets, one as a spare or for cleaning solution and one for ink as I managed to get a fair deal if I bought two sets).

Filled the tanks with Inktec ink, emptied out and reset the maintenance tank again and then ran the last “initial charge” command and with the help of a torch shining through the door, watched with relief as all the lines (including the magenta) started to fill with ink as the flushing solution was washed out.

Decided while I was in this menu, I would also execute a KK2 clean just to give it the best chance of working I could think of.

Powered the printer off and then back on and printed the “nozzle check”. Result. Finally ALL inks working and a perfect printout.

I realise this has been a rather wieldy post BUT I wanted to give a reasonably “step-by-step” guide in case anyone else has a problem with the magenta ink not working (when all other inks ARE working).

The fix rate once the line, damper and head are unclogged seems to be quite high and as it does NOT need the head removing even if it is blocked - it is perhaps attempt-able even by folks who are nervous about doing too much DIY stuff on their printer.

As always of course, proceed at your own risk, information provided is in good faith but I accept no liability at all if you choose to follow my suggestions. If you consider you have “nothing to lose” however, you might decide it is worth the risk - and perhaps be pleased by the results.
 

Ink stained Fingers

Printer Master
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
3,269
Reaction score
3,480
Points
273
Location
Germany
Printer Model
L310/805/1800, P400, Pro7600
Gratulation you get all your nozzles free , I did something similar some time ago on my 7600, and I replaced as well the dampers.
 

guymark

Printing Ninja
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Messages
75
Reaction score
79
Points
82
Location
UK
Printer Model
Several
I was tempted to replace the dampers (especially the magenta one) but couldn't find a CLEAR video on youtube showing how to do it - and the explanations were not quite "idiot proof" enough for me (I am a creative idiot). I could find pictures showing the damper AFTER they were detached and just "dangling" but decided to try and unblock it "in-situ".

I can see they are cheap enough from our good friends in China - but unless there is a good reason to consider changing them, I am happy to "leave them be" for the time being. Is there a reason to pro-actively change them - what is the symptom of an "ailing damper" please?
 

Ink stained Fingers

Printer Master
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
3,269
Reaction score
3,480
Points
273
Location
Germany
Printer Model
L310/805/1800, P400, Pro7600
I had a nozzle problem, and I changed the dampers at the same time, the top of the printhead was already open. The dampers contain a very fine wire mesh filter which can clog as well so I just replaced them. I wouldn't do it proactively - I'm not running any service plan. You may find instructions in the maintenance manual.
 

guymark

Printing Ninja
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Messages
75
Reaction score
79
Points
82
Location
UK
Printer Model
Several
Ok thank you, I will have a read through and see what I can find.
 

AlienSteve

Fan of Printing
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
95
Reaction score
26
Points
58
Location
Lacey, WA USA
Printer Model
HP, Canon, Epson
I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I just bought a couple of Epson 7600 with clogged photo magenta, the previous owner could never get them cleared.

Years ago, I was working with desktop Epsons and CIS systems, I noticed a number of people having problems with pigmented inks settling, and with some colors growing something in the tubes.

With the Epson 7600/9600, I seem to have noticed that magenta seems to be the troublesome ink.
 

resendezstudios

Print Lurker
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Printer Model
Epson Stylus Pro 7800
Hello! I wanted to touch base on this topic! I really appreciate the post, but I am a little bit confused. I went ahead and ordered some Piezo Flush and some refillable cartridges. I don't have them yet, but I want to prepare myself in case I have to perform this... which I am feeling like I do. My magenta is also not printing. I bought my printer used, and all the rest of the inks are working. The owners didn't say anything negative about the printer, and I bought it cheap. My printer is the Stylus Pro 7800.

What I am confused about - a few things:
  • Where is the residual ink coming out? The end where it has been removed from the damper?
  • For clarity's sake, the syringe is pushing fluid through the vent opening in the cartridge, correct?
  • How do you reattach it to the damper if there is a plastic piece holding it in place in the first place?
I REALLY want to get this thing cleared, so I appreciate any and all input! I have a strong feeling THIS is the problem. I am hoping Piezo Flush can clear it without me needing to do this, but I am also hoping this is simple enough that I can do it without worrying too much about damaging anything.

Many many many thanks!
 

Ink stained Fingers

Printer Master
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
3,269
Reaction score
3,480
Points
273
Location
Germany
Printer Model
L310/805/1800, P400, Pro7600
I would assume that the supplier of the Piezo Flush has some handling instructions for you. There is a cartridge like insert in the printhead for every color - the dampers - which contain a fine wire mesh filter inside, and a clogged filter blocks the ink flow into the printhead causing the typical effects of missing nozzles. It is advised to replace those dampers on such an old printer model. It may help as well if you can get a service manual which describes various service steps - opening the cover, getting to the printhead , replacing the dampers etc.
You may find such manual here
www.printerknowledge.com/threads/service-manuals-links-post-here-compliments-of-peterbj.5071/post-111474

(posting #249)
 
Top