Epson SureColor P800 Electronic Chip Decoder


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Toronto, Canada
Decoder Installed.JPG
Well this weekend I installed my Precision Colors Epson SureColor P800 Electronic Chip Decoder for North America ( USA & Canada)
The installation was straightforward however there are a few things to consider before you start.
There is a video on Youtube and it is is misleading in my opinion.
Here are the reasons why. In the video the tray is extended from the body of the printer to show how easy it is to install the ribbon cables onto the mainboard. The only way the tray can be removed this far out is by the removal or further disassembly where a series of ribbon cables traversing across the top is removed or a series of small plugs are disconnected. In any case, the space you have to work and attach the cables is quite small. Ideally long slender fingers from the female gender is likely more suitable. If you have large hands with thick fingers, you will encounter all kinds of difficulty in manipulating the cables.
In experienced hands the process can take I estimate 15 minutes or less. If you are new to this, it could take hours figuring out and building up the courage to proceed.
The initial reliability of these decoders are looking suspect at this point. Toolman Joe ( Jose Rodriguez) is testing one from a different supplier and he has gone through two units at this point and both have malfunctioned. The first one I installed had the same problem as Toolman Joe in that it failed completely. The second unit was fine. So the question is "Were both our experiences, purely coincidental or is there a trend?". I don't know. However, be prepared for a level of failure upon turn on. At near $400 per unit and the potential to void warranty, you need to be comfortable with this kind of thing.
The process looks easy, 5 + 4 screws with a Philips screwdriver is removed. This will allow a mainboard circuit board tray to be slid out slightly. Ribbon cables are removed. Ribbon cables leading to the decoder is installed. Unused cables are tucked back in, and other cables are put back as before. Put back in the 9 screws and connect to the decoder board, power up and you're done. Except as noted above, you have very limited space to work within and this causes all kinds of manipulations to get it done.

Here are the pics.
Hold up all cables with tape.JPG
Angle on ribbon.JPG
Limit of tray removal.JPG
Decoder Installed.JPG

The picture shows the decoder to be powered up by 5V. As it turns out, it appears that this power is not needed until the chips need to be reset. So the decoder, has memory space into which it will load a set of serial codes one for each chip as a group. Once the decoder has loaded the serial numbers into the memory space, the power can be removed and the decoder acts as a set of chips. When ANY of the chips has been used down to empty, you will repower the decoder with 5V and then press the button on the circuit board and this will load a new complete set of serial numbers into the decoder memory space. Printer will always remember the used serial numbers in its non volatile memory buffer.
Once operation with the new serial numbers is confirmed, one can unpower the printer and remove the 5 V from the circuit board.
The decoder is specified to be loaded with 30 SETS of unique serial numbers. So essentially you are limited to 30 presses of the button or reloads.
It is vital after installing and even before to not perform ANY updates to the firmware. It is potentially possible for Epson to decode the serial numbers contained within the decoder and load these serial numbers into the non volatile memory space and thus not allow the decoder to work. Essentially, the printer might indicate that the cartridges are not recognized because the serial numbers have been restricted within firmware.
Potentially newer P800s could be preloaded with these serial numbers from manufacture down the road. Whether or not this turns out to be the case only time will tell.
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Apr 19, 2007
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Tremendous write up, mikling. Thanks! :clap