Inks and Printing Quality

Ink stained Fingers

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I cannot find any relevant information whether different inks may print differently in regards to the accuracy placing the ink dots onto the paper and whether inks can cause some nozzle related effects.
This is the CMY part of the nozzle check of my L382 Printer, Epson with tanks. I'm printing all that daily not so relevant stuff - internet and such, and with no regard to fading etc.
Ink 1.jpg

There are some irregularities in the magenta range - varying thickness of some short lines
(one short line per nozzle) with some dropouts, and the vertical border on the right side looks fuzzy as well. This is not an issue with the coding strip since the corresponding areas for cyan and yellow are clean.
I'm using an unkown mix of leftover dye inks from the past, InkTec, Octopus, China, the ink looks clean in a clear glass bottle, no particles, no signs of fungus or other contamination or deposit on the bottom of the bottle. The ink is printing, this is at 17 000 pages, but prints show signs of slight banding from those nozzles with different intensity. There is something impeding the ink flow. I made exactly the same observations with yellow, not visible anymore in this scan.
With the working assumption that these effects are ink related I swapped the magenta ink from this
mix to the Epson 106 dye ink for the ET-7750 (and earlier already for yellow)
This is the nozzle check of the same area after about 400 pages printed with this magenta 106 ink, with no other cleaning activity in between
Ink 2.jpg

The previous irregularities in the magenta range are gone, the line thickness is
more regular and the right vertical border line looks more accurate and
microbanding in printouts on photo paper is gone.
This all is an indication for me that there is something with some inks - even
if all inks claim compatibility/suitability for Epson printers. Problems don't
show up when you start using a particular ink but thousands of pages later.


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stratman

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I'm using an unkown mix of leftover dye inks from the past, InkTec, Octopus, China
All bets are off when using a mixture of inks, inks of "old" age, or a cartridge that may have undetermined ink flow issues.

We are assuming that the print head is OK based on your switching to another cartridge filled with a single make and model ink.

What we do not know are whether a mixture of various inks, whatever their concentrations, is the proximate cause of the poor nozzle test. Some things to consider in a mixture of different inks include differences in specific gravity (including evaporation), chemical reactions between solvents or solutions, and contamination.

This is the nozzle check of the same area after about 400 pages printed with this magenta 106 ink
Does this mean that return to a normal nozzle check did not occur until after 400 pages printed? If so, then the print head is involved, BUT, you have not ruled out contribution from the previous cartridge to poor nozzle check issue.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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The L382 is an Epson Ecotank printer, it takes a while until inks are exchanged in the tubing and the damper. And those 400 pages were arbitrary pages from the internet , over some days, images whatever mix. The ink tanks let me view the ink levels, the later nozzle check was taken after about 15ml of M-ink used. This printer is in operation since April 12/18.
And there is one other hidden variable, all inks are a mix of some liquids, water, gylcoles , dyes and some additives for and against this and that, and all such technical/chemical raw materials can be purchased with different levels of purity , and the purity level drives very much the price, so it can very well be that Epson uses a higher purity level than a Chinese outlet with 10$/litre inks aside from different dyes.
 

Emulator

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Is the effect repeatable?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Sure it is repeatable, but I don't know for sure I would get the same result. The problem is that such test takes a while. But I can confirm that I saw the same effect with yellow, some weeks ago, with a nozzle check with similar irregularities, they can be cleaned away with several cleaning cycles but came back after a short while. That was the point I just decided to swap to the Epson 106 ink for a test instead of continuing with the surplus ink, and yes, I got the same result that yellow got better within a short time. The effect does not occur with Cyan nor with black inks at this time with this printer. I'm not running other inks than the 106 type in my L800 for photo prints so I cannot compare it with another printer. And I'm printing not enough with a WF-2010W either to get to see these small variations. And I remember similar problems of microbanding with a previous L310 printer a year ago which I dumped for other reasons - it did not print borderless and had paper feed problems. Epson is widely using this printhead with 180 nozzles black and 3x59 for CMY , in the L3xx,4xx models, WF-2010W and related combo units, ET-2700 and more. That's all models at the lower performance range in terms of speed.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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There are at most 2ml in the dampers per color, and a few ml in the tubes, they are not that long , it's an A4 printer, and the tubing is better integrated into the case than an external CISS. Since the printhead returned into a good condition after switching the ink I don't think it is a printhead problem but much more ink related.
 

The Hat

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There are some irregularities in the magenta range
I was under the false impression that the Epson Print head could handle anything... :eek:
This is a common problem with Canon printers, that’s one of the reasons why you should never mix 3rd party inks together, the outcome cannot be predicted till it’s too late, but mixing with OEM inks are usually safe, except for I.S. yellow...:hu
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Is the effect repeatable?
I'll run down the current Epson 106 yellow ink in the L382 and switch to a yellow just purchased at octopus-office and then monitor what happens, if the problems in the yellow channel creep up again over time.
I was under the false impression that the Epson Print head could handle anything... :eek:
- almost anything - including Canon inks..........
you should never mix 3rd party inks together, the outcome cannot be predicted till it’s too late,
I don't mix inks for quality relevant prints - these are all the leftover inks from recent ink tests but I just don't like to store tens of bottles so I mix them together - with interesting results..
 

The Hat

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I don't mix inks for quality relevant prints - these are all the leftover inks from recent ink tests but I just don't like to store tens of bottles so I mix them together - with interesting results..
I only stock one type of ink for all my printers, it saves making the same mistake twice.. :smack
 

BlackSea

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I'm assuming all the inks that generated your tests are dye inks...
You're question is whether the chemical composition of the inks produces those printing defects which show up in your tests?

Well considering the following general composition of ink:
Ink component Purpose wt-% *

Colourant Gives the ink its primary function – absorbing
light of a particular wavelength band
2-8%

Carrier fluid Dissolves or suspends the colourant 35-80

Surfactant Lowers the surface tension of the ink to
promote wetting
0.1-2.0%

Humectant Inhibits evaporation (miscible with the carrier
fluid)
10-30%

Penetrant Promotes penetration of the ink into the
paper structure for the purpose of accelerating
ambient drying
1-5%

Dye solubilizer Promotes dye solubility in the primary carrier
fluid
2-5%

Anticockle
additive
Reduces the interaction with paper fibres
which otherwise leads to paper cockle and curl
20-50

Any of these numbers, being variable, changes between original and compatible inks. The carrier fluid is really cheap and it's basically water. The other components from this list could however cause such problems, because either of a badly balanced composition (for example to much humectant, too little dye solubilizer) or bad quality compounds which can create a number of different effects, manifesting themselves as those print quality issues visible in your tests - dye sollubility is affected so particles of dye remain in the nozzles; Orifice Wetting; crusting; the offset of the ink molecules when ejected by the print head is not proper; viscosity is to high;pH not properly balanced; etc. there are so many factors here

it would be interesting to isolate such print quality issues to a single or a couple of these factors and create correlations but in order to do this you would need lab equipment in excess of a couple of hundreds of thousands $ to see in real time how the ink atomises in the print head, to see the composition of the molecules ejected in the print head, to analyze any left over residue in the nozzles ,etc. Then you could spot the problems. Or create many many variations of the ink, variating on of those compounds , run tests with all variations, isolate the ones with problems, correct, reformulate ink, repeat tests, again isolate problems, reformulate, etc...

Also I have searched a lot on some tech papers describing the difference in composition between various inks, even various compatible inks... No such document exists publicly, probably such document only exist in the internal archives of ink manufacturers studying their competition.
 
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