The missing color after cleaning mystery

DBDigital

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Ok the basic problem I have right now with my 1280 is this:
First thing in the morning if I run a nozzle check I have only 2 jets missing on black and 4 or 5 missing on light magenta, the rest are perfect. I can print test chart after test chart without problems. BUT if I run a cleaning cycle then do a nozzle check I lose everything but a few black jets (4 maybe 6 at most) and 4 from magenta. The rest are BLANK. Try another cleaning cycle no change, if anything it gets worse.

And here is the whole story:
I left my 1280 without printing for a few months (oops yeah I know big no-no), but I thought I will run cleaning cycles and be going again after using a lot of ink. But this time around it didn't work. The ink carts I had were old stock and the color (T009) I don't even know how old it was as there wasn't a expiration date on it (which I found odd), the black (T007) wasn't past expiration. As I am sure everyone here knows, Epson stopped making carts for the 1280 some time ago.

This was my last set of carts I had and finding OEM carts is getting hard (not to mention they are often older than I want to use). I decided on a refillable cart instead and got 2 sets along with a set of ink from Inkjetcarts.us which seemed better than trying to refill the OEM carts. I filled them (and made sure to prime them), installed them and I didn't get very good nozzle checks at all. Most of the colors were still blank. I had a hunch the old OEM carts went bad and plugged up my heads due to age. I tried pulling the power, putting a good amount of head cleaner on the capping station, and sliding the head back over (letting it sit even overnight). But that didn't do it either. I finally sucked the heads careful to not go over 5ml suction, but in this case I only had to use 2ml before I got air bubbles. Great I thought I had cleared the clogs or at least enough to have a chance at getting it going. Putting the carts back in, it wasn't much better after several cleaning cycles. At this point I thought I needed to really needed to work at the clogs so I put in a set of refillable carts with print head cleaner in them and ran a bunch of cleaning cycles thinking that would do it.

It did, but not enough. When I put the ink carts back in (and after several cleaning cycles), while I started getting some colors (black, yellow, magenta), cyan and light cyan were blank. I tried printing test charts and I got black ink drips on the printout similar to this guy: https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/t007-t009-spongeless-refillable-ink-flow-problems.7791/

From what I heard this was air and I needed to flush it out by running cleaning cycles and power cycle the printer so it wipes the heads then run a nozzle check. I ran a bunch of cleaning cycles (even powerful ones via SSC utility and a initialization one at some point) but I still had the problem. Bad nozzle checks and ink drips if I tried to print anything. I tried priming the carts again thinking perhaps I didn't get them done properly the first time. But no change after a bunch of cleaning cycles.

At one point I did the paper-towel-soaked-with-printer-cleaner and running the head over it by hand trick but while I did get a lot of old ink off that way, I still didn't get good nozzle checks and problems with ink drips if I tried to print much of anything.

I had been battling this on and off for some time (try a little one day then wait until the next) and then one morning I ran a nozzle check first thing instead of any cleanings and it was almost prefect! Just 2 missing jets from black and a few from magenta! It was the best one I had seen since this whole mess started. So I thought I would do another cleaning or two and I would be all set. But right after I did the cleaning, the nozzle check showed all the colors gone except for 3 or 4 jets on black and 3 or so on magenta. Additional cleanings only seem to make things worse not better. If I let it sit with the power off, I know the next day it is printing with only a few nozzles missing. Perhaps a few hours later, I haven't tested (yet) to see when it is actually usable again.

Is this still air? Or something else? If it is air how do I get rid of it? I have ran a ton of cleaning cycles and if I haven't got rid of it by now, I can't imagine it ever will.

Any thoughts?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Please scan a nozzle check and post it here to have a starting point
 

DBDigital

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Sadly I can't at the moment. I will see if I can get one done later. But I don't know how more explicit I can be. From almost perfect nozzle check to only 3 or 4 spots/nozzle's on black working and less on light magenta with the rest of the colors (yellow, cyan, light cyan, magenta) being totally BLANK after a single normal cleaning cycle. I never had that before.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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It appears to me that the ink flow is impeded, in the cartridge or at the outlet; the ink is stored in foam in the ink chambers as I remember (vaguely), could it be that the cartridges are dried out over a longer period of non-use of the printer ?
 

DBDigital

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Well these are new spongeless refillable carts. I replaced the OEM carts with these and I think those carts were too old and that is what started all the issues (bad OEM carts/dried out ink etc).

I agree it is impeded, but I do not know why. Unless the wiper is not working and it leaving a lot of ink on the heads when a cleaning cycle is run. It looks ok, but is it possible it is not extending up like it should? Is there any way of checking that without ripping the thing apart?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I'm not familiar with such spongeless refill cartridges, are they new ? Is there a valve at the ink outlet ? How are they ventilated ? Is it possible that the air channel is blocked - dry ink whatever ? How does the cleaning unit look - dried out or wet from ink ?
 

DBDigital

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The cartridges are not a new design, they have been around since 2012 at least, and likely earlier. The ones I have are brand new and I got them from Inkjetcarts.us

They do have a spring valve at the bottom. They have a seperate filling and air hole for each color chamber and baffling similar to how other refillable Epson compatible carts are made. If you tip them over nothing leaks out even without the air hole plugged/sealed (they come with plugs for both filling and air holes). But with the filling hole plugged I have tipped them and nothing ran out. Similar to how a Epson OEM cart is, once you pull the tape off the air holes/vent and if you shake it you might get some ink out.

I doubt the channels are blocked with caked ink as they are new and I do get a almost prefect nozzle check until I do a cleaning cycle. Then I only get a few nozzles on black and magenta with the other channels being blank. So I am getting ink fine until I do the nozzle check. Once I let it sit for a while after running a cleaning cycle (overnight is what I have been doing) it is doing a almost perfect nozzle check again.

Cleaning unit/capping station looks used and seems to be wet catching all waste ink.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I must admit that I'm running out of ideas what could cause the problems; you mention that the refill cart is new - did you do any priming or activation - some refill cartridges need that to ensure a proper ink flow. You may turn the cart with the ink outlets up and pull ink from the outlets with a syringe, you can push the syringe into the outlet to open the valve, and you can put that ink back into the resp color chamber.
 

DBDigital

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Yes I did prime them, more than once as I thought perhaps I missed some air the first time around. It is a mystery for sure. And now black is perfect when I do a nozzle check first thing, and most of the colors do last past one cleaning cycle except for cyan. Light cyan is there but still missing the same nozzles as before.

It is even stranger that it is changing. Good black is better (now 100%) but now cyan is missing and I had it before.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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could it be that the cartridge is not seated properly - such that not all of the outlet valves are opening correctly/completely causing a missing color ?
 
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