3880 Reoccuring Magenta Problem


Previous discussion: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/showthread.php?1848-Replaced-Ink-Assembly-still-no-magenta-ink&p=8319&viewfull=1#post8319

After taking the printer apart and injecting PF, I was able to get VM working again. It worked fine for about 120 11x17 prints and then started banding again. 5 head cleanings have not fixed the problem, although some nozzles have always printed this time (unlike last time where the entire head was blocked). I’m assuming and hoping that another PF injection will fix the problem, but it’s a lot of work to get at the head and I’d like a permanent solution rather than this stop-gap measure.

Does anyone have ideas as to what might be causing this?
Additionally: When the dampers are off the head, is there a way to pull ink through them? It seems they seal shut unless pressurized. Is that correct?


Those dampers in the ink exchanger of a 3880 are supposed to be changed out annually according to Epson. Besides metering enough ink to prevent the print heads from starving during high resolution or high speed printing - they act as filters.

They can actually be removed from the ink exchanger and replaced but its difficult.

The entire ink exchanger is sold to consumers by Compass Micro and is not terribly expensive. If you are up to it - you can save $100 by buying the individual dampers and rebuilding it.

In any event, on any PRO model printer it’s a really good idea to do the scheduled preventative maintenance of replacing dampers annually (whether in the form of the ink exchanger or your rebuilding it.) Every time you clean your print head is also the time to replace the dampers. Think of it as an oil change and an oil filter replacement. Doing one without the doing the other is not a best practice.


I see…Thanks for the input Jon! So you believe my dampers may be getting clogged and either starving the head or periodically letting particles through that are causing the clogs. I have thought about replacing the dampers, since it actually wasn’t that hard to get to them, but I’d rather not spend the money to replace the entire assy. Have you or anyone you know of attempted just the damper replacement?
This also goes back to my other question: Is it possible to pull ink through the dampers manually somehow? That would prevent the need for multiple powercleanings and/or initial fill to get the new ones running.


I’m just saying that the dampers are an essential component of the print head physics and any matter in them will cause banding by reducing flow and sometimes appear as bouncing nozzle checks. Physical clogs in the print head as the result of regular use are more rare. The mesh in the damper filters are small so they would filter out physical matter larger than what the print head can pass. And I do not know what is causing your clogs - just saying that while you are in there change out the filters!

Dana regularly will change out the dampers in our 3880s by rebuilding the ink exchangers. We can source the dampers on eBay or from China and we buy in case lots of 100 or more. We have a lot of 3880s. They also fit the R3000.

We often pull ink through a damper. A blunt tip syringe will fit snugly in the outlet and you pull. The only restriction will be the vent plug must be pulled in the cart. It’s more difficult to do this on the 3880 because of where they are located and much easier on a 7880 because they are attached to the print head and easier to get to.

How I change ink on a Roland is to draw from the damper. With 12 ink channels I often just change out a few to do something different and do not want to waste the ink by doing the power fills from the control panel. So it’s quite common to do that on Rolands and maybe less so on Epsons - but there is no reason not to.


What’s up with the Magenta? Is it expired or old? Do you have a lot #?


Hi Jon, sorry for the delay.

Thanks for the insight on pulling ink through the system. Sounds like I’d have to remove the pressurization tube from the air pump, or fool the valve into opening while the system is off.

I’m pretty much resigned to rebuilding or replacing the ink assy on the 3880. However, a troubling issue is that the same thing has happened on my R2880 with VM. The entire channel will decide to quit printing. This happened twice this past weekend, after printing many prints without issue. It took PF injection and about 5 head cleans to get it back. Have you had complaints about any batches of VM? [B]I have 2 bottles of batch 140508, purchased over a period of time. They both expire 2/2017 according to the label.[/B]

The 3880’s dampers probably do need a refresh, as they’re now 2 years old. However, since the same problem occurs on the 2880, I’m a bit worried that there is something else going on.

Thanks for all your support! It’s this forum that keeps me a loyal customer :slight_smile:


I’ve now replaced my dampers (see http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/showthread.php?228-3800-LC-channel-completely-missing&p=8823&viewfull=1#post8823) and initial results are good. However, I’m still crossing my fingers, since it took a day of solid printing before issues came up the last time.

The old dampers were definitely showing signs of age, with particulates visible on the filters in several, particularly the dense inks. Hopefully that was what the problem was, and the printer will hum along happily for another couple years!

But! See my previous post: I’m still wondering why VM would cut out on my 2880 as well? Was there any feedback on the ink batch?


Hi Tae,
No issues on VM140508 or any ink at this time. But, if you suspect you have a suspect bottle of ink - let us know at Sales. Call in to InkjetMall - speak to Wells Smith. He can issue you an RMA. Let him know you corresponded with me about it. You can send it in to us for testing and we will send you a fresh one back. We are certainly willing to run it through a small micron filter and test it.


Thanks for the offer. I’ll be printing for an entire weekend in 2 weeks and will take you up on that if the new dampers clog in that time. Initial tests have been promising, but then again, it was always fine with a couple one-off prints.
Fingers crossed it just works :slight_smile: