After the printer sat for a few months, did you shake ink carts before turning it on and doing cleaning cycles, or did you just turn the printer on and start cleaning? What black ink mode is your printer in? Have you done a black ink change to check the results with the other black? Have you done paired power clean cycles with the black channel to try getting it to print.
If you are getting the same results in both black ink modes, then it may be the damper or print head.
“Paired power clean cycles” can be done thru the Epson print utility (4 I believe)
Have you cleaned the printer’s capping station, wiper blade, flushing box and/or bottom of the print head?
The chip batteries have a limited life, and we recommend replacing the chip batteries annually. Batteries are constantly “on” and last about a year, you can replace the battery behind your current chip, or we sell new chips with fresh batteries attached if you prefer. Based on reports from users, it seems a dying battery can cause the chip to malfunction- either by prematurely auto resetting, not resetting the ink level when reset, or not recognized by the printer. You purchased the set of 4900 carts over a year ago, so be aware the batteries will need to be replaced in the near future.
The x900 and x890 seem to be more problematic than previous models, so I can’t be sure what is causing your black flow issue, though know we haven’t had any issues with the ink you’re using, so don’t suspect it’s ink related.
Without knowing the exact cause, I would first start by installing flush carts, flushing the two lines then letting it sit to see if PiezoFlush can get the channels printing again.
If this doesn’t do the trick, the next thing I would try is replacing the ink selector unit and manually flushing the print head with our print head cleaning kit.
I ordered a couple of carts and PiezoFlush and will try that first.
I do have a question about which carts I need since this is the black head and both MK and PK use it. Do I need both MK and PK? Also do I need a flush cart for LK which is paired with the MK/PK head in power cleanings. Of the three MK, PK, LK which carts do I need?
Wells will probably be asking you the same question.
I just spoke with Wells to clarify the best plan for moving forward. The MK and PK channels have separate ink lines, but share a dual damper and the same print head channel- the black ink change is done at the damper end. Since both blacks are having the same results, I believe your problem is in the damper or print head.
I always like to start with the easiest/quickest thing first- which would normally be to install flush carts and flushing the channels to see if PiezoFlush can clear the blockage, BUT if there is absolutely NO flow from the black head, it’s likely that you won’t be able to flush the lines this way. Normally (if there was some flow thru the channel, and it wasn’t completely blocked), you could purge ink and fill the lines with PiezoFlush by printing black purge prints thru QTR Calibration Mode, then do a black ink change and print more to purge the second black line, let it sit for PiezoFlush to work it’s magic before doing nozzle checks or additional cleaning cycles.
With absolutely NO flow thru either black channel, the next thing would be to physically disconnect the dampers/ink selector unit and flush the print head using our print head cleaning kit, and possibly replacing the ink selector unit at the same time. The selector unit costs about $175 from Compass Micro. I have been working on our neglected 4900 (it suddenly stopped printing all channels several months ago (with Epson carts installed), which I assumed was the pump, and din’t have time to work on it at the time). I removed the selector unit from the head to check things out- and after putting back together, it printed a few channels, but then got worse with each cleaning cycle- which now makes me suspect the selector unit is creating a vacuum and restricting ink flow- so I’ll likely be replacing it in the near future (and will photograph my process).
I have it working and it was easier than I thought it would be.
I did not get a chance to read your reply until Friday afternoon and the PiezoFlush and carts had already been shipped. I ordered a head cleaning kit and a new ink selector from Compass Micro just in case. Saturday I went ahead and installed the flush carts in the MK & PK positions before I left town. When I got back Monday it was still not working. Today I called to see when the head cleaning kit would be here and found out it didn’t get shipped due to your warehouse change.
I decided to go ahead and install the new ink selector which came in today. To do that I knew I was going to need the Epson Maintenance program.
Since I am almost all Mac I had to drag out an old PC and hook it up to get to the Epson Maintenance Program. I looked around in the program to see if there was anything to try as a last chance before I replaced the ink selector. I got into it and decided to try a level 3 head cleaning on the problem head. Printed a nozzle check and was surprised to find about half the nozzles working on it. Ran a couple of more level 2 cleanings on it and some other heads and now have a perfect nozzle check print.
I have created a home next to the 4900 for the PC so it can stay connected to the printer if needed in the future.
I have a new in the box ink selector if anyone wants to buy it since it is non-returnable. Make me an offer, new they are $191.70 from Compass Micro.
Excellent news Cort, I’m glad a few powerful clean cycles did the trick, and you didn’t need to do any repair to your printer.
Be mindful though, you can easily fry your print head by doing too many SSCL or other maintenance mode super cleaning cycles in a row- so be careful of this (to anyone who reads this and decides to give it a try).