9900 head clog VLM

9890
7900
9900
7890

#1

Hello,

I’ve been discussing this with Jon, he recommended availing myself of the wisdom of the forum (Dana in particular).

I left my 9900 off over a 3 week vacation. Came back, started up, ran a power clean and seemed to get it in working order. I did several 42 inch wide prints without a hitch. Within a month, I was having problems with C and VLM clogging, especially the latter. At first, there were just a few displaced or broken lines in the nozzle check, and nothing detectable when printing a gamut. Printing something after cleaning would usually produce a good nozzle pattern, but the clogs were way too frequent and the LCD console would report clogs even when I couldn’t see anything on the check pattern.

The printer is set to autoclean, but I run a nozzle check before every print run, nearly every day. It’s on all the time, so it doesn’t auto clean all that frequently. As of now, autoclean, clean or manual pair clean (for the VLM) fails. I can’t see that running it repeatedly will be effective, and I’ve read many cautions against doing several power cleans.

Jon suggested changing the wiper blade. I did that about two weeks ago, and it seemed to improve matters. However, the problem has returned, and is worse than ever on VLM. In addition to several broken lines in the nozzle check, I get faint but definite banding in printing a gamut. A loupe reveals dots of ink misplaced, beyond the edge of the print area.

Jon also suggested soaking a Brawny towel with PiezoFlush and then slipping it under the print head and soaking it for 20 minutes or so, to clean the surface of the heads. I’ve ordered a small bottle of PiezoFlush, and am waiting for it to arrive. I used to do something like this with my old Epson Stylus 3000 (though flush cartridges were always more effective). I’ve never done it with a 9900, and would appreciate some instructions.

The printer is 4 years old, and has done about 1500 prints, usually in medium to large format. I use it weekly, at times daily. I’ve been using the ConeColor Pro inkset since last year, although I still have Epson O and G cartridges installed.

If the soaking doesn’t work, I wonder what my next step should be. Purchase the PiezoFlush kit? replace the dampers? the heads? the printer?

Advice is welcome. Instructions on soaking the print head (or my own) are also welcome.

best,

– Paul


#2

Well, I tried soaking the print head with a Brawny towel with PiezoFlush, slipped under the printhead for eight hours. Twice. I found instructions on doing this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6PbizbKaw. You should skip the annoying music and promo, actual content starts a minute into the video. This is the olde Windex trick, updated for the 9900. I do not think using Windex is a good idea. Though it was rather more expensive than Windex, I expect PiezoFlush will not cause the sort of damage ammonia might, and should be at least as effective at dissolving ink clogs.

This video suggests bringing the head out by pulling the plug on startup. I don’t much like pulling the plug (or flipping the switch on my power block) in mid-startup, but it does leave the head free. Is there a better way?

In any case, the technique did not work for the clog that I have—if it is a clog and not a head going bad. If anything, it is worse. Fewer lines than ever show up on on the nozzle check.

Jon suggested I post here on the forum in hopes that Dana would have some suggestions. I haven’t had any replies, but I’m resourceful. I’d still like to hear from Dana, even if it’s just to say that the problem is a remote mystery that I’ll have to solve myself. At least I’d know that I’d done the logical things so far.

At this point, I am planning on calling Epson service and replacing the head. It doesn’t seem worth it to by the whole PiezoFlush kit if this really is a case of a bad head—even if it’s just one color.


#3

Paul,
With our PiezoFlush and an INK INITIALIZATION we are having a very high success rate with recovering heads on 4900, 7900 and 9900 printers. These are the short head life printers. Epson recommends new dampers for these printers on an annual basis. If you do run the INITIALZIATION to bring PiezoFlush to the print heads, you could turn it off for 24-48 hours and let the PiezoFlush just sit there in the heads and dampers. Then run the INITIALIZATION again to bring out the dissolved matter from the dampers. If this does not clear it - nothing will. The problem is not too few prints but 4 long years on a printer known to require new heads just after a year.

Dana will suggest something if she has some better ideas and she often does. She was out a few days on a remote installation and training and I did not do a very good job of filling in for her.


#4

Hi Jon,

I have a pad soaked in PiezoFlush sitting under the heads now, and will wait two days before taking it out. Not the same as using the PiezoFlush kit, but maybe worth another try.

Do I need the Servprog.exe (running on a PC, of course) to do the INK INITIALIZATION you refer to? That’s what the Pro 7900 and 9900 Field Repair Guide seems to suggest, as does your piezography documentation from 2010 (at http://www.piezography.com/support/2010support/7900_ink_change.html). It would appear that QuadToneRIP might provide another solution, by printing a prepared target image over 40-50 square feet of paper.

Fortunately, I have ink on hand to top off the cartridges and can use my wife’s PC. Could I just load a cartridge in the VLM position with PiezoFlush and initialize the printer with its current inks? Or use a target with QTR that would primarily print the VLM position?

In some disbelief, I have looked through the manual that came with my printer, especially the Maintenance section. Not a word about dampers, wipers, or replacing the head. I suppose I was expected to get a service agreement and leave these matters to Epson.

In any case, the printer is four years “old.” It has seen steady but not heavy use throughout the time I’ve had it. Unless Dana has another idea, I guess I either should try the PiezoFlush kit or call Epson to get a new head and dampers. Replacement seems like a sure solution.

thanks,

– Paul


#5

Printing is NOT THE SAME as having the capping station suck out 20ml of ink in a hurry.

So either PiezoFlush it the right way or call Decision One! You’ve gotten way more head life out of that printer than most OEM 9900 users!


#6

[QUOTE=jon;1646]So either PiezoFlush it the right way or call Decision One! You’ve gotten way more head life out of that printer than most OEM 9900 users![/QUOTE]

Strange, that’s basically the same advice my wife has been giving me. 8^). Well, live and learn.


#7

Hi Paul~

Sorry for not jumping in sooner, I was tied up in trainings all last week, so was away from my computer and just now able to catch up on what I missed (though Jon was super helpful in stepping in and answering everything he could).

After reading thru this thread, here are my thoughts/suggestions:

  1. Due to your printer’s age, it’s due for new dampers and a wiper blade- so that may be a key factor. This information can be found in the Epson Repair Manual, not the basic User’s Manual.
  2. Do you recall the details of what happened shortly before this problem first began (other than the printer sat for 3 weeks, you returned and did a power clean cycle and a few large good prints)? For example did any carts run dangerously low or empty, were any carts refilled with ink, etc?
  3. How was everything printing before the printer was unused for three weeks?
  4. Did you agitate the cartridges prior to turning on the printer and doing the power clean cycle?
  5. Just for my information, what are the lot#s of the C and VLM ink you’re using?
  6. What are the temperature and humidity levels in your printing environment?

Based on the age, I believe your printer is ready for the dampers and wiper blade to be installed, but aside from that possibility, I agree with Jon’s recommendation of installing PiezoFlush to try cleaning this channel. You can install a singe cart filled with PiezoFlush in the VLM channel of your printer, and use the QuadTone RIP Calibration Mode to purge just this one channel you are having trouble with, by following instructions here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?144-Print-Ink-Separation-Image-thru-QTR-Calibration-Mode

Please let me know the answers to my questions above, if you have questions or there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


#8

Hi Dana,

I just saw your post today. All these answers came a little too late for me, though I find them very interesting in retrospect. I had replaced the wiper blades myself, but to no good end. I usually shook the cartridges regularly, about every two or three weeks, and would have done that on starting up again after vacation. I was not controlling the humidity of the room, but this all happened during a period of sufficient humidity.

I ended up calling in a technician to replace the printhead a few days after my last post. With nearly five years of use on the printhead, it seemed a reasonable if expensive remedy. He also cleaned out the printer. I don’t think he replaced the dampers.

The new printhead is now showing signs of misbehaving. I’m going to open a new thread about that. I have kept the humidity controlled ever since the new printhead was installed, shaken the cartridges regularly and printed frequently—I don’t think a whole week has ever gone by when I didn’t print. All of this following the technician’s advice and yours.

Will post the new thread now.

thanks,

– Paul

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;1662]Hi Paul~

Sorry for not jumping in sooner, I was tied up in trainings all last week, so was away from my computer and just now able to catch up on what I missed (though Jon was super helpful in stepping in and answering everything he could).

After reading thru this thread, here are my thoughts/suggestions:

  1. Due to your printer’s age, it’s due for new dampers and a wiper blade- so that may be a key factor. This information can be found in the Epson Repair Manual, not the basic User’s Manual.
  2. Do you recall the details of what happened shortly before this problem first began (other than the printer sat for 3 weeks, you returned and did a power clean cycle and a few large good prints)? For example did any carts run dangerously low or empty, were any carts refilled with ink, etc?
  3. How was everything printing before the printer was unused for three weeks?
  4. Did you agitate the cartridges prior to turning on the printer and doing the power clean cycle?
  5. Just for my information, what are the lot#s of the C and VLM ink you’re using?
  6. What are the temperature and humidity levels in your printing environment?

Based on the age, I believe your printer is ready for the dampers and wiper blade to be installed, but aside from that possibility, I agree with Jon’s recommendation of installing PiezoFlush to try cleaning this channel. You can install a singe cart filled with PiezoFlush in the VLM channel of your printer, and use the QuadTone RIP Calibration Mode to purge just this one channel you are having trouble with, by following instructions here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?144-Print-Ink-Separation-Image-thru-QTR-Calibration-Mode

Please let me know the answers to my questions above, if you have questions or there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :)[/QUOTE]