Best-practices for low-use printer maintenance?

I have two Epson (7890 and R2000) printers that I used to use at least weekly. (Hobbyist uses on weekends.)

They have lately been getting regular clogged nozzles, such that every time I do use them, I spend an hour trying to clear clogged nozzles first. I had been turning the printers off after use. And would weekly run a nozzle check if I didn’t need to print anything that weekend. But clearly this isn’t enough. I live in the San Francisco area, so I don’t have particularly low or high humidity.

What is the recommended approach to avoiding clogs with this amount of use? Approximately weekly use, every other week. Always at least monthly, so I don’t want to flush for storage.

Should I keep the printer turned on?
Should I print a full page of nozzle pattern each week? (I use Qimage, which has a nozzle pattern)
Should I do something twice a week?
Or what?

This last clog on the 7890 (the VLM head is clogged, others are ok), is costing me $$$ in ink and in supplies from inkjet mall to attempt to clear (doing a cleaning with piezoflush via init fill now). Epson (fuji) service estimated parts for repair to be $2600, which, with labor, would be about the cost of a new printer. So I’m trying to save this one.

Suggested practices for trouble-free but low use?

I think most of these questions have been answered here:

And on many parts of this forum.

The 7890 is problematic. The “clogs” (in your case VLM) are usually not clogs but degraded heads so not related to frequency of use exactly. We actually really like it when customers send us nozzle checks from their x890 and x900 printers that they think are clogged because we can then determine if they actually have a clog or if it’s a sign of a degrading head.


The R2000 is much more normal and if you are using it every couple weeks keep it covered, relative cool-standard humidity, and a single cleaning on boot up will get you ready to run prints.

1month+ and you should get a set of PiezoFlush carts and pop these in + 2 cleanings and then the printer can sit for over a year without problems.


What’s the current position on how long one can store an R2000 like this? It’s just dawned on me that it’s approaching three years since I bought an R2000 on run-out and put it in hibernation in anticipation of the day when my R1900 died. That day still hasn’t arrived. Nearly three years ago Jon provided advice on long term storage, which I followed in hibernating the printer. I confess that life distracted me and I have just realised how long ago it was put into storage. Should I just continue to leave it or should I fire it up and test it?

I suggest checking printers during spring cleaning once a year.

That’s probably best practice. Looking in the other direction, I wonder how long people have been able to push their luck and leave a printer well hibernated without issues? In that thread Jon said: "It’s not uncommon for us to keep a printer in PiezoFlush for 2-3 years. " I guess I’m about to found out in the near future.


Thanks much for pointing me to the “infrequent printer use” page. I hadn’t found that on my own.
(I’ll probably not eat any M&Ms for a while.) I’ve attached a photo (sorry for the low contrast) of the Nozzle Check for the 7890 showing the VLM blockage. Clean color pairs, etc were ineffective; so I am now running INIT FILL with piezo flush in the VLM cart (I previously had done the external head cleaning etc. as described in the video).

Take aways for me from that infrequent-use page:

  • take out and shake the carts occasionally (every 3 weeks, 5 seconds)
  • print something weekly to move ink through all the lines*
  • or maybe a power cleaning will do the same (not sure that is necessary, but maybe do that monthly?)
  • if carts are way past their sell-by date**, maybe that’s a problem
  • if carts are not used up in 6 months, maybe that’s a problem

I really hadn’t thought about the ink settling in the lines until I read that page.

  • I’d probably use the Qimage “Unclog pattern”, set to all colors.
    ** My dealer who sold me the printer said to ignore the dates on unopened carts and just give them a shake; I wonder if that was decent advice.


Reposting the image. It didn’t seem to upload.

Ok. So that middle gap (delayed nozzle fire showing a bowing to the right) is CLASSIC head degradation. Doing an initial fill will only waste ink/flush. It’s not going to fix.

I’m sorry for the bad news.


Thanks for that assessment. I’ve done the first INIT FILL, just need to do the second one (after 48 hours).

Your assessment makes sense in that the pattern has changed zero over several cleanings. (I’ve been at this for weeks…).

I suppose the next advice is whether to replace the head (the service estimate was $2600 plus labor, I think), OR whether to just buy a new 24" printer (which is iirc about $3000). I have a bunch of ink, and unless the new models use the same ink (doubtful!), the ink is worth about a third the price of a printer I think! My use is just hobbyist, so I don’t want to spend money I don’t have to.

Recommendations on that?

I suggest a new printer if you can because the sure colors have new dampers and cleaning assemblies.

Someone can use this printer for Piezo.


Since I had to refill the lines with VLM after the piezoflush, I ran a second init fill (with piezoflush) and then a third init fill (with epson inks). Then I did a nozzle check. It is identical to the one from before flushing, as Walker predicted. I just thought I’d close the loop and post the “after” picture.

By the way, I misquoted the repair price (it was including labor). I thought I should correct that. Here is the estimate from the repair company:


  1. (x1) Print Head,$1431.43
  2. (x1) Selector,Unit $215.09
  3. (x1) Pump,Cap,Assy, $227.63
  4. (x1) Wiper $11.87
  5. (x2) Seal Rubber $6.26

$1898.45 +$600(4hr repair) = $2525.79 w/shipping

Don’t know if all those parts will be needed, though (selector unit and pump cap assembly were ones I wondered about); they said any that weren’t needed would not be billed. Any guess on that? Surely the new print head IS what is needed.

I did have one further question about proper handling of low-use (“infrequent use”) printers:

Is there any advice or best practice on keeping them turned on, or turned off, when they are idle?

My professional dealer recommended turning them off (iirc, to “park the heads” properly, but I could be misremembering). So I only turn them on on the weekends to run.

If they just replace the head without the selector and cap assembly, the next head will die fast. They need to replace all three at once.


Fantastic question, my situation is the exact same!

For the record … I have had an R2880 and an unused R2000 both in storage with flush for 3-3½ years. I took them out for testing. The R2880 was fine at the first check. I’d like to think that the R2000 would also have been had I remembered to remove the vent plugs (discussed in another thread). After a bit of a fight to clear the air that I assume I introduced it came good. Both are back in storage.