Bizzarre issue

4880 works just fine until the printer does one of its random “quick cleanings,” which immediately starves most of the channels of their ink. (I’m using your ink.) The local authorized repair shop has replaced the pump & cap, and all 8 dampers. By doing a “light cleaning” and then letting it sit for about 15 minutes, the channels seem to clear. The technician said the only other thing to replace is the print head. If the print head is actually bad, why does it work sometimes and not others? Why would the dampers not refill after the automatic “quick clean” it does sometimes before starting a normal print job?


It sounds like a pressure imbalance, where the cartridges can’t equalize their pressure fast enough to replace the ink pulled out during a clean, but are fast enough to replace the air when printing. I have a 3880 and my gut feeling is that there is a pressure blockage in the cartridge air system. I had one cart with bad airways, which would certainly have caused the starvation of the printhead after a cleaning. Letting it sit would allow the pressure to equalize. I’m not sure if the 4880 is pressurized, but if it is, perhaps your air pump has gone bad. If it is not, it seems unlikely all your carts would be blocked, but that would be something to check. Good luck!

Dana, any ideas? I don’t want to scrap this printer, and I don’t want to spend $600 on a print head when I don’t think that’s the problem.

Hi kswalls~

After reviewing your order history, I see you bought the set of 4880 refill carts in the beginning of 2013, and have bought refill ink bottles since then, so it’s been working well for a few years.
Are you using the cartridges with the air vent holes totally open, or are you using the small air filter in the vent holes?
Have you manually cleaned the printer’s capping station, wiper blade and/or bottom of the head, following our cleaning procedures? If not, I recommend cleaning your printer following our instructions, here:

I hope this helps, let me know~ Dana

I keep the air holes on top open, but the big refill holes closed. The printer has not worked right even before I switched to your ink. The capping station, wiper blade, etc. was cleaned at an Epson authorized repair center. The pump and capping station was actually replaced. The dampers were all replaced. It’s clearly an ink starvation issue and not clogged nozzles as one pass of the large block print test utility is fine and the next pass has dropouts. My question to anybody out there who knows how these printers work is if there is some other plausible cause for these problems other than a bad print head?

Have the cartridge bays and ink lines been checked? Perhaps the lines are full of junk…

Thanks for the additional information kswalls.

When trouble shooting strange issues like this, I like to consider all the related factors, and rule them out one by one to pinpoint the issue.
I would try a new cartridge, in case the cart you’ve been using for the past few years isn’t providing good ink flow like it used to.
If this problem is similar to how the printer was acting before installing our inks and carts, then I would say the carts are unrelated, and would look into the printer more, such as the ink lines. I’ve also experienced a brand new damper from Epson was defective, so even though I had just replaced the dampers, a channel wasn’t working well, and after trying everything else (thinking it couldn’t possibly be the dampers, since I had just replaced them), I discovered one damper was bad, and the printer worked great again after replacing that one damper again.

When were the dampers replaced, and other parts cleaned by Epson? Have you ever cleaned your printer following our instructions?

Best~ Dana