Black ink channel completely gone, piezo flush brings it back, then gone again

I have 4900. It was running fine, with a humidifier keeping it between 45-50% humidity. On a print the black channel stopped completely. Left a green blob where black was supposed to be. Did nozzle check, no black ink, tried level 1 clean, did execute powerful, switched from photo to matte and back, ran about 40 test print pages of either just black or print targets, no relief. Maybe one mark, no numbers or letters under print nozzle check (which should be in black). Got piezo flush for the photo black and ran initial fill. Got a pattern with piezo flush, even letters, some minor lines not filled, but felt relieved. Left it overnight to soak.

Tried a print check, still missing some, so ran an auto nozzle check. Three clogged heads noticed (PK, Y & LC with small breaks). Competed the cleaning an ran a nozzle check. Absolutely no piezo flush printed in PK. One day and back to completely gone. Tried to run a paired cleaning, did multiple test print pages, some only of the PK, switched from PK to MK and back, nothing.

First big possible issue. I forgot to pull the vent tab on the piezo flush cartridge that was about 2/3 full. When I removed the cartridge and pulled the tab when I realized this after the initial fill, I heard air being sucked in the vent. I replaced it and have not yet run another initial fill.

Would air in the system be a cause of this, and what do I do to fix this? Do I do a full right side piezoflush to see if it recovers and run again? Not crazy about pumping good ink into the maintenance cartridge.

I bought this in 2012. Not a real heavy user, but print each week. Had a major clog last February that lots of ink and cleanings solved. Good for about 11 months and then this.

I am wondering if it is best to see if this is a goner to get the other 4 cartridges for the right side of the printer and run an initial fill at least once a day for a couple of days to see if this repeats itself. I am not hopeful of investing more in ink and time if this is as bad as I fear. I can buy a Canon 24" printer for the price of the print head and service call and ink and supplies.


1st let me say, Kudos to keeping your humidity levels consistent in your studio, this is super important to keep nozzles firing 100%.

This is a very common complaint in regards to the clogged nozzle(s) on the 4900, we have experienced this several times ourselves and have had successfully results with Piezoflush as well as unsuccessfully results. If the air vent plug wasn’t removed before you ran the Init. Fills, then you definitely have air in that line, probably the entire line is filled with air now due to the extra Initial Fills you ran. From experience, you only need to run the Initial Fill OR Ink Charge in the case of the 4900 2x to get all the ink/fluid from the cartridge into the head.

You have 2 choices here:

  1. Run 2 more Init. Fills/Ink Charge on the right side with either your color carts or Piezoflush cartridges from the right side bay

  2. (If the above doesn’t resolve your clogged K channel) Re-purpose this printer into a Piezography printer, there’s a Blog post from


Thanks. I have piezo flush only in the PK cartridge right now, and bit the bullet and ordered the other four cartridges for the right side and more flush. I will run the initial fill on the right side, do a nozzle check and get the results. I did a execute on PK/LB pair last night and got a faint line on the top and bottom of the PK on the nozzle check, as well as some tops of the letters, so it may be that there is air, and it needs the big push to get it back. I figured a flush would do the right side good, and have less ink pushed through. If I cannot get it back with piezo flush, then I don’t want to buy more color ink. Not sure on re-purposing it as a b/w printer but that is an option as is a Canon ipf6400. Hate to leave the HDR colors, especially the orange ink of Epson, but if it causes this much pain and problems, it is not worth it.

Will get back to you as soon as the cartridges and the piezo flush (I ordered the 700ml to augment what I have) arrive and I can run it. I will be sure to remove the vent caps.


Bill Bogle, Jr.


The piezoflush on the right side of the printer on my 4900 seems to have done the trick, but a couple questions still remain. I ran the flush by ink charge twice. I am getting pure piezo color out of the PK channel, in part I believe because I had previously run an ink charge with Piezoflush in that line. When I print a color test page, with the 10 active colors from Epson colors, I get the pink for the photo black, but some of the other right side colors still show up printing as color, so there must be some residual ink in these lines. A nozzle check print however prints pink for the right side.


When I run an auto nozzle check, the whole right side still shows up as having a clog, (PK, C, LK, VM, MK) yet the nozzle print out has no breaks. Is this because the piezo flush is in the head, and it is not printing dark colors? Should I run a third ink charge just to be safe?

How many ink charges do I generally need to run once I put the ink cartridges back in the right side? Will two ink charges generally flush the line out of Piezo flush? Do I need to run the ink eject command first? (those are the two commands the 4900 has).

Thanks. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel on this.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Hi Bill,

A question for you, did you print the Purge image for the ride side cartridges using QTR Calibration Mode? This will tell you if there is Piezoflush present in the channels you are questioning, here’s the link for doing this you can either print the 10 ink separation image OR print individual channels to see if the flush is present and/or work the flush through a particular channel that may have some pigment leftover in the line.

As far as the automatic cleaning cycle is concerned, I am NOT a fan of this function for this exact reason. I have seen the printer detect a missing nozzle when not ONE nozzle was actually missing or misfiring. I always turn that function OFF, it wastes unnecessary ink.

I have found most of time 2x Initial Fills is enough to change the fluid out completely, sometimes pigment is very stubborn and can take an extra to get the Piezoflush into the head. But, when you re-install the Pigment ink, it should only require 2 Initial Fills, you can verify by printing the Ink Separation image again to make sure all the Piezoflush is out of the lines and pigment has replaced it.


No, I did not do a separation as you describe. I know that Matte Black, for instance, uses green from the 4900, as when the MK clog first occurred it was a green alien blob on my print. What I did was run a color image of all 10 separate colors, which is a fair indicator of what the line is doing. To me is should be somewhat or mostly pink red from the piezoflush, but it still printed magenta and cyan and light black to some extent. Curious to see that. Probably some of the LLK, VLM and LC from the right side.

I did not leave it on auto nozzle check, but instead of running a print nozzle check pattern, ran the other choice which is auto nozzle check where it only checks when you instruct to check. (Ink menu| nozzle check | auto nozzle check) It then shows a screen with which nozzle shows a clog, and if none are clogged, that holy grail screen of no nozzle clogs detected. I wondered if the piezoflush somehow tricks it that it is a clog when the pattern looks fine.

Thanks for your help. I will update you as I start to run ink back through. I shutter to think how much $$$ has been flushed into the ink maintenance tank that was just replaced, and soon will be needed to be done again. Cheaper than a repair call and a print head replacement though.

The only way to print pure ink from each channel ir to print thru a RIP, such as QuadTone RIP, following our instructions for printing flush images thru QTR’s Calibration Mode. Printing colors thru Photoshop and the regular Epson driver will not print pure colors, but a mixture, which is why you’re seeing colors. It’s possible that PiezoFlush is too light for your printer to “see” with the auto nozzle check, in this case your printer would tell you nozzles are clogged, even if they’re all printing.

We wish you luck~ Dana :slight_smile: