Black Ink Ran dry!

Currently, I have Piezoflush carts in my R3000. I was using the QTR to flush the lines, when suddenly, the black channel stopped printing. I checked the black cart, and found that it was suddenly bone dry—even though the status indicator showed that it was still quarter-full!

So, what do I do now? I refilled the cart, using the vacuum method, to get flush into the exit chamber. But, how do I get the flush through the line and back up to the print head? The after-market service program is NOT and option—for too many reasons than I can list here. I know that this has been asked before. But, the answers have been conflicting. Some say, to use the QTR, to prime this channel. But, in other threads, it is said that this could damage the print heads.

Hi anachronon~

After reviewing your order history, I see you purchased R3000 refillable carts individually between Jan and April of this year, which was during our transition period of moving from battery to non-battery style chips.
I see your PK, C, VLM and LLK carts have the battery style chips, and others (LC, LK, VM, Y and MK) have the current NON-battery chips attached.
Did you print full sheets of pure channel flush images, or 8-channel flush to work on all at once? If all at once, about how many and what size black flush images did you print?
Did you remove the cartridge at all after filling and installing it for the first time?
Are you certain the cartridge was totally full to start with?

The printer can not detect cartridge levels, other than reading the chip, so it’s important to totally fill a new cartridge so the physical ink level matches the chip read level, and reset the chip when a cartridge is refilled. As per our instructions, the five carts with non-battery style chips will automatically reset when they read empty in the printer, and removed, refilled + reinstalled (removing + reinserting a cart that reads empty will tell the printer a new/full cart in installed, so it must be refilled at this point, or the cartridge will run dry). The first four carts with battery chips can be manually reset whenever you feel like refilling the carts.

To purge air from your ink lines, and refill the line with ink, you will need to refill the cartridge and make sure the exit chamber is correctly filled for proper ink flow. After reinstalling the refilled cart, print black flush images thru QTR calibration mode or do an Initial Fill thru the Adjustment Program (but make sure all other carts have enough ink/flush first).

I hope this helps.
Best regards~ Dana

I will try to use the QTR purge, to get the Black flowing again. I will do it only gradually though, over the next couple/few days—to minimize the possible damage to the print heads. I assume that trying to print from a dry line, could overheat the heads?

I suspect that the “ink” (Piezoflush) running dry in the black, may have been caused by my use of the wrong color swatch in the QTR calibration. A tremendous amount of Flush was dumped onto the paper—running everywhere! i had never seen anything like it. So, I may have thrown-off the printer’s calculation of remaining “ink”.

Ok, sounds like a good plan. I hope it works, and your black comes back!

Keep me posted~ Dana

Well, no luck yet—6 days later. Has anyone had success, trying to “print” ink through a dry line? How many full QTR purge sheets did it take? I only print about a quarter of a page, at a time, to try to reduce the chance of head damage. Though I have lost count, I believe that I have run the equivalent of 2 to 3 full pages, over the past few days. This, in addition to a couple cleaning cycles, to try to help things along. But, still no results.

I have actually had a really hard time in the past purging air from lines in a R3000 after running a cartridge dry. I had to do 3 Initial Fills through the Adjustment Program to get it back to working order (in my opinion that was extremely excessive), this was a BRAND new printer as well. We have calculated the lines to contain approximately 10mls of ink from the cart to the head. When you think about the very minimal amount of ink being laid on the paper from printing, you may be looking at several dozen full page prints, at a 13x19 page size, this could take some serious amount of time and paper! I think your best solution here would be, IF you have access to WIN operating system to purchase the Adjustment Program from and run the Initial Fills until it comes back. You can purchase it through this link

Seems a little odd, that it would take so much, to pull the ink through a dry line. When I first installed the flush cart, the Piezoflush began to appear on the page, after just one purge sheet.

I read somewhere, that the R3000 has very poor suction, for pulling ink through a line. Someone even suggested inserting the syringe into the fill hole of the cartridge, plugging the air vent, and using pressure to push the fluid through the line. There was though, the risk of damaging the damper, from too much pressure. But, could this work, if done carefully? Perhaps, this would only be needed, to get the ink started in the line. Once the ink is, say, half-way into the line, the printer’s suction may be able to do the rest.

Any thoughts on this? Does anyone know which of the lines in the ribbon is the black—so that ink progress can be watched visually?

No thoughts on this? It’s been a week, and I don’t want to try anything blind.

Hi anachonon~

Sorry for not responding sooner, I’m just back after being out sick all week…

We’ve had some customers use our print head cleaning kit on the R3000 printer model by inserting it in the cartridge chamber and applying pressure to force ink (or flush) thru the line, when regular cleaning or print purge sheets don’t work. Although some have had success doing this, it’s not something we recommend, because there are many delicate seals and thin membranes that could be damaged with too much pressure (so this would be something to try “at your own risk”, we provide no instruction, support or guarantee this will work- and it may damage your printer).

Have you tried the initial fill thru the Adjustment Program yet?


Thanks Dana. Hope you’re feeling better. Really, I just wanted your opinion, on forcing the flush through the line. It would be a move of last resort. The problem that I can see, is that the printer isn’t even pulling the ink into the line. The ink line still appears to be completely dry—there is no telltale pink in the line, making its way toward the head assembly. Even if I switch blacks, I still get nothing. Neither of the black cartridges have the air holes plugged. And, both exit chambers are about 2/3 full. The black heads cant be clogged, as I just ran an entire cart of piezoflush through them. I even let the heads soak on a paper towel, full of Piezoflush. Still nothing.

I haven’t tried the the adjustment program. There are simply too many reasons that make it unusable for me. Of course, if the printer isn’t producing enough suction, I don’t see how that program could help.

The reason that program can help is because the R3000 does not have the equivalent of a Power Clean. So there is no strong suction maintenance routine that you can select using the tools that come with the printer. The suggested routine in the utility applies suction for about 8 minutes and is very effective. As Dana mentioned to you, forcing the PiezoFlush through the head is an ultimate risk on your part - whereas the utility is non-damaging.

Thanks Jon. So, the problem appears to be one of having just the right amount of suction/pressure. To little, and the ink/fluid doesn’t get forced through the line. To much, and seals are blown-out. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the service adjustment program is simply not an option.

Currently, I am trying to get fluid into the black line, by printing strips with the QTR. I print only one 2x10 strip a day (1/4 of a page) to try to avoid overheating the heads. Should I be attempting to print more at a time, to increase suction? Should I do a full page at at time? or, would that certainly overhead the dry heads?

My other question deals with forcing fluid through the line, if it comes to that. I know, be careful. Someone mentioned using a head cleaning kit, to force fluid through the line. But, IJM doesn’t make such an attachment, for the R3000 (for obvious reasons). Does anyone know what people used?

The R3000 carts are not pressurized so printing through QTR should probably do nothing to generate the priming of the lines. Are you sure the cart is primed?

Really, the only way to accomplish this is the utility. I can’t see any other way of doing it without dismantling the printer. You could for example, remove the ink exchanger, then dismantle it and then remove the ink damper and draw ink from the cart into the damper. At that point the head should be able to draw ink into itself. This is with its own obvious risks and would be quite the learning experience.

But, the utility is so easy. Borrow or buy a $50 local old ratty PC and run it! You can buy an old PC laptop on eBay for $35 or less. I believe the utility is still under $30. A new black ink exchanger is $175.00. A new head is worth more than the printer right now…

After reading numerous posts on this issue, from the past couple years, I have noticed a pattern. Folks on this forum, as well as others, have stated that the have had more success refilling a dry line, using a dummy cart with syringe (line the “I-Remove”), than using the Adjustment Program. I know—be careful.

My question then, is this. Does IJM sell a dummy cart, that will fit an R3000? I know that they sell ones for other printers. But, will any of those, fit the slots of an R3000?

No we do not.

If this is what you really want to do - and it would still be risky i- you could take a silicone tube and insert it onto the ink stem and fill your dry line that way. The silicone tube should bubble before your print head is destroyed as long as the silicone has a low enough durometer. Certainly you will want to move the print head off the capping station in order to relieve pressure. If you press too hard on the syringe you can easily blow out the thin membranes in the print head. So this is why to use silicone tubing between the syringe and the ink stem.

The better way would be to remove the ink damper from that position in the ink exchanger and pull the ink from the tank into the ink line. This is how it is commonly done on large format printers and the R3000 has a large format print head (sharing the 3880 print head).

So be careful and go at your own risk. We think the utility is safer.

Success! I used the iRemove kit to recharge the black ink line. Of course, the mantra was “Be careful—go slow.” I took nearly 10 minutes to force 4ml of Piezoflush into the line, with the small, special syringe that came with the kit (4ml is all that it holds). It took two syringe loads to completely fill the line.

So, I now have a perfect nozzle-check pattern. Still, I feel that I should continue to run checks, over the next couple days, just to be sure that no problems will develop. Is there anything that could show up? I want to be certain, before I start feeding ink into the printer again (all channels are currently Piezoflush).