Hi Kelly, sorry this took so long to get back to you. The printer issue had to move to the back burner for a bit. Hopefully I am on track to work at this until a resolution is found.
These are all very valid questions and the answer is not exactly direct or straight forward. Lets 1st get a good base line of the situation, which sounds to me may be different then just a clogged Vm channel.
For the read out of the chip level for the VM cart, this is unusual. Yes, it should be reading 1/2 full after performing the Ink Charge (because that is the amount of ink the printer uses for this procedure). Even if the Vm cartridge is actually FULL, possible due to a clog, then it should still read 1/2 full like the rest of the cartridges. Lets start with these questions:
If you run a cleaning cycle, does the ink level move on the VM cart? Or stay Full?
I ran four cleaning cycles and the ink indicator on the printers LCD screen and in the printer driver shows the appropriate ink usage - comparable to other inks.
Leading up to this have you noticed the VM ink level staying Full or automatically resetting itself?
Normally if there is a faulty chip on a cartridge you will get a Cartridge error, this would be if the battery was dead. If the cartridge levels are reading full on the printer panel, as well as on the Status monitor through the printer utility this points more towards printer chip read sensor read outs and not cartridge itself. Although anything is possible! I would for good measure, replace the battery on the VM chip and see if that changes the reading capacity of the printer. So, replace the battery and run a couple cleaning cycles to see if the ink levels change on the read out or if the VM comes back.
I did replace the battery before doing the cleaning cycles.
It sounds to me like the printer is not pulling the ink from the VM cartridge possibly due to an electrical error internally. There is still the possibility of clogged head, damper and/or capping station, but at this point you need to get the VM cartridge ink levels reading correctly to diagnose this problem. Once there’s a diagnosis we can offer a solution for a fix.
Before going through all that I would give the printer a good thorough cleaning following these video instructions http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/sc.42/category.122444/.f
The way the printer is behaving now it seems to be communicating with the VM channel. I also found old OEM carts and stuck the VM in the slot to see if it would be recognized. The printer saw it as being empty. I did give the printer a good cleaning and with the above cleaning cycles, however, it is still not firing in the VM nozzle pattern. It seems the printer is recognizing the cart and communicating - does it make sense to try the cleaning the VM channel? Can I do that with Piezoflush just in the VM channel? Or do I need to clean all channels? Can manual reset carts (the ones I have) be mixed with the ARC type? Just trying to figure the most economical and practical solution.
Which begs one more question, I now have the Epson Adjustment Utility - would I need Quad tone rip to clear just one channel? I do not have QTR
Thanks for your help (and patience),