Clogging in Matte Black ink position

For the past couple of months I’ve been fighting a problem where the matte black ink will be missing some nozzles on a nozzle check immediately after printing a image with a moderate amount of dark tones (using the cyan and black inks). The nozzle check immediately prior to printing the image is good in all ink positions examined with a 5x loupe. I’m using an Epson 1400 and two Epson 1430s loaded with the Carbon ink set. This is happening on all three printers, but the missing black nozzles are in different places on the three printers and it is inconsistent as to when the clogged black position will show up. Sometimes I’m able to print a a few prints prior to the problem showing up, other times after the first print.

This is a relatively recent problem. The three printers receive regular maintenance. Upon examining the wiper blade the ink is thick on the right side of it which I don’t remember being the case in the past. I’m wondering if something has changed with the matte black or other ink shades since the recent reformulation?

Thank you,
John Powers

Hi John~

After reviewing your order history, I see you last bought Neutral shade #1 ink in June 2015. Can you please tell me the lot# and expiration date on the ink bottle that you’re using?
I see you bought several sets of 1400 refill cartridges, the last purchased in Nov 2014. Can you tell me when the carts you’re using were originally filled? Do you recall about when you started having issues with the black channel- was it after refilling carts with ink from the latest bottle, or more recently? What is the temperature and humidity levels in your printing environment? How easily/quickly do the black nozzles return- after one or two regular cleaning cycles, or do you have to do a lot of cleaning to get them printing again?

Please let me know, thanks~ Dana

Very interesting. I was going to begin another thread about my problems until I came across this one. Well, here goes.

I have been using a factory refurbished 2880 since July 2015 (original printer was shipped back from Epson, but arrived in pieces after serious shipper handling problems). The printer had been behaving quite well, printing marvelous digital negatives using piezography inks. As my supply of some inks was getting low, new inks were ordered and received around the beginning of December. The black ink I had been using went by the name “Opaque Photo Black” (PKZ7-WN-110-1, batch #100809) and was to be replaced by a larger bottle, at IJM’s suggestion, of “Warm Neutral Shade 1” (PKZ7-WN-220-1, batch #140725). They appear to be the same inks, different batches.

The printer has been maintained according to IJM’s “Printer Cleaning and Preventative Maintenance” and Dana’s helpful videos: capping station, gentle scrubbing of print head, wiper blade, print head nipple area, flushing of print head, etc, using piezo flush (PF). Whenever cartridge inks were changed, bottle ink solutions were furiously shaken, and once in the cartridges, were more gently shaken and tapped. Flush cartridges replaced ink cartridges when the printer was not in use for more than several days.

Around the time I began to use the newly ordered inks, K(1), C(2.5), and M(4.5), I began to notice banding in the darkest areas of my digital negatives as well as a general lightening. I then started to do multiple Epson head cleaning, printed head flushing (mainly K), nozzle checks (NCs) , etc. When I had good NCs, I sometimes also did the Calibration Mode option on QTR using the inks or (PF). After a some good NCs and QTR Calibration Mode with PF, I would replace the PF cartridges with the ink cartridges.

About the only conclusion I could draw was that there was something wrong with my blacks, probably not the nozzle because of its good PF and Calibration Mode results, but perhaps either the ink or the cartridge. With only one bottle of K ink and several spare K cartridges, I filled the latter and tried them out. One cartridge was a leaker and had to be relieved from duty. The other three, each filled with the same ink, behaved identically after replacing a PF cartridge with 3-4 head cleanings: poor, almost blank, with a few brief dashes in the upper half of the NC.

I’m at a loss. Is there something I’ve overlooked? Is there something wrong with the bottle of “Warm Neutral Shade 1” black ink?

Hi Dana

Sorry for not replying sooner. Got sidetracked printing a bunch of color images. The matte black ink is: Lot# 131223, expires Feb 2018. I have taken one of the 1430 printers off line. It’s turned off sitting will full carts of piezo flush installed. The 1400 is online with Special Edition ink set and the other 1430 has a carbon ink set installed. Both online printers were recently totally cleaned plus the 1400 sit for about a week with piezo flush in all carts as I installed an external waste ink tank on it. I did recently purchased a small room humidifier and the humidity is 40 - 45%. Temp is 66-68 degrees. While the 1400 sat with piezo flush, I printed QTR flush patches for all channels a couple of times.

Currently the 1400 appears to be trouble free and the 1430 although not as trouble free as the 1400 doesn’t seem to have the prior matte black trouble. Changing the matte black carts with new unused carts did not rectify the trouble while it was ongoing. Using a prior matte black ink after using the above lot# didn’t seem to help either. Nozzle cleans didn’t seem to help either nor did printing flush patches with the ink sets installed.

At this point I’m not sure what the problem may be or have been. I wondered if the viscosity of the ink changed or the size of the carbon particles. In the past the matte black ink channel has been very trouble free.

Thanks, John

Just a follow up to my last post. What seemed to help was installing a set of carts with piezo flush in each printer for about a week and printing flush patches. Then installing the ink sets with new carts. It’s been about a month now since I did that.
The humidifier was added shortly after that.


Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear flushing your printers seems to have cleared the problem.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

I entered what looked like a thread related to my particular problem, that of clogging with black ink. It seemed to have been overlooked when John returned and Dana responded.

Please note my post above, #3 entered Jan 6 @ 3:24 pm.



Hi Alan,

no black ink is used whatsoever in a digital negative with methodology 3.
it would depend upon your photoshop output level or curve if black ink is used for a methodology 1 curve.

Your account shows that you purchased the Methodology 1 kit, but if you are using methodology 3 curves, still no black ink will print.

If you have a strong belief that replacing your ink again will remedy it, I would want to get your bottle back for testing. I can issue you an RMA for it and send you another. But, the batch is good. If you would like to place an order for a new bottle, I will send an RMA and credit your account when the ink is returned and we find it tests badly. If ok - we will return the bottle back to you. Sound ok?

If it’s not ink it can be mechanical and any number of issues…
other sources of banding would come from head mis-alignment, or the feed rate of the printer - both mechanical in nature.

let me know what you would like to do.


Hi Jon,

I believe that there are two issues being conflated here, Methodology X and printing problems.

First, I have not been using a Methodology 3 curve with Methodology 1 ink kit. Rather, I have been using QTR with the Methodology 1 curve PZDN-X800–Meth1 that you sent me a while back. This has been successfully used for printing negatives to create cyanotype, kallitype, and gum prints.

In Photoshop, I surround my negatives with a black border which is created using Canvas Size with a Canvas Extension Color of White, prior to being inverted in a later step. The border also serves the purposes of (a) containing registration marks for aligning the sets of either three or four color separation negatives, and (b) allowing for a dithering border during printing without affecting the quality of the negative.

Second, using the results of nozzle checks and QTR calibration mode tests, I found that I was getting either (a) good results with piezo flush in all cartridges, or (b) a terrible result in the black (K) channel using the PKZ7-WN ink and good results in the others channels using either piezo flush cartridges or actual ink cartridges. And, the results were similar for either of a few different black ink cartridges.

Last, there is something I forgot to mention in my previous post, and I don’t know what bearing it might have on my problem. My original 2880 used to notify me when ink tanks were low so that I could refill them and reset the chips. This refurbished 2880 has not done that, and when I began to notice banding in early November, I discovered that some of my cartridges were running on empty. This problem was apparently solved using piezo flush with head cleaning and forced flushing of the print head in the few cartridge locations.

Regarding your offer, I would like to send you the bottle of ink plus the cartridges that were used solely with that ink. Please send the RMA so that I can return these materials to you. In the meantime, I’ll purchase another bottle of black ink and pray that you advance quickly on your development of curves for the 1430, my supposed backup for the 2880.


Hi Dana and Jon

Unfortunately this is a problem that is starting to reoccur on both the Epson 1400 with Special Edition ink set and a Epson 1430 with a Carbon ink set. Simply put the problem is: with a perfect nozzle check just prior to printing an image a nozzle check just after the image is printed is bad. The common characteristic with both printers is missing nozzles in the black channel. It requires a head cleaning and if the cleaning leaves missing nozzles then an overnight wait to try and print again. This is relatively recent problem that I’ve experienced on two Epson 1430 printers and one Epson 1400. The room where the two printers is located has a temperature 66-69 degrees with a humidity of 45-50 percent. The thickness of the paper does not seem to be involved nor the ink carts. Cleaning and flushing the printers seem to help, but only for a short duration. The Epson 1400 was totally cleaned and flushed about 2 months ago. Whereas in the past few years working with the carbon ink set in both the 1400 and the 1430 this problem never appeared. It was only around the time of the ink reformulation that it presented itself. I do not know if the problem is with the ink, what I suspect is that for whatever reason the printers require much more maintanence than in the past. The Epson 1400 is about three years old and this particular 1430 is about a year old.

Looking at the prints I don’t see any banding caused by the missing black channel nozzles, but I’m not sure if I would since the black seems to be overprinted with the cyan to obtain the very darkest tones. Of course printing a QTR black flush image shows banding.

Any ideas on how to go about solving this problem would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, John

Hi Jon

A follow up question regarding the Epson 1400 and 1430. When facing the front of the printer what is the ink pad to the far left? On every ninth pass of the print head to the left, the print head makes a trip over to this pad. Is there a way to clean and maintain this pad?

Thanks again, John

Just an update, both the Epson 1430 with a carbon ink set and the Epson 1400 with special edition ink are partially clogged in the black channel. A few repeated head cleanings today have not cleared the clogs.

Thanks, John

Dear John,

Same actual ink cartridges for all of this? You may need new ones (or just 1 K one). . . carbon here at IJM seems to be running smoothly, but it’s hard to tell diff between here and real-world as we are running new carts most of the time. Seems like the printer is losing micro-pressure on printing but this seems more cartridge related to me than ink. (Piezography ink is milled way finer and to much stricter standards than even OEM, generally not an issue in these 1400s and 1430s.)

All things being said, your environmental controls seem stellar! :slight_smile:

Walker Blackwell

Hi Walker

Yes, carts are less than a year old in both the Epson 1400 and 1430. I’ve eliminated the carts to my satisfaction as being the problem unless it is generic to this particular cart design (newest version offered by Inkjetmall).

What I’ve noticed is that ink builds up on the ink pad to the left in the printer as one faces its front. The ink forms a more or less straight line on this pad and becomes taller than a plastic bar that is just to the right that splits the pad. My current theory is that once the ink build up reaches a certain height then it possibly contaminates the print head or interferes with it in someway. I’m not quite sure what function this pad performs, but it’s not mentioned in Inkjetmall’s desktop printer maintenance instructions as far as I’ve been able to determine. I’ve taken to cleaning this pad about once every ten days or so.

Both printers are functional as of this post and have been since my previous post with daily printing. I’ll post updates as time goes on.

Thank you,