My 3880 with Epson ink has never been prone to clogs in the past, so I’ve often let it go pretty long between uses with no ill effects that I could detect (I now realize how bad that can be). Recently however, it sat idle for a year or so and I just made some prints and what I am finding is that they don’t match older prints I made. These inks are old and have been in the printer for years but there were no clogs, etc… when I turned it on. Also, this printer has been lightly used over it’s life in general so it’s not been worked to death I don’t think.
What I find now is that color prints I make are a bit less vibrant or saturated and subtly color shifted toward warmer tones. B&W prints made using ABW mode are noticeably warmer toned instead of the neutral tone they used to be.
I’ve done nozzle checks, tilted the whole printer to agitate ink, removed and rocked cartridges, went over my workflow extensively and ensured no driver, profile, or software changes. I’ve probably gone through 5-10ml of each ink cleaning and making test prints this week yet it just prints differently than it used to. Again, this is directly comparing old vs. new prints where the old prints where carefully stored. Same paper stock, etc…
So my best guess is either settled pigments and/or evaporated solvents, breakdown, etc… that have changed the inks. There’s not a whole lot left of this ink set and I’m not overly worried about tossing it. I have a brand new set here but I am wondering if I should get a flush kit or should I just load the new ink and maybe do a power clean to flush the old out (and if so, how many cycles?).
I am also wondering if I shouldn’t get a flush kit setup for the times when I do need to leave the printer idle for longer times down the road (realizing I would be tossing ink but that’s better than a mucked up 3880 that sat for too long).
So, would flushing before loading the new ink be overkill given that I have no apparent clogging? Or should I just load the new ink and starting printing? I would hate to waste a new ink set on a problem that isn’t ink related (i.e. a printer that instead needs repair/replacing).