Epson 3880 capping Station not draining

When I attempt to flush the capping station on my Epson 3880 the piezo flush does not drain away. It just sits there. I must blot it away. I also have huge blobs of PK ink going down the sides of my prints. I have cleaned the print heads with paper towels soaked in piezo flush numerous times and the problem persists.

I have also flushed the ink lines with piezo flush following the instructions on this website and doing the 3 power cleans.


Hi Rob,
I see that you just recently purchased PiezoFlush and cartridges. The capping station should be draining if the pump is working normally.

Can you tell me if

  1. this printer has been sitting idle for a very long time?
  2. or and if this printer has been used with non-standard inks such as dye-sublimation or solvent?


[QUOTE=jon;2994]Hi Rob,
I see that you just recently purchased PiezoFlush and cartridges. The capping station should be draining if the pump is working normally.

Can you tell me if

  1. this printer has been sitting idle for a very long time?
  2. or and if this printer has been used with non-standard inks such as dye-sublimation or solvent?



  1. The printer has not been idle for a very long time. The longest the printer is idle is a week or two.
  2. I have only used Epson 3880 inks
  3. My maintenance cart is filling up, plenty of pink in it, but when I add drop of piezo flush to clean it, it just sits there.

When you print with PiezoFlush, do all eight channels fully print with pink nozzles- or do you have missing nozzles/sections, color ink still present, and/or drips on the paper?
Have you cleaned the printer’s wiper blade, along with the capping statin and bottom of the print head?
If PiezoFlush doesn’t flow thru the capping station, then the pad and/or tube may be restricting flow, in which case the cap pump assembly may need to be replaced.
Did you start this cleaning because of black blobs?
Do you maintain the recommended humidity levels in your printing environment?
Are you still getting blobs now that you have PiezoFlush installed?
Have you ever replaced any parts in this printer?

Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

I did not try to print with the piezo flush. I ran three deep cleans and then replaced the ink cart. How can I get a cap pump assembly and is that something I can do?
Yes I started cleaning because of the black blobs. The humidity levels are steady in my home. I only get ink blobs using PK ink, no blobs when using MK. I have never replaced any parts in my printer.


Hi Rob,
IMHO the capping station can be taken apart and cleaned with warm water.
A philips screwdriver, warm water and and empty syringe is all you will need.
A service manual will also help you to remove a bunch of housing covers (you need to reach to the back of the printer to disconnect the pump’s wires). One white nylon guide must also be removed to slide the capping station out of the printer.
Pads and station come easily apart once you have found out how to twist them. Four lines (one thin and one medium for each pad) connect the capping station to the maintenance tank.
I flushed every line with warm water to make sure no residue was left (you need to free the lines from the rotating pump to do that, one screw).
The station was then as good as new, except for the wiping blade and the small sponge that cleans the blade itself. The blade seems to be made of a felt part and a rubber part sandwiched together.
Too bad these parts are not available separately. I’ll add pictures later (once I find them…).

So… good news on the capping station. I tried cleaning it with windex last evening and it cleared almost immediately. I have no idea if the clog just worked itself out with the previous piezo flush, but it is draining well now. Now the continuing bad news, I still have blobs of PK ink when i print on luster paper. I printed 3 MK prints on matte and they were perfect, not a drop of errant ink.

Excellent news, thanks for the update!

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:


Not sure you read the entire post. The capping station clears itself, but I still had blobs of black ink when using PK ink.


I must have read it quickly…
Do you still have the PiezoFlush carts installed, or did you flush the printer then reinstall the Epson carts? If you reinstalled the ink carts are are still having PK blobs, then you may want to try another PK cart, or need to replace the dampers or other parts.

Best~ Dana :slight_smile:


I don’t have the piezoFlush carts installed now. I flushed the system and then reinstalled the Epson carts. The PK cart that is blobbing is a new one. I changed it because the old one blobbed also. I don’t know what or where the dampers are nor how to replace them. Help please.


Epson instructs you to replace the whole ink assembly (including the cartridge chambers, ink lines and damper unit all together), and they don’t provide any information for replacing just the dampers, but you can find helpful information and photos from other users on this forum about how they replaced their 3800/3880 dampers: and
You will still need to get the repair manual from for instructions for removing the printer cover, and getting to the ink selector/AKA damper unit, in order to replace the dampers. We have 3800/3880 dampers on order, and should receive them in a few weeks, but if you need them sooner, you can find some on eBay or other online sources.

Depending on your technical comfort and skill level, you can replace many parts and maintain your own printer, but if you don’t have time or confidence to work on your own printer, it may be best to bring it to a service center for repair.
Though I have a lot of experience and knowledge about Epson printers, I’m not an Epson tech, and can not diagnose issues via email. I can offer some suggestions to try helping, but can not support printer problems. There are several things that could cause what you’re experiencing, but from the information you provided, I would try replacing the dampers first to see if that resolves your problem, since you have already tried another Epson PK cart, and cleaned/flushed your printer.

All the best~ Dana

Thanks Dana,

Hello Rob.

About the blobbing: If I’m interpreting it correctly, I may have experienced something similar with my 3880. Adjusting the platen gap fixed it for me, as it was actually head strikes. Perhaps give that a try.
Are you sure the blobbing is due to the PK cart only? Head strikes tend to look black, even though they contain more colors.
If it only happens with PK and not MK, perhaps you have a leaky cart?

About the capping station: My printer has (/had) the exact same problem. I used Windex a couple days ago and one side freed up. The other side still “sits there” as you put it. Hopefully it clears on its own. As you said, there doesn’t seem to be cleaning / draining issues, which is strange. If not, might have to buy some Piezoflush.

Thanks for your input tjncooke :slight_smile:


I finally gave up on my black blobby Epson 3880. This printer works perfect with matte black but continues to spew out black blobs with PK ink.
This has been an expensive experiment with the purchase of 8 carts and piezoflush trying to clean up the PK channel.
What to do with my old 3880? I live close by in Barre, VT, do you guys want it?

I’m sorry to hear you weren’t able to get it cleaned/working again, and suspect it’s probably related to the dampers and/or print head… You don’t do enough matte printing, or are you interested in converting it to a Piezography printer to be able keep it for your own printing needs?

I would be happy to adopt it, and see if I may able to get it going in my spare time (though, it may sit for a while before I have time, since we’re super busy and I’m having a baby in about two months, so have lots to wrap up before then). If you’re in our area (or want to come for the nice scenic drive to Topsham), feel free to bring it by, otherwise you can also ship it if you want to donate it to us in hopes I may be able to give it a new life.

All the best~ Dana :slight_smile:

I’ve just recently come back from dissecting my printer to replace the dampers. While I was in there, I pulled out the capping station and studied it. Hopefully this information will be enlightening.

There are 2 lines leading from each pad: One large and one small.
The large lines go into the capping station pump, which from reading the manual, uses rollers to roll along the tube, creating the pumping action. These lines go directly to the waste tank.
The two small lines go into another area of the capping station system, but I cannot figure out where without pulling the entire thing apart. I believe it is these small lines that drain the capping station normally. Since they are small-gauge, they could easily become blocked with crud.
It is assumed, since a drain cannot be found, that they somehow join into the large lines inside the pump, probably directly after it.

The very obvious gear can be turned “right” to unlock the print head. Continue turning it to move the wiper blade into the “active” position. Continuing to turn does nothing.
Turning it “left” will retract the wiper, raise the capping station, and then being pumping. You can use this to move flush through the large lines.

I’m hoping to be able to modify the capping station to work with an external waste tank, or a modified regular one that won’t require absorbent material, but also won’t spill.

Thanks for sharing this helpful information with everyone tjncooke :slight_smile: