Epson 3880 Diagnosis Help PK

I let my Epson 3880 sit for a few months.

I just tried to start it up and it printed a nozzle check. It came back clean except no PK. None at all. Still nothing after a few cleanings. I used PiezoFlush to clean the head, the pads and the wiper blade. Still nothing.

I switched to MK and ran a nozzle check. Again no black. I ran a cleaning and it came out full. Exciting. I turned it back to PK and ran a nozzle check. Nothing. I decided to switch out the PK cartridge (it had maybe 5% left) and ran a cleaning and then a nozzle check. It came back ugly. Tons of black streaks, a few lines in the PK and black lines in the yellow test pattern. Cleaned with PiezoFlush again and same result.

Went back to MK and it printed a clean nozzle check pattern.

It looks like the printer will be fine if I just use MK ink, problem is that 98% of my printing is PK. Any thoughts on the issues, possible solution and any suggestions for a workaround?

No workaround if this is a color printer with color inks…
your clog is not on the surface of this print head…

The 3880 is well-known for its black ink exchanger gumming up from infrequent use…
It sounds to me that you have mostly used the MK mode and do not switch back and forth frequently. Especially with EPSON inks they only give a six month life to a 3880 cart once installed… so your PK portion of the black ink exchanger is plugged solid. You would need replace the entire ink exchange unit… replacing the cart at this point is too late.

Generally, you should toss an EPSON PK or MK after six months of installing as EPSON recommends to avoid this issue. OR switch to a better filtered ink like ConeColor Pro. And you should perform 4-5 black ink mode changes over every six month period… if you do replace the ink exchange unit - remember to exercise it and do not put back any outdated EPSON inks…



What about with your PiezoBW inks? I never print on glossy paper. Occasionally I (accidentally) switch to PhotoBK and leave it that way for a few non-critical prints. Then force it back to HD-MatteBK. Should I regularly ( how often ?) do the switch for system health?

Also, is there any real difference between the HD-M-BK and the P-BK on PhotoRag paper? I don’t see anything obvious.

Piezography inks are crafted to last longer than EPSON inks and most of its users have much better head experience. But leaving any ink inside a tiny tube connected to an ink exchanger for months on end is not a good idea. You would be doing the exchanger a favor to run at least one black ink mode change a month (minimum). There is both a visual and measurable difference between HDMK and HDPK on Photo Rag