Epson 9800 Clogging



I have an Epson 9800 printer, currently running epson inks, 50% humidity, lustre paper, in a room thats constantly about 60 degrees. I’ve run this printer weekly since new. Was running perfectly until last week when the nozzle test started coming out with smudges in the black and magenta patches. Tried numerous cleaning cycles, power cleaning etc. I can run prints on the unit with no lines missing, complete coverage except the prints look like their completely faded, a light pastel look to them. I’ve included an attachment showing the latest nozzle test printed on Epson proofing paper. It doesn’t matter what surface paper I use the test always comes out the same. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Looks like starvation and ink mixing. When were the dampers, wiper blade, capping station and flushing box last replaced? These parts should be replaced about every 3 years for the best function, and to get the longest life of your printer.

I hope this helps, best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;2612]Looks like starvation and ink mixing. When were the dampers, wiper blade, capping station and flushing box last replaced? These parts should be replaced about every 3 years for the best function, and to get the longest life of your printer.

I hope this helps, best regards~ Dana :)[/QUOTE]

Thank you for your input Dana. I’ve never replaced any of these parts, I will replace all of them at the first chance I get. Can you send me in the direction for finding a manual or somewhere for information on how to replace these items. Looking at the printer it looks pretty straight forward in repairing it, but I want to do it correctly by the book. Thank you.



Hi Gary~

If you’ve never replaced parts in this printer, then I suspect old worn out parts are causing your troubles.
We have some helpful cleaning/maintenance info, which also specifies how often parts in Pro models should be replaced, and where to get the repair manuals:
We usually get replacement parts from

I hope this helps, best regards and happy holidays~ Dana :slight_smile:


Hi Dana,

The forum and other text tech support have been very helpful solving a complete loss of vivid magenta output on my 9800. This printer had been using the Cone color ink system (substituting the vivid and HDR inks) reliably for 2 years. The prints with these inks in the 9800 are remarkable. Before the last two years the printer was not used very much and just needed frequent light cleanings to make up for sitting a lot. Tired of that, I cleaned it well with piezo flush then put it on permanent loan to my buddy’s service shop (MKE Studio), where it is used most every day for the past two years. I wanted to avoid further clogs by having it used more steadily then I could do. Up until two weeks ago it worked reliably with a very few light cleanings needed now and then.

From the beginning until two weeks ago, nothing had been replaced yet on this printer, such as dampers as it still was somewhat low on the total amount of use. (I should have thought that the years counted as much as the use, but, oh well). Once it was obvious two weeks ago that flushing again with the piezo flush could not clear the vivid magenta I decided to use your directions and other forum suggestions to replace the vivid magenta damper, flushing station and capping box myself and ordered them from Compassmicro. ( We have been attentive to humidity btw).

Immediately two things were obvious:

  1. The entire area around the capping station, wiper, and flushing box was covered with blackish gooey ink. The cause was that the large drain hose that transports ink down to the maintenance tank became plugged and power cleaning ink backed up into the flushing box area instead of getting to the maintenance tank. After hours of careful cleaning the area, then replacing capping, flushing and wiper, we had the area functional again and the replacement parts installed
  2. The magenta damper was the cause of the loss of vivid magenta ink flow to the heads. We found greenish black ink inside the damper throughout it except for the small inlet opening the magenta supply hose feeds. At this time we are unable to determine what the contamination is from. But we needed to get more prints done soon so replaced the damper and the 9800 was back to normal on the very first nozzle check. ( in retrospect we should have taken your advice and run a power clean cycle first).

That could have been the end of the story though we knew when we had a moment we also need to change all the other dampers. Still we printed another 200 sq. ft. or so with everything back to normal and then suddenly the magenta problem returned. More power cleanings only got a few sputters of magenta. We checked the previously ink flooded area by the flushing box etc but that looked clean. Again we took out the magenta damper and again it had greenish black ink in it though not nearly as bad as the original damper. Again we replaced it, this time did a power flush and starting today the 9800 again is back to normal.
Clearly the problem is that something is contaminating the damper. We carefully checked all the connections to the tubing, cartridge etc. to assure ourselves there was no obvious place for foreign material or some other ink to get into the supply tube and then into the damper. Since I am curious I cut open the damper we just removed and looked at the contents of the damper’s reservoir that is directly fed by the inlet of the damper. This reservoir was filled with ink that was almost the thickness of jelly (it looked more like sludge than a liquid and was magenta with an obvious greenish black tint. Clearly the contaminated reservoir would not let ink into the circular damper area and thus on to the outlet that feeds the print head.

So, OK, we now know what the stuff looks like that plugs up the magenta damper. However we don’t know how the damper gets that way. The next time if magenta issue shows up we will check the magenta damper right away but it would be better if we knew how this happens in the first place

Meanwhile if you or any forum participant can suggest the source of the contamination I am all ears. And for other large format Epson users, I suggest following all of Dana’s recommendations on maintenance parts, the timing of that and cleaning methods. If I had done that from the time I acquired the printer in late 2005 I would not have been as likely to face the gooey creature from the black lagoon.

best to all,

Larry D’Attilio


Hi Larry~

Thanks for your detailed feedback. I’m glad to hear the printer is working well after cleaning and replacing parts.

Let me offer some insight: With pigment ink, magenta and yellow are always the thickest due to the natural pigments used (this is true with all pigment inks- including Epson), therefore pigment settling and particle build up in the dampers happen faster with these two colors. Regular agitation of the ink cartridges, shaking ink bottles before filling/refilling carts, as well as regular use and maintenance of the printer will help reduce settling and build up, though even with normal use, dampers and other parts should be replaced about every 1-3 years (infrequent use of a printer doesn’t necessarily mean the parts will last longer, and can often cause issues to occur faster than with a printer that is used and maintained regularly). Have the cartridges been agitated regularly (like every week or two) to maintain in-suspension pigment? If not, then I suspect there was settled thick pigment in the line, which quickly clogged the new damper screen.

I hope this helps.
Please let me know if you have further questions or feedback, or if there’s anything else I can help you with.

Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile: