Epson 9890 Print Head Problem


Can anyone identify what’s going on here? I’m running Piezography inks on my new 9890 (about 3 weeks old!), and when I went to run my daily nozzle check I got a blank spot on MK. I’ve now run several types of cleanings (including ones in service mode…except for the SS Cleaning), I have swapped MK to PK (which is full of Piezo Flush), I have done the head flossing cleaning (as shown in the Inkjet Mall YouTube video), I have printed solid black, and while it has improved (from total white, to what you see in the photos), I still can’t get a nice print-head test pattern.

I was wondering if someone could visually identify if this is a typical partial clog or possibly something wrong mechanically with the head.

(Click to enlarge)

Epson has said that, while the printer is under warranty, they will “need” to flush the Piezography inks and replace them with Epson inks before doing any service or diagnostics.


Please explain how you worked your Piezography ink into your printer, ie. how many Initial Fills did you run to chase the color inks out?

This is a misfiring nozzle, not a missing nozzle, which is different in the fact that it is NOT plugged, but instead misfiring. Sometimes on a new setup you will see misfiring nozzles due to air that have found it’s way into the system from the Initial Fills when setting up. If you allow it to sit overnight, it will usually resolve itself. Sometimes it will resolve after a short rest or after some test printing. Have you checked it again this morning, after allowing it to settle overnight?


Having had a few of these (on smaller printers) I agree with Kelly. Moreover I’d be surprised if you could see a single misfiring nozzle in a print. Have you tried printing? It may help, although many curves use barely any shade 1, which makes it even less likely that you’ll see it in a print. If you can’t see it then I’d just print and most likely it will clear.


Hi Kelly (and Brian). This problem started a week ago (after printing successfully for a week) and I have printed a lot of material since then. So, I’d say air is a very unlikely culprit. I’ve heard of a mysterious condition called “deflection” that no one quite seems to be able to explain (even the Epson techs), but might match this symptom. Any thoughts?

I’m more concerned that I’ve got a defective head from Epson on a brand new printer, than a noticeable decline in print quality, and would certainly want it fixed while still under warranty. I just don’t like the idea of flushing ink down the drain to clear the Piezography inks, and then flushing the Epson inks to bring it back to Piezography, just because that’s what’s listed in the Epson tech’s repair manual.


Yes, one last idea would be what is the humidity level at in your printing studio? When it’s dry or under a 30% level you can tend to see misfiring nozzles. Is this one misfiring nozzle causing a print quality issue?


I keep it as close to 60% as possible. The printer is housed in a converted darkroom, and temperature and humidity are well controlled. It’s also a low-dust environment.

As far as I can tell, in photographic prints, there’s no noticeable print quality issue. None the less, it’s irritating on a brand new printer.

I haven’t run the SS cleaning, but I’m quite reluctant to try it given the horror stories I’ve read.


I can understand your frustrations, but I personally would not be overly concerned with this one mis-firing nozzle, if it’s not causing any print quality issues especially. You have a year warranty on you printer, if you notice it getting worse then you will still have the option of having Epson look at it, at which point your inks may have been run down a bit, so you won’t be out the amount you would be at this point. Just keep good records of your findings, so in the future if you need to call on Epson for a warranty repair you will have it all notated.