Epson 9900 Low Orange Density

Hi there,

We’ve been slowly switching our 9900 over from Epson inks to the cone color ones, and about 2 weeks ago moved replaced our orange ink. However after a few days the nozzle checks started to come out very faint for the orange ink, almost invisible on some papers. It’s still there, all the nozzles seem to be clear, but it’s almost as if the ink has been diluted. I’m linking a nozzle check sheet so you can see what I’m talking about (The site is giving me errors when trying to attach images).

Any suggestions about this? Any more information I can provide to help diagnose the problem?


The 9900 has long ink tubes that hold the equivalent of about 44" x 44" of printing solid orange ink - and because the Epson driver prints such minute quantities of orange and green - you indicate it had only been a few days before the problem occurred.

Are you printing sheets of color with large areas of Orange and do you think that you printed that much Orange ink so that the ConeColor had reached the print head?

In the case that you do print a lot of orange ink - did you shake the bottle for 10 seconds or so before pouring into the cart?

Is it possible that the cart was not primed correctly?

Have you checked the ink lines to see if the orange ink line has air in it?

Hi Jon,

I’m not exactly sure how much has been printed but I’d bet a fair amount in the weeks since it’s been installed. I also double checked that there is in fact ink in the lines and I couldn’t see any noticeable air bubbles in it. I ran a color calibration check from the QTR print tool and this is the result

You can see that the orange is almost the exact same color as the yellow. And our inks have not been switched or accidentally installed into the wrong slots.

Any other suggestions?

We definitely do not fill yellow and orange on the same day so I am positive your bottle is not yellow ink with an orange label but you can verify that.

This looks to me like the orange head is sucking up yellow ink - but I need Dana to verify the proximately of the orange and yellow heads to each other. A dirty capping station would permit the print head to suck up ink from the capping station rather than have the capping station suck the ink out of the print head. It is admittedly odd…

Is the ink line orange or yellow? How far can you follow the ink line (to the print head)? If orange to the head but yellow printing - then you may be able to remedy over the weekend with a cleaning to your capping station. If you see yellow ink in the ink line - then I would run the initial ink charge to freshen up the ink lines.

Hmm, I can follow the line all the way from the cartridge to the ink head; it is orange the whole way there. We just had our pump and cap station replaced about 3 months ago, so I would think it shouldn’t be all that dirty yet.

How would you advise I go about cleaning the capping station? I just took a look at it and it doesn’t look too dirty, I can still see orange ink on it.

One other odd thing I noticed about the QTR calibration print is that the orange section has a thin green line around it.

I also printed a gradient from red (255,0,0) to yellow (255,255,0) and it goes from red to lighter than pure yellow, back to a slightly darker yellow and then lightens up a little bit again.

Compared to how it should look

i am trying to wrap my head around this -

at first i thought that you may have printed a converted QTR target. Usually that forces ink to print in the margins rather than convert only one color bar group. But, if some out of the norm conversion caused only the orange to convert instead to the values that print yellow then it would be possible that the orange section was converted and has the same values as the yellow section. And also has a halo of color around it. You can confirm that on your end by opening the in separation file in Photoshop. The Yellow and the Orange could not be more different. If you are following our instructions for printing it to the T - it would not convert during printing.

And, you said you followed the orange ink all the way to the head which indicates that there is not yellow ink in the orange head. It is possible that when the print head board is calling for orange droplets to be ejected, it is crossed in some way, and instead of the orange channels firing the yellows are firing. I’ve had head boards replaced for stranger reasons. But, it is possible.

The only thing I can suggest is to run the Initial Ink Charge to run a volume of ink through and see if it changes anything.

Dana may have a better call on this than me on Monday - or perhaps someone else in the group has had or solved this issue.

This is certainly very strange! The orange and yellow positions aren’t paired, so the two couldn’t mix in the damper or capping station.
From what I can see, the orange position is printing faint yellow on your nozzle check, which I have never seen or heard of happening before. The ink is clearly orange from the photo you sent of your carts…
Did you make sure to shake ink bottles before filling/refilling carts?
Although I can’t see fine detail because of image resolution, I did enlarge your nozzle check scan and see several channels have many mis-firing nozzles.

Considering the things that could possibly cause what you’re experiencing:

  1. I wouldn’t think build up in the damper would evenly filter the orange ink to make it print faint yellow without causing significant ink flow troubles and missing nozzles.
  2. The print head couldn’t have back pressure and suck up yellow ink into the orange channel, because the two channels aren’t paired (Y is paired with LLK, and OR is paired with GR).
  3. Due to mis-firing nozzles in other channels, I believe your printer needs some manual cleaning and/or the environmental conditions aren’t correct, but a dirty printer or incorrect temp or humidity levels wouldn’t change the color of an ink, but more likely would cause ink flow issues such as clogging and mis-firing nozzles.
  4. Electrical: bad signal that’s making the printer use the yellow channel instead of orange- but if this were the case, I would suspect it would print the same as the yellow channel, not lighter…
  5. Altered Ink Separation image, though this wouldn’t explain why the nozzle check is printing light yellow…

Have you tried shutting down both the computer and printer, then at startup, uninstall the 9900 print driver, then download and install the current driver from the Epson site? I have experienced overall very light output with our 9880s occasionally when the computer has been plugged into a different printer, then back, which is fixed by reinstalling the print driver.

Aside from your light yellow printing orange channel, I recommend manually cleaning your printer’s capping station, wiper blade and bottom of the print head, and checking the temp/humidity levels in your printing environment to help other channels print fully/clean. We have helpful cleaning/maintenance tips available here:

I hope this helps, pleas keep me posted, and let me know what you discover, if you have further questions or there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

I’ve had the same problem and found that the orange ink in the cartridge had separated badly.
ie. the pigment had settled to the bottom and the watery liquid settled to the top, you could clearly see it.

Had a look at the ink in the orange refill bottle in the cupboard, same thing. Not the case with any other colour.

I’ve been using cone color inks for five years on my 9880 with no such ink separation problem, only seems to be a problem in the orange ink on my newly acquired 9900.

Is this a known issue with the orange or could it be a bad batch of orange?

I’ve been keeping an eye on it and it seems to separate quite quickly!?


aferris & Shannon, will you please provide us the Batch # located on the label on the front of the bottle for these 2 orange ink. Thank you, Kelly

Hi Kelly,
It’s Lot# 130430
Looking forward to your response, thanks

I’ve just checked the orange cartridge again (after less than a week) and the ink has separated already.
As you can see in the photo attached

Thanks for the information Shannon. Do you happen to have the expiration date of this orange ink bottle, for our records?

We are currently testing the settling speed of several batches of ConeColor orange ink, and have sent a sample of the lot# in question to our ink chemist for evaluation. In the meantime, we will send you a 700ml bottle of fresh orange ink, which is a newer lot# than what you currently have.

Aferriss- Please let us know the lot# and expiration date of the orange ink you have, so we can help as well.

Best regards~ Dana

Ok thanks, I replied to your email
it’s lot# 130430 expiry July 16

Thanks for the additional information Shannon. Your replacement ink is on it’s way!

Hi Dana,
Got the new ink thanks.
How do you recommend I flush/ clean the bad orange ink out of the cartridge.
I drained as much ink as i could out but there is little bits of debris left in the cartridge that need to be flushed out.
Would water do the job or do I need a new cartridge?

I’m getting quite desperate to get this printer up and running again!

I have the same issue! I just spent whole weekend trying to clean and get the nozzles clean( two maintenance tanks, lots of frustration and lost time). I don’t have the lot number for the ink but I can clearly see that it is very thick. Please let me know how to quickly you can fix this?

Shannon, you can rinse your cartridge out with water, take care not the get the chip wet, it will help if you remove the chip for this.
I have found it useful to insert the priming tip to the syringe w/out the plunger installed, then blow through the end of the open ended syringe into the cart to help remove the residual water/ink in the cartridge. Take care to get all the water/ink out, letting it air out over night will help.

I forgot to mention, DISTILLED water, not tap water!