Faint banding caused by minor blockage

I am getting very faint banding on my P2DN digital negatives. When printing a nozzle check pattern I can see that one tiny portion of the Yellow channel is missing. Every other channel shows no gaps in the nozzle check.

It was suggested that I might have introduced air into my print heads by performing an automatic nozzle check (that I was unaware that I should not perform with BW inks as it confuses the colour sensor) and was told to leave the printer settle down for 24hrs.

I have done this, so can safely say that the gap is not caused by air in the print head.

I have ran a head cleaning by the gap is not eliminated

Should I remove the cartridge and try to flush with piezoflush to dislodge the slight blockage or should I run more manual head cleanings? What is the most economical in terms of ink? By introducing piezoflush to the nozzle won’t I be required to run 2 head cleans to purge the piezoflush and re-instate the ink?

Also, how often should I be cleaning the wiper blade and capping station of my printer to keep in optimum condition?



I don’t know if the slight gap in the nozzle check printout explains the problem or not. Using a nozzle check is of very limited use in ascertaining probable causes. Run the QTR calibration routine and check the printout. This will give you a much better idea of what is going on.


Hi Michael,

I have just printed a QTR calibration sheet and there is a slightly perceptible banding on the yellow channel.

Are you using K7 inks for digital negatives yourself?

I can see from your recent thread that you are having problems with a loss of density in your Cyan channel.

My density looks ok when printing a calibration sheet.


Here is a scan of the calibration sheet. Notice the break up in the yellow channel.

A closer view

Hi Jarvman~

Yes, this one nozzle is causing the faint banding in your yellow channel. If there’s no change after doing a regular cleaning cycle thru the Epson utility (manual- not automatic), then I recommend gently flushing the yellow channel of your print head with PiezoFlush, and depending on how long ago you manually cleaned your printer, also clean the capping station, wiper and bottom of the head after flushing the yellow channel. Reinstall the cart after cleaning, wait a few minutes, then do one manual cleaning cycle thru the utility and print a manual nozzle check to see how it looks.

Printer cleaning and preventative maintenance information (as well as frequently of cleaning parts) can be found here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?133-Printer-Cleaning-and-Preventative-Maintenance

I hope this helps!
W armly~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks Dana, do I need to remove all carts to perform this procedure or just the Yellow?

Just remove the cartridge you’re cleaning the channel of

Hi Gareth.

As Dana has already said, it is the nozzle causing the banding. This can be seen in the enlarged view of the QTR printout. As already advised, this slight blockage should clear after a series of the usual cleaning routines.

I used K7 WN inks with shades 2.5 and 4.5 replacing shades 7 and GO. I was very pleased with the results. A 19" x 13" neg. is an impressive sight. My shade 2 dropout is an ongoing problem which I can currently control whilst working with Dana to get to the source of the issue.

Best of luck.



Problem solved, thank you.

Michael, I noticed that you mentioned a ‘Cyan purge’ before. Can you only purge individually selected channels on an R3880?

I don’t think this is possible on a R2880 correct?

What processes are you making digital negatives for?



I was a bit puzzled by your experience. It seems to be the received wisdom that you’re very unlikely to see the effect of a single blocked nozzle in a single channel in a print on paper. Yet this thread suggests that that’s not the case for digital negatives? Is that a correct interpretation?


I was a bit puzzled by your experience. It seems to be the received wisdom that you’re very unlikely to see the effect of a single blocked nozzle in a single channel in a print on paper. Yet this thread suggests that that’s not the case for digital negatives? Is that a correct interpretation?[/QUOTE]

Yes, it would seem it does make a difference Brian. The only part of the nozzle check that was missing is the tiny piece in the top left of the Yellow nozzle print out you can see. Yet that was enough to cause visible banding.


Glad your problem is fixed. I have no experience using a 2880 but would assume that as you are using QTR, the individual channel flushing should be available to you. Check out the link Brian has sent you.

I was creating negs. mainly for Plat/Pal printing with the odd silver print. I don’t do much of it at the moment due to the cost involved and my family, rather selfishly, insisting on being fed and clothed.

With the K7 WN inkset I have discovered that I can create a reasonable Plat/Pal copy using Cone Studio 2 paper and, once behind glass, it satisfies my aging eyes.

Enjoy your printing.



Cheers Michael,

Do you have any examples of your platinum prints online? Would love to see what you are making with Piezo digi negs.

At the moment I am making wet plate collodion contact prints using digital negs!

It was surprizing to see the difference between one neg before cleaning the nozzle and one after cleaning.

Not only did the banding disappear. I also got ALOT more tonal information out of the negative. There were a lot of details missing, even with one nozzle blocked, representing a tiny portion of the nozzle check. Goes to show that this system is extremely sensitive.


I’m not a big fan of shared online pics. It’s not that I am antisocial (I’m one of the nicest people I know) it’s just that all of the photography I do is for me. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I am always willing to offer help if I feel capable to do so. Are you creating big negs. and if so do you use a vacuum frame to print? I found that anything up to 10" x 8" I could just about keep flat to the paper under glass, but 19" x 13" had to be contact printed using a vacuum frame.

Keeping a printer up to scratch certainly pays dividends and is well worth the time and ink costs involved. Taking and printing photographs has never been, and never will be, a cheap pastime.



Fair enough Michael. bet those big prints are impressive. How are you coating, rod or brush?

On another note

THE BLOCKAGE IS BACK!!! in EXACTLY the same place! After eliminating it two evenings ago. What the hell is the deal with that?


I tried both rod and brush but preferred using a brush as I felt more in control with it. I am sorry to hear that your problem is back, I know from experience how frustrating this sort of thing is. If it is possible on your printer, fit a cart. full of flush into the offending channel and carry out an Initial Fill routine. Leave to stand for 48 hours. Put ink cart. back in and carry out another Initial Fill routine. If this does not clear the problem then I’m afraid that I am out of ideas. There are plenty of people out there who know far more about this than me so hopefully they will be able to offer advice.



Thanks for your help Michael. What do you mean by ‘fill routine’? Did you figure out your Cyan ink dropping out yet?

This workflow does seem to be riddled with problems.


Hi Gareth,
I believe Michael is referring to the routine associated with the R3000, R3880 etc. printers. On a 2880, install the cart filled with Piezoflush and run a Calibration through QTR as explained here:
This will get the flush from the cart to your print head. Let it sit for a day or three then do a nozzle check. You can do your nozzle check with the flush cart still installed in case you need to let it sit longer. Once you have a good nozzle check, replace the fill cart with your ink cart.
Good luck,

Hi Gareth.

If the routine outlined by Jarvman does not do the trick, I would suggest that you purchase an Adjustment Program for your printer from http://www.2manuals.com/product_info.php?products_id=967. This will allow you to run a routine that they refer to as “Ink Charge”. This is basically what happens when you set up a new printer using the Epson setup utility. Unfortunately, this can only be done once at set up. By buying the third party Adjustment Program you can run an Ink Charge as often as you like. My understanding is that running an Ink Charge is the best way to force ink from the cart. through the nozzles but uses a lot more ink.

Try the single channel purge with Piezoflush first but, if that does not clear it, bite the bullet and go for the Ink Charge.

Dana and I are in the process of trying to get to the bottom of my Cyan channel problem. I am awaiting the arrival of some new ink but in the meantime have Piezoflush sitting in the Cyan ink line.