Ink blotches on paper on my Epson 3800

I have been using ConeColor Pro ink in my Epson 3800 for a couple of months now.

All of a sudden, I am getting blotches of ink on my prints. I did a test by drawing a very thin line the full length of a sheet of paper which forces the printer to move the print head across the paper, and then printed it. The image in the link below shows blotches of ink down the right hand side of the print. I have cleaned the printer head, the capping station, and the wiper blades a number of times now, but the problem continues.

You can see the printed page here:

I have contacted an Epson Service Center, and they told me the problem is most likely caused by the third party ink I am using. I am not sure they are correct in their evaluation. They want me to send my printer to them so they can replace the head, but they insist this could happen again because of the third party inks I am using.

I would hate to spend almost $600 only to find I will have the same problem within a couple of months again.

Does anyone have any experience with this problem?

Lawrence Keeney

Lawrence - Creative Photography LLC

Hi Lawrence~

I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing ink drips on your paper during printing, and will try my best to help resolve this issue for you.

That is Epson’s typical response, and if someone isn’t using their inks- any issue they experience is blamed on the inks, no matter the actual cause. The 3800 and 3880 refillable cartridge system is one of our most popular products, and we have hundreds of customers happily printing with them for years. We also have a 3800 and 3880 that have been continuously used/tested with several sets of these refillable carts, filled with ConeColor Pro, Piezography and Ink Thrift- all with equally great results.

If you have been using our carts and inks in your printer for a couple months, and have had good results until suddenly ink drops started appearing on the paper during printing, then I don’t suspect you’re dealing with a bad cart or ink related issue, but have some questions to get a better understanding of what’s going on, to help resolve this and get back to happily printing.

Based on the print example, it looks like one of the black or gray inks that is dripping (I don’t see any color in the drips), though it could be a mixture.

  1. Please remove the refillable carts from your printer and examine each one to make sure: A. the exit channel is at least 1/2 filled with ink, B. no ink is leaking from any part of the carts, C. there is enough ink in the cartridge body.
  2. Are you having issues with all your channels fully/consistently printing on the nozzle check? Do you experience frequent missing nozzles in specific channels?
  3. How often have you been using your printer vs. how long does it sit unused?
  4. What is the humidity level in your printing environment? (yes- humidity can cause issues like this)
  5. What paper(s) are you printing on? Have you tried other papers?
  6. Is there any scuffing/scarping noise during printing?

Please let me know so I can help get you past this and back to happy printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana,

I think I may have fixed the problem. I have been working on this problem for days. I have cleaned the inside of my printer until it sparkles.
Last nigh I was attempting to print some test prints, and the printer switched to the Matt ink and printed a sheet without an marks on it. I switched the printer back to the PK ink and printed 2 more good images without any marks on them. This was done with the platen gap put back to normal also.

I am waiting for a client to select the images they want printed from a recent photo shoot. Once I get their list of selected images I will print them and hopefully I won’t have the ink drops on them.

Here are answers to your questions:

  1. I made these checks and all is OK.
  2. The interesting thing is, I have done a number of nozzle checks and did not see these marks on the paper. The nozzle check initially showed missing nozzles, but the second time it ran OK.
  3. I usually print about once a week, and run about 5 prints through. However, once in a while it does set for a week or two without printing. I have had the printer since it was first released, and I just checked and found I have printed about 1600 prints, so it is not a heavily used printer. I have another printer I use for all my regular business printing.
  4. I have a humidifier in my office just for the printer and I keep the humidity at 30%. I also keep the printer covered with a towel when not in use.
  5. I normally print on Epson or Kirkland glossy 8 1/2x11 paper. I also print on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper. I printed on the Epson Exhibition Fiber paper while having this problem and the image came out looking very bad. This may have been just a fluke as I normally get great looking prints on this paper.
  6. There is not any scuffing/scarping noise during printing. I paid close attention to this, and checked the condition of the rollers, etc.


Hi Lawrence~

Thanks for the update and additional information. I’m glad to hear the issue has stopped, and hope it doesn’t return.

Please let me know if you have further questions or there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile: