I’m trying to convert one of our Epson 11880’s using this type of chip decoder board, after (like Marc) giving up on solutions based on different refillable cartridges that had chip-resetting solutions embedded directly on them. They were all very shoddily engineered and totally unreliable, as far as I could tell. I hope the decoder board approach will work. But with the first parts I’m trying, I’m having a devil of a time getting a clean connection between the new board and the existing Epson decoder board.
The new decoder board doesn’t replace the Epson board, nor is it cabled into it or otherwise hardwired to it. Rather, it fits in between the Epson decoder and the spring-loaded pins that contact the chips on the cartridges. It’s just an aligned pressure fit, and if anything is out of alignment or there isn’t sufficient pressure pushing the Epson decoder’s contacts against the contacts of the resettable decoder board, then things won’t work. So far I believe this is my issue; I have 6 out of 9 channels recognized and working but 3 of them insist there is a “cartridge error” which leads me to believe there’s a bad connection between the two decoder boards.
This mod does require soldering a wire from the new resettable decoder board to a pin on the Espon decoder board. This wire goes to a switch on the ink bay front door, so that opening & closing the door triggers the reset of all the ink levels reported by the new decoder board. That solder connection is a bit delicate, and depending on your skill with the soldering iron it might be easy to damage something. I’m okay with soldering but couldn’t quite get a clean connection on one of my boards in the tight space where the pin is located. So I engaged a good electronics tech to help me out and he was easily able to resolve my issue.
From what I can tell, the resettable decoder board (at least the one I got) does require powering up the printer initially with OEM ink cartridges loaded that have a good level of ink in them. After that initial load sequence, it appears that chip-less refillable carts could be installed. Reading between the lines of the installation instructions, I’m inferring the new decoder board needs legitimate OEM chips the first time to clone their internal data (presumably a serial # or some other identifying info).
Speaking of the install instructions, the resettable decoder boards I got came with a sheet that was a very poor B&W photocopy of what was originally a coloured document. The photographs illustrating the procedure had coloured arrows & circles that obviously were no longer in colour, and were barely legible. The language also is extremely choppy and ambiguous, appearing to be a very bad Chinese-to-English translation of instructions that were initially fairly sketchy. So basically it’s going to be very helpful if you already know your way comfortably around the innards of your 11880 and can use some inference to fill in the large gaps in the installation steps as provided.
Having said all that, if clean connections between the two decoder boards can be sorted, this approach should work. I’m tantalizingly close…