My Magenta Ink turned to sludge

I had my magenta ink turn to sludge and clog my cartridge today, and I am not sure what caused it. I use my printer almost everyday (3-4 times a week), I keep my cart’s ink level well regulated, and the environment is ac/heat & humidity regulated.

Any idea on what caused this?

I have dumped the ink out of the cart as shown in the picture. And I refilled it with distilled water with some light shaking every so often to clean it out. It appears that the ink blobs in the cart are breaking up in the water and pouring out. I hope I can salvage the cart. Do you have any suggestions on how to check my Magenta line or clean it out?

I am scared to use the remain three bottles of Magenta ink. Does it go bad? I bought in all in 11/2013. It is stored in a dark light sealed shelf in the same well regulated room as the printer.

FYI, this is an Epson 9600 in really good condition.

Thank you.

Hi Steven~

As we’ve worked together via email off the forum, I have copied and pasted our communications to update this thread to benefit others who read it.

1. 7/21/14 Initial email from Steven:


Here is an image of the ink as I try to empty it our of the cartridge fill hole. As I said on my fb post, I use this printer regularly. I am concerned that if I refill the cartridge, or get a new cartridge, that the remaining inks I have will do this again and ruin the printer. As the Facebook person noted, I bought a bunch of ink from you in November of last year. But what was omitted, is that order included several Magenta K2 bottles of different sizes. I am concerned that these are old stock that might be bad? Is that possible.

Thanks you,

2. 7/22/14 from IJM tech support:

Hi Steven~

We handle technical support on our support forum, but I will respond to you via email this time. In the future, please contact us thru the forum.

After reviewing your order history, I see you originally purchased the refillable carts and a set of 8oz ConeColor K2 inks on 8/1/12, then purchased a 16oz bottle of K2 Magenta on 4/23/13, and most recently purchased two 8oz bottle of K2 Magenta on 11/11/13.

How often have you been agitating your ink cartridges? From your photo, it looks to me that the cartridge has never (or very rarely) been agitated, leaving a thick sludge of settled pigment at the bottom. This certainly would not happen overnight. As per our instructions, ink bottles should be shaken before filling/refilling cartridges, and ink cartridges should be regularly agitated to maintain in-suspension pigment, as all pigment ink settles over time while sitting still (this is true even with Epson inks).

Please let me know, thanks and bet regards~ Dana

[B]3. 7/22/14 response from Steven:

I understand this is not the norm, and I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I don’t want to be a pest, I just wanted to try and get answer about the ink, so that when I fix it, I know it wouldn’t happen again, and I am against a deadline for my single man show, August 1st.

I do what I think is a good maintenance routine on my gear, I shake the carts, but I guess now not regularly enough. I usually keep my ink in the carts just a bit above the low fill line and shake the bottle before adding more in. I keep the levels constant by adding ink regularly. I usually take the cart out of the machine to add ink over the sink. So I feel like I agitate them two or more times a month. Is that not enough? Perhaps my way is unorthodox?

Here is what I am doing to fix it, tell if I should do it another way please. I emptied the cart, and filled it with distilled water. I have shaken it and refilled it several times and cleaned it out. I used low pressure air to clear out excess water and let it dry. There is a drop or two of water in the out tube path. I was going to refill with ink.

I installed a Magenta cleaning cart and ran the start-up hard cleaning process to get the cleaning fluid down the line. Aside from a few air bubbles, the fluid seemed to move easily.

Now I am going to reinstall the Magenta ink cart and proceed to clean and profile the printer again after moving the cleaning fluid through the line.

I check the other carts and they are fine.

Thank you again,

[B]4. 7/22/14 from IJM tech support:

Hi Steven~

Thanks for the additional information.

Agitating the ink cartridges every week or two is good, and it’s good that you always shake ink bottles before filling/refilling carts. Do you close the air vent plugs when the printer isn’t being used, to prevent evaporation? I don’t believe I’ve worked with anyone who keeps ink levels so low, as most people fill carts up to the fill line, regularly agitate, and refill when the ink level gets around 1/2-1” from the bottom. I am not sure if or how this may effect the ink, other than there’s a large volume of air in the cartridge, but I frequently run our 7880/9880 refill carts (with both ConeColor and Piezography inks) down pretty low before refilling, and use those printers frequently for production printing.

Yes, it sounds like you have a good solution for cleaning out the magenta cart, and refilling it with fresh ink from your bottle. Does the ink bottle have an expiration date on it? I assume ink in the bottle is good, and not cottage cheese consistency- right? A few drops of water in the cartridge will not hurt/effect the ink you pour in, but you obviously wouldn’t want any volume of water, as this would dilute the ink and effect the consistency/viscosity. It’s good that you cleaned the magenta ink line, and that the cleaning fluid flowed easily thru the line.

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

Thank you Dana for your effort and time. I got the machine back together and it is printing fine.

There was no expiration date on the bottles, just lot numbers.


THanks again!

I’m glad to hear your printer is back to working well. Thanks for the lot# information for the ink.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile: