My P400 SAGA - Cart Problems and Observations

I’ve spent the better part of the week trying to revive my SureColor P400 from the dreaded double flashing lights (flashing together – not alternating) with an unrecoverable error 0x73 - and I believe the CULPRIT to be the refillable carts (I’m using Piezography Pro inks).

Prior to the printer DYING I was having recurring problems with 3 of the carts RESTRICTING ink flow to the Cone-shaped ports (I’m trying to find a good Jon Cone pun but it’s 4h39 in the morning - that’s all I got). 3 blank channels. No matter how careful I was filling the carts, ink was always getting into the air vents and soaking into the foam material inside. I don’t know how you can avoid it, it almost looks like the ink seeps through the top of the cartridge wall into the foam filled cavity. I tried shoving a needle in the vent holes pushing foam to the side trying to clear a pathway to the vent chamber - but this didn’t work. Tons of tapping. Priming. Nothing. I tried removing the plugs and covering them with electrical tape and pricking the tape with a pin like Walter suggested on another thread, I even tried using several layers of breathable medical tape (instead of pricked electrical) to cover the plug holes. And these two tricks worked somewhat. Blank channels started printing again, but they just allowed far too much ink into the head resulting is a CASCADE of ink flowing through the head with really large drops falling onto the prints. I went through 3 such episodes and out of EXTREME frustration decided to put the printer away – for far too long I guess. This was back in March, cycling happened, I taught myself how to TIG weld, and I must have baked over 200 pizzas and lemon tartelettes. Now 8 months later, I need my Piezography FIX - and I can’t even get the printer ONLINE.

Well actually, I did a few days ago.

After lots of research I finally narrowed the problem down to either the PW (page width) sensor or the Ink Mark Sensor (multisensor) getting covered with ink. These 2 sensors sit recessed on the bottom left/rear facing side of the carriage mechanism next to the print head, and they should be recessed far enough for ink not the reach them, well probably with the Epson carts, but not with these refillable carts. I think there was so much ink on the print that the drops were just high enough to reach the carriage return and get sucked into the sensor cavity - rending the printer unusable.

So using the wet Bounty paper towel trick, I removed MASSIVE amounts of ink - and was able to finally REVIVE the printer, but only temporarily; anytime I would shut it off I couldn’t get it back on. I figured the paper towel wasn’t reaching up into the sensor cavities so I decided to HACK a toothbrush by cutting the bristles down to ¼” and grinding the back of the toothbrush head. This gave me enough clearance to slide the toothbrush beneath the carriage assembly and scrub the PW/IMS sensor areas (not the actual head). This appears to have worked; I’ve turned the printer on and off several dozen times over the past 3 days and not one fatal error… fingers crossed.

Or not, it’s not all rosy. While I was able to clear almost every nozzle, I still have one SINGLE stubborn MFer of a magenta nozzle that won’t clear. I’ve tried everything. Bounty soaked with piezoflush, cleaning the capping station, the wiper, the sponge way left of the platen. I manually flushed the channel with piezoflush, I even flushed the channel with HOT PIEZOFLUSH (with heated Piezoflush at 85C using my immersion cooker…). Nothing. One single channel. I’m THIS CLOSE.

But back to the carts. How can the air vents stay clean and ink free? I cover the vents when I refill. I try not to overfill, even though the instructions say to only leave a small air bubble at most – which is next to impossible anyway. The instructions make it clear not to let the carts tip over. What happens if they do ? I only print with MK, yet my GO drains faster than any other cart. Where does it all go - the nozzle check ? How bad is it to let carts go empty - Isn’t this similar to the carts not delivering ink ?

My brain needs a piezoflush, time for bed.

Hi Paul,

Obviously a printer that is used every day is going to perform better than one set aside. With the OEM carts - you’re supposed to chuck them after six months - and a refillable cart implies it can last forever. And if used regularly a refillable cart can last a super long time. I would be worried about pigment inks sitting in a cart unused since March - and not to add that to your woes which sounds like ink got everywhere - you may consider starting over with a new set of carts which would be a best practice.

We do have a good video on how to fill P400 carts and also a well written instructions. BUt the idea is to tilt the needle and fill slowly and tap to release the bubbles. Make sure you have a well lit area and you can see the ink filling into the cart and the bubbles being dislodged.

Do not prime without a priming tip or you will damage the port and you can have ink leak that way. Keeping ink in the cart is a delicate balance. And if the vent is partially clogged then the ink can produce a slight vacuum rather than releasing.

My advise - in trying to revive this printer is to start with fresh carts and do it right.

Hi Jon!

I ordered two sets of new carts/ink and piezoflush last week - just waiting for it to cross the border :slight_smile: But I’m in a bit of a bind : epson sent me a replacement p400 and I’m supposed to send this one back within 7 days. Since they are no longer available and no new printers are compatible if I can get this one fixed I’m going to keep both and save the replacement as a spare. And yes - it will be used regularly from now or filled with piezoflush.

I think you’re right about the vaccum forming in the carts - is there anyway of preventing the vents from getting soaked with ink ? And once ink is inside can it be cleaned? I might try dremeling out the vent chamber and clean the foam and chamber - for fun. And I’ll look at the video to check my technique again but I’ve been very careful and meticulous with these carts and could probably even do it in a film changing bag :wink:

Maybe you could have a sticky post with this specific issue - I noticed several other users that had the double blinking unrecoverable errors with their p400 that couldn’t be resolved. I suspect their heads also got flooded with ink covering the 2 sensors…