New User - Cart Drained w/out Printing - Epson r2880

I bought a set of carts and ink for Epson R2880 last week. Used on the weekend, after only a few prints Photo Black needed to be refilled. Return to studio today, only a few days later, needed to swap out to Matte Black — find that Photo Black is completely empty. Vivid Magenta, also filled on weekend, now also needed to be refilled. Help! I don’t feel like pouring ink + $ down the drain. Advise please.

I’ve had similar problems. Also involving PK and VM, especially PK. See these two long threads:

Stage 1:
Stage 2:

Your issue may be correct filling technique, as in stage 1, or a printer than needs a clean, or a faulty new cart, as in stage 2.

What I don’t understand is why is PK often the problem channel? If you look around on the forum you’ll see that we’re not alone in this respect. Has there been a run of faulty PK carts? I assume that they’re all the same other than the label and chip, so that seems unlikely. Is there something about the PK channel in this printer that makes it susceptible to manufacturing variations in carts? Perhaps.


Thank you for your reply and the direction to the threads detailing your process to resolve similar issues. I have read them, and have to say that I admire your patience and thoroughness. I may have been a bit idealistic (naive) to think that it would simply be a straightforward undertaking to use this product versus continuing to use Epson inks. It appears that it could be possible that the amount of time and effort to troubleshoot and maintain my printer using these refillable cartridges might have easily been worth the expense of continuing to use the manufacturer’s product. I will see what occurs in the next few days - I hope that I will not be running off to store to buy Epson cartridges to ensure that I can get a job done, and regretting the investment in the Cone system.

I did clean my printer yesterday, per instructions via inkjetmall tech. End of day today made print using MK cartridge, result good. Will see what the ink levels are tomorrow or the next day & hope ink has not drained. It may be a challenge for me to maintain temp/humidity levels — this wasn’t an issue though that I ever confronted w/ Epson inks.

If it’s any consolation, I my R2880 continues to behave. I fired it up today having intentionally left it alone for a couple of days to see what would happen, and I got a perfect nozzle check. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

You might also want to read my refillables lessons:

There is perhaps one missing. And that is that a good nozzle check using OEM isn’t a guarantee of success. For a couple of reasons. One is #2, i.e. worn print heads are less tolerant of refillables than OEM. The other is that a printer can be in need of a clean and still work with OEM, but a dirty printer is less tolerant of refillables.

It’s not clear how old or clean your printer is. As my lessons say, you can be unlucky, for a range of reasons, and if that’s the case then OEM may be the simpler and cheaper option. But when they work well then they work well, and you can save quite a lot.

Refillables also work best in new (or Epson reburbished) printers. My R1900 (same printer physically) with IJM refillables from new has scarcely missed a beat, other than that leaking cart incident recently that you read about.

Printer is about 4 years old. Clean? = probably not very, since its first cleaning was this week. I will read your lessons at the link provided & I remain hopeful that I can achieve stable working status with refillables.

None of these R2880s can be all that young in terms of age since purchase, except perhaps refurbished ones. But I suspect that age in years is less an issue than usage. The WIC Reset utility enables you to measure that roughly.

Good morning JMiller,
First, I am sorry to hear about your troubles with our refillable cartridges, we are here to help resolve your concerns and get to the bottom of the problem(s).

We have 3 R2880 printers that we use for testing in R&D, I keep the 2 that are not being tested on the regular stored with Piezoflush, the other that sits on my desk and gets USED for everything is not always that well maintained. We put our carts, inks and printers through the ringer, I have found the less I clean and maintain the printer, the more problems I run into. This would be the same if you never changed the oil in your car, the engine would seize up after about 30,000 miles, same applies to your printers head, capping station and wiper blade. I have found if the printer sits for more then 5 days with pigment inks it will have a very bad nozzle check and will take at least 2 head cleanings to bring it back. I find that doing a simply cleaning of the Capping station, wiper blade and bottom of the print head every 3rd time I top off the carts save me from encountering problems in the long run, saving me time and expense of a problematic printer in less then a year.

If you have never cleaned your printer and you’ve been using it for 4 years with pigment inks, yes even OEM inks, then I would suspect you have a VERY clogged Capping station and VERY dirty print head and wiper blade. I would suggest the following steps be taken before refilling your cartridges and trying again. Please watch this video, follow the procedure, MINUS the Flushing attachment for the head itself, Clean the BOTTOM of the print head, the Capping station and the Wiper Blade, using ONLY bounty paper towels (they’re a safe, lint free paper towel). Video link

Please let me know the condition of your Capping station, wiper blade and how much gunk comes off the bottom of the print head. I suspect what is happening is the Capping station is so gummed up with pigments that it is making contact withe bottom of the print head and effectively draining the cartridges while it sits. There could absolutely be a faulty cartridge, I am not ruling the out, so to play it safe I am going to send you a replacement PK & VM cartridge, I will fill them here myself to replace your lost inks and ensure they are filled correctly.

Once you are done cleaning the printer thoroughly and have received the cartridges I would appreciate it if you would drop the “faulty” carts in question in the mail for me to test. As Brian has mentioned we have had some complaints about these cartridges recently and I need to inspect for fault or damage. I will send you a prepaid label and a box for you to ship them back to us. Please let me know your results and I will get those carts in the mail today.


I will watch this video asap - however the link seems to suggest that I need another of your products Piezoflush. I did clean my printer as described per instructions from your site, using Bounty towels, windex and distilled water. As soon as I have time, I will respond with further information. Off to work (classroom) for a few hours & may be able (I hope) to get to printer this afternoon.

Please indicate where I can acquire WIC Reset utility, mac os, thanks.

This is a Windows only program, NO MAC option sorry!

mac users have no option to check waste ink?

Found program that recognizes epson r2880 and indicates waste counter(s) as 31.36% = ok and 37.8 % = ok. Capping station sponges are flat, do not appear totally “gummed up”. Wiper is ink coated, multiple q-tip passes continue to leave ink on swab (don’t want to overdo it — what is the standard of cleanliness here?) Edge of wiper blade seems clean. LM and MK carts filled yesterday afternoon have kept their levels. Used Windex/Bounty to clean printer head. Will proceed to fill empty cart - VM - and see what happens.

Correction - have Epson cartridge on hand for VM - & will wait to swap out for now. But have to use PK cart that I filled yesterday p.m. & hope to use now (have prints to make this weekend.)

One print later - image contained minimal black - PK cart now half empty — after 1 print (w/ was otherwise fine in every way.) Cart appears to be leaking ink. I expect it will be drained by the time I return to work again tomorrow!

Hi Jmiller,
I’m glad you figured out how to get the reading from your waste ink pad. I gathered you were asking about the WIC because your pad was full and you needed to reset it, I didn’t realize you were asking in regards to gathering the counter. I would recommend you consider installing an external Waste Tank before the waste pad reads full if you don’t have access to WIN, also it will save you that headache later down the road, you can find them here

There really is no such thing as too clean, the cleaner the better for the capping station and wiper blade. I am assuming the reason the wiper blade is so gummed up is because of the leaking PK cartridge. Also, you need to make sure the rubber edge around the capping station is cleaned thoroughly as well, this is what seals the head to the capping station. I am still not completely clear if you have in fact cleaned the capping station? If the wiper blade is not clean it will not effectively wipe the head clean, leaving pigment behind, causing build up, which may be contributing to the PK cartridge leaking/draining. Think of the capping station as a sponge, if it’s making contact with the head because there is pigment build up then it could easily suck the ink out of the cartridge while it’s sitting. I am not ruling out the possibility of a faulty cartridge by any means, but I need to make sure the printer is starting out in a clean state, to rule out that possibility.

Please let me know what happens once you have cleaned the wiper blade thoroughly, the capping station thoroughly, including the rubber gasket around the outside with a q-tip, the bottom of the print head and have installed the new PK & VM cartridge.

Best Regards,

I have not had a chance to install the new cartridges. I read and followed all the instructions in previous posts regarding cleaning. I can report a thoroughly frustrating weekend that produced only three prints using your product, quickly drained PK cart, clogged nozzles - all forcing me, for the sake of productivity to remove your carts and revert to all OEM product that, once nozzle cleared,allowed me to produce 15 + prints easily and w/out a hitch. Printer performance with OEM ink suggests that unit is clean and functional - now I think I have only headaches and uphill battle to make the most of your product, if I chose to use it at all. Not sure… Earlier this morning I composed a long post (probably best that I accidentally deleted it) asking why why why did I buy your product and why did I think it would allow me to accomplish what I wanted and also save a few dollars.

Not necessarily. As Jon noted in this post regarding my latest problems (same as yours), and as I say in my 9½ rules from the last 9 years, OEM carts are much more complex in their venting and ink flow. They can be, since they’re not designed to be refilled. So they are much more tolerant of worn and dirty printers.

Given that there are several of us here with almost identical problems, I had suspected faulty carts. But I am starting to wonder if there might have been a batch of print heads / cartridge bay assemblies that had the PK ink nozzle / nipple slightly out of spec. Not by so much that the OEM carts won’t work, since they’re designed to be more tolerant. But by enough that refillables won’t work. The fit isn’t tight enough and air gets in and they leak. This would explain why it’s PK that we’re all having problems with.

You may have run out of patience, and if so I understand. But are you prepared to try the IJM non-PK carts with the OEM PK cart? I’d be interested to know if that solves your problem.

“Not necessarily” sounds the same as “not reassuring” to me, at this point. I really have to doubt, given the amount of printing I have done over the last several years that I have a “worn” printer — dirty, maybe, but now it would have to be “formerly dirty” since I have (short of buying more specialized IJM products for cleaning — I am reluctant to throw more money at the problem & I think that’s fair) done the recommended cleaning operations. I am not a “professional” photographer. I have used the printer with some regularity, not every week, but consistently over the last several years.

Your speculation about print heads/ cartridge bay assemblies enters into a realm of technicality that I suspect could never be substantiated; unless I misunderstand, it seems that you are suggesting that the printer manufactured this model with a specific minor deviation and it only becomes evident when using non-OEM inks? If so, what’s the difference to me? Unless IJM alerts buyers beforehand — “Oh by the way, you have an r2880? A minor defect in the manufacture of this item means our product won’t really work so well for you” — this possibility can only make me shrug: it may be. If OEM carts are manufactured to be more tolerant — in other words, to work reliably — then perhaps they were worth their price all along.

I am certainly prepared to put into use the combination that you describe: after all, I have the IJM inks on hand and no better use for them (I suppose one could make something w/ them somehow, not via inkjet printer…) so I might as well see if I can get them to work as they should. When I receive the replacement cartridges, and have the time to devote to the process, I will be return to work, hoping for viable work flow and outcome.

I think it best to reserve any further comment until then (biting my tongue since it’s hard to know where “the problem” to be solved resides — my printer? IJM product? the stars?)

I understand your frustration, and ultimately I can’t make it go away or solve your problem. You’ve seen my troubles. But I still believe that there are manufacturing tolerances. I can’t prove it, but there have to be. Rumour has it that they’re wider on the desktop printers than the pro printers, since the desktops are made to a price point, but that’s also conjecture. And there’s still a fairly high failure rate on the newer xx90 pro printers. So Epson have to design carts that tolerate manufacturing tolerances. If they didn’t they’d end up with a lot of unhappy customers, i.e. more than are unhappy with their high prices and the propensity to clog.

In this environment IJM and their Chinese suppliers have to make carts that work and are easy to refill. I am prepared to believe what IJM say - that they mostly work well. But I know from personal experience that sometimes they don’t, and it’s hard to say why. I’m not happy either, but I’m not necessarily blaming IJM. They don’t make the printers and I think they’ve done as well as they can in sourcing the best available refillable. But it remains the fact that you can be unlucky. Which is a right pain.

Brian/Jeff, we are putting a lot of resources towards the pair of you.

But, I do want to point out that we have made some suggestions as well as sent certain items for testing on one of your ends and we have not heard back. We have also provided free return shipping labels to get “defective” carts back for us to test - and my understanding from TS is that we have not received back from you. At some point in a technical support exchange - part of the process weighs on the user to perform things that we ask. Without it - we can only try and duplicate on our end - and we thus far have not been able to duplicate the issues from either one of you.

Here is what we have done over the past week and half:

  1. Kelly pulled 4 sets from inventory for testing this specifically. She tested one entire set with PK ink in each position to test both the cartridges and the PK ink. We tested PK because you both mentioned that the PK cart leaked. We thought there could be a possible connection. So, we tested the ink and the carts at the same time. Everything passed.

  2. Because we use the R2880 as one of our ink QC testing platforms we checked with QC to see if they have experienced any problems. Within the same time frame and actually longer as your reported problems, QC has used more than 20 sets from the same cartridge production build. QC wasn’t testing cartridges per se, but there were no problems with the cartridges either. (also no problems with the inks we were testing!)

  3. Our R2880s are impeccably maintained. But, we also keep an R2880 that has a crappy head and is about 5 years old and we do not maintain it at the same level as the others. We’re testing three sets of cartridges on it to see if these problems can be duplicated due to poor maintenance or substandard equipment. This particular R2880 is not a dog by any means - it is just in rough shape by our standards. It could be more indicative of a users printer than a printer maintained for R&D or QC.

This is a lot of resources we are putting towards this. But, we also want back your cartridges that were leaking or draining so we can see if there is a flaw or/and we can duplicate your symptoms on our end with your specific cartridges. Very important!

FWIW, I use the R2880 for much of my R&D because the cartridges are easy to work with and very bullet-proof. I wrote the first half of Piezography PRO on it - and we designed the preliminary new Piezography PRO inks on it. We will finish the design and initial testing of the new Piezography PRO inks on it. Nearly all of our inks which we manufacture are roughed in using an R2880, then alpha and beta on the R2880, and then final approval on the R2880. Even our Claria replacements for six ink printers are proofed on an R2880 - even the HDR inks - and all of the many inks we produce for other ink companies. We use all ink channels on an R2880 to test one particular ink color or shade not because its an R2880 but because the cartridges are just so bullet proof. The R2880 is no better than the other platforms we use for QC and testing. But, as a result we go through 100s of sets of these R2880 cartridges ourselves. Because we sell and use so many, we have enormous build runs made for us using an approved build list. And they have to be perfect because I use this platform for the majority of my development. I do not believe that there is a more proven product anywhere.

Epson has their cartridges manufactured in China - so this is not a China vs OEM thing. I do not believe that there is any fundamental flaw in the design or that they are substandard in any way. But, I do believe that you both have something in common that is causing your similar problems and we just do not yet know what that is. And it would be enormously helpful to us both and possibly others if you would just please send us your “defective” or mis-performing cartridges. That more than anything would be really really helpful. There is nothing more we can do for you guys on our own that we are not already doing!