One cart just gave up - Help

I have started replaceing the carts on my Epson 3880 with Cone/Inkjet mall carts. They were working fine until today when the LLK gave out completely. It just dropped out. The other carts are fine, but no pattern at all to the LLK. I ran cleaning, I tried the bounty towel and cleaner that I learned from your Utube video. I also pulled the LLK cart and added more ink, and then pulled out a bit from the prossure plig. Nothing has worked.

Any and all suggestions desperately needed.



Hi MC~

Has the LLK ink been printing well since installing that refill cart, until recently? Did the cartridge run dry (no ink remaining in the exit chambers) when you noticed the LLK stopped printing? Does ink easily flow thru the LLK cartridge exit chamber and valve when primed, or is there resistance?

Please let me know, thanks- Dana :slight_smile:


Thank you for your prompt reply. I now have gotten it cleared, but first, let me go back to your questions, as they are relevent (I think).

The LLK cart did not run out. It was at least 2/3rds full. Since installing it (about 10 days or so ago) I made a number of 8.5X11 prints, one 11X14 and 2 13X19 prints, so it was working fine. (when first installed, I had a few clogs - not a total shut down, but that was resolved with cleanings). Ink flowed fine through the cart when primed with no resistance that I noticed. (I did change over to another Inkjet Mall cart a few days ago - LM, but that shouldn’t have affected the LLK)

Today, I decided to prime again and removed a larger amount of ink (10-15ml). I ran a nozzle check again, and still no LLK - none at all. This time, a few broken lines in the photo black showed up. Even though I ran cleanings yesterday, I tried another power cleaning today. Finally, things cleared out and I am now making a print.

What do you think happened? It sounds like air somehow got into the line, but as I had not changed the cart, and it had not run empty, what could have happened. I am wondering if the problem will crop up again. One day it was fine, and the next, a complete cut off of the LLK. Also, I make prints frequently (almost every day) so the printer almost never sits unused.

With all of the cleanings, I have just about filled the maintainence cart. I am almost out of yellow, but already have the Inkjet Mall replacement yellow, so will be changing over to that real soon.

Any suggestions are very much appreciated. What does this sound like to you? Could there be a problem with my printer unrelated to the cartridges?

Thanks again.


Hi MC~ Tanks for the update. I am happy to hear your LLK is now printing, and will tell you what I think happened to cause the issue you were dealing with.

When a cartridge is first installed, some air can enter the printer’s internal ink line. Printing will go smoothly until this air bubble reaches the damper or print head, at which time it can interrupt ink flow, but a few cleaning cycles will pass the air and get consistent ink flow again.

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:


Thanks for your response. LLK is still working, but I am now having more problems that I am pretty sure are not related to the InkjetMall carts.

With your experience, perhaps you might offer a suggestion or two.

This morning, the nozzle test was broken up again. (I didn’t print yesterday, but I had on saturday). I wanted to make a print, so I ran a cleaning. The maintainance cart finally filled, so I changed that and continued. All colors cleared out except Photo Black which now does not print at all. It still has 52% ink in it (supposedly). This is still an epson cart. I took it out and felt it. It is very light. Could there be a leak somewhere that drained this cart? The maintainance cart was also unusually filled with old ink. The last time I replaced it I don’t remember it being so heavy. I know this is not related to the InkJetMall carts, but I am hoping you have some thought or observations… Is this the end of my printers life? I am getting very frustrated. I almost never had to clean the nozzles before, now it is a regular thing.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.



I found a similar problem online. here is the posting

Have you heard of this problem? Sounds like what is happening to me.

Hi MC~

It could be the head causing ink to drain from the PK cart, or it could be a few other things. Please tell me, has your printer been in PK or MK mode (I assume PK, but want to confirm)?
Is there a lot of ink in the PK cartridge chamber when you remove the cartridge from your printer?
Does the PK cartridge have ink on the outside or coming from the exit port?

Let me know and I will try to help.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


I have only used this printer in PK mode until now. Thought I should try to see if switching to MK would work. No go. The ink cart and chamber are both clean. I had never had clogs until about a month ago, and that was what led me to InkJetMall inks. I started running ink wasting cleaning cycles and wanted a less expensive alternative.

Thanks for helping me figure out what’s gone wrong.


p.s. I should point out that somehow I identified this printer as a 3880. It is a 3800.

Ok, thanks for the additional information. The 3800 and 3880 are essentially the same machine, but the 3880 uses VM and VLM inks.

I do know the 3800 and 3880 are getting up there in age to start needing new dampers, which Epson recommends doing about once a year to maintain proper ink flow. Unfortunately, the dampers in these printers aren’t generally sold separately, and you would actually buy and replace the entire ink assembly (which consists of the cartridge chamber unit, ink lines and dampers all together)- this costs about $180 and can be replaced at home by following the step by step procedure in the Epson repair manual, which you can get from The ink assembly unit can be ordered from If you were experiencing clogging about a month ago with Epson inks installed, you can not expect any better results using a different ink (although our inks are great, if your printer isn’t working well with Epson inks, it can’t be expected to work well with any other ink).

You said you did the paper towel cleaning procedure demonstrated in our YouTube video- please clarify, did you clean the capping station, wiper blade and/or bottom of the print head?

Your PK cartridge issue could be cartridge or printer related, so I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that your print head is bad, and recommend cleaning the printer, trying a diffeent PK cartridge and monitoring the printer/carts. As you know, the reill cartridge chips will reset automatically, so the LCD ink level reading will not accurately reflect the physical ink level- but you can still keep an eye on it and determine if the ink level is dropping at a normal rate or the cartridge is emptying too fast.

All the best~ Dana :slight_smile:


Thanks for all your time. Yes, I cleaned the capping station, wiper blade and a bounty paper towel with cleaner under the print head. Worked fine for a few days…

The PK cart at issue is an epson cart, so the chip would not reset. (I thought that the last PK cart also emptied out before it showed empty, but really didn’t pay much attention as the printer still worked fine when I replaced it - probably was already going bad.)

Oh well… Do I try another cart, or give up and replace the printer? Changing the cartridge chamber unit probably doesn’t make sense as when you take into account the ink supplied with a new printer, deduct the rebate, and the cost of the cartridge chamber unit, a new printer would be about $175 more. I really hate discarding such a large appliance as this 3800, however!

If I do go for a new printer, Is there anything else in the price range of the 3880 that you like better? The 3800/3880 has been around for a while now, but I don’t need anything bigger, and the smaller printers all use much smaller ink carts.

Thanks again, and once more any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.



I was wondering if you had any additional suggestions with regard to my last poST.

Thanks for your time. Any thoughts are welcome.


Hi MC~

If I were you, I would personally try a different PK cartridge to see if the cause of your Epson PK cartridge draining was caused by the cartridge or printer. Printers are just like any other machine that consist of a bunch of pieces put together in a specific way. As with any machine, parts can wear out over time, or even be defective- but are often replaceable/fixable, and my eco-friendly and frugal beliefs make me want to fix things instead of throwing them away. Obviously, everyone is different, and not everyone is technical or comfortable enough to work on or repair their own machines- but the Epson repair manuals provide clear step by step instructions with detailed photos that are very easy to follow, so as long as you give yourself sufficient time and read/follow the instructions, I think people would surprise themselves to discover what they are really capable of.

If you decide to get a new printer, my recommendation is to get a new 3880- they are really great printers, and getting the same model would allow you to use your existing refill carts and inks :slight_smile:

I hope this helps, best of luck~ Dana :slight_smile:


Thanks again for your advice. Are all the Inkjetmall carts that I have bought for the 3800 also compatible with the 3880, or will I need new Magenta and light magenta Inkjetmall carts if I go to a 3880?

I am thinking of ordering an Inkjetmall PK, as if it does not help matters, I can always use it on a 3880 (Yes?)


Yes, to use your existing 3800 refill carts in a 3880 printer, you will need new VM + VLM carts and inks, but can use all the same carts/inks in both model printers.