One nozzle (PK) completely clogged (4900)

My 4900 had all its nozzles clogged last week. I attempted the windex+paper towel trick several times to no avail… So, I installed all refillable carts with piezoflush and did an initial fill. After many nozzle check prints and some other tests (I printed a set of all colors many times - a “purge file”) I found that only original colors were printing, not the pink piezoflush fluid. I attempted another initial fill and performed 5 or 6 cleanings but the results were still the same - all original colors still printed. Finally, I used the “ink eject” function in the service program and when it completed I reinstalled the piezoflush carts. I did one more initial fill and now every nozzle prints 100% piezoflush EXCEPT for “PK” which is 100% clogged. I get nothing from this color at all. I tried cleaning just this nozzle several times but it is still 100% clogged. I also made sure the cart was primed again. What shall I try next? I was quite excited to see all but one nozzle is finally 100% clean, but with this one “PK” completely clogged the printer is useless. Could the printer not be drawing ink from this cart? Could the head be broken? I’ve already killed two maintenance boxes, so this is getting really spendy.

It almost sounds as if you did not prime your carts so that the Initial Fill could not pull PiezoFlush from your carts (because of the air lock). Did you prime the carts? If not there may be an airlock in the PK. So you can tell us whether that is the issue on the PK.

Also, was this printer always printing matte black and you used the PK very seldom or never?

Yes, I did prime all of the carts, and after I noticed this happening I removed the PK cart and “re-primed” it with the syringe just to make sure. I was able to pull piezoflush with the syringe no problem. I don’t think I ever used matte black, only photo black - so the opposite of what you’re asking.

the blockage may be in the black ink exchanger or between it and the unused black cart (from non-use of one of the blacks). With flush in the printer - run a few black ink exchanges which are generated automatically when you print and select matte or photo. Just print some black test image and switch back and forth between matte and photo and see if you can loosen it up before trying another INIT FILL. If that does not work - let us know. Dana will be in on Monday with other ideas for you.

Thank you, I’ll try the black ink exchanges. First I’ll need another maintenance tank or two as my current is full. Will reply once I’ve attempted.

Is the air vent plug removed from the PK refill cart? If not, this would cause no printing from this channel.

Let me know how the black ink change effects your results.


Hi Dana.

Yes, the plug has been removed from the air vent in the PK cart. I received my new maintenance box today (and a chip resetter for it so I stop wasting money!) so this evening I’ll have at switching inks again and see if I can get PK printing. Any suggestions besides switching the black inks? I’ll follow up this evening with my findings.

Looking better here. I ran a few black ink exchanges which didn’t seem to help, after which I performed an “ink eject” and one more initial fill. After the initial fill I printed a “purge sheet” of all colors which showed that PK was indeed coming though. A nozzle check printout executed afterward finally showed PK output. Now all I’ve left is a few millimeters of missing lines in the nozzle check for PK and C which is far far better than before. I guess I’ll let it sit for a while, then attempt a clean or two and see if those clogs clear.

Looks like the clogs are 99% clear now, so I think I’m going to take the piezoflush carts out now and put my inks back in. Hopefully I’m out of the water. Do you recommend doing an “ink eject” before I do the initial fill of the ink carts? The reason I ask is that when I first installed the piezoflush carts and performed an initial fill the printer still printed ink colors until I did an “ink eject” and then another initial fill. Even after that the printer still didn’t print pure piezoflush until many test prints later.

I’m glad to hear your printer is mostly clean again! I believe the ink eject and initial fill can be sone as a procedure together, though I believe in my experience (our 4900 died over a year ago, so I’m going by memory) I only did the initial fill cycle when flushing or changing inks, and didn’t need to do the ink eject… but I think the adjustment program explains the two and how they should be used.

All the best~ Dana :slight_smile:

I spoke too soon, sadly. I installed all new ink carts (nearly $1000) and after an initial charge the printer still just printed piezoflush. I printed several purge sheets (all colors) and again, nothing came out but piezoflush. I then ran two clean (level 2) cycles, and the printer still just output piezoflush. Next, I performed the ink eject function, then another initial fill and the printer now printed nothing (blank) for all colors except one (VM) which still printed piezoflush. Now I’m afraid to try anything else as it looks as if I’m just dumping ink into the waste tank. Any ideas? I’m ready to just give up on this thing.

If your capping station and pump are working correctly, and you run the INITIAL FILL correctly (takes about 8 minutes), then the ink system inside the printer is replaced with what is in the cartridges. You reported initially that when you ran the INITIAL FILL the color inks were not removed from the printer. Now you are reporting that when you run the INITIAL FILL the PiezoFlush is not being removed.

I would suspect that you have a faulty pump or and capping station and that the suction that is normally applied to your print head is deficient. Dana may have other ideas. But, unless you have severe blockages in your damper system (due to mixing incompatible inks), I can not think of another reason why the INITIAL FILL is not functioning. Is there some possibility that you are not using the Epson Adjustment Utility Software? Are you using the WicReset by chance?

I am using the epson utility software. I’ve never used inks other than epson’s.

Better wait for Dana who will be back in tomorrow. Hopefully she has some better idea than I do what the INITIAL FILL is not drawing. You did remove the vent plugs, right?

When I used the piezoflush carts I did remove the plugs. The problem I have now is with stock epson ink carts, so no plugs. I hope you guys can help, this is a major bummer.

Any further advice folks?

I re-read all the posts above, and unfortunately don’t have many other suggestions other than maybe wait a day, do a regular cleaning cycle, then print a nozzle check and see if anything has come back. These are such finicky printer models… It may be the ink system was starved after all the back to back cleaning cycles, and time will improve the results, or as Jon mentioned, it could be clogged dampers (known as the “selector unit” on this model), or the pump failed.

How old is your printer? What are the humidity and temperature levels in your printing environment?

Ugh. I bought the printer in July of 2011. I wouldn’t know what the humidity level is in the room the printer is in, but it’s always “very dry” in the winter months and humid during the summer (I’m in Connecticut). The temperatures range is approximately 60F in the winter (I don’t heat this room, but it is upstairs) to 90F or so in the summer (no AC either!).

Should I perhaps write this printer off completely? I’m concerned that I’m just going to keep throwing money at something that’s not worth it. Perhaps if I decide to buy another I’ll just get Epson’s warranty plan? Another concern I have is that with all the fills and cleans I attempted the new inks are already very low - but I don’t think anything’s been drained from the carts… Is there any way to (if I happen to fix this printer or get another) “reset” the chips on the epson carts so I’m not stuck with full carts that have chips that claim they’re empty?

Humidity plays a huge roll in the function of your printer, so if it’s “very dry” in the winter months (like it is here), then I recommend you get a humidifier for the printing environment and maintain the humidity levels around 40-50%. At our studio, we run humidifiers during the dry winter months, and ACs’ all summer to maintain proper humidity levels, to keep our printers in good working condition (along with regular use and proper maintenance).

Being nearly three years old, it could very well need new parts, such as dampers/ink selector, wiper blade, pump (with this printer, the pump comes as one unit with the capping station, flushing box and wiper blade). It’s impossible for me to diagnose what’s wrong with your printer, but I suspect the dampers and/or pump unit- replacing both parts would cost about $430 from, which is a lot less than buying a whole new printer, but can add to $ already spent trying to fix this printer, and if not successful is a waste of $ (but if spending a few hundred fixes this printer, spending a few thousand on a new printer could also be considered wasteful).

The only way a printer knows how much ink is in a cartridge is by reading the cartridge chip. If ink isn’t actually flowing from the cartridge, but you’ve done several cleaning cycles than make the ink level read much lower than it actually is, then you can try resetting the cartridge chips- but this will make the cartridges read full again, so you can risk running them empty and getting air in the ink lines.

I hope this helps, best regards~ Dana

Unreal. Do I have to feed and clothe the printer as well… give it a warm bottle, and sing it to sleep? Epson should be ashamed of themselves for selling such a lemon. I suppose it’s time to sell this thing for parts or perhaps give it the “Office Space” treatment. Thanks for the help.