Out of Ink Status and Frequent Cleanings

This is related to Piezography inkset. I headed to Chicago for Thanksgiving and decided to leave a Piezoflush soaked paper towel sitting underneath my R2400 print head on Tuesday night before heading out. I did this because it seems that I have had to run head cleaning cycles several times even after using the printer daily (in the pm) since converting my R2400 to Piezography about 3 weeks ago.

Anyway, I re-started the printer last night and printed a test page, one of the patterns had a single bar sitting below and at an opposite angle to the “normal” printed pattern. I never seen this before. I ran the nozzle check and cleaning cycle, but the printer went half way before telling me it could not continue the cleaning due to one of the cartridges out of ink (Light Magenta). The EPSON status monitor showed the same information for that particular cartridge, I pulled it out and sure enough the ink was gone. I went through and checked the other cartridges and found two others were gone but the EPSON status monitor showed anywhere from 25 to 40% remaining. I am a bit worried because I read about the hazards of running out of ink. I could have sworn I filled the cartridges to the rim. Some questions:

  1. Is there a good way to confirm a full cartridge?
  2. Is there a way to check the damper for an ink position? I read through the tech article on damper clogs, and worried that this might be my problem.
  3. Is it bad to leave a Piezoflush soaked paper towel underneath the print head for long periods?

Thanks and best regards,


I am sure that the knowledgeable and very helpful Dana will reply shortly. In the meantime here is my experience, as someone who often struggles with printers.

Doing what you did is something that I’d only do very, very, very rarely and only to try to deal with an intransigent clog.

I’d only do it with carts removed, because the effect is likely to be what you experienced - something wet in contact with the print head will wick the ink away and drain the carts.

You can suffer the same fate if you over-fill the capping station with flush solution and don’t gently towel it away before parking the head there.

The way you avoid running out of ink is to refill the cartridge and reset the chip at the same time. The Epson software doesn’t measure what’s actually in the cart - it only measures usage, and not even that - it only measures how often it tried to fire each nozzle.

The only way to be really sure how much is in the cart is to pull the cart out and look. For roughly 6 of the 8 carts you can do this with the printer off if you remove the lid that covers the carts. This avoids a head clean from removing and replacing the same cart. But it shouldn’t be necessary if you don’t create the conditions where a cart might drain.

The other way to avoid running out of ink - from a cartridge draining - is to follow the filling procedures exactly and perform the printer cleaning procedure occasionally.

I sympathise with your desire to avoid head cleans and the frustration that comes from getting gaps in nozzle checks too often. Printing a purge pattern can often clear gaps in nozzle checks at a much lower ink cost that a head clean. You can target just the blocked channel if you create a custom QTR curve that uses only that channel.

Hi Mark~

Sometimes, it can be helpful to park the print head over a PiezoFlush dampened paper towel to soak for a few hours, if you’re dealing with a stubborn clog and have already tried all our other recommended cleaning procedures. Have you already tried our recommended cleaning procedures, such as cleaning the capping station, wiper blade and bottom of the print head? If not, instructions and a video demonstrating these procedures can be found here: http://www.inkjetmall.com/tech/content.php?133-Printer-Cleaning-and-Preventative-Maintenance
Leaving the head parked over a paper towel for several days will cause ink to wick out of the print head, which I believe lead to your empty carts (and probably very inky paper towel when you removed it from under the head).

The cartridge chips work the same as Epson chips, in that they start out reading full, then the ink level goes down when the printer does cleaning cycles or prints- this is how the status monitor determines cartridge ink levels.
If a cartridge chip is reset without the cart being refilled with ink, or the chip is reset but cart isn’t totally refilled, or ink exits the cart without being tracked by the chip (such as leaking, or being wicked out), then the chip would show more ink than is physically in the cart. To get your chip read and physical ink levels to match, you can manually reset the chips using a chip resetter, then refill carts.

Dampers are only in Pro model printers (with internal ink lines leading from carts to the print head, with dampers at the end of the ink lines, immediately before the head), so you’re not dealing with damper problems with your R2400 printer.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have further questions or there’s anything else I can help you with.

Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks Brian and Dana for your comments and help. I have learned my lesson here, won’t be leaving any Piezoflush soaked paper towels under the print head for any extended periods any more.

I am still a little perplexed about the random gaps on nozzle/test page checks. I make daily checks if I’m printing on that day. I have cleaned out the capping station when I converted over a few weeks ago, will go back and check the wiper blade since I don’t remember cleaning that off.

The other question is on ink shelf life. I purchased the Selenium K7 inks earlier this year (maybe longer). Just getting to the point of converting the R2400 a few weeks ago, is there a chance the ink age is contributing to some of the clogs?

Thanks again for the help!


[QUOTE=zooskifilms;5523]I am still a little perplexed about the random gaps on nozzle/test page checks. I make daily checks if I’m printing on that day. I have cleaned out the capping station when I converted over a few weeks ago, will go back and check the wiper blade since I don’t remember cleaning that off.

If you look elsewhere in the forum you’ll see that I am battling similar issues with by R2880 which I use for colour. I’ve also just started to have a bit of it with my piezo R900, which previously was very well behaved. Dana thinks that it’s humidity. Now that it’s started on the R1900, I wonder if it’s something else. It happened on both after cleaning the capping station. I wonder if I’ve got it slightly out of alignment and the capping station is not sealing properly, leading to random gaps. I have no proof and it’s just a hunch, but you’ve recently cleaned yours as well. After this came to me I had a play with both of them to see if I could be certain that the station was correctly aligned. I don’t have enough evidence to say yes or no at this stage.

Given the price of piezo, I’d hope that it had a shelf life of at least a year and preferably somewhat longer, although of course you’d want to gently shake the bottle before each filling.

hi zooskifilms~

I recommend cleaning your printer’s wiper blade and bottom of the print head, and checking the humidity in your printing environment.

The general rule is the best results are obtained when pigment inks are used within two years of their manufacture date, which is how we determine expiration dates on our ink bottles. Provided inks have been stored properly (in our sealed bottles, not too hot or cold, and not in direct sunlight), and have been shaken before filling/refilling carts, then you can safely use Piezography (and ConeColor) inks up to 6mo beyond the expiration date.

Please keep me posted, thanks~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Brian~

Yes, if your capping station doesn’t return to the horizontal position after cleaning, this can cause issues with it not sealing well with the head, leading to ineffective cleaning cycles, and print head drying. Feel free to post some photos of your capping stations, and I will take a look for you.

Best~ Dana

Thanks. It usually costs a head clean to do so, so I will wait until I need one and then take a shot. I’ll post in my own thread, rather than hijack someone else’s. The colour printer needs to get going again to print Christmas cards, so soon.

Ok, thanks Brian- keep me posted.

Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:

Dana and Brian,

I checked the wiper blade there was a good deal of dried ink on it. I wish I took a photo of it, it looked like a dried out/cracked seabed. Took some time to clean it off, but it’s good now. I also ran some piezoflush through one of the ink ports, the matte black position to be exact. This is the one that was giving fits during the nozzle check/head cleaning cycle, it always ended saying it could not fully clean out the head. The nozzle pattern (purge pattern?) appeared good, all horizontal lines there (staircase), but after reading your article on Nozzle Health and closer examination, there were vertical line issues. Anyway, I just wanted to report back my findings, but I am still struggling with this after multiple cleanings and lost ink. I have another post under the Cone Papers category which I will continue this as it relates to this same issue.

Thanks for the help and comments!


Manual cleaning of your printer is important to keeping it in good working condition.
I hope our cleaning procedures and my alignment suggestion helps resolve your banding issue!

Best~ Dana

Hi Dana,

First off, thanks for your patience and assistance. It makes a world of difference to have such great support.

I performed the head alignment, it showed #7 as the best, did the re-alignment and checked again. It came out at the default #5. I checked the nozzle pattern again but it appeared the same. I printed that photo out again, sad to say the lines are still there. The perplexing thing is that it only shows up in this one photo. Tonight I will print the same photo from my 3880 with ABW and look for those lines. This is only to confirm it’s the printer. I have printed other photos with similar tone (I didn’t take a color picker check for value though) on the 2400 and didn’t see those lines. The auto head cleaning/nozzle check does find some problem though, it never is able to completely clean off the head. I’ll dig a little deeper, try a few more station flushes and see if I can break loose whatever is there.

Would you recommend removing the nozzle head for inspection?

Thanks again!


You’re very welcome, we’re here to help, and customer satisfaction is very important to us!

It’s interesting that you’re only seeing the banding with this photo… In that case, I certainly suggest trying a different image with your 2400, as well as printing this image in question with a different printer.

No, I don’t think it would provide any benefit to remove your head for inspection.

Please keep me posted.
Best~ Dana