Piezoflush Problems with Epson 9900

Hi Walker,
I am really confused now. First thing this morning I fired up in service mode and did a second Init Fill. All seemed to go well until the end where it showed the level of VLM at 6%. This from being full of Piezo flush when it started.
I then switched to Matte black and attempted a 3rd Init fill. It wouldn’t run as it seemed like the “VLM" was too low. I did a control by putting in the actual VLM ink cartridge. This read correctly, showing 35%.
I then decided to put all the inks in and filled up the 4 inks I received from you yesterday. I flushed out the 4 corresponding tanks twice with distilled water. They were HD PK, Lt Cyan, Lt Lt Black and Green. Then I ran an Init Fill with the real inks—I see that sucks average 15%!—then did a Normal Clean. The attached scans show how it all looks. I have since done pair cleans but the problems don’t seem to go away. Strangely, the original problem, that of the Matte black being blocked, now seems fine and the problems are now with inks that never showed problems before.
The only X factor to my mind is that prior to running the Piezo Flush, I did a normal mainenance clean as show in the video. Could this have caused the problem? After the flushing are the flushing box and capping station dirty and in need of cleaning? BTW How do I remove the black metal cover under the control panel, to the right of the main door? It seems I must remove it to clean the flushing/capping units correctly.
After all the cleaning, my Cyan and Orange are now down to 9 and 5& respectively, down from 26 and 21% at the start.

Reporting on an Epson 9900 with a very stubborn clog.

Here’s what has been done so far, in chronological order:

  1. Color pair cleanings, power cleanings, etc all performed by my associate and I at different times.
  2. Paper towel soaked with Piezo under the print head. Cleaned the wiper blade, flushing box with Piezo.
  3. Nozzle checks still show clogs.
  4. A student uses the printer accidentally but makes successful prints and there is, amazingly, a clean nozzle check after this happens.
  5. The printer returns to being clogged shortly after this.
  6. Repeat 1 - 3.
  7. Installed Piezo carts in all positions. Ran the initial fill cycle but Piezo would not enter the lines.
  8. Update Firmware.
  9. Initial Fill Cycle again. No Piezo.
  10. Head cleaning to try to get Piezo into the lines.
  11. Ran a nozzle check. Missing channels entirely and clogs. Some channels without clogs. Still no Piezo.
  12. Tried to Stress Test Print Page and the printer initiated an automatic head cleaning for about 15min and then popped up with the following error message:
    “AUTOMATIC HEAD CLEANING FAILED: RETRY?” I opted out of the retry but the printed the stress test anyway. It appears that all colors are fading and banding both but I’m slightly hopeful that the Piezo is actually entering the lines now because the stress test shows some colors fading to purplish or pinkish hues and the O channel is completely pink (Piezo??).

It seems that channels will randomly stop printing in the nozzle check, which initially worried me that there might be air in the lines. The clog has definitely wandered since this whole process began. It has been a long and trying ordeal and I’m hoping there is some light at the end of this tunnel.

To make matters worse, I’m unable to run any more Init Fill cycles or cleanings because the chip on the VLM Piezo Refillable Cart now reads as too low for cleaning. This is only happening to the VLM cart even though all carts have been installed and used in the same fashion for the same amount of time and cleanings. Is there anything we can do about this?

Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

I see that MRC essentially had the same problems in the above post of a year ago, but I don’t see the reply.

Thanks Walker. I did prime all the cartridges but will do so again now. In the meantime I have cleaned the other parts and am about to run a new nozzle check.

What is the problem with the VLM? I s see MRC above also referred to problems with VLM.

First off, Epson does not send the correct voltages to the chips when it does cleaning (or even printing for that matter). In other words, there is always more ink left in the cartridge than what the printer is registering. This is how epson gets away with selling a full cartridge and forcing you to throw it out half full because epson says it’s empty. Chip resetters are critical for any large format refill cart.

Second, did you PRIME these carts after cleaning with distilled and then fill w/ ink? If you look at the ink lines do you see ink in there or piezoflush or air?

Third. Yes there have been some people who do a series of init-fills and/or pair cleanings and for whatever reason have a full channel failure after the cleaning (but not before the cleaning). This is generally caused (IMO) by a failing cleaning assembly or in combination with a failing cleaning assembly and locked damper. The first thing to check is your ink lines and also to re-prime you cartridges.


Walker, I primed the cartridges again. Still no luck. The did two pair cleaning runs for LC and LK and their corresponding pairs. Still just gets worse every time. Should I do normal cleaning on all the heads? Power clean the non performing heads? Leave paper towel dampened with Piezo flush under the print head for the night?
Getting late here so I am going home shortly, if you can reply soon.

It looks like ink. Excuse the vague answer, but even when filled with PF they still looked much the same. When I did a nozzle check after the second IF with PF, they showed PF but also not clean (those two; LC & LK). WRT lowering in the cart, that is so marginal I can’t say. But obviously at this stage they are not flowing much. Should I do any of the above options, namely Power clean or put towel under the head over night? Excuse all my qiestions. I have learnt more this last month than in the last 8 years. I have never replaced the wiper blade assembly but will do so now. I have cleaned it now and it was rather full of gunk.
My reasoning, based on my limited technical knowledge, is that because those heads printed properly earlier—they were not part of the orginal problem—is that there is air in the system and that is causing the problem. If so, how to expel it? Normal [air cleanings dont work. Every new nozzle check just shows less and less.
Walker, there is a time difference of 6 hours between us. Is it possible arrange a Skype talk some time. Today is a public holiday out here so I will be leaving about 2 pm, 8 am your side?

Can you check your ink lines and tell me what you see? PF or Ink? Is ink actually lowering in the carts that are connected to the ink channels that are not printing? If not then you know it’s a damper issue, if the ink is lowering than it could be a head issue or a back-pressure issue or a whole host of things.


Many thanks Walker. This all adds up. I have had the printer for 8 years! It has worked like a dream until recently. My suppliers never gave me this sort of info so I realize I have been running on luck and good fortune. I spent most of this morning checking up supplers and will get onto them first thing tomorrow. I would book your time but unfortunately cannot afford it. The $/Rand exchangfe rate prohibits that.

A few final questions though. The VLM % dropping to 6% on the refill cartridge, which I know is false. Can that only be rectified by using a chip resetter? And the Maintenance tank resetter waon’t work? In other words its not a contact problem? Secondly, can I fit these parts when I get them or does that require a specialist repairman?

Dear Roy. How many years have you had this printer? The wiper blade, cleaning assembly, and dampers should be replaced every two years or so on average or you run the risk of this very thing happening.

From this sequence of events, it seems that you dampers are simply full of gunk and they didn’t even let the piezoflush through very well. When you replace dampers you also need to replace the cleaning assembly (and wiper blade) at the same time.

Just google “epson authorized parts distributor” and your country and you should be good.

I can’t offer support at the moment as my paid support hours are booked for the day. We do offer this as a service that you can schedule a day in advance if you like: https://shop.inkjetmall.com/Hand-holding-phone-support-1-call-15min-or-less.html


  1. You need a chip resetter.
  2. The maintenance resetter is not for cartridges (it will only work on the maintenance tank).
  3. I will send you a link to the repair manual.

You will need 4 things. 1. The ink selector unit. 2. The ink tube o-rings. 3. The cleaning assembly unit. 4. The wiper blade.

Total cost for these things is about 2 cartridges of epson ink. That said, there is no guarantee that you have not ejected crud from your damper into your ink channels during the initial fill. You got 4x the amount of use on this printer than is average so there was some “history” built up in those dampers.


Great help Walker. I really appreciate all the help and advice I have received from you, Jon and Wells. I hope to get this all sorted out and be a long-term customer. Looking forward to gettin g the Repair Manual link. Just hope the print head is going to be okay.
One other thing. When I replace t5hese parrts must I then do anotrher IF with Piezo flush to disolve any of the “ejected crud” from the ink channels?

You’ll want to do only a few power cleanings after the parts are replaced to make sure things come back. Don’t go full-hog if you don’t have to.

PMing you the link now.

Walker, I have d/l’d the manual and am battling to understand it all. When I contacted an Epson supplier, they sent me diagrams and asked for the part numbers. Now I am at sea! Can you possible help me with the relevant part numbers for the four items needed? Please!

Thanks, but phone calls from here are ruled out. I will work it out. Thanks.

Compass Micro (or any other Epson Authorized Parts dealer) has the parts on their website. They are commonly stocked items. And there is part diagram in the service manual. Compass Micro can get the part numbers too if you call them.


Walker, I have tracked around to get part prices out here. All the companies heap fire and brimstone on me for not using Epson inks! It’s difficult when talking to experts to defend my decision to start using ConeColor Pro inks, but be that as it may. They also tell me that any repairs will not carry part guarantees. Oh well. This is a quote I got from the major supplier out here. He says that I need these two items:
Item 1616679 Wiper
Item 1716010 Pump Cap asmbly. The later is about R4000; $340. Is that about right?
Another guy, after the Epson sermon said he would be in my area on holiday in two weeks and come and service my machine and bring a range of parts and replace what is necessary. This sound like the better option.

They all preach against generic inks but none of them can specifically comment on Cone Inks. Probably not in their interest to do so.

As Epson is an ink company, they are told not to recommend any other inks. We’ve been making pigment inks for longer than Epson so I’m not worried about our inks exactly (our Piezo inks significantly outperform Epson OEM ink vis a vis clogging or head damage as well, and our CCPro inks are equivalent if not a little better IMO. I’ve been printmaker and customer of IJM long before working here so that’s my experience as a customer talking more than as someone who works here.).

The part quote is a bit high. He’s also neglecting to tell you that you need a damper even though your 8 year old printer has never had a damper replaced. It’s like bringing your car in for an oil change after 20 thousand miles and the oil guy saying your oil filter is fine and doesn’t need to be replaced.

This guy’s knowledge is suspect to me.


Thanks for the fast reply, Walker. I will get them to add the damper to the quote. Being a technical novice, I believe what they tell me and need “intellectual amo” to think through what they say ; or put another way, to have confidence that I am going in the right direction, I just have to sort out finance to get a chip resetter plus a few more inks. Hopefully everything sorted out in the next 2 weeks. My big fear is that there is something wrong with the print head. I am going to wait for the Johannesburg guy to come on holiday and have him put the parts in. He will bring a range of parts with him so will only replace what is needed. Not like the other one who quoted me from who I would have to buy in advance.

Walker, I received a quote on the “damper” of $142. They refer to an “Epson selector unit”. Is that the same thing? Just using different terminology?