I’m trying to decide whether to totally give up on the Inkowl carts or not. Part of my decision is based on what the nozzle check is telling me. Once manually primed, all 7 ink channels show complete nozzle checks. Below the usual nozzle check patterns is a checkerboard pattern. I have searched high and low to find out how to interpret that checkerboard pattern and can’t even find anything in the Epson service manual.
What inks are used in the checkerboard pattern. Is it the PK and GO? I ask because, with piezoflush installed, I am not getting a checkerboard pattern, just a solid pink, with the occasional darker pink squares scattered throughout. When I first installed piezoflush, I had a normal checkerboard pattern showing up with piezoflush.
I’m currently assuming that the “checkerboard” pattern below the regular nozzle check patterns for the Epson printers with GO is testing the GO channel. Is there any way to get a “regular” nozzle check for the GO position? I know that with GO installed, you won’t be able to tell. I am keeping piezoflush in that channel for now and can see.
Also, should the air chamber at the back end of the cartridge be completely free of fluid from the top to the bottom of the cartridge, or is some leakage of fluid (ink or piezoflush) allowable.
I’ve not seen any definitive documentation on the checkerboard pattern, but based on my experience, I’m fairly sure that it’s a pattern of the MK channel (Piezo shade 2) and GO. I think it’s a check of GO, but as I’ve never had a GO clog, I can’t be sure. I’ve only seen gaps when there were issues in MK shade 2. You can’t print a normal nozzle check of the GO channel - the best you can do is a single channel purge pattern in calibration mode, although for GO you’d have to print on gloss in order to see it. Since you have flush in there then you’d see it on plain paper, but I assume you’d also see any nozzle gaps in the checkerboard. I’d also be surprised if you had any problems with flush in there. Any comments that I may have on your carts are contained in my “Lessons I Have Learned” post.
This is almost certainly a “Lessons I Have Learned” issue. I am suspecting it’s related to flow issues in the cartridge itself. Are your IJM carts for the 2880/1900/2000 free from ink in the air chamber from top to bottom? In all mine, there’s a tendency for the lowest part of the air chamber to fill with ink/piezoflush. Please remember, though, these are InkOwl carts, not IJM carts. My flush carts ran dry (no warning, about 1/3 full… I should have checked). My shade 4 position will not return with piezoflush. I’ve tried a couple of cleanings, priming the cartridge, etc. I had been hoping to use the InkOwl carts for piezoflush, but I would not even recommend that now. I will be switching the carts to IJM carts later tonight or tomorrow, or Tuesday. It’s report card time at our school, so I’m pretty busy.
Which is why I’ve encouraged anyone who buys an R2000 for Piezo to stock up while they can.
That said, you only need the chips and chip holders - all the recent IJM desktop carts use the same bodies. You can buy comparatively inexpensive IJM R2880 carts and swap the chips and chip holders over, at least from your IJM R2000 carts, when they reach the end of their useful life, as the cart bodies are the same. I suspect also from your Ink Owl ones as well. You should be able to see fairly readily whether this is possible. If so then you could use the Ink Owl chips on IJM cartridge bodies. So long as you can find someone selling R2000 carts and IJM has desktop carts, then there is a solution.
(Note the slight catch with the R2000 - for most of the desktop carts, you can just swap the chips, but for the R2000, you have to swap the chip holder as well, because of the battery.)
I just finished installing the IJM carts for my R2000 with piezoflush. The first thing I noticed was that the piezoflush was filling partway up the air channel end. I also noticed that the casting of the plastic was much neater than the carts from InkOwl. I did two cleans and got a perfect nozzle check and a perfect looking checkers board pattern for the GO. I assume, then, that the fluid (ink or piezoflush) is supposed to rise partway up the air channel end.
Next step will be to harvest the ink from the other Inkowl carts and fill my second set with my K7 ink.
This is fairly normal for IJM carts, but can be the source of trouble in those from other suppliers. By trouble, I mean dribbles form the print head when you insert the refilled carts. But there’s some variation in this and it’s hard to be definitive. You definitely don’t want ink in the upper section of the vent passage. Sometimes I have some ink in the lower section and sometimes not. When I do, sometimes I get dribbles and sometimes I don’t. Go figure. But your problems were the opposite - you had no flow in one channel as I understand it. That is inadequate flow, not too much. I doubt that that’s caused by ink in the vent passage.
Actually this makes a lot of sense, and isn’t necessarily different from your experience. I am now convinced more than ever that the InkOwl carts I had had restricted flow. If the ink was unable to partially fill the air chamber section, that means it was unable to flow through easily. That would also mean that when inserting the cart into the printer, because the ink would be unable to flow back as the manifold nipple inserts into the cart, the ink has only one other direction to flow, and that’s down through the head. That would explain the dribbles you were getting.
Now for a completely hypothetical, impractical, and unadvisable idea. I’m going to assume that your R2880 worked well with the Epson carts because there were no flow issues. At the moment I cannot remember if you ordered new R2880 carts or not, and I also remember IJM doing some like testing with an old R2880, so I’m not sure if any of this applies. I wonder if filling your R2880 carts flushing with piezoflush, then leaving the head and carts filled with piezoflush for several months, doing a head clean once a week, would free up any of the flow issues.
I remember when inspecting the nipples of my R2880 manifold, I saw that only 1 out of four holes in the nipples were open. If this condition exists in the head, and also in places in the carts, it probably wouldn’t take much to block the flow. Unfortunately I no longer have a working R2880 to test any of this on. Of course, it’s not particularily worth doing either. But, pigment ink in a cart could create restrictions in the cart itself. My experience shows that it doesn’t take much of a restriction to cause major problems.
I don’t claim to understand how these carts work, and trying to do so is a known cause of insanity. That said, my limited understanding is that the vent passage is designed to create some back pressure that keeps the ink in the cart and prevents it from flowing out when in the printer. However, given the simple design of these carts (compared to OEM), this back pressure is fragile. Too much ink in the vent passage and the ink will drain until the back pressure is established. That seems consistent with my experience. How much is too much? Dunno.
I don’t claim to understand why a bad cart or badly built cart might give you incomplete nozzle checks, but extending the above logic, perhaps it’s because there’s too much back pressure, so inadequacy flow. It must be a tricky balance to get right. Dana may be able to confirm or refute my guesses.