R2880 - Printing Cyan In Lieu of Magenta


I have an Epson R2880… it has sat largely unused for several years (!). With an infant I now have some motivation to print… so I broke out the printer.

Originally, the cyan channel was like 95% blocked. Magenta was maybe 5-10% blocked, Yellow maybe 20% blocked. All other channels looked clean on the nozzle check.

After trying some windex/distilled water on a towel under the head, without success… I did some internet searching and came to PiezoFlush and the injector. I ordered this, and it seemed to largely clear the Cyan channel. I did notice some red in the cyan channel, which I perceived to be some remnant (red) piezoflush. Coincidentally, I had several OEM cartridges almost out at the same time, and I wasn’t about to replace half the cartridges just to run another test. So, I couldn’t fully test, but went out on a limb based on discussion with IJM and ordered a set of the ConeColor.

Tonight I installed 6 ConeColor cartridges, leaving OEM Yellow and Black that were nearly full. After running an Auto Nozzle Check and Cleaning, the pattern started looking very clean for Yellow, Cyan, and Magenta sections – which started out very blocky. There also was some initial Cyan showing in the yellow, but the yellow channel eventually went back fully yellow. Of course, the one issue being that the Magenta section was looking like straight up cyan.

Now, thinking that perhaps something was going on with the magenta channel, I went to go do a piezo flush on it, with the adjacent cartridges pulled out. When I did, I got cyan coming back out the top side nipple, where the cyan cartridge attaches.

Has anyone seen these issues before? Symptoms seem indicate some internal damage to the head or possibly blockage on the bottom of the head, on the Magenta channel (which did recently seem to run a nozzle check fine).

Any insight is appreciated! I’m hopeful this does not mean the head is shot.

Have we seen these issues before? Yes.

I assume that the OEM carts were left in the printer during the several years it sat unused. You may get lucky, but this can be hard to recover from.

There’s nothing in your post to suggest that you’ve seen the printer maintenance page / videos and tried the full range of printer cleaning tasks. Cross channel bleeding in nozzle checks and on the printed page could be cause by a dirty capping station:

I guess it will only cost a modest amount of time and flush to try the full printer cleaning routine. When I moisten the capping station with flush I tend to let it sit there for say 15 minutes, gently wick it away with a good quality paper towel, and repeat several times. The idea of the delay is to give the flush time to dissolve any dried ink. In your case I think that this is a good idea. After a number of rounds of flush I often switch to distilled water, as it’s cheaper and makes it easier to see just how clean the capping station is.

But if you gently push flush into the magenta ink nozzle, and have it coming out the cyan nozzle, this is generally taken to be a sign of a failed print head. It’s not supposed to happen.

Brian, I think I saw piezoflush coming out the top of the manifold from other nipples when injecting into one nozzle of the head I sent you. I didn’t think I had used much force when cleaning the head. It could be that if the nozzles are blocked enough, it won’t take much force to rupture the inner membrane. I know IJM warns about flushing from the nipples on the R3000 and other printers where the carts remain stationary. It seems that even the R2880, you have to be REALLY careful. I can tell you that dried up pigment ink can be really tough to dissolve out.


Brian_S - Thanks, I have tried putting the head on the papertowel soaked in distilled water or piezoflush. The interesting thing is that the Magenta channel seemed to be printing initially, so it is hard to know why none of the ink would continue to come through (even if punctured… it’s not coming out purple as if it was mixing). Perhaps it is operated on suction, and the cyan is the path of least resistance. I haven’t spent much time on the capping station flush, and will try to do it when I get time later this week. Note that when printing a nozzle check (either type), it seems to print 100% accurately, except it comes out cyan instead of magenta… I am guessing that means that the head itself is creating droplets correctly. I think the cyan is coming out with relatively light pressure from the plunger; that said, the plunger has a lot of ‘stiction’, and requires higher force to get it going initially – which is probably something that could be improved.

Do I have to worry about the piezo flush possibly having entered the cyan cartridge, which was in there at one point when flushing? I do only see cyan coming, out but perhaps hard to tell.

Also – isn’t it odd that the yellow channel initially showed some blue in some areas of the (larger) head check printout, and by the time it got to the bottom of the page it was only yellow (and fully printing again)?

LarryB - yeah – I could have applied more force than required. The plunger seems to stick and require quite a bit of force to get it moving initially. It would probably be good on the IJM site for the piezoflush, if they mention the actual membrane that can be damaged with too much force.

Larry and Brian,

I did remove the print head, and flushed it with distilled water. Flushing either the cyan or magenta channel sends the fluid to 1) both cyan and magenta nozzles (both lightly coming out (about equal amounts), the full ‘line’ of nozzles 2) the other cartridge port that is not being flushed.

I assume this means there was a membrane/gasket that ruptured inside.

I assume epson only sells parts for the full head replacement. Has anyone successfully disassembled and reassembled the head assembly before?

Is it safe to assume that the parts cost on the head (not the parts+labor) makes it cost prohibitive to replace the head (and not chuck the printer)?


I’ve seen the odd R2880 show up on the Epson clearance centre for $350, and the R3000 for something like 550. They both use the k3 vivid inks. The R2880 uses smaller carts, but I think is easier to service. The R3000 has larger carts but is probably harder to service.

For the price of a new head, you could get a fully refurbished printer from Epson.


Not yet, but I have plans …

In short, yes. If you can get one. Maybe $1,000? You may not be able to. I believe that the R2000 uses the same DX5 print head, and if you’re the crazy gambling type and you can still find one on a cashback, you could buy one new and therefore cheap, remove the printhead, ditch the R2000, and put it in the R2880. There is a video around somewhere on the internet showing someone in Asia removing a brand new R2000 printhead, presumably because it’s worth more than the printer.

This is not a serious suggestion. I think you’re out of luck.

Thanks, Brian and Larry. A bummer, but sometimes that is reality. The real bummer is that I just bought the set of Cone Inks in a gamble, since my other carts had run out. Looking at prices of new (w/ rebate) vs used… it doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy used unless it is extremely cheap. And that means I wouldn’t use the same ink.

A few questions, if you don’t mind, regarding the R3880 vs P600 vs P800…

How does the head design vary on the 3880 vs P600 vs P800 for Pressure Feed, Teflon, etc?
Any word yet on P600 vs P800 vs R3880 Clogging? Specifically, I may sometimes go longer periods without using the printer… say 6 weeks, and at other times use it much more.
Do you know how much ink is consumed for routine maintenance items such as changing an ink cartridge between these printers: R2880, R3880, P600, P800?
Do you know when Cone inks will/carts be released for the P600 vs P800? Is it looking promising?

Right now (if you’re in the US) there is an Epson 1430 which can be switched to Cone’s pigment ink.

The choice you face is pretty much the exact same one that I struggled with for colour work. I have not seen answers to any of your questions. I think the 3880 & P800 heads are supposed to be the same, but mostly that seems just assumption and speculation.

Among those who use OEM inks, the 3880 has the reputation for being the most trouble-free printer that Epson ever made. Everyone wants to know whether the same will be true of the P800, given that the underlying technology appears to be just about identical. But no-one really knows, because it’s not clear why that printer was so reliable in the first place, when others are so problematic. Only time will tell. Nor is it clear how the P600 will perform, since the 3000 didn’t seem to have the same reputation as the 3880.

Putting aside the issue of whether OEM users are right or not about the 3880, IJM recommends printing regularly with these printers when using their inks. They’re not really suited to being left for extended periods without printing. The pigments tend to settle in the lines and you can waste a fair bit of ink and perhaps flush refreshing the ink lines. The problem seems to be a little worse for Piezography inks than colour, as the impact of settling is more noticeable, but the principle is the same.

I agree with Larry that If I was in your position I would opt for the 1430. It’s an inexpensive option that will allow you to use most of your CCP inks, so long as you use the CCP profiles. It’s a carts on head printer, so you can put flush carts in if necessary without too much waste and expense, and if you do leave the carts for too long, it’s not hard to drain them back into the bottle, agitate and refill. You’re missing out on LK and LLK, which would mean that it wouldn’t be a good option for B&W. You’d lose a little for colour work by not having LK & LLK, but I suspect not much. You could download the 1430 CCP colour profiles and simulate how much, if your monitor is calibrated for print.

It’s a right royal pain that Epson no longer makes a K3 carts-on-head printer, but thus it is.

p.s. If you’re not in the US, then be aware that US carts may well not work in your printer. You may need to source local carts, or at least local chips that you can put onto IJM carts or capsules. p.p.s This is a problem that seems specific to the 14x0 printers.

Thanks, Larry and Brian for all the information – very helpful. I’ll check out the 1430, though would really like the option of printing some nicer B&W’s, too. And yes, I’m in the US, so I should be fine on that front.

Given the price of the 1430 compared to the alternatives, you could buy two and use one for colour and one for Piezography and still be ahead, esp for surviving periods of only intermittent printing.

And if you check the Epson Clearance Center you’ll find 1430 for $199 & 3880 for $849.
the link to the 3880 is here:

If you are interested, you’d better act quick. The 3880s don’t last very long…

If you do go for an Epson refurbished model and wish to use their supplied ink for the initial fill, see if you can determine if the cartridges are actually full. Epson Canada actually sent me, in new sealed packaging, empty cartridges with my WP4530! When I asked for a replacement set, they sent me only one of the cartridges. They’ve been good about it, and are sending out the rest, but I don’t think they read their e-mail thoroughly.

Bottom line, try to visually check what you get from Epson refurbished as much as you can before setting things up.

Haha – okay, cool… thanks for the heads up.