Recurrent Cyan Staining


Hey all,

I’m having a beast of a time getting my setup running consistently. I have this cyan staining that keeps coming back to haunt me like a bad horror movie villain. Anytime my printer sits for a while it seems some new pocket of cyan ink will materialize to ruin my day.

This evening I printed some test charts hoping to illustrate what’s going on and ask if there’s anything else I can try to get myself straightened out?

Last Sunday I went through a thorough cleaning since I haven’t done that since installing Piezography inks. I broke out the piezo flush and cleaned the capping station and the print head following instructions on the net, then did a power clean, and printed a handful of images on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk. Followed those with a GO pass, and the images looked really nice.

This evening I turned the printer back on and generated a QTR test pattern. The cyan channel is clearly out to destroy me.

I then ran THREE 8.5x11 cyan purge pages in QTR before the page looked reasonably dark. The cyan channel looks much better in this test pattern, but still seems “cold” making me think that there’s still cyan lurking there.

I printed a couple of images on matte paper with poor shadow results and then followed with a gradient chart and here’s the result of that:

To my eye, everything in the 80 to 95 range looks similar and the dark black comes roaring in above 95. I imagine that’s the result of some persistent cyan staining not letting Shade2 get as dark as it can? I feel like there’s still some yellow sticking around too, or maybe that’s just the warm toned inks, but it keeps getting less noticeable.

This is how it goes every time I turn my printer off, and after everything I tried this evening I still can’t make a nice print. Wondering where I should go next?


Ok, lets start with a few questions:

1.I take this is a 3880, based on your sales history. BUT you have 2 different ink sets in your sales history, so is this WN OR SPED?
2.How long had your printer been used with Color inks before switching to PZK7?
3.Did you perform any type of cleaning on your Capping Station, Print Head and Wiper Blade recently?
4.Do you perform any Cleaning Cycles through the control panel before printing or running the purge image for the C channel?
5.Have you tried to leave your printer ON overnight, instead of shutting it off everyday?


Hi Kelly, thanks for getting back to me.

  1. I converted a 3800 using the WN. I used the SPED in a 1400 before and decided to switch to 3800 because I got tired of constantly refilling those tiny cartridges and because the 1400 didn’t like the thicker papers I like using with the 3800.

  2. I’ve had the 3800 for about 1.5 years. It’s been color for it’s entire life, including it’s previous owner.

  3. Last Sunday (10 days ago) I did clean the capping station, wiper blade and print head for the first time, thinking maybe my cyan problems were somewhere in there. I have a small bottle of the piezoflush and followed the cleaning instructions on the net. The prints I made that evening looked really nice. Yesterday I powered it up after a week of non-use and immediately ran the QTR test pattern and got that first image above.

  4. Yesterday I performed a power clean from the printer control panel between printing the first and second test charts. Is that the one cleaning cycle you’re referring to? I think I did that AFTER printing the cyan purge sheets, but I’m not totally sure.

  5. I haven’t tried leaving the printer on. I’ve heard that leaving it powered on might cause the print head to dry out so I routinely power down when I’m done with my printing sessions. Should I try that?


You have 2 options at this junction, they are:

1.You can invest in a flush kit, to include a cartridge and flush for the C & Y position (OR all 9 carts) and flush your lines of pigment for ever. You would essentially be DONE with this problem all together and you would have Flushing carts to store your printer with if you ever leave it sitting for more then a month. AND you would have them just in case you ever run into stubborn clogged nozzles.

2.You can continue in the workflow you are at presently, but instead of doing the qtr calibration image on start up, I would recommend running 2x cleaning cycles through the control panel until the stubborn staining gives up! This may take some time, because the printer has been used with pigment inks for quit a while, which means the lines and dampers have residual color staining. Cyan & Yellow are always the most stubborn

Have you evaluated a manual Nozzle check to see if the C channel is printing fully? Because as you pointed out your gradient doesn’t look right in the shadow range, this would be due to lake of density in your #2 position (cyan). You may have a clogged head in that channel, causing loss of density, which in turn is making the pigment staining more apparent.


I usually do a quick manual nozzle check before starting and have never really had any issues with clogged heads, so I feel fortunate in that aspect at least.

I think I may go with the first option and see how the flush kit works out. The Piezoflush is designed to break down residual ink, right? The frustrating part of this is not so much that there’s some hard to remove staining, it’s more that it keeps coming back. Like there are pockets of ink hiding somewhere that mix themselves back in when the printer settles.


I see a very cyan colored cyan channel in your “before” print, but also a bit of magenta and yellow staining in those positions as well.
What are the lot#'s and expiration dates of your Warm-Neutral ink bottles?

Please let me know, so we can help resolve this issue and get you happily printing.
Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:


Hi Dana,

I’m away from home for a bit so I can’t get all of what you need, but I did snap this photo before getting started a couple of months ago that shows the front label of most of the bottles. Are these the numbers you need?

The magenta and yellow channels were the worst initially but seem to be getting consistently less ‘colorful’ with time. I was starting to wonder if there was still really color staining or if that was just the ‘warmth’ of the warm neutral. :slight_smile: The Cyan channel for some reason seems to regress anytime the printer sits for a few days.

I saw in the newsletter today that you guys started a summer sale today. I may go ahead and pick up a Piezoflush kit just so I can really push the last bits of color out of all my lines.


Thanks. Unfortunately, the WN shade #2 bottle doesn’t have the lot# on the front label, can you photography or get the #s from the back label on that bottle?

Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:


OK, I’ll be away from home for another week, but I’ll get the label details to you after I get back.


Ok, please do let us know as soon as you get a chance so we can help you resolve this and get back to happily printing :slight_smile:


I am having the same problem as described in this post…did replacing the Warm Neutral Shade 2 ink solve the problem?


I’m on an Epson 7900.


Hi ronfaris~

I see we already determined your WN shade #2 was older and losing density, so sent you a replacement bottle on May 29th.
Have you received the new ink, drained the old ink from your Cyan cartridge, refilled with fresh ink (after shaking the ink bottle), then printed cyan purge sheets to get the new ink from cartridge to print head?

Please let me know- Dana


and smmcbride, I have sent you a replacement bottle of WN#2, and would like you to drain the old ink from your Cyan cart, then refill with fresh ink (after shaking the ink bottle) and print a few cyan purge sheets to get the fresh ink to the print head. For instructions on how to print single channel purge sheets, please go here for info and printable purge images:

Please keep me posted!
Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:


Hi Dana-

I did recently refill the cyan cartridge with the replacement ink and printed 5 full page purge sheets before the cyan tint was completely removed, I also cleaned the capping staging, printer and wiper. When I printed out the 21 step wedge it still was not linear with either the canned profile or my custom profile for Epson Velvet Fine Art. I just bought new paper and went thru the process again with the same results. Moreover I did not use the printer over the holiday and the cyan tint returned…I printed two purge pages and the problem was not resolved. I then shook the cartridge and printed another page and the cyan color disappeared but my 21 step wedge is still not linear when I measure with my X rite colormunki…any suggestions?


Hi Dana

I tried uploading the image of my 21 step linearization but kept getting and error so I’m sending it to you via email.


Hi Dana,

I went ahead and ordered a piezoflush kit last week just to really purge my printer. I got that running last night and here are the results after a couple of cleanings and resting overnight. Most of the channels seem well on their way to clearing out, but that Cyan is holding on for dear life! :slight_smile: I’m thinking I’ll just do a clean/print cycle each morning and evening and let the piezoflush work it’s magic until that’s all cleaned out if that makes sense.

I see a bit of blotchiness in the Black and Cyan bars. Does that look like something I should be concerned with, or is it maybe just ink staining in some of the nozzles.

Thanks for sending the new bottle of Shade 2! I’ll get that ink swapped out before I put those carts back in the printer. I still owe you the lot info on my old bottle. I’ll get that for you this evening when I get back to the house.



Hi Ron~

I have attached your latest linearization below. You wrote “Attached is an image of my linearization, printed using the QTR PrintTool and the custom profile on Epson VFA paper and measured using an X-rite Colormunki.”

Above, you wrote that you installed the fresh ink into your cyan cart and printed 5 purge sheets until the cyan color was gone. What size paper did you print the purge sheets on? With a 9900 model printer, I expect you will need to print about 5 13x19 purge sheets to get ink from cart to print head, and printing pure. If you printed smaller purge sheets, you may not have the fresh ink to the print head yet, which would explain why the cyan staining returned after a few days.

If your custom curves were made from targets that had lighter than normal shade 2, then you replaced your shade 2 ink with correct density, using the custom curve for a lighter ink would result in darker output with correct density ink.

Please let me know, thanks~ Dana


Hi Shawn~

I think flushing is a good idea, and you’re welcome for sending fresh ink. Please keep me posted!

Warmly~ Dana


Hi Dana
I’m using the QTR Print Tool (Im on a imac running Yosmite). My settings are Quadtone RIP 2800 unidirectional matt ink. )I printed 5 8 1/2x11 sheets to purge the cyan channel; I just did a nozzle check, which was good, and printed a sixth cyan purge sheet on Epson VFA paper (after the printer has set for another 3 days.). I do not see cyan staining in the purge street. I am reprinting the 21 step wedge for Colormunki (tiff images,No color management, embedded 2.2GG) using the K7-7900-WN-EpVelvetVFA custom profile you made for me and the x900-K7900-Epson VFA "canned profile customers can down load has part of the QTR curves, I let the paper dry overnight and then use the X-rite Colormunk to perform the measurements and linearization. The curves are still not linear–I will send to you…but I quess my first question is am I do the linearization correctly?