Safe use of dummy cartridge

Dana’s video is excellent and I’ve seen many favorable references to it, not only here. Here’s the link: Epson small format printer maintenance - YouTube

I’m having some issues with clogging (doesn’t everyone?!) and have tried most of the tricks in the book. One procedure suggested in this video is one I’m reluctant to use. It’s the procedure using the dummy cartridge where cleaning fluid is forced into the print head. Several sources say this is very risky and that if you do use it to not press too hard on the syringe. There’s where I have trouble… even those who claim it’s effective say not to press “too hard”. Can someone help me with some sort of tip on how to know (aside from ruining the head!) my pressure is “too hard”? It all seems quite subjective.

Thanks all,


I am of the opinion that if you have a bad clog that doesn’t free up, install a flush cartridge, do power cleans or ink charges until the piezoflush comes out, then leave it. Do a nozzle check once each day and don’t switch back to the ink until it clears.

Piezoflush is great, but it is a balance between clearing out ink clogs and damaging the internals of the head (that’s why we don’t use ammonia or other strongly basic or acidic cleaners). I had an old R2880 that I was playing with. I could see the inlet ports of the nipples on the head manifold, and at least 1 or 2 of them were completely plugged with old ink. I suspect it had been stored without ink cartridges, or with empty cartridges. Either way, even leaving a flush cart filled with piezoflush for several days wouldn’t clear the plug. I was impatient and tried pushing piezoflush through and saw cross contamination of colours between nozzles, indicating I had ruptured seals inside the head. At this point I tossed the printer and gave the head to Brian to play with.

I’m still curious what would have happened if I had simply left the flush cartridges in for 6 months. But I’m like you now, nervous to force piezoflush through a head.

That said, are the missing nozzles always the same? Or do they move around? If you peruse the forums here, you will find that when missing nozzles move around, that’s air getting into the head, usually due to faulty carts. If the missing nozzles are the same each time, it’s a genuine clog.


I’ve had good results with the cleaning cart and the little syringe. How hard to push? That’s hard to say. In my experience you don’t need to use heavy pressure for the thing to work. If you find yourself needing to really give it a shove then you may need to consider plan B. If there is an unmoveable clog then, as Larry suggested, you can rupture the membrane between the channels, although reports of this are very rare.

It’s not clear who your sources are or what their experience is. I think it’s fair to say that many of the desktop users on this forum have successfully used the cleaning kit.

Thanks to both of you…

Larry: I’m realizing there’s one technique I’ve never used, and that’s using a flush cart. If it’s not too much thread drift, could you briefly tell me how to do that? Elementary I know, and if you suggest I search the forum I’ll be happy to do so! And I take your point on the difference between a true ink clog and “air” clogs. I should mention that out of 540 dashes in the nozzle check, I have only four empty dashes, and they are ink clogs. I don’t see anything foreign showing up in my prints… yesterday I did a 13x19 and it was very clean. I’m inclined to live with those empty dashes and they may just work themselves out.

BTW, and I should have said this in my OP, I’m talking about a black inkset for a 1400. I have to confess I’m using a competitor’s black inkset for my 1400. Having said that I hope I don’t get expelled! I appreciate this forum… I’ve ordered several sets of Inkjet Mall’s refillable carts here, a resetter and PiezoFlush. I know there are cheaper carts out there but I am confident that the quality control here surpasses the others. I also like the manual resettable feature. And most recently I’ve ordered a set of InkThrift CL carts for my 1430.

Brian: Your words on the rarity of damaging heads with the injection technique are reassuring… thank you!



Flush carts are just regular carts filled with flush solution rather than ink. Their main use is to hibernate a printer that’s not going to be used for a while. They can be used as Larry suggests for clearing a clog. The cleaning kit should get you there faster, whereas the carts can be left in to deal for a period of time to target a couple of intransigent nozzles.

When printing on paper (rather than digital negative) it would be rare to see the effect of one or two missing nozzles, so long as they’re not adjacent. Four would be pushing it, but it depends where they are. Walker from IJM has said that printing with genuinely clogged nozzles (rather than simply air in the system) risks damaging the head by burning out those nozzles. He is the only person that I heard say that and I’ve not read any first hand reports of if happening, but he’s seen more printers than the rest of us, so it’s a possibility that you should be aware of. Personally I have found air to be a bigger problem than genuine clogs with these desktop, carts-on-head printers, and for that head cleans can make the problem worse. Patience and purge patterns are usually better.

One reason I shy away from the little syringe idea is that I bought a cleaning cart with the syringe, and the syringe was so sticky that it would jerk as I pressed the plunger. I wasn’t too happy about that. The cleaning cart/syringe cannot be used on printers like the R3000 and R3880, as far as I know.

Brian’s instructions, I think, are pretty good, for using a flushing cart to clear a clog. I don’t think I need to add anything to that.


The discussion up to now has been for my 1400, its inkset is black and various dilutions of black. I think that printer is now under control. I’m going to try and avoid the forcing cleaning fluid technique and concentrate on purges, soaks, flushes, and time.

Now I’d like to switch to my 1430, which is set up with inkset EasyFill CL in the capsule and key configuration. It’s had both ink and air clogging and yesterday the K position nozzle check was totally blank. Cyan and Light Magenta patterns had several gaps. I did some purges of the K cart, they were almost totally blank. Last night I left a Piezoflush-soaked paper towel under the printhead and removed it this morning. I did a nozzle check and I got some improvements, fair patterns for the K position and the LM position. The paper towel was almost totally unused - I had previously done several shoeshines in real time so maybe I had already cleaned it pretty well.

Now I’m getting ready to use flushing carts in the 1430. The current Easy Fill key carts have version 6.0 chips.

I have two sets of refillables and not sure which ones to use. One is again 6.0 but as you can see the LM cart’s fill plug is in a different location from the others. This makes me a little dubious. I got these used from someone in a forum somewhere and they were recognized by my 1400, but I’ve never used them.

My other set has version 6.3 chips - what’s strange about these chips is that the only cart to list the ink code, ie 791R, which is code for the K cart. Seems I heard this version number sets up the K cart as the “master” and the others as “slaves”, or something like that. These also were recognized by my 1400 but never used them.

So, which set should I use? Can I damage anything by using the wrong version number chips?

Thanks, as always!


Just to finish off on cleaning, if you’re prepared to put towels under the head then I wouldn’t be too concerned about the using cleaning kit. It’s a useful weapon to have in the armoury for situations such as yours.

You need to get the attention of IJM to get answers to your latest questions. As they haven’t engaged with this one, it’s probably best to start a new thread, particularly as this is in effect a new question. To respond to your other new post, no, I’m not sure in which 14x0 forum.

From this post, Paul is saying that he gets these carts used from someone in a forum somewhere. I’m afraid if these carts on non IJM I can’t comment on them.

IJM carts are generally coded with their SKU which indicates position as well. Just from memory (it’s late at night for me right now), 791R (above) is for the K channel.

Edit. If they were recognized properly in the 1400 they will (should) work fine in the 1430.


Brian: You’re right, I should start a new thread. I tried but something went wrong, I’ll try again. [Edit: I see my new thread is up now.]

Walker: I take your point about commenting on a non-IJM cartridge. I can certainly understand your position. And yes, the 791R is indeed the black cart.

Thanks to you both,