Solved: Epson 3880 MK-slot1 or PK-slot2 for K channel assignment in .quad profiles?

How can I determine which K channel ink slot (MK-slot 1 or PK-slot 2) for any of the .quad profiles for the Epson Pro 3880 will be used with that profile?

The standard piezography Epson Pro 3880 ink channel assignment calls for two different inks for the K channel; MPS in PK(slot2) and a matte black in MK(slot1). However, the .quad profiles specify just one K ink channel. (The other channels (C,LC,M,LM,Y,etc.) are each specific and self-explanatory.) Is there a way I can I determine from the .quad profiles which ink slot will be used? (MK-slot1 or PK-slot2) Is there a way to specify which ink slot in the .quad profile?

I’ve looked over the the QTR docs, the forum, the profiles, etc. but it’s still not clear to me how to determine this… I must be overlooking something really simple.

Hi John~

The 3800/3880 printers have two black cartridge chambers, but only use one at a time (shown on the printer’s LCD panel). The Piezography curves are designed to use the black channel for black/shade 1 ink, so you will need to be aware when using glossy paper and glossy curves, to have your printer in PK mode to use the glossy compatible black; and when printing on matte or rag papers, that your printer be in MK mode to use the matte compatible black.

Happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks Dana.

OK. So QTR+.quad profile does not or cannot set the 3880 to switch to PK or MK mode. Related question… When switching between PK / MK mode on the 3880 via the MENU MAINTENANCE > BLACK INK CHANGE, from your experience, does the printer purge the K line sufficient so the first print thereafter will be all PK or MK ink (i.e. none of the previous ink left in the line after the change to the new K ink)?

Thanks, John


I am having similar issues in regards to printing glossy images. Went to Menu > Maintenance > Black ink change, and did the change between MK and PK this morning. Then went into QTR, and choose Photo Paper, Photo Black ink and 3800-3880 MPS EPluster profile/curve. Made 3 prints of the same image, just to insure that all of the MK ink had been purged out of the line (as you mention). The prints look like they have been “solarized”, or some effect like that. I have no clue as to what is going on…possibly a profile issue? I’ve gone back to printing MK for now, until our/my issue gets resolved.


A black ink change is generally all you need to purge one black ink and get the other black ink flowing thru the print head, but you should ALWAYS print a nozzle check after doing a black ink change to make sure all positions are fully printing before printing a test image. If a channel isn’t fully printing after the black ink change, then your test prints will look strange (and solarized if the black or another channel isn’t printing at all).
When printing Piezography gloss, you must print the image with the glossy curve specific to your printer model, ink and paper combination, then dry the print and print an even layer of Gloss Overprint over the entire sheet to finish the print. If you don’t print the GO layer and just evaluate the ink print on paper, the results will look very strange- but printing the GO layer on top should perfect the print quality and eliminate any gloss differential and bronzing that may be present.

I hope this helps, please let me know if either of you have further questions or if there’s anything else I can help with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

From: “rick” <>
Date: March 4, 2013 1:05:02 PM EST
Subject: Gloss Overprint

Hi Wells! Keep this on the back burner for now, but this is a what the print looks like, after using only the Gloss Overprint.
The image itself was printed on Epson Luster paper, with my 3880, using the Epson K3 inkset. There was approx. a 3 hour delay,
before running it through the 3800 with the K7 inkset (including the Gloss Overprint)
The lead edge of the image is at the top, where you can see a 1/2" x 8-1/2" wide edge of black ink,
which then goes away for approx. 6", and then some black ink comes back in on the tail (approx. 3").

I did create a white 1"x1" square in Photoshop (300dpi), to use for the Gloss Overprint.

There has to be some connection between the GO and the black ink, as the black ink does not go outside of the parameters
set forth with the GO parameters (approx. 1/8" to 3/16" on all sides of the print).



Thanks for the follow through. After doing a nozzle check this morning, the PK “slot” was not printing at all. However, after 2 or 3 nozzle cleanings, the PK slot was back in business. Ran a print using the same parameters that I had originally used, which are the same parameters as you outline above. And this time, even with the PK slot showing no clogging, the images still looks awful…as in “problem awful”. I’m e-mailing the printed image to Wells…after it dries. You’ll see why the print needs to dry. There are blobs of ink sitting on the surface of the print. This is not the case when I run MK, and just to make sure, I’ve switched back to MK, and the prints look fine. Please get with Wells, and you will be able to see the issue that I’m dealing with. We’re not talking bronzing or metamerism…it’s some other anomaly.

With that said, the 3800 was destined to become the digital negative device (lucky for me), and so it will be. However, I will be transferring some of the same ink cartridges over to a NEW 3880. It will be at that point in time, that we will see if the same PK problems exist on that device also. My order for the missing digital negative shades will be arriving shortly. Once the NEW 3880 has the K7 inks in it, I’ll be pursuing the PK issue all over again. With any luck…there won’t be one. Is Murphy around?

Best Regards,

Hi Rick~ Wells forwarded me the emails and attachments you sent him regarding your glossy printing questions.

Please print a nozzle check on a piece of glossy paper (GO will only be visible on glossy paper, so printing a nozzle check on glossy paper is the only way to see if all the GO nozzles are fully/correctly printing). You should see 8 full positions of nozzles, with the GO position printing totally clear and only visible at an angle (to see the gloss). If there is any color or tint in the GO position, then there is likely still ink that needs to be purged in order to get the GO printing clear as it should be. It is also a good idea to clean your printer’s capping station, wiper bade and bottom of the print head to remove any waste ink build up that may have accumulated in those areas, which can get transferred to the paper during printing (and can also cause issues such as clogging or mis-firing nozzles, as well as smears or drips of ink on the paper during printing).

I hope this helps, please let me know your results or if you have further questions so I can help you get set up and happily printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks for the update Rick. Wells forwarded me your emails and attachments to review. The dark ink that is printing on and off with the GO layer, and black drips on the paper in PK mode makes me suspect you may have poor flow from one of your carts. Please remove and examine the refill carts, particularly the PK and LLK carts that are related to the PK mode and GO printing issues you’re experiencing. Please check to make sure the exit channel of all carts are at least 1/2 full of ink, and all carts have a small air gap in the top for proper ink flow. Check to make sure ink levels of all carts is similar, and none of the carts are dripping ink or have any other obvious issues. After checking these things, if everything is normal, please reinsert the set of carts and do the cleaning procedures I recommended in my last email, then print a nozzle check to verify all positions are fully printing, then print a test image and print the GO layer over the ink print. If you continue having poor results, please let me know the following information: Ae you printing form Mac or Windows? If Mac, are you printing form QTR Print Tool, Photoshop or from a different program? What is the exact name of the curve you are selecting in QuadTone RIP when printing Piezography gloss? What paper feed path are you using?

Thanks for the guidance. I’m not “up on” how to clean the capping station, wiper blade and bottom of the print head, but it appears that I will have to learn…will proceed with caution. Also, as mentioned in one of my emails to Wells, the PK issue may or may not be moving to a new printer. Before doing so, I will inspect all of the ink carts to make sure they are at least half full, and that they have a small air gap at the top. It had been my plan all along, to have the 3800 device become the digital negative device, and so…it is perfect timing. In theory, since the digital negative inkset only uses 5 positions, none of them being the MK/PK slot, the problem should go away. Since the new inks had already been ordered, and will arrive late Wednesday, I am planning on changing out both printers on Thursday, and will be putting the PK cartridge along with the GO cartridge, into a brand new Epson 3880 (which has already been pre-tested by myself, with the Epson K3 inkset, along with a head alignment). The new printer should eliminate the possibility of dirty capping station, wiper blade or print head. If the PK and GO issue move to the new 3880, one can only assume that it is the cartridges themselves…???

Best Regards, Rick

Ok, Let me know after you have checked all the carts, if you notice any abnormalities- or if everything looks normal, and you move forward with installing them into the new printer. Let me know if you need any help getting the first 3800 set up for printing Digital Negatives.

I have included the main cleaning procedures and link to our desktop maintenance video. You can preform all the cleaning procedures demonstrated in our video except the print head flush (because the 38xx and other Pro model printers have dampers over the print head, so it’s not easily accessible as it is in desktop models).

Keep me posted, best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

NOTE: Please watch our YouTube video on small format printer maintenance to see these two procedures preformed (as well as other cleaning procedures), here: [B][U][/U][/B]

Clean the capping station
This tip is easy to perform and often highly effective in fixing not only missing nozzles, but also any residual color you may see in a print shortly after installing a set of Piezography inks in a printer for the first time. This tip is especially helpful if you see a nozzle check pattern become worse after running more and more cleaning cycles.The capping station should be cleaned 1-2 times a month (depending on frequency of printing and the amount of cleaning cycles done) to keep the print head clean and working well.
The capping station is a rectangular flat sponge surrounded by a raised gasket. When the print head is in the “parked position,” at the right side of the printer carriage, the gasket of the cap presses against the print head, sealing it. One purpose of this is to keep the print head from drying out due to air exposure. The second reason is that the cap is used as part of cleaning cycles: the sponge in the cap is porous, connected to a small vacuum pump underneath. During cleaning cycles, ink is pulled or printed out of the print head, and the ink drains into the sponge, with help from the cap. The ink is then deposited on an absorbent waste pad inside the printer. Sometimes the sponge will clog up, due to dried ink, or due to paper fiber in the sponge, and this keeps the ink from draining out properly. The excess ink will then make contact with the print head, and transfer onto the print head’s nozzle surface. This can cause blocked nozzles, or can even cause the printer to print the wrong color, if leftover color ink is pulled back into the nozzles and printed out again.

Cleaning off the sponge and gasket of the capping station allows the print head to stay clean. This can often make an ink jetting problem disappear instantly. The steps for cleaning the capping station are listed below. Please note that certain printer models have two caps.*Pro model printers also have flushing boxes, which are square pads located to the left of the capping station- this pad should also be cleaned as waste ink is deposited there during cleaning cycles and drains down into the waste ink tank. If the flushing box pad is blocked by waste ink build up or dried ink, the ink will not drain thru correctly nor will cleaning cycles be as effective because the suction on the print head is restricted by the dirty pad. Flushing boxes and capping stations should be replaced every few years to get the best function and longest life out of your printer.

  1. Access the cap: Move the print head off the cap in order to inspect and clean it.
  • Desktop printers: Push the “ink change” button to move print head off the cap. Unplug the printer then move the print head to the left side to access the capping station on the right.*
  • 3000 printer: Unplug the printer, and manually slide the print head to the left side.*
  • 3800/3880 printer: Turn printer on, unplug printer when print head moves out of the right side during start up process then open the top lid and manually move print head to the left side to access capping station on the right.
  • Large format Epson printers: Turn off the printer and open the front cover. Press down on the spring loaded paper cutter located on the front of the print head, which will unlock the print head so it can easily be moved with your hand (release the paper cutter once the head is unlocked). Move the print head over to the left side to access the capping station + flushing box on the right.*
  1. Look inside the printer case, below where the print head was originally sitting, to find the cap or caps. A cap is a rectangular piece, approximately 1” high by 2” wide (the exact size varies from printer to printer). It is mounted on a spring loaded mechanism.
  2. Look at the cap, using a flashlight if necessary.*
  • It should be horizontal to the print path (depending if it’s a desktop or Pro model printer), not tilted at an angle. If it tilted, there may be a problem with the fixture supporting it. This can cause ongoing problems due to ink drying out in the print head. This problem usually requires the printer to be serviced professionally.*
  • The surface of the sponge must be flat, and sitting below the level of the gasket. Make sure that it does not bow up at all. Sometimes, the sponge will lift up in the center or an edge. When this happens the sponge will always contact the print head, and cause ongoing problems. Older model printers are more prone to this problem. Newer models have a metal grid holding the sponge down.
    4.*Clean the cap. Sometimes you may notice a buildup of residue or liquid in the cap or on the gasket; other times you will not. Use a drinking straw to deposit PiezoFlush solution or warm distilled water, or use the tube from the inside of a bottle of Windex to deposit Windex, onto the sponge. Use your finger to dispense only two or three drops of liquid at a time. The liquid will remain in the cap for a few seconds, but will soon drain out. Repeat this several times. Do not let the liquid spill around the cap, and into the printer, some model printers have important electrical components located under the capping station area and can be damaged by liquid (the 2100/2200 are especially sensitive to this).
  1. Fold a paper towel into a 4”x4” (10cm X 10cm) pad. Press the towel gently on the sponge to dab away ink and PiezoFlush, water or Windex. As you push on the sponge, gently push down and slightly to the right, to protect the spring-loaded mechanism that supports it. Pushing too hard, or pushing to the left can damage the capping station (and hence the printer). After dabbing several times, you will remove much of the liquid, but you can never remove all of it. Make sure the capping station returns to it’s normal position and sits flat for a correct seal with the print head.
  2. Dip a cotton swab (Q-Tip) in water, and use it to wipe gently around the edge of the capping station gasket, to remove dirt buildup there. Again, be careful not to push the capping station out of alignment. Take care not to leave any Q-tip fibers behind on the capping station sponge or gasket.*
  3. Return the print head to the parked position (on far right side), plug the printer back in and turn it on if necessary.* Run one or two print head cleaning cycles then print a nozzle check pattern. If the nozzle check pattern is better, but not perfect, do one or two more cleaning cycles and print another nozzle check pattern. If the nozzle check pattern continues to show missing nozzles, contact Inkjetmall’s support department for assistance.*

Scrub the bottom of the print head
Use this procedure to clean the bottom of the print head, where the nozzles are located. You will manually move the print head back and forth over a folded, wetted paper towel. This procedure can remove a buildup of paper fibers, dust and ink gunk that may not be removed by print head cleaning cycles. Use this procedure sparingly, and understand that it is the most invasive of the tips listed, in that it can damage the print head if performed improperly. A dry paper towel can actually scratch the print head, affecting its performance. Additionally, if there is any abrasive residue built up on the print head, this technique may either scratch the print head or else force a piece of solid matter into a nozzle, permanently closing it. However, if used carefully and in moderation, it can be a very effective cleaning technique, particularly on an older printer, perhaps one that has never been cleaned before, or one that has sat for a long period of time without use.*

  1. Get several Bounty paper towels and a glass of warm distilled water or a bottle of PiezoFlush. We recommend only using heavy duty paper towels when cleaning the inside of your printer because cheap ones easily tear and leave behind fibers, which can cause more problems.*
  2. Unlock the print head from the far right parked position:
    Desktop printers: Push the “ink change” button to move print head off the cap. Unplug the printer then move the print head.
  • 3000 printer: Unplug the printer, and manually slide the print head.
    3800/3880 printer: Turn printer on, unplug printer when print head moves out of the right side during start up process then open the top lid and manually move print head.
    Large format Epson printers: Turn off the printer and open the front cover. Press down on the spring loaded paper cutter located on the front of the print head, which will unlock the print head so it can easily be moved with your hand (release the paper cutter once the head is unlocked). Move the print head over to the middle of the printer to easily clean.
  1. Cut a paper towel in half and fold it lengthwise until the strip is about 1” (2.5cm) wide, by about 8 inches long.
  2. Lightly dampen the folded towel with Windex or PiezoFlush solution and flatten it between two fingers or on a table top.
  3. Push the moist folded paper towel strip in the black plastic channel beneath where the print head travels back and forth when printing. Push the edges of the paper towel down, especially the right end so the head doesn’t catch on the towel when slid over it.*
  4. Manually slide the print head over the right edge of the paper towel, trying not to slide or drag the towel as you do so. If it doesn’t slide over easily, don’t force it- move the head back to the right and flatten the towel edge to try again.*
  5. With the print head over the center of the folded moist paper towel, lift the two sides of the towel and gently slide it back and forth to clean the bottom of the print head- like shining a shoe.
  6. After two or three passes of the paper towel, let go of the paper towel and slide the print head to the far right, remove the towel, and if more cleaning is needed replace it with a new one, following steps 3-7 above. Two towels are generally enough to remove the majority of the debris on the print head. Additional towels will continue to turn black, but this is mainly due to ink from inside the print head, wicking onto the towel by capillary action.*Make sure not to rip the paper towel with the print head, as that could cause fibers or pieces to be stuck onto the print head.
  7. When you have finished scrubbing the print head, slide the print head to the far right and remove the moist towel, then use a clean, dry paper towel and Q-tips to clean up any liquid remaining in the black plastic channel.*
  8. Plug in the printer and run one or two cleaning cycles to remove any remaining paper fibers from the bottom of the print head. Then verify you have a perfect nozzle check pattern before printing.

The YouTube video is much appreciated, in regards to cleaning the capping station, wiper blade and print head. Hate to say it, but I have been totally unaware of doing maintenance on my printers. Have never had any real issues, so I never knew that there was a “preventative maintenance procedure”.
Thanks again for making the video.

Best Regards, Rick

1 Like

You are very welcome!! Maintenance is a routine part of keeping any machine working well and lasting a long time.

In thinking about “my situation” a little more, every day (if we stay at it) we deduce a little more. When I was poking around the 3800 this morning, and examining the carts, I remembered that when I was first loading up the carts with ink, and using the syringe with the tip to “prime” the cart, there was a cart that I attempted to remove the plastic membrane, which was covering the orifice, before fully reading and/or absorbing the directions. Even though I did not fully remove the plastic membrane, I may have damaged the cart. This only happened with 1 cart, and it just so happens that it was the PK cart. Could this be the root cause of all of the problems…??? With that said, I don’t want to put that “damaged” cart into the new 3880, so I am planning on ordering 1 new PK cart through the inkjet mall website.

Best Regards, Rick

Yes, this exit valve membrane is very important for keeping the exit valve sealed properly, if this membrane is punctured or removed, ink will leak out of the cart around the exit valve and make a mess of ink. You will need a new PK cartridge with a properly sealed exit valve.

Keep me posted, best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Not knowing the finer points of exit valve membranes, I don’t see any ink puddles in the actual PK slot of the 3800, once the cart is removed. One would think if there are no puddles, we could rule out a leaky exit valve. However, I went ahead and ordered a new cart anyway, as I’d like to “start from scratch” once the migration to the 3880 begins.

Best Regards, Rick


Ok, please keep me posted as you move forward setting up the new 3880 printer and switching the current 3800 for printing Digital Negatives.
~Dana :slight_smile: