Solved: Epson PX-5600 (R2880) carts practically impossible

I’m on a PX-5600 model Epson printer, the equivalent of the 2880 here in Japan. The carts installed and work well, and the color inks have been fantastic.

Problems: Initially, the ink level indicators read full upon switching to the reffil. carts. Great! But . . . there was no warning of impending need of refill, and the carts run completely empty. OK. Read manual, figure out how to refill, ensuring ink gets into the circle area of the cart using the vacuum method. That, however, is much easier said than done! In my opinion, the system is just flat broken.

When putting ink into the carts, it’s impossible to tell if ink gets into the circle chamber because the ink tends to bubble and makes a mess of the whole cart, thereby not allowing enough light to enter whereby to tell if the chamber is properly filled or not. I’ve many times put the cart back in the printer, thinking it was filled, and indeed it was not.

I’ve now tried many times to get the ink into the chamber, unsuccessfully. Once you’ve tried to fill and not gotten ink into the chamber, then you have to go through a pain in the butt process of trying to empty the cart completely so the vacuum method can be tried again.

Honestly, unless there is some good advice on how to make this process work better, I will be demanding some sort of compensation. It’s a shame, too, because the ink is good, and I really, really, really wanted the refillable ink cart system to work.

Thanks for any advice,

Edit: Just tried again, and the problem is “clear”. The vacuum method does fill the chamber, but only with bubbles that make it appear full. It is only apparent when peeling back the label from the opposite side that says not to remove. The system is just broken.

Edit 2: Well, perhaps these are cart malfunctions??? I inserted two Epson carts to replace the refillables, and continued my print job. Soon, two other refillable carts suddenly read empty, however, the circle chambers were not emptied, and normal refilling went smoothly and upon replacing, the carts read as full. Two carts, however, upon reading empty were entirely empty and no procedure has been able to get ink back into those chambers. Yes, in case one will ask, I am plugging the air vent hole using electrical tape, as per the instructions.

Hi Brent~ The refillable R2880 cartridges with a circle exit chamber do require the circle chamber to be at least 1/2 filled with ink for proper flow. To vacuum re-fill a cartridge that is totally empty (including the circle exit chamber), the air vent hole must be sealed closed (the fill hole plug works great for sealing the air vent hole to vacuum fill). It is important to shake ink bottles before drawing ink out to fill or refill carts, but it can be helpful to let the shaken bottle sit for a few minutes to allow the froth to settle before opening it and drawing ink out- this will help you get consistent color/density ink, but with less air. It is normal and perfectly fine for there to be some air in the circle chamber, it only needs to be about 1/2 filled with ink for good flow. It is also fine for a small air pocket to remain unfilled in the body of the cartridge (it’s impossible to completely fill the carts with ink). After the cartridge has been refilled with ink, insert the plug back into the fill hole and open the air vent hole. Gently tap the filled cartridge exit valve down on a folded paper towel a few times to force ink down and air up, then insert the cartridge into your printer and wait about 10 minutes before doing a cleaning cycle or printing a nozzle check. Many people have more than one set of carts, so they are always prepared with a filled set on hand for quick and easy cart replacement, then refill empty carts later when they have more time.

The circle chamber refill carts work very well, though the current refill carts we have for the R2880, R1900 and 1400/1430 no longer have circle chambers, therefore do not need to be vacuum filled. Both model cartridges work very well.

The chips on your R2880 refillable carts should track ink levels just like an Epson cartridge, and tell you when a cartridge is low or empty (so you know when the refill or replace the cartridge). These auto reset chips are designed to reset the ink level of a single cartridge when that cartridge reads empty by the printer, is removed, refilled with ink, and reinstalled into the printer. Upon reinstalling the filled cartridge, the printer will read it as full again. We have chip resetters available for people who prefer refilling several carts at the same time (like me). If a cartridge is totally empty when the printer indicates it needs to be replaced, then I suspect it may have not been completely filled in the beginning. Our refillable cartridges hold more ink than a standard Epson cartridge, so there should still be ink in the circle chamber when the printer indicates a cartridge is empty.

I hope this helps, please let me know if there’s anything further that I can help you with.
Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana, and thanks for your help.

Unfortunately, what you offered did not quite do the trick. Essentially the only difference from what I was already doing and your advice was to use the ink fill hole plug instead of tape to seal the air vent (I wanted to try that but eyeballing the hole it appeared too big for the same plug . . . glad I was wrong, it’s much better to use the plug than fooling with tape). As a last resort, however, I tried the only other thing I could think of. What appeared to be the problem was that air was being drawn into the cartridge even though the vent was plugged (or taped). The only other logical place that would happen, discounting a damaged cartridge, was the ink exit valve (the one variable that was not the same as a fresh cartridge with a taped/sealed exit valve). So, I plugged the air vent hole AND [I]taped the ink exit valve[/I] and . . . the chamber filled as it was supposed to.

But . . . there is always a but. After congratulating myself on my success, I noticed the cartridge was leaking quite a lot :frowning: I was going to set it on some paper towels for a while, but was a little concerned that it may just wick out the ink that I had finally gotten in it. I gently placed the cart in the trash because it seemed the leak was rather profuse and it was a lost cause. Later, however, I checked to see how much ink had been lost from the cart and it appears, from looking inside the cart itself, none. I now have the cart sitting here to see if it will continue to leak, and it indeed appears to have stopped. My guess is that there is some room between the exit valve and some inner seal that had gotten filled with ink and then it, naturally, flowed out. It seemed like a lot, though, and continued for at least an hour, it seemed.

Anyway, thanks for reading my story, and I wrote it so that I could ask your opinion about the following:

Do you think the cart may be damaged?

If the cart does not continue to leak (as it isn’t presently), do you think it will be safe to install and use it when my Epson cart runs out (that will be a while, it’s cyan and I do mostly B&W/Sepia toned printing)?

Is it normal for a cart that is REfilled using the vacuum method to leak from the exit valve?

Is it possible the leak has stopped simply because the ink has clogged inside the exit valve, and the cart will be useless anyway?

I understand that not all of these questions are able to be answered with certainty; I just want your professional, experienced opinion.

Thank you,

Hi Brent~ Thanks for the update. I reviewed your order history and see your carts are over a year old. Based on your explanation, it sounds like the exit valve isn’t fully sealing closed, which is allowing ink to leak out. This could happen over time if pigment particles dry in the exit channel, preventing it from fully closing and sealing. You could try cleaning the exit valve carefully to see if seals after cleaning, though based on the age of your carts and the fact that the new carts don’t have circle chambers (therefore no need to vacuum fill), you may prefer using fresh carts.
I hope this helps, please let me know if there’s anything further I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile: