Solved: problem with 3800 refillable carts (older style)



In searching the website support section for help on my current problem, I see that InkjetMall is now using/selling a different type of refillable cart for the 38xx printer, and that there is no information at all regarding the older style that I have.

So first some brief background: I initially installed this system in my 3800 in order to run ConeColors a little over 2 years ago in December of 2010. The initial setup was marred by what turned out to be bad control chips, but Dana sent replacements and life was good. I used it for a month or 2, but found the profiles to be not quite right. I did not want to spring for custom profiles at that time. When a job for a client came along requiring more accurate color fidelity than I was getting at that point, I switched back to OEM inks and that is how it remained until a week ago. Having run out of the last of the OEM inks I had on hand, and having just moved my studio to a new location and with no client jobs on the near horizon, I decided it was a good time to try the ConeColors again. I have plenty of ConeColor ink on hand and am not averse to using plenty to get this dialed in. I also now have the ability to make my own profiles.

This 3800 has performed almost flawlessly for the almost 5 years I have had it, rarely needing a cleaning cycle even after long periods of inactivity. (Wish I could say the same for my 7600, but that’s another story.)

To cut to the chase, after going through the setup procedure, I find that I am only getting ink to the head in 4 of the 8 channels. MK/PK, C, M, and LM are delivering ink. LK, LLK, LC, and Y are not. I went through the 3 Power Clean cycles as instructed to charge the lines with new ink and flush out the old. No love. I disassembled the machine, checked the head for obstructions, etc., cleaned the lines, dampers, capping station, and wiper with piezoflush, reassembled, recharged, retested … no change. Exactly the same as before except that now (since the lines have been cleaned) I can actually see that 4 of the lines are empty of ink. Last night drifting into sleep it occurs to me that obviously ink isn’t getting through the valves into the lines on those 4 channels. I can think of 2 possible causes: those carts are not pressurizing, or the valves are blocked. This morning I tested those hypotheses. Pressure is there just as in the working channels, but I am unable to pull ink through the valves with a syringe. I can pull ink through the valves of the channels that are working.

So does this mean that the valves on the carts in question have failed? If so, can they be fixed? (When I first switched back to the OEM carts, I drained the remaining ink from these and cleaned them with piezoflush and distilled water.) Will replacing the carts solve this problem? Or is it something deeper and more serious? I don’t mind buying a new set of carts if that will solve the problem and get this machine running again.

Sorry for being so long-winded, and thanks for any assistance.

~ Keith


Hi Keith~

From your explanation, I believe the refill cartridges dried out over the nearly 2 years of being stored out of the printer. Did you have them out in the open air, or sealed in ziplock bags to prevent drying?

It sounds like your printer is working well, but the dried carts are restricting ink flow in a few positions. In this case, I recommend you get a new refill carts, which as you know are a different design from what you bought years ago, are comparably easy to use and high quality like the past model carts. I suggest getting the whole set of new model carts, though you can fill and use only the positions you need at the moment, or install the whole set of new carts at once (which is best, but not required).

Once you get the ConeColor inks/carts installed and all positions fully printing (which I will certainly continue helping you with), and have made a few test prints, if you are not satisfied with the color output, I would be happy to make you a complimentary custom profile to test and see if it perfects your output, then move forward from there if you need additional profiles for other papers, etc…

Please let me know if you have questions or if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


Hi Dana,

Thanks for the advise and the offer of help with the profiling. I have just placed an order for a new set of carts. When I removed the existing set of refillables, I did not anticipate that they would be out of the printer for longer than it would take me to complete the job that I had to switch back to OEM for. Then one thing after another and I never got around to switching back to the CCs until now. The carts were cleaned thoroughly but not stored in ziplocks.

I’ll report back when the new carts arrive and I get them installed.

All the best,


Sounds great Keith- please keep me posted and let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


Hi Dana,

Carts arrived, but there are no “priming tips”. I didn’t order syringes because I have plenty that came with previous cartridge sets but that I never needed previously. I was not aware that the priming tips were not included, and can’t find them on the website at all. So, is there a way to improvise a tip for priming?

Wait, wait, never mind. I just watched the video and see that “priming tips” are not used. Might be a good idea to edit that part of the instructions (item 5) to remove reference to priming tips.

Can ConeColors really be used concurrently with OEMs? I’d love to be able to use up my remaining Epson inks while gradually making the switch back to the full ConeColor set. I suppose this approach could cause profiling problems.

Also, is there really no way to reset the counter for the maintenance tank on this printer like you can on the larger machines? I did find a maintenance mode accessed through the panel buttons, but it is limited to just a few functions and does not include what I was hoping to find. Replacement tanks for this printer are only about $20, but the chip resetter is almost $100. It doesn’t make much sense to go the resetter route since the tanks last me about a year.



There are two priming methods that will work for the 3800/3880 carts. The side port procedure (demonstrated in our video) was what the cartridge manufacturer instructed us to do, and the procedure with the priming tip as explained in the written instructions is our modified procedure after much use/testing of these and many other model refill carts (we now use these priming tips with all large format carts). Both priming procedures wok well, but we feel the latest one in the written instructions is quicker, easier and cleaner (less chance of an accidental ink mess).

Yes, you really can instal one ConeColor ink/refill cart at a time as your Epson carts empty, and continue using the Epson profiles to get great results :slight_smile:

We haven’t bought waste ink tanks for YEARS- which equals huge $ and waste savings!!! The only way I know of to reset and reuse the 3800/3880 maintenance tanks is by resetting the chip, using the maintenance tank chip resetter as per our instructions.

Best regards and happy printing~ Dana :slight_smile: