I have an R1800 and an R800 (bought before I knew that the R1800 was about to be released). Both of these printers worked well once, but increasingly gave me clogging trouble. Before I knew about IJMall and Piezo-flush, all I knew to do was clean the heads as Epson recommends. A small fortune in ink purchases ensued, and the printers got very ink-y. Clogs were a constant hassle, and eventually, I gave up and let the printers sit unused. Yes, they are old, and probably I should have given them away or trashed them. I have had access to 3800 and 4900 in recent years, anyway, but that won’t always be true.
Over the last month, I bought two sets of IJM empty carts, a flush kit, waste ink bottles, and Piezo-flush, hoping both to clear the heads on the R-printers, and then store them with flushed heads and PF carts installed when I wasn’t printing for a while. I have managed to clear the heads. But I am now forcibly reminded of how these printers suck the ink through. Yeowch! IJM sells no ink except Piezography monochrome inks for these, and I’m sceptical of inks from other 3rd party vendors. I seem to be stuck in the Epson universe, at $13-18 per cart. In a new set of carts, used to make less than a dozen prints, mostly 5.5 X 8.5 or smaller, and a few nozzle checks, the printer is already claiming one cart is empty—solid red light. You have to do a couple of head cleanings just to push ink into the head and push out the PF, which must use a bunch of ink. But I can tell by the weight that it probably has at least 30% left.
Somewhere on this site (?), I saw a discussion where it was suggested that we keep a fresh, unused or little-used cart on hand (in each color) and that by inserting it, and pressing the ink button, and then removing and replacing it with your still-ok cart, you could reset/fool the printer into accepting the older cart. Maybe I have this wrong. Is there ANY way to fight the incredibly high cost of just trying to own and maintain these printers—and make a few prints in the bargain? Or should I scrap the R800, save the both sets of IJM carts, convert the R1800 to Piezography, and give up on the color option? Maybe I should trash them both. I’m feeling pretty stupid about trying to rescue these old printers.
There’s nothing stupid about trying to clean/revive an old printer- I’ve successfully done it many times
With the R800/R1800, the printer tracks and estimates ink levels of the carts by reading the cartridge chips. When the cartridge says it’s empty, there is still ink inside (to avoid it from running totally dry, and sucking air into your print head). If you want to try to squeeze the last bit of ink out of your carts, I recommend trying a chip reset to manually reset the chips. When you reset a cartridge chip, it will read full again in the printer (so you will have to keep track of this, and be aware the carts will run dry at some point). As you know, we don’t have color ink for these models (only Piezography).
Somehow, I thought that Epson carts could not be re-set with a chip setter, but that your carts could be. Now that I know the truth, I wonder: if I re-set a cart and it does run dry, will I harm the head in addition to losing a print? Assuming that I won’t cause harm to the printer, I’m inclined to weigh full, new Epson carts, and a few truly empty ones, and then establish a minimum weight for each cart that includes a small amount of ink remaining. My assumption is that Epson’s system really does leave more ink in the carts than is really necessary, but I realize full well that many users would not go to the trouble that I would. I also assume that all the pigment carts for the R800/1800 would weigh the same, but I could make a chart for each color…and it would not surprise me if the gloss optimizer cart were a tiny bit lighter (?) than the others.
Does this sound like a viable way to contain costs on these expensive-to-run printers?
Air is bad for the print head if there’s a lot of air (you make many prints with empty carts) and/or the air exposure is for an extended period of time (if you let the printer sit for days without carts installed, or empty carts afar printing air thru the print head). A small amount of air for a short period of time is usually not an issue, but you will want to stop a print job as soon as you notice a color has dropped out (indicating the cart is totally empty), and install a new cartridge in it’s place. You will likely have to do a cleaning cycle or two to get ink flowing thru the print head channel, and get a good/full nozzle check again.
I’m not sure of the full vs. empty weight of Epson carts, and am not sure if there’s a weight difference between ink and GO.
It’s not really an option with the R800/R1800, but I know many people who collect “empty” Epson carts from pro model printers, and drain the remaining ink from them to use in our refillable carts. Also, if for example you have a Pro 3880 and R2880 (which both use the same ink), ink saved from the “empty” 3880 carts can be used in refillable carts in both printer models. It’s not so easy, and you don’t get much ink from “empty” desktop model carts, as they contain such little ink to start with (usually 12-20ml, depending on the model cart).
Once again, Dana, I’m so grateful for this info. I’m going to do some experimenting with cart weight, and I’ll report if I find anything helpful in the practice. It’s good to know that a brief period of air exposure is okay. I would certainly put a new cart right in if/when the older one is truly dry. Sooner or later, a new printer is in my future, just so that I can use IJM ink!