SOS - Missing ink on one line after piezo flush init fill - Epson 9900


#1

Hi there,

Well, it seems I really need your help there.
A week ago I had my Epson 9900 serviced by a technician in order to change the whole dampers unit, and also the cleaning station unit. So far I had never had missing nozzles in the checks, just misfiring ones from time to time but nothing serious. We printed some three or four nozzle checks right after the service, and all seemed good.

The day after I installed the Piezoflush carts (that I already used in the past when loading the piezo inks) and I made one init fill. I left the machine off for a week, leaving the piezoflush inside of the machine.

Today, I decided to perform a second init fill, in order to completely clean the machine and the head. I do not know whether this will have any implication, but I will mention that ink came out of the maintenance cart because it was too full! I had a bucket below and cleaned the mess right after…

After this second init fill made a week after loading the printer with piezoflush, the first nozzle check showed quite some gaps in the nozzles of several inks. Right after a few more nozzle checks, I saw that all the inks quickly printed perfectly with piezoflush, but with the exception of the 7th position of the nozzle check (LB, right?), which went from printing a few lines to printing none at all.

To my surprise, when I checked the ink lines, I saw there was zero (nada) ink in one of the ink lines!

I checked the cart of LK, and I saw the ink level had gone down MORE than the other carts. In other words, even if there was no ink in the tube, the piezoflush had been leaving the cart! I decided to rule out a problem with the cart, and so I changed the LK cart for a spare new cart with a brand new LK chip (that I fixed myself). I filled it with new piezoflush and I made a second init fill. The ink line did never got any ink into it.

I checked the LK cart and again I saw that the piezoflush level was going down!

At this point I will have to leave the printer for a week off (I am leaving) and I will avoid printing any check or anything at all (not to fry the head on the LK since there is no liquid apparently reaching the head). However, I do not know what to do?

The serviceman changed the pump but if the pump was malfunctioning I suppose TWO inks would be missing in the lines, not one. The other hypothesis is that the LK damper was defective in the new selector unit, and maybe is blocking the piezoflush to pass through? However, this hypothesis would not explain why the piezoflush level is actually going down in the LK cart.

Another hypothesis I tried to rule out is that the missing line does not correspond to the LK (seventh position on the nozzle check) but maybe another cart, if the guy by mistake inserted the ink likes in the wrong sense when connecting them to the head again? I saw on the lines that that tube with no ink was coming from the right (right cart pannel then) and I also see that the line with no ink is the first in the cluster… So I also tried to change the Magenta cart (which is the first in the row of carts to the right door) for a new one. Did the same, init fill, no results.

So, basically, after 3 init fills today, I have been draining the piezoflush and nothing is coming to that tube line. It seems to me quite a coincidence that the problem has appeared right after the service. I also have to mention that these is a whole different set of carts, but I already used them in the past for piezoflush and never had any problem. I also changed 2 out of the 10 for brand new (LK and Magenta, as explaineda above), same results.

When I come back in a week I will also be here for another week, before leaving for a month or so. So I am not only tired, frustrated and depressed, I also fear that if I do not solve this problem quickly when I come back, the printing head might go bananas and then I will have a bigger problem!

To accompany this story, you can download here the files of images showing the problem:

That being said, and to end this post, I suppose my problems with my printer, at a cosmic scale and considering the problems most of the human population out there is having on this planet is quite minute.

But anyway, it would be really very much appreciated if someone can help with this.

At this point, I am seriously considering to embark on manual caligraphy on papyrus rather than inkjet…

Cheers,

Rafael


#2

I will add another question to the original post… Based on the fact I got to see some lines of piezoflush printing on the LK channel before it went completely empty, I guess it is right to assume that the piezo ink left completely the head and that piezoflush got to reach the head? If that is correct, then I suppose the risk of drying piezoflush in the head where there is missing liquid is not that big? What I am trying to know is whether the risk of having the head damaged (clogged) is real or not, taking into account the piezoflush (apparently) reached the head…

Cheers,

rafael


#3

One of the lines is unused. There are 11 inks, but 12 lines on the 9900 (K, MK, LK, LLK, C, LC, M, LM, Y, O, G).


#5

Another update: after a few nozzle tests and a couple of power cleanings… the nozzle tests are now showing 4 or 5 channels with unfiring nozzles (2 of them totally blank and the others with just a few lines firing, all the rest gone) and they seem to be stable. That is, after one or two cleanings the nozzles not firing remain the same as I print nozzle test patterns… This is the first time it happens to this printer since I have it.

I am quite puzzled. I have never had more than 1 nozzle misfiring in the past when using epson inks and then with piezo inks, and when one did, it was only for one nozzle test and then it was gone in the next one. And now, after changing the whole dampers unit, replacing the whole cleaning station and doing a few init fills with piezoflush all nozzles seem to go bad? Was not this supposed to be just the contrary?

Thanks in advance for any help with this. Dana and Walker, please come to the rescue!

Regards,

rafael


#4

Thanks for the info! Well, I had no idea one of the ink likes were empty on this machine! Well, that might tell that the problem remains at the head only and that indeed piezoflush has been passing through the head all these init fills. If that is the case, then the problem should be related to air in the system? I have been taking carts in and out for a while, and then perfoming some other init fills…

Or maybe the missing channels are related to nozzle clogging due to pigments that could have been disolved by the piezoflush during this last week, and then carried onto the head during the second init fill I did today?

Whatever the reason, after these series of initial fills, I just run one power clean, then another nozzle test and 2 other channels are now missing, while the one that was missing is now printing a few lines!

I have been doing 2-3 power cleans and the results worsen… some other channels that were printing all good, now are almost gone. The missing nozzles of the LK channel are now coming and going… See image here below showing the progression:

At this point, I am starting to think that maybe the fact of making init fills and taking out and in the carts are introducing air in the system? Maybe the solution is to leave the ink settle and perform some other power cleanings after some time?

Is it common to have these problems when installing again piezoflush?

Thanks so much in advance,

Rafael


#7

Hi Walker,

Thanks so much you answer me during your weekend. i really appreciate that very much Walker.

I understand now why as i made a couple of more init fills (and as the carts were getting emptier) the other channels started to display equal missing nozzles. At this point, only four channels are printing well. So it would seem air is the culprit…

-I assume that if now several channels are having problems, id better top up ALL carts with liquid and perform another init fill rather than individual CL3?

-If i go the distilled water and T20 route, (cheaper) i need to get rid of the carts content and put back piezoflush 100% once the air problem is solved? Or can one leave the dilluted piezoflush +T20 +water as for long term Storage?

Otherwise, I think i might have still remaining piezoflush to eventually replenish the problematic cartsand use pair channels CL3 cleaning…

-is my head safe if unused for a few weeks in this configuration ? In other words, even if there is air in the lines, as all traces of ink were exchanged by Piezoflush by now (you bet after 4 init fills!) can the head be left alone for long term storage at this point without it permanently clogging? That is the main reason for my « panic » since i a will be leaving soon for a trip to US! My main idea was to leave the printer serviced, piezoflushed and ready to stand by for a couple of months…

THANKS again


#6

Dear @rafaelrojas. Sorry for not replying until now. I am not at work Friday-Sunday.

I think you need to do this.

  1. Top off your piezoflush carts with distilled water (only distilled, no other water).
  2. Put a tiny bit of PhotoFlo or Tween20 in there (a few drops of concentrate per 350mL of fluid). This keeps the liquid from sticking to any internal parts of your printer. This fluid will be dilute piezoflush but you are just trying to get rid of air block at this point.
  3. Prime your carts again and put them in. (reset chips too).
  4. Run a CL4 cleaning on just the LK channel pair (this will essentially do an initial fill of just that channel.)
  5. While you do this keep a lookout on the ink line that has no ink it in (this is the one next to the bigger air pressure line).

Most likely what happened was a combination of air introduced during the damper replacement + low piezoflush carts that aren’t able to get the correct amount of air pressure to the lines. The lower a cartridge the less pressurized the ink is. It’s important to do initial fills with full carts. Printing with a low cart is usually fine, but not initial fills.

best,
Walker


#9

Hi Walker,

I just arrived back to the studio and proceeded as you said. I topped two cartridges with distilled water and 5-6 drops of T20 (10% solution) and proceeded to perform a CL4 cleaning. I saw that the amount of liquid being consumed out of those two carts was way better than that drained through an init fill… The results were not better on the nozzle check. However, one of the previously faulty channels repaired itself alone! (without having being filled up).

I decided to take all carts out, refill them with a bit of Piezo flush and some distilled water, 5-6 drops of T20 at 10% on each, prime them, reset them and install them back into the printer.

At this point, I introduced back all the topped carts into the printer, and switched it off. I intend to leave it overnight for the carts to settle down, and perform an init fill tomorrow morning.

Any suggestions-instructions at this point?
What did you mean by “While you do this keep a lookout on the ink line that has no ink it in (this is the one next to the bigger air pressure line)”

After performing the init fill, do I just perform a few nozzle checks until I see some improvement?
If not, would some cleaning (CL1 to CL4) be needed?

I want to prepare the printer to sit down until I order the PiezoPro inks for this printer…hopefully with all channels working now, since otherwise it might be too risky to spend all that money on PiezoPro inks without knowing first what the hell is going on with the printer head!

Thanks in advance and kind regards,

Rafael


#8

Start with CL4 to see if you can get the LK.

Up to you. If only for a few months, you are fine with dilute.

It’s actually ok in this situation. PF does not hurt the head even in semi-active state although it’s always better to have liquid in there.

-Walker


#10

Good.

Your LK. Is this the line without ink? The air pressure line is the bigger line next to it.

If the init fill does not work (aka, you see ink going down in the carts but still no dice on nozzles, this means something during the first initial fill de-laminated the channel. This usually indicates a bad cleaning assembly.

I agree. If the cleaning assembly is going, it could damage the head more. Hopefully your head is fine now. The initial fill should do its job tomorrow fingers crossed.

-Walker


#11

Hi Walker,

Update …
This morning I performed the init fill. I measured the amount of ink in all carts, and I would say a smaller amount of ink went down on them compared to the first init fill I performed when I first loaded the piezoflush carts days ago… This time, around 0.8 cm of liquid went down on all carts , with the exception of the LK cart where almost double went down (1.5 cm).

Something important, that will make me look stupid: The air line that appeared empty was indeed the air pressure line. That means my initial thoughts about one line not showing ink were wrong. All lines have had ink on them since the beginning!

Otherwise, coming back to this morning: I did the init fill and left the machine idle for a while. Then I performed a nozzle check, ( I did 4) and I saw, in general, that the situation not only did NOT improve, but degraded. It is true that some of the ink channels that were showing missing nozzles did improve (1 or 2), but another 4 got worse. At this point, only 4 channels are clean with all nozzles printing, while all the others are showing from 5 to 70% of the nozzle lines.

I performed a couple of CL4 for a pair with missing nozzles, and the situation did not improve. Then a general powerclean, and nothing.

At this point, I do not know what else to do. Another init fill topping the carts again?
Before having the technician changing the dampers and cleaning unit I never had a missing nozzle with the Piezo inks. Now that I had the pieces changed AND I loaded the machine with the new carts with piezoflush, nothing seems to go. Do you think the piezoflush carts could have created this problem?

I repeat something important: When I first made the nozzle tests after having made the first init fill with piezoflush, only one channel was totally missing, the other were all perfect. It was when I performed several init fills with not-full carts that the problem propagated to the other channels. Then, some of the missing nozzles came and went, intermittently. During all these last operations, some blank areas on some nozzles are coming back to life, while others are going blank. What I am trying to say is that not all nozzles that go off do it forever. Some of them come back, and then go blank again. Another interesting pattern to observe is that init fill, even when the carts are full, seems to worsen results? Again, all ink lines in the printer seem full and were always full (my initial fear of one line totally empty was wrong, since I was looking at the air line!).

Do you think air is the culprit here? If there is any chance the problem can go away, please let me know.
Otherwise, let me know what you would tell the servicing company in case the problems can be attributed to the change. It looks to me a big coincidence, right? The only thing is that if I call them here, the first thing they are going to do is to swap all carts for new Epson ink ones… just to test! Quite a tricky situation, when I have a pending invoice to pay them of 1’000 USD for a service that killed my machine :frowning:

Suggestions, advices and moral support very welcome please.

Thanks again for your support Walker. Printers look indeed like the weak link in the chain… geez…

Rafael


#13

Hi Walker,

I have contacted the technician and he will be coming to eventually change the cleaning assembly…
Do you think it might have something to do with the dampers or the O-rings that he changed in there?
Whatever insight you might have concerning possible reasons will be useful. I just wonder whether I might order more piezoflush in order to have liquid enough for eventual successive init fills… At this point, I fear the technician might need to load the printer with a whole new set of Epson carts to test things?
Right now I have around 1’4 liters of Piezoflush (pure) and all carts almost filled with diluted piezoflush…
I would have preferred to order the piezoflush with the new Pro inks… but now that I have to wait to order the inks for the 9900 or if nothing works the 9880, I would prefer to wait. What do you think?

A final question is: If some of the missing nozzles come back and then leave, does that exclude the possibility of the head being progressively damaged? I guess if the head is being damaged, then the missing nozzles would be go missing for good… or not?

I hope the servicing company will do a good job now…

While I am waiting for this issue to clear out, I will prepare mentally for the worse. If the 9900 goes nuts and things get bad, would the 9880 with pro inks perform as well as the 9900 for digital negs with the Pro inks and the new driver? Would the missing pro inks on the 9880 model compared to the 9900 produce negs of less quality or not at all? Does the 9880 demand also the dampers and cleaning unit to be changed every two years like for the 9900? Based on my experience now I think I will be quite afraid of changing those in the future…

Thanks again for everything. Man, I just want to get over this and print bloody negs with your beautiful inks!

R


#12

I think your cleaning assembly is causing more problems that it should be. Something happened during this recent servicing that is making the pressure-pump/dampers/cleaning assembly not work. I don’t think it’s carts at this point if other channels that were printing fine are also dropping. I think the cleaning assembly is actually causing air to get into your nozzles.

It’s not fun. These printers are certainly the weak link. IMO, once Piezography Pro is introduced into a system and is working, I think it should stay like that. It really never clogs even after months of downtime (unlike Epson ink or any color ink really). Messing with carts/dampers/pumps (aka printer guts), this is what kills printers. So many variables at play even as simple as a slightly miss-aligned o-ring where the ink lines connect to the ink damper.

-Walker


#14

Walker,

The technician is coming in 4 weeks and they will change again the cleaning station AND the whole damper unit. Do you think a faulty damper unit can cause these problems i am experiencing?

Another thing i saw is the whole right hand side series of carts did not reset correctly when i used the resetter (i got blinking green light rather than green solid and thought it was ok). As such, the right half of the carts were reading almost empty when i launched the init fill, even if they were full. Do you think that might have caused the init fill to stop before finishing in maintenance mode, or affect the pressurization of the carts? If yes, i might try to launch another init fill now that all carts have been properly resetted.

Otherwise, i would be really grateful if you tell me what would be your strategy in this situation in order to lead the serviceman in the research of the problem. I fear the eventuality that the head has been damaged due to their service, but that they might change the cleaning station and dampers unit again, see it not working yet and incorrectly assuming the problem was not theirs! And yet, the printer was working perfectly before the service and not now anymore. The other only change i did was the carts with piezoflush… is there any possibility of fault from the carts leading to this increasing loss of nozzles? As i told you, i see the ink going down in the carts…

Thanks again and sorry for all these ramblings! I hope the situation gets back to normal soon!

Regards,

Rafael