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).


#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


#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


#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


#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


#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