The unresolvable VM cartridge puzzle

I am resubmitting my support request of May 11 entitled “Magenta Cartridge Impasse” here, thinking that perhaps I posted it in the wrong section. I also believe I have discovered a clue which may point to the solution.

Here are the facts:

I am undergoing an initial K7 set up on a 3880. The 3880 is in perfect working order and still functions with OEM cartridges.
The refillable Magenta cartridge is not being accepted by the printer, it shows the “ink cartridge error replace cartridge” message.
The OEM magenta cartridge with exactly the same Epson chip is being accepted by the printer. I have tried changing the OEM magenta chip with another one and the result was “a maintenance cartridge error”

Replacing the reset chip for the VM cartridge had no effect on this situation. Either I was so unlucky as to have received 2 defective VM reset chips or the reset chip is not the problem.

Elevating the cartridge did not solve the problem.

Here is the new clue:

I was able to create this exact situation with my other K7 printer, a 3800. In a desperate attempt to figure this out I returned to switching all exchangeable parts from the cartridges of the two K7 sets to try and isolate the source of the problem. At one point I placed the second OEM magenta Epson chip into the 3800 magenta cartridge and received the “maintenance cartridge error replace maintenance cartridge” message as I had on the other printer. I removed this OEM chip, marked it defective, and replaced it with the OEM chip that had been functioning properly in that printer up to that moment. It no longer functioned. I now began receiving the “ink cartridge error replace cartridge” message, just as I have been on the 3880, and, also exactly as is the case with the 3880, the OEM magenta cartridge still functions in the 3800.

I am no longer absolutely sure that this second OEM magenta chip is a magenta chip; obviously there is some kind of problem with it. If it is not would the printer react this way to an incorrect or defective OEM chip? If I have triggered some kind of Epson Anti-third party ink protocol can this be reset somehow?

I don’t believe that the reset chips have been compromised since the new reset chips were never in contact with the defective or erroneous OEM chip, yet still did not function in refillable cartridge.

Although I am encouraged by this clue it is also true that I now have two Epson printers with Jon Cone K7 ink sets that don’t work!

Please Help!


There is something complicating your process here I think.

3800 and 3880s have different magenta OEM chips. Other-wise the inksets are the same, but the VM and VLM chips are different than the 3800 M and LM. So if an OEM VM/VLM chip is placed on a 3800 cart it will cause an error (variable #1).

Because these OEM chips are not always marked as to which channel they are built for, this chip could have been crossed, but because the VM chip works when placed directly on the cartridge and doesn’t work when it’s under the second control chip, this points to either an issue between that particular chip and the control chip (aka, the OEM is corrupt only when the control chip is placed between it and the sensor) or it’s an issue with some other chip down the line.

38xx printers register the chips from left to right and then finally the maintenance tank. If a chip is off, sometimes it shows as a maintenance tank issue and not a chip issue.

Please look the back of your control chips and read the serial #s. I will take the same control chips in the R&D lab and test them directly to see if they work in our 3880s here. If so, than we know that it’s an issue with your OEM chip.


ps: Also check that the VM control chip is not actually a “VLM” control chip. Sometimes the hand-writing is sloppy on these chips and the two look the same.

Hello Walker,

Thank you for responding.

I wasn’t sure which chip was the “control” chip. I assumed that “back of your control chips and read the serial #s.” referred to the OEM chips and “check that the VM control chip is not actually a “VLM”” referred to the Inkjet Mall reset chips. The 3800 magenta reset chip is marked “3800 M” and the 3880 Magenta reset chip is marked “3880 VM”

The assumed culprit OEM chip bears the serial number 51K. I thought it was a VM chip, and as you point out, it should never have been placed in the 3800, but in my desperation I got careless and forgot this. I don’t think this cross-over is responsible for the trouble since the very same chip caused the very same problem when used in the correct printer.

Once this maleficent chip has been placed under a reset chip and into the printer, (both 3800 and 3880) the printer no longer recognizes an Inkjet mall refillable cartridge placed in the same bay. But as I mentioned in my post, right up until that moment the printer did accept all 9 Inkjet mall refillable cartridges, and that for me is the enigma. Something in the printer has changed such that it no longer accepts the same refillable cartridge, reset chip and OEM chip it had accepted up until that point.

Here is the lineup of what used to work in the 3800 up until the 51K chip was placed in the Magenta cartridge:

MK = 24C
PK = 886M
LK = 17A
LLK = 21F
C = 53 G
M= 55F
LC = 59K
LM = 69E
Y = 73 G

And the OEM magenta cartridge that still functions in this printer has a chip with the serial number M71F. (When I say “still functions” I mean all of the ink cartridges are recognized when this OEM magenta cartridge is placed in the printer)

Here is the lineup for the 3880:

MK = 36C
PK = 806L
LK = 823A
LLK = 857Q
C = 25D
M= 811P
LC = 830G
LM = 806G
Y = 87D

And the OEM vivid magenta cartridge that still functions in this printer uses the same chip “811P”as the refillable cartridge that is not accepted.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thank you

Best regards



I may have just confirmed your theory. I just replaced the current OEM chip in the 3800 magenta cartridge (55F) with the M71F (the OEM Magenta chip on the OEM cartridge that still functions in the 3800. Now this refillable cartridge is once again being accepted in the 3800.

Since I have no more OEM VM chips I can’t test this on the 3880. Although I am pretty sure there wasn’t contamination of this kind in the 3880. The printers are in separate rooms and when I set this 3880 up there was no reason to exchange OEM chips since I had no idea there would be a problem. As I posted in May 11 there were 2 other cartridges that didn’t work as well on the 3880 after the initial setup (LK, and Y) which Wells in web orders told me is unusual if not unprecedented. After receiving new M, LK and Y reset chips the LK and Y cartridges functioned correctly but the magenta did not.

This would mean that the printer instantly corrupts a VM OEM chip under a reset chip when it is incorrectly inserted into a 3800 and possibly corrupts an M OEM control chip when it is incorrectly inserted into a 3880, ( I can’t say for sure this ever happened) .

This would mean that in the 2 weeks I have been trying to figure this problem out by exchanging components in every possible combination between the two printers I managed to place the VM chip into the 3800 and the M chip into the 3880 and in doing so burned both chips permanently. The reason there doesn’t appear to be any literature about this on the forum is possibly due to the fact that it is uncommon to be setting up both a 3800 and a 3880 at the same time.

I will have to buy more OEM magenta ink to get another chip before I can know for sure.


Dear Paul. This is what happened.

I have made this mistake in the past (in Chicago) once before. In my case I had an extra empty 3880 cart lying around and just pulled the chip off that.

I suggest posting on the Epson Wide Format board to see if anyone has empty carts you can get off them. Many people have these printers.



That did it Fwew!

In conclusion this situation was caused by a defective VM reset chip and a corrupted OEM VM chip. The juxtaposition of the two made it that much more difficult to isolate the source. If you are reading this in the future and own both a 3800 and a 3880 be careful not to cross contaminate the OEM VM and M control chips or the VM and M reset chips.

Thanks for suggesting the online community for used cartridges, I found one and saved 64 dollars.

Thanks for your help

Best regards


Glad it’s all working!!!