My question is about a P400 with PiezoDN selenium ink. All carts are less than a year old.
There is a large buildup (a small mound) of gunky wet ink on the spongy pad at the left end of the track (as you face the printer). See photo:
This is a small pad, separate from the pad that runs along the lengh of the track. The pad is not mentioned anywhere in the P400 manual.
I watched what happens during a head cleaning cycle. At the very end of the cycle, the print head travels all the way to the left end of the track until it’s directly above that pad. Something happens. I’m guessing the platform on which that pad sits rises up to press against the print head. Then the print head zips back to the right side, then quickly returns to the left side where the same thing happens. This happens three times. Then the cleaning is over. After the head cleaning, I can see fresh ink on top of the pile of gunk.
Here’s my theory as to why I’m not getting good nozzle checks: I think head cleanings are causing the print head to pick up gunk from that pad in the final stage of the cleaning cycle. Gunk gets all over the underside of the print head right before the nozzle check. No wonder I can’t get a good nozzle check.
I removed the pad and washed out all the ink in warm water. I replaced the pad so that the area is nice and clean. No more gunk.
I think the following is relevant: Before discovering the problem with the pad, I had done the “small printer maintenance,” routine, including an attempt to clean the underside of the print head with a “reverse shoeshine” (a strip of microfiber cloth soaked in PiezoFlush pulled back and forth under the print head). No matter how many shoeshines I did (each time with a fresh strip), the strip kept coming out out filthy. But after washing out the pad and doing a head cleaning, the reverse shoeshine came up clean.
Now the following is either the most amazing coincidence, or I did something to cause it. After pressing the ink button so that the print head would return to normal position, two lights began flashing alternately: the trash icon and the ink icon.
According to the Manual, this means one of the following has occurred (quoting):
• The product’s ink pads are at the end of their service life. Contact alternately Epson Support to obtain replacement pads. You cannot use the product until the pads are replaced.
• The front manual feed tray is not in the correct position.
Since I don’t use the front manual feed, the problem must be the ink pads. Specifically, it means the WASTE INK PAD COUNTER has hit the maximum. The waste ink pad is on the right side, and I assume it unrelated to the pad on the left side. Which is the one I was working on. That’s why I think it’s unlikely to be a coincidence.
On the P400, the waste ink area can’t be opened to get at the pads. At least I do not see any screws in that area. If so, actual cleaning is impossible. However there is software that can be downloaded and used to reset the counter. But if resetting the counter without actually cleaning the pads is not advised, then what’s the solution? A new printer? My printer is only 3 years old.