Too many head cleanings?

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:

Google Photos

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.

I use “waste ink bottle” and my pad is white. I recommend to buy a bottle and install.
In my P400, the left washer is also dirty. I know that in the left will make a small print out ink to purge nozzles.

I’ve a problem now that 2 nozzles don’t work and I can’t clean them. They probably dried or has air in them.

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I have an Epson 1430 hooked up to a waste ink bottle as the waste ink pads in the printer itself reached the end of their life at some point. I suspect this is similar to the Epson P400. The left ink pad on my Epson 1430 requires cleaning periodically depending on the amount of printing that I do, this can be as often as weekly. I use piezoflush and q-tips to clean the pad. If the left pad is not cleaned then it will affect nozzle checks. I’m using the printer with Piezo Carbon inks. There is a software program that you may be able to purchase that would reset the waste pad counters after hooking up a waste ink bottle similar to the Epson 1430. I used WicReset app to reset my waste ink counters on the 1430.

Perhaps this helps,


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As you mention there is no documentation as to the purpose of the left ink pad that I could find when I encountered this problem on the Epson 1430. I developed some theories, but never followed up on them once I realized that keeping the left pad clean solved my nozzle problems. On the Epson 1430 if the left pad has ink build up then no amount of nozzle cleanings will result in a good nozzle check. In fact cleaning will just result in more ink build up on the left pad. I visually check the left ink pad every few days and overtime have learned when to clean it tp prevent bad nozzle checks.

I suspect the Epson P400 is very similar to the Epson 1430 as the ink carts sit directly over the print head without any ink lines and there is no changeable waste ink tank.

Inkjet Mall should have some documentation on how to hook up a waste ink bottle and reset the waste ink counters.


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I’m glad to hear that someone else noticed the problem with the left pad. It was only by luck that I noticed it, and that was because I decided to watch a cleaning cycle and see what happened.

On the P400 the little sponge can easily be removed for washing. I think that pad sits on a mechanical platform that rises to push the pad against the print head at the end of the cleaning cycle, acting like a blotter. But instead of blotting, it befouls the print head!

Thanks for sharing your experience with the 1430. It must be a problem with all the Epson small format printers. I wish I had known about it earlier. I probably wasted half of my ink money on that blotter.

I reset the waste inkpad counter using WIC Reset Utility and ordered n external waste ink tank from IJM. The WIC Reset Utility was recommended by Walker Blackwell. It costs only $8.99 and is very easy to use.