Yelllow contaminated

My yellow channel (epson 3800)is contaminated with black It has been doing this for a while, and I have managed by running a totally yellow print until the yellow runs clean. I could then usually print for the rest of the day.

Things have recently gotten much worse. Now I can’t even get through one print before the contamination returns. What might be the cause? Dampers? Or is this fatal…

Any suggestions welcome.


Have you tried cleaning the two pads the head rests on (Capping station) until they are bright white? Sometimes the thing is so full of dark ink the underside of the head picks it up and them you have contamination of the fainter colors (yellow).

I had what looked like a hair stuck underneath mine (Took me a day to pull the head out to turn it over too!) and the metal frame that holds the head in place had it wedged in there. It built up a lot of goo and no doubt it was wicking ink from those pads onto that goo and that hair thingy (Hair may have been some paper stray fiber, or the cat.). Took a good yank with tweezers to dislodge the hair. The wiper, its foam pad, were also covered with the gel stuff. Got some head cleaner and Q-tips and cleaned it all up, and squirted the pads until they were white again. All was well again.


I am going to need some background information on your printer before I can assess any possible causes, please answer the following questions:

1.How old is this printer?
2.Have you tried to manually clean the Capping station as recommended by Mack above?
3.When this happens, do you perform a Power cleaning or regular cleaning cycle to bring it back?
4.How old are the cartridges you have installed and are they IJM carts installed?
5.Have you tried to install an OEM Y and K cart to see if it resolves?

This is a similar thread that relates to your problem, you may find it helpful for diagnosing

Please read through this thread and get back to us with the answers to all the questions and I will try to assist you from there.
Thank you kindly,

Thanks Mack,

I did another very careful cleaning, and was able to make one print. The very next print was contaminated again!

Thanks Kelly,

The printer goes back a bit. I have had it approximately 4 years, and I bought it second hand, so I don’t know how old it really is.

I did another manual cleaning as suggested by Mack, and was able to make one good print. The very next print (only a few minutes later) was badly contaminated.

I used to be able to run a full page of just yellow, and that would clean things. Then I had to do a power cleaning at the start of a print run. Now neither works.

I have been using Inkjetmall carts for quite a while now and have been very satisfied. I don’t think they have anything to do with my problem.

Thanks for your response. I will check out your link.

p.s. I just ordered a damper on Ebay. If nothing else works I will try to install it…

If I have to replace this printer, I guess the closest would be the P800. Will you be offering Ink for this model sometime in the future?

We’re working on it, and waiting for the chips to be produced. Keep an eye on our newsletters and website for new product announcements as we know more :slight_smile:

This printer could be revived with a some replacement consumable parts, such as the Ink Selector Unit (Damper/Ink assembly). Epson recommends replacement of the Ink Selector Unit once every 12-18 months with regular use. Your printer is well past the recommend timeline for replacement of this unit. The 3800/3880 printers have a fairly intricate ink supply system, comprised of ink line, ink selector and dampers ie. Ink Selector Unit sold as a whole unit and replaced as such. This is can be performed with a some mechanical abilities and the proper repair manual.

I would also suggest replacement of the Capping Station and Wiper blade to eliminate all possible causes of back suction and ink mixing in the dampers. You can purchase both units at Compass Micro, these are replacement OEM parts, which we highly recommend vs. after market. Links found here:

Ink Selector Unit

Capping Station & Wiper Blade

You will also need a repair manual, which you can purchase from

For your efforts and expense (if you are capable) repairing your printer is a better/cheaper solution than purchasing a new printer. We do have plans to develop replacements for the new printer models, but we are unsure how long it will take to do so, it may be closer to a year, we can’t safely say at this point.