Yellow constantly failing

The yellow is constantly failing and is also picking up and mixing with black ink somehow
The photo black is also failing nozzle checks but to a lesser degree

I print a lot - mostly every day so I thought I would save some $$ going refillable - looks I thought wrong

Whatever $$ is saved is spent using extra ink having to constantly nozzle check and power clean, failed prints and reprint

Had to replace the waste tank again just a few days ago and is already 50% full

By “failing”, I take it you mean nozzles missing. Does this happen between prints, e.g., one print is fine and the next is terrible? If so, I’ve had a similar issue with my PK cartridge. I believe it was a faulty cartridge which let air into the lines. The air would be pulled into the head when the printer did its automatic cleaning every so often, blocking them until 3 head cleanings were done. (I think 3 cleans use less ink than a single Power and are just as effective in this case.)

I also had a cyan cartridge that somehow had a semi-blocked vent. Air could get in, but much slower than desired. This would create negative pressure when the printer cleaned itself which could suck mixed ink back into the head which would look black. I never used that cart since I caught it during the filling process. To see if your cart has this problem, use the priming tip and try pulling a good volume of ink out of the cart. It should be “easy”, and when you release the plunger it should NOT pull back in. If it does, you have this problem. (The ink can be re-injected into the cart after doing this.)

Overall, I have about 2 sets of carts for this printer and only had problems with 2 carts. So, not a great 12% failure rate, but shrug…I’ve still saved money. And IJM has been very supportive with warranty service.

Let us know if your problems match either of the situations I’ve mentioned.
Good luck!

I am sorry you are having problems with your 3880 after installing our ConeColor PRO inks, we are here to help you resolve your concerns. But 1st, I need to get some more information before I can diagnose your complaint, please answer the following questions:

1.How old is your printer?
2.How did you charge the ink lines with CCPRO? Did you use an adjustment program or Power Cleanings (how many)?
3.Did you make sure to prime each cartridge properly?
4.Did you remove all the air vent plugs before charging the ink lines with CCPRO?
5.Has there been any maintenance done on this printer since it was new?


Hi davidt,

I’m sorry to hear of your troubles, and we will try to help you resolve this issue. I have a few questions to add to Kelly’s (please answer in addition to Kelly’s questions above):

  1. By “failing”, do you mean the entire yellow channel stops printing (no nozzles printing on the nozzle check pattern), or do some nozzles repeatedly drop out?
  2. If the entire channel isn’t missing, how many individual nozzles, or what percentage of the yellow nozzles are missing?
  3. Does this happen when the printer sits unused between printing sessions, or during printing (like in the middle of a print)?
  4. Are you able to get a good yellow nozzle check print after doing cleaning cycles? If so, about how many cleaning cycles, and are you doing regular or power clean cycles?
  5. Have you ever cleaned this printer’s capping station, wiper blade and/or bottom of the print head?
  6. What is the current level of ink in the yellow cartridge body and exit chamber?
  7. Does your printer’s pressure pump turn on while the printer sits idle?
  8. Have you removed the yellow cart to inspect it since originally filling + installing?

Please let us know so we can help you get past this and back to happily printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

The entire yellow prints black sometimes (not full black but way more black than yellow)
About 20% nozzles missing sometimes
Always after printer not used more than about 15 minutes or longer
Is the same problem with an original epson yellow cart installed
Am able to get good yellow after many power cleans
Have done a gazillion cleans and now a new waste pad is at 77% full after not 2 weeks
Haven’t cleaned cap stn or other because i don’t know how
Ink and exit is full
No idea about pressure pump

(edit - not 1 hour after initial reply waste pad is full, almost all cone ink is gone!
since install have got maybe 20 good 8x10, trashed way more than that in failed prints)

Hi Kelly

The printer is not very old but has done some work. Never missed a beat and always worked perfectly with original carts. Right up until I tried these refillable carts

I followed all instructions as per included with carts

No maintenance ever done as never needed to


Hi David~

Thanks for the additional information. After re-reading your posts, I want to ask if you try regular cleaning cycles when nozzles are missing, or do you jump to the power clean cycle? You should not need to do power clean cycles on a regular basis, and that will certainly eat up a lot of ink! Always start by doing a few regular cleaning cycles.

All machines need to be maintained to work well and last as long as possible. For example, your car will still work for a while if you don’t change the oil, but eventually it’ll die without proper maintenance.
I recommend you manually clean your printer by following our instructions, here:

If your yellow damper is starting to get clogged with particle build up, and you’ve never cleaned the capping station, then you may be experiencing back-suction of the yellow channel sucking up waste ink from the capping station, which would appear black. Yellow are magenta are always the thickest pigment inks (this is true, even with Epson inks), so you will generally notice signs of particle build up in those positions first. Damper clogging will also cause frequent missing nozzles or a section of the channel.
The yellow and black channels are on opposite ends of the print head, so it wouldn’t be possible for cross-contamination in the dampers or print head. Another possibility would be if the yellow cartridge air venting channel isn’t allowing good flow, or is filled with ink, it could possibly cause back suction (I’ve never heard of or had this happen, but am thinking of anything that would cause your problem). If the cartridge was causing back-suction, then it wouldn’t happen with an Epson Y cart.

Please let me know, so I can try to help you past this and back to happily printing.
Thanks~ Dana

Hi Dana
I did the capping station clean but did not help in any way

Before every print now I have to do a manual nozzle check, Photo black and yellow are always problematic.
I then do an auto nozzle check. It might fix it but usually not. I then have to do a power clean and then it might be ok for just a little while

This is my new normal…

Is this with the Epson or refillable yellow cart installed? If this is with the refill cart, I recommend using the Epson Y cart for a while to see if this problem continues or not.
What happens more- black ink in the yellow channel, or missing nozzles in the yellow channel?
Does the yellow cart prime easily (good flow from the cart)?
Are you having any issues with black dripping during printing?

I hesitate to comment, since I’ve only ever had desktop printers, but I’ve had this problem with my 2100 - black leaking into yellow even though they were at opposite ends of the print head. David said in #5 that he had already tried an OEM Y cart. Based on my experience I’d be more inclined to try an OEM PK cart, perhaps also LK.

The same problem with both epson and your carts. I assume there is air in the line? don’t know how to clear it though

Equally missing nozzles and black in yellow problem

Not really having problem dripping black

on a different note… I can get a few out of date epson 3850 carts for only $2 each but they from 2008
is that too old or will they be ok?

How do I clear air in line?

Hi David~

I wrote a detailed response to you yesterday, then tried adding an attachment and for some reason the whole page froze, and I lost everything… so, am now retyping what I tried sending yesterday afternoon:

Thanks for the additional information.

Are you using a 3850 or 3880 printer model?

All cartridges have expiration dates, and the general rule for pigment ink, is it’s best when used within two years after being made (which is how expiration dates are determined).
Even if the carts were brand new in 2008, I’d expect the expiration date to be sometime in 2010, so would NOT recommend using carts/inks that are 4-5 years past expiration.

I have put a list together of everything that I can think of that could possibly be causing your problem:

  1. a faulty/worn out damper, causing back-pressure
  2. a faulty cartridge who’s air channel is restricted, causing restricted ink flow and back-pressure
  3. blown out seal in the print head, causing cross-mixing of inks. This is rare, but does happen- I recently had someone report this happening with their pro model printer, and the Epson tech told them the seals can wear out over time. I’ve never had this experience with any of the dozens of printer’s I’ve used over the years (knock on wood)

I know you mentioned having an Epson yellow cart, as you’ve reinstalled that cart and are having the same results as with the refill cart. Do you have any other Epson carts that aren’t empty or expired? If so, I would appreciate if you could try installing the PK (your printer is in PK mode, correct?), LK and LLK carts one at a time, doing a test print between to see how the change of carts effects the issue.
The reason I ask is because in the print head/damper configuration, the yellow channel is between the LK and LLK. Although, from your reports, I believe the LK and LLK channels are working well (you have only reported problems with the PK and Y channels not always giving good nozzle checks or black/gray in the yellow channel), so it doesn’t sound likely that either of those channels are having mechanical issues, but is a theory. I attached a photo below, showing the color placement of the 3800/3880 dampers and print head. As you can see, each damper houses a color pair, and are separately sealed. If a damper was punctured, the printer’s pressurization would force the contents of that line and cartridge out the hole… which would make a very big and obvious ink mess on the print head end, so I don’t think this is a possibility, but if a damper diaphragm doesn’t work correctly, it can cause negative pressure to cause ink from the capping stations and during cleaning cycles to be sucked up into a different channel damper.
If you install the Epson black carts one a time to test, and the problem continues after you have reinstalled all 3 Epson black carts, then I suspect it’s negative pressure in the yellow damper, or elsewhere in the yellow line, or a blown seal in the print head.
If your problems are resolved after installing the Epson black carts, then I would be very curious to receive your black carts back for testing (or the specific one if the problem goes away after replacing one), and test it to determine how the cart could have caused what you’re experiencing, without ink dripping form the print head during printing.

Please let me know if you have questions, your results after checking Epson carts, or if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks Dana for trying to help but I don’t have any more original carts because I can’t afford them which is why I went refillable.

I am using 3880 PK

I previously had a 3800 and always used original carts and it never missed a beat. Never had to nozzle check or anything as it just always produced awesome prints
I upgraded to 3880 and same deal for ages - it always worked perfectly.
It just seems way more than coincidence that the very first print after installing your yellow cart failed and the printer hasn’t really worked since unless I perform many power cleans then I might get a couple of good prints. I am now on my 3rd waste tank after installing your carts. Which is already 40% full after 3 days. Basically all your ink is in the trash.
Yellow was the first ever refillable cart I did and I think I primed it properly I’m not sure?

Can you please expand on how to check and fix your possibilities 1 & 2

Ok so you admit to suspecting carts to be the problem… can you please send out ASAP another set of carts and replacement ink that has been flushed down the drain
Thank you

Hi David,

We actually do not suspect the cart as much as we suspect the maintenance of your printer.

Dana is out of the office today- but what she suspects, as do I, is that your yellow position is sucking up ink when you perform a head cleaning. That would be the most common explanation (from experience) and is usually the result of the capping station not sealing fully around the print head when cleaning occurs. This very thin rubber fitting has to be without imperfection caused by matter, lint, or a nick and the capping station itself must not be filled with gunk, gel, or other matter from old inks ,etc). Otherwise, the suction actually rather than sucking black ink from the black channel forces residue up the yellow channel. If the yellow restores to yellow during printing - then this explanation holds. If the yellow remains black during printing then you have an issue way up between chambers in the print head but it is doubtful with a leak there that you could properly jet droplets. So, then the damper comes into question and you wrote about a possibility of using outdated inks (which under no circumstance is ever a good idea even if your friends have suggested it is ok.) When you have a printer that is sorely in need of maintenance and you introduce new inks into it - it is possible for the new inks to scour the ink lines and bring old pigment sediment into the filters.

[FONT=Verdana]Dana is suggesting there is only a chance your problem is caused by a faulty yellow cartridge, but that chance is very slim. We’re not here trying not to admit anything. We keep all of our technical support public because we are both forthcoming and have nothing to hide and anything we do to help one customer can help another.

Dana’s suggestion is that your problem is further up the line is probably more correct and that you need to replace ink dampers (which are filters). Those should be changed every year according to Epson and that is the suggestion when using fresh inks. If you did print with outdated inks you will not have done the machine any favors. There would be a price to pay for that savings down the line.

We will send you a new yellow cartridge - and it will go out tomorrow (too late for today). When you receive it, you can transfer the contents of your existing cartridge to it a well as the OEM chip - and then let us know if that fixes the situation. If it does we can then figure something out for you. If it does not - then you have a printer that is most likely needing its annual damper renewal or you have to pay more attention to the cleaning station and capping area.
We will mail you a new yellow cartridge by Priority International mail. If your are printing with or have been printing with outdated inks your entire printer should first be PiezoFlushed and then you should change the dampers. If you change first and then flush, you will foul the new dampers. Always replace the dampers as the last step of any thorough maintenance routine.

The damper change instructions are in the field service guide for your printer model. The entire damper assembly in the USA is about $170. I do not know what it costs in Australia. Why Epson recommends this as an annual as a preventive.

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]regards,[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Jon[/FONT]

Hi David~

I just returned after being away from the office for the last few days, and have read thru your recent posts. Thank you for the additional information (pieces to the puzzle).

In my last post on 3/5, I listed all things I could think of that could possibly cause the problem you’re experiencing, including a faulty damper, a blown seal in the print head, a faulty cartridge, or blockage somewhere in the ink line (other than cartridge or damper) causing negative pressure and back-suction. I also explained what I thought is most likely the cause, based on the information provided, and asked you to test the black position carts to rule out the refill carts. You say the problem remains the same with Epson black and yellow carts, therefore the refill carts and ink are not causing your problem, and we have ruled that out. Since your problem continues with Epson black and yellow carts, my suspicion remains that the problem lays in the printer’s damper(s), ink line or print head.

I have been using Epson printers for over 14 years, and as I said before, have never (in the hundreds of printers I’ve used over the years) experienced a blown seal in a print head causing cross-contamination between channels, but a customer recently bought a used printer, and was having issues with ink mixing like you, and I tried to help, but none of my cleaning suggestions resolved the problem, so he had an Epson tech come in, and the tech discovered a blown seal in the head, and said he’s seen that happen occasionally over time. That is the one and only time I’ve heard of it happening, and it was not related to our inks or carts (he was still testing the printer with the Epson carts it came with).

We have hundreds of customers happily printing for years with our 3800/3880 refillable carts with our ConeColor, Piezography, InkThrift inks with excellent results. We also have three of these printers in our R&D lab, and recently bought five more for our upcoming workshops, because we know how well they work, and they last a very long time. Our oldest 3800 did have a clogged damper after a few years of use, and is now working well after replacing the dampers. This is regular maintenance to keep the machines working well, and printing for a long time. I manually clean printers on a regular basis, and we replace parts such as dampers and wiper blades every few years.

I found this in one of the Epson repair manuals, and am going thru to find more information related to your specific issue:
Ink Color Contamination: caused by a restriction in the ink supply. The restriction causes the damper for the contaminated color tocollapse. Eventually the collapsed damper will expand drawing ink from the cap, through the print head in to the damper, contaminatingthe color.

														Inspect or replace the following components.

*Dampers for clogs, replace if required.
*Supply tubes for crimps or clogs. replace if required3rd party or damaged ink cartridges

*Clean Cap and Wiper Assembly

I will talk with Jon about your situation, to determine how we can best move forward.

Best regards~ Dana

Oh, and my understanding is the 3850 printer uses different carts/chips than the 3880, so you can’t use 3850 carts in a 3880 printer (aside from the fact that you shouldn’t use outdated inks, which you said you haven’t).