Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Clogged Nozzle Anxiety

For my readers who don't make prints with Epson Printers, you are probably wondering what the heck the title means. It means that all nozzles in the print head need to be firing properly to make a photographic print. I just fired up my Epson 2200 which has been sitting idle since last May. I printed a nozzle check pattern and found that three colors were clogged...cyan, magenta and yellow. I ran the clean routine. Right away the cyan and yellow are back but the magenta only shows one or two dot-lines. Another clean. The magenta is almost back. Another clean and the printer is ready to go. This doesn't surprise me since I've never had a problem with an Epson printer having clogged nozzles except when I was using the Piezography inks in the 1160. After I took the Piezo inks out of that printer and cleared the clogs, it has worked perfectly. The Epson 1160 and 2200 were aimed at the high-end consumer market.

That is in contrast to the Epson 4000 printer which is supposedly the Pro Printer. It is built like a tank weighing about 80 pounds and sitting on a 30-36" foot-print. Just looking at it you would think it would just run print after print after print with hardly a problem. No. It seems to be plagued with clogging problems. So far I haven't had too much of problem but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when we go back to San Miguel and I fire up the printer after sitting idle for a month I don't have a major problem. And major clogging problems and potential solutions are discussed almost daily on the Epson 4000/4800 Yahoo group forum. From reading on that forum, I tried to be proactive about keeping the 4000 unclogged. I left it with full cartridges and also with a humidifier running to try and keep the humidity at about 40%. Although I bought it about a year ago, I didn't put it in operation until last August. But people seem to run into clogging problems at about one right after the one year warranty runs out. What I don't understand is why Epson has launched another printer, the 4800, and from what I'm seeing in the Yahoo forum, it has the same clogging problems. They have had to replace so many printers under the one year warranty and gotten such bad press, why didn't they fix the problem?

I'm not a tech or mechanic. I'm a photographer and I hate the thought of trying to release print heads and move them, then flush waste tanks or whatever might have to be done to clear the clog. It would not be so bad if you had nice clear drawings of what you need to do and what this or that looks like but you are working from email messages on the forum.

I definitely have clogged nozzle anxiety about the Epson 4000.


Tommy Williams said...

I figured that I couldn't justify a 4800 (I was right) so I bought a 2400. I've been very happy with it. I don't print very often -- not nearly as often as I promised Dawn that I would when I bought the printer -- but I have not had clogging problems with it so far.

And the print quality, of course, is stellar.

BillieS said...

I've heard only good things about the 2400 so I think you made a good decision. I have the 2200 and I bought Image Print to control the shadow areas. My particular 2200 was bad about blocking up the shadows even when I had a custom profile made for it. Imageprint fixed that but at a rather expensive cost for software.

I've been very happy with the profiles that shipped with the 4000. And I d/led the Quadtone RIP that I use for B&W and it is great. I bought the 4000 to be able to print larger which seems to be what galleries seem to want these days. But you can't win. I had a commission for 30x30 prints and had to outsource them.

Deb said...

Hi Billie,

We have the same problem with our 2200 when we don't use it for long periods. We usually just replace the ink cartridge and that takes care of the problem.

It looks like we just missed you in San Miguel. Have a nice visit in the states!