Monday, October 24, 2016

Epson SureLab D700 Printer clogged print head or is it?

Epson probably made one of the nicest colour photo printer for small time professional use. It is small enough to be fitted into a small office and it is fast enough to probably meet any demanding print job for small businesses.

I am probably the only freelance photographer using D700 printer in Sarawak or probably Malaysia. It was totally free from problem for the first one year of operation. However, problem started after one year of usage. It keeps complaining of clogged print head and the printed images had fine "scratch lines". See this two images:
The more I cleaned the print head, the worse the problem becomes. So serious that it gave me stress and depression! Calling the service engineer seems to take forever as I am an hour flying time from the nearest service centre. So, I have to do problem analysis myself.
What I have done so far:
1. Head cleaning is not much use other than consuming ink.
2. Switch the printer off overnight. The problem may disappear.
3. Switch the printer on and off may solve the problem.
4. I changed the print setting to "fine". Problem went away for a few weeks.

From the above three scenarios, I am convinced that it has nothing to do with clogged print heads. So, I did some problem solving analysis:

1. Today, the printer made the most disgusting print ever. See the right portion of the picture above.

I noticed for while that my ink level for cyan and black is low. I refreshed my cyan cartridge and the cyan pattern is now perfect. However, the black ink pattern can't be worse. See pattern 1 below.

So, I refreshed the black cartridge and without doing anything, the subsequent three print patterns seem to be getting better and better (no head cleaning in between test print pattern). This is inconsistent with a clogged print head! Since I am running out of patience, I switched the printer on and off. And indeed, the final print pattern (not shown above) is perfect and when I did my test print, the picture is now perfect (see above left portion). My conclusion:

The so called clogged print head is just a false alarm. It has to do with ink level in the cartridge and probably the Epson design of the ink pump is not that good! If you have same issue like me, try to install a new cartridge and see if the problem goes away. Please do share your experience in the comment here.

Please note that, above is just one of the issues faced by many users of this printer. My issue seems to be related to low ink level. Many others who have almost new ink cartridge also give the same "clogged printer head" problem.

Update: 18-Sept-2017

One fine day, I found ink all over the table! Now, that was big issue! I called the service engineer and they came to change my ink pumps, all of them. I have already suspected that the ink pumps were not behaving. After changing the ink pumps, the printer started to print again but for the black ink, it showed "scratch line". On the test print, it looks perfect but not on actual photo printing.

Two months later, I decided to change the print head. Thanks God, now everything is back to normal.