If you have muck on the
bottom of the print head, it would
move around every time the head is parked or run over the cleaning
wiper, but not necessarily wiped off.
I use those moistened window
cleaner wipes that come in a container
like baby wipes. They are the closest thing I've seen to truly
lint-free. I get them at the local Dollar Store. Tear a wipe in
half and roll it the long way and flatten it. Tell your printer
you are going to change the ink cartridge so it unseats the print
head. Unplug the printer. Set the rolled up wipe into the channel
below the print head, and slowly slide the print head over it.
Be patient, you may have to reroll and flatten to get it to go
under. Try another one if it gets too wrinkled.
Once it is under, lift both
ends of the wipe and gently "shoeshine"
it but only about 1/4 to 3/8 inch back and forth. Any more and
you risk cross-contamination from color to color.
Toss the wipe, repeat. If it
is really dirty, you may go through
a dozen or more wipes (2 dozen torn in half) before they come
away mostly clean.
Put a fresh one under the
head and leave it for a moment. This
is to prevent it from drying out while you take this opportunity
to use more wipes to clean the park pad, especially the rubber
seal around it. Don't rub hard, and keep switching to a clean
section and clean wipes. Put a few drops of Windex with Ammonia
(no orange or green stuff) into the park pads, don't overflow.
Soak it back out with a window wipe, then put a few drops in again.
DON'T USE COTTON BALLS OR
COTTON SWABS!!! The "sponge"
in the park pad is a hard foam plastic that will snag the cotton
threads and make any problems you have now pale by comparison.
Pull the wipe out from under
the head, plug the printer back
in and let it complete it's head cleaning. Do a nozzle check,
and a few more head cleanings with nozzle checks between each.
Never do more than 3 cleanings in a row without doing either a
nozzle check or printing something. Epson says the printer intensifies
each cleaning cycle, and that it doesn't stop intensifying at
3, and is likely to damage the print head.
Print some pages of squares
of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
If you still have some
stubborn nozzles, you may need to "soak".
Please be aware that there is ammonia in Windex and ammonia is
corrosive. Leaving it on or in the heads for long periods of time may
not be good for the heads.
To soak: repeat steps to
unseat the head vis-a-vis tell it
to change or clean heads and then unplug. Carefully move the heads
out of the way, put a few drops of Windex on the park pads. Now
move the heads manually back into the parked position, as you
do the park pads automatically come up. Leave the printer unplugged,
let it sit for a few hours. Come back, plug in and turn on, run
a cleaning cycle, and do a nozzle check.
I have not had an Epson yet
that I could not get printing using
these steps. Patience is a virtue, sometimes it takes a week of
gentle cleanings, overnight soaks, and printing pages of color
blocks. Remember, each cleaning goes into the waste ink "tank"
(really a big felt pad) so better to print blocks of color than
run excessive cleaning cycles.
a clogged CIS aka bulk ink system:
If the tanks sat below the
printer for even a short period of time, they can syphon ink back out
of the cartridges,
pulling in air and creating a foamy ink mixture. Which CIS? Are the
cartridges sponged or spongeless? Try drawing ink out through the ink
outlet on the cartridge.
1. Turn the printer on. As
soon as the heads unseat, unplug.
2. Remove the cartridges and
plug the ink outlets. MIS sells little aluminum rivets, you can
probably just find some in the hardware store. -Not- pop rivets. Keep
the cartridges at about the same height as they were in the printer,
and keep them right side up.
3. Take a premoistened window
wipe, rolled up and placed under the print head as described above.
This not only keeps the heads from drying out, it will help soften any
dried ink. Take a 2nd premoistened window wipe, tear in half and each
half into the print heads where the black and color cartridges were.
4. Keep the cartridges at the
same level that they were at in the printer. Tilt them about 45 degrees
back so the ink outlet is a bit higher.
5. Working one color at a
time, pull the stop rivet out and pull ink slowly out using a syringe
with bottom fill adapter (also from MIS). Do NOT pull hard! If you do,
the sides of the cartridge pull in and out and this may cause the other
inks to bleed out past the rivet.
6. Observe: how hard must you
pull? Is the ink coming out mainly as foam, or very little or no air?
a. If you find you can pull a
little and then it gets really difficult, you may have a clog. Usually
this happens in the hose, sometimes within the cartridge.
b. If a lot of foamy ink
comes out, keep pulling ink out and sqirting it back into the bottle it
came from until there is little or no air in the ink coming out. Note
that there -MUST- be some air left in the cartridge for proper
operation. This is why you must -NOT- turn the cartridge upside down
while doing this. I add air reservoirs to my cartridges to ensure I
always have this air bubble.
6a. If one or more of the
hoses are clogged, get ready to take the entire thing to the sink.
Don't make this an overnight job! Your print head only has those moist
window wipes keeping the head from drying out. If you think this will
take you very long, install the purge cartridges you mentioned and move
the head back over the park pads. Don't turn it on yet, when you move
the heads all the way to the right the park pads automatically come up
against the print heads. Take this opportunity to put some of my
cleaning solution into the park pad, enough so it is visibly wet but
NO drinking water, NO
purified water. "Purified" just means anything alive has been killed,
still has all the metals and minerals.
Take the CIS carefully to the
sink. Disconnect the hose that seems clogged from both the cartridge
(careful not to break the connector, aka hose barb) and the
bottle/tank. With one end securely held in the drain or under water,
carefully and gently use a syringe to push cleaning solution through
the hose. Observe if it flows easily or with difficulty. If the hose
does not appear to be clogged, the cartridge has the clog and will need
to be replaced.
If the tanks sat above the
printer for even a short period of time, they can force ink into the
cartridges and out through the heads. This causes a build up of ink in
the park pads and the vacuum hoses below. When ink clogs the vacuum
hose, cleaning cycles no longer work. The vacuum hose has been known to
pop off of the park pad, too.
How to tell if the vacuum
pump is clogged or not working:
Refill your purge cartridges with cleaning solution. Put enough
cleaning solution in the park pad so it looks visibly wet. Run a
cleaning cycle. Add more solution. Another cleaning cycle. By now the
park pad should look very light, as most of the ink will be washed out
and the hard foam pad in there is actually white (at least in most
If the hose has popped off,
the cleaning solution will probably immediately run out as it is added.
This is more difficult to tell without looking for the hose where it is
attached under the park pad, as if a lot of solution is added it will
also run out on its own.
I strongly suggest patience,
and do -not- use a syringe to inject anything directly into the print
I have rescued a -lot- of
Epsons that have sat with empty or no cartridges. Patience is the key.
My first Epson was a 1520 that had sat for ?? unused (the waste ink pad
was almost dry) and I found it sitting outside at a thrift store. It
took me 3 or 4 weeks as I was being very careful (they were going for
about $250 for a working 1520 on eBay then). Even now I take commonly
take 1 or 2 weeks on a badly clogged printer.
Forcing fluid into the head
does little to speed up dissolving dried/clogged ink. Time does that.
The alcohol and ammonia solution make a more aggressive cleaning
solution than the anionic surfactants used by Epson and I surmise are
in Cindy's purge cartridges.
BTW, I find that having some
ink in the cleaning cartridges makes things -much- easier because then
you can see nozzle checks and such. You can even take empty cartridges
and inject cleaning solution into them, there is more than enough ink
left to color it.
For more control over
cleaning cycles and printing nozzle checks,
Service Utility, a free Epson
utility by some wonderful Russian
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