Printer

I've got an old Epson Stylus Color 600. It's used often for B&W, but rarely for colour. Last time I printed in colour it was OK, but this time no cyan. I've replaced the cartridge and used the cleaning cycle with no joy. Is it likely to be a blockage through lack of use or a faulty head?
Any tips on clearing the blockage if it is this?
I've got the service manual for it, and removing the head assembly is easy. I'd be happy replace the head if it wasn't too expensive. The snag with just buying a new printer is that I use it with my old Acorn computer and most these days are USB rather than parallel. I know it's expensive in ink, but I refill the black ink one myself, so this doesn't matter.
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*If at first you don't succeed, try management *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Dave Plowman wrote:

Have a Google through sci.electronics.repair, this has come up before not surprisingly, and there were some methods suggested. IIRC there is an "Official" cleaning/flushing cartridge, but an empty one refilled with IPA or similar apparently works.
I've heard that this is a relatively common problem for the separate-head inkjets when left unused for extended periods.
Lee
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To reply use lee.blaver and ntlworld.com


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Lee Blaver wrote:

India Pale Ale???? ;o)
RM
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Reestit Mutton wrote:

Isopropyl Alchohol, although why it's generally referred to as IPA and not IA, I haven't worked out...
Lee
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On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 11:21:48 +0000, Lee Blaver

No wonder it gives me a bad headache!
C
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--
geoff

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geoff wrote:

I think we established that...oh...about 12 hours ago. Hang on a mo'! I'm getting a strong feeling of deja vu here.
RM
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--
geoff

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geoff wrote:

<GRIN> ...and there was me thinking that we'd passed that point a while back. </GRIN>
RM
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mine away eventually and bought a canon because of this.
Standing the print head on a cloth soaked in ammonia is the most succesful thing I have tried, in combination with putting some ammonia in a cartridge and running the cleaning routine. Some window cleaning liquids have ammonia in. You can do this without removing the print head from the unit.
--
Tim Mitchell

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Dave Plowman wrote:

Bin it! OK you can try IPA, HCL, Micro-90, bleach etc, but when the inks really hardened it needs ultra-sonics and an aggressive solvent so stand any chance of moving it...BTDTWTTS and still the head was blocked!
Hp/Lexmark etc might have the better idea with new heads every time, unless you re-fill of course ;-)
Niel.
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You clearly didn't read the rest of my post about getting a suitable replacement.
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*A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Lee Blaver wrote:

Careful! Too much of this, and your printer will print wobbly lines!
be snipped-for-privacy@thai.com! Shop all amazing products and get our special offers!
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jaamoi, i cleared my dried up hp heads by blowing into them and forcing the ink through!
steve
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Dave Plowman wrote:

Have a look at some of the cleaning tips and kits here:-
http://www.fixyourownprinter.com
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Cheers,

John.

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The first thing a person should do if they notice a reduction in print quality (white lines or gaps) is to do a nozzle check. This can be found under Printer Utilities. This will show you exactly how many nozzles are not firing, and give you a baseline to check for improvement. Next you should try several cleaning cycles; many times this may get things flowing again.
There are 2 reasons for a print head to not give you a perfect nozzle check. The first being an actual clog, and the second being air bubbles, either in the cartridge or the print head. An old cartridge can lead to ink "thickening" and also cause problems. Of course, an empty cartridge will also cause trouble! If you are refilling cartridges and putting less than 7 cc's of ink in an empty chamber, you are not getting a "factory full" refill. This will cause the ink counter to say you still have ink when it's long gone. (See my earlier post on "The Ultimate Refill" method to see how to get "full" refills. OK, let's say you know you have ink, and you've done 4-5 cleaning cycles and still get a bad nozzle check pattern.
Step 1: Distilled water injection into cartridge The first thing to do is try to get rid of an air bubbles. To do this I like to inject 1-2 cc's of distilled water into the colour chamber that is giving the bad nozzle check. To do this you will need a syringe and small needle (available at your local vet, or farm supply). Put the print head into the "change cartridge" position and remove the cartridge. Draw 1-2 cc's of distilled water into the syringe and poke the needle into the rear hole on the top of the cartridge. Aim for the middle of the bottom of the cartridge, about 1-1/4" in. (GENTLY...You don't want to pierce the internal filter screen). Now inject the distilled water above where the outlet port would be. Re-install the cartridge and let the printer do its "new cartridge bogie". Now LET IT SIT for 15-20 minutes! Then run a cleaning cycle and then another nozzle check. Sometimes this is all it takes. The distilled water will also help to thin ink that has become too viscous. I have run tests with ink diluted with as much as 50% distilled water and could hardly tell the difference, (ink ex tender?? :-). You may need to run a couple cleaning cycles to get everything flowing again. If this doesn't work, roll up your sleeves and proceed to STEP 2.
Step 2: Distilled water injection into print head Still clogged? Don't despair. Put the print head back into "cartridge change" position and remove the offending cartridge. Remove the needle from the syringe and draw 1cc of distilled water. Do you see the little pointed nipple that is in the hole where you pulled the cartridge from? This is the post that breaks the seal of a fresh cartridge and feeds ink to the print head. Place the plastic tip of the syringe firmly over the post. (Gently...if you break the post you're screwed). Slowly inject the distilled water into the post and remove syringe. Hopefully you just injected the distilled water into the print head, where it will displace any air bubbles and dissolve dried up ink deposits (kind a like fuel injector cleaner on a car). Let the printer sit for a good couple hours after this. The distilled water needs time to work its magic. Then reinstall cartridge and test as above. If you STILL have a problem after several cleaning cycles, it's time to get serious and remove the print head completely (STEP 3). This is not for the faint of heart and is reserved for more "technically inclined" users (it's really not that bad...I can have it out in 2-3 minutes). It may help to take a photo or video "before" shot to help you put it back together right! Step 3: Removal and cleaning of print head 1: Move print head to "change cartridge" position and remove cartridges. 2: LEAVE POWER SWITCH ON AND UNPLUG PRINTER CORD. This will keep the print head where we want it. 3: Remove top cover of printer (4 screws.2 in front, 2 in back). 4: Carefully remove ribbon cable going into top of print head assembly. 5: Remove screw holding the metal arm at the bottom of the cartridge holder, remove metal arm. 6: There is a small plastic tab in front of where the ribbon cable plugs in; this is all that is left holding the print head. 7: Lift the tab over the protrusion of the print head and slide the print head assembly forward and up to remove.
Scary, huh? It's easier than it sounds. Now that you have that bugger out, it's time for a serious distilled water soak. Put enough distilled water into a cup to cover the whole thing (don't worry, it won't hurt anything). Now let it sit overnight. The distilled water will work its way in and do wonders while you sleep. The next morning, rinse the assembly with clean distilled water, shake off excess and let dry. Now we're ready for the real "nozzle test"! Get a foot of small bore plastic tubing that will fit onto the plastic tip of the syringe. I use a 1/16" I.D. tube that I soften with a lighter and widen the opening with a Bic pen so that it will slip onto the syringe. Now draw in 5-6 cc's of distilled water through the tubing into the syringe. Place the open end of the tubing over the feed post of the clogged colour. Now firmly inject the distilled water. If the head is clear, you will see 32 (colour) or 64 (black) very, very fine streams of distilled water spraying out of the nozzle plate on the bottom of the print head. If some are crooked or not spraying, we need to back flush that colour. VERY GENTLY clamp the print head (bottom side-nozzle plate- up) into a small vice or holding fixture of some kind. You will need both hands free. Now take your distilled water -syringe-tube combo and hold the tubing firmly over the micro-sized nozzle holes on the nozzle plate (a magnifying glass will help). While holding the tube firmly in place, force some distilled water into the nozzle holes (you know it's going in if it drips out the feed post). Keep moving and repeat until you go over ALL the nozzle holes. What this is doing is back flushing each jet in the print head and dislodging any foreign objects (dust, etc...) out of the print head. If a head has a rock in the pipes (dust, etc...) and you only flush from the top...you're just pushing it to the spray nozzle and it's still going to be clogged. A back flush like this is the only way to clear this type of clog, unless you replace the print head. Now you can slap it back together, run a couple cleaning cycles, and get back to printing.
I have not met a clog that I couldn't clear with the above methods. I recently had a 500 in the shop that someone had let the black run bone dry. 4 WEEKS LATER, they installed a new cartridge and ......"chaaaaaa.....know what???? unh-unh!!!" Clog city. No amount of cleaning cycles or distilled water injection would clear that gooey up print head. EVERY SINGLE NOZZLE WAS CLOGGED. This was a candidate for the old Epson "replace the print head" routine. So I figured what the hell! Let's pull the print head and test the "procedure". After a "Step 3" full boogie removal and back flush, I ran ONE cleaning cycle and......PERFECT. Remember, this head was so clogged that I couldn't get even 1 nozzle to spray! I know it's kind of involved, but for us techies out there or for a printer out of warranty......it's the only way to go. Feel free to post questions to the Epson-Inkjet list or e-mail me direct. Good Luck!
Addendum: Added by Jim Liddil on the Epson-Inkjet list. For just such an occurrence keep a clean empty cartridge on hand. Fill it with distilled water. Use a syringe and make sure it is full. Easy to do since you won't get ink everywhere. Put this cartridge in place of the other one. Let is sit and run cleaning cycles. You can let it go overnight if you have patience. If this fails then you can try the approach of putting a piece of tubing on a syringe that is just big enough to fit snug on the post where the cartridge plugs in. Then GENTLY try to force water or 70% isopropyl alcohol through the head. Put the water cartridge back in and run cleaning cycles. If all this fails it's time to send it to Epson or pull the heads yourself and clean them. My techniques are slight modifications of those presented by Steve Chlupsa.
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Dave Plowman wrote:

Printers like the new Epson C84 Photo still have a parallel interface as well as the USB. Although you may have trouble getting hold of a driver than can take advantage of the extra features / resolution of the newer printer. Having said that - you will still benefit from the huge speed increase compared to a 600.
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Cheers,

John.

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