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Thread: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Arrow Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    I got tired of my 7900 clogging if it sat more than a few days without use, so I developed the following print target in the hopes it would pull enough of each color through the nozzles to solve that issue. I have been testing it for over 6 months, and so far it's been working so well I thought I'd share it for those interested. It should work equally well on any Epson printer even though it's designed specifically for those with K3 ultrachrome inksets.

    Backgrpound: I originally experimented by printing this every other day, then twice per week, and never had a clog so went to 1x per week -- and still had success with no clogs. I've since gone up to 3 weeks between runs and still been successful with no clogs, but my recommendation is to get in the habit of running it weekly -- I personally run it as part of my normal Monday morning "starting the week" routine.

    Here's what I do: I first run the nozzle check to be certain the nozzles are clear, and since using this target they always have been! (It's probably not necessary to do this first step, but it's such a joy to see a perfect nozzle check pattern every time you run it ). I print this out on a sheet of standard letter size printer paper (read cheap), and then print the image from my printing program having it manage color. I use the same sheet I printed the nozzle pattern on and use Epson's Premium Luster paper base setting and canned profile. Of course the colors won't match the display image since it's just plain printer paper, but that's not a concern since all we're wanting to do is suck some of each ink through the nozzles. The Premium Luster paper base setting calls a little more ink than most of the other Pk papers, so why I choose it.

    Oh, the image is a set of 10 1-inch squares that are predominantly the same color as the 10 loaded Epson K3 UC inks, and of course all fits well inside a regular letter sized sheet of paper.

    Dropbox link to the 15MB tiff file: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...le%20clear.tif
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Thanks Jack,

    This might have saved my 4900 ... might return to Epson if this does the trick.


    Bob

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Thanks Jack.

    Ken Doo and I have talked about the clogging issues of the 9800 and 9900 and we both independently discovered that keeping the humidity up is the defining factor in clogging.

    I've gone away from the studio for 8-weeks at a time and have a humidifier working the entire time. The first thing I do getting back is turn the 9900 on and run a check; sometimes it perfect and other times all I need is one quick cleaning before printing any work.

    Based on my experience I'd have to save the number one culprit is lack of humidity (thus drying everything out) followed by non-use. My suggestion is get a humidifier working near your printer no matter where you are followed by regular exercise.

    Don
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Understand the issues with low humidity and clogs Don, but there are a multitude of other reasons for clogs, one of which is lack of tank agitation. According to the local Epson repair guru, sucking ink through the nozzles while the printer is running is the best way to prevent a variety of problems, and so why I developed this target. It's been a very dry summer here in CA, and with my above solution I haven't had to worry about temperature or humidity -- at least so far
    Jack
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Thank you for taking the time to post this, Jack. This is a wonderful gift to those of us who print with Epson printers!

    I don't know of any photographers who have a humidifier that's plumbed into a water supply that would supply water to the humidifier over a 2-4 week period. I do know that the humidifier I have requires filling at least every other day... and when it runs out the ambient humidity quickly drops to levels piezzo printers don't play well with.

    I've read about software that will prompt one's printer to print an image at specified intervals... and coupled with your target I'm thinking this could be the ideal solution to clogs. I'll still run the humidifier when I'm home... but having a target that clears all nozzles is preferable to repeated cleanings followed by a power cleaning that wastes $$$ in ink.

    Lawrence

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Thanks Jack. I use a 7900 and my main complaint is clogging. I'll try this tonight or tomorrow morning.

    BTW, all the California and Arizona guys can come to North Carolina for plenty of humidity. We're got more than our share.

    Joe
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    My clogging problems have disappeared since I installed an auto fill humidifier in the room with the printer, and keep it at 45%. I think I’ve only run 2 or 3 cleaning cycles in the past year.

    I developed a file a few years ago to do something similar to Jacks using gradients instead of solid colors before I used the humidifier and it did help.

    Jack’s target looks good, especially for 4900 users ... we’ve definitely seen more problems with it than the 78/9890 and 79/9900 printers. I think his would use less ink than mine does. Here’s the link to my cleaning page which I think will use more ink and may help some ... works same way. Print it out on scrap paper (old nozzle check sheet), using color management and EPL as the profile. I would usually run this page each day, and days I printed I would run this first then run a nozzle check. Just printing this page is enough ink to clear up minor missing nozzles (most missing nozzles are not clogs but caused by air leaking up back into the nozzle).

    Epson should really have this option in the firmware ... something like this should print each time you do a nozzle check. They could engineer it so it was perfect, each square being the exact ink without any mixing and making sure every nozzle is exercised the same amount. I tried to do that and decided it was too much work. Jacks colors look like he was able to get really close to the actual ink colors
    wayne
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Thanks Jack. I've just recommissioned a 2400 and used the target as proof.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Does anyone know how I could automate the process and have windows print this target on a weekly basis ?

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Nice idea, but I think the execution can be improved. Jack, I hope you don't mind my efforts to improve the "Nozzle Clear" print file. The Tiff files are in this Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xwusnmy11...vsL6HuENa?dl=0

    The original file was a bit mundane. The new Nozzle Clean print file exercises the nozzles as before but I've found that when using the new improved Nozzle Print file, that even with a subsequent less than perfect nozzle check, I still have a smile on my face.

    Seriously though, over the years, I've found that maintaining constant humidity to be the top factor for a happy 9900 printer, along with regularly printing (hence the Nozzle Clear file), keeping the printer and surrounding area clean (small vacuum like Dirt Devil Scorpion) especially if you use fine art cottons and canvas. The wiper and capping station should be cleaned (swab-bits) periodically, and the wiper changed once per year.

    I've had no issues with clogging on my printers (9900, 9890, and 4800). One of these days I'm gonna put together Epson printer maintenance guidelines, including all those backdoor maintenance codes. No idea why Epson hasn't put together something for end-users, just the basics for a happy printer, not head replacements.

    Ken

    p.s. Paul, the closest program I've seen for Windows is Harvey Head Cleaner, which you can schedule to print regular nozzle checks as often as desired---but not the new improved Nozzle Clear print file.

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Oh Boy
    Don Libby
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    ... my efforts to improve the "Nozzle Clear" print file.
    Too much black.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    I have a number of images that can be used as a nozzle clear that have much less black. Since flesh tones seem to dominate my images I mostly just have to print something, anything, then I am done.
    My green seems to last forever and clogs don't seem to matter much.
    -bob

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    p.s. Paul, the closest program I've seen for Windows is Harvey Head Cleaner, which you can schedule to print regular nozzle checks as often as desired---but not the new improved Nozzle Clear print file.
    Thanks Ken, I've been running Harvey Head Cleaner every day since Epson replaced my head under warranty but it still keeps clogging...

    I did come across this interesting forum post that describes how to save a spool file and use windows task scheduler to reprint it.

    Basically :

    I was looking for a way to do scheduled nozzle checks on my printers. (every 3 days for me)
    I know MIS autoprint exists, but it sends a purge page without actually telling me the nozzles are clean.

    I've found a way!!! The trick is to capture the data sent to the printer for a nozzle check, and keep the spool
    file to use in whatever way we wish.

    1. First share the printer from the printers folder in the control panel. Give it a simple name because we will need to create a batch file later on.
    I shared mine as "IP4500".

    2. Pause the print queue for that printer. To do this, double click on the printer in the printers section of the control
    panel. Then click on the "PRINTER" menu and on the "PAUSE PRINTING"

    3. Run the nozzle check utility from your printer driver software. You will see the data go from the driver to the
    print spooler, but it will stay stuck in the spooler

    4. Create a folder to contain your homemade auto-nozzle check app. I created mine in C:\AUTONOZZLE

    5. When a job is sent to the printer, on most versions of windows two files are created in
    C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS. There is an .SPL and a .SHD file. Copy (don't delete) the SPL file to C:\AUTONOZZLE
    rename it to something easy. I called mine IP4500.SPL since this is model specific data.

    6. Un-pause the printer. a Nozzle check will print.

    7. in C:\AUTONOZZLE create a file with notepad. I called mine AUTONOZZLE.BAT
    the file should contain this (adapt to your system)

    NET USE LPT3: \\LOCALHOST\IP4500
    COPY /B IP4500.SPL LPT3
    NET USE LPT3: /DELETE

    7. now whenever you run AUTONOZZLE.BAT. you will get a nozzle check from your printer.
    You can run this where you want... startup, scheduled task, icon where you want (like on the
    desktop)

    *edit*
    Troubleshooting:
    If this fails you can try to replace "LOCALHOST" by your PC's hostname or your IP address
    also make sure you have the right share name on the first line of the batch file
    crenedecotret, Apr 8, 2009

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    You can create an automated action for MAC, but I just do it manually every Monday morning, because I'm an analog sort of guy.
    Jack
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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    You know, a scaled down 50KB PNG file would work too.

    Interesting to compare to my 3800 from 2006 - it never clogged even if left 2 years unused.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Here's another reference point. I haven't used or even fired up my 3880 since the end of March, so it has been sitting for about 8 months. I finally powered it up tonight. The printer automatically went thru a long cleaning cycle. When it finished, I printed out a nozzle check. It was perfect. Made a couple of prints I had done earlier this year and they looked identical. Decided to print Jack's anti-clog target to be on the safe side, then printed another nozzle check, also perfect. Huge relief here...I was prepared for the worst. Definitely won't take a chance like this again. In the past I have never let my printer sit unused for more than 2 weeks.

    Gary

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I got tired of my 7900 clogging if it sat more than a few days without use, so I developed the following print target in the hopes it would pull enough of each color through the nozzles to solve that issue. I have been testing it for over 6 months, and so far it's been working so well I thought I'd share it for those interested. It should work equally well on any Epson printer even though it's designed specifically for those with K3 ultrachrome inksets.

    Backgrpound: I originally experimented by printing this every other day, then twice per week, and never had a clog so went to 1x per week -- and still had success with no clogs. I've since gone up to 3 weeks between runs and still been successful with no clogs, but my recommendation is to get in the habit of running it weekly -- I personally run it as part of my normal Monday morning "starting the week" routine.

    Here's what I do: I first run the nozzle check to be certain the nozzles are clear, and since using this target they always have been! (It's probably not necessary to do this first step, but it's such a joy to see a perfect nozzle check pattern every time you run it ). I print this out on a sheet of standard letter size printer paper (read cheap), and then print the image from my printing program having it manage color. I use the same sheet I printed the nozzle pattern on and use Epson's Premium Luster paper base setting and canned profile. Of course the colors won't match the display image since it's just plain printer paper, but that's not a concern since all we're wanting to do is suck some of each ink through the nozzles. The Premium Luster paper base setting calls a little more ink than most of the other Pk papers, so why I choose it.

    Oh, the image is a set of 10 1-inch squares that are predominantly the same color as the 10 loaded Epson K3 UC inks, and of course all fits well inside a regular letter sized sheet of paper.

    Dropbox link to the 15MB tiff file: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...le%20clear.tif
    Thanks Jack. Clogging is an annoying and frustrating problem. I will certainly try this on my 4900. For those who do not wish to invest in a humidifier, what about carefully placing a bowl of water inside the printer (and, of course, not forgetting to remove it before printing)? Your thoughts?

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    Re: Epson printer anti-clog "nozzle clear" print target

    I think it would be easier to simply get a good humidifier than a bowl of water. A hygrometer is inexpensive and a good investment to monitor humidity. A cover of some sort over the printer also helps. A humidifier does not have to be expensive, though you don't want one of those cheap models that will leave a coat of mist or white residue all over.

    ken

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