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Thread: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

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    New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    I just wrote an article about the new Epson printers and Ultrachrome HD ink for my printing workshop web blog.

    It seems the hardware and printing head of the new 44 inches printers are the same as the "old" Stylus Pro 9890 and 9900. So, I think that just informing the "old" printer about the new inks, we could keep the actual printers and use new inks if we wished. Technically we would only need a new printer firmware, new ink chips on cartridges (physically the same), ICC profiles and provably an upgraded printer interface.

    Instead, Epson want us to throw away preatty recent printers as ours from just a year and a half ago.

    I do not like neither the increase of ink shades. To me it does not have much sense as the print quality or wider gamut is very subtle and only on certain images.

    Increasing ink cartridges, also increase the risk of cartridge failures and undoubtely we have more ink lines and nozzels to keep unclogged. We all know the "liquid gold price" of the actual inks. So I think Epson want us to make us think "the more ink shades the more quality" and make us use as many cartridges as possible to increase their income.

    Writing that article, I came across a fact, a nightmare to me that I have never seen in one single post complaining about the following: when the smart ink cartridges get to an approximate volume level of about 5%, the cleaning action is not possible and new cartridge/s with proper ink volume must be installed to perform cleaning. Once the cleaning is done with the new cartridge/s, then should be replaced again for the low level ones. With eight or more inks installed on a printer, this becomes a nightmare because there are often one or more cartridges that have not enough ink to perform such cleaning.

    It is popularly known that Catalans are savers (Catalonia is on the North Eastern part of Spain, at the moment) and we do not discard any cartridge until the message "replace cartridge" appears on screen. Perhaps the rest of the world, throw the cartridge away when appears "not enough ink to perform cleaning" on screen. This would mean a very unhealthy habit for common environment, as well as a considerable economic loss. If we discarded all the ten cartridges on a Stylus Pro 9900 when they reach 5% of ink level, we would be throwing away 50% of a full ink cartridge in each cycle !!!

    Please read the full article HERE
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    All of my Epson large format Printers (4000, 7600 and now dead 9900) have had some type of minimum remaining ink requirement for even simple cleaning cycles. It is indeed a pain to switch partial cartridges with more full cartridges in order to perform a cleaning cycle. I am sorry to learn that the new 44 inch printer may share the hardware (and perhaps print head problems) of the 9900. Over my 5 years of ownership, my 9900 produced outstanding image quality when it was not plugged or otherwise misbehaving. I would have preferred to see some positive improvements in reliability rather than questionable improvements in the already excellent print quality.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    The above explains why I still love my HP Z3200 24" and 44" printers. No such BS ... but I regret that HP instead have abandoned us.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Thanks for your feedback, it's great to know I'm not alone.

    What are the problems you mention with 9900 ? Maybe banding ones... ?

    I've had some vertical banding on just very thick paper and dark areas (9890), but I asume this is not just because the printing head and can be solved with patience and modifying the printet paper settings.

    By the way, another problem that I'm having from time to time, provably when a cartridge is low in volume, is little spots of plain ink on the print, so it is ruined and must be discarded.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotophil View Post
    All of my Epson large format Printers (4000, 7600 and now dead 9900) have had some type of minimum remaining ink requirement for even simple cleaning cycles. It is indeed a pain to switch partial cartridges with more full cartridges in order to perform a cleaning cycle. I am sorry to learn that the new 44 inch printer may share the hardware (and perhaps print head problems) of the 9900. Over my 5 years of ownership, my 9900 produced outstanding image quality when it was not plugged or otherwise misbehaving. I would have preferred to see some positive improvements in reliability rather than questionable improvements in the already excellent print quality.

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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    My 44" HP Z5200 will run the cartridge dry then beep and ask for a fresh one. Plug it in an it continues where it left off. Love this printer. Also has photo spectrometer for profiling any media. Very easy and automatic

    I have an Epson 3880 that I like but it's the last Epson I'll own.

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    My large format HP Printer Friends love their printers and most of my Epson Friends hate their printers and my few friends with Canon Printers (myself included) are optimistic but haven't decided yet. Last month I wasn't able to even find a dealer that would sell me a HP large format printer because of the lack of support from HP. What's wrong with this picture?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by fotophil View Post
    Last month I wasn't able to even find a dealer that would sell me a HP large format printer because of the lack of support from HP. What's wrong with this picture?
    HP is going the way of Polaroid and Kodak IMHO. Such a waste.

    My next printer whenever one of the HPs kick the bucket will probably be a Canon. I very much doubt that it'll be an ink clogging Epson. (Been there, done that)
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    My 44" HP Z5200 will run the cartridge dry then beep and ask for a fresh one. Plug it in an it continues where it left off. Love this printer. Also has photo spectrometer for profiling any media. Very easy and automatic

    I have an Epson 3880 that I like but it's the last Epson I'll own.
    The 9900 has these features as well (if you buy the spectroproofer edition), but the problem comes when it is time to clean. If the ink is low, it will ask you to replace the cartridge. Unfortunately, the printer does not actually measure the ink level in the cartridge, it makes some torturous guess about how much it has left based on how many cleanings and prints that cartridge has done. The guess is incredibly conservative. When I first got the printer, I was getting rid of the "1%" cartridges because it was such a pain to pop them in and out for cleaning. Then one day I pulled out a 1% 700mL cartridge and it felt very heavy to me. I had another 700mL cartridge that was completely empty and when I weighed them, there was 340mL of ink left in the "1%" cartridge. I called Epson about it and they said it was because I had not been using the latest printer driver. Total BS. Now I do exactly as Duk2, and just print until they are totally empty, and I have gotten hundreds of prints out of some cartridges that are 1%, especially in the yellow, green and orange inks.

    As for the new printers, I don't mind the increased color gamut, and after six or seven years with the 9900, I am actually ok with it not being that different. By now I have figured out the 9900 to the extent that I can get it to print reliably under most all conditions. In a way, it seems like these printers get better with age. Perhaps it is just me figuring out how to work with it better, but I certainly had a lot more problems with it in the first 3 years than I have had in the last 3 or 4...
    In that sense, I agree that if the mechanics are largely the same, it is a bummer that we cannot just retrofit the older printer with the new inks, especially since Epson makes their money more on the ink and media than on the printers themselves! Of course, I understand that behaving like that is not very common in the business world.
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    I recommend all to watch "The Light Bulb Conspiracy" which begins & ends with the Epson printer stopping operation after a certain number of pages by design in the firmware and overcome by a user hack.

    The ink consumption conspiracy seems evident here...
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Thank you every one for your feedback.

    I must admit I did not know much about HP. It's good to know they can run till the last drop ink. Despite of the concerning words about the lack of support, I will consider HP on my next buy. Anyway the HP ink volume of 130ml. (Z3200) seems ridiculous to me (Epson 350ml or 700ml). I see the HP ink price almosttripples the Epson. Altough how much ink is discarded in stanby operations should be considered.

    I know the document "The Light Bulb Conspiracy", here in Spain is entitled "Buy, Throw, Buy". Yes I recomend it, too.


    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I recommend all to watch "The Light Bulb Conspiracy" which begins & ends with the Epson printer stopping operation after a certain number of pages by design in the firmware and overcome by a user hack.

    The ink consumption conspiracy seems evident here...

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    The 9900 has these features as well (if you buy the spectroproofer edition), but the problem comes when it is time to clean. If the ink is low, it will ask you to replace the cartridge. Unfortunately, the printer does not actually measure the ink level in the cartridge, it makes some torturous guess about how much it has left based on how many cleanings and prints that cartridge has done. The guess is incredibly conservative. When I first got the printer, I was getting rid of the "1%" cartridges because it was such a pain to pop them in and out for cleaning. Then one day I pulled out a 1% 700mL cartridge and it felt very heavy to me. I had another 700mL cartridge that was completely empty and when I weighed them, there was 340mL of ink left in the "1%" cartridge. I called Epson about it and they said it was because I had not been using the latest printer driver. Total BS. Now I do exactly as Duk2, and just print until they are totally empty, and I have gotten hundreds of
    The HP Z5200 never clogs. There is no such think as a nozzle check. You leave it on 24/7 and it wakes up periodically to do some maintenance routine, likely head cleaning

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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    The HP Z5200 never clogs. There is no such think as a nozzle check. You leave it on 24/7 and it wakes up periodically to do some maintenance routine, likely head cleaning
    When it is time to change printer, I'll reserach a bit more on HP's. It sounds great that they do not need nozzle cleaning.

    But a downside for me is the awful paper loading from behind. I do not have room behind the printer and change papers often. Another important factor is the ink price is nearly three times the Epson's. But maybe is a fair price if HP do not throw the ink to waste tank.

    The ink cartridges of HP Z3200 are really small compared to Epson's. Maybe thats the messge that they do not waste as much ink as Epson... (?)

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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: New Epson 44" Printers, Ultrachrome HD and Head Cleaning

    My Z5200 is on wheels. Very easy to roll away from the wall to change rolls

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