PK cartridge emptying but showing full

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PK cartridge emptying but showing full

Postby gcos » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:14 am

Hi Guys,
Need your opinions on the following, and also noting Murray's recent post about ink clog, I am wondering if he actually had this problem.
3880 is 4 years old. Has worked perfectly in that time apart from user input errors!
Early August, I went to print but the PK cart was apparently clogged. Ink monitor showed 50%. No cleaning cycle would un block, so I took out the cartridge to shake it, and also weigh it - it was completely empty. I put it down to one of those things, re ordered and then fitted new cartridge. Problem solved - there was no blockage.
Came to do a few more prints last week, PK cart showing 95%, but not a mark on the nozzle check! Took out the cartridge and weighed it - completely empty.
Went on the interweb and discovered this is not uncommon on 3880. The problem appears to be the switching mechanism from PK to MK leaks, causing the PK to drain away by a combination of pressure and gravity into the maintenance tank. Monitor still shows ink in cartridge, but of course that's because the printer does not recognise that ink was used for printing. In my case, I never print using MK, so it's not that the mechanism is worn out! There is of course ink in the maintenance tank, but I can#t tell whether it's normal or way too much. Anyway, I believe this is what is wrong in my case.
The cure for this is apparently a new ink delivery system, at approx. £100, and fit it myself. I believe it is not the most difficult thing to do it one is mechanically sympathetic, so I may give it a go. I have a copy of the service manual which shows how to disassemble and reassemble, so I need to read it a couple of times. From what others already know, do you think this is feasible?
Another poster somewhere supplied this workaround, which he claimed suited him:
Remove MK cartridge
Get refillable MK cartridge
Fill this refillable with PK ink
Put chip from original MK cart on this refillable cart
Insert into MK printer slot
Tell the printer you are going to print in MK (but of course it will actually be sending PK ink to the paper
Use paper suitable for PK ink in the paper tray.
Basically you are fooling the printer to get what you want.
The question on this is, if the printer thinks it is using MK ink, and suitable paper, does it adjust all the other colours slightly to keep what it considers the correct 'mix' of ink. Or does it only substitute MK for PK and leave all the rest as was?
Any opinions on this?
Many thanks,

Put chip from PK cartridge on this one
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 10:04 pm
Location: IRELAND

Re: PK cartridge emptying but showing full

Postby gcos » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:11 pm

Not a lot of suggestions on this subject!!
Anyway, I have googled a lot on this problem, and everyone seems to believe it is the ink changeover from Photo to Matte ink, and back.
But I am not so sure. The changeover mechanism appears to cut off the the ink channel not required, so that the ink cannot enter the head. Therefore if the mechanism leaks, it must leak past the seal. But the only place it can go is into the head. However, the ink channel already in use is already letting ink into the head, same as all the other colours. And they do not leak. So I am not convinced it is ink leaking past the cutoff valve, as it would only end up where the other ink ends up anyway.

One poster on some forum I read said he had the same problem, and even though Epson told him it was a changeover switch problem, he was not sure. He then cleaned out the waste pads where the head parks, the wiper rubber, and the sealing rubber around the pads. He also cleaned underneath the head with windex (window cleaner). He says problem solved.
So is it possible that a build up of crud on the bottom of the head, and on the pads where the heads parks could actually be syphoning the ink away when the printer is at rest?

Bear in mind, my problem is the PK cartridge leaks away - I never use Matte black, so never need to switch, the matte black cartridge does not leak away. So the cartridge that leaks is the one that I use all the time.
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 10:04 pm
Location: IRELAND

Re: PK cartridge emptying but showing full

Postby gcos » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:47 pm

Ok, so I cleaned all around the capping station, the wiper blade, and used window cleaner on the capping station pads to clean through any congealed ink. I removed the maintenance tank when doing this, and put paper towel in its place. It took a good 24 hours before any liquid found its way through on to the paper towel. Plugged back in the top panel, made a print, and while the print was good, there were ink blobs or short streaks on the edges of the sheet when the head changed direction. This apparently definitely meant I had a problem only fixable by replacing the ink supply system.
Bought the new Ink supply system, and fitted it last night. I only replaced the damper assembly even though the new unit is complete with cartridge holder, tubes and damper assembly with changeover switch.
Did a nozzle check, ok.
Tried a print, ink appeared to run out halfway through. Obviously there was enough ink in the head for some printing, but an air gap after that.
Did one auto nozzle check (which screen said it could not complete) which was bad on PK.
Left printer overnight.
Did manual nozzle check this morning - no PK, all the rest good.
Did Auto nozzle check this evening - first line, no PK. Second line, much better, then third line it printed all the colours with no block missing. Then did manual nozzle check - no lines missing.
I am going to leave all the covers off for a day or two just in case, but it looks like all is good again.
From all the reading I have done, it would appear I have caused my own problem. Everyone who seems to 'know' reckons cartridges should be removed and shaken every month, a test page printed every couple of days, and maybe some water in the maintenance tank. It seems that settlement of the pigment is a problem that eventually affect the dampers and/or changeover PK switch, and the result is Pk leaking away, and PK blobs on the edge of a print.
Fingers crossed. Hope this small write up helps someone else. I wasted 2 - 3 weeks wondering what to do, but if someone asked me now I would have no hesitation in telling them to change the ink supply. (apparently Epson even advise it as 'routine maintenance every 2 or so years!).
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 10:04 pm
Location: IRELAND

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