Friday, 5 September 2008

The Mystery of my Epson 4800's auto cleaning…

For some time, since I have been keeping the humidity high in the region of the print head and running Harvey Head Cleaner daily (I have reduced it from twice daily to once with no ill effect) with an MIS Autoprint every three days, I have only really had one problem with my 4800 – every now and then (about once a week) the printer does “something or other” which looks and sounds like a cleaning cycle. Sometimes a whole ink channel or two are missing after this, but the nozzle check says that no more ink than usual has been used up since the last one. So what is happening?

Since I have turned off both auto nozzle checking & cleaning on the printer’s control panel it ought not to be running cleaning cycles without my asking it to.

For some time, however, I have suspected that, since this “auto something or other” looks and sounds like a cleaning cycle, it probably is. I have noticed anomalously high ink usage every now and again on nozzle check printouts and wondered if there was a connection.

This morning it did its “auto something or other” before printing out the nozzle check requested by Harvey Head Cleaner. Yesterday the nozzle check was perfect, but after this “auto something or other” cycle this morning both Light Magenta & Cyan inks were completely missing, but the nozzle check said that only 0.2ml had been used – the normal amount for a nozzle check. I immediately ran another nozzle check, without doing anything else, and guess what – the printer thought that it had used another 10.4ml of ink since the last one, which is about right for a cleaning cycle, but much too much for sitting around doing nothing for a minute!

I have noticed this before and I am now convinced that it is running auto cleaning cycles about once a week despite my having told it not to and that it only reports the ink usage in the nozzle check printout after the one immediately after it does the cleaning cycle.

For some reason these cleaning cycles often mess up a printer that was working perfectly – although I do find that a single cleaning cycle usually restores the ink.

Can anyone cast any light on this?


Earl said...

My 4000 has a weird problem. I'm in the middle of equipment angst wondering what to do. My matte black is clogged. Can't even get a print out. When I run a head cleaning, the ink doesn't seem to make it to the waste container and leaks out from the footpad onto the table. I sort of wish I hadn't bought this printer. I didn't realize how much maintenance was involved. Any suggestions?

Churchill Photographer said...


Is you maintenance tank actually overflowing? It's possible if someone has re-set it without emptying it.

since you are getting ink coming out it might be a leak in the line, but you ought to be able to see that easily enough.

There is short tube from the pad where the printer emits the ink to the maintenance tank - that may be leaking or blocked, in which case ink may well leak out.

Mark said...

For as long as I can remember (through 3 generations of Epson printers) they have always done this. I think it is a minor cleaning cycle / self check.