More and more finicky Epson inkjet printer
Each year Epson printers seem to get more finicky. Higher resolution (smaller nozzles), faster printing (faster drying inks) and longer cleaning cycles are a recipe for failure.
It is important to understand the problem and why it happens.
Most people do not change their cartridge(s) when the low ink light comes on. Instead they wait until they can see that the black or a color has run out. At this point there is no longer ink in all of the nozzles. If the cartridge or a color is empty enough to tell by looking at the printout, then some or all of the nozzles are filled with air. Air in nozzles can quite effectively block ink flow.
To overcome this problem when a new cartridge is put in, your Epson printer will do a priming. As far as I can tell, the logic is, if the printer can suck enough ink through the printhead, then that should also remove any air in the nozzles. This usually works. Unfortunately it can sometimes suck out so much ink that the wipers start to smear the ink all over the printhead which in turn blocks the nozzles. The more cleanings you do, the more ink that gets smeared on the printheads and the worse it gets. You have now gone from a problem of air blocking the ink flow on a few nozzles to smeared ink blocking even more nozzles.
If you manage to get all nozzles printing after 6, 8, 10 or more cleanings your problems are probably not over. In fact, your problems are probably worse. That half cartridge of ink sucked out during the cleanings has to go somewhere. Unfortunately there is nowhere for the ink to go except dry on the printhead. Next day, after the ink has had plenty of time to dry, you're lucky if you've got any ink on the paper when you print. How can new ink get through that thick layer of dried ink? Well, it can't!
The only true solution is to remove all that dried ink from the printhead. This is easily done with most printers. You simply remove the cartridge/printhead assembly and give the nozzles a quick swipe with a damp paper towel. There goes your dried ink. If that doesn't solve the problem, you can suck a small amount of ink out of the nozzles with a priming clip. That gets rid of any air and it only takes a couple seconds. Another quick swipe and all excess ink is removed. Easy when you can hold the printhead in your hand.
You probably know already that the Epson printheads are permanent and cannot be easily removed, therefore cleaning the excess ink off the printhead is not simply a matter of giving it a swipe with a damp paper towel.
So, before you blame the compatible cartridges or refill kits for your Epson printer not printing properly, please realize that it is probably not the fault of the cartridge or refill kit. It's just an Epson and that's the nature of the beast!
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