Instructions on How to Unclog/unjam an Epson 4900 Inkjet Printer.
As many of you know, I have a real love-hate relationship with my Epson 4900. I purchased it just prior to the 2012 Westminster Dog Show so that I could make prints at a lower cost. I expounded upon the virtues of the Epson 4900 at that time in the following link:http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=38467#Post38467
However, over the last two years, some of the great excitement has worn off. While I am still 100% thrilled by the quality of the prints, and the amazing range of media provided by Epson, I have had nothing but problems with ink heads getting clogged. I even received warning messages from my Epson 4900 printer that it was time to replace the printer as the product parts had exceeded their warranty life.
As I did not purchase the extended warranty on my Epson 4900 printer (as generally my feeling is that extended warranties are a tax on stupid people), I have been feeling more than a little burned, and LOL, more than a little bit stupid. Having been invited a couple of years back to a focus group by Epson, I still had the email address for one of the execs, and I launched off a rather scathing indictment of my frustrations with the printer. It lead essentially nowhere as my printer was out of warranty, but at least I got some of my feelings out about what I see as a rather glaring problem with a very high cost product. First moral of the story? If buying a new Epson 4900 printer, consider the warranty.
I was initially hesitant about posting this article as I was concerned that my problems may be unique. Also, it is not my goal to disparage Epson, as I am generally really pleased by the output when it works. However, after I did some searches online, I learned that many others are having the same problems that I have been suffering. I also found a great YouTube Video from the folks at Pro Digital Gear walking people through the process of cleaning their printer. It is essentially the same method that I had been using to clean the ink heads on my printers going all the way back to Epson 1270 printer. To see them walk you through their process on a video, click this link.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6PbizbKaw
The method I am about to show you is similar - though I have made some tweeks that I believe are helpful.
WARNING - This is just for people who are at wits ends with their Epson x900, and do not have a product that is in warranty. Also, I must say "buyer beware." Do this at your own risk and liability. I do not endorse that you do anything different from what Epson says to do with a printer that is in warranty. I am only sharing what I have done with my printer because I felt that I essentially had a $2500 paperweight on my desk (being nearly full of ink).
1. Install the Epson LFP Remote Panel 2 Software.
2. Perform a Nozzle Check using the Epson LFP Software.
The link to the EPson LFP Remote Panel 2 Software can be found:http://esupport.epson-europe.com/FileDet...0&id=374405
Note, I am assuming that you more than likely have gotten this far and that the ink heads are completely jammed. Usually, I get an error message indicating, "The printer's ink tubes are nearing the end of their service life. Please contact Epson support." This is, sadly, the 'kiss of death' if your printer is not in warranty. However, after speaking with Epson Customer Service, I was told that this error was not correct and that it was a sign that the printer is really - really - backed up.
3. Make sure your ink head is unlocked. This happens during the short period when you initially turn on the printer and the head is initializing. During the period that the printer head begins to move back and forth on the carriage, UNPLUG the printer immediately. Make sure that you do not force the head. It should freely move. If it is not, restart the process.
4. Open the hood again and gently slide the printer head to the middle of the tray.
5. Saturate a folded thick paper towel (I fold it in quarters) with Original Windex or Equivalent. The guys on the video specify the non-foaming type. I have never used it, so I do not know. NOTE** Please do not skimp out on paper. Get some Viva or other such quality paper that is durable. The last place you want paper break down is on your heads. Note, as an alternative to Windex, I have also used Rubbing Alcohol in high concentrations, which has also helped. **
6. Lay the FOLDED paper towel into the print head area and gently bring the print head over the paper towel. You may have to slightly pick up the head to make sure that the paper does not get roll under the head. You want to keep the paper flat on the tray.
That, ladies and gentleman, is the hard part. Now, go out and photograph or something for a few hours.
7. Swap out the paper towels about every 3 or 4 hours. This allows you to see if the inks are separating nicely or just coming out in loads of gunk. Eventually, the inks should start coming out in to their component colors. That is a good sign that "the end is near."
8. Remove the paper towels when you have done this three or four times.
9. Close the printer unit
10. Plug in the power
11. Run the Epson LFP Remote Panel 2, performing a nozzle check.
Try a clean cycle - I usually start with a power clean and then an auto clean.
Having spoken to my friend, John Isaac (ahem, Name Drop), about his Epson 3880, I learned that he has never had a problem with his Epson clogging. This struck me as a bit odd as the printers are very similar and came out about the same time. One thing that he mentioned to me is that he 'never shuts his printer off.' With that in mind, I reached out to Epson customer support who actually said the same thing - "Shut off the auto-power off."
12. This can be done by pressing the pause button when the printer is in start-up mode. You can go through the directories and terminate the auto-shut off feature.
Sadly, my experience has been that this has had zero effect on my problems. I still did it anyway because the tech guy suggested it to me. However, my experience has been that the only thing that has really worked has been printing regularly. By regularly, I try to print at least a couple of times a week. It is frustrating because I don't have quite that much volume. Second Moral of the Story? If you don't have the volume, make the volume. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than going through a maintenance box of ink in deep cleans.
I hope this was helpful. Good luck.