asked Sep 13, 2010 at 2:44pm
Epson Epson LQ 300

Epson 7800 printer problem repair procedure

In spite of opaque and unhelpful tech advice from Epson and their insistence on secret servicing manuals and procedures I found a perfect solution after a month of research and fruitless attempts to clear one of the eight colours on my Epson 24 inch 7800 printer. I was told that I needed a new head and HAD to get an Epson tech service person to come to my studio to solve this problem and since the nearest one is 300 km away...you can fill in the likely cost of this. In other words, you are on your own once the warrantee is up. It is a fine printer when it is working but the inks costs are astronomical as if one uses a set of inks per month the annual costs are over 12 thousand US dollars a year! Give me a break. As an artist I I cannot consider feeding a printer at that price. So..I use third party pigment inks and there are a number of them that have each their own reputation for stability and archival permanence but take it from me, pigment inks which are the ones that are the most stable inherently can build up on the heads and in the system especially if you do not print every week at least one large piece. Using the cleaning procedure that is a part of Epson utilities might or might not solve the problem of a partly clogged set of jets or the worse problem of a input or output clog along from the cartridge all the way through to the nozzles as the bigger pro printers run ink through silicone tubing in through a damper or filtre and through the piezo powered injector and thence to the many tiny output nozzles. A cleaning utility only brings in to the nozzles IF the entire path is working and clear and this is where the problem might lie as it was in my case. I could get NO help from Epson on this issue and my search on the internet brought forth all sorts of very pricey products that might very well work but at 300 dollars a pop for some cleaning cartridges and no knowledge of their efficacy or contents and whether their particular product will clear the third party ink that I happen to use, I demurred at buying any of them. I found instructions to allow a reintroduction of inks into the system to drain the old inks and then put in new carts but the problem would be the fact that if I could do the drain and replace then I would not have the problem of a clogged colour path in the first place. I suspected the filter which is prehead somewhere in the mechanism and I had no intention of taking that watch apart. I could not incidentally get the instruction set that I obtained on line to work with this somewhat newer model printer though the instructions claimed incorrectly that it worked with all the models. Be that as it may, I found a better way to do the entire procedure and so finally here it is for those that have a serious problem and have no other recourse other than opening your wallet to the big corporations and their tentacles! You need a cartridge re-chipper which you can find on line and also either a set of refillable cartridges OR an old set of Epson cartridges ..all 8 of them. First re-set the cartridges as per instruction on the re-chipper. It is child's play. Then with a syringe that fits the cartridge outlet refill all the cartridges with..WINDEX OR WHATEVER THE EURO EQUIVALENT IS OF THIS VENERABLE PRODUCT. IT contains according to Johnson Wax IPA, surfactant and ammonia in some form or another..details matter little as many use it to clean their printer heads as you might already know. I called a local independent printer repair facility who kindly told me that they use it all the time to flush printers. I do not guarantee safety or results so you get free advice and use it at your own risk but that is what I did and do. So to continue, fill all the cartridges with 230 ml of Windex if it is the larger cart or whatever it can hold. Do not overfill..Now, take out all the ink carts from the printer with the power off. Put them aside and cover the output ends with some tape to keep the valve from clogging with drying ink. Put in the ammonia charged cartridges in their appropriate place based upon the colour code on the cartridges. I mark on them as I fell them the word cleaner so that I do not find myself mixing up these now special cleaning carts with the ink ones. Turn on the printer and using the utilities that comes with the machine or using the panel..go to Power Wash..it is a miserable pig of a program that if you use your ink, it will go through a LOT of ink and might not solve the problem on its own. It did not solve mine which is why we are here with this method. So...run the power wash and with a flashlight watch the Windex run into the tubes through the system. I noted in my case that the magenta which was the problem colour showed bubbles in the line when the power wash was operating. This implied clearly that there was a path issue but windex cleared the path on the second go around with the power wash. I ran it in other words two times back to back. Windex dissolves completely my inks and I understand that many inks break down in it as well. i cannot speak of all brands but some like isopropyl alcohol for this purpose but note that Windex contains that also so it seems all bases are covered here. So with a flashlight one can see into the silicone tubes that carry the ink that the tubes are not semi transparent with a bit of ink diluted way down with windex. After al there is a little ink left in the old carts that were re-chipped and that is handy as when you feel that the cleaner has done its job..maybe immediately or overnight run a manual print head pattern..not the auto pattern which reads the ink colour and thus will not stop running..The manual confirmation shows a very pale pattern of the usual sort and with a careful look, you ought to see that the heads are suddenly perfect. I should point out that before this procedure I had NO magenta ink at all for a month of attempts to solve this technical problem. So once it is cleared, shut down the printer and reinstall the original cartridges, start up the printer and run a series of files through the printer using all the colours...a so called purge print. You can find ones on line or make your own. OR just run the power wash all over again which is fast but fills up the maintenance tank. Your choice on this but get the inks to the head either way and there you are...I am very happy with my results and it cost me a lot of time to figure this out with no help from the company or many of the third party fellas out there which is why I do not recommend anyone to you. An artist must persevere and find their own way with their tools and this was my way. I wish any and all luck in this. I suggest the same method modified according to the printer will work also. I should mention that I have kept an Epson 2200 printer running many years beyond its lifetime using the same product and approach. As to whether Windex is safe for the printer? What exactly did i have to lose..it was a write off not doing it so I did what I did. Do what each of you wish with this story and again, at your own risk.
Been searching for a while now so thank you for taking the time to write all of this up.
I have a 7800 that glides across my paper and never leaves any ink on it whatsoever.
I'm interested in your method, but a bit confused about a re-chipper.
Where do I find one. . . is it a one size fits all?
Anyhow, thanks again for writing up your method.

by unknown on Sep 16, 2010 at 9:07am Add comment
One can buy what is commonly called a re-chipper for about 13 bucks from any number of third party ink suppliers such as Ink2image and many others. There is one made for most Epson printers that require it such as the wide format printers the 7600-9800 use the same re-chipoer. It is a battery powered gadget that one simply places against the contacts on the carts and it resets the chip to zero to count as if it were a full cart. Of course you must refill the cart before installing this into the printer for otherwise it would draw in air rather than inks or cleaner into the lines and that is a drag... - unknown
Thank you,
I have been staring at my epson 7800 for six months wondering how to unclog heads. I called
Epson and maybe 2 or 3 thousand dollars later it will be fixed.My problem is I live on a small
island off of Puerto Rico called Vieques. As you can see I am on my own and willing to
try to fix -----what ---- do I have to lose. Off to buy a re-chipper and tubes
Siddhia Hutchinson Gallery
by unknown on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:20pm Add comment

I'd be willing to pay you 50¢ to edit the above and insert coherent carriage returns, breaking up this missive into paragraphs...

by drdarrow on Nov 4, 2016 at 4:58pm Add comment