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asked Feb 25, 2003 at 12:15am
Epson Epson Stylus Color 660

Epson Stylus 660 - Bizarre feeding and gaps

It's around two years old and has worked fine for me. However, since I'm at university, I left it in storage for the summer, around 3 months, and when I returned, these problems occured.

When it would print any document, it would sometimes just stop and leave a small gap, no more than an inch, before continuing. The worst is when this gap extends to the entire page, and the next page in line simply continues where the printer left off.

This is especially annoying when printing pictures since only the top part is printed. I have a feeling that it might be the sensor telling the printer that there is paper in it. Could this be dirty, and ff so, where would I find it?

Of course, any other ideas would be useful. I am running Windows 98SE, with all updates, and the 'latest' updates (circa 2001) for the 660.
QUESTIONS: DOES YOUR PRINTER MAKE ANY GRINDING NOISES/RATCHETING NOISES DURING PRINTING? ARE THERE ANY SOLID OR FLASHING ERROR LED's ON DURING, OR AFTER PRINTING? IS THERE ANY UNUSUAL PAPER FEEDING PROBLEMS, OR PAPER DAMAGE OCCURING DURING PRINTING, OR ARE YOU GETTING FREQUENT JAMS?...GENERAL INFO: As a rule, three months storage during the summer, on an Epson, is usually REAL BAD [anytime of the year]. Most areas of the country are warm/hot during the summer and usually there's no cooling/air conditioning while in storage. Epson print heads need to be used and I recommend at least once a month using a little black and a little color. Running a "Nozzle Test" once a month, keeps the ink fresh in the print head nozzles, but still does not waste that much ink. When a printer sets, not being used for three months, your "Nozzles" can dry out and clog. This is even worse when using refilled, or 3rd party ink cartridges. It can be very difficult to always get all the nozzles to open/fire, once they dry out and clog...YOUR PROBLEM, HOWEVER does not sound like printing problems caused by clogged nozzles. It actually sounds more like a software problem... TRY THESE STEPS TO CHECK OUT YOUR PRINTER...STEP #1: Unhook your printer cable from the back of your printer and turn your printer off for a minute and then power back on. This will clear out any possible communication problems/data, that might still be in the printers system. STEP #2: With paper loaded and the printer in a ready condition [no red led's on], turn the power back off. With one finger, hold in on the "paper/resume button". Reach over with another finger and turn the power button back on, while continuing to still hold in on the "paper/resume button". When you can hear and see paper starting to be fed into the printer, release the "paper/resume button". The printer will now run an "Internal Self-Test" copy, checking out the operation of the printer. If the test copy prints out normally, then as a general rule your printer is ok. The test page not only has a nozzle pattern on it, but also a line of letters and numbers above the nozzle pattern that indicate certain internal memory checks and numbers. In your case, just to be sure you can run several more internal test copies, but if the first copy came out ok, the rest normally will also. Just because you have confirmed that your printer is probably ok [operational test only] does not mean it is not dirty, or causing copy quality problems, or causing noises and problems while it is operating. It just means the self test came out ok. STEP #3: With the printer cable still unhooked from the back of the printer, you should power down and turn off your PC. After a minute you can turn your PC back on.STEP #4: Once your system goes to a normal start/ready screen, open up your "printer properties utility". The first tab will normally be a "General Tab" and down towards the bottom right corner will usually be the "Printer Test Page" button. NOW YOU CAN REPLUG IN your printer cable to the back of the printer.STEP #5: Once the cable has been plugged in and there are no error messages up on your monitor, click-on the "Printer Test Page" button. If this test page/copy prints out normally, usually your communication between your PC and your printer is ok. In your case, I would recommend running this test 4 to 6 times, just to be sure... TECH NOTE: If you happen to get a copy printed out of your printer with just one, or two WIERD SYMBOLS on it [can also be several symbols, a partial line of symbols, several lines of symbols, or in rare instances the printer just keeps printing these wierd symbols], this usually indicates a COMMUNICATION PROBLEM. The two things that normally cause communication problems, are CORRUPT/BAD PRINTER DRIVERS, or a BAD PRINTER CABLE. If your printers "Self-Test" was sucessfull, the third thing that normally cause communication problems has already been eliminated. If the "Self-Test" had failed and you had been getting those WIERD SYMBOLS, it would indicate a possible bad "LOGIC SYSTEM", which is part of the printers main printed circuit board [PCB]... You can delete your old drivers and download the latest available drivers from the Epson web-site. As drivers are FREE, I usually recommend trying those first if you have a communication problem... If you need to replace your printer cable you want a good quality, BI-DIRECTIONAL printer cable with a rating of "IEEE-1284" printed on the cable. Non rated cables are generally poorer quality, not always bi-directional and don't last as long because they are not shielded as well [cheeper to make and cost less]...IF YOUR PRINTER TEST PAGES COME OUT NORMAL AND LOOK OK, rerun the job that was causing you problems to start with. Your origional problem will probably still be there, unless turning your system off and on cleared out the problem. I would guess your problem is software related and I'm sorry I can't help on software problems...Good Luck! Denny Conway
by Denny Conway on Feb 25, 2003 at 2:02pm Add comment