IMPORTANT TIP! Is it actually clogged?

Started Jun 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
chadderuski Regular Member • Posts: 461
Concerning Epson's Piezo Heads

What follows is a quote from the mysterious and unobtainable Epson field repair guide.

This information is relevant to the latest generation of Epson Stylus Pro's 9900/7900/9890/7890/4900 ... I don't think there is any AID circuitry in the 3800/3880.

Hope this is useful for some!

(Note that Canons are BubbleJet - an entirely different technology - so this doesn't apply to them)

Please also note that, not surprisingly, Epson chose to leave out most of this info from the user manuals. My 9890 User Manual only explains how to perform a cleaning. Does not go into the further, RATHER IMPORTANT, salient points that I believe are quite clear to any of us long time users.

Also note the SS Cleaning Mode. Dread the thought of the amount of ink spent, but this may be faster than 10 cleaning cycles in a row:

Now, for your reading enjoyment... to quote in full:

Cleaning Cycles (Types and Uses)
About All Cleaning Cycles
The Ink System is tuned to the gentle ink flow demand generated by printing.

All Cleaning cycles employ a much stronger ink demand than printing.

It is not unusual for the Ink System to “pull back” after a cleaning cycle drawing air or ink from the Cap into the Print Head Nozzle Plate. This can cause more Nozzles to be missing after a cleaning cycle than before. It also can cause contaminated (used) ink to be mixed with the “fresh” ink in the Nozzle Plate.

If the same Nozzles are missing after each cleaning cycle, continue cleaning.

If different Nozzles are missing after each cleaning cycle, stop cleaning, and print until the air or contaminated ink has been expelled from the Print Head.


When a normal cleaning is activated, the Printer cleans all 5 color pairs, and uses the AID Circuitry to check results. According the information reported by the AID Circuitry the Printer increases or decreases the strength of the clean-ing cycle appropriately, and only cleans the color pairs that require additional cleaning.

The Printer always cleans color pairs individually. A color pair is defined as 2 colors that share a Cap. In theory the Printer will only clean the color pairs that have missing Nozzles. Cleaning color pairs individually takes more time, but saves Ink.


Color pair cleaning is the cleaning method with the most efficient use of ink. How to use effectively:

1. Print an nozzle check, and identify the color pair with the most missing nozzles.

2. Clean that color pair only. After the Printer cleans the instructed color pair, it will use the AID Circuitry to determine the appropriate cleaning levels for any remaining missing nozzles on other color pairs. This method uses less ink than any other.

Power Cleaning: User Menu/Maintenance

The purpose of the Power Cleaning cycle is to remove air from the Negative Pressure Dampers, or air from the Print Head side of the Dampers.

The Power Cleaning cycle closes the Valves that restrict ink flow from the Ink Bays while simultaneously running the Cleaning Pump to build a vacuum on the Print Head Nozzle Plate. When sufficient vacuum is created, the Printer opens the Valves allowing the ink to “fill the vacuum”. This technique facilitates the removal of air from the system. Air in the system causes Nozzle drop out while printing.

Technicians: Use the Power Cleaning cycle after changing Dampers or Print Head.
User: Use the Power Cleaning cycle if Nozzles drop out while printing.

SS Cleaning: Maintenance Mode 1 (Hold the Pause button at power on)

SS Cleaning has a strong ultra sonic component. The Piezo Elements internal to the Print Head are used to attempt to break up pigment particles that may be clogging the interior of the Print Head.

Use SS Cleaning when a Nozzle can not be cleared through normal cleaning.

Color Pairs on the Print Head (Listed Left to Right)

1. Cyan and Vivid Magenta
2. Photo Black (Matte Black) and Light Black
3. Orange and Green
4. Light Light Black and Yellow
5. Vivid Light Magenta and Light Cyan.

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