How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

Started Mar 14, 2013 | Discussions
erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

I was actually about to buy either one or the other, when I noted the severe clogging and head failure problems people seem to have with this series. Had thought that Epson had got past that from my very positive experiences with their 3880 over almost three years now.

I do love the Epson colours and inks. They are expensive but seem to be very long-lasting. and I am a bit reluctant to go to Canon after some past very positive experiences with Epson's customer support.

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
Tom-C Senior Member • Posts: 1,230
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

I've had a 7900 for 2 to 3 years, and a 3880 for 6 months. My usage for both printers is intermittent. I had an R2400 for about 8 years before retiring it after getting the 3880.

The 7900 clogs often enough that I always do a nozzle check after turning the printer on for a printing session. Over half of the time it needs a single cleaning before it's ready to go. Once in awhile it needs more than one cleaning. I do color pair cleanings which uses much less ink than a full (all colors) cleaning.

The 3880 is like my old R2400. Nozzle checks were always good, so I don't even bother to do a nozzle check any more.

Some people have had serious clogging issues with their 4900/7900/9900 printers and needed major repairs. Purchasing the extended warranty is probably a good idea for one of those printers. I did that for my 7900 but haven't had a need for it yet.

Tom

 Tom-C's gear list:Tom-C's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Re: 4900/7900 clogging- thanks Tom

Your summary is very informative.  You also seems to be very fair, in light of the many warning posts I've tracked down in this forum and also at Luminous L. and consumer review sites like B&H's.

Although, I still hanker for roll capability and vacuum feed (isn't loading floppy canvas on the 3880 a laugh 8-) and most of all the reportedly beautiful colours and tones, I'll keep printing on my trusty 3880 which has yet to confront me with a serious problem. (Not that it doesn't have its quirks - but that's life!).

My dream printer would by a 24" with vacuum and roll feed and decent sheet handling, but nozzles as clog-free and usable for intermittent printing as the 3880 that no bigger or heavier than the 4900! Sort of an updated pigment ink version of HP's 130. I'm sure that would really sell.

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
dccberry Regular Member • Posts: 352
Re: 4900/7900 clogging- thanks Tom

I use a 7900 almost every day, and it is, for the most part, super reliable. I do a nozzle check before doing a run pf prints, and 90% of the time it does not need a nozzle cleaning. It is nice to be able to clean only two colors at a time if necessary...All in all, I like it enough to want a 9900 when space permits!

-- hide signature --
 dccberry's gear list:dccberry's gear list
Canon PowerShot G12 Ricoh GR Nikon D810 Nikon D300 Nikon D4 +7 more
sjphoto Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: 4900/7900 clogging- thanks Tom

As an owner of an epson 7800 and an epson 3880, I must tell you that I purchased a Canon ipf6400. The final price of $1604.00 with rebate and free delivery was too good to pass up. Well, I must tell you, this printer is a joy to use.  After calibration and proper paper profiles prints made on the same paper and the same size are identical. I think for the most part Epson users are a bit snobbish about their printers. I did a lot of research and spoke to many professionals that use all of the "Big 3", Canon, Epson and HP. The bottom line was, they all praised the Canon and reassured me that I would love this printer and they were absolutely correct. I now find myself loading 17 x22 sheets in the Canon, instead of the 3880, which is a fantastic printer. It is now mostly used for smaller sizes and greeting cards. I think Epson users are loyal to a fault. I Know ill  get some flack, but as a user of both I, I have to come clean about how good the Canon ipf6400  is.

 sjphoto's gear list:sjphoto's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D800 Nikon D7000 Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD +6 more
md lucero Regular Member • Posts: 101
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

I have had a 4900 for 3 months now, and I print once a week with it. Before using I perform a manual nozzle check. It is either ready to go or requires one cleaning on one color (usually magenta).

Maybe the printer is still considered new, but this startup practice is "acceptable" to me.

OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Re: 4900/7900 clogging- thanks Tom

dccberry wrote:

I use a 7900 almost every day, and it is, for the most part, super reliable. I do a nozzle check before doing a run pf prints, and 90% of the time it does not need a nozzle cleaning. It is nice to be able to clean only two colors at a time if necessary...All in all, I like it enough to want a 9900 when space permits!

-- hide signature --

> As an owner of an epson 7800 and an epson 3880, I must tell you that I purchased a Canon >ipf6400. The final price of $1604.00 with rebate and free delivery was too good to pass up. Well, I >must tell you, this printer is a joy to use. After calibration and proper paper profiles prints made on >the same paper and the same size are identical. I think for the most part Epson users are a bit >snobbish about their printers. I did a lot of research and spoke to many professionals that use all of >the "Big 3", Canon, Epson and HP. The bottom line was, they all praised the Canon and reassured >me that I would love this printer and they were absolutely correct. I now find myself loading 17 x22 >sheets in the Canon, instead of the 3880, which is a fantastic printer. It is now mostly used for >smaller sizes and greeting cards. I think Epson users are loyal to a fault. I Know ill get some flack, >but as a user of both I, I have to come clean about how good the Canon ipf6400 is

I found this  McNamara report youTube clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so7th7vrwSk

rather interesting.  It bears out my long experience that there is seldom a clear and simple choice - in other words, there is seldom an easy or a perfect choice.  It is still my impression that Epson printers, with the help of the papers and profiles and support and advice available, enable one to deliver a very high quality of print that may even be very slightly better than Canon's. It is also pretty clear that Canon will often be more convenient.

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Re: 4900/7900 clogging- thanks Tom

erichK wrote:

dccberry wrote:

I use a 7900 almost every day, and it is, for the most part, super reliable. I do a nozzle check before doing a run pf prints, and 90% of the time it does not need a nozzle cleaning. It is nice to be able to clean only two colors at a time if necessary...All in all, I like it enough to want a 9900 when space permits!

-- hide signature --

> As an owner of an epson 7800 and an epson 3880, I must tell you that I purchased a Canon >ipf6400. The final price of $1604.00 with rebate and free delivery was too good to pass up. Well, I >must tell you, this printer is a joy to use. After calibration and proper paper profiles prints made on >the same paper and the same size are identical. I think for the most part Epson users are a bit >snobbish about their printers. I did a lot of research and spoke to many professionals that use all of >the "Big 3", Canon, Epson and HP. The bottom line was, they all praised the Canon and reassured >me that I would love this printer and they were absolutely correct. I now find myself loading 17 x22 >sheets in the Canon, instead of the 3880, which is a fantastic printer. It is now mostly used for >smaller sizes and greeting cards. I think Epson users are loyal to a fault. I Know ill get some flack, >but as a user of both I, I have to come clean about how good the Canon ipf6400 is

so I found the following "McNamara Report" YouTube clip really interesing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so7th7vrwSk

It bears out my life experience that there is seldom a clear and simple choice - in other words, there is seldom an easy or a perfect choice. It also tends to confirm my impression that Epson printers, with the help of the papers and profiles and support and advice available, enable one to deliver a very high quality of print that may even be very slightly better than Canon's.

But it is also pretty clear, from comments here and that Canon will often be more convenient, as well as cheaper to buy and house, and likely to operate.

But then I love to make "perfect" prints...

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
sjstremb
sjstremb Regular Member • Posts: 498
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

I have had direct use with all three, the 4900, 7900 and 9900. There are lots of threads that you can check out in this forum about problems with these printers. It's not just clogging and normal cleaning cycles, but clogs that will not clear and require a head replacement.

I do have some advice for you, first, you need to at least run a nozzle check every week, and if possible, print once  a week. I was told by the Epson repair guy who was doing a head replacement on our 9900 that under use is the bigger problem with this series of printers. (we often shut down for two months in the summer, a very bad thing for these printers) The head failure often happens at between 12 and 24 months, so an extended warranty can be a good thing but its expensive. The head replacement is between $1,100 and 1,400. USD. People who are printing on them a lot and consistently printing on them a lot are having less problems, people who print a lot, but on an irregular basis are having more problems.

 sjstremb's gear list:sjstremb's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon Coolpix AW100 Fujifilm X70 Nikon D7100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 +18 more
geckowraps New Member • Posts: 12
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

Excellent post, keep sharing such type of information in future too.

dbbarron Contributing Member • Posts: 548
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

If more than 1 week goes by between prints I have clearable clogs.  The more time, the more clogs.

db

 dbbarron's gear list:dbbarron's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Carl Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +2 more
OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Starting to understand Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

dbbarron wrote:

If more than 1 week goes by between prints I have clearable clogs. The more time, the more clogs.

db

It appears that these really are printers mainly for continuous use, while my 3880 is a better low- volume printer. This may be why a friend in professional graphic production background loves the 9900 she uses in her production environment, while others have a terrible time with ink clogs.

Obviously, printers that will take ink tanks with nearly a quart of ink are really meant for a high level of use. While one exhaustively detailed report (a video, if memory serves) outlines possible design flaws with such items as tiny nozzle wipers, it seems that the Epson printhead assemblies have few problems in such environments, as the larger size and the heavy weight and build of the 4900 and 7900 tens to indicate.

I can well remember Epson's apparent reluctance to produce their x900 new inkset and head design for a 17" model. Clogging in printheads really designed for constant use when they are intermittently used in studio or even home environment may well have been a consideration. Of course Epson should be more up-front about such things, but after all the outstanding customer support I've received from them - and all the excellent prints my 3880 has helped me produce - I find it hard to blame them too much.

For now, looking for a roll-feed (though preferably also vaccum-fed) preferably 24" printer for a home studio, the Canon 24" printers do seem the way to go.  But a 24" version of the 3880 would be an attractive option indeed.

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Starting to understand Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

erichK wrote:

It appears that these really are printers mainly for continuous use, while my 3880 is a better low- volume printer. This may be why a friend in professional graphic production background loves the 9900 she uses in her production environment, while others have a terrible time with ink clogs.

Obviously, printers that will take ink tanks with nearly a quart of ink are really meant for a high level of use. While one exhaustively detailed report (a video, if memory serves) outlines possible design flaws with such items as tiny nozzle wipers, it seems that the Epson printhead assemblies have few problems in such environments, as the larger size and the heavy weight and build of the 4900 and 7900 tens to indicate.

I can well remember Epson's apparent reluctance to produce their x900 new inkset and head design for a 17" model. Clogging in printheads really designed for constant use when they are intermittently used in studio or even home environment may well have been a consideration. Of course Epson should be more up-front about such things, but after all the outstanding customer support I've received from them - and all the excellent prints my 3880 has helped me produce - I find it hard to blame them too much.

For now, looking for a roll-feed (though preferably also vaccum-fed) preferably 24" printer for a home studio, the Canon 24" printers do seem the way to go. But a 24" version of the 3880 would be an attractive option indeed.

Personally, i'm tired of manufacturers hiding behind the "meant for continuous use" excuse.

If a product is designed to correctly and reliably function only with continuous "daily" use, then it better darn well be obvious to me before I buy it.  Between my Epson 4900 and a Xerox Phaser Solid ink printer I bought years back, I was blamed for not using the device enough and that was the cause of printer quality issues and malfunctions.  Neither manufacturer warned the consumer before purchase that daily, regular use is required for the product to continue to perform normally.

It seems pretty clear the 4900 has issues yet Epson won't come forward and just "man-up" about them.  Given the craziness of the clogs I've experienced on the 4900, I'm not sure they are physical clogs as much as possible electronics issues.  The nozzles are fired electronically, right?  It's feasible that the problem is electronic and not a physical clog?

Currently, I just keep doing my daily nozzle check prints and keep the unit from going to sleep and so far everything is good.  I recall a few months back, though, that an entire ink color just stopped printing in the middle of a print, even though everything was normal with my nozzle checks, etc., before printing.  I'm hoping that doesn't happen again.

OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Darryl...

I can certainly understand your frustration. No printer should require daily use to avoid clogging. Even busy studios and production labs usually shut down for weekends and sometimes longer. I was simply trying to figure out why I have not had to do a single nozzle-check in three years of irregular use of my 3880, during which it once or twice sat unused for almost a month.

You - and too many others - have obviously had a very different experience with these other Epson printers. I appreciate the reports provided. They have prevented me, and likely others, from buying an Epson 4900 - otherwise so attractive because of its multiple feed possibilities and new inkset- until Epson really addresses clogging issues.

The 7900 ​may​ have fewer clogging issue and I may take another look at it in a few months, if I have not succumbed to a Canon deal.  Do love Epson's colours!

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
Philnw2 Senior Member • Posts: 2,508
Re: Darryl...

My R3000 often goes a week between printing without clogging problems.

There is one exception period to that general performance.  One time, I apparently set the paper thickness incorrectly, and 3 matte papers got sucked in, resulting in numerous headstrikes on the paper.  Since i wasn't in the same room, i discovered the problem rather late.  After the numerous headstrikes, clogging resulted and i did a lot of nozzle cleaning cycles, like 8 or so and it eventually cleaned up entirely.  But then the next day a nozzle might show up as clogged.  So i cleaned the bottom of the print head using windex and the wiper assembly.  I got a lot of smeared ink off the bottom of the print head.  Since that maintenance was done, the printer has gone back to weekly printings without any clogging issues.

Its a real puzzle why some of these printers are doing fine and other models - not so well.

-- hide signature --

Phil B
Nex 5n, Pentax K5, Epson R3000

 Philnw2's gear list:Philnw2's gear list
Sony Alpha a7R II Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 28mm F2 +3 more
OP erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,658
Re: Darryl...

At the risk of being too gullible about Epson's design goals and motives, I do think that the 3000, like my 3880, use a nozzle and wiper, etc design more optimized for occasional prinitng than the 4990 and 7900, which do seem to be much more quantity-printing optimized machines, from an assembly materials (much more metal instead of plastic) as well.

As preciously mentioned though, this should not mean that they cnnot be left idle for a few days, or even a week without serious clogging problems.  That is my quandary.  I love the colours these machines produce, and the range of papers, support and general advice available for them....but...!

-- hide signature --

erichK
saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
http://erichk.zenfolio.com/
http://www.fototime.com/inv/7F3D846BCD301F3
underwater photos:
http://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/5567

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus E-M5 II +23 more
HPaton New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Darryl...
1

I bought a 4900 almost two years ago and would have to say it's probably the single biggest case of buyer's remorse I have had on any product. The clogging is simply horrible. I have lost count of the hours I have spent trying to clear clogs. The "designed for heavy use" excuse doesn't cut it for me -- they don't market it that way or give you any warning. IMO, Epson should do a product recall on the 4900. Simply dreadful on reliability. I'm considering buying a large-format Canon instead. Anyone have similar problems with them?

Bill T Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: How bad is Epson 4900/7900 clogging?

Hi Eric,

I used an Epson 3800 for several years. It worked like a charm. When I upgraded to 24" printer, I naturally choose Epson, an Epson 7900 actually. My experience with this printer is bad, like some other users have stated in this thread. Finally, after two years, the heads needs replacing. The cost of replacing the heads is very high and considering all the clogging problem I had, I did not really feel like spending all that money and get more head aches. I added a few hundred dollars to the cost of repairs and bought a Canon IPF6400 instead. Now I have a half-dead 7900 and I cannot even sell it for a dollar per pound.

My printing habit did not changed at all, but I am experiencing no clogging problem with the Canon IPF6400. I like the fact that the print heads (which is a consumable I suppose) is user replaceable. In fact, one has to install the heads when setting up the printer. I cannot say that the print quality of the Epson is better than the Canon. A photog friend of mind who also does a lot of printing using both brands tells me that he cannot tell the difference. I do not know know if it is psychological or not, the Canon seems to use less ink. When I had the Epson, i remember buying inks very often.

Hope this helps.

BilllT.

dachshund7 Regular Member • Posts: 450
Re: Darryl...

Philnw2 wrote:

My R3000 often goes a week between printing without clogging problems.

There is one exception period to that general performance. One time, I apparently set the paper thickness incorrectly, and 3 matte papers got sucked in, resulting in numerous headstrikes on the paper. Since i wasn't in the same room, i discovered the problem rather late. After the numerous headstrikes, clogging resulted and i did a lot of nozzle cleaning cycles, like 8 or so and it eventually cleaned up entirely. But then the next day a nozzle might show up as clogged. So i cleaned the bottom of the print head using windex and the wiper assembly. I got a lot of smeared ink off the bottom of the print head. Since that maintenance was done, the printer has gone back to weekly printings without any clogging issues.

Its a real puzzle why some of these printers are doing fine and other models - not so well.

-- hide signature --

Phil B
Nex 5n, Pentax K5, Epson R3000

I'm shopping for a printer, and descriptions like this tell me the products are defective, simply put. The company has managed to produce high quality images and advertise as such, knowing that sales will be at the expense of the customer's time and money. People are using fairly involved procedures to troubleshoot and clean up the clogs, all while pouring ink down the drain. And apparently some work fine.

I imagine Epson counts on the frequent printing that goes along with having a new printer. That probably gets them past the warranty period, which is about the time the customer finds other things to do, prints less often, and presto - buys tons of ink to deal with the problems. I'd buy an Epson in a minute - if they gave a lifetime warranty and replaced the printer the second the clogs start.

I really hope they find solutions to this clogging issue. It sounds like the R3000 is an improvement. I'd like to have the option of buying one of these, so I can see what all the fuss is about. But not this time around.

Sal Baker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,984
Re: Darryl...

dachshund7 wrote:

Philnw2 wrote:

My R3000 often goes a week between printing without clogging problems.

There is one exception period to that general performance. One time, I apparently set the paper thickness incorrectly, and 3 matte papers got sucked in, resulting in numerous headstrikes on the paper. Since i wasn't in the same room, i discovered the problem rather late. After the numerous headstrikes, clogging resulted and i did a lot of nozzle cleaning cycles, like 8 or so and it eventually cleaned up entirely. But then the next day a nozzle might show up as clogged. So i cleaned the bottom of the print head using windex and the wiper assembly. I got a lot of smeared ink off the bottom of the print head. Since that maintenance was done, the printer has gone back to weekly printings without any clogging issues.

Its a real puzzle why some of these printers are doing fine and other models - not so well.

-- hide signature --

Phil B
Nex 5n, Pentax K5, Epson R3000

I'm shopping for a printer, and descriptions like this tell me the products are defective, simply put. The company has managed to produce high quality images and advertise as such, knowing that sales will be at the expense of the customer's time and money. People are using fairly involved procedures to troubleshoot and clean up the clogs, all while pouring ink down the drain. And apparently some work fine.

I imagine Epson counts on the frequent printing that goes along with having a new printer. That probably gets them past the warranty period, which is about the time the customer finds other things to do, prints less often, and presto - buys tons of ink to deal with the problems. I'd buy an Epson in a minute - if they gave a lifetime warranty and replaced the printer the second the clogs start.

I really hope they find solutions to this clogging issue. It sounds like the R3000 is an improvement. I'd like to have the option of buying one of these, so I can see what all the fuss is about. But not this time around.

Epson found the solution but only put it in the 3880.  Mine has gone over 3-years without a clog even though it sits, turned off, for weeks/months at a time.  I no longer bother with printing nozzle checks.

Sal

 Sal Baker's gear list:Sal Baker's gear list
Ricoh GR Canon EOS 5D Mark II Fujifilm X-E2 Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +7 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads