Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Started Aug 21, 2021 | Discussions
Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

I got a nearly brand new 4880 printer.  Only a few dozen prints ever printed on it.  It was idle for indeterminate amount of time.  I soaked the printhead with windex for a few minutes, ran a few power cleanings and all of the lines cleared up perfectly, giving a perfect pattern, except for yellow.

Yellow was blank.  About six-seven power cleans and a few hundred dollars in ink later, still blank.  I checked the yellow ink line and it’s empty.

I disconnect the line from the damper, pull in some ink with a cyringe and it flows.  I got it all the way through the line.  So, no punctures or clogs in ink line.

So, probably a damper, right?  I replaced all dampers.  Perfect flow through all, except still no flow of ink through the yellow line during power cleanings.  I am all out of ideas.  New damper, functional line.  What else can it be?  What else can i try?

Please help!  And thank you so much in advance for any suggestions.

Box Brownie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,215
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Sorry I can't suggest any solution other than to ask....

1) what does the seller have to say about it?

2) have you asked Epson tech support for their help?

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OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Thanks for your response.  Seller is not reachable.  I never thought of contacting epson tech support on such an old printer.

OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Any suggestions would be truly appreciated.

Box Brownie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,215
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink
1

Alexey wrote:

Any suggestions would be truly appreciated.

Just idly Googling and there are numerous reports of this type of problem

https://www.google.com/search?q=4880+refuses+to+suck+ink&client=ms-android-motorola&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

Post #20 on this one sounds promising

https://www.t-shirtforums.com/threads/no-ink-coming-out-of-my-epson-4880-dtg-printer-hepl.168923/

Though mention of main board and on board fuses failing does not sound too encouraging??? Especially if that is what ails your printer......you may have been sold a dud!

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A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,677
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink
5

Alexey wrote:

Any suggestions would be truly appreciated.

Well, if I understand your situation correctly; you have a 10+ year old printer that has been sitting idle for most of those years with ink in the head and lines. You were (after soaking the surface of the nozzles in Windex) able to pull ink through the lines and head using the suction produced in the capping station. You have perfect test pattern on all colours except yellow. On investigating the yellow you found that the line from cartridge to damper was dry so you replaced all dampers and pulled ink through the yellow line using a syringe connected to the bottom of the yellow damper. However the situation persists. You have perfect test pattern for all colours except yellow.

So it would seem either there is a fault in the capping station or pump preventing yellow ink being pulled through the head or there is a complete blockage of yellow ink in the head preventing the capping station pulling ink through the head from the lines.

A fault in the capping station and pump affecting only the yellow channels is unlikely as I assume one pump and one capping station services the entire head. But nonetheless check around the capping station and pump area to see if something is preventing ink being pulled through the yellow channels of the head.

That leaves the possibility that the yellow channels (and only the yellow channels) of the head are completely blocked. Again, kind of unlikely that only one channel is affected thus. But possibly the yellow ink left in the printer was older than the rest or that the yellow hue of that inkset is more prone to congealing.

There are two broad approaches I would take when faced with a similar dilemma;

1. soak the bottom 2-3mm of the printhead in cleaning fluid for a couple of days. This is basically what you are doing with the Windex pad. But yours is not the best way to do it. You risk damaging the face of the head, Windex is not great and you do not get very good penetration. If you do not want to remove the head then fill the capping station to the top (overflowing) with proper Epson cleaning fluid and park the head on it. You may have to manually move the head to do this as some printers will suck out the fluid in the capping station before parking the head. The better way to do it is to take the head out and stand it in 2-3mm of fluid for a couple of days, making sure that the fluid does not evaporate.

2. Inject cleaning fluid into the head. Use a longish length of soft silicon tubing to connect a syringe full of good cleaning fluid to the yellow channel of the head. GENTLY push fluid into the head and leave it for a few hours. With an open tube full of cleaning fluid still connected to the head, try a couple of medium cleans to see if the cleaning fluid has softened the blockage enough to pull some cleaning fluid through. If so, keep the cleaning fluid in the head to soak and repeat the process a few times and see if it will clear. If not you may need to suck some of the ink out of the head to allow cleaning fluid in and/or push more cleaning fluid in. But at that point you will be getting desperate and using last resort methods which risk damaging the head beyond repair. To see more truly "last resort" methods; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiSl2j9juUI

Presumably you have put new genuine Epson ink cartridges in the printer.

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OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink
1

Wow, I can not believe the detail and the amount of effort you’ve put into the response to help me.  I can’t express how deeply I appreciate it and how I am grateful to you.  Your avice may or may not help me get the ink flowing.  But knowing that there are such wonderful people out there, ready to put so much effort into helping a stranger, has certainly made my day. I will remember it the next time someone needs my help.

OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Thank you so much for the reply!

NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 7,611
Any suggestions? Redefine "nearly brand new"!
2

I got a nearly brand new 4880 printer.... It was idle for indeterminate amount of time.

Yellow was blank...

And thank you so much in advance for any suggestions.

My main suggestion is that you change your definition of "nearly brand new". Any Epson 4880 was manufactured between 11 and 14 years ago. And this printer was abused, for a pigment-ink printer at least, by letting it sit idle for some apparently substantial amount of time.

IMO everyone should learn a lesson from this. Do not assume that any used printer works unless and until you see it work correctly and completely. And if a used printer is not working, do not assume you can make it work--maybe ever, but often not without spending a lot of money on wasted ink. One new inkset for a 4880 is $1000!

If (1) you like to tinker and (2) you can easily throw it away (some are quite big and heavy) if you can't make it work and (3) either (a) the printer comes with a lot of ink or (b) your can buy inexpensive 'compatible' ink to see whether you can make it work, then that's fine, get the old printer if it is cheap enough. But an old printer not shown to be working can quickly become a money pit and/or a big waste of time.

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OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: Any suggestions? Redefine "nearly brand new"!

You are right about this being a lesson.  The printer has less than 50 meters of paper through it.  So, I assumed I had to make it work.  Especially after 7 out of 8 lines were working flawlessly.  I have another 4880 that I love and bought this one as a possible backup. 
It’s not so much about getting the printer to work.  But I am very curious as to what may be causing the issue.  I checked the parking /capping assembly and all looks well there.  Although I wonder, could it be that somehow the capping assembly has shifted and is is not covering the yellow section of the printhead?  Is that possible?  The magenta, (right next to yellow on a nozzle check sheet) works fine, but also took longer than others to clear up.  Perhaps something is off in that area of the printhead?  Does anyone know shere the yellow area is located on the printhead?

if I end up disassembling the printer for parts for my other 4880, which parts may be particularly valuable or useful?

Gesture Forum Pro • Posts: 10,059
Re: Any suggestions? Redefine "nearly brand new"!
1

Don't remember the name, someone on the forum may, but there is a company that has a large trove of Epson parts. There may be someone there who can help you diagnose the issue. I don't like to give on a printer myself, but sometimes ...

Is there a stalk for each color that ultimately feeds the print head. That push-pull approach makes sense to me. In may experience, magenta and yellow can be the more stubborn colors. Obviously, your risk.

I also invested recently in some PiezoFlush solution from Inkjetmall (all the times Jon Cone has answered questions for me is amazing), as well as this one:

https://www.inkproducts.com/ink-store441/product.php?productid=297&cat=7&page=1

With Ross Hardie gone, I have been buying from them for some of my consumer printers.

Good luck.

Box Brownie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,215
Re: Any suggestions? Redefine "nearly brand new"!
1

Alexey wrote:

You are right about this being a lesson. The printer has less than 50 meters of paper through it. So, I assumed I had to make it work. Especially after 7 out of 8 lines were working flawlessly. I have another 4880 that I love and bought this one as a possible backup.
It’s not so much about getting the printer to work. But I am very curious as to what may be causing the issue. I checked the parking /capping assembly and all looks well there. Although I wonder, could it be that somehow the capping assembly has shifted and is is not covering the yellow section of the printhead? Is that possible? The magenta, (right next to yellow on a nozzle check sheet) works fine, but also took longer than others to clear up. Perhaps something is off in that area of the printhead? Does anyone know shere the yellow area is located on the printhead?

if I end up disassembling the printer for parts for my other 4880, which parts may be particularly valuable or useful?

I too hate a mystery...........

Having said that, in context of of what you say and the other poster, the printer you bought secondhand is not nearly new but better described as 'little used'.

The cynic in me asks why did the previous owner stop using it........perhaps because the yellow supply failed and they like you thought i can fix that, I just need to make the time to do!

The seller may have forgotten years on that it had the fault.......or the seller perhaps was not the first user, so had no idea about it.

Whatever it's status, as the other poster points out if you have the time, patience & money to throw at it you may or may never resolve it?

All the best with your quest.

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john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 7,902
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

Alexey wrote:

I got a nearly brand new 4880 printer. Only a few dozen prints ever printed on it. It was idle for indeterminate amount of time. I soaked the printhead with windex for a few minutes, ran a few power cleanings and all of the lines cleared up perfectly, giving a perfect pattern, except for yellow.

Yellow was blank. About six-seven power cleans and a few hundred dollars in ink later, still blank. I checked the yellow ink line and it’s empty.

I disconnect the line from the damper, pull in some ink with a cyringe and it flows. I got it all the way through the line. So, no punctures or clogs in ink line.

So, probably a damper, right? I replaced all dampers. Perfect flow through all, except still no flow of ink through the yellow line during power cleanings. I am all out of ideas. New damper, functional line. What else can it be? What else can i try?

Please help! And thank you so much in advance for any suggestions.

Old printers are not really worth the gamble of wasting money on them to get them to work.  For me, they either work or don't.  So I won't actually pay any money for the printer; I'll pay for ink and paper that comes with it, and take the printer off of the sellers hands.

I got a Canon Pro-100 that had sat for over two years as a haul away.  Paid nothing, took the printer and a stack of paper, bags, mats, and a cutter off their hands.  Many of the cartridges were bone dry, so I soaked the print head, replaced the cartridges, and fired it up.  It  worked, then it didn't, and then it did again.  It's been merrily printing away since.

I bought a Canon Pro-1000 that had sat for over two years for $150, which came with several ink cartridges still in the boxes.  But it still had ink in all of the cartridges, so I either get it running with the existing ink or sell the ink and dump the printer.  It worked at the start, got a couple of prints before most of the cartridges were empty, so I refilled them all with Precision Colors ink and it's been running ever since.  Makes beautiful prints.

Before all that, I bought a Canon Pro-100 with their super duper rebate offer (where B&H was providing a free box of paper to get the rebate), so it cost me $50 for a brand new printer with a box of Canon Pro Luster 13x19 paper (one of my favorites).  So I'm running one Pro-100 on Precision Colors refill ink and the other on OEM ink.

I love printing.  A print just looks different from a monitor display.  And I love matting and framing.  There is a visceral feeling to making an actual object.

So, I've spent money on ink, paper, mats, mat cutters, frames, hanging systems.  Just not on the printers.  I've done it on the cheap, but even buying a new printer is relatively inexpensive.  And there is an instant gratification to making your own prints.

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Gesture Forum Pro • Posts: 10,059
Re: Pls Help! Strange issue — 4880 refuses to suck ink

I bought a Canon Pro-1000 that had sat for over two years for $150

Wow, as the saying goes, if I had been there, I would have paid $151!

No, the nature of printers makes them difficult used purchases.  If there were profit in it, there would be specialists who would take those risks, test and refurb the printers, then resell, as we see with so many other products  Buy all I see on eBay is "I couldn't get it to print, your turn."

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