Ink blocking in printers. - from Flowerdew.

  flowerdew 20:51 12 Dec 2003

To the printer Advisor:
I should like to draw attention to shortcomings in your product test procedure. There is no comment on the quality of ink flow in your reports. There should be a stand-down period after your first runs and then a further check. This would expose any tendency to clogging, resultant upon standing. We home ‘computists’ do not wish to use our printers every day (think of the ink cost!). Your cost per print means nothing, when the flaming thing needs several nozzle cleans every time you come to use it – and even that may be bearable if it worked. Following your test report, I bought an Epson C62 and it was the worst purchase of my entire life. When it ran, it was indeed mostly fine. Frequently though, when started up, there was cleaning to be done at a terrific cost in ink. Also, too many times, small patches of colour were missing from prints, all colours have been affected, and at the moment, I am totally blocked up on black. I have given up – the next stop for my C62 is the skip. My straw pole on your website gave me the following result 7 X happy owners, 3 X Same experience as mine, and printer given away. Not a sound sample I know, but never-the-less 30% bad on an aspect you seem unaware of. How can one manage to get any recompense when the machine can eventually be made to work, but only at a hugely excessive cost. I have had it back to the retailer and have taken the matter up with Epson. The cartridges are correctly loaded, the location of the machine is reasonable. Old faithful, my Stylus300, is back on duty (5 years old, and not used for several months until now.) I need better picture resolution, but what to buy? I do not believe that this clogging problem is unique to Epson. Come on PCadvisor give me some relevant guidance.
Hoping for a considered reply - Flowerdew.

  Forum Editor 22:47 12 Dec 2003

let me say that we don't have the resources to test printers in the way you describe - printing and then waiting days (weeks?) before printing again. That's not the object of the exercise in any event.

The printer tests are designed to examine the build quality, print quality, and print speed of the machines, using carefully selected files to test the printers' capabilities. That's what we believe our readers want to know. Contrary to what you say (and I'm not sure what data you have to support your statement)many computer users do use their printers on a daily basis, and even if they don't, we're not aware of a huge number of people who have had the same experience as yourself. Blocked print heads are almost always the result of printers standing idle for long periods, and there's not much that we can do to detect that in individual test machines - short of having a lot of printers standing idle for long periods. Manufacturers aren't going to provide us with test models on indefinite loan.

I have used printers from HP, Canon, Epson and Lexmark for years - sometimes heavily, but at times sporadically and I can honestly say I've only had a blocked printhead once. That isn't to say the problem doesn't exist - you're living proof of that - but I don't personally think it's a widespread and serious concern; if it was, the manufacturers would address it. An individual model may exhibit a greater tendency to block, but I can't remember there being too many threads on the subject over the life of this forum.

  Sir Radfordin 00:45 13 Dec 2003

I've got an Epson C60 sat under my desk that has been around for just over 2 years now. It has gone for months (4+) without printing anything to printing just one page to nothing again and now to printing 10+ pages a day without any problems.

As the FE points out there is no practical way to test the printers in any other way than they do now - and what would it prove? It would only show what happened in that one test. Everyone uses their printer in a different way so you have to draw the line somewhere.

  ronh 03:49 13 Dec 2003

Obviously printheads drying out is likely to vary enormously from one user to another, and will be affected by the temperature / humidity of the room in which it is kept, as well as frequency of use. At one point, I had a similar problem, which I resolved in the short term by automatically printing a Postage stamp size full colour picture set up to print automatically from a macro that ran from the startup folder, until I could afford to replace it. Not ideal, but works....

  flowerdew 16:11 13 Dec 2003

First thanks for the responses, I do realise that you would have difficulty in performing such a test and that it is not your aim. However, I have one friend who has totaly given up on ink jets due to blocking. Another told me this week that his machine had just blocked on black and that he could not get it going. Is it our sea air ir our imagination? My earlier thread on the subject 'flushed out' three more sufferers - 3/10, believe me there is plenty of it about. The offending printer has lived in the same spot as did the other, with the same usage, humidity etc and never a hint of bother with the older one (5 yrs use). On the good side I am getting some response from the manufacturer. Maybe I have simply been unlucky to get a lemon, But two friends as well? I think you could be complacent. Flowerdew.

  flowerdew 16:22 13 Dec 2003

The idea of a small logo type head clearing print done regularly occurred to me too. Have been doing it for a month or two but obviously no cure in my case. Also company tech advisor also told me the printer should be used about once a week. I've tried, I've tried. Honest. flowerdew.

  Forum Editor 17:18 13 Dec 2003

"could be complacent", but I hope it's not us.

I think you, and the people you say you have "flushed out" are very much in the minority - I don't believe there's a widespread problem all of a sudden, or that there is plenty of it about as you out it. Perhaps you have - as you suggest - got hold of a faulty printer. Let's see what your dialogue with Epson reveals.

  wee eddie 00:07 14 Dec 2003

whose ink are you using?

do you turn the power off at the mains or do you switch the printer off first?

The reason I ask this second one is because the only time in the last 10 years or so, that I have experienced such a blockage was on a borrowed machine that took its power through the PC.

Switch off the power and the printer head does not dock on its proper pad. This does allow the ink to dry.

  The Spires 22:35 14 Dec 2003

I have a Epson C62, I use it everyday & am delighted with it. It used for home use only, I rarely have to do a clean cycle.

  flowerdew 19:54 17 Dec 2003

My recent soundings fully support my original contention that, with increasing resolution (small nozzles), the current technology is becoming over stretched. I am told one approach is newer inks with different formulations. The manufacturers assure me that they are not complacent and are well aware of the problem. The manufacturers of my own machine have offered to exchange it - so we will see if I had a faulty printer. This concludes the matter as far as I am concerned. Thanks for all responses.

  The Spires 22:09 17 Dec 2003

flowerdew overall I agree with you, fixed head printers are ok if used often, my printer on my system does seem to be the weakest link as regards reliability. I don't complain as I use cheap compatible cartidges. One thing I have found is changing the cartridge before it runs dry saves ink in the long run.

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