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Care and Feeding of your Epson Printer

There are two things that Epson Inkjet Printers don't like, being left unused and low humidity. Today We will be discussing how to deal with the first, lack or use.

All Epson Inkjet Printers use the same technology to make prints. A small crystal is excited with an electric current and this acts as a tiny pump that shoots out a small quantity of ink. This is called a Piezo electric print head. There are hundreds of these in every printer but the exact number is different for each model of printer.

When the printer sits around unused for a length of time, individual jets can have ink dry out in them and they don't print.

The first thing to do when starting a printing session is to print a nozzle check. This way you can see if all the jets are firing. Different printer models have slightly different ways to do a nozzle check, some allow this procedure to be done from the control panel on the printer itself and others can only be done from the software on the computer attached to the printer. If the choice of Auto or manual is offered, always choose manual. If you look closely at the little lines in the nozzle check you will see they are actually little stair steps, each one is being made by a single nozzle. If a complete row or more are missing a cleaning cycle must be initiated.

These cleaning cycles again, can be controlled from the computer or the printer depending on the printer model. for most desk top printers it should be done from the computer. After a cleaning is performed, repeat the nozzle check to see if the job of cleaning has been done. If more cleaning is needed, doing so from the computer as suggested will do a more vigorous job each time.If, after 5 cleanings the problem is still there, allow the printer to sit for several hours before trying again.

Should this still prove to be ineffective, more advanced procedures will be required. The next step would be to put a solvent on the "parking pads" of the printer. To do this it will be necessary to move the print head off of the parking station which is where the head rests on the right end of the printer. Some printers do this when you need to replace an ink cartridge, others have a locking lever that can be manually released while others have to be fooled into this move.

There have been many suggestions as to what solvent to use but I have only ever used an ammonia based window cleaner, usually the blue Windex. Several drops placed with an eyedropper or a syringe, enough to make all the pads very wet, it may be useful to have a flashlight to see where you are going as getting liquids anywhere else in the printer can be harmful to it, then return the head to the parking location and let it sit overnight. This should dissolve tough clogs.

On the internet there are several companies that offer more specialized cleaning fluids and cleaning kits, some have you pump cleaning fluids right through the heads, if you go with one of these products be very careful to not apply much pressure as this is a very easy way to destroy the print head.

In conclusion, the best way to keep your printer happy is to use it all the time.Print something every week and it should last a long time and the ink used for cleaning will be minimized.

Tips by Michael Lemos, IPS sales consultant.