Clog wars Epson 4900


I’ve been wrestling with my 4900 for almost a year. Replacing the pump temporarily solved the problem so I loaded Piezography inks and had about a month of good printing time. The cyan channel began to show signs of clogging and cleaning, using the Epson “technicians” software (service program), didn’t help. I loaded a flush cartridge into the cyan slot about 2 months ago, performed an ink flush until the test showed flush color, shut it off and let it sit for a week. That was a few months ago. In that time I’ve done daily cleans, let it rest a few days and cleaned, and other versions of a cleaning “schedule”. The most recent was a week ago. Prior to leaving for Don Messec’s workshop in Sante Fe I did a level 2 clean and test print. Nothing changed.

Bear in mind that I’ve had Piezoflush in the cyan channel for months. The image below is as good as it gets.

The scan below is of the alignment check sheet that I printed this morning using the service program. My Epson 10000XL scanner isn’t color managed so I had to “push the image around” in photoshop to accentuate the color of the flush so the black channels may seem to have a slight tint to them. They don’t have any tint in the real world.

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At this point I’m not sure if I should

a) abandon all hope and wait for Piezography and the Epson P800 series to become compatible.

b) buy another 4900 (not my favorite choice) so I can make use of all of the cartridges that I have for the 4900

c) take up knitting and forget about all this printing stuff (not going to happen…)

Suggestions for ways to fix or a cheap source for a new head my 4900. I’ve had it for a very long time. Something like 5 years. It was problem free for about 3.5 of the 5 years. The problem, in my opinion, started a little over a year ago, with the pump but escalated to the head due to power cleaning too often and a number of other mistakes that can be found in bad internet advice.




My vote, from a former 4900 owner, bail on the 4900. Not worth the time and expense. If you look in the EpsonWideFormat group on, you will see all the past issues with them.




Considering that I’ve spent well over a year (19 months actually) trying to revive the printer I tend to agree with you. Initially the new pump solved the problem but I think that by the time I got to that point head damage had occurred. A new head is almost unobtanium but that would probably fix it… Unfortunately Epson ties the print head and printer “tech” together so I can’t just order a head and install it myself, which I can do. I have to pay a tech too and I’m not willing to do that.

The bad news is that I have a full set of cartridges with flush in them and a full set with the older dig neg formula (Special Edition) in them . I never got to use the Cone inksets. I think I printed one negative that came out scratched and a couple of prints before the cyan nozzles started having problems. Not exactly cheap parts and ink to just abandon…


I feel your pain. Mine had same issue with head dying, my wife has one at school - dead head, and a friend of mine the same. Epson has had issues with the heads dying on the 4900’s, 7900’s, and 9900’s for years. They will never admit it, and a class action lawsuit attempt never went any further then an attorney contacting users and then having to bail on it because not enough plaintiffs were from California where Epson USA is, and where the suit would have to be filed.

Best you can do is sell your carts and ink on eBay or through the EpsonWideFormat group or similar.




I suggest a used 3880 or get a “free” 4900 from someone. If it’s just the cyan channel you can re-map the curves to either the orange or green channels . . .



FYI, joel davidson has a 3880 in working order for sale w/ ink.



Carbon Shade 2 - approximately 150ml
Neutral Shade 1 - approximately 150ml
Neutral Shade 6 - approximately 150ml
Neutral Shade 7 - approximately 150ml
Special Edition Shade 3 - approximately 120ml
Special Edition Shade 4 - approximately 200ml
I am willing to sell all the above for $1000 is you have a client that is interested.


Thanks for the replies. I’ve got a lot of ink on hand and I need (want) roll feed so the 3880 isn’t an attractive option

Remapping sounds good, at least until you get the Epson P800 worked out. Is there a video on YouTube that shows how to do that?


Remapping is documented in the manual.


BTW, I visited a friends pro digital shop and we followed Dana’s maintenance video <span style=“line-height: 1.5;”> and within a day recovered Yellow that was totally and unrecoverably gone. Without flush or doing costly ink initialization. Works now. Only one minor clog since, and there may be more minor clogs for a short while, but it was amazing to see it come back overnight.</span>

If that doesn’t do it then Michael, take Walker’s advice.

Leave the flush in Cyan - it may come back. After remapping Cyan should not print but will pass flush during cleaning cycles. You have 9 working channels left on your print head. That is plenty! Take a deep breath, put aside “in a perfect world” and get it printing. Remember PiezoDN only requires 6 channels if you forgo a GO channel leaving you 3 channels to play with a personal Special Edition to use when making paper prints. Or 2 channels if you are printing gloss papers and need a GO channel. This is where Piezography shines above all others for studio work.



Thanks Don. That was a good video. I knew about the first two cleanings but I had never seen detail of how the head should be cleaned. I’ll give it a shot this afternoon and see what happens. If it doesn’t clear I’ll remap


Well… the head cleaning caused a change. Instead of 2 lines now there are 3 lines of no flush showing on the print test.

How clean was the paper towel supposed to get? I did the flush / paper towel thing twice and both times the towel came away pretty gunky.


You can buy heads from China but still very expensive.


Is it in the new manual? I didn’t see it in the index and a quick “scroll thru” didn’t turn up anything that I could tell.