P400 cartridges. Part deux

I ranted about these before.

I think the refillable cartridges are a major weakness in the piezography system. When brand new they seem to work reasonably well and allow good ink flow to the head. But after 3-4 refills - the flow of ink degrades significantly and ink no longer properly flows to the head. What at first looks like a few clogged nozzles quickly turns into 2/3 of the nozzles not firing and eventually a completely blank channel.

In January I received a replacement p400 from Epson and I installed brand new cartridges for a clean start. I’ve been printing 4 days a week and not one day has gone by that I haven’t performed at least one nozzle check.

I DREAD anytime ink runs out knowing I’ll spend hours going through cleaning cycles after refilling a cart, and today I had to refill yellow. As usual when I started printing again yellow started losing nozzles, and shortly after the whole channel disappeared. I ran a few cleaning cycles- nothing. So take out the cartridge, tap it, prime it, tap it again, make sure the air vent is clean and reinstall. Ran a few more cleaning cycles- and boom yellow is finally back. But after running all those cleaning cycles, now cyan is out of ink. Except I wasn’t so lucky with cyan, after going through a whole set of inks in cleaning cycles- and even with a white air vent sponge - cyan never came back.

I had a spare unopened PK cartridge so I swapped the chips with the cyan cart… And cyan came back on the FIRST TRY.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE piezography but these cartridges SUCK. The ink flow sucks and they are extremely fragile. I forgot to mention that when I reinstall epson factory carts all channels always come back immediately - so there’s definately a problem with the refillables. And it’s not user error.

The problem always begins after refilling a cart - there’s something about breaking the seal around the gasket when removing a cart that effects the flow of ink. I’m convinced it’s related to the air vent not working properly after being saturated with ink after a few months. At first I thought it was the white sponge at the top of the vent filling with ink but this last cart is still white - so I think it might instead be the tiny sponge at the entrance of the vent cavity on the bottom that becomes restricted: as it becomes saturated with pigment, flow is restricted and creates a vaccum in the main ink chamber which then limits the flow of ink to the head. It continues to work as long as no air is in the system but as soon as you remove the cart, the little air that enters the inlet makes it too hard for gravity to overcome the vaccum in the cart. At least that’s my theory.

Is there anyway to reenginneer the carts to be more reliable? I feel like if those vents were user serviceable and if both foam pieces could be replaced the carts would last forever.

For now I’m trying a new technique. I’m refilling the carts WITHOUT removing them from the printer and resetting the chip by slipping a thin strip of plastic between the chip and the sensor to break the connection.

Am I the only one experiencing so much pain with this printer?

I have two P400’s. One uses refillable carts with PiezoDN Selenium tone ink and one uses standard Epson cartridges.

I use the Piezo P400 frequently. It needs a head cleaning every time I use it, and often it needs two, even if I printed the day before. I would say the ratio of head cleanings to prints is easily 2:1. I have probably used more ink in head cleanings than I have used in making prints. Fortunately, I have never experienced a particularly bad nozzle clog. If I don’t get a good nozzle check after three head cleanings, I go through the small printer maintenance procedure.

I have probably refilled my latest set of cartridges twenty times. I wouldn’t say that the problems are any worse after refilling. Again, it usually takes 2-3 head cleanings to get a good nozzle check after refilling. I always top off and reset all 8 carts.

Meanwhile, my other P400 has needed exactly ONE head cleaning in the year plus that I have owned it, and that was for single small gap in one channel. Even after installing a new cartridge, I get a good nozzle check. I sometimes don’t bother to do a nozzle check before I print.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. I read in another thread about the negative effects of printing in Northern dry winter climates - I live in Montreal so that might be aggravating the problem. But somehow I never have an issue when I switch back to the epson color carts… Since this post I have been refilling my cartridges without removing them and sliding a strip of plastic in between the chip and I haven’t had any more disappearing channels - so keeping my fingers crossed. I’m also religiously cleaning the wiper and filling the capping station with distilled water after each printing session and that seems to be helping with clogged nozzles.