Thursday, 28 March 2013

Fix blocked ink problem on Epson PX710W – A DIY job or pay someone to do it?

FIY is not everyone’s cup of tea.  But at this modern time, availing the gadget the technology has to offer comes with a price which is bigger than what we expect when things break.  To save, FIY is a better choice if we find time, rather working hard to earn the money to pay someone to fix our problem.  It could not break the bank if we do cautiously by investing time on research.

True, along the FIY process, sometimes it is hard to see the end or let say: “the light at the end of the tunnel”.  All I could advise is be patient.  Everything has an end.  It is hard for me to say that it will be what you want, but one thing for sure, there is always learning during the process of FIY.

Before embarking on a FIY project, research, evaluation is a must.

Here are some tips or guides I come up that could be useful for someone who is confuse on what option to choose.

To show you are real application, I would to use my experience in solving “the blocked ink problem on Epson PX710W.
  1. If the project is like fixing a printer (like my project) and the object is still in warranty, avail the warranty. Even the problem cannot be fixed, at least you will a chance to know and ask questions to know the details. Ask the estimated cost to fix the problem.  Then you can go back in front of your computer to do more research for options.  

    My printer’s warranty expired. From the web, services are not available in the area. I have to travel 10 to 15 miles to avail support from Epson dealers. It could cost me £200 for the initial service, which I am not sure if that guarantees to fix the problem.

  2. As yourself, do you still need the services of this item now and in the future?   If your answer is yes, then continue reading the guides.
  3. Choose one from the options to fix the problem:
    • Replace the item by buying a working one.  If you do, ask yourself:  “Would you have the same problem again?”
    • Pay someone to fix it.  If you do, how much would it cost to fix the problem?
    • DIY. You might be asking how much time would it take you to fix the problem.  How much would cost you?  I cannot exactly tell how much time you need to spend and how much you need to spend on consumables.  But my experience is here to make it easy for you.
Epson PX710W is a good scanner and printer.  It also can print CD labels.  It has built in feature to print A4 pads with lines, or outline for coloring.  It could also accept 200gsm thick paper.  All this I discovered when it is getting difficult to find support. It has a built in “head cleaning program” which does not work but only consumes ink if there is a nasty blockage which is the problem my PX710W has.

We bought it around for the price of £300.00 four years ago.  Its equivalent would be roughly the same price, for I want the same feature to assist my child in his homework.

Any printer is prone to the same problem: ink blockage.  If I do not understand how to deal with it now, I still need to know how to resolve it in the future.  I just postponed the problem and maybe cost me more for not dealing with it now.

If I choose to pay someone to solve my problem, I cannot tell the exact cost to fix the problem.  However I estimate it can cost me about £200 for initial service.


So for the reasons:
    • I know that I will have the same problem again.
    • To replace it will cost me at least £300.
    • The initial cost for an Epson printer support to fix it more likely to cost me at least £200 (this does not include the consumables which is the ink).

I decide to try the DIY in a very cautious fashion to guarantee my success.

Here are the problems I encountered with solutions and my advice.

Problems Recommended Solution Warning or comments
The most famous problem seen on ink jet printers is the ink clogging or blockage. Epson or most printers have an option under maintenance to print a nozzle check pattern. If the print has skips, the colour that has skips is the one not printing correctly. Printers like Epson PX710w has its diagnostic “head cleaning facility” which sends out more ink to resolve clog problems.  The recommended solution will consume ink from your cartridges faster than printing. It could also cause the next problem.  So do this, not more than three times
Ink pads near end of life. With this warning message, you are just about to have the problem. All ink that did not go on the paper during printing has to go somewhere.  The waste pad absorbs it. Most ink jet printer now use counters to detect the end of life of ink waste pads.

You have to decide whether to replace the waste ink pad or buy a waste ink potty. 

Along in resolving the waste ink problem, you have to
Disable the counter that triggers the warning message.  If this reaches the limit, it may not allow printing.  A software fox PX710W is available for download to reset the counter, but you need to buy the “WICReset code”.
For those who go for the ink potty you could buy this from the dealers available.
It is hard to find waste pads.  But I did find one for Epson PX710W and it is more expensive than the printer potty.  I think ink waste ink pads, require more work to install. You have to cut the pads into shape.  Either is difficult to install. You have to remove the sharp metal plate at the bottom of the printer.  Be careful! It could slice your skin deeply.

The advantage of the printer potty, I only have to open the bottom of the printer once and hopefully never again.  If it is the waste ink pad, this needs replacement sometime in the future with a new one.

I suggest if you have removed the metal plate, do not put it back.

To install the printer potty, you need to put a hole to bring out the tube that spits the wasted ink.

Pattern still print skips off course.  Printer ink heads still clogged. Soak the ink heads for three days. 
Do a print of the nozzle check. 
If there are skips, perform the printer’s head cleaning not more than three times.

If there are skips, soak the ink head again using the recommendation above.
For more information on how to soak the heads of Epson PX710W, continue reading below. 

How to soak the printer ink heads of Epson PX710W?

  1. You need
    • wipes that is like a cloth not baby wipes which is more like wet cotton in texture
    • Syringe without a needle
    • And a bottle of distilled water
  2. You have to fold the wipes (I used two wipes) into a width that is enough to soak the ink heads.  This has to be place under the ink heads.  But because the ink heads are permanent, the wipes has to be inserted through.  Few pictures are provided to understand how to do this. 
  3. Ink heads of PX710W is locked into station when not printing.  To unlock it, turn off the printer.  But as the printer working its way to be turned off, listened to it and when you hear a sound as if it is printing, quickly turned off the printer from the main. Unplug the cord if you have to.  To make sure you don’t break the printer, keep it unplug or turned off the main.
  4. Open the printer and try moving the ink head, it is possible to lift this a little.  Place the tissue.
  5. Use the syringe to wet this from time to time. The tissue has to be very wet but not releasing the water.  Then try moving the ink head on top of it.  Do this once a day. 
  6. After three days, remove the wipes. Turn the printer on. Perform a nozzle check.  Printer might display an error.  If this happens, turn off the “Auto Cleaning Adjustment” under Maintenance.  You might need to do this very quickly before an error displays and prevent you for doing this.
  7. If there are skips after performing a nozzle check, perform the head cleaning adjustment not more than three times.

Another matter that might concern you

When I encountered this blockage problem, I just started using a new set of compatible cartridges that cost 1/3 of the price of the original brand.  Off course I suspect this caused the problem.  In my research, it has been highly recommended to go back and use the original cartridges for the printer.  But a branded cartridge could cost almost £10.  It could be cheaper like £48 for 6 cartridges when on sale in online shops.  The more it become my concern of buy the expensive brand after reading this article from guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/feb/23/printer-ink-cartridges-paying-more-getting-less.

During my troubleshooting of the ink blockage problem, I know I will run out of ink before I can the printer work.  So I started looking around for a cheaper way of acquiring good quality inks. In my looking around, I came across the CISS system.  I also came across http://www.talkphotography.co.uk in good time for it made it easy for me where to get a CISS system.  Its members recommend http://www.cityinkexpress.co.uk/ciss/epson/px710w/px-series as the best CISS supplier in UK.  If you are from U.S., http://www.Marrutt.com is a well trusted supplier.   There are two types of ink: dye and pigment. In my simplest way to explain dye is made of liquid solvent that dry more easily while pigments are made from crystalline structure.  http://www.macworld.com/article/1054216/inktype.html has more to tell. 

In cityinkexpress, they have dye, pigment and Lyon ink – the most expensive.  Lyson is also a dye type of ink. Although it is the most expensive, the recommend, using the Lyson CISS it will only cost 1.28 per cartridge.  So the cost of twelve cartridges is about the same price of a Lyson CISS. I thought it is worth a gamble.  So I bought the Lyson CISS and installed it successfully.  I am very happy with this decision for indeed print far better using the Lyson ink.

A summary at last!

It has been a long weary process to resolve the ink blockage problem of my Epson PX710W, an expensive good multifunction printer.  Due to cost and uncertainty in achieving the result – that is getting the printer fix, I chose the DIY option to fix the problem and learn through the process to save money now and in the future.  I am sure that I am not buying waste ink pads in the future and my cartridge cost is now down to £1.28 per cartridge and still able to print lovely pictures.

My success happened because of the posted information I found using google.  To the authors or writers, thank you very much.

Here are other website that I found it helpful.
Thank you for reading. 

6 comments:

  1. There's a link to the service manual for the 710/810 here:- http://www.texnotron.com/sm_epson.html

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! This is very helpful. :)

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    2. Thanks for sharing this post. Its really helpful for people like me who doesn't have much knowledge about printer.
      waste ink pad

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  2. Thanks i like your blog very much , i come back most days to find new posts like this!Good effort.I learnt it

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  3. Thanks for the cleaning o instructions. I also have a clogged px710. You can use this service app to reset the ink pad for free. It can do a lot more than that actually. It's an internal service application for this series of printers: http://anydoby.com/jblog/attachments/EpsonPX700WResetProgruam.zip

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  4. I'm happy to joining this blog, It is a very nice experience for me... Thank you for all your postings.


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