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A Perilous Printer Problem


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#1
Sardonicus

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Greetings,

I had a feeling I'd be returning here soon...

Up until now, the Epson Stylus 860 printer I have hooked up to my Dell had been problem free. Unfortunately, that changed a couple days ago when I replaced the black ink cartridge. Doing so seemingly eliminated the ability to print color documents, (text and images) despite the fact there's a quarter of a cartridge worth of color ink left. While red and blue print out extremely faint, the yellow ink will not print at all; the black stuff, however, prints out fine. I had considered the possibility of the ink status monitor glitching, but the fact that I had recently downloaded an upgrade for it and printed a color document the day before this happened led me to believe otherwise. I can't imagine that it would matter, but the black ink cartridge I installed was a "generic" one that's Epson compatible. I've cleaned the heads numerous times, (not manually, though) as well as updating the driver, yet nothing has changed. While I haven't tried "officially" uninstalling it, I did unplug it before reconnecting and rebooting once, but that didn't work either. In fact, I couldn't even find it listed in my device manager; not sure why that is. I thought about plopping a new color cartridge in, but I have no idea how to access it when the "low ink light" isn't flashing, (and I wasn't so sure dismantling the beast would be a good idea.) Any suggestions will be immensely appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Edited by Sardonicus, 30 July 2006 - 07:09 PM.

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#2
BlackPandemic

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The low ink light just tells you when you need more ink. You can open the printer at any time (well, I guess not ANY time). Just open it up, find another ink cartridge and if it's not too expensive, buy a new one, and plug it in, see if the color works again.

EDIT: I did some shopping around for ink cartridges. If you can't physically see if there is ink in it (liquid, not just soaked in a spongy material) then gently shake the cartridge. If you don't hear or feel any sloshing about, you will need a new color cartridge. Considering the one I found is only $36 that doesn't seem like a major undertaking.

Edited by BlackPandemic, 30 July 2006 - 09:58 PM.

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#3
Sardonicus

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I'm well acquainted with changing ink cartridges, (and I'm a bit beyond noob status in the PC world) but the carriage that holds them is relegated to the unreachable corner of the printer whenever the thing is idle, (lifting the hood doesn't grant access to it.) Pressing the low ink button while it's flashing is the only way I know of to move the buggers out into the open; Epson claims the same thing too. As previously mentioned, I'd have to really dismantle it in order to gain access prior to the blinking. Also, I'm not so sure that the issue has anything to do with low ink, as I recently printed out a color document (before replacing the black) without a problem. I've also read that changing a cartridge out before it's empty can somehow screw up the ink monitoring system. If nothing else, I may just try using up the last remaining bit of color, but I'd welcome any other ideas as wasting that much paper would irk me something fierce.
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#4
Retired Tech

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Click start, printers and faxes, right click the printer, click properties, printing preferences, utility, status monitor, click how to

I just pressed the button and released it on an Epson with full ink and it moved to the change position, when I pressed and held it down, it cleaned the heads
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#5
BlackPandemic

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Ah, sorry bout that Sard, misunderstood ya.

Utilities like that are sweet. Report back if it works, or doesn't! Want to hear how this turns out.
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#6
Sardonicus

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Yup, I've tried that too. Mine's actually the opposite, requiring the 3 second rule for cartridge replacement, (which seems to be closer to 5) but the carriage still refuses to do the electric slide until that d*mn light starts a-blinkin'! I'll give it yet another shot, considering the fact that Keith managed to get it working, (and I found out that Epson actually claims the same thing) but it didn't seem to do anything the first 50 times I attempted it. I won't be capable of giving you a status report until tonight, however, as I'm currently at work, (though not necessarily working.)
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#7
Sardonicus

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Sure enough, the button failed again, and despite the claims made on the Epson website, the status monitor for the Stylus 860 does not have a clickable, "Change Ink Cartridge" option. Actually, my frustration led me to pop the top of the color ink carriage while it was temporarily out in plain view, (during a head cleaning session) thus jamming it open and allowing a cartridge switcheroo. Needless to say, this was a bad idea. The ink monitor got screwed something fierce, and for whatever reason, yellow initially failed to print. After yet another head cleaning, however, the yellow began working just fine, but then the red ink disappeared from the page! I think it's safe to say that the beast needs to be put down and shipped to an unsafe, child labor-powered e-waste facility in China. At least a friend of mine has an extra one he'll sell me for table scraps. Bloody technology!!! Thanks anyway fellas.
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#8
Retired Tech

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If the status monitor shows you the amounts of each colour, choose the lowest one and print a page which is solid in the colour keep putting the same sheet of paper in until the ink runs out

I have 5 Epson's and went for this option

http://www.continuousink.com/

This may have an option to change the cartridge

http://www.ssclg.com/epsone.shtml
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#9
Sardonicus

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That monitor looks promising, but I can't help but think that my printer is now permanently jacked. It's worth a shot, though. Of course, even if I get the monitor properly working again, it won't solve the color mixing problems. Perhaps the nozzles are clogged?
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