Why Does My Epson Printer Waste So Much Ink?

One thing I have real difficulty with is wasted ink.
My printer at home, an Epson 4880 large format printer, gets blocked nozzles frequently. When talking to Epson sales people they say it doesn’t happen.
It does.
To fix the issue, the printer incorporates a scanner that can detect missing nozzles by running a nozzle check. This involves printing blocks of colour. Each nozzle has a small block in a large colour section. Once all the nozzles have printed the scanner head looks for missing blocks.
So far so good.
When it detects a missing nozzle it then starts cleaning the head.
This is the section I can’t get my head round.
It seems that rather than clean *just* the nozzles that are missing, it decides to do a complete spring clean. This can, perversely enough, lead to other nozzles blocking.
It also leads to a large amount of ink being wasted each time.
Once the heads have been cleaned it prints the blocks of colour again, looking afresh for blocked nozzles. Of course, should it find a blocked nozzle it then cleans the head again, and again, and again.

Nozzle Head check

A typical head cleaning page

I’ve had a situation the other week where I lost a whole colour. This needed a clean. Another colour went missing the next time. Another clean. Two completely different colours went missing.
Eventually they all came back – it needed a deep clean, a new waste ink container and wasted half the ink in each cartridge that is.

It’s not cheap keeping the beast happy with ink. The cartridges are 110ml each and cost about £50 for each one, and there’s 8 of them.

For a printer that’s supposed to be a professional printer I was expecting more.

The prints it produces are stunning. Absolutely lovely quality.

And to top it off, when printing from a roll of paper it wastes about 4 inches of paper at the top of each job. Why? I’ve no idea. Doesn’t do it for sheets of paper. Perhaps Epson thinks at because it’s a roll of paper I’ve got loads to spare.


About cliveflint

I work in IT looking after Windows servers. I enjoy moaning about things I can't change. This blog could help me vent some frustration. You can find me at twitter.com/cliveflint
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