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In the past I've posted a report of head failure problems with a Stylus Color 3000 and Stylus Color 900 using Lyson Fotonic ink. I reported problems with "clogging" of a 900 immediately after installing Fotonic, and also the eventual development of a leaky black nozzle in a lightly-used 3000 while running Fotonic. I expressed concern that the Fotonic ink may have precipitated failures. Others made casual comments that Fotonic might somewhat reduce head life. FOLLOWUP Today, I believe that my problem with the 900 was due to improper cartridge filling and handling, NOT DUE TO FOTONIC INK. See the note about ink starvation below. In the case of the 3000, which developed a premature leaky nozzle, I will never know the cause. But I want to clearly disassociate my problem with the 900 from the problem of the 3000. It was suggested on this list that I have the 3000 repaired. I took this advice. I am using Northwest Computer Support, in Beaverton, Oregon for the repairs. They have Epson certified technicians and are familiar with the repair of the 3000. The cost of replacing the color and B/W heads, plus a new waste ink pad was US $308.00 (no tax). They returned the replaced parts, including the pad. The cost of new parts is about $230. The procedure was estimated to take 1 week, but took two weeks due to an error in delivery of replacement parts. NOTES 1) INK STARVATION: Starvation is a potential problem for those printer designs where the ink cartridges are loaded into the head assembly, such as the 900. The problem of starvation is a hazard for the novice cart refiller. The head-loaded cart is designed so that it will not easily leak when removed. I believe the feeding of the head works like a siphon in the sense that a continuous load of ink must surround the inlet of the head, and this load supports drawing ink from the cart, as opposed to ink falling in by gravity. Upon cart installation, ink must be settled at the taped exit ports on the bottom of the cartridge to ensure ink flow to the head. Therefore, removal of a cartridge effectively ruins it because air is allowed into the exit ports , breaking the siphon. Further, when filling a cart, if ink isn't settled into the exit ports without air, a siphon cannot be started and the head will be starved in spite of the cart being heavy with ink. This makes cart reuse difficult because resealing the exit ports is a tricky problem. Using tape may introduce damaging compounds from adhesives into the ink supply. Yet a membrane is required at the exit area. Further, if the membrane is opaque, you can't tell if the filled ink has arrived at the port. And it doesn't tend to go there on it's own by gravity, especially in a virgin empty cart. These factors bode ill for the refilling novice, and aren't clearly discussed in the instructions of the refill kits I've seen. I think this was the source of my problem getting Fotonic to work with the Stylus Color 900. 2) IMPORTANCE OF REMOVING THE YELLOW TAPE If a new cart is installed without removing the yellow tape on the top, the cart won't work because the siphon is inhibited. Worse, the cart will be ruined in two ways: first the ink supplies for the color head can intermingle within the head assembly and be drawn across reservoirs causing cross contamination, and second the siphon load of ink is lost when you attempt to access a previously installed cart to remove the yellow tape. If you install a cart but forget the remove the tape, replace the cart. 3) DRIED OUT OUT HEADS CAN BE REVIVED Install a new OEM cart. The fresh cart will dissolve the ink inside the head. Remember the concern of ink starvation described above. Squirt ammonia cleaner (Windex) liberally onto the waste ink receiver (where the head parks), run a few cleaning cycles and let sit a day. The idea is ensure that fresh ink is inside the head and that the face of the head (which is a flat plate with arrays of microscopic ports) sits in a pool of cleaner for an extended period. If necessary, repeat the application of ammonia cleaner to the waste receiver and run cleaning cycles. Allow a day between each attempt. I revived a dried out Stylus Color 800 using this approach. 4) STYLUS COLOR 3000 DISASSEMBLY NOTES I disassembled the 3000 myself before sending it for repair. The top of the case can be removed without disturbing the innards but you *will*break* case parts if you don't know some secrets: - A top case screw is hidden under the control panel; the control panel is attached to the top of the printer by two tabs that must be released by poking around with fingers on inside of the ink cartridge bay (at the top of the bay). The front of the control panel is held by tables and hinged at the back. - Like the control panel, the case top is hinged at the back and tabbed at the front. The front tabs must be released by poking a screwdriver into largish slots (holes) on the bottom of the printer; - Also remove the paper tray (attached by a metal bracket, screws & hidden tabs), the tractor feed assembly (attached by clever tabbed hinges without fasteners), the three screws beneath the tractor feed, the paper advance knob on the side (pull it off), and the blue feed selector level cap (pull this off). - The waste ink pad in the 3000 appears to be able to contain a pint or more of ink. I changed inks several times and lost an entire cart of yellow (4 oz) into the waste area. Yet the pads were half dry and untouched by ink. 5) COLOR REGISTRATION AND HEAD ALIGNMENT (MICROBANDING ISSUE?) The B/W and color heads are separate in many printers. These must be in excellent mechanical alignment to ensure proper registration of all colors. Further, each of the CMY inks comes from a different region of the color head, so orientation of the color head will control whether all nozzles fall along the same line in the axis of head movement. Head position must be precisely adjusted when the printer is assembled. I believe positioning tolerance of the head assembly may determine the resolution of the printer along the axis of paper travel, moreso than the the accuracy with which the paper can be positioned by the feed rollers. So a for a 1440 x 720 dpi design, the 720 limited will be due to the alignment tolerance of the heads within their assembly. This alignment factor is a major obstacle to anyone wanting to replace heads on their own. A special jig (maybe software) will be needed to set alignment. Also alignment may be poor from the factory, or may change during use. Is micro banding is a possible result of very slight variations of the head alignment within production tolerances? Regards, Wire Moore - Turn off HTML mail features. Keep quoted material short. Use accurate subject lines. http://www.leben.com/lists for list instructions.