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epson bubblejet leaving dirty marks on the page

Posted on 2003-11-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
It's an Epson 830 (something like that).

It's just started leaving dirty irregular (black ink) )patterns down the page (on the print side).

I had a go at cleaning the little paper feed top rollers and it kept on happening. Further careful investigation shows that after cleaning the ink from these rollers, they are wet again after the print head has gone past. There is also quite a build-up of wet black ink on the plastic bits that hold the rollers, but this doesn't get onto the paper.

Can the print head be leaking or overfilled? and what can I do about it?

I got a temporary fix by printing in dark blue instead of black, after three dirty sheets I got a clean print. So it seems that the black is only overfilling or leaking when black is actually being used.

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LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 9748752
Try replacing your black cartridge.
LVL 17
ID: 9748864
That's a 16 UK pound option I'm trying to avoid.

It might do this with a new cartridge as well and I'd rather have a hint as to what might be wrong first.

The cartridge is still about half full and it has been OK up till last night.

It's as if the ink is squirting out of the front of the print head as well as printing downward onto the paper.

Otherwise the print is fine, no missing bits in the printed characters and all sharp edges.
LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:Tommy Kinard
Tommy Kinard earned 200 total points
ID: 9749117
Look at the print head and check for paper "dust".
Does the paper show the dirty marks before, after, or during the print operation?
before or during may be an indecation of paper dust or some other foreign matter accumilated in the printer head carrage. Also take the cartrage out of the printer and clean that once again may be printer dust -


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LVL 17
ID: 9749346

All looks pretty clean apart from the splodges of black ink.

Access to the print carriage is not easy, I can't find a way of seeing the back of it without dismantling the whole printer, theres a whole lot of watchmaker-type little screws and springs and stuff in there that I'd rather not get involved with. That's where someone with specialist maintenance knowledge of this printer could help, but I wondered if it's a more common problem. Apparantly there's an ink reservior that fills up from the cartridge, and presumably feeds whatever it is that squirts out the tiny droplets onto the page. I'm wondering if this is an open sort of tray that has become overfilled, or if it's a sealed reservoir that has become unsealed.

Watching a print from the top with the lid open.
The paper feeds over (and is driven by) a metal roller that is about 6mm diameter, and under three plastic rollers that are about 3mm in diameter and pressed down onto the paper with springs.
About half an inch from these rollers is where the print starts to apear on the paper.
Once the head has traversed a couple of times, you can see blobs of ink on the paper between the rollers and the print head and the tops of the rollers look wet.
As far as I can see the ink shouldn't be on the paper before it travels under the print head so it seems to be intermittantly squirting out onto the rollers.
It doesn't seem to make any difference whether there is supposed to be any print in that column or not, it just randomly splashes onto the rollers.
But, printing with colour only, the black stops flying out and once some excess has cleaned away, the print comes out clean. This excess seems to be coming from the print head, as I dried the rollers off between prints. The cartridges aren't pressurised in any way are they? I mean sort of pumped up when ink is supposed to be fed from them, but only if that colour is being used?

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9749460
You might want to try and clean the head with alcohol. Also, every other piece that comes into contact with the ink (or could come in contact with the ink.

>Can the print head be leaking or overfilled?
Yep, they can leak.

>and what can I do about it?
replace it (maybe you can ask your local vendor if they can give you a refund on this leaking one)

LVL 17
ID: 9749517
>Yep, they can leak.


>replace it

oh :7(

I know this is going to sound a bit unhelpful, but I can't get to the back of the carriage without taking large amounts of the printer apart.

I think I am going to try.

1) Keep wasting paper until this cartridge runs dry.
2) Replace cartridge and see if it's fixed yet.
3) Go and see the vendor with a dodgy printer

oh, hang on...   LucF,

Do you mean that the cartridge can leak, and I may get a refund on that?
Or did you mean that the print carriage/head/bit-that-the-cartridge-goes-into might be leaking?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Tommy Kinard
ID: 9749620
if the cartridge leaks it is a defect and you should be intitled to a partial if not full refund. If it is the carriage that would be a repair.


LVL 32

Assisted Solution

LucF earned 200 total points
ID: 9749632
>Do you mean that the cartridge can leak, and I may get a refund on that?
Yep, could be, just ask.

>Or did you mean that the print carriage/head/bit-that-the-cartridge-goes-into might be leaking?
Could also be, bit harder to get a replacement on that one though ;-)

So you have to see if you can find out what piece is leaking, I don't know if you can take the cartridge out without spilling ink? If so, clean it fully and lay it on a white sheet of paper for just one night, then you should see if it's leaking and where.

>3) Go and see the vendor with a dodgy printer
Way to go!!!
LVL 17
ID: 9749699
I did actually take the cartridge out last night, it didn't dribble and looked nice and clean (I laid it on its side as the ink is quite runny). The compartment where it fits was clean as well, except for the spikey bit that pierces the bottom of the cartridge.
It didn't give me any further access to the rest of the head though, and I couldn't do a test print as the printer refuses to operate if it hasn't got both cartridges plugged in and both have ink.

Off home for the weekend too try it out now, I'll let you know the results next week.

I'll try most of my 1, then 2 and 3 if necessary.

4) Get a new printer

Thanks for all your comments so far.
LVL 63

Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 200 total points
ID: 9754077
Cartriges DO leak.  Don't disassemble the printer (this way madness lies!).
Although the ink is runny, if you are having to put the cartrige on its side to prevent it all coming out you have a seal problem within the ink cartridge

Commonest causes are:
- Generic compatible cartridges
- Refilling
- Over entusiastic removal of that little tag that says "pull off before use"

LVL 31

Accepted Solution

qwaletee earned 200 total points
ID: 9757162
And, don't assume that just ebcause it doesn't seem to leak when you take it out of the printer, that it won't leak when it is actually printing.  Sometimes the leak is a matter of the printhead having one nozzle that is malformed.  (Most printers use a cartridge that includes both ink and printhead, so replacing the ink gives you a new printhead.)
LVL 17
ID: 9762553
..well here are the results of my experiments.

I have always wondered if black ink was used when printing the very dark areas of colour pictures. This was an ideal time to find out, if black ink widdled all over the rollers (and subsequently onto the page) then black was being used.

Printed a few colour pictures - result, no black ink on rollers even though parts of the pictures were very dark.

OK so far, back to the real problem.

Printed a page that contained black text AND a colour picture - result, printed perfectly.

Opened the document that my wife had been printing when the problem first showed up. She doesn't believe in margins and stretches everything beyond it's limits, ignoring all warnings (which she never reads anyway) to squeeze as many lines onto the page as she possibly can. I printed the doocument. It came out OK.

I printed another four copies, all OK.

The cure seemed to be 'Leave it alone for 24 hours and it will fix itself'. hmm...

Have printed other stuff since and it is still hanging in there.


Printing in daylight, I did notiice that under the park position of the print head is a little sort of black pastic open topped tank or container that looks very wet and full (with ink). I wonder if this is supposed to be full or if it's just there to soak up any excess and should be emptied occasionally - doesn't look very easy to get at though.

POINTS - well I have had a lot of good advice, but none that I actually used, so I'm going to try to split the points around (hope it works).

Thanks all for your help.
LVL 17
ID: 9762583
I's not easy is it, trying to increase the points by a smidgeon and I can't seem to split them until I submit - sorry for the extra post.

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