WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!
SS Cleanings could be the end of you!
Please, BEFORE you resort to SS Cleanings, consider the following: I have invested a lot of time and money researching what exactly un-clearable clogs actually are in these X900 heads. Recently I learned something that will drop your heart from your chest… Terminal clogs are not clogs at all – they are failed piezoelectrics. And failed piezoelectrics will never come back from the dead. What causes failed piezoelectrics in your X900 printhead – I think it’s SS Cleanings, when run with an ink clogged printhead.
Naturally what we expect considering clogs is that they are caused by dried ink becoming lodged inside a nozzle, or between chamber walls, or on the face of the printhead. Ok that’s fine, I agree – these are the most likely causes of “clear-able” clogs. But dried ink lodged inside an Epson Stylus Pro 4900, or 7900, or 9900, or 11880 – is NOT what renders your Epson Stylus Pro printer “terminally impotent”. Dried ink is not what causes the worst of “clogs”. SS Cleanings are…
I have performed many autopsies on many different failed X900 printheads. What I have learned is that yes, ink does dry inside the nozzles and yes this does cause clogs. But these clogs are clear-able. They may take a ton of ink to clear, they may take a lot of patience to clear, but for the most part they are clear-able. When a clog becomes “un-clearable” is when the piezoelectric elements in the printhead fail. My theory on how piezoelectrics fail in your printhead goes like this: flowing ink through your printhead serves two purposes – one, it’s how ink gets onto your paper, two, it’s how the piezoelectric elements of your printhead keep from overheating. Most cleanings that your machine performs DO NOT fire the piezoelectrics. But SS Cleanings DO. What happens when you send a million fire commands to an dry ink clogged piezoelectric nozzle with no flowing ink to keep it cool? That’s right, it overheats.
When you run your machine in normal mode there are many safety features which run in the background which keep your machine out of trouble. If the head gets clogs, it cleans itself. If your head gets hot it stops itself. ….and so on. But when you run your machine in service mode, which is where you do SS Cleanings from, there are no automatic warnings. If something gets too hot, it gets too hot. And if your piezoelectrics get too hot, they overheat. And when they overheat, your head – in that region of nozzles – dies. Period.
SS Cleanings, unlike all other cleaning programs in your machine, actually fire the nozzles. Firing nozzles heats them up, clogged chambers block flowing ink from cooling the piezoelectrics, and the piezoelectrics fail. Simple as that. Having said all this, go ahead and try SS Cleanings if you still want to. But I never will again.
UNDERSTANDING SS CLEANINGS
When you have a “stubborn clog” doing standard cleanings probably won’t help you. The 900 series Epson Stylus Pro printers DO NOT fire the nozzles during any of the cleaning processes accessed through the machine’s standard mode of operation. The cap station covers the head and SUCKS ink out … several ml’s each time.To access a more powerful cleaning process you need to do a piezo-clean (SS cleaning) which is only accessible through the machine’s service mode. This “super-strong” cleaning process DOES fire the nozzles, which is good, but this is also dangerous – especially if your printhead is caked solid with dried ink. SS cleanings charge the piezo nozzles with electricity to both vibrate them, and to fire them. The dangerous side of this procedure is dried ink-packed nozzle chambers may not be able to vibrate, or fire. When this is the case, they simply overheat. Thanks to other X900 users in our community we have learned of many cases where multiple SS cleanings produced nothing more than FATAL ERROR MESSAGES. This is one message you do not want to flash across your menu – it means you just killed your printhead. So never do back to back SS cleanings. If you decide to run multiple SS cleanings, run a print through the machine between them. Ink flowing through the printhead cools the piezoelectric chambers, and nozzles.
Disclaimer: The following is given for informational purposes only. Entering the Service/Maintenance Modes is not looked upon with grace by Epson. Perform at your own risk. YOU CAN FUBAR your printer in here.
Definition of SS Cleaning: This is a quote from Epson’s service manual: “SS Cleaning has a strong ultra sonic component. The Piezo Elements internal to the Print Head are used to attempt to break up pigment particles that may be clogging the interior of the Print Head. Use SS Cleaning when a Nozzle can not be cleared through normal cleaning.”
* special note; although it is possible to print with the machine running in service mode, I do not recommend it. Your X900 printer, while being annoying as all hell far too often, is actually pretty smart. While running in regular mode it closely monitors itself, and will stop itself mid-print if a problem occurs. This is not the case in Service Mode. I personally fried an X900 head mid-print, running is Service Mode.
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