Epson F2000 Basic Print Head Troubleshooting Guide
If you’re having trouble with print banding or other related issues, here are some of the basics to run through. If you’re still having issues, then you may need a bigger repair.
Diagnostics – You should be running a nozzle check daily as well as at least light print head cleanings. These are the patterns you may encounter. Your printer is usually fine if you’re missing a couple of blocks here and there. IF you start seeing a lot of gaps, that’s the “dirty pattern.” If the missing blocks group together in a significant way, leading to an entire band of missing ink, the nozzle is partially clogged. This is a cause for concern. At this point, a heavy cleaning or two may be appropriate.
A perfect pattern – it’s going to be fairly uncommon to get this if you’re in a dry climate.
A common pattern. This particular pattern is a bit too dirty, but you will see occasional blocks missing. That’s not too much of a concern until you start seeing clumps of blocks missing.
Partially Clogged Nozzle
This can be a cause for concern. Normally should be cleared by print head cleanings. Running a nozzle check after each cleaning, run a couple light, a couple medium, and a heavy if necessary. It’s possible one or two cleanings will fix it. If not, that’s bad news.
Fully Clogged Nozzle
This can be quite concerning, although this will happen fairly regularly in dryer climates. As before run cleanings and a nozzle check after each one. If several cleanings don’t clear it, you may have a more serious issue
If the blocked areas get better and worse between cleanings, as opposed to being consistent, then the issue can be relatively simple and related to regular maintenance that you need to perform. If you are having large areas of blocked nozzles that aren’t being cleared by nozzle cleanings, you need to address it as soon as possible. If the ink dries inside the print head nozzles, it can permanently block them, requiring you to replace the print head. The following are common issues that, when cleared, can resolve some print head issues.
1. Ink Flushing Pad
One of the first places to check is the ink flushing pad on the left side of your printer. As the print head moves, occasionally, it will discharge ink into the pad to keep its print heads clear. Over time, the ink drying in this pad will solidify (particularly white ink) and block the fresh ink from filtering down. This can cause the ink to splash back on the print head. Alternatively, the ink blockage can be caused by the waste ink tube not being properly placed for drainage. That causes ink to pool instead of draining into the waste ink tank.
Replace the flushing pad. You can find them for ~$20 each online if you search for Epson F2000 parts – Ink Flushing Pad. Ideally, you should rinse the pad out with water at the end of printing each day. It helps to have several of these on hand, just in case.
Run the cleaning again to see if that improves the nozzle check patterns. If not, move to the next item.
Here are some links to parts suppliers we have found (and ordered from). Please note these are external links and we have no relationship with any of these suppliers.
2. Ink capping Station
The second place to check is the ink capping station. This should also be lightly wiped off at the end of the day with a non-fibrous cloth. Fibrous cloths (including paper towels) can deposit fibers that can stick to the print head, causing ink to dry and blocking it. Notice the white ink around the caps. Using a non-fibrous cloth soaked in cleaning solution, gently but firmly remove the ink buildup from around each area. Pay special attention to the suction cap (marked with the blue circle). Ink will build up around and inside the suction cap, particularly white ink. Ink will also build up on the bottom, blocking the tiny suction tubes – this can be hard to notice. Take plastic tweezers and gently scrape out the bottom of the suction cap to remove built up ink. Metal tweezers can tear and gouge the soft rubber, which is not advisable. Significant ink buildup can limit the power of the suction the machine uses to clean itself.
3. Print Head Wiper
The final maintenance-related area to check is the print head wiper. If this is having issues, you just replace the whole kit, which includes the suction caps (Not including the one circled in blue, above, which is part of the pump assembly). The full kits run around $100. It’s tough to tell when this needs to be replaced, but follow the machine’s prompts when it tells you it’s time to do so. If the replacement of this kit was put off, that can be the cause of some of your trouble.
4. Non-Epson-F2000 Inks
There is a slight caveat here – many people report using non-Epson inks without issue. However, it’s important to remember that Epson inks were designed for Epson systems. Other inks can vary in viscosity (thickness), which can cause issues. In the picture below, black and CMYK cartridges were not Epson and the black ink was too thin, leaking through. This caused the print head to have issues at an exceptional rate (banding after every 3 prints) and created issues when left overnight. If this is the cause of your problem, you’ll need to run an ink tube flush (replaces the ink with cleaning fluid), replace the bad ink cartridges, and re-fill the ink.
These are the simplest issues that could cause print head nozzles to clog. Beyond these, you may have a more serious issue that requires replacing parts. Regular maintenance cannot be overstated. While it is true that maintenance is expensive and cleanings consume ink, they are certainly cheaper than replacing a print head, which, even DIY will cost you $2,000 or more. If you need a print head replacement guide, we have a step-by-step guide available for purchase.
- Maintaining proper humidity is essential.
- Epson specs say that the machine operates at between 20% and 80% relative humidity. While technically true, getting above or below the ideal zone of 40%-60% relative humidity will cause additional problems.
- Particularly for those in dryer climates, the lower your humidity below 50%, the more likely you will have ink drying on the print head. If you’re in the 20%-35% range, you’re going to need to run it every day (at least cycling ink and getting a clean nozzle check) and if you let it sit for multiple days, you risk damage from white ink drying. In some cases, you can’t even let it sit for a weekend without needing to run several cleanings (even heavy cleanings) on the following Monday.
- Above 60% you’re going to have issues with ink drying and possible condensation forming, which is bad for electronics.
- Tube flush/eco flush is essential.
- If you have normal settings, you have to run a tube flush every 4-6 weeks. This empties all the white ink from the ink lines, replaces it with cleaning fluid, and then re-fills the white ink. This large scale flush costs quite a bit, but keeps the system clean.
- You can change your printer to Eco-mode, which instead requires daily tube washes with a much cheaper ink wash kit. Doing it this way will require an occasional replacement of the Damper Kit (removes air bubbles from the ink and controls pressure) and the maintenance pump assembly (powers the suction caps). Replacement of the pump assembly will then need to happen every year to two years. You’ll know when the suction starts to weaken (need to use heavier cleaning settings than usual) or when the suction stops entirely.
- Skipping these procedures entirely is very dangerous for your machine.
- Follow the maintenance procedures recommended in the manual
- These aren’t optional. Many printers will treat the recommendations as “optional suggestions” and then complain that their machine somehow got ruined and blame the manufacturer. DTGs are expensive machines and ignoring maintenance will definitely cost you in the long run.
- Run a clean check every day or two
- Epson techs recommend leaving the machine on, but the manual states you can turn it off at the end of the day. There are pluses and minuses to each. Regardless, at the beginning of your print day (or every day or two of non-use), run a nozzle check and run cleanings if the check comes up with issues.
If you’re following maintenance procedures and you’re still having trouble, you may have a more serious problem that may require replacement of a print head or other parts. We do have a step-by-step print head replacement guide (with pictures) available for purchase.