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Villanueva del Trabuco

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UPDATED: Sunday, 22 January, 2017 16:59

Obtaining Quality Black&White with the "designed for colour" Epson 1400 A3+ printer

(Applies also to "same" models 1410, 1430 and 1500)

See also footnote from Helmar regarding which other 6-ink Epson printers can use this technique plus additional guidance on using the printer

New Addition - how to clear clogged nozzles (Foot of page)

According to Epson Technical Support, it is not possible to obtain good Black+White prints from the 1400, as it was specifically designed for making colour prints, so attempts at making B+W prints would result always in getting some colour overlays, not neutral blacks.

However, in discussion with Helmar (http://dahmerphotography.blogspot.com), we derived a simple yet highly effective way to print using only the Black ink, which as already mentioned, is not supposed to be possible, according to Epson's technicians.

Procedure is simple and as follows:

Prepare your image and ensure it is converted to Greyscale in PhotoShop (or whatever post processing software you use).

Send to print and access the 1400 printer´s Properties area.

  • On the first (General) page, select Best Photo (farthest right) from the top choices
  • Select Plain Paper/Bright White Paper as the media - this is essential. Do NOT select the actual type of paper - you must choose Plain Paper
  • Select paper size and orientation (Portrait or Landscape) as required
  • Click on the Advanced button to enter the Advanced area page
  • Select Greyscale, High Speed, Edge Smoothing options

    That's all there is to it. Provided your image is properly prepared, you will obtain a very high quality full-tonal-range B+W print using only the Black ink. It will not be "dotty" from using just one ink.

  • Note that for the best quality with Epson printers, ensure for up-to say A4 size, your ppi (pixels per inch) for the image file is 180 ppi. This can be OK for larger images but I would suggest (as I do) use 360 ppi for larger prints. 180ppi and 360ppi convert using a whole number into the printer's resolution of either 720dpi (dots per inch) or 1440dpi. Doing a lot of research with colleagues over many years of using Epson printers, this is the best way to ensure smooth tonal rendition throughout the print (B+W and Colour)

    >>> TIP: Because Epson printers perform an ink-wasting clean every time any cartridge is "replaced" - obtain an inexpensive Chip Resetter. When (using either a CIS or Refillables) the message appears that one cartridge needs replacing - just refill all refillables (the CIS cartridges will refill automatically of course) and reset all the chips so they will all then appear as full. That way - only one clean will occur, preventing lots of waste where a clean using inks from all cartridges is performed when just one is "replaced". Note that whilst these models are supposed to have the 9-chips, in reality the Resetter with its 7-chip attachment/guide will work, whereas the 9-chip will not!

    Footnote from Helmar:

    The technique can be used on all 6-ink-Epsons

    Like the: Big tank Epson 7000 pro and
    The smaller multi-purpose printers PX810/px810/px720/px710/... and
    The small printers like p50 and so on (the names differ in several countries)

    A very useful website with Test Images (and general printing information) is authored by Keith Cooper

    http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/test_images.html#colour_printer_test_images


    As with many inkjet printers, people are interested in installing CIS (Continuous Inking Systems) or Refillable Cartridges, here are some guide notes based on practical experience that may prove useful in making a decision. However, note that I have been using Refillable Cartridges for several years as every printer (Epson and Canon) has had problems over time with CIS units - mostly due ink flow along the tubes - especially the Magenta with pigment inks.

    First - are they reliable? Answer is generally "YES" at least for the first year or so - provided you get good quality items. CIS units do require some ability to install them correctly and do bear in mind that often, supplied instructions are not always correct (often due updating of equipment since instructions prepared) or require an ability to solve problems - mostly with regard to location/siting of the supply feed tubes. Reason is they can strike parts of the printer's body and thus gradually tend to loosen connections, meaning some very slight ingress of air that can reduce or restrict the ink supply to the cartridge(s), giving an apparent effect similar to nozzle blocking (no ink coming out).

    To install, read everything carefully whilst you have a dummy run with empty cartridges. Set the printer into the position first for changing/loading cartridges (Check your manual - or if you have not got one (although these days tend to be on a CD) go to the manufacturers website and download it - normally in Adobe Acrobat Reader format = PDF. When it parks into position for easy access to change cartridges - unplug from the power source. Do not turn printer off as that makes the printhead return to its normal parked position. Unplugging means the printhead stays in the change-cartridge location and without the power, the head can be moved freely to and fro along its track. That way you can try different locations for any supports and see what is best as regards minimising any action of the tubes striking the body as mentioned previously. Only once you are sure of having made the right decisions, then fix the supports more permanently and remove the cartridges and fill with ink as per instructions - meaning you normally fill the supply bottles (assuming you did not get the unit prefilled) and then continue to draw the ink into the cartridges using the supplied syringes. If you order a prefilled CIS unit, the supply bottles and cartridges will already be filled - normally the supply leads will be bent over and clamped in some way to prevent leakage during transit. Note that for refillable cartridges when you order with refill inks, make sure you get included a set of syringes and LONG (about 100mm) blunt needles as you need those to reach down into the bottles to fill. Either get them prefilled and at same time order refill ink bottles with syringes or get empty cartridges and at same time order the refill inks with syringes. Note that youtube.com has a number of videos for sitting CIS units to most printers - and also, for fitting Waste Ink Bottles - essential to ensure the ink dispersed during use, especially during cleans, is discarded and not allowed to flood the waste ink pads. In time, all Epson printers will display a warning that the printer has come to the end of its life (which translated, means the internal Waste Ink Counter has reached its designated maximum value). DON'T chuck the printer away - you can get a free utility to Reset the counter in the USA but will have to buy one in other parts of the world. The printers can be exasctly the same BUT in the USA the Serial Numbers are different. The free utility for Epson owners in the USA cannot be used on models with different >Serial Numbers. Get a friend in the USA tos end you the reset file? Useless - as even if you inout their same-model Serial, the printer will have in its software its correct non-USA Serial number. Luckily, Waste Ink Reset utilities are inexpensive. Just Search and you will find many suppliers in your location.

    As mentioned I use (and can recommend as a very satisfied customer) all supplies from Leo Chang at InkJetFly BUT unfortunately, Leo seems to have given up trading. I use pigment inks in my Epson 1400 and dye inks in my Epson DX7400 (all-in-one printer/scanner/copier) with excellent results. If wanting to print on the photo-type glossy or suchlike papers, get and use dye inks. Dye can also be used on matte and art watercolour papers. However, for the longest life, use pigment inks on art watercolour papers (all acid free) as are cartridge papers. My suggestion is to search for a supplier in your part of the World (or one who will ship to you) wo stocks and sells Image Specialist inks - highly regarded and which I am now using in my Epson 1500 - from scratch. (I still have enough pigment inks from Leo for the 1400 for a couple of years).

    One final tip - check http://www.youtube.com for videos on installing CIS units for your make/model of printer- there are plenty available (some good, some rubbish - you will easily spot the difference) as that could prove very helpful due seeing things in action to give you a better idea of what is involved.

    There are also some videos on installing a Waste Ink bottle - inside the printers are felt pads that soak up waste ink - and that can get full and stop the printer working. Also, the ink can get on to the underside of the printhead and cause smudges and/or blobs of ink on your printouts. All you need is some tubing (check the videos as mentioned) and a small bottle to thus drain the waste ink and keep the pads clean and dry. There are also utilities for resetting the Waste Ink Counter (Epson supply one only for printers sold in USA so as serial number required - they will not work, even on the actual same printers, sold elsewhere. Very helpful (NOT) of course! There are independent small utility programmes that will do this anyway so ask, if stuck. Make sure you use a GLASS bottle as plastic ones are easily tipped over just when adjusting the tubing. Small jam-jar is ideal - without the jam of course!


I personally used pigment inks from InkJetFly (In both CIS unit and Refillable Cartridges). The IJF Matte Black is superb and will print on to normal watercolour paper (I mainly use Canson Montval and Basik plus Geler Mate papers - all acid free and relatively inexpensive, especially compared to high priced photo ones). Choose dye inks if wanting to print on photo-type plastic (resin coated) papers but be warned, those are not really suitable for any form of archival work - although if used on acid-free art papers as mentioned, should last a very long time. I have some using dye inks over 12+ years old on the Canson paper that are framed and still show no signs of fading. As mentioned above, now Leo has (or so it appears from his website) ceased trading, opt for Image Specialist inks - just search for a supplier. Octoink in the UK is a good source and will ship overseas. http://www.octoink.co.uk/


CLEARING CLOGGED NOZZLES:

In the USA many use a proprietory window cleaning product "Windex". The active ingredient for unblocking nozzles is Ammonia. Simpler and cheaper is to do as follows: Get some Ammonia solution (look for strong concentrate - or adjust mixing to suit)) and find a small bottle (plastic with plastic screw top - NOT metal) around 100 ml should be sufficient but any size will be suitable. If 100ml, put in 10ml Ammonia (meaning as near 100% strength as possible) which is two teaspoonsful (5ml = average teaspoon - being the spoon size for most medicine doses) and top up with water - tap water is normally fine, unless your home tap water is perhaps full of particles or strong Chlorine - in which case use Distilled Water - or just bottled drinking quality water. That will have made, as near as necessary, a 10% strength cleaning solution - i.e. what you need for the nozzle cleaning procedure.

Set the printhead to the printer's Cartridge Changing position. Once in position, UNPLUG the Power lead. Do NOT just switch off the printer as that will simply re-park the printhead, which locks into its parked position. Once power is removed, you can then freely move the printhead side to side. Move to the left enough so that you can lay in the well that the printhead travels over a folded length of linen type material. It needs to be folded at least twice to make it thick enough for this procedure to work. Ideally, you will end with three layers thickness. As a guide, it should be around 8" long and when folded twice, about 1½" wide. Ideally use a syringe (10ml size is fine - no need for a needle) and after filling it with the solution, carefully work along the pressed-down "pad" to wet it with the solution. Now carefully move the printhead to go over this pad. Lift the two ends and "Wipe" the underside of the printhead = nozzles. Just do this towards one half of the pad. Lay down the pad again and then move the head until it sits over the "as yet unused" end of the pad. Leave for at least 10 minutes. After thet, lift both ends of the pad and do a final side-to-side wipe then remove the pad.

Restore the power lead - for these models, the ON switch is an actual switch - not an electronic type, so the printer will simply start up again, park the head and may do a clean. If a different Epson model, press the ON switch of course. Then try a Nozzle Check. If necessary, do a Clean followed (ALWAYS!) by a Nozzle Check. Should you be unlucky - most likely due leaving the printer for a very long period unused - you may have to reperat this but for a second procedure, leave the pad in place for at least an hour. Then continue as described above.

You may find for the first couple of prints for Nozzle Checks you have some blobs of ink - they will clear after a couple of printouts - so just do a couple of more nozzle checks to clear. Ideally, to finalise this whole procedure, obtain a Purge Image File (choose one that matches your number of cartridges of course) and print one out. It is best to open such a file in such as PhotoShop, then crop so you only get a depth to print of about 2". A full A4 purge page will use too much ink and is unnecessary.

Here's a link to such an image to print, ready sized JPEG: KWIK-Purge6_4deep "Right Click on the image and SaveAs to copy to your computer"

 

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