Epson Stylus Photo EX on behavior, ink out or... what?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jonathan Sachs, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. I have an Epson Stylus Photo EX printer which I use only (and only
    occasionally) for printing photographs. Today I tried to print a
    black-and-white photograph for the first time, and got very puzzling

    I was printing on photo quality inkjet paper. I selected the
    appropriate paper type, "best" quality, and "black-and-white." I got
    an image that was mottled and extremely light. When the printer was
    done, the black ink-out light was blinking.

    It seemed like an odd coincidence that the black ink cartridge chose
    that precise moment to run dry: apparently at the very start of my
    first-ever attempt to print a monochrome picture. Nevertheless, I
    thought the logical next step was to put in a fresh ink cartridge to
    see if it helped -- until I found that I had no spare.

    As an experiment I put the "exhausted" cartridge back in and tried to
    print a page of text. Nothing happened. When I looked at the control
    panel, the black ink-out light, color ink-out light, and paper-out
    lights were ALL on. (The paper-out light, at least, was demonstrably

    I'm going to get another black ink cartridge in a day or two and try
    again, but in the meantime, the whole episode strikes me as very
    peculiar. I wonder if someone who is more familiar with the printer
    can interpret it for me.

    My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.
    Jonathan Sachs, Mar 16, 2006
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  2. I have several Epson printers and have found that they need to be used often
    or they clog. I also suspect that they do not actually measure the ink in
    the cartridge but keep track of usage and make estimates on the remaining
    supplies. I, as you, have been perplexed by my Epson printers. I also hate
    that they can use more ink in cleaning cycles than for printing.
    Charles Schuler, Mar 16, 2006
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  3. Jonathan Sachs

    rafe b Guest

    Have you run the nozzle check?

    How long has it been since you've seen good
    text output on this printer?

    The Photo EX printer was current about six
    or seven years ago. In other words: it's ancient.

    Generally speaking it's hard to get photo-quality
    BW prints using *just* the black ink. If it were
    easy, we wouldn't need the Quadtone RIP and
    quad-tone inksets.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 16, 2006
  4. I can't say exactly. Probably sometime in January or early February.

    I tried running one now, but the printer refused to respond,
    presumably because the cartridge is empty (or because it thinks the
    cartridge is empty). Which really tells me nothing I didn't already
    know. I asked about the matter of all three indicator lights going on
    because it is so unusual that it seems like a promising point of entry
    to the real problem, if the cartridge is not the real problem.
    As I said, I customarily use this printer only for photographs. I
    probably have printed text on it at some point, but I can't remember
    having done so, much less when I last did so.
    True. Is this relevant to the problem? Apart from the fact that a
    newer printer would probably have better performance and fewer quirks,
    it's not clear to me how.

    (Note for context: I am doing this project as a favor for a relative,
    and once it is done I don't know if I will ever make a monochrome
    print again. For the type of color printing I do the printer is
    pretty satisfactory despite its age, and at this point I can't justify
    replacing it with a new one.)
    You know a lot more about this topic that I do. I've never heard of
    Quadtone RIP and Quadtone inksets.

    Assuming I can solve the immediate problem, could you give me any
    advice on how to print a decent monochrome image on this printer?
    Would simply selecting "color" instead of "black-and-white" help, or
    is there something else I can do?

    My email address is LLM041103 at earthlink dot net.
    Jonathan Sachs, Mar 17, 2006
  5. Jonathan Sachs

    rafe b Guest

    The trouble with printing with just K ink is
    that only one of the six sets of nozzles is
    used. This means that the printer can't
    possibly deliver the smooth texture and
    banding-free output that you see when
    all six sets of nozzles are in on the game.

    The problem with printing with all six sets
    of nozzles to produce an intended monochrome
    output should be obvious. The print will
    likely not be perfectly neutral throughout
    the tonal range -- but a good ICC profile
    will help.

    So it is a compromise.

    The idea behind QuadTones is to substitute
    various "shades" (intensities) of black
    inks for the color inks. This really
    requires a dedicated printer, and a
    special driver. Hence the QuadTone RIP --
    the only "no compromise" solution.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 17, 2006
  6. Jonathan Sachs

    Roy G Guest

    Hi all.

    To rafe B,

    Remember this is an Ex, very similar to the 1200 and 700 printers. You could
    not get "Canned" profiles for any of them.

    I used to use one, way back at the turn of the century, and the main reason
    it went was the lack of profiles for it. Nowadays with the ready
    availability of good quality Profiling hardware, I might just have kept it,
    but it was also a bit prone to "Pizza Cutter" marks.

    The only way these printers can ever produce good quality Black and White is
    when the Cartridges are replaced with the multple blacks produced by Lyson,
    or similar. And that is what happened to mine, a friend bought it,
    specifically to convert it for Black and White Printing, and he took great
    delight in showing me his results from my ex EX

    Roy G.
    Roy G, Mar 17, 2006
  7. Jonathan Sachs

    tomm42 Guest

    The 1200 was the replacement for the EX, the EX was a known clogger,
    even with dye inks. The 1200 was better, the 1270 much better. Anyway get you to the MIS associates web site. They have
    quadtone sets for almost any printer. Good support too.

    tomm42, Mar 17, 2006
  8. Jonathan Sachs

    rafe b Guest

    Probably so. You'd have to make your own,
    or have one made for you (eg., Cathy's
    Profiles or Dry Creek Photo or...)

    There were well-known methods for removing
    the star wheels that caused those marks.

    That's pretty much what I was talking about
    when I said that QuadTones required a
    "dedicated" printer.

    Changing inksets isn't a trivial matter and
    in fact always involves a lot of wasted ink.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 17, 2006
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