Since my last post concerning my Epson Stylus Pro 4900 printer explaining my exasperating print head clogging issues and my past success at clearing them I am sorry to say that ultimately the print head is now irretrievably clogged, or possibly that my PK/MK portion of the head is partially electronically dead and the portions that won’t print are growing in size. The banding issues are quite noticeable, especially in B&W prints.
This is after about a three month hiatus since my last time printing, after which I put it away without any ink in the system. I left it loaded with my cleaning cartridges filled with cleaning fluid consisting of Windex. I think that it might be OK to use Windex as a cleaning agent but it probably is not very wise to leave the print head in contact with it for long periods of time. Possibly filtered distilled water may be a better alternative. Also another possible alternative may be Conecolors’ cleaning fluid, although considerably more expensive.
I am now left with a choice, do I dump the printer in a landfill or do I buy a new printhead? The cheapest printhead that I found was about $1400 US and from unknown offshore sources an with me providing the labor, a new printer would be about $1700 while Epson service will charge about $1900 to fix it. This would be with the knowledge that the new printhead will, in all likelihood, also be plagued with clogging problems. It seems as if the Epson SP 4900 printhead has a lifetime ranging from a few hundred pages to, at most, a few years. I already have a very expensive arsenal of cleaning equipment, resetting tools and about 500 mL of each ink color in reserve that, when all is said and done, are worth well over $1000 for the SP 4900.
However, I am leaning towards Cannon’s professional 17″ printer with twelve pigmented inks (and no f-ing switching between matt and photo black inks!) which is also about $1700. I know that this Cannon printer has had some printhead issues as well but the heads are split in two with their costs, from known reliable sources, are under $500. I searched the web to find out the problems with this printer and have only come across about 1/10th the issues as with Epson’s. I’m weighing the issues and would appreciate any one’s, who has experience with the Cannon Pro line, input who could inform me about Cannon’s reliability as it compares to Epson’s line of X900 printers.
Another alternative would be to use an outside printshop and leave the headaches to them but as I learned in dealing with National Geographic there is a lot to say about having total control of the printing process.