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Black ink swap on the Epson 7880 and 9880
Saving ink on the 'official method' Matte to Photo or Photo to Matte
Use this method with care! - use at your own risk
An unofficial black ink change technique for the Epson SP9880 and SP7880.
When we swapped the black ink on our Epson 9600 from Photo Black to Matt Black (Pk to Mk) we used some menu options to reduce the amount of ink used up.
The 9600 trick we used can't be used on the 7880/9880 so this trick might work for you.
How to save on ink costs
It's a common criticism of the larger Epson printers that they waste an exhorbitant amount of ink when you swap black inks.
This has finally been adressed on the 7900/9900 (and 3800) but older printers are expensive to change.
Swapping black inks on an 7880/9880
This method is similar to the original 7600/9600 technique
A non chip replacement method (as per our 9800/7800 ink swap page) for swapping black inks. Should cost under $10 in ink and paper. We have a version of this procedure for the 4880, with pictures of the display sequence.
This necessitates going into a service mode for the printer, so should be used with care. As long as the ink warning light isn't flashing, you can use this technique with quite low amounts of ink in the cartridges.
It involves simultaneously holding down the "Centre", "Down" and "Right" buttons (on the control panel) as you turn the printer on.
We have now tried this on our own 7880 and have heard from someone who has successfully used it on their 7800
You will need to pay attention to pressing the correct buttons in the group of 5 to the right of the display screen.
In particular, the Centre button (*), the Right button (>) and the Down button (v).
We've had several comments from people using this technique and are happy to include feedback on its use.
I've seen this process mentioned elsewhaere and there has been some confusion with the precise steps involved - As a result I've expanded the instructions from the original set that we were sent, hopefully to make things somewhat clearer.
We're told the procedure won't work if the low ink warning is on, however we had a report of a successful change when the PK ink cart to be taken out was almost empty. Although an ink charge (S3) was not requested, Stage 4 was needed to get all the level indicators to display correctly.
We have a version of this procedure for the 4880, with pictures of the sequence.
Make sure the printer is turned off
You have now swapped cartridges, but there is 'old' ink in the lines leading to the print head. You can flush this out by printing something solid black.
On your computer
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The amount of ink required to purge the old black depends on your printer.
The SP7880 uses about 10-12ml of ink before the tube is flushed out.
Printing a solid black image of 23"x40" should suffice,
When you look at the finished print you see that 2/3 is matte ink as it looks dark and the rest of the print looks a little dull with Pk ink on matt paper.
The system is now charged with photo black.
The SP9880 uses about 20-22ml of ink. The black image is 43"x40".
If you consider that an ink change the 'official way' wastes appreciably more ink, you can see why there is such a huge saving.
Here's a photo showing how many sheets of US Letter paper were needed for a 9800, going from Photo ink to Matte ink (Thanks to a Florida based reader for sending for the Photo!)
If you've wondered what over a hundred pounds worth of waste ink looks like - see here :-)
Note -- On our 9600 we printed four 40"x10" solid black rectangles on cheap matt paper to purge the black line. The first 3 were a dark black and the third much lighter as the Photo black ink was used.
The original inspiration for this technique (aka 'westshore' method) are at inkjetgiclee.com Thanks to an industry insider for pointing us to this one!
Feb 2011 - We hear that this works just fine with Asian models of the 7880 (Malaysia) - there have been suggestions that the firmware is different from UK/US versions.
Jan 2012 - Thanks to Ron in the US for sending this note:
Cleaning dried ink
You really only need to check out the household products line at your local supermarket ;-)
I've written a short guide about 'cleaning inkjet printers'
Other info pages
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