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Black ink swap on the Epson 7800 and 9800

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Swapping the black ink on the Epson 7800 and 9800

Save ink on the ‘official method’ Photo to Matte or Matte to Photo

Use these procedures with care! – use at your own risk

An unofficial black ink change technique for the Epson SP9800 and SP7800 – we’ve used the second ink change method on our 7880

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 precise sequence we used can’t be used on the 7800/9800 so one of these tricks might work for you

Printer stuck in the fill process?  The initial fill process can be cancelled (Info for Epson Pro 4000, 4800, 4880, 7800, 7880, 9800, and 9880 printers]

black ink swap

Could you save on ink costs

Do bear in mind that the driver choices are often limited by the ink, so while your profiles may be made for Pk ink, then if the driver thinks the printer has Mk ink in it, it may produce unpredictable results.

I’ve seen this trick discussed various places and have seen people question its use for some settings and papers.

Swapping black inks on an 7800/9800

This method is not so easy as with the 7600/9600 technique

  1. When it comes to photo/matte black carts – The following method allows the change without draining the printer (e.g. matte black(Mk) installed and you want to change to photo black (Pk))
  2. Be sure you’re in matte black mode to start.
  3. Remove the chip from an empty matte black cartridge which is the same capacity as the brand new photo black cartridge.
  4. Reset the chip using a chip resetter (the chip resetter from for the SP9600 works on the SP9800 chips if the chip isn’t still attached to the cart)
  5. Replace the original photo black cart chip with the chip from the photo black cart that has just been reset.
  6. Print a solid black block (any cheap paper will do) until the matte black ink in the tubing is all used up (Typically 3 feet of printing (44″) on the 9600)
  7. Check to see the transition of good black to lighter black on the matte/uncoated paper that you are using.
  8. Now print using shiny papers and your photo black profiles.

The amount required to purge the old black depends on your printer.

The SP7800 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 SP9800 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.

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.

Use even less ink – new method

A non chip method for swapping black inks. Should cost under $10 in ink and paper.

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’ve tested this on a 7880, but the menu display may be slightly different – use with care, at your own risk.

We have a full version of the instructions on the 7880/9880 page

Note – we have a report from a 7800 user who says that they’ve successfully used the new technique on their printer. Original (partial) details are at

Just remember that messing up your machine with service level commands like this won’t be covered under warranty! Use at your own risk

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

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