Epson EcoTank ET-8550 printer setup
Setup: Epson EcoTank ET-8550 printer
A3+ multifunction printer setup
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Keith Cooper looks at the initial out of the box setup for the Epson ET-8550 EcoTank printer.
The 13″ width A3+ printer is the first ‘cartridge free’ or tank based printer Keith has looked at for a detailed review.
There will be a comprehensive review of the printer in due course, with a particular emphasis on colour and B&W print quality on different media types used with the printer.
The review will be complemented with a range of short YouTube videos exploring aspects of using the printer.
Keith has a video (25m) covering the setup process >
Setting up the ET-8550
The ET-8550 is a 6 ink A3+ (13″ width) multifunction printer. What sets it apart is that you fill internal ink tanks with ink from bottles rather than use the usual cartridges. I’ll be looking at its performance and picture quality in other articles – this one just covers initial setup.
There is a printed guide and instructions are displayed on the screen.
The web based setup guide is a good one and I’d generally recommend following it through.
This is accessed via epson.sn
You can use it to install just a driver, by skipping through sections
The physical setup is shown too.
Out of the box
It is well packed – as well as the usual instruction sheet, there is a (Win only) CD installer, and a large plastic bag.
This is, it seems for, shipping. I’ll come back to moving the printer later.
There is a large amount of blue tape to remove.
The six ink bottles open easily for loading.
The first black is a pigment black, used for text printing and with the others on some media.
The other five inks are dye based, giving the usual CMYK range with a grey ink for more even tonality and light colours
Note the wired ports USB/Ethernet at the back.
Do not connect up either of these at this stage.
Lifting the lid (that’s both the scanner and main top cover) shows a cover over where the inks are to be installed.
Powering up and ink fill
Once it’s all unpacked, you can plug in the printer and fire it up.
The screen will guide you through steps needed.
Under the grey panel are the covers for each ink tank
These flip up to allow filling.
There are warnings to make sure you use the right inks.
Fortunately, the bottles are also physically ‘keyed’ to only fit in the right position.
First up is the black. You can actually hear a quiet ‘glugging’ noise as the ink flows.
DO NOT squeeze the bottle
You can see the ink level below, just before showing as full (the top mark).
There is some ink left over after the fill – I’ll come back to this later. At the moment, just replace the lid and carry on filling all carts.
Here’s the last one – grey.
Once all the inks are loaded, the printer needs to fill the ink lines and the print head.
This takes a few minutes and is accompanied by assorted noises from the printer.
There is a maintenance cart already fitted to the printer for waste ink. It’s unlikely to need replacing until you’ve done quite a lot of prints.
The printer will want to do a test print, which will need some plain paper loading in the main tray.
A nozzle check shows all is well.
You could also run the alignment check at this point, but it needs several sheets of paper. I left this until after I’d set up the printer.
Setting up networking and software
The next step is to connect the printer up to a computer some way, in order to print. There is the option earlier of downloading a remote control panel to a phone, so you could set up the printer that way. However I want to test photo printing quality, and that isn’t going to happen with mobile devices…
The setup web page I’ve connected to earlier offers to download the Epson install software – it’s similar for Win PCs but we don’t have any of them here.
A double check about the ink.
The software checks to see what’s currently connected.
The printer is found via its WiFi connection.
I could at this point decide to use ethernet or USB, but wireless will suffice.
There’s quite a range of software available – I pick everything since it won’t duplicate what you already might have installed.
At this point I’d note that the Epson Print Layout software is not included here. This is actually very useful software which I’ll be using during some of my testing. I’ve used it with the Epson P700, P900 and XP-15000 recently – see the reviews and articles for more.
It can be downloaded here: Epson Print Layout
Note that this is the US link – the link on the UK site has had dead links on it several times
The driver will install and ask if you want to add the printer to the printers list.
Once this is completed, there is the option of printing a test page – always worthwhile checking.
During setup, you may be asked to download a firmware update – this is definitely worth doing, especially with a newly released printer, where there may well have been minor changes/updates since the printer left the factory.
The printer will download, install and restart itself. Just be sure not to power off the printer during the process.
Macs and the AirPrint driver problem
It’s possible to install a simplified ‘AirPrint’ driver on Macs, which usually shows up when people wonder why half the control settings have vanished from their printer dialogs.
The newer Epson installers are better at avoiding this but I did just check the system prefs to be sure. All is well.
Filling the ink tanks back to full
After setting up the printer, the levels in each tank have fallen, however I have some spare ink left.
This is visible in the printer and via the printer driver info.
The ink bottle is just re-applied to the printer to use the remaining ink (grey in this case).
Once again – do not squeeze the bottle – it will just flow as needed.
The levels are not particularly clear to photograph, but a flashlight off to one side helps.
Now, if you check levels in the driver, it won’t show a change. You need to go to the refilling section in the printer maintenance section of the menu.
I’m just doing the grey at this point.
It now shows up in the driver.
This disconnect from direct monitoring of levels is a significant change in how you think about ink use and is something I’ll come back to in the main review.
The ink tanks need an air opening to allow for falling levels and changes in atmospheric pressure. This means that the printer will not take kindly to being tipped up much during shipping, and that there is a serious danger of the ink siphoning out.
It’s for this reason that it is very important to lock the print head when shipping. It’s also why there are several labels pointing this out.
There is a blue latch shown here in the normal operating position.
This is lifted up
and locks down to prevent head movement
There is also a large plastic bag provided, to wrap the printer in when shipping – just in case.
- Printing Method: 6-colour inkjet printer
- Nozzle Configuration: 360 Nozzles Black, 180 Nozzles per Color
- Minimum Droplet Size: 1.5 pl, With Variable-Sized Droplet Technology
- Printing Resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 DPI
- Category: Home, Photo
- All-in-One Functions: Print, Scan, Copy
- Printing Speed ISO/IEC 24734: 16 pages/min Monochrome, 12 pages/min Colour
- Printing Speed: 32 pages/min Monochrome (plain paper 75 g/m²), 32 pages/min Colour (plain paper 75 g/m²), 25 Seconds per 10 x 15 cm photo (Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper)
- Colours: Black, Photo Black, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Grey
- Optical Resolution: 1,200 DPI x 4,800 DPI (Horizontal x Vertical)
- Output formats: BMP, JPEG, TIFF, multi-TIFF, PDF, searchable PDF, PNG
- Scanner type: Contact image sensor (CIS)
- Number of paper trays: 3
- Paper Formats: A3+, A3 (29.7×42.0 cm), A4 (21.0×29.7 cm), A5 (14.8×21.0 cm), A6 (10.5×14.8 cm), B5 (17.6×25.7 cm), B6 (12.5×17.6 cm), C6 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), No. 10 (Envelope), Letter, 10 x 15 cm, 13 x 18 cm, 100 x 148 mm, User defined, B4 (25.7×36.4 cm), Legal, Executive
- Duplex: Yes (A4, plain paper)
- Rear paper path (special media): Yes
- Media Handling: Automatic duplex (A4, plain paper), Borderless print, CD/DVD print, Fine Art Paper Path, Rear specialty media feed, Thick Media Support
- Energy Use: 17 Watt (standalone copying, ISO/IEC 24712 pattern), 0.8 Watt (sleep mode), 7.5 Watt (Ready), 0.3 Watt (Power off), TEC 0.16 kWh/week
- Supply Voltage: AC 220 V – 240 V, 50 Hz – 60 Hz
- Product dimensions: 523 x 379 x 169 mm (Width x Depth x Height)
- Product weight: 11.1 kg
- Noise Level: 5 B (A) with Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper / Photo RPM mode – 37 dB (A) with Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper / Photo RPM mode
- Compatible Operating Systems: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Windows 10 (32/64 bit), Windows 7 (32/64 bit), Windows 8 (32/64 bit), Windows 8.1 (32/64 bit), Windows Vista, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 or later, Windows XP SP3 or later (32-bit),
- Included Software: Epson Photo+, Epson ScanSmart, EpsonNet Config
- Interfaces: USB, Ethernet, Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, USB host, SD Card Slot
- Mobile and Cloud printing services: Apple AirPrint
- What’s in the box: AC cable, Ink set, Quick Start Guide, Warranty document
- Colour: Black
- Panel: Type: Color, Touchscreen, Diagonal: 10.9 cm
- Memory Cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MicroSD*, MicroSDHC*, MicroSDXC*, MiniSD*, MiniSDHC*, Mini SDXC* (* Adaptor required, not supplied in box)
- Features: Touchscreen, PictBridge, Direct Print, Direct print from USB
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