Apart from one Canon Printer I have always used Epson Printers. No specific reason but at the time of buying, reviews, prices, and my own increasing bias due to no previous problems led me to buy Epson. At the moment I have two; an Epson Stylus Photo PX700W and the more recent Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD. I think they’re called Artisan rather than Stylus in the USA but they are essentially the same. I use the PX700W for everyday printing and the PX730WD reserved for photo printing.
I don’t really do a lot of printing on either so I was a bit disappointed when I got an error message on the PX700W “ink pads are nearing the end of their service life” and indicating that the only person who could sort this out was an Epson Service Engineer. Do Epson really think that anyone is likely to call a service engineer for a several year old printer that cost £150! My guess is replacing the pads professionally would cost fairly close to the price of a new printer.
What are the ink pads? They basically sit under the print head and soak up any excess ink. More expensive printers will actually have a tank.
Anyway, before committing the printer to the recycling plant I did a bit of research on the error. The message is indicating that the pads that soak up waste ink are getting full. Only it doesn’t actually indicate that at all, the message is set to appear after a set number of prints. After a further pre-determined number of prints, bang, printer shuts down, no more prints… even the scanner stops working. This is in spite of the fact it is actually still a fully functioning printer and scanner.
Now I find this a bit annoying, especially when I’m paying in the region of £1,500 PER LITRE for ink! That’s right, work it out, what do they make that stuff with? The irony is that if the printer had just conked out, I’d have been perfectly satisfied that I’d had a relatively cheap item last as long as it did but having it shut down because it’s programmed to really sticks in your throat.
Anyway, a bit more routing about on the internet I found a piece of software designed to reset the counter in Epson printers. In fact it will do a full service check and make adjustments of just about every parameter of your printer. I know for sure it does 700 series because it reset my PX700W in 20 seconds and the printer is now running fine again. It may do 800 series and possibly a lot more.
So, here’s the software exactly as I downloaded it. Before you do download it, be aware that it is NOT Epson software, I have no idea of its origins and it is entirely your responsibility to make sure it is virus free. I’ve obviously checked it and it has caused me no problems whatsoever but just making it clear that whatever you do with it is your responsibility. If your printer is still within warranty, get it fixed by Epson. Any damage caused by this software is down to you.
Once extracted, double click the .exe file, select your printer (it needs to be switched on), select ‘Particular Adjustment Mode’ then ‘Consumables Maintenance Counter’ from the list under ‘Maintenance’. You can then load up the current counter values and then reset them with the ‘Initialization’ button, done!
The pads obviously do actually get full eventually causing ink to saturate the paper on both sides. However, Epson err on the side of caution and commerce and mostly you can reset the counter and carry on printing no problem at all. I’ve hard of people re-setting 3 or 4 times without problems. Theoretically it is possible to wash the pads but it’s not something I’d want to try after going to work for a week with a black thumb just replacing a black ink cartridge, I can only imagine the mess!
Remember, all at your own risk!