Hi guys, I really need help figuring out whats happening. My black ink is completely gone, however it does come back a bit after doing a ink renewal, then after a few cleaning cycle its gone again. See the PDF attached with many pictures.

Here’s more details about the printer and what happened lately to give you some context details in case it may help. I moved the printer with the help of a tech to my home office last January. We also changed both wipers as well and we then ran a quick print test and here is what happened after

1)       We ran a quick print test before the tech left and everything seemed ok.

2)       I have not used the printer for about a week, then probably due to the regular cleaning cycles, my white ran out. I bought a new cartridge a few weeks before since I knew I was running low (It’s the ecosol max 2) I had the ecosol max 1 before in the printer. I was following the instructions from Roland (http://www.rolanddg.eu/en/roland-world/blog/upgrade-white-ink-eco-s...) It’s fairly simple. I was already running the latest firmware, so I just put the new cart in and did a ink renewal as they mention.

3)       After the ink renewal, my black was no longer printing (almost all gone) see page 13 of attachment. I assume it may have been because of our print test was using the ink that was already in the lines and the ink renewal flushed it or something.

4)       After running cleaning cycle, then the black is 100% gone. (see page 13)

5)       I inspected the cartridge (running pro color ink) and noticed that there was a bit of a mess in there (page 12). An aluminum label (page 14) made its way between the printer needle and cartridge and some ink leaked in there. I cleaned it up and also use a swab with solvent cleaner just to put on the needle in case it was clogged or something. Then I put on a brand new cartridge as well (Pro color black).

6)       The issue was still there, running cleaning cycle or anything didn’t help.

7)       However if I do a ink renewal again, the black partially come back. Then after a few cleaning its gone again.

The tech that came here (from a few hours away, since theres no local tech here) said the ink gets to the damper and the captop was fine. However he couldn’t explain why the black comes back a bit after doing an ink renewal. He used syringes to make sure there was no air bubbles in the line, he also cleaned the captop to ensure that was not the problem. They were going to change the needle from the cartridge end, but they didn’t bring the part with them.

My theory is that the ink pressure must be higher when an ink renewal is done which forces the black ink to get to the head. However when doing regular print or cleanup it doesn’t do anything. If the black comes back a bit after doing an ink renewal, it most likely mean that the nozzles are not completely clogged. My print tests now look like what you see on page 11 from the document. The silver always had some issues, I never use it or very rarely so that never been an issue.

Maybe the needle is partially clogged or possibly the dampers could be the problem. I noticed with the pro color ink that I get ink build up / thick smudge in the waste bottle from time to time. At some point I also had a string of ink seized (hardened) hanging from the wiper.

I am not sure if the ink could have been the issue here. I was recommended to switch back to Roland ink. I still have a few carts of Pro color to go through and I already bought a Roland set. Eventually I am also looking to switch to double cmyk, it seems like the white and silver is nothing but trouble.

The diagnostic from the tech is to change the head and dampers. Estimate comes almost to 5K in total.

I was wondering if you guys had any other idea of what could be the issue here. I had a few jobs to do and I was trying to print black without using actual black (only with the colors) and wasn't unable to do it. Is this possible?

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Here's a print test I just did now

Thanks for the great training pixs. That head is toast. You may not want to hear that however let me explain:

- Significant head strike that is pushing the black nozzles to the left

- Scratches on the head surface

- Poor maintenance

---Dried ink around the head (cannot seal properly)

---Dried and built up ink on the wiper - you are pushing that into the nozzles

---Exhausted captop - improper draining

---Scraper needing replacement

Before you do anything you need:

Replace captop, wiper, probably felt, scraper

Clean the ink around the side of the head (suppose to see silver)

Then do a few powerful cleanings to see where you are - you will probable get some more nozzles

Use alcohol to clean the encoder strip

You can replace the white and metallic with cleaning carts

You will need to have the motherboard reset to change the colors

I never recommend 3rd party ink - you save pennies on the ink and bigger cost on the maintenance

If you were missing the whole channel - then I would consider the damper - Partial I would consider air in the lines, your pixs however, confirm inadequate pull from the pump.

Thanks Irving, the ink on the far right is actually the metallic. The black is supposed to be in the middle but missing.

I purchased this printer used which is also probably a big part of the problem, I noticed some issues since the beginning such as micro banding when printing etc. Since those pictures, both wipers (and felt) were replaced. The tech that came also cleared the captop and did a maintenance cleaning on the printer. Doing powerful cleaning didnt change anything. The silver is always a mess like this and the black is gone. Only while doing an ink renewal, the black comes back a bit then its gone again after a few cleaning cycle.

I will go buy some alcohol and clean the encoder strip, redo a maintenance cleaning on the printer and give it a few more powerful cleaning cycle.

I will have a tech switching the ink configuration next time. I really want to stay away from 3rd party ink and also from white and metallic. When switching to double CMYK, I guess I probably lost the light cyan and magenta too right?

In the meantime, do you know if there's any possible way to print black without using the black ink? Trying to finish a job and I wasn't sure if that would be possible.


Yeah I knew better, guess was being lazy. Black missing whole channel - sticking with damper issue. Your calibration is slightly off. remove the metallic and use a cleaning cart. On a VS has to be dual cmyk, the VSi allows 7 colors. You cannot get the black when all gone - if you had some nozzles then you could do a choke cleaning, but even if you fill the dampers you will run out and probably have air in the lines now. 

so you think the problem is with the damper? The tech disconnected the ink lines and made sure there was no air. He confirmed the ink gets to the damper ok too. He was saying they can change the damper first, see if it solve the problem, if not most likely it needs a new head. 

When I do a ink renewal, I get some nozzle (black). How do you do a choke cleaning on a VS and do you think it might help?

I talked to them today and they said its expensive to switch ink configuration for dual CMYK. Can I simply leave cleaning cartridge in the white and silver and continue using it as is? Is this the ones I need: Roland ESL4-CL Eco-Sol Cleaning Cartridge. When replacing the ink configuration, what needs to be done usually?

The tech guy also said I could try also to soak the head for an hour to see if it helps. From my print test, the silver is a bit of a mess but the other colors are pretty good. If I could revive my black I could at least use it for a little longer before swapping to a new head. 

I'm not a print shop and dont use it everyday, the quote I received for the replacement is more than half of what I paid for the printer. So If theres any way I can avoid a head replacement, that would be ideal. 

You are in CA so things are a little different here - head with labor is about 3k - then you have dampers, captop, wipers. The Tech should have done the choke clean to remove the air - it needs to be done in service mode. Technically you are suppose to switch the lines to remove contaminates. You can get by with a few good flushes - cheaper to burn clean carts. There is a roland procedure to change, requires page changing etc. you can swap with regular cleaning carts as when setting up the machine - you might not have received.you can simply swap cleaning carts - stated that a few posts ago. they are not helping you and the heavy ink is clogging your top. You cannot disconnect the line to see if ink is coming to the dampers. That introduces air to the system. You will need to do a few powerful cleanings to start removing it. Another thing to do is a fill - it will push a lot of ink, but cheaper than a head. If you not doing a 48hour head soak, you are wasting your time. Also a good headsoak is done on a new top, not one that will dilute the cleaning solution with ink sitting in the top.

Yes, here in Canada the quote is almost 5K CAD for the head replacements and all parts. 

Another thing to do is a fill - it will push a lot of ink, but cheaper than a head.

I am not 100% sure what you mean by this. I have a lot of ink unused, I can pass the aftermarket ones since its garbage anyway and put my Roland ink when Im done. Are you refering to the cap top and what do I fill it with?

Regarding switching white and metallic, I can just pop those in: "Roland ESL4-CL Eco-Sol Cleaning Cartridge", do a flush on white and metallic and leave the cleaning carts in permanently?

Another tech got back to me and they said to change the captop and adjust the captop flush. Could that be the issue as well?


Not sure what he means by captop flush - the flush adjust is in service mode and used to ensure top and head are aligned and seated correctly - not your issue since the other colors are good. The top is rated for 6 months especial white and metallic - you can get a year with CMYK. you keep wanting to call out nomenclature for the cleaning carts - grrr - any oem cleaning carts. Not sure fill is in usermode, but sould be under the menu key - ink control area. What that does is push ink through the lines like on a reink on an install. I have used that to get missing nozzles and move air out of the line. Too many techs spoil the printer. I cannot offer any more since the pictures you posted are not the most recent. You need someone on site and guessing is not good based on dialogue.

yeah sorry, my silver is almost gone again due to all the cleaning cycles. I need to order either a new one or a cleaning cartridge today. I wanted to make sure I get the right one, I think there's 2 different type of cleaning cartridge. 

The tricky part is that there's no tech in my area, they are at least 4-5 hours away. Travel charge of 95$ an hour, it's 500$ each way + the service work and parts. They already came once, their diagnostic was ink gets to damper, cap top was ok, need new damper or head replacement. They were here for 2 hours. 

Was looking into any possible ways I could bring my black back without replacing the head just yet. I downloaded the service manual and will see if I can get to the "fill".

At this point I'm willing to try anything. Eventually I was thinking to purchase a larger model and spending 5K on this might not be worth it. Not sure if I should scrap it and add 5K more to get a used 54" in working order instead. So I figured I will see what I can do myself.  

Agreed on the evaluation. Wait for one of the conference shows and get one on a discount. The VS is already 3 generations old. The VSi and now the SG/VG came out after. That is why it is cheaper to replace than to spend ours doing all the things I will do on my machine when I do not have a clock on. I am saying either carts will work, but if you are buying then yes the one with the pretty blue stripes. The head for the VS and VSi are the same - the new models went back to individual heads - like the sp/vp except the new one uses ricohs. If you do not use metallic then don't buy one if you might then buy one and a cleaning cart. I put mine in when I have a job and take it out when I do not. A machine set up for white and metallic is set to clean more frequently so even if not using - it purges to keep the nozzles fresh - 6 months non use they are gone through cleaning. We cannot talk to the service manual here, but all the things I would do while in there, I posted above.

Pat - I sent you a PM with my contact info. We may have someone near you that could be of assistance. Please call me or send me an email with a way to get a hold of you so we can set it up. 

So I am going to Canada?


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