I seem to be getting an increasing amount of bad test prints.  When I go to do a cleaning there are droplets of ink on the print head. (This is pretty much what I'd guess by looking at the test prints as there isn't as much drop out as the colors are muddled and almost black where it should be yellow and magenta and the white looks blue)  I'm a little concerned about this as it seems to be happening more frequently.  I just changed the felt maybe a week ago.  Something else I have noticed is there seems to be ink that often leaks down below I guess the drain sponge or whatever it is called.  Usually I can do a manual cleaning and get a good print, even if it takes a few passes of printing to clear up.  I feel like there might be something that I'm missing or don't know to do and need to be able to keep this machine running.  I think it has only been within the past few weeks that I'm seeing a lot of ink droplets hanging onto the print head; I can not think of any extenuating circumstances in usage or weather.

The only other thing I can think to mention is that I watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-s1mjnMXFE to make sure that I was doing my cleaning properly and noticed that (in reference: https://youtu.be/R-s1mjnMXFE?t=3m1s) the cap I think he called it may be slow to drain through the cleaning fluid.  He has a dropper bottle though and I don't so I don't seem to be having much luck even pouring into the cap of the bottle first getting anything less than 1/8 tsp of fluid on to the thing so maybe that's why it takes a few minutes to drain through?

Would love any advise, thanks.

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Well you did not give us the information, nor the photos to help you out. However, based on what you said I am guessing your VS-540 has an 8 color setup which includes white & metallic. I will further guess if you remove your right cover and look at the ink lines going into the dampers, your white channel is now a pretty light blue. My best guess is that you never change that thingy the guy in the video was talking about. That thing is rated for 6 months, especially a machine that uses white and metallic ink. So if it was never changed (the Captop) change that and you should be fine after a few normal cleanings. Ensure you have Roland Cleaning solvent and use pour a captop of that in your captop every week. That will help dissolve the white ink that is clogging your top.

It is an 8 color setup CMYKLmLc White and Metallic.  The ink lines going into the print head unit for the white are white.  Neither the tech that did our training with the unit nor the manual (that I have found) mentioned the captop as being a part that would need to be replaced.

When we were dealing with issues with an Anajet unit having colors print as different colors was explained to me to be the print head firing ink through droplets of other ink and considering how drippy the print head has looked the last few times I looked at it well...

So you think it is time for the captop to be replaced?  I'm really only at base level with skill on this machine.  It's not the primary thing that we use.  My phone stinks at taking pictures, but is this what you wanted photos of?

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Yes - how old is the machine? So what ever that age is, figure every 6 months a new captop. You owe your machine probably a few, but it will be happy with one and so will you. Because the nozzles are clogged it is pulling ink from where it can, thus the other colors in your nozzles. ONce you start running the top starts draining and it clears up. Your success will be fleeting for it will take longer to clear and the top will clog more and more. Depending on your environment you may need to clean your encoder strip (only with alcohol) but do the captop first and then we will see.

We got the unit about this time in 2012 so I guess it is good that we've had it going as well as it has for this long then.

So, obviously ink, the rubber and felt wipers as well, but any other parts that need periodic replacement?  The manual says the printhead is a part that wears out, but I'd assume considering how expensive those are that it would only need replacing when it isn't working properly anymore.

Machine will prompt you for the wiper and felt to be changed based on hours. It can need to be changed sooner based on use and/or abuse. The head goes by shots - 6Bil on that but it can go longer or shorter based on use/abuse. I use CMYK can get 2 yrs on a top - once you are using WMT then change every six months or you will get what you have. You have done well for the amount of time. Your installer should have gone over the maintenance and swapping out on user replaceable parts. I know I do. Tops run about $80 if you are using non OEM inks they can go sooner.

We are using Roland inks.  I really appreciate the advice! I would have not figured out that part needed replacing on my own.  We have put an order in for a new one.  I don't think that I have ever seen a replace message for a wiper on the unit. When it looked like a dried ink blob more than felt I replaced that wiper.  We don't print with white very often and metallic extremely seldom. 

Most folks think they will use the WMT option and develop a base that just does not materialize. Whether you print with it or not it will have to spritz the nozzle every 8 hours to keep from clogging. Ensure you have the latest firmware, for they have made some changes so that it can be better managed. Also read the special manual for those colors for it shows you how to save money by printing those colors to avoid waste. The top is a straight swap. 5 screws, 2 springs, 2 hoses.

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