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Robert M.
Robert M., Consultant
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 8753
Experience:  30+ yrs. experience in NYC computer industry working with PC and networks, banks, brokerage, legal etc.
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I have had an Epson 310 xp for about three years. Most of

Customer Question

I have had an Epson 310 xp for about three years. Most of that time it has been sitting idle. The reason is because it just does not work well. Fortunately I work across the street and can print and scan there.
JA: Can you guesstimate how old your Epson is? And just to clarify, what's the exact model?
Customer: About three years old. 310 XP should do it. By the by, just now even though I have a new full black ink cartridge it won;t print. It usually will scan, but sometimes won;t do that either.
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: PC with Windows 7 pro
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: Like I said originally, almost from the start. Seems like it worked OK for maybe a month or so. We have tried to re install the drivers etc...no luck. Just now there is an upgrade from you, and it won;t install for some reason
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just make it work, please.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

Hi there! My name is***** am a computer professional with over 15 years of experience with both Mac and Windows computers, phones, tablets, and printers. It would be my pleasure to assist you with this.

When a printer isn’t used often, sometimes the ink dries up inside the cartridge and this results in it not working properly. Using the print cleaning option under utility can often times work in cleaning the cartridge, Please give me just a few moment s to prepare step by step instructions for cleaning the ink jet nozzles on your printer

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

Cleaning the Print Head

You can clean the print head using the control panel on your product.

1. Make sure no product lights are indicating errors.

2. Load a few sheets of plain paper in the product.

3. Press the home button, if necessary.

4. Press the arrow buttons to select Setup and press the OK button.

5. Press the arrow buttons to select Maintenance and press the OK button.

6. Press the arrow buttons to select Head Cleaning and press the OK button. The power light flashes throughout the cleaning cycle and stays on when the cleaning cycle is finished.

Caution: Never turn off the product during a cleaning cycle or you may damage it.

7. Select Nozzle Check and press the OK button to run a nozzle check to confirm that the print head is clean.

If you don’t see any improvement after cleaning the print head up to 4 times, turn off the product and wait at least 6 hours. Then try cleaning the print head again. If quality still does not improve, please let me know as there is further troubleshooting that we can do.

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

Please give this a try and let me know how it works for you. If this solves the problem, would you mind taking a moment to rate my service? You can give your rating by selecting the stars located on the top right of the question page. I'd really appreciate it! Without a positive rating I am not credited for my answer. Remeber: If this doesn't solve the problem be sure to let me know so we can continue troubleshooting.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The problem was that it only seemed to print some blue. I changed out ink cartridges , all new Epson cartridges and it just passes white paper thru with no print on it.
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry to hear that. Let's try to perform a cleaning once more. Sometimes ink dries up in the ink delivery system when it sits for too long without being used. Try the cleaning process at least two more times. If it still doesn't work, please wait 24 hours and repeat a final time. That will dive the dried a chance to soften and possibly be ushed out during the final cleaning cycle.

Cleaning the Print Head

You can clean the print head using the control panel on your product.

1. Make sure no product lights are indicating errors.

2. Load a few sheets of plain paper in the product.

3. Press the home button, if necessary.

4. Press the arrow buttons to select Setup and press the OK button.

5. Press the arrow buttons to select Maintenance and press the OK button.

6. Press the arrow buttons to select Head Cleaning and press the OK button. The power light flashes throughout the cleaning cycle and stays on when the cleaning cycle is finished.

Caution: Never turn off the product during a cleaning cycle or you may damage it.

7. Select Nozzle Check and press the OK button to run a nozzle check to confirm that the print head is clean.

If you don’t see any improvement after cleaning the print head up to 4 times, turn off the product and wait at least 6 hours. Then try cleaning the print head again. If quality still does not improve, please let me know as there is further troubleshooting that we can do. There are more drastic measures that we can take (messy) but we shoudl be able to resolve this.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have run the cleaning cycle many times now. I do see a little print at the top left. Looks like this:OJO3DC QP120A49 and then below that is a 1 x 2 area that has some light lines in it and it is in color.I must say that when I bought this printer I was excited to get an Epson that had a decent rating. Sad to say it has never really worked well for me. I have had computer people work on it, mostly re installing the driver(s) and get it set to print for my wife's computer as well...sometimes it does work, but not recently and it has always been suspect...I think Epson should help me get another printer. I am not asking for something for nothing, but just now I am not feeling good about Epson products. We do not fax, just print basic stuff and scan into our computers.
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

It seems that we are making a little progress. I feel that if you wait for 24 hours, and repeat, you may get it to work. There is no point in running the cleaning cycle repeatedly as it uses a lot of ink. If you allow the printer to sit after a cleaning the new ink that has been forced in to the cleaning system may loosen the dried ink that is left, allowing the next cleaning cycle to push it out.

I have to say that it is unlikely that Epson will replace the printer after 3 years. If you had voiced displeasure with the product within the warranty period they probably would have. Any ink jet printer will have these problems if it is not used on a regular basis. Being allowed to sit unused for long periods of time is the root cause of the problem.

I do have a couple more suggestions for you. These are to be used a last resort, after all else has failed.

Methods to manually clean Epson printheads:

Please perform the suggested methods of manually cleaning the Epson print heads in the order they are listed below. They are listed in order from the easiest to the more difficult. If the first method does not completely solve the problem, then go on to the next.

METHOD ONE- MANUALLY CLEANING EPSON PRINTHEAD

When the Epson printhead is in its resting or 'off' position, the printheads are above a single or two sponges. By saturating these sponges often excess ink on the printheads will mix with the water and get sucked into the sponge when the printer is turned on. Move printhead assembly to center of printer: Start with the printer turned off. Open top of printer so you can see the printhead/cartridge assembly. On older models of Epson printers you can simply move this assembly to the left, towards the center of the printer. Newer models have a locking lever which prevents the printhead assembly from moving from the resting position. If you look closely, you should see a small, plastic (usually black or white) lever which comes up whenever the printer stops printing. The lever to which we are referring is just left of the printhead assembly. This lever can be moved forward and down easily with your finger. If you can't see the lever, then print a page with the top open. Watch for a lever that goes down when it starts printing and then goes up after it has stopped.

If there isn't an unlock lever then just run a cleaning cycle. When you hear the printhead moving back and forth, pull out the power plug. This should leave the printhead assembly in an unlocked position so you can easily move it back and forth.

With the printer off and the lever moved down as far as it will go, gently push the printhead/cartridge assembly to the right. It will only move a fraction of an inch, but you should hear a click. This is a second lock being released. The printhead assembly should now easily move to the left towards the center of the printer.

Saturate sponge(s):

With the printhead moved, you can now see the sponges which were under the printheads. Take a syringe or eyedropper and saturate the sponge with a mixture of 50% distilled water and 50% Windex Original Window Cleaner. Fill the sponge holder as much as you can. Regular water will work, but it is the last choice. Move the printhead assembly back over the sponges ... as far to the right as it will go. Let printer sit for at least 15 minutes before turning it 'on'. You may want to leave it overnight.

Be certain the printhead assembly is as far to the right as it will go before turning the printer 'on'. Print 6 or 8 pages of dense print or graphics if it is the color which is causing the problems. If you still have clogged nozzles, then move on to the next suggestion.

METHOD 2 - Cleaning the INK DELIVERY SYSTEM TUBING

Remove ink cartridge(s) from printer. On newer models you may have to hold one of the buttons down for several seconds for the printheads to move to the center. Refer to your printer manual.

With the cartridge(s) removed you will now be able to see the small cone shaped ink tubes (ink ports) which take the ink from the cartridge to the printhead. Black has one cone and the color has three. Using a syringe with blunt needle, put a few drops of Windex or distilled water in the cone. We recommend putting water or printhead cleaner only in the cone which sends ink to the printhead causing the problems. e.g. if it is the yellow which has nozzles missing, then put water only in the yellow inkport. If you're not sure which color is which, then look at the holes in the bottom of the color cartridge. Yellow is usually the color on the far right with magenta (red) in the middle and cyan (blue) on the left.

Put the cartridge(s) back into the cartridge holder. Do nothing. Usually after a few minutes the printer will automatically return the printhead assembly to its resting position. If any water or printhead cleaner dripped into the printer, wipe it dry with a paper towel.

Print 6 or 8 pages of dense print or graphics if it is a color which is causing the problems. If you still have clogged nozzles, then move on to the next suggestion.

METHOD 3 - Clean printhead with paper towels

Fold paper towel and dampen:

Be certain the printer is turned 'off'. Tear a single sheet of paper towel in half. Fold the sheet in half several times until it is about 1/2 inch by whatever length the sheet started at. In other words, you want to fold it so it is long and skinny, not square. Open the cover of the Epson printer. Along the path which the printhead assembly travels when printing, you will see a rubber roller which moves the paper. (this is like the paper roller in a typewriter). Put the paper towel on top of this rubber roller and use tape on each end to secure it. Put a few drops of Windex mixture mentioned above or distilled water near the middle of the paper towel.

Move printhead assembly over the paper towel and let it rest on top of the damp portion of the paper towel. (See above for information on how to release the printhead assembly.)

We suggest letting the printhead sit over the paper towel for at least 15 minutes. This will soften the ink on the printhead. Move printhead assembly back to its resting position. You will probably notice that the paper towel now has one long black blob of ink on it. (There is so much excess ink on the printheads that all the colors are mixing to make black.) If you cannot clearly see individual colors, then dampen another spot on the paper towel and move the printhead back over the newly dampened spot on the paper towel. Continue repeating this until you see all the individual colors. You may have to use several pieces of folded paper towels.

Before turning the printer 'on', be certain to move the printhead back to its resting position and remove the paper towel from inside the printer. Now that all excess ink has been removed from the printheads, your clogged nozzles should be cleared. It may take several pages of dense print to get the ink flowing properly.

Please give one or more of these methods a try and let me know the results.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I must say I am disappointed in your suggestion that Epson has no interest in helping me get another Epson printer that:A. Perhaps uses the $50 worth of Epson ink that I just bought.
B. WorksFollowing your logic, they are suggesting that if only I had used their printer more often it would have not had whatever the problem is, and I am saying, in previous e mails to you, that I would have except it did not work and I have access to good printers across the street where I work. To put that differently, if the heads will produce the numbers at the top of the page now with black ink, why won;t it print a page from Word, which is all black and if it will sort of print a little color in that little area at the top and has done so twice now, why will it not print the whole page.
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

I am "opting out" and opening this question to other experts as I have no further suggestions. Have a good afternoon!

Expert:  Robert M. replied 26 days ago.

Hi. I am Rob. I understand your frustration.

1. the printer may have been defective to start with. But after 3 years its going to be difficult to convince epson of that and its way out of warranty.

2. Although it does sound funny ink jet printers do have issues if they are not used for long stretches. The ink dries up both in the cartridges and in the printhead that squirts the ink out.

as for using the ink in another printer, that is definitely something that you can do. that ink is used in a wide variety of epson printers.

you can find them all on this page

https://epson.com/i/T200?ref=sem:us-brand-epsonink-model:gs:epson200&wm_crID=46321230&wm_lpID=178906613&wm_ctID=475&wm_kwID=85051632&wm_content=0&wm_g_crID=154725854859&wm_g_kw=epson+200+ink&wm_g_pcmt=&wm_g_cnt=0&wm_g_device=c&wm_g_phyloc=9019798&wm_g_intloc=&gclid=CjwKEAiA3qXBBRD4_b_V7ZLFsX4SJAB0AtEVZDmMDkGFxa_jKUsvI4KNJgK_wYgYYpG3Ngn4aZnLbRoCpSbw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&wm_kw=epson+200+ink&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=epson+200+ink&utm_campaign=us+-+brand+-+epson+ink+-+model&wm_sd=1

I would recomend the workforce 2500 series. 2510 - 2540

I have one of those and it has been pretty dependable as a standard office type printer.

It won't do photo quality printing but its fast and doesnt jam and scans and copies easily and was very easy to set up over wifi and will even do cloud printing if thats a consideration.