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Nathan, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 25905
Experience:  Computer networking/repair. 12+ years experience.
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Reading these instructions, do you mean to just clean

Customer Question

Reading these instructions, do you mean to just clean underneath the cartridges themselves, or to actually remove the entire print head? I have an Epson-3640. It will not print anything now. Nozzle check or otherwise. It does have a CISS installed, so non-Epson ink cartridges, but it has been working fine for a couple of months.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Printers
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I thought this might be more tied to the page I was originally on. I am receiving an error code on the printer: 0x9D every time I try to print something. Power the printer off and then turn it back on, the main screen comes up fine, but as soon as I try to print (whether from a computer or a nozzle check on the printer itself, it errors again with the same code. It continuously returns to the right corner, so I'm guessing it is related to a dirty print head or something malfunctioning with the waste ink process. How can I troubleshoot this issue further?
Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I’m Nathan, and I’ll be assisting you today. My livelihood depends on your positive feedback, so your satisfaction is my highest priority.

Sorry to hear you’re having trouble.

This message indicates a carriage fault. That can be caused by anything from debris/obstruction (paper jam, bent/damaged rails, out of place purge assembly/wiper, or dirty/dislocated encoder strip) to an actual hardware defect (bad sensor or control board, faulty carriage drive motor/gear/belt, bad printhead/carriage pcb).

What we can try here are some cleaning and reset steps.
First, open up the printer, and check for any internal debris such as scraps of paper, paperclip or staple, etc. Check if you’re able to move the carriage manually, or if it moves on its own when lifting the lid. If it does move, you can proceed with cleaning by blowing out the inside compartment with compressed air and checking carefully on both sides for any obstructions. Then wipe down the encoder strip, which is a clear plastic strip running the width of the printer, that sits just slightly above and behind the carriage.

Then reset the machine:
unplug power at the wall outlet
wait 5 minutes
press and hold the power/on button for 60+ seconds
keep holding while plugging back in, and for another 60 seconds after, then release

Let me know the results, and I’ll advise further if needed.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Area is free of any form of debris and the carriage moves freely across the entire width of the printer. Encoder strip is nice and clean as well. Running the prescribed "reset" method yielded the following message after power up "The print head nozzles may be clogged. Running the Nozzle Check before printing is recommended." Attempting to run the Nozzle Check caused it to "think" for a long time, turning the paper feeders a couple of times (paper is loaded), with the print head returning to the cleaning position (far right) several times, and then yielded the 0x9D error again, forcing power off.
Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for confirming.

Unfortunately, the persistence of the message at this point leaves only the possibility of a hardware failure (bad printhead, which is the secondary cause of this message).

How long have you had the printer for?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Purchased in mid-July. Probably hooked up in late-July, so only about 2-1/2 months. It has worked fine up until this point, but had not been used in several days prior to the error starting.
Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for confirming.

At this point nothing you do will be of benefit.

The epson printheads are not user replaceable, and any further attempts you make to resolve it will only cause further damage and/or void your warranty.

Really, the issue was probably caused by using the ciss system and the aftermarket inks (which, technically, void your warranty as well, so you'll want to remove it at this point).

You can file a warranty claim with epson to have it replaced at this point, or you can move on and buy a new printer on your own.

Fixing it, outside of warranty, is not feasible. You'd be paying twice as much to fix it as to buy a brand new one.

Best regards, ***** ***** for the news,


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That is not good news at all! I know the printer logs the usage of non-standard cartridges, so pursuing Epson for warranty help seems pointless as well. Talk about money down the drain. This was a brand new CISS with new ink that purchased at same time as printer. I'm going to contact that seller and see if they have any recommendations.So no way to "clean" the clogged nozzles manually?
Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

They really won't even bother checking it to be honest. You call and give them that code and they will default to replacing it. They don't even go to the trouble of having it serviced because it costs them more in labor just to have it looked at than it does to give you a new one. So it doesn't hurt to try.

Yes, there are some ways you can attempt to manually clean it,

however the error code pertains to a printhead overheating, which is damage already done by a prior clog. Removing the clog isn't going to typically resolve anything.

Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to try, if you wish.

To try manually cleaning the print heads:

Open up the printer, and look for the "carriage" that goes back and forth (on metal rails) over the paper while printing. This is the printhead.

You'll remove the ink cartridges from the printer, then clean on the bottom of them (focus on the ink port/hole) as well as inside the printer where they mate up using qtips and rubbing alcohol.

Unfortunately your model does not have a removable printhead, so it will have to be cleaned in place. Fold up a piece of paper towel in quarters the long way, saturate the middle with alcohol, slide it under the print head, and pick up on the ends while moving up and down to clean it (think of drying your back with a towel).

When cleaning the port on the print head that the ink flows into from the cartridge, also try using a qtip to "pump" the liquid down into the port and force it through, which will help to dissolve any clogs. If possible, you'll get better results by using a syringe and appropriately sized rubber tubing (that will fit into the ink inlet port) to force the alcohol to flush through the head)

After all of this swab again with a few dry qtips or give a blast of compressed air to dry everything well, then put it all back together. You can now try to print, or run the automated print head cleaning function in the setup menu. You may have to run a few pages through before everything starts flowing properly again.

Expert:  Nathan replied 2 years ago.

If you have any other questions, just let me know. Otherwise, please do remember to rate my service prior to logging off, hopefully I have earned an “excellent”, even if the news was not. I also invite you to contact me directly with any future support needs at

Thank you, ***** ***** a good day,