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  1. #1
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    Printed pages have blurred and skipped lines

    Hope someone can help this rookie -- we have an Epson Stylus NX420 printer. About 3 years old, but used maybe once a month. Used to work fine but now the output has occasional lines that are skipped and/or blurry.

    I tried to do a Head Cleaning (via the menu), but it wants me to first replace the yellow and purple ink cartridges. (I seldom do color printing. About 99% of our printing is text/B&W.) I can't imagine that nearly empty color cartridges could affect black and white text printing.

    I guessed something had dried up due to lack of use so I tried to print several B&W pages but they all had the blurry/skipped lines problem.

    Any help would me much appreciated. Thanks,

    Alan

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    This procedure steps through various diagnostic and corrective measures: Troubleshooting Guide - Epson Stylus NX420

    Bruce

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    I can't imagine that nearly empty color cartridges could affect black and white text printing
    There were some inkjet printers that didn't need the color cartridges with ink in them but did need them to be in place or they wouldn't print. The Cyan [blue], Magenta [red] and Yellow inks are 'blended' to create the various colors in the print, some even blend with Black. For diagnosing problems the printers I've had to deal with did need usable cartridges for the cleaning [uses ink] and aligning.

    I don't think there's any inkjet made now that uses black only, I keep a monochrome Laserjet for that purpose. I haven't seen an inkjet that prints white in quite awhile since ALPS dropped their consumer line back in the late '90s.

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    Thanks!

    Thanks Burton (and bruce)!

    I was hoping I could somehow get the printer to do the alignment and head cleaning without me first needing to purchase the 2 color cartridges (which I never use). Guess I will need to purchase them... Cheaper than buying a new printer, I guess.

    When this printer goes, I am going to look for a cheap black and white printer. Maybe I can install my dot-matrix from 1983

    Thanks again,

    Alan


    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    There were some inkjet printers that didn't need the color cartridges with ink in them but did need them to be in place or they wouldn't print. The Cyan [blue], Magenta [red] and Yellow inks are 'blended' to create the various colors in the print, some even blend with Black. For diagnosing problems the printers I've had to deal with did need usable cartridges for the cleaning [uses ink] and aligning.

    I don't think there's any inkjet made now that uses black only, I keep a monochrome Laserjet for that purpose. I haven't seen an inkjet that prints white in quite awhile since ALPS dropped their consumer line back in the late '90s.

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    Cheaper than buying a new printer, I guess.
    Maybe, maybe not. I've seen 3-in-1 printers as low as $49.95 in Wal-Mart. I was in a Sam's Club a couple of years ago and the pair of cartridges, color and black, were $5.00 more than a new 3-in-1 printer on the next shelf over.

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    Wow, thanks Berton. Definitely did not consider that, but now I will compare prices.

    Thanks again,

    Alan

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    You're welcome.

  8. #8
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    Clean the timing belt

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanB1 View Post
    Hope someone can help this rookie -- we have an Epson Stylus NX420 printer. About 3 years old, but used maybe once a month. Used to work fine but now the output has occasional lines that are skipped and/or blurry.

    I tried to do a Head Cleaning (via the menu), but it wants me to first replace the yellow and purple ink cartridges. (I seldom do color printing. About 99% of our printing is text/B&W.) I can't imagine that nearly empty color cartridges could affect black and white text printing.

    I guessed something had dried up due to lack of use so I tried to print several B&W pages but they all had the blurry/skipped lines problem.

    Any help would me much appreciated. Thanks,

    Alan
    -------

    I had this problem with a Canon MX700. The resolution was to clean the "timing strip". The result was a brand new printer. Perhaps your Epson has a similar procedure. Go to their website.

    The timing strip is a series of very fine, short marks on a straight piece of plastic whose length is the width of the printed page, positioned parallel to the track that the print head moves along. As the print head moves back and forth, it reads and counts these marks, which tells the electronics exactly where the print head is positioned at that moment of time. By knowing the position, the electronics spits ink drops, or not. The result is a printed band across the page, which after several sweeps becomes legible as text and graphics.

    The cleaning operation was to wipe some isopropyl alcohol with a swab along that timing strip and thereby remove years of grime and dust. I suspect fingerprints were there, too, from errant hands while removing paper jams over the years. The presence of this gunk causes the print head to misread/miscount the marks, and thereby gets wrong positioning information, and produces malformed output.

    Cleaning the timing strip is NOT the same as cleaning the heads.

    Good luck.

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanB1 View Post
    Thanks Burton (and bruce)!

    I was hoping I could somehow get the printer to do the alignment and head cleaning without me first needing to purchase the 2 color cartridges (which I never use). Guess I will need to purchase them... Cheaper than buying a new printer, I guess.

    When this printer goes, I am going to look for a cheap black and white printer. Maybe I can install my dot-matrix from 1983

    Thanks again,

    Alan
    I have noticed lately that monochrome laser printers have become quite affordable. If you only print documents, and only occassionaly,
    this might be the way to go. I bought my current all-in-one ink jet when I saw it was cheaper than a set of cartridges for my old HP printer! I still spend a small fortune on quickly used-up cartridges, so I am still looking into that. The last laser printer I bought cost me well over $300! Now, I see many selling for around $100! Look into the cost for the toner cartridges, though. Sometimes they charge you an arm and a leg! You might also look into reloading your old cartridges, just to get them to work. Walgreen's has refill kits for most. Good luck.

    Bob
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2014-07-25 at 06:53. Reason: Added end quote tag

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    Suggesting a new printer

    I bought an HP black-and-white Laserjet last year for $85. I use it primarily as a wireless printer for my iPod Touch and iPad, but also use it for printing monochrome documents. The replacement toner package is about $65, but it's rated for 1600 pages. My starter toner, rated for 700 pages, is still producing excellent results. The printer is extremely fast and I do not have to worry about ink clogging or drying up.
    Last edited by WFS; 2014-07-24 at 11:50. Reason: correct spelling, added title

  11. #11
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    why not buy a black only printer using laser
    under $100 (mine had scanner and copier too)
    far cheaper than using an inkjet
    and easier than fooling around with head cleaning etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by AlanB1 View Post
    Thanks Burton (and bruce)!

    I was hoping I could somehow get the printer to do the alignment and head cleaning without me first needing to purchase the 2 color cartridges (which I never use). Guess I will need to purchase them... Cheaper than buying a new printer, I guess.

    When this printer goes, I am going to look for a cheap black and white printer. Maybe I can install my dot-matrix from 1983

    Thanks again,

    Alan

  12. #12
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    in the past i have bought printers on sale for the toner
    and given the printers to good will

    the whole thing was cheaper than a new toner
    even allowing for the smaller starter toner

    got a newer printer next sale that uses toner i can buy from many sources. and now the internet even sells knockoff toners that work and are cheaper.

    inkjets have chips that block many 3rd party inks from working
    and too many of them leak and clog.

    but for toner it is safe to try and find a cheap replacement

    if you dont need color it is silly to buy an inkjet at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    Maybe, maybe not. I've seen 3-in-1 printers as low as $49.95 in Wal-Mart. I was in a Sam's Club a couple of years ago and the pair of cartridges, color and black, were $5.00 more than a new 3-in-1 printer on the next shelf over.

  13. #13
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    No capitals or punctuation must save on ink too?

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