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Thread started 26 Mar 2013 (Tuesday) 18:09
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Epson 3880 and 4900 clogged heads

Senior Member
570 posts
Joined May 2011
Mar 26, 2013 18:09 |  #1


I am finally looking at purchasing a high quality printer for running off some work photos.

I am tossing up between the Epson 3880 and 4900

The 4900 more so as it has the roll feeder assy.

Went to BH Photo for reviews and there seems to be a heap of 'clogged print head' reviews about these printers.

I appreciate that if you dont print for a few weeks the heads could build up dry ink, but is it as bad as these people claim? Some mentioned they 100% regret buying it purely because of this issue.

I also am looking at the Canon PRO-1


"I'm the original idiot"
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Location: Salisbury, UK.
Mar 27, 2013 06:43 |  #2

Epson had a head clogging problem some years ago but that seems to be a thing of the past. I've heard of no head clogging for maybe 3 years. I did destroy an early A4 printer and yes, that did suffer, quite badly, but my present R2880 has never (touches wood here) suffered.


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Joined Mar 2008
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Mar 27, 2013 12:19 as a reply to  @ Lowner's post |  #3

I have a 3800 and have not had a single clog issue in the last couple of years.

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Stuart ­ Leslie
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Location: New York
Mar 27, 2013 12:57 as a reply to  @ H2OSkier's post |  #4

I have 3880 and find if I don't print for a couple months I will get slight clogs. Cleans up quickly with a cleaning cycle though. If I print every couple/few weeks I never get a clog. I did notice that if I print with one of the blacks for a long time (6-8 months?) then the other will clog if not used. I now just pull out the unused black before switching and give it a quick rock back and forth- haven't seen the problem since doing this. I also do keep a cover on mine and FWIW it seems to extend the length of time it can sit between printing without clogging. May be my imagination here though...

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Mar 27, 2013 17:21 |  #5

Stuart, I agree about the cover, I probably maintains a little eco system that is moist enough to stop clogging.

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Joined Mar 2013
Location: Dallas area
Mar 27, 2013 17:49 as a reply to  @ snapshot2011's post |  #6

I got my 2880 in early '11 and have not had any problems with it clogging and it does sit for weeks at a time without making a print. It's really surprised me because the 1800 I had before it clogged all the time. Before I pitched it I'd gotten pretty good at taking the print head out and cleaning it.

And +1 for the roll feeder. They are awesome and can save you a good bit on paper. The 4900 also has 2 more inks than the 3880. As good as the 3880 is, I've seen prints side by side from it and a 7900 and there are subtle differences in color prints. Enough that I'd spend the extra money on the 4900 if I were shopping right now.

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181 posts
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Location: St. George, Utah
Mar 27, 2013 18:22 |  #7

I got rid of a 4900 because of clogging issues, they are quite common with that model. What I found is that after a week or two I would have to run 2 or more cleaning cycles. One time it was about 6 weeks durning the slow season and and I had to do multiple deep cleanings and call teach support cause one of the colors was so bad we had to run some software to map out individual nozzles to not be used anymore cause they wouldn't come clean.

On the other hand I have a canon 9000 mkII that I hadn't turned on in two years I fired it up last week and only had to do one regular cleaning cycle to clean up just a little banding and that's all it took. My next big printer is going to be a Canon 6100 series just to see if it's better than the Epson's I have had. I have been an Epson guy all my life because people were selling them so cheap since they came as part of a rebate deal, it is the only canon printer I have ever had and it has performed well.

I can't speak to the other Epson models because I have not owned or used them, Epson makes beautiful prints but so does the one Canon that I have so your experience may be totally different than mine.


Cream of the Crop
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Mar 27, 2013 19:20 |  #8

I print with my 3800 once a month, no matter what, just to keep the heads in shape.

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Mar 28, 2013 11:35 |  #9

I have had my 3880 for a little over 2 years. I print infrequently, sometimes months go by. With the exception of the photo black ink, I am still using the original inks. I have NEVER had a head clog up.

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Mar 28, 2013 12:40 |  #10

The x880 and earlier K3 ink models were extremely clog resistant, while some say the new x900 HDR ink printers tend to clog more, I myself don't own one of the new Epsons, so I cannot say from experience. However I did leave my R2400 and 9800 pro alone for extremely long periods of time and they never clogged, some of the inks I'm using are dated 2008 too.

As to why... Some say this is due to the 4900 being volume-oriented and so is expected to run frequently, but it could be a combination of the new ink formula and "improved" anti-clog coating. I say "improved", because I was once offered an "improved" cleaning liquid at a car wash, and the car turned into a dust magnet the same day.

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Mar 28, 2013 21:15 |  #11

I have my 3880 for over a year. I have never had a clog issue even when I have not used the printer for a month or so. Incredible machine, beautiful prints.

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Mar 28, 2013 21:32 |  #12

I haven't had a clog problem with my 4900 but cartriges are in short supply, I have a set backordered almost 6 weeks now.

"Knowledge is Good" Emil Faber

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Mar 29, 2013 11:59 |  #13

3880 is a dream to use. doesn't clog and i don't have to worry about it at all. my 9890 on the other hand i have to baby sit and run nozzle checks before every printing session. i spend at least $100 unclogging it every month (average cleaning uses 20ml) and not to mention how much in wasted paper where clogs happen mid-print. theres nothing like a blast of red and blue spots near the end of a 44 inch wide print...

the canon pro1 doesn't compare to the 3880

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Epson 3880 and 4900 clogged heads
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