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Epson R380 Continuous Ink Supply: Tubing Failure

After 4.5 years, one of the silicone tubes on the Epson R380’s continuous ink supply system broke:

Epson R380 - broken CISS tube

Epson R380 – broken CISS tube

The yellow smudges in front of the tubing clamp and across the top suggest the total mess lying in wait between the cartridges. Donning my shop apron and wielding damp paper towels cleaned things up well enough.

I cut through all the tubes a few inches back from the clamp, pulled the stubs off the elbow connectors, reinstalled the fresh ends, and re-repaired the clamp with a new cable tie:

Epson R38 - CISS tubes

Epson R38 – CISS tubes

Although the failing yellow supply surely contributed to the problem, the printhead seems to be on its last legs after nearly nine years. IIRC, I got the printer for $15 after rebate, spent maybe four times that on CISS tanks, and perhaps $200 on good-quality ink in pint bottles, it doesn’t owe me much.

Maybe I shouldn’t buy ink in pint bottles any more.

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  1. #1 by Frans on 2017-10-12 - 08:31

    About a year ago I decided to switch from my aging early-2000s Epson R220 + CISS to an LED printer (like a laser printer, but less moving parts). I’ve been quite satisfied with it. I got one with an ADF/scanner implement at the top and I got rid of quite a bit of old paper I didn’t really need but didn’t quite want to get rid of just yet. It’s now a collection of nice DjVu files part of my regular file backups. The printing’s good too. Oh yes, and Brother has good Linux support.

    In the meantime I’ve performed some successful experiments using my remaining printer ink as fountain pen ink: fransdejonge.com/2017/08/the-ghost-of-student-counseling/ (trying to avoid being auto-labeled as spam by leaving out the http colon slash slash; maybe it’ll work) My remainder is measured at ~30 mL per color though (less for black). Not in American half liters. :P

    I don’t really know at what rate I use fountain pen ink because my regular refill mechanism consists of handing my pens off to my wife. (She has specific demands about how to handle her inks.)

    • #2 by Ed on 2017-10-12 - 10:00

      Not too long ago, Brother had Linux-friendly inkjet printers with built-in CISS tanks, but their current listing shows they’ve now doing only laser & LED printers. When the Epson goes casters-up, I’ll be forced into the current millennium …

      • #3 by Frans on 2017-10-12 - 10:40

        “My” very first printer was a Brother laser printer back in ’95 or ’96. Same model my dad got for the office a year or so previously I believe. So I shouldn’t think the millennium has too much to do with it. ;-)

        Of course at the office they had a dot matrix printer years earlier. I got the old IBM PS/2 computer (286 CPU) + printer to play with a few years later. I’m guessing it premiered the so-called PS/2 connectors for mouse and keyboard. I’m glad computers still come with those, because that way I can press every key on my keyboard at the same time. (Ghosting is @#$@# annoying.)

        The computer itself went to the recycling plant, but I definitely still have the IBM Model M keyboard. Dutch ISO model, unfortunately — US ANSI is a slightly less ridiculously right-unbalanced design, although it suffers almost as much from that defect. In any case, I think that dot matrix printer just might still be around somewhere.

        PS I actually think the IBM Model M is overrated. It’s too close to a real typewriter if you ask me, except without the annoyance of having to time your typing just right lest the letters stick. But the keys travel and you don’t have to ram them all the way down, so compared to your run of the mill keyboard it’s absolutely terrific.

        • #4 by Ed on 2017-10-12 - 12:32

          Got ya beat by a few years: I had a duplexing laser printer, made by IBM just before they sold the printer biz to Lexmark, and the paper feed mechanism wore out early in this millennium. [grin]

          And, yes, clicky keyboards FTW. When the rubbery split keyboard I’m using wears out, I must take another look at mechanical keyboards. Last time around, I didn’t see a reasonable clicky split keyboard; the UHK remains Not Quite Real.

          • #5 by Frans on 2017-10-12 - 13:59

            The price of this one probably doesn’t fit the definition of reasonable but it does look interesting: ergodox-ez.com

            • #6 by Frans on 2017-10-12 - 14:02

              For programmability purposes all of these should be good: github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware/tree/master/keyboards

            • #7 by Ed on 2017-10-12 - 19:06

              Indeed! I like the full-on programmability, because the Kinesis not having keyboard volume control turned out to be much more annoying than I expected.

              It might be too wide for the desk tray, though, as I have two trackballs. Every time I think I might do without the right-hand trackball, I find my hand resting on it …

              Thanks for the pointer: it’s a possibility!

          • #8 by RCPete on 2017-10-12 - 18:41

            I’ve been using the MS Comfort-curve keyboards since the 90s. The default board for the shop computer needs a key washing (bad Pete, shouldn’t eat at the computer), but the backup from a long-gone PII still goes on. The current machine uses a USB version, and it’s less sensitive to crumbs. No clicky, but it has a good feel.

            The keyboard in the 2012 vintage Dell 17R laptop has some dead-and-or-dying keys, “b’ and ‘2’, with [spacebar] going. I assume it’s a bad connection at the flex cable at best. Don’t want to dink around with it, so a Genuine Aftermarket keyboard is on its way.

            • #9 by Ed on 2017-10-12 - 19:12

              The only reason I switched to the Kinesis split keyboard was my old MS Comfort Curve pretty much wore out; I went through several of those over the years. Loved the hardware, even without the Special Windows Drivers.

              We occasionally turn the keyboards over and give ’em a good smackdown on the desk edge to release a shower of crumbs, dust, hair, dead bugs, and mysterious objects: scary stuff in there!

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