Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000

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    Topic: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000 Read 14821 Times
  • Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Canon Printers
    on: December 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

    I  posted earlier on this problem, https://photopxl.com/forums/topic/canon-xps-problem/, but I’m starting a new thread because the title of that thread turned out to be misleading. After working with a Canon tech weeks ago, he and incorrectly concluded that the problem I was confronting is a driver problem. I’ve since confirmed that this isn’t at its core a driver problem, although the choice of driver matters. I’ve also confirmed that the problem has nothing to do with a Windows update, as I borrowed a Mac and replicated the problem with that computer.

    To recap the symptoms, after two years of flawless performance, the Prograf started producing distorted colors. The problem, as you can see from the attached scan of a test print, is that blues are not being laid down properly.

    The immediate suspect would be a head clog, but numerous nozzle checks have all been perfect, and repeated head cleanings have had no effect.

    The severity of the problem varies considerably from print to print. For reasons I can’t fathom, it’s generally much more severe when using the 16-bit (XPS) driver, which is what mislead me and the tech weeks ago. however, I’ve since encountered the problem with the standard 8-bit driver, although it’s much less striking.

    Even leaving aside the driver issue, I find this puzzling. It seems as though the printer will pass enough cyans to produce perfect nozzle checks, which don’t need a lot of ink, but won’t consistently pass enough of one of the inks (I can’t tell which) to produce consistent blues in actual prints, which require much more ink. The banding shows that some passes of the head are better than others. Although the driver difference complicates matters, this suggests to me that there is some partial occlusion somewhere on the ink path. I wonder if perhaps some nozzles aren’t consistently heating enough.

    I have been talking with and trading e-mails with Canon for going on 12 weeks with no resolution yet, although they have forwarded my emails and scans to an engineer.

    Canon heads are user replaceable, but the head for this printer is so expensive that it makes little sense to replace the head rather than the printer, so I can’t test that as a possible explanation.

    If anyone has any ideas about what might be happening or other things I can try, I’d appreciate any suggestions.

     

     

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #1 on: January 1, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    The patch you identified looks to me as if there is row of dead or seriously clogged nozzles in one of the colour channels. But I can’t be sure of that. I hope you sent this output to Canon for evaluation.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #2 on: January 2, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Mark,

    Thanks. I’ve sent them at least three scans of test images and one of a (perfect) nozzle check. I’m going to nag them again next week.

    My first hunch was exactly the same as yours, and unfortunately, I’d bet good money that that will turn out to be the answer. The puzzles in this are the fact that the nozzle checks (lots of them) have all been perfect and that the choice of driver has a big impact.

    If I don’t get a useful answer from Canon, I’ll try a series of additional deep cleanings. This wastes a lot of ink, of course, and it takes a while. Because Canon printers heat the nozzles, the company warns you not to do repeated deep cleanings without giving the machine a long time to cool down. I believe the advice is one per day.

    There is also a “system cleaning” option that the techs didn’t recommend but which the manual says to use if head cleanings fail. The manual doesn’t explain what this actually does, but it does warn that “<span class=”stc”><span class=”ui PrinterDriver_Win”>System Cleaning</span> consumes an extremely large amount of ink” and that one needs to have lots of room in the waste collection cartridge to do it. If the techs don’t recommend anything else, I’ll do that if my decision is that I would replace this printer with another Canon rather than an Epson if the system cleaning fails. To replace inks, I’d have to use a still-sealed, $700 set of inks that I could otherwise sell if I end up going to a P900. That’s more than half the cost of the printer.
    </span>

    Dan

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #3 on: January 2, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Daniel, what do you mean by a “choice of driver”? I believe there is only one printer driver; or do you mean choice of image processing software?

    The advice not to do repeated deep cleanings in short sequence is identical to the advice from Epson, but the Epson printhead does not heat in either printing or cleaning use. If one does deep cleaning, then leaves the printer alone overnight, the inking system settles and often performs properly the next day. And yes, Canon is correct that those “deep system cleanings” do use a very large amount of ink, so you only want to resort to this if all else fails.

    I think before spending a lot of ink on cleanings I would recommend a more in-depth discussion with Canon tech support how it happens that the nozzle checks can be fine when the printed output, such as that patch you showed, is not; this is highly unusual to see. Maybe the performance defect is intermittent, such that it worked well when you did the nozzle check but misbehaved later when you printed – have you seen repeated evidence of this sequence, or just once? Also, it’s really strange that different applications would produce different outcomes in respect of this defect. They should try to help you through that puzzle as well.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #4 on: January 2, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Mark,

    Thanks very much.

    Re drivers: Canon supplies two for many of its printers. Under Windows, but I think maybe not under the Mac OS, these appear as separate drivers, both in Adobe software and in the Windows print dialog. The standard driver is 8-bit. The 16-bit driver has “XPS” in the driver name. Some software will only use the standard 8-bit driver, but some, including Lightroom and Photoshop, let you choose. The one time I managed to try this with a Mac, that wasn’t the case. The label XPS didn’t appear, and rather than selecting a different driver in the print dialog, I had to select it by opting for 16-bit printing in Lightroom (an option that doesn’t appear under Windows).

    Apparently, the XPS driver isn’t used much. The more knowledgeable of the Canon techs I spoke with said that I was probably only the second person he spoke with last year who actually knew what the XPS driver is.

    The problem varies markedly and seemingly randomly, but it’s persistent. I occasionally didn’t notice it when using the 8-bit driver,  but I have seen it in every test print I have done with the XPS driver and many with the 8-bit driver, and I have done a LOT of test prints over the past two months while trying to diagnose this. Similarly, I have done a lot of nozzle checks, and every one of them has been perfect.

    You put your finger on precisely what  makes this so puzzling and so time-consuming. The first thing I suspected was a clogged head, so I did several nozzle checks, all of which were perfect. I did several regular cleanings and one deep cleaning, and the nozzle checks were unaltered, but the problem remained.

    I have no guess whatever about why this is worse with one driver than the other. It’s conceivable that it’s random, but the probability of it being consistently different across so many test prints is minuscule.

    Leaving aside the driver question, what seems most likely is a partial clog that cleaning hasn’t resolved or a head failure such that some nozzles are not heating consistently and hence don’t always deliver enough ink.

    I’m going to try to do as you suggested. I’m going to send a note next week to the supervisor who has been involved with this asking her to arrange for me to speak directly to a high-level tech who has been given the background materials I’ve sent.

    Thanks again

    Dan

     

     

     

     

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #5 on: January 2, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Ah yes, you are right – the XPS driver. I had forgotten all about that! Been a few years since I used the Pro-1000 and that with MacOS. If this were a driver-related problem, however, one would think it would affect more than one colour channel. Well, it will be interesting to learn what the higher level Canon technician tells you.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #6 on: January 2, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    If I’m able to speak with one and learn anything, I’ll post what I learn.

    Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    I still haven’t heard from Canon, despiute a nagging call to them last week, but I am fairly certain that I diagnosed the problem–after hours of work, lots of ink, and many test prints. I think it is a head failure, but not a clog.

    The printer always printed perfect nozzle checks, but it has been unable to lay down colors properly for dark blues, creating a banding. It seemed like it could lay down small amounts of ink, but not enough for prints. One of the last things to go through the printer in the test image I use is a dark blue band parallel to the head movement, and that hasn’t printed correctly in all of my trials. Last night I had the idea of flipping the image so that that band would be printed first. Sure enough, it was fine, but the blue areas later in the print weren’t. I’m guessing that the head isn’t correctly heating some nozzles.

    Assuming that Canon offers no help, which seems more likely each day, I have three choices:

    1. Assume that I’m right that the head is the problem, and buy a new head. That’s US $675. That’s only about $250 cheaper than the price of a new printer, net of the ink that remains after initializing.

    2. Buy a new Prograf 1000.

    3. Buy an Epson P900.

    The drawbacks of the P900 are: they are seemingly in very short supply, so I could end up waiting quite a while without a printer (the Canon would be a wait of 2-4 weeks); there would be a learning curve, as I have been using Canon printers for many years; and I have a still-sealed $700 box of Canon ink sitting next to the printer.

    I’ll wait until next week, in the hopes that Canon will finally respond.

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #8 on: January 18, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    The first thing I would do in your position is send Canon a link to your post here, so they know they are publicly on notice as giving you poor service. I can understand short delays due to the fact that most of their staff is probably working from home, but you should not need to wait weeks for feedback. I expect you will hear back from them very shortly after they see this.

    Secondly, if you need to replace the head, from an economic perspective, in your position I would buy a new Canon Pro-1000 as long as you don’t need roll feed and flat media feed. You have a big investment in ink, and for the extra 250 dollars a new printer would cost, you have a new machine with a warranty and lots of supplied ink.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Daniel Koretz
    Daniel Koretz
    Participant
    Posts: 87
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #9 on: January 22, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Good news, and a very big feather in the cap for Canon.

    I sent an e-mail ultimatum to the supervisor who has been unresponsive for some weeks (Mark–including, as you suggested, a link to this thread), but being an impatient sort, I called the regular service line again this morning and explained the problem in short form. The tech replied that this is clearly a nonroutine problem that had to go to higher level people, and he said he would contact the supervisor. I said that wasn’t sufficient because she had not been responsive and asked that he forward this case to someone else. He came back on the line a little later and told me that he had forwarded the case to the customer service people in the office of the company president. He said to expect a reply from them within a few days.

    Two hours later, I got a call from someone in that office who said that the engineers had reviewed the copious material I had sent and that the problem was an unusual one that they could not replicate. So, they told him to send me a new printer–even though the old one is off warranty. It should arrive next week. They are reasonably confident that I had ruled out any other causes in the environment, but they want me to confirm that the new one is working properly. At that point, he said, they might want me to ship them the old one to examine.

    I’ve had a lot of Canon equipment over the years, and my experiences with their customer service have generally  been very good. My earlier frustration with this printer problem was anomalous, so I had hopes that if this got to the right person, I would get some sort of satisfaction. This exceeds what I had hoped for.

    The Prograf is trivially easy to set up, so I hope to be printing again by midweek.

     

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #10 on: January 22, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    That sounds great Daniel, and kudos to Canon. Hope it all works out well – and do let us know.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Participant
    Posts: 641
    Re: Gaps in blues on a Prograf 1000
    Reply #11 on: January 22, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Glad to hear you got this resolved, Daniel. One of the challenges with dealing with many (most?) corporations is that the front-line people aren’t given enough training or authority to do their jobs properly.

    In cases like this it has always been my policy to gather up my materials and write directly to the president of the corporation. Having been involved in providing information for the Minister’s office in government I’m aware that the president will likely not see it, but if one starts at the top it will fall down to where someone can, and will attend to it. Marcia worked for a time for the VPs office of a major corporation and finding resolutions was her job. As you mentioned, if Canon couldn’t help you, Epson for example would be willing to try.

    This should be handled by the first person to answer the phone; unfortunately that is rarely the case but it is long remembered when it does.

    Mike.

    P. S. I once received a call from the president himself, letting me know he received my letter and would assign someone to handle it. I appreciated that.

    _____
    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Victoria, BC
    https://www.wolfnowl.com/

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