Today we will work on a project I’ve decided to title “Ask Kevin.”
Last time we looked at how a clog in the ink doesn’t necessarily mean that your printhead is the problem. Today, we will be looking at a different subscriber’s question. Once again, I’d like to reiterate that since I haven’t seen your specific printer in person, I can’t guarantee that I’m giving you the best -- or even a correct -- answer.
That said, here is the message I received from the subscriber:
“A3 DTG UV Flat Bed printer using Epson SC-P400 Motherboard and a DX7 printhead from China.
When the printer arrived, I only printed five t-shirts, and the printer gave me an error. I tried to contact the supplier, but unfortunately, they were not supportive, and they even stopped responding to my emails and phone calls.
I tried to replace the motherboard and printhead, but the error message is still there.”
The A3 DTG printer they mentioned is based on Epson SureColor P400, which is a really popular model. Right off the bat, the first issue I see is that you got it from China. I’d be willing to bet you bought it off of AliExpress.
Don't rely on AliExrpress
Before we get started with the video, I’d like to tell you some things about AliExpress. I order hundreds of items from them every year. I will say that it seems easy to dispute something if there’s an issue with your order.
However, it’s not as easy as it seems. In theory, all you have to do is go to the order and click “order details,” then select “open dispute.” Unfortunately, if anything is wrong other than the package not being delivered, there’s virtually no way to get a refund.
For example, I opened a dispute for the printheads I had purchased a while ago. AliExpress immediately rejected it. They said that they needed a video. Before this, I had already sent pictures and explained what I did. I’d spent half an hour writing up a paragraph to tell them about my experience with the printer.
Basically, they had sent me a malfunctioning printhead. Since they were so insistent on me sending a video, I spent another hour making one that gave a detailed explanation of the issue. They then emailed me, “your dispute is resolved.”
I was relieved. Taking all that time out of my day to deal with them was inconvenient, but at least I’d be getting a refund. So I looked to see how much money they had refunded me, and it turns out they had given me a whole $0.00. In reality, they had not resolved the situation, and I had absolutely nothing to show for my efforts.
What I’m trying to say is to avoid ordering from sites like AliExpress for printer parts. Instead, stick to places like Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart, etc.
Video of the Problem
The subscriber who asked the question also sent a video to accompany it, so I’ll go over that now. They said that when they checked the printhead, it was not in the home position. When they turned the printer on, I could see it start to behave strangely.
Once that stopped, they returned to the panel to show me the error it was giving. Two red lights were flashing above the button depicting a garbage can and the button depicting a droplet.
They showed me that if they rechecked the printhead after receiving the error message, it was no longer locked in place. When they went to their computer to check their Epson’s reset program, it gave the error code 52H. They asked me if I had anything to help the printer work and bring it back to life.
To start, the printhead is visible in the docking station, unlocked. That’s good. It pulls off, which is also a good thing. There didn’t seem to be any issues when attempting to turn on the printer, either.
Next, we saw it begin to move in both directions, which means it’s reading the time scale. The time scale is a clear belt on the printer encoded to tell the printhead’s belt its current position. The printhead in the video seemed to move smoothly, and it wasn’t slamming itself against the sides, which indicates to me that it’s okay.
To explain it a little differently, you’ve got the printhead carriage with a reader attached to the side that tells it its position. Usually, that position is somewhere between 0-80, but in the case of this subscriber, it appears to be reading between 0-120.
If the reader can’t read the belt correctly, it will get confused and slam from one side of the printer to the other, which it wasn’t doing in this case. That tells me that neither the belt nor the reader is the issue.
We also know that the printhead in the video is unlocking at some point. Before that, you should check that the waste ink is not overflowing in the waste ink tank. Make sure that the waste ink counter is okay, too. If you want a diagram like the one I’m going off of, you can text “EPSONSTART1” to (855)-452-8332, and I will send you the link directly.
Next, we will check the printer’s process of releasing the lock. Here we can also do the page feed. It should be noted, as well, that the PF motor rotates clockwise. In this subscriber’s video, it looked like the printer was trying to feed a page through but struggling. It looked like the PF motor was okay, though.
Looking at the segment where the printhead was unlocked, it looked like it was trying to move to the right first before going left as instructed. In the diagram, which I can send you the link to, the printhead would move to the right and lock in that position. Then it should start the page feeding initiation process.
If you look at the video, you can see that the printhead was starting in the middle, not where it’s supposed to be. This means it was just rotating the PF motor instead of actually doing its job. Take a look at the PF motor.
If you see that the PF motor is behaving strangely and there appears to be something wrong (or if you can’t hear it), then feel free to stop here. The most likely issue, as previously mentioned, is that the printhead is starting in the wrong position and just rotating the page feed motor.
After that, the printhead in the video moved to the left and started going crazy. What it’s supposed to do is check a few sensors. These sensors include the low temperature operating sequence, the page feed measurement, and the PW sensor.
That’s where I think this subscriber’s problem is. After going through all the checks, the error message is popping up. Because the printer stopped at the wrong part, it couldn't lock. Therefore, it couldn't move to the next step of its designated process.
When I looked it up, the printer’s error code number, 52, is supposed to indicate a paper jam. Error 71 (which also appeared in that video but wasn’t focused on as much) was meant to indicate a paper jam involving a foreign object.
That error message doesn’t help because the subscriber in the video didn’t have any paper. If there’s no paper in the [rinter, then there’s no way they were experiencing a paper jam. That means the problem was either APG sensor failure or APG motor failure. Basically, the printer was failing to measure the page feed’s speed.
What I suggest is checking the sensor of the PF motor, motor, and just to be sure, make sure all the cables are correctly connected.
You can watch a video walkthrough of this article if you prefer. I hope this blog helped you fix your printer issues. Follow me on YouTube at Keven at BCH for more DIY printer tips, tricks, and fixes. Happy printing!