Extreme Unclog Epson Printhead L1800 DTF, WF-7720 Sublimation, EcoTank & SuperTank

This article accompanies a video I've posted on my YouTube channel, Kevin at BCH, in which I discuss a little bit more about the Epson printhead. The video goes over a few more extreme options if your printhead is clogged and none of the more traditional methods are working. The video this article is accompanying is part of the second part of a series on this subject. The first part will be linked below.

I want to start by going over an Epson printhead's anatomy, typical components, and what they're used for. We'll look at three printheads. One is for the Artisan 1430 or L1800, the next is used primarily for the WF-7720 sublimation printer, and the third is for the standard Epson EcoTank or SuperTank.


Anatomy and Disassembly

The L1800 I used as a demonstration in this video was used for a DTF printer. Epson was nice enough to give this printhead some screws we can undo. It's almost like they want us to take it apart. So we'll go ahead and remove all three of those screws. Your printhead may have a set of brackets holding a gold nozzle. They'll look like one piece, but after you remove them, you'll find that it's just steel brackets.

If you're watching along with the video, you'd be able to see the dried DTF ink underneath those brackets when I removed them. After the screws and frames have been removed, we're going to go ahead and open it up. You should be able to see the seam between the top and bottom, so go ahead and get your fingers in there and pull them apart.

Don't worry; we'll be able to put them back together later. Epson has them held together with some glue, and you can always just add more. Even if you don't have glue, that's fine. The assembly is mainly held together by the screws and brackets; the adhesive is only there as an extra precaution.


Ink Intake

Once you have them apart, you'll see what the two parts do. The top part is what's called an ink intake plate. This ink intake plate has a few tubes through which the ink flows, allowing it to reach the printhead. If you're following along with the video, you'll see that the white ink intake in the demonstration cartridge I used was dried in the tube.

Each brand of ink will be different, so I had to test it a bit. It had dried into a sort of powder. Some other brands of ink dry in a kind of rubbery substance. Fortunately, the powdery one is easier to unclog.

To begin the unclogging process, I took a needle and stuck it in the tube to poke around and check the texture. Doing so will tell me how easy or hard it will be to unclog it. If you follow YouTube videos that other channels have posted on this subject, you'll get a syringe and try to blow the clog out.

Doing this will only make the problem worse. You'll end up pushing the clog further into the printhead. More often than not, this will end up permanently clogging the printhead. Powdery ink is good news because it can be chipped out using a needle. Again, don't use a syringe to push the clog further into the printhead.

Bottom Plate

Unclogging the bottom plate will be very similar to unclogging the ink intake on the top plate. Use the needle to press into the tube and check on the texture of the dried ink. Feel free to dig deep with this one. You will only be able to damage something by digging around if you're really trying to. On the bottom plate, it was the colored ink that was clogged.

You'll see in the video that the texture of the dried color ink was more rubbery than the white ink. Since the colored ink is more rubbery, you won't really be able to chip it out like you could with white ink. That could still work, but it will be more challenging. Instead, I used the needle to massage the rubbery piece out of the tube. Underneath the rubbery texture on top was a soft mud-like texture. That's good news. It means that the printhead is still salvageable.

The black and white inks were powdery, so it was fairly simple to remove most of it. The colored inks were more rubbery, but after removing the clogged top bit, there was fresh ink underneath. While a cleaning solution can dissolve most clogs, clogs caused by dried ink won't be so simple.

Cleaning Solution

However, using the cleaning solution on this clog is still useful. It softens the obstruction a bit to make it more workable, so it can still be a big help even if it doesn't solve the problem entirely.

If you don't have any cleaning solution but think you need some, you can order some from my website, BCHTechnologies, which I will link below. You can find it under the accessories tab by clicking "anti-clogging agent." If it's DTF ink causing the obstruction, then you will want the blue agent called "Premium Cleaning Solution for DTF Inks."

The blue anti-clogging agent is suitable for DTF ink but can also help with clogs caused by pigment ink. We also sell a red anti-clogging agent that works well on pigment ink, dye ink, and sublimation ink. Then we have a clear cleaning solution that works for dye and pigment inks and a green cleaning solution that works for dye, pigment, and sublimation inks. The reason that there's some overlap is that they use different formulas.

Next, let's look at what's under the other white ink. You'll see two white ink channels if you're watching along with the video. This second one appears to be more rubbery than the first white one we unclogged. So, as you can see, even the same color of ink can dry differently at times, which is why you need to test it. I cleaned out as much as possible before injecting some blue cleaning solution into it.

In the circuitry part of it, you'll notice that there are three rows of brass contact points. There are some other rubber seals that I forgot to mention earlier that form a seal when they get sandwiched between plates and the bottom of the printhead. This prevents the ink from leaking, so if you choose to flush it but push too hard, you may end up breaking that seal and causing the ink to flow out from there.


Anatomy and Disassembly

Unlike the L1800, you'll notice that the WF-7720 doesn't have those brackets. Instead, it has a steel plate integrated into it. It doesn't have that gold nozzle plate, either. Still, Epson was nice enough to give us some screws to undo so we can take the unit apart. This one doesn't even have any glue holding the two halves together, so all you have to do is unscrew them and pull them apart.

You'll see that this one also has rubber seals, ink intake plates, and a PCB board. Although the printheads are different, they're designed similarly. This printhead uses Epson OEM ink, a mixture of pigment and dye ink. You can see in the video that the texture of this ink is really hard when it dries out. I use the red cleaning solution we sell on my website for this one. The green one might also work, but since it dries so hard, I don't recommend using the clear one.

Inside this printhead, you'll see only two rows of those brass contact points rather than the three that the L1800 had. You may also notice that the ink intake is in the center of those two rows of brass contact points.

As previously mentioned, this type of ink is hard when it dries. Therefore, be very careful when unclogging it so that you don't accidentally push it back further into the printhead. If you don't have a needle for cleaning the tubes out, we also sell those at BCHTechnologies.com.


The first thing I worked on in the video was the ink tube. You can go down with your needle in this tube, and don't be afraid to touch the bottom. As previously mentioned, brass contact points are on both sides of the lines. These brass contact points connect to a central driver.

EcoTank/SuperTank Printheads

Anatomy and Disassembly

Unlike the previous two types of printheads we went over, the printheads that come with the Epson EcoTank and SuperTank printers don't come with screws for us to undo. Instead, Epson has heat-sealed it. So if you want to put it back together when we're done, you will need to go to your local hardware store and buy some little screws to reattach the pieces.

The other side will be the same. You can use a razor blade and remove the top. Then you can take the printhead apart from there. You'll see that this one also has that black seal. Underneath that seal, you'll see an ink filter, an improvement Epson is making. It's already got some fabric on it.

Electronic Contact Points

Most importantly, the circuitry looks similar. You'll see that they both have electronic brass contact points on either side of the nozzles. There are some small capacitors on the smaller board to clean up the signal, but it's not too fancy. The brass points can function as testing points in a way that makes it very simple to check whether a printhead is still good.

Connected to the contact points will be another small component. There will be one on each side since there are two rows of contact points. This functions as the CPU of the printhead. On the top, you'll see either a 27-pin or a 14-pin that goes into the printhead. On the bottom will be a row of 150-300 little wires. These wires will go to the nozzle. There are so many more wires than pins because this component uses a matrix system to avoid overheating any of the wires or pins. If something goes wrong with this piece, it's beyond anybody's ability to fix it.

Next, we'll look at the bottom of the plate. The very outside row on this component is the real nozzle where the ink comes out from. The inside row is meant to connect to the little wire we mentioned. Then you'll see a membrane as well. This entire thing is black, but then there will be cyan, magenta, and yellow on the bottom.

There will be three separate backs and groups of nozzles. If you're worried about the needle coming down and poking that when cleaning the nozzle, know that that's almost impossible unless you're actively trying to. That being said, if you push too hard with the ink pressure, then the film on this component will break.

Jan 19th 2023

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