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   Partners - Review of InkRepublic Epson 3800 i-Refill System

July 20th, 2010

Belen Hedderich
A long time agon I did a review on a CISS for the Epson 2400 by Inkrepublik ( . If you want to see it here are the links.

About 18 months ago, the people at inkrepublic wrote me an email and told me they got a CISS system for the Epson 3800, they offered to send it for free for me to test it. At the time I didnít had that printer and told them thanks that I still owned the Epson 2400.

Then about a year ago, I wrote them and told that now I had an Epson 3800 and I was ready to test it, they answered that they were doing ink test and making them better., that when they were ready they would wrote me back.

Apparently they did, but the emails never reached my in-box, and about 4 months ago I wrote them again, asking for the inks and they said that they gladly would send a system for free for me to test. So they asked me for my address and they send a system totally FREE.

Here you can see a picture of the whole system, 9 ink cartridges, inks, installation cd, gaskets, chips stickers, close lid ďkeyĒ, gloves and even some photo paper and 2 extra tanks.

I will describe the steps needed to install the system but briefly, since the web page contains very useful and detailed procedure.

1-) First you got to do is to check that with your ORIGINAL cartridges the printer is in perfect working condition, and you donít have ANY clogged head or color.

BEWARE, you must use at least 7 of the 9 original chips of your original cartridges, so itís better to wait until they are almost empty to install this system.

2-) You must detach the original chips from the original Epson cartridges (on 7 of them), inkrepublic will give you 2 tanks with some kind of reset chips already installed in the system.

3-) Use the black chip stickers on the original chips to block one contact in the last pin of the chip and attach the chip to the plastic cartridge. Do the same with the remaining 6 cartridges that donít have an installed chip. The cartridges come with a transparent tape to facilitate the installation of the chips.

4-)Install the empty cartridges in the printer and unplug or open the ink refill cap.

5-) Fill the cartridges with ink to about half the level of the cartridge.

6-) Install the close lid ďkeyĒ that mistakes the printer into think the ink cover is closed.

7-) Check that all the cartridges are recognized.

8-) Do a nozzle check.

9-) As an additional step, I took out the lid that covers the ink cartridges and I made an adaptation with zip lock tape the silver cover so I could put i ton again without falling out.

10-) Print.

I will attach a few pictures of my new business on where this printer is going to do a lot of work. I printed on auto adhesive vinyl, and then I will give inkrepublic printer profiles for those papers.

Here is my final review:

Good things:

- Installation time: Over experience and history they tell you you can install a system in 20 minutes. That is not true. Incredible it took me 25 minutes from opening up the system to make a print I couldnít believe it. This has been the fastest installation of a CISS I have ever done.
- Ink savings. Although I think itís an obvious point is still a huge point to consider, now that I have to use this printer ton constantly change between matte and photo black and use several kinds of paper.
- VERY robust system, I have seen other in the market, and although I have not tested others, the tanks been pressurized it seems it would last the lifetime of the printer.
- Ink colors, VERY similar to the Epson originals.
- Support and help about post sales, these people doesnít have a match really.

Things not so good:

- The close lid ďkeyĒ sometimes it moves from position, Iím in a very reduced space and we are walking over it all the time, still it could be a bit longer, to make it more stable. If you have plenty of space this is not a problem.
- Ink dry time. Is a bit longer than the original ones., however quality gamut is spectacular.
- Ink cartridges are way out of the printer, that made you modify the printer lid cover and if you have a small space this can be an issue like for myself..
- If you do an AUTO nozzle check, printer went crazy and gave me an error, I lost a bit of ink. They told me Iím the first user with this problema with the auto nozzle check. Itís weird since although I got this error after 2 clean cycles the printer printed right on spot. You can solve this doing a manual clean and nozzle check. Not the auto procedure and then this is not a problema at all.

Final review:

I still love the systems supplied by inkrepublic and Iím going to continue to be a customer and recommend their products with closed eyes. Hope this can be helpful to all the people who is looking for a cheaper solution on printing.

All I can say is I like them a lot, drying time takes a bit longer than the original ones, besides that I do not notice any metamannerism in these inks, and about color profiles I don't have a problem since I own a pulse color elite and a recently bough colormunki which I have to try. But the profiles I got with the color elite are right on spot. Like I said I'm very very happy with it.

- Belen Hedderich

Feedback from other 3800 user (Apotheker from Belgium)

Hi Belen, I also did an extensive review. The difference is I took also other systems in my review and besides the con's of these cartridges, the overall performance is by far the best and very reliable. Especially the quality and rigidity of the ink outlet valve is outstanding.
About your problem of the printer went crazy when doing the auto nozzle check print: forgot to tell you that the cartridges need to primed and this is not documented in there manual. I discovered this too late, when there was a substantial amount of air was pushed into the tubing system, causing massive banding and dissappeared nozzle print checks.

This is what you should do:
  • Refill the cartridges outside the printer, not when they already are installed into the printer.
  • Close the plug and take a can of pressurized air and give a few shots of air into the air pressure inlet (that small tube about the ink outlet valve).
  • The cartridges will hold the pressure for several minutes: this pressure is what you need to prime the cartridges.
  • Now take blunt stick (thick tooth sticker or blunt awl) and a piece of paper towel, wrapped around the ink outlet valve to absorb the ink (hold it tightly, because the ink can come out quite violently): push a few times shortly into the valve, so the trapped air can escape until the paper towel can stained with ink.
  • Clean the ink outlet valve carefully after the cartridge is primed and insert the cartridge into printer, repeat with the other cartridges.

    About the resettable maintenance tank: if you bought a new tank or the tank is relatively clean. Instead of removing the cap and throwing away the sponge material is using a long piece of paper towel and wrapped around into a disc that fits into the central hole and push until the surface is even. After one or two cleaning cycles I remove this ball of paper from the tank and have this exchanged with a new piece of paper towel.

    - Apotheker @ Belgium
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