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Although Epson made very good dot matrix printers, theres a few important things to consider if you're thinking of purchasing an Epson bubble jet printer.

Epson ink cartridges cost almost as much as Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark print cartridges, but use a permanently fixed printhead instead of having it integrated into the print cartridge like HP and Lexmark. If the printhead becomes clogged, you cant simply replace the print cartridge, it has to be brought to an Epson service center, and the expensive printhead assembly has to be replaced or cleaned.

Due to the separate ink cartridge/printhead arrangement, the ink delivery system often comes into contact with air when replacing the ink cartridge. Epson bubble jet printers cannot be stored without a cartridge in them, in fact, Epson recommends that a new ink cartridge be inserted immediately after the old one is removed. If you wait longer than an hour or two, the ink in the ink delivery system dries, clogging it and effectively ruining the printer.

Epson uses a sloppy printhead cleaning mechanism. Ink is squirted into a sponge located inside the printhead sealing cap located at the right side of the printer. It is then pumped out of the receptacle and into a reservoir filled with absorbent material, located underneath the main circuit board. Although this reservoir is designed to hold all the surplus ink produced when cleaning for the lifetime of the printer, I have seen cases in which this reservoir has overflowed, spilling ink out of the bottom of the printer, making a huge mess, and coming close to shorting out the power supply.

Occasionally with HP printers, the printhead becomes clogged such that the "clean printhead" feature does not clear all of the nozzles, in which case, its a simple matter to remove the print cartridge, dab it with an alcohol swab, and reinsert it to clear the encrusted ink, whereas in Epson printers, this is not possible, as the printhead is attached to the machine, plus removing the ink cartridge creates air bubbles in the ink delivery system.

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