Epson stylus PX810FW – A short review and waste ink pad modifications
With the Epson Stylus Photo Printer PX810FWD you have an all singing and all dancing 4-in-1 printer which can print, scan, copy and fax with the latest high-speed wireless connectivity. Using the 19.8 cm smart-navigation touch-panel with integrated touch-screen, you can view, select, edit and print your photos directly from your memory cards, USB keys and PictBridge-enabled cameras without even connecting to your PC. It uses Epson’s Micro Piezo print head technology to output at a print resolution of up to 5760×1440 dpi.
As well as all this, you can scan at up to 4800dpi (the main reason I bought this printer), copy and fax multi-page documents with the fuss-free automatic document feeder. Plus the auto-selecting plain paper and photo paper trays mean you can easily swap between printing photos and documents without changing paper. The Epson Stylus Photo Printer PX820FWD can print up to 40 A4 pages of black text per minute and can print a 10 x 15in photo in approximately 10 seconds. However, the coolest thing is that there is a duplexer drum that allows you to printe on both pages automatically.
The printer comes in a huge blue box, but once opened you realise most of that is packaging; the printer itself is relatively bulky for an A4 machine, but with all the features nicely hidden away to present a clean appearance, you can forgive its size easily.
There are a lot of tapes and protective plastic to remove before you switch it on, this takes about 10 minutes which is like an eternity. Some tapes were hidden out of sights as you need to go inside to find a few hidden ones in the paper tray. Once this is completed, you have 6 ink cartridges to add – a great feature, 6 individual tanks which you can replace independently when they run out, rather than one large, expensive multicolour tank you get on cheaper models.
Once they are in, the set-up is driven from the very impressive touch-screen display on the side of the printer. This tilts to whatever angle you like, so is really easy to use where ever the printer is.
You are asked to input the standard information such as the locale, date and time, and then it moves on to the wireless set-up – this could be slicker. There was a USB cable in the box as you can use the bundled software to connect to wi-fi instead of using the printer’s screen. The software itself took about 30 minutes to install the default packages, this was on a reasonably fast dual core MAC laptop. Once installed, there was a wizard to make the wi-fi connection, this completed very quickly and we were ready to print or weren’t we (see below)??
Paper is stored inside the printer in a removable tray. This has 2 sections to it, one for larger paper, up to A4, then a separate area for 5 by 7 inch shots. You can easily fit a whole 50-sheet pack of photo paper in to this tray; this keeps the paper safe from damage and dust. Tucked away inside is the nifty CD printing tray – a small grey drawer you’d never know existed till you open it via the print software or the CD eject button on the printer.
Unfortunately, on this occasion the printer decided not to print wirelessly. Several emails to Epson had later confirmed it was the wireless firmware that was faulty. Now, how often does this happen to you or am I the unluckiest guy in the world? Epson had redeemed itself by replacing it with a new unit (not a refurbished one or Quality Assured Unit as Epson would prefer to call it).
Your printer is doomed
Get ready for another bad news… the printer is doomed to stop working the second you install it. Why?? Apparently, Epson has decided to prevent ink spillage by limiting the numbers of print it can handle. Heavy users will soon discover their printer stop working with warning message flashing on the screen.
Error message “Parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life”
The message refers to the ink pads, which are porous pads inside the printer that collect, distribute, and contain the ink that is not used on the printed page. Ink is collected by these pads during the initial setup of the product, during cleaning cycles and when printing borderless photographs. Epson does not consider our Inkjet printers to be user serviceable, so instead they would advice to get the machine serviced which is costly, at around £80. The service consists of changing the ink pads and resetting the internal ink pad counter using an adjustment utility (software) to get it start printing again. Epson has in the past released the software for earlier models but not the PX range, the reason behind this baffles me. The only reasonable conclusion is Epson wants to get even more money from its endusers.
But there is a way around this. I goggled this issue and found some interesting stories. I then came across a UK website which recognised the scale of the problem and decided to come out with their own solution. I eventually bought a waste ink kit from http://www.octoink.co.uk. This company supplies a software with a one time only reset key that resets the waste ink counter and a kit that diverts the internal waste ink to an external waste tank. Therefore bypassing the internal pads altogether. To date, there is no free third party software that can do the reset. The kit is robust and is rather well put together with high quality materials easily gathered from any hardware store. Since it’s inexpensive, why risk getting my hands all dirty?
As the printer is new, there is no need to reset it until I get the error message but definitely is a good idea to bypass the internal ink pad. Below is a simple instruction of setting the kit up.
To locate the internal ink pad which is located at the bottom of the printer. I sat the printer up with some clothes underneath it to prevent scratches to the screen.
the rest is self explanatory I think.
Remove the screw that secures the rear access panel and note the location of the access to the retaining clip.
Beware, not to let the panel drop too quickly as this risks pulling the internal waste ink tube loose and will require major overhaul to put right.
You could either drill a hole on the panel to allow for the tube if you insist on putting the rear panel back or like me, I decided to leave it uncovered. Instead of having a freely dangling tube coming from the rear, I personally prefer to thread it through the screw hole, this secures the tube with the friction through the small hole and will prevent any sudden tuck on the tube which may disconnect the joint and ends up with ink everywhere on the tabletop. Below is how much waste ink is used just on the initial setting up of the printer.