Epson Printer CFS Modification

Here's a continuous ink-flow system I installed on my Epson Stylus Photo R300 printer. I got it from this site: http://www.inksupply.com/cobra.cfm. Cost was around $225 plus freight. The cost included 6 four ounce bottles of each ink, prefilled ink cartridges that have a re-set chip on them, tubing, etc. Their claim is a four ounce bottle is the equivalent of 10-12 cartridges. Genuine Epson cartridges sell for around $14 each (my printer uses 6) and "compatible" non-Epson cartridges cost around $8 each. Soo... 8 dollars x 6 colors x 10 cartridges would equal $480. Who could resist trying this system out?? Plus if I decide if I'm unhappy with the system can remove it without any damage to the printer.

Here's what it looks like installed:

Epson CFS one

You need a little room for the bottles to sit around the printer. They're attached to the printer with velcro to keep them from tipping. Also, the lid no longer closes to leave room for the hoses to enter. I suppose if you wanted to you could cut a hole in the lid but this doesn't bother me. My only complaint is that it's difficult to move the printer once the bottles are attached (the velcro isn't strong enough to hold a full bottle). Possible fix would be to put a tray underneath the whole assembly, or use stronger/larger velcro.

The entire installation took about an hour. It wasn't difficult but I spent some time reading the directions carefully and covering things up in case of an ink spill. If I had to do it again it would probably take about 20 minutes (I never spilled a drop of ink :). I probably should have taken photos of the installation process, but the inksupply website has downloadable directions so you can see there what's involved.

 

Epson mod 2

A clear plastic bracket supports the hoses as the print head moves back and forth. It also keeps the lid propped up to allow clearance for the hoses.

 

Epson mod 3

The cartridges contain a chip that resets every time you turn the printer off so the printer always thinks it has a full cartridge installed.


Waste Ink Tube Modification

Epson mod 4

The above photo is a separate modification I did (and it's FREE!). Every time your printer cleans it's print heads it dumps ink down a waste ink tube and into absorbent pads at the bottom of the printer. These pads eventually get full which causes a printer error and a trip to the service depot to get them replaced. I've replaced them myself before and it's a huge pain. Fortunately the waste tube is easy to reach from an opening on the back of the printer. Pull the tube out, attach it to a suitable container (I drilled a hole in a pill bottle - which I have yet to put some velcro on) and never change pads again! I learned about this mod here: Steve's Digicams forum.

Note: The printer will still eventually stop and ask to replace the pads. This is because it uses a counter to calculate when the pads are full. I know on my R300 I can reset the counter by following these directions:

1. Press and hold 'stop' 'maintenance' and 'power' buttons for about 10 seconds, a message will come on the screen saying counter is reset and to turn off.

2. Turn your printer off and then back on - job done

On a different Epson you might have to hunt around on the internet and see what the reset procedure is. There is also a software program called SSC Service Utility. You can download it here or Google it. Unfortunately it's a PC-only program.

BTW, if you reset your printer's counter and don't have the tube mod installed the pads in the bottom of your printer will eventually overflow and leak out of the printer (a messy clean-up job).


I'll update this page after I've had some time to use the continuous ink-flow system. So far it works perfectly (knock wood). If it works out good I'll probably convert my Epson 2200.


Update 2012 - Some of the chips on the ink cartridges failed. I ordered new chips but they were extremely difficult to install. I eventually removed the CFS and reverted the printer back to its original configuration. I probably didn't use this printer enough to keep it running smoothly.

 

Page last updated February 7, 2013.

 

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