Very Sick 3880 ...


Well-Known Member
It's been a while (I think this is the route cause of the problem) since using PK ink on my 3880. Today I printed a couple of MK prints with no problem and then switched to PK to use up some paper.

It looks like this has triggered a major PK ink leak. Any suggestions that dont involve major surgery ?


The MK nozzle check was fine before the swap.
The PK nozzle check has some major PK gaps and annoyingly seems to triggered some gaps in Y
Several driver initiated head cleans and a printer power clean hasnt made a difference with a splurge of ink

I had this happen with a 3800. It worked fine with matt black, but when I changed it back to the photo black that I normally use, this happened. I gave up on it and bought 3880.

Ian Barber is the man for this.
Thanks, I have just switched back to MK, run multiple cleaning cycles and the leaks seem to have stopped, Y is back too. My limited research points to the 'ink switch' which lives just behind the print head. Looks like this area is a design weakness, as I think the 3880 black inks were the same as 3800

All the cleaning cycles have trigger it demand a new VLM cartridge .... another £50 I am feeling uncomfortable about spending
This is the fault (or has been for the ones I have done including my own)

The print head has a single feed line for the black ink so because the printer has 2 main blacks (MK) and (PK) excluding the LLK and LK there is a diverter valve which switches between MK and PK depending on the media type you choose in the driver.

Inside the diverter valve are small rubber seals which deteriorate over time. If you never change from MK to PK or visa versa then it is possible for the seal not to leak but in all cases I have seen, the issue worsens when the user decides to switch.

The fix is to replace the diverter valve which is now readily available on eBay and other places I have seen.

Here are some images that I made when I did my own printer

I'm not suggesting you use this site but this is the component you need. Ali Express do one for £7 if you are prepared to wait 4 week for delivery

Thanks, I assume this part is what is referred to as the ink switch here ?

And the part is fitted to the head that moves back and forth?

Did you need any other parts or special tools ? Did you need special Epson calibration and set up s/w
Did you need any other parts or special tools ? Did you need special Epson calibration and set up s/w
No, just a regular posi screw driver no calibration s/ware.

You will lose some ink though as you flush out the system. some of the PK got into my yellow so I had to flush that out with a syringe and some tubing

Black Ink In Epson R3880 Yellow.jpg

Flushing Epson R3880 With Windex.jpg

Epson R3880 Black Ink Selector.jpg