How does the LX3000 Ink system work? What are best practices?

How does the LX3000 Ink system work? What are best practices?

The LX3000 ink system is a sealed system that uses atmospheric pressure and properties of fluid mechanics to feed a prefilled printhead from off-carrier Ink Tanks.  There is no pump necessary and the ink tubes are relatively short.  The system is unlikely to clog as long as it remains sealed with a print head and tanks installed in the printer.

The system is comprised of four parts.  The ink tanks, the reservoir, the ink tubes, and the print head.  When you first receive the printer the ink tanks and the print head are not installed.  The tubes and the reservoir are empty.  The diagram below shows the state of the system before the print head and ink tanks are installed.

When you install the ink tanks and the print head, the seal on the bottom of the tank is punctured and the reservoir is immediately filled with 10ml of ink from the tank. It takes up to 200 prints for the ink to feed through the tube.  When you first start printing you are printing from ink in the print head.  As that depletes the sealed system forces the ink from the tanks into the tubes.  

Removing a Tank with Ink still remaining. Normally you would only remove empty tanks.  However, occasionally you may need to remove the ink tank before it is completely empty to clean the chip contact or inspect the receptacle area.  In this case, a small amount of ink may spill from the tank when it is removed.  There is a small rubber flap inside the tank to prevent large spills but a few drops may escape before this flap is closed.  To avoid spills lift the tank straight up slowly holding the gray cap.  This allows the drops to fall back into the reservoir. Avoid holding the tank by the clear plastic as you may squeeze the tank slightly and force out more ink.  As soon as the bottom of the tank clears the keyed receptacle, gently flip the tank over to stop any additional spills.  Transport and store the tanks upside down in this position until you are ready to reinstall them. 

Removing a Print Head.  You may open and close the lid up to 8 times before the print head will lose its prime and need to be replaced.  Each time you open the lid, air is introduced into the system and transferred inside the printhead.  The print head has 17 ml of space and initially carries 3ml of air.  You may open the lid 8 times before there is not enough space for ink and the print head loses its prime.  Please visit this article for complete details.

First Tank Ink Percentage Accuracy.  The first tank of each color you install will be physically empty when the software (PrintHub) shows about 20% remaining.  This is because the first ink tank you place in the printer will immediately drain 10 ml of ink into the reservoir and fill the ink tube with 1.5 ml of additional ink.  To sync up the percentage shown with the physical ink remaining, it is best to remove the first tank and replace it when you see that it is physically empty.  Remember, you are not losing any ink if you do this.  That 20% of ink is still in the system and will be used.  If you remove the tank as soon as it is empty on the first tank, all subsequent tanks placed in the system will accurately display the ink remaining in the tank.

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