By Richard Aachen
I had grief with Epsons whenever the relative humidity dipped below 42%. I had to do the dance of the cleaning cycles, Windex on tissues under the print heads, etc.
However, last year I bought a zippered sweater storage bag, cut small slits for the power and USB cords, and put the printer inside the bag with a piece of wet sponge on a plastic jar cap. I keep the bag zippered shut except when I want to print. Every four or five days I rewet the sponge.
Not one printer clog or spotty nozzle test in a year. It's simple, effective, cheap solution to a problem Epson could have solved with a sealed head docking position.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Crabby Umbo: "Your local cigar purveyor has little packets about the size of a business card that would keep the humidity in that 'rig' to 70% for a while; at least a month, if not more. They're about a dollar a pop. Worth trying, and relatively accurate at holding that humidity. No external dampness that might be problematic, like a wet sponge."
Featured Comment by Allan Connery: "If you don't have a cigar store nearby, search Amazon for 'humidor solution.' Several vendors sell a 50/50 mix of distilled water and propylene glycol. The solution is claimed to maintain humidity in a closed space at 70 to 75%, by releasing moisture into dryer air, and absorbing it from wetter air. It's also said to inhibit mold on cigars—which gives me pause. Is 75% humidity too high for a printer?"
Mike replies: Last I knew anything about it, 40–50% was considered ideal for interior climates that were controlled for preservation of paper documents and artworks. I quote from an article by Sherelyn Ogden of the Northeast Document Conservation Center: "Authorities disagree on the ideal temperature and relative humidity for library and archival materials. A frequent recommendation is a stable temperature no higher than 70°F and a stable relative humidity between a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 50%."
That, of course, tells us little about the ideal conservation environment for an Epson printer if you're trying to prevent head clogs; 75% seems on the high side on general principles, however. Wonder whether a garment bag with a bit of moist sponge on a jar cap is higher or lower than 75%? My guess is lower.
Featured Comment by Stephen Schaub: "Beyond a head clog, if you humidity drops below 40% it will affect the actual paper. I have done testing for most inkjet paper companies and all confirm that extreme humidity drops can and does cause issues with total ink load...so if you make an ICC profile in the summer months at a nice 50 or 60% relative humidity and in the winter it hits something like 15 or 20% or the 10% I sometimes see here in Vermont, things are going to look very different.... When I was beta testing for Crane we discovered this issue on the pre-release of their inkjet paper line several years ago....as a result I store all paper in a controlled area or, like my friends at the Salto Press in Belgium do, give new or unbalanced paper a few days to get to proper humidity before printing."