Project Light Black

Epson 2100p CIS

Intellidge ink chip hack

Unclogging Epson Inkjets

(October 2002)

What is Project Light Black?
Light Black is the missing link in completing my 2100P CIS project. I've defeated the inkchips and built a prototype CIS cartridge. At the moment I can't buy a 7 color pigment inkset to run in it. So I'm hoping to roll my own light-black to use with an existed 6 color inkset (enchanced generations G4).

Now (Jan 2003) that 3'rd party 7 color ink sets are available this has become less important.

The first supplier I am aware of is - see

Back on track.
After killing my 1160 I've been given a stylus 400 to complete my testing – Thanx Chris.
I managed to completely clog one head with a 5:5:1 Metho,water,ink mix but unclogged it again.

This is a promising test pattern. Left and Centre use mentholated spirit and right methanol.
The ratios are 3:7:1, 2:8:1 and 3:7:1 – alchohol:water:ink.
The ink ink is (standard) generations G3 black (pigment). The methanol mix is more neutral,the metho gives a sharper dot but tends to make the ink a little yellowish (as does isopropanol).

The real issue is will it clog if left unused and how badly does it clog. In a day on two I should have some idea.

Later - after a week it is still looking good.

15'th of November - The final ingredient.

The Methanol mix had good color but splattered a bit. Whether there was method in my madness I don't know. I noted the boiling point of Methanol was 10 deg C lower than Ethanol so I figured I'd raise it. My weapon of choice was Glycol Alcohol. Glycol Alcohol is easily obtainable in the form of antifreeze – however it has green dye added. So I bought some antifreeze and a fire extinguisher with the aim of distilling some in my kitchen. But before I did I thought I'd try a similar chemical I could by without the dye – glycerin (aka glycerol). I added a drop to my stylus 400 test rig and wow what a difference. I then got more methodical and ran 1,2 and 4 percent glycerin test patterns. All worked but eventually (a week later) the 4 percent mix clogged the head – not badly -cleaning cycles cleared them.

A finally I took the plunge and fitted my light black CIS cartridge to the 2100p. About 6 cleaning cycles later I had a good noozle test. This is 7 parts water 3 parts methanol and 0.5 percent glycerin. I then mixed this 10:1 with ink. The ink is a little bit light compared to the OEM ink but this should be easy to adjust.

This is a 2400 dpi scan of the spray pattern, it looks good to me. This doesn't prove the ink will behave at smaller drop sizes but I'm optimistic as usual.

25'th Nov, Things could be better,
The head is clogging, not badly - just printing can be enough the clear it sometimes. I suspect the methanol is breaking down and creating bubbles. I will put up with it for now.

28'th Dec, V2,
When I start this project I looked for a ready made ink base on the media-street site. I gave up and as they have a weird support system which has never helped me- I didn't bother asking. A while back a visitor to this site informed me that Jrano (an ink flushing fluid) is the base for Generations ink. I've bought some and mixed in %15 G3 black and it is printing very nicely. I've had no further clogging problem in the BL head but I still have one clogged jet which has been clogged for some time. It doesn't show up in the prints so I'm leaving it for now.

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