Sawgrass QuickConnect™ System for the Epson 980 Printer

Re-published (and edited slightly) from the DSSI Forum with Permission of the writer
by: Suzanne Daley, PhotoImprints.com, May 2002

May 15, 2002

Hello All,

I just installed a Sawgrass QuickConnect™ System on my Epson 980 and I thought I would share my experiences while it is fresh in my mind. First, when the package came with an instruction book and what looked like just a few tubes and things, I thought "Is that all there is for $279, which is much higher than similar systems for regular ink?" But I quickly reminded myself that I am paying for the technology (and support, should I need it) so I got over that.

Installation is well documented in the book. Everything proceeded flawlessly until I got to the point of actually sucking up ink into the tubes (priming) and into the dampers. First, Sawgrass should absolutely give you a separate syringe for each color. It is virtually impossible NOT get some ink up into the tip and the syringe, and it is quite annoying to have to keep running to the sink to clean out the one syringe and tip so as to proceed to the next color. As much as this system costs, that should be a given. Second, the little yellow tip that is for the black damper does not fit well on the syringe. I had to tape it, and even that kept falling off. And the tip does not fit well onto the black damper so as to provide good suction to get the ink flowing through the tubes and into the damper. This absolutely is the hardest color to work with. I WAS quite impressed with the locking mechanism on the tubes that the bags of ink fit into. Seems like a very positive and airtight connection. By Sawgrass' own admission, the cyan cartridge is a tight fit. So much so that in priming the other colors (which involves removing the damper from the nipple on the printer, the tube to my cyan cartridge came off the damper and I didn't know it. These tubes do not seem to be very well attached to the dampers. Perhaps some kind of clamping system would work better. Then again they may never fall off again, but if they do it's going to be a mess.

The foam blocks that defeat the cartridge switches are in my opinion not substantial enough to be subjected to repeated removal and reinstallation. Which is what you will have to do every time the printer thinks it is out of ink. It so happened that my printer thought it was out of ink right after I installed the system, and I had to do the foam trick right away. The foam pieces are already a bit deformed after just one R&R.

At the show one of the booths that had a system set up had little plastic clamps that they used to cut off the ink supply in the tube when they were changing bags of ink. These clamps are not in the kit. I wonder if air introduction during changing bags is a problem. I will ask about the clamps.

So, with everything installed, I had to re-prime two colors and run about 6-8 cleanings and nozzle checks, and then I got good output. Have printed a few pages and all is well so far. The whole process took a bit over an hour, due to the little glitches noted. All in all I am cautiously optimistic and satisfied. We'll see how it holds up!

UPDATE: May 16, 2002

I knew it was too smooth to be true. This morning as it was printing it started making a dreadful noise. I turned it off and found that the clamp (secured by double sided tape) that was affixed to the carriage had come off and all four tubes had come off the dampers. So I had to re-assemble and re-prime the whole system. Another hour, another 6 cleanings, and about 1/2 ounce of ink. I did get it working again, but the question was WHY did it happen, as careful as I was to follow directions. I called Sawgrass and spoke with Wendy who indicated that I might need to trim the tubes a bit that go on the dampers - just 1/8" inch or so. But as I thought about it, this is what I think MIGHT have happened...You must adjust the tube length so that when the carriage is at the leftmost side of the printer, the tubes are nearly taut. However when the carriage is at the rightmost side, there is then quite a bit of slack in the tubes. These tubes really bounce around when the printer is going, and can actually bounce off the bottom of the printer when on the right side. I'm wondering if the carriage caught these tubes and tried to "run over" them, thus yanking everything loose. So I took a piece of cardboard and taped it across the top of the printer just to the left of the clamp. This restricts the DOWN motion of the tubes, but not the horizontal motion. So they can't quite touch the bottom of the printer, and the carriage can't run over them. I've printed several pages, going smoothly thus far and much less bounciness to the tubes.

I asked Wendy for more syringes and tips, since re-priming might occur a bit more than once! She said they couldn't do that. I told her that didn't feel too good considering what I paid for the system. She is going to send them. Sawgrass would do well to toss in the extra syringes and tips. Cross-contamination is a definite factor in this priming stuff.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Suzanne Daley

Give us your best shot!

Copyright © 2002 Suzanne Daley. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the author.

You can find more information about the Sawgrass QuickConnect™ System direct from Sawgrass Systems or your Sawgrass distributor.

Copyright ©2001 BitSoup, Inc.™ All rights reserved.