Epson R3000 prints black as 18% grey

May 5, 2020
Mac Mini using Mojave.
Epson C88+ printer one year old. Driver is 9.00
Epson R3000 printer 4 years old. Driver is 9.29

I have only used new Epson brand 157 inks in the R3000 which I usually purchase from B&H Photo In NYC. They used to discount them a few dollars.

My Epson R3000 suddenly started to make flat dull, washed out looking, B&W prints and weird lifeless color prints.

I printed a test pattern of wide colored bars and realized that the black bars look just like my old Kodak 18% Grey cards.
The colored bars in the test pattern looked normal and were well saturated.

I was printing on Premium Luster paper so I installed a new Epson 157 PK Black cartridge and repeated the test pattern. Same disappointing results. The black bar prints as a middle grey.

I think nether black cartridge is printing. I think maybe the bar that is supposed to print as black, is getting its ink from the Light Light Black and Light Black cartridges.

Above the R3000's utility box sits an Epson link that will open a page on Epson's web site that shows the level of the inks in your printer. The page is designed for you to order the needed inks directly form Epson.

When I open that link, the ink levels for all the color cartridges and the LBlack and LLBlack cartridges in my R3000 are shown. What is curious is that neither of my Black cartridges are pictured. There are not even shown empty gauges for my black inks.
It is as if my R3000 printer doesn't use PK of MK Black ink cartridges.

I cleaned the print heads twice using the Epson Driver's utility box. When I tried to clean the the heads a 3rd time It refused to operate because the Vivid Magenta cartridge was out of ink. I installed a new Epson 157 Vivid Magenta cartridge so i could continue with head cleaning and printing test patterns. My printer flashed a message that it did not recognize the Vivid Magenta cartridge. I cleaned the contacts and re-seated the Magenta over and over and never got my printer to recognize this new Magenta cartridge that I purchased a month earlier from B&H Photo.

I re-installed the old empty Magenta cartridge and the printer recognized it immediately and said it was out of ink.
I have ordered a new Magenta cartridge. I am a bit worried that my Epson R3000 may stop recognizing any new 157 cartridge that I try to install.

Any suggestions to get my blacks back will be appreciated.

my Epson C-88+ printer pints beautifully considering it only has three color cartridges. It is the best printer I have owned.


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