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Discussion: Epson print drivers and ink tank printer

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Jan 25, 2018 5:04 PM # 
Does anyone happen to know much about Epson inkjet print drivers, particularly for their EcoTank printers, such as Expression Premium ET-7750 EcoTank Wide-format All-in-One Supertank Printer, and how they send the info to the printer? Just asking in case some orienteer on AP, many having technical knowledge, knows.
Jan 26, 2018 5:05 AM # 
and how they send the info to the printer?

Standard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB
Wireless (802.11 b/g/n)8
Wi-Fi Direct8
Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
USB Host Port
Jan 26, 2018 5:20 AM # 
Do you happen to know if they allow the specification of image for each ink (if the printer has, say, five or six inks instead of four)? I believe that one windows API allows this, but am not sure whether they support it.
Jan 26, 2018 4:53 PM # 
Does anyone have experience with the following printer, or any ink tank (non-cartridge, refilled by bottle) printer?
Jan 31, 2018 10:30 AM # 
I have the smaller (maybe original Ecotank) with 4 tanks.
Having problems cleaning one of the print heads/nozzles at the moment following a spell of really hot weather (would have been 50C where printer is).

I don't think I've seen anything that lets me do real fancy stuff with the colours, but I only have the 4 tanks. Its fine for printing maps for small numbers if you have time. At Ski-O in 2016 we figured it was going to take until about 5am to print the maps (pretty much a full page ogfink), so there was an intervention by grilla and her laser printer.
Jan 31, 2018 11:46 AM # 
Thanks for the info. You find it a slow printer?
Jan 31, 2018 9:41 PM # 
Yep, its slow when there is a lot of ink on the page - the Ski-O map in question is predominantly mapped with the rough-open symbol, so I would guess that it slows things down. If you were printing over about 30-40 maps, it would drive you to go and borrow a laser printer.
For proofing, it is fine, my wife uses it regularly for parts of her geology mapping (which all look like crayon drawings to me).
Jan 31, 2018 10:07 PM # 
How many pages per minute? How's the resolution?
Jan 31, 2018 11:19 PM # 
In my experience even the cheapest inkjets have more than adequate resolution to produce competition quality maps. The one you link to claims 5760 x 1440dpi. To get the high quality you need to use the special 1 sided inkjet paper (eg: With normal plain paper the ink bleeds into the paper and lines etc become thicker and less sharp. Also with the 1 sided paper the ink is waterfast - it wont run if it gets a bit wet - on normal paper it runs easily.

As Andy points out he drawback of inkjets is speed. The one you link to claims10ppm for color. That would be at low resolution - higher resolution will be much slower.
Jan 31, 2018 11:44 PM # 
Ok, I just ordered that paper, and I'll see how it goes. In my experience, maps are printed enlarged simply because of inkjet or laser printing, which would be poorly legible at standard scales. In particular, brown lines. I hadn't thought that the issue was resolution, but rather creating lines from a mix of imperfectly aligned dots of cyan, magenta and yellow inks, using colors that aren't a combination of solid colors but rather various percents. But maybe it's the paper.

Edit: Sorry, this post of mine didn't make complete sense, especially in lack of context of what I'm looking a bit at. I had forgotten who I'd explained my investigation to, and that I hadn't explained here in AP. See the post below, which explains a bit my crazy questions.
Feb 1, 2018 12:20 AM # 
To explain my odd sounding questions, my crazy idea was to investigate whether the fifth ink in the printer could be replaced with brown, and used to print the contours, while all the other map colors were printed CMYK. The fact that the printer uses ink tanks, refilled by bottle, made the idea seem more feasible than with cartridges. Presumably inks that mix on the page to make roughly the correct brown could be mixed in the bottle to produce roughly the correct brown, but who knows. I looked a bit into Windows printing APIs, including GDI (which I worked with ages ago, and seems the most promising), and at the source code for OOM and Purple Pen, as well as sending some questions to them and to OCAD. I've spoken to Epson, but not gotten much; I'd need a better lead there to get much. The main question may be whether their driver supports GDI (newer APIs seem centered on CMYK), and allows access to all five inks. Thanks for everyone's info. It's a crazy idea that may very well not work, or even get beyond the preliminary investigation stage, but seemed worth a little scratching.
Feb 1, 2018 5:27 AM # 
once you get that paper you need to make sure you print on the correct side:
Feb 1, 2018 5:38 AM # 
Ok, thanks
Feb 6, 2018 4:06 AM # 
It is better with that paper. Even 1:15,000 seems largely workable. Form lines are a bit sketchy at that scale...gaps aren't so apparent, line width is variable. Maybe one factor is the age of my printer; perhaps newer ones are better.

US 27 cents a sheet. (Maybe there's a cheaper source than having it shipped Amazon in 100 sheet packs.) Definitely a feasible cost.

I suspect that having a brown ink may lead to somewhat easier to read brown lines, so I may continue with that investigation. (I can see some characteristics of the lines that I would expect to go away with a single ink of the desired color.)
Feb 6, 2018 11:20 PM # 
Canon hr 101 also works well, so worth a try if it's significantly cheaper.
Feb 7, 2018 3:14 AM # 
Form lines are a bit sketchy at that scale. An unintended consequence of the newer thinner formlines in ISOM 2017 perhaps? Maybe try making them a bit thicker and increasing the gaps a bit before going down the brown ink rabbit hole.

There are several brands of similar paper. Canon makes some as Hawkeye says. Also HP I imagine. In Japan there are also a few other lesser known brands that make a cheaper product (eg. Kokuyo, Fuji Film). Not sure what is available in the US but worth looking around and trying a few. But even 27c per page is not really a problem I would have thought - it's still a pretty small fraction of the overall entry fee.
Feb 7, 2018 3:22 AM # 
No, the cost is not a problem, quite feasible. Changing the form lines is the most obvious solution, and should work. Yes, brown ink could be a rabbit hole. I'm a bit intrigued at the possibility, though it may only make a marginal difference. My motivation is definitely reduced for brown ink given that paper can make for adequate results.
Feb 7, 2018 11:38 AM # 
How does the paper stand up to handling? If it works for you, Jim, it should work for everybody.
Feb 7, 2018 12:13 PM # 
It has been standard practice in Japan for years to print competition maps with inkjets on this sort of paper. It stands up very well.
Feb 7, 2018 3:13 PM # 
That was mostly a comment on Jim's notorious habit of wrinkling maps into oblivion.
Feb 7, 2018 4:28 PM # 
I'll give it a try on a practice course and post the results.
Aug 22, 2018 8:07 PM # 
How has the printer tests worked out?
Aug 24, 2018 3:19 AM # 
A club mate has one of the printers, but indicates that the inks aren't waterproof, which kind of messes it up for orienteering.

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