Epson Counter-attack Successful!

My office workhorse Epson C66 decided to die yesterday. Annoyingly it was due to built-in obsolescence! The “Printer parts are nearing the end of their serviceable life” message changed to “I’m dead” or words to that effect.

Thank heavens for the Internet! I found a great little utility that not only solved the problem (reset the protection counter) but has opened up all sorts of money-saving goodies and improvements to the printer’s use.

For example, if you’re tired of your R2400 cleaning ALL eight colours when only one is blocked – you can now select and clean just the troublesome one (although I haven’t tried it yet on my R2400).

It’s freeware, a small download, and a great utility:

SSC Service Utility – download it at

This is just a selection of what it can do:

  • Work directly with CSIC in Epson Stylus printers cartridges.
  • Reset or rewrite any chip using special add on device.
  • Freeze internal ink counters.
  • Reset internal ink counters even with empty cartridges.
  • Separate cleaning of color and black heads for all Epson inkjet printers.
  • Hot swapping of cartridges supported.
  • Resetting of protection counter (even when it is already full).
  • More then 100 different Epson printers supported.

NOTE: Please be aware that resetting counters and fooling cartridge chips will probably invalidate your warranty (I had nothing to lose with my C66). But the single colour cleaning facility alone will make this software useful.

I found just one problem – it only recognises 7 of my R2400’s 8 colours (LLK [light light black] is missing). I just checked on the application’s forum and it’s listed as a known fault, so it should be fixed. In the meantime just being able to see the ink levels stated as percentages is a huge help….. except my LLK is the one about to run out 🙂

It’s very useful too for compatible (non-Epson) cartridges. I’ve been reading through a lot of posts about this software and they all seem to agree with that statement – especially if you usually refill existing cartridges. And if you do, using them invalidates the warranty (according to a post by an Epson service agent) so you’ve nothing to lose by trying this little application.

Apparently my C66 counts the number of times the heads are cleaned. When it reaches the limit of the waste ink that (Epson decree) the sponge will hold, it shuts down the printer. SSC reset the counter for me but warned that I should clean the sponge at some point. So here’s how I did it – the squeamish should stop reading right now!

  • Problem #1 – the print heads are immovable and sitting on top of the sponge.
  • Solution – Use SSC to reset the counter.
  • Now your printer is unlocked, press the ‘change cartridge’ button, wait for the print head to move left then quickly unplug the power cord.
  • Take off the right end of the casing. You’ll find two ‘pinch’ connectors underneath; press in the connector at top of the back with a screwdriver as you push the housing off; and there’s one hidden under the top that you can’t get at so, as I’d nothing to lose, I brutally levered the end off with a screwdriver 🙂 The hidden lug broke off but the housing went back on cleanly.
  • Optional: gently push in one of the hinge lugs of the top cover to release it from the main body and remove it.
  • Inside, loosen the self-tapping screw at the base of the end of the metal assembly that contains the main mechanism.
  • With a screwdriver, push down the catch at the end of the carrier that contains the sponge.
  • Pull the carrier out of the printer and disconnect the plastic pipe.
  • Don’t take the carrier apart (I did but it’s not necessary).
  • Wash the sponge in situ under a cold water tap and dry the assembly.
  • Clean the wash basin before the wife finds out.
  • Wipe black finger prints off bathroom door (for same reason).
  • Reassemble in reverse.
  • Have a cold beer.
  • Congratulate yourself on saving the cost of a replacement printer 🙂
  • Print out ‘War and Peace’ while thumbing nose at Epson.

Job done!

Jenny’s Workshop wonder

As I claim my workshops are for the novice to advanced student maybe a little proof is needed? My July UK workshop had a spare place that my wife Jenny decided to take. Some background information might help here – Jenny does the catering for us (with her friend Ruth “cakes” Harrison) and…… well, perhaps I should let Jenny tell you…

“As Mike’s wife I’m always being asked by artists at his workshops if I am an artist too, but I haven’t drawn or painted since I was about twelve years old.

We had a spare place in the July workshop, so I decided to take it. The first day I worked my way through all the exercises alongside everyone else, and then began the main drawing of the workshop in the late afternoon. I chose to draw a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel that Mike photographed in Yellowstone Park, when were there in June to hold his 5-day workshop.

My drawing is about 6″ × 5” and Mike drew the guide-line drawing for me, as he does for every artist in his workshops. I don’t have a lot of patience and thought I would quickly become bored but, once I began drawing, the time went so quickly. Everyone was lucky to get their lunch (my department) and cake!

The next day I really couldn’t wait to get started on my drawing again. Although I’ve watched Mike draw for almost 30 years, I never thought I’d ever try it myself – and now I want to begin planning my next one!

'Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel' by Jenny Sibley at a Mike Sibley UK drawing workshop
© 2008 “Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel” by Jenny Sibley

Now my Ground Squirrel is finished I must admit that the hardest part was the rocks. I found the fur easier because I know what animal hair looks like, but I don’t know anything about rocks. Mike told me to keep them simple, just to take my pencil for a walk, and let the eye make its own mind up about what they actually look like. I really must read that Drawing from Line to Life book 🙂

Mike didn’t help me more than anyone else during the workshop and fortunately, unlike husbands teaching wives to drive, he has enough patience for both of us. What’s next?? A Donkey… because I can’t persuade Mike to draw one.

And, if you’re planning on attending one of our UK workshops, please don’t worry about having to eat Mike’s rock buns – I promise I’ll still do the catering!”

I hope you agree with me that Jenny’s drawing is something she should be justifiably proud of – I know I am.