major black issue with Ricoh 9100

I've owned my Ricoh 9100 machine for about 3 years now. Since owning it I've had a major issue printing black ink. When I run a grayscale print job, the black comes out very light. I have to make several adjustments just to get the black to come out clearly - like changing print profiles or adjusting the darkness of prints. Also, when I print files with any percentage of black (40/50/60/70% black - basically any screen of black), the print comes out extemely light and sometimes unreadable. This happens when I print in grayscale or in color. So if a color document has text that is 50% black, the print would be hard to read. This issue isn't only on text but also on solid grays (any percentage of black). On solid grays, the solid part would be very blotchy and would not print out solid.

I have many different Ricoh techs and color specialists look at this but none of them have a solution. They have rebuilt profiles and provided a bunch of adjustments but nothing that works consistently. As far as I can tell, this is a common issue on the Ricoh 9100 boxes. Ricoh has pretty much swept this issue under the rug without actually admitting this is a known issue.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if they've found a solution.
 

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ColorMonkey

Well-known member
So basically I just want to say this was not a big issue with mine. I do however remember that we had an issue where the black on occasions would print not as expected, but this was due to the file and/or RIP settings, not the printer. Which is why I used this test sheet to identify and compare blacks in different scenarios.

I will forward it but I feel I can't be of much help if you say the Ricoh techs and color specialist have already addressed it. It could be the RIP setup, media, paper settings, etc. I'm sure they covered all that plus some.

All I can say is I personally did not have this issue.
 

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HI ColorMonkey, thanks for uploading those files.
Just to confirm, do you have the 9100 or the 9110? As far as I know, it doesn't affect the Ricoh 9110.
 

ColorMonkey

Well-known member
I don't have it anymore but it was a 9100. Ran it for about 4 years I wanna say. The problem I had with this model was when I would send 100% raster black. It would want to print it at like a 90% screen. Went through this for a while trying to figure out what was going on. Another thing is printing a screen on bond would also not turn out well but its to be to expected. If you were to print it on coated you could tell it was laying it down fine. These are to be expected as I say though.
 
You're right. I forgot to mention that printing on uncoated stocks were terrible. The two sample prints I put up are on uncoated stocks. Often times we have to print everything darker just to get something readable. It's a real headache for easy black and white jobs on uncoated stocks. A job that should take 10 mins end up taking 30-45 mins as we try to get the color right.
 

ColorMonkey

Well-known member
Curious, are you building paper profiles using FCPS? What, if you don't mind me asking, is your daily calibrating routine? Also under output profile in job properties are you using user defined or actually selecting a profile that you used to calibrate to?

Also, do you have any higher res images you could post of the particular problem your having. The images you posted are so compressed I can't see the screen/dots.
 
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I'm not familiar with FCPS. When the machine was installed a Ricoh color specialist setup all my profiles. We normally don't calibrate daily but rather on a weekly basis. We have a Fiery and use that to calibrate; then we use ORIS Lynx for color management.

For certain papers, there's already a defined profile. A profile was originally setup as the default for our standard uncoated stock. We select a different profile for coated stocks. We also have several other different profiles setup for other uncoated stocks. These were setup a work arounds for this particular "gray" issue.

I've attached a few other photos of prints here. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the issue at hand.
 

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namelessentity

Well-known member
It looks to me like your Fiery halftone screens are set up incorrectly. Hopefully a Fiery user can provide more info since I don't have a Fiery controller here, but it kinda looks like it's set to something like "error diffusion" instead of a line/dot screen.

Also, could you scan your printouts instead of taking photos?
 
The blacks from the 9100 are one of the downfalls but don't think ours is as bad as that. We had a similar issue with cyan and magenta, turned out the machine had the wrong developer units installed, have you checked your black dev unit and developer?
 

ColorMonkey

Well-known member
@therm can you do me a favor? Can you PM me your server config. If you are unsure of how to do, in command workstation, to the left of the server name there are three dots. Click that and go down to Print, and then choose Server Configuration. Scan that as a pdf then PM me and upload file.

If you feel uncomfortable releasing certain information just black out any IP info. Otherwise don't worry about it. I need to see how the RIP is set up and then we can go from there.

Also when you say you calibrate are you saying you use the EFI "canned" calibrations (they have Fiery that precedes each one and there is Glossy, Uncoated, and Matte)?

Another question I have is not sure if I'm seeing this correctly it must be the quality of the scan/photo but your 50% K, is it actually screened? Or does it look like a solid with basically less density than the 100 patch?
 
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ColorMonkey

Well-known member
This one really has me confused so FYI I went ahead and got with a Ricoh tech who is a really good friend of mine and is a REALLY great tech but, I sent him the image you posted, the Gracol test sheet, and talked with him about it. See if his response applies to you or if you have heard this before.

"I would guess that this may be a development gamma issue. If he's running in a low temp/high humidity environment it can cause a consistent issue with the development/toner mixture. But a tech should be able to compensate a bit for that...🤔

I'd be curious to see what it looks like using different halftone modes. (200 dot vs 175 dot vs interference reduction) He also might get better results by reducing the maximum image density in advanced settings for skilled operators."


As would I. Can you maybe run one of each with those modes? And try to use a gloss paper instead of an uncoated stock.
 
@therm can you do me a favor? Can you PM me your server config. If you are unsure of how to do, in command workstation, to the left of the server name there are three dots. Click that and go down to Print, and then choose Server Configuration. Scan that as a pdf then PM me and upload file.

If you feel uncomfortable releasing certain information just black out any IP info. Otherwise don't worry about it. I need to see how the RIP is set up and then we can go from there.

Also when you say you calibrate are you saying you use the EFI "canned" calibrations (they have Fiery that precedes each one and there is Glossy, Uncoated, and Matte)?

Another question I have is not sure if I'm seeing this correctly it must be the quality of the scan/photo but your 50% K, is it actually screened? Or does it look like a solid with basically less density than the 100 patch?
Yes, we use the EFI canned calibrations.
 
The blacks from the 9100 are one of the downfalls but don't think ours is as bad as that. We had a similar issue with cyan and magenta, turned out the machine had the wrong developer units installed, have you checked your black dev unit and developer?
I have not checked that black dev unit and developer. The developer has been changed but I do not know about the actual dev unit. Over the years, the techs did not believe it was a hardware issue but more of a color issue so they always brought in the Ricoh color specialist. The color specialist would create profiles to put a band aid on the issue or provide a work around but it was never resolved.
Our workaround right now is to choose a different profile when we print certain jobs. However, this particular profile makes everything print darker so the colors are off when we use this profile.
 
I have not checked that black dev unit and developer. The developer has been changed but I do not know about the actual dev unit. Over the years, the techs did not believe it was a hardware issue but more of a color issue so they always brought in the Ricoh color specialist. The color specialist would create profiles to put a band aid on the issue or provide a work around but it was never resolved.
Our workaround right now is to choose a different profile when we print certain jobs. However, this particular profile makes everything print darker so the colors are off when we use this profile.
If I were you, I'd at least check the units are the correct ones. There are 3 types I think. K, C/M, and Y. I know they are very expensive parts but that was definitely the issue with ours. As I say though, ours was with the Cyan and Magenta so don't take my word for it as it could just be a coincidence that the problem looks the same.

As an add on, I do presume you have run developer refreshing?
 

Dmiller35

Member
Yeah I'd push back on that. It's definitely a hardware issue. I can't quite remember what causes that but I know it's plagued us as well. I believe it is related to the developer so if it has been changed then the dev unit is where I would start.
 

ColorMonkey

Well-known member
I just want to throw this out there, there have been a lot of Mods that have come out for the 9100. So it would be good to find out if those were installed or not. Not all directly deal with this issue but doesn't matter. If you have a service contract you should push to get those on the machine.
 
We've owned the machine for over three years now so I can't remember if the black developer unit has ever been replaced. I'm pretty sure the K developer has been changed but not sure about the unit. I have brought this issue up to Ricoh many times but no real solution has been presented. Usually they just create new profiles and adjust it.

I haven't made this a bigger deal either because it affects maybe less than 5% of my work. The biggest issue I have to deal with is when I print a job and someone uses a screen of black or a solid gray in the artwork. This usually causes a huge headache and we have to find workarounds. If we are able to edit the files, one workaround we use is to convert the screen of black (for example, convert 50% black to C20/M20/Y20/K40). This is a real pain though because we can't edit every file that comes through to us.
 
If I were you, I'd at least check the units are the correct ones. There are 3 types I think. K, C/M, and Y. I know they are very expensive parts but that was definitely the issue with ours. As I say though, ours was with the Cyan and Magenta so don't take my word for it as it could just be a coincidence that the problem looks the same.

As an add on, I do presume you have run developer refreshing?
Hi, we normally don't do developer refreshing. I know there's a setting for that on the admin mode but we normally don't use that setting. In fact, I don't think I've ever used that setting since owning the machine. I will have to ask my tech about the different developers. I don't know if they have a record of when they swapped those units out.
 
Hi, we normally don't do developer refreshing. I know there's a setting for that on the admin mode but we normally don't use that setting. In fact, I don't think I've ever used that setting since owning the machine. I will have to ask my tech about the different developers. I don't know if they have a record of when they swapped those units out.
Try running a developer refreshing, it won't do any harm though the techs have probably already tried this. If you're on a service contract and had the machine from new it should have all the correct dev units but as I said, that was what caused a similar problem for us with Cyan and Magenta so just throwing a possible suggestion into the mix. Hope you get it solved!
 

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