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After some time Epson Stylus Color 1520 in our bureau started to fail. The printout is either staggered or fails and LEDs for “Cover Open” and “Pause” starts to flash. User’s manual says “The print heads were moved by hand”.

Maybe. Or maybe no. Actually, no.

The problem may be of mechanical or hardware type.
There is optical sensor near the sponge to indicate when the print head approaches landing area. If an alien particle is covering the sensor earlier than expeced, the print head stops and is actually misalligned. You may notice it. Just make sure there are no alien particles travelling with the print head.
Also, the print head motor or belt may be worn out. You will not be able to fix it, unless you have spare parts. But you should not be reading this now 😉

But if the printer is making strange sounds (head cleaning does not counts :), make sure you have enough grease on the sliding rails. In the case there is (almost) no grease (the white, not the black one), get your printer to the repair shop. It deserves. Our printer worked for almost seven years without proper service. You should not do this. Get your printer to the service every year or two. (BTW: i’ve installed the new printing system six months ago. Current CUPS print job number is 4845)

But if you have right hands, you can fix it by ourself. You will need an grease cleaner (oil is OK), a sponge or a towel (paper one is OK. Just be carefull) and a new grease. It’s better to use silicone based (the one used for lubricating eg. plastic parts), as it is more stiff and remains for a longer time on the sliders. But it may be hard to find. For the last repair i used PFTE-Spray, produced by Presto or actually Motip. It goes in local hobby shops for ~4EUR / 400ml. Will see how it performs.

So, unlock print head from the parking position. Just ask printer for cartridge change and, when the print heads moves to change position, unplug the power cord. Epson uses electronic PSU and pressing “Power” button will park the heads back.
Wipe out the old black grease from the railings (both cylinder and flat ones) using cleaner. Make sure the weared particles, dust and other black sediments are removed. You should move the print head to access every working surface of the railing. Make sure railings are clean from the cleaner afterwards.
Apply new grease. If using silicone, place it on the white gaskets and print head, just above the rails and make sure the grease is covering the rails while print head moves.
I covered the whole rail using sprayed grease. USE IT ONLY FOR THE RAILS, NOT FOR THE WHOLE PRINTER!