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HP Officejet 6500 Printers - Fixing Print Quality Problems

This document is for the HP Officejet 6500 and 6500 Wireless All-in-One printers (E709).
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color in not printing, black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink cartridges or refilled HP ink cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP ink cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.
Visit HP SureSupply to check ink cartridge compatibility or purchase replacement ink cartridges.
  1. Go to the HP SureSupply website.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and then make sure the country/region location is correct.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order new ink cartridges or check ink cartridge compatibility with your printer.
Genuine HP ink cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.
Some print quality problems that occur with a newly installed cartridge are corrected with the built-in automatic servicing routine. There is nothing you can do to trigger or speed up the automatic servicing. Simply allow the printer to rest for a few hours, and then try to print again.
  • If waiting for automatic servicing to complete resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If waiting for automatic servicing to complete did not resolve the issue, continue to the next solution.
Solution three: Check the paper
The quality and type of paper can affect the print job. Use the following guidelines to make sure the paper is appropriate. If it is not, load an appropriate paper type.
To purchase paper in the United States and Canada, go to HP Home & Home Office.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
    Figure : Do not use wrinkled paper
    Image: Do not use wrinkled paper
  • Use the correct paper type for your project.
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
      Figure : Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
    • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
  • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. This will determine if the problem is related to the paper.
 note:
Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts (or if the problem occurs on a copy, dirty scanner glass usually causes the issue). Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
Examples of horizontal streaks and vertical streaks in printout
Figure : Horizontal streaks in printout
Image: Horizontal streaks.
Figure : Vertical streaks in printout
Image: Vertical streaks.
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or print quality issues other than vertical streaks.
Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document, or search for a document that covers this issue. Streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
Try printing again after trying the preceding guidelines.
Solution four: Check the print settings
Check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.
Solution five: Check estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges
Low ink can contribute to poor print quality. Follow these steps to check the ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges according to the results.
 note:
Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low-ink levels, consider having a replacement ink cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace ink cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
Check the estimated ink levels from the Home screen on the printer control panel.
  1. Look at the estimated ink levels on the Home screen of the printer control panel. The control panel displays the ink levels as "bucket" icons above each color marker.
    Figure : Estimated ink level indicators on the printer control panel
    Image: Estimated ink level indicators on the printer control panel.
  2. Identify any low or empty ink cartridges:
    • An exclamation mark (!) in the bucket indicates a low or empty ink cartridge of the color marker below the bucket.
    • An ink cartridge that is not low or empty shows you its estimated ink level in the bucket above its corresponding color marker: Magenta, cyan, yellow, and black.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to the next solution in this document.
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.
Step two: Replace any depleted cartridges
Watch a video or use the following steps to replace a depleted cartridge.
The following video demonstrates how to replace an ink cartridge.
.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage stops moving before proceeding.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the ink cartridge access door.
  3. Press in the tab on the front of the ink cartridge, and then pull it out and up to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove the ink cartridge from its slot.
     caution:
    Do not lift the gray latch next to the carriage to install the ink cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated ink cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down to correctly install the ink cartridges.
  4. On the new ink cartridge, pull the orange pull-tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Remove the plastic wrap
    Image: Remove the plastic wrap.
  5. Twist the orange cap counterclockwise to snap it off the ink cartridge.
    Figure : Remove the orange cap
    Image: Remove the orange cap.
  6. With the ink cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the ink cartridge into the correct slot. The color-coded icons on the ink cartridge and in the printhead indicate the correct slot.
    Figure : Insert the ink cartridge
    Image: Insert the ink cartridge.
  7. Press down on the ink cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    Figure : Press the ink cartridge into place
    Image: Press the ink cartridge into place.
  8. Repeat these steps for each ink cartridge that you want to replace.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer.
Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report
Follow these steps to print a test page, and then evaluate the results.
Step one: Print a Print Quality Diagnostic Page
Follow these steps to print a test page.
  1. On the product control panel, press the Setup button () until Print Report displays, and then press OK.
  2. Press the Right Arrow button () to select Print Quality Report, and then press OK. The report prints.
    Figure : Example print quality report
Step two: Check the test page for defects
Review the diagnostic areas of the print quality report to check for defects. Defects on the report can help you identify the print quality issue and then troubleshoot it.
    Figure : Diagnostic areas of the print quality report
    Image: Diagnostic areas on test page.
  1. Sample text
  2. Alignment patterns
  3. Color bars
In general, if the printer and its cartridges work correctly, all the color bars are present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page does not show ink streaks.
Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the print quality diagnostic report. The following examples are not all inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the print quality diagnostic report
Defect
Example
Large font text is ragged on one end (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Ragged large text.
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Streaked or faded color bars.
Ragged color bars (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Ragged color bars.
The color bars are streaked with another color (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Streaked color bars.
The color blocks have regular white streaks (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: White streaks in the color bars.
Completely missing (black) color (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Missing color (black).
Page is blank or nearly blank (possible cartridge or printhead problem)
Image: Nearly blank page.
Jagged alignment patterns (possible alignment problem)
Image: Jagged alignment patterns.
  • If you see one or more defects on the print quality diagnostic report, continue to the next steps.
  • If there are no defects on the print quality diagnostic report, it indicates that the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. Therefore, you do not need to continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document. However, if printouts are still unsatisfactory, try the following general procedures to improve print quality:
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Enlarged images might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the issue is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer or another software program to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not display on the other end of the printout.
    • Avoid leaving unprotected cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
    • Always use the Power button to turn off the printer. This protects the cartridges from drying out.
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout.
Windows only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows.
Step three: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly
If the vent on the top of the cartridge is clogged or obstructed, the cartridge might not work properly. Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly.
  1. If the printer is not already on, press the Power button to turn it on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  3. Press the tab on the front of one of the ink cartridges to release it, and then remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Image: Removing the ink cartridge
     caution:
    Do not lift the gray latch next to the carriage to remove the ink cartridge. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated ink cartridges and printing problems.
  4. Examine the vent area above the HP logo on the top of the ink cartridge.
    Figure : Vent area on the ink cartridge
    Image: Vent area on the top of the ink cartridge.
  5. If the ink cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure : Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  6. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      Figure : Clean the clogged vent with a pin
      Image: Clean the clogged vent with a pin.
    1. Clogged vent
    2. With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3. Unclogged vent
  7. With the ink cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the ink cartridge into the correct slot. The color-coded icons on the ink cartridge and in the printhead indicate the correct slot.
    Figure : Insert the ink cartridge
    Image: Insert the ink cartridge.
  8. Press down on the ink cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    Figure : Press the ink cartridge into place
    Image: Press the ink cartridge into place.
  9. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the ink cartridges.
  10. Make sure that each ink cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the ink cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each ink cartridge snaps into place.
  11. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  12. Try the print job again.
Step four: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead
Follow these steps to clean the printhead.
 note:
If the printhead is badly clogged, you might need to clean the printhead several times to restore normal print quality.
  1. Load letter, A4, or legal size, unused, plain white paper into the input tray.
  2. Press the Setup button ().
  3. Press the Down Arrow button () to highlight Tools, and then press OK.
  4. Press the Down Arrow button () to highlight Clean Printhead, and then press OK. The printer cleans the printhead, and a test page prints once the printer is done cleaning the printhead.
     note:
    Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal.
  5. Examine the test sheet for print quality. Consider repeating the cleaning if there is improvement. Sometimes the printer requires several cleanings.
  6. Recycle or discard the test sheet.
  7. When the cleaning process completes, press any button on the control panel to return to the Tools menu.
  8. Align the printer again.
 note:
Never turn off the printer when ink cartridges are missing. Make sure that you replace any missing ink cartridges as soon as possible to avoid print quality issues and possible extra ink usage or damage to the ink system. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead, always turn the printer off with the Power button on the printer itself.
Step five: Use an automated tool to align the printer
If there were defects on the print quality diagnostic report, follow these steps to align the printhead.
  1. Load letter, A4, or legal unused, plain white paper into the main tray.
  2. On the product control panel, press the Setup button () repeatedly until Tools displays, and then press OK.
  3. Press the Right Arrow button () to select Align Printer, and then press OK. The product aligns the printer and prints an alignment sheet.
    Figure : Example alignment sheet
     note:
    Mechanical noises during alignment are normal.
  4. Press the Back button () to return to the main screen, and then recycle or discard the alignment sheet.
Solution seven: Replace the printhead
If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, replace the printhead.
 caution:
Wait until you have a new printhead assembly available before removing the cartridges. HP recommends that you do not leave the cartridges outside the printer longer than 30 minutes. This could damage both the printer and the cartridges.
If you have a defective ink cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink supplies, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies, select your country/region, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.
These steps apply to the United States only.
If HP replaces your printhead assembly under warranty, you receive a new printhead assembly, cleaning materials, and a full set of new ink cartridges.
If your printhead assembly is no longer under warranty, you can purchase a new one online.
  1. Go to the HP Parts Store website (in English).
  2. Under Find your part(s), type CN643A in the Search by part number text box.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order the printhead assembly.
When you have the replacement printhead, go to Replacing the Printhead for detailed instructions to remove the old printhead and install the new one.
Solution eight: Service the printer
Follow these steps only if the preceding troubleshooting sections instructed you to do so.
 note:
Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.

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