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HP Designjet T7100 and T7100 Monochrome Printer Series - Troubleshoot print-quality issues

General advice

Use the following approach when you have any print-quality problem:
  • To achieve the best performance from your printer, use only genuine HP supplies and accessories, whose reliability and performance have been thoroughly tested to give trouble-free performance and best-quality prints.
  • Make sure that the paper type that you select on the front panel is the same as the paper type that is loaded in the printer. Make sure that the paper type has been calibrated. Also make sure that the paper type that you select in your software is the same as the paper type that you loaded in the printer.
      caution:
    If you have the wrong paper type selected, you might experience poor print quality and incorrect colors, and damage to the printheads might occur.
  • Make sure that you are using the most appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. You are likely to see lower print quality if you have moved the print-quality slider to the Fast end of the scale, or set the custom quality level to Fast.
  • Make sure that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are in the recommended range.
  • Make sure that your ink cartridges and printheads have not passed their expiration dates.
  • Avoid touching the paper while printing is in progress.

Troubleshooting tools

To access the troubleshooting tools in the Embedded Web Server, select the Support tab. The first two tools can also be accessed from the front panel's Image quality maintenance menu.

Optimize print quality

This option ensures that printer and supplies are adjusted to deliver optimum print quality. Click Next to execute all calibration and recovery routines automatically. The whole process consumes 80 cm of paper and may take up to 20 minutes.
note:
This option can also be selected from the front panel. From the main menu, select , then Optimize print quality.

Optimization suggested actions

This option suggests a series of recommended actions to improve print quality, based on the results of internal checks. These actions may include reseating a printhead, changing paper to run a specific calibration, cleaning some printer component, etc. Execute them in the proposed order.
note:
Use this option if you want to save time by acting directly on the causes of your problem, or if your problem persists after the automatic Optimize print quality process.
note:
This option can also be selected from the front panel. From the main menu, select , then Optimization suggested actions.

Most-common issues resolution

This option is designed to help you resolve some of the most common print-quality issues that users encounter in large-format printing:
  • Dark or light horizontal lines across the image (banding)
  • Graininess
  • Poor line quality
  • Inaccurate colors
In the first window, select the print-quality issue that you are experiencing and click Next.
A list of suggestions for corrective action appears along with help to guide you through each action.

Lines are too thick, too thin or missing

Figure : Thin and missing lines
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View information key .
  2. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. Select the custom print-quality options in the driver dialog, and try turning on the Maximum detail option (if available). You may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  3. If the resolution of your image is greater than the printing resolution, you may notice a loss of line quality. If you are using the HP-GL/2 and HP RTL driver for Windows, you can find the Max. Application Resolution option in the driver dialog's Advanced tab, under Document Options > Printer Features. If you change this option, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  4. If lines are too thin or missing, print the Image Diagnostics Print.
  5. If the problem remains, go to the front panel and select the Ink menu icon , then Printhead information to see the printhead alignment status. If the status is PENDING, you should align the printheads. After alignment, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  6. Go to the front panel and press the View information key to see the paper advance calibration status. If the status is DEFAULT or RECOMMENDED, you should perform paper advance calibration.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Lines appear stepped or jagged

If lines in your image appear stepped or jagged when printed:
Figure : Stepped line
  1. The problem may be inherent in the image. Try to improve the image with the application you are using to edit it.
  2. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.
  3. Select the custom print-quality options in the driver dialog, and turn on the Maximum detail option (if available).

Lines print double or in the wrong colors

This problem can have various visible symptoms:
  • Colored lines are printed double, in different colors.
    Figure : Colored lines printed double
  • The borders of colored blocks are wrongly colored.
    Figure : Colored blocks wrongly colored
To correct this kind of problem:
  1. Reseat the printheads by removing them and then reinserting them.
  2. Align the printheads.

Lines are discontinuous

If your lines are broken in the following way:
Figure : Vertical lines wavy or blurred
  1. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.
  2. Reseat the printheads by removing them and then reinserting them.
  3. Align the printheads.

Lines are blurred

Figure : Blurred lines
Humidity can cause ink to soak into the paper, making the lines blurred and fuzzy. Try the following:
  1. Check that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are suitable for high-quality printing.
  2. Check that the paper type selected in the front panel is the same as the paper type you are using. To check on the front panel, use the View information key .
  3. Try changing to a heavier paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  4. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  5. If you are using glossy paper, try changing to a different type of glossy paper.
  6. Align the printheads.

Line lengths are inaccurate

If you have measured your printed lines and find that the lengths are not sufficiently accurate for your purposes, you can try to improve line length accuracy in the following ways.
  1. Print on HP Matte Film, for which your printer's line length accuracy is specified. See Functional specificationsFunctional specifications.
    Polyester film is about ten times more dimensionally stable than paper. However, using film that is thinner or thicker than HP Matte Film will reduce line length accuracy.
  2. Set the Print Quality slider to Quality.
  3. Maintain the room at a steady temperature between 10 and 30°C.
  4. Load the roll of film and let it rest for five minutes before printing.
  5. If you are still not satisfied, try recalibrating the paper advance.

The whole image is blurry or grainy

Figure : Graininess
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View information key .
  2. Check that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Check that you are using appropriate print-quality settings. In some cases, you can overcome a print-quality problem merely by selecting a higher print-quality level. For instance, if you have set the Print Quality slider to Speed, try setting it to Quality. If you change the print-quality settings, you may wish to reprint your job at this point in case the problem has been solved.
  4. Go to the front panel and select the Ink menu icon , then Printhead information to see the printhead alignment status. If the status is PENDING, you should align the printheads. After alignment, you may wish to reprint your job in case the problem has been solved.
  5. Go to the front panel and press the View information key to see the paper advance calibration status. If the status is DEFAULT or RECOMMENDED, you should perform paper advance calibration.
If the problem persists despite all the above actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.

The paper is not flat

If the paper does not lie flat when it comes out of the printer, but has shallow waves in it, you are likely to see defects in the printed image, such as vertical stripes. This can happen when you use thin paper that becomes saturated with ink.
Figure : Waves in the paper
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View information key .
  2. Try changing to a thicker paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  3. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.

The print is scuffed or scratched

The black ink pigment can be scuffed or scratched when touched by a finger, a pen or some other object. This is particularly noticeable on coated paper.
Glossy paper may be extremely sensitive to the basket or to anything else that it contacts soon after printing, depending on the amount of ink used and the environmental conditions at the time of printing.
To reduce the risk of scuffs and scratches:
  • Handle prints carefully.
  • Avoid stacking prints on top of each other.
  • Catch your prints as they are cut from the roll and do not let them fall into the basket. Alternatively, leave a sheet of paper in the basket so that freshly printed sheets do not make direct contact with the basket.

Ink marks on the paper

If a lot of ink is used on plain or coated paper, the paper absorbs the ink quickly and expands. As the printheads move over the paper, the printheads may come into contact with the paper and smear the printed image. This problem is normally seen only on cut sheets of paper (not on roll paper).
Figure : Smears
Whenever you notice this problem, cancel the printing job immediately. Press the Cancel key and also cancel the job from your computer application. Soaked paper can damage the printheads.
Try the following suggestions to avoid this problem:
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type selected in the front panel and in your software. To check on the front panel, use the View information key .
  2. Use a recommended paper type and the correct print settings.
  3. Try changing to a thicker paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper and HP Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  4. Select a paper type that is slightly thinner than the paper you have loaded; this will persuade the printer to use less ink. Here are some example paper types in ascending order of thickness: Plain Paper, Coated Paper, Heavyweight Coated Paper, Super Heavyweight Plus Matte Paper.
  5. Try to increase the margins by relocating the image to the center of the page using your software application.

Black ink comes off when you touch the print

This problem may be caused by printing with matte black ink on glossy paper. The printer will not use matte black ink if it knows that the paper will not retain it. To be sure of avoiding matte black ink, you can select Photo Glossy Paper as the paper type (in the Photo Paper category).

Vertical lines of different colors

If your print has vertical bands of different colors along it:
  1. Try using thicker paper, choosing from the recommended paper types such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper and HP Super Heavyweight Paper.
  2. Try using higher print-quality settings. For instance, if you have set the Print Quality slider to Speed, try setting it to Quality.

White spots on the print

You may notice white spots on the print. This is probably due to paper fibers, dust or loose coating material. To avoid this problem:
  1. Try cleaning the paper manually with a brush before printing, to remove any loose fibers or particles.
  2. Always keep the cover of your printer closed.
  3. Protect your paper rolls by storing them in bags or boxes.

Colors are inaccurate

Figure : Inaccurate colors
If the colors of your print do not match your expectations, try the following remedies:
  1. Check that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you selected on the front panel and in your software. At the same time, check the color-calibration status. If the status is RECOMMENDED or OBSOLETE, you should perform color calibration. If you have made any changes, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  2. Check that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Make sure that you are using the appropriate print-quality settings. If you have selected the EconoMode or Speed options, you might not get accurate colors. If you change the print-quality settings, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  4. If you are using Application Color Management, make sure that the color profile that you are using corresponds to the selected paper type and print-quality settings.
  5. If the problem consists of color differences between your print and your monitor, follow the instructions in the “How to calibrate your monitor” section of the HP Color Center. Reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  6. Print the Image Diagnostics Print.
If the problem persists, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Colors between different HP Designjets do not match

If you print an image on two different printer models (for instance, on an HP Designjet T7100 printer series and an HP Designjet 4500 printer series), the colors of the two prints might not match well.
Matching two printing devices that use different ink chemistry, paper chemistry, and printheads is unlikely to be completely successful. Use the information provided here is to attempt to make one printer match another.

Print with PostScript drivers

The situation describes printing with the PostScript driver installed for that printer. In this example, we are using an HP Designjet T7100 printer series and an HP Designjet 4500 printer series.
  1. Check that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Check that you have the most recent printer driver for both printers. Download the latest versions for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. On the front panel of the HP Designjet T7100, select the icon, and then select Image quality maintenance > Enable color calibration > On.
  4. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  5. Check that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper that you have loaded.
  6. Use your normal settings to print your image on the HP Designjet 4500.
  7. Now prepare to print the same image on the HP Designjet T7100.
    In your software, set the color space of the image to emulate the HP Designjet 4500 and the specific paper type that you used in that printer. The data sent to the driver must be already converted to this emulation color space, which is a CMYK color space. See the online help for the software program to find information about how to do this. In this way, the T7100 will emulate the colors that the 4500 can produce when printing on that paper type.
  8. In the PostScript driver for the HP Designjet T7100, go to the Color Management section and set the CMYK input profile to the same HP Designjet 4500 color space that you selected in the software (the emulation color space).
  9. Print the image on the HP Designjet T7100.

Print with HP-GL/2 drivers

The situation describes printing with the HP-GL/2 driver installed for that printer.
  1. Check that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Check that you have the most recent printer drivers for both printers. You can download the latest versions for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. On the front panel of the HP Designjet T7100 printer series, select the icon, then Image quality maintenance > Enable color calibration > On.
  4. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  5. Check that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper you have loaded.
  6. In the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet T7100, click the Color tab, and select Printer Emulation from the list of color management options. Then select the HP Designjet 4500 from the list of emulated printers.
  7. In the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet 4500, click the Options tab, and then select Manual Color > Color Control > Match Screen. Also click the Paper Size tab, and then select Paper Type.

Print the same HP-GL/2 file

The situation describes how to produce an HP-GL/2 file (also known as a PLT file) with the HP-GL/2 driver installed for one printer that you intend to send to another printer.
  1. Check that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. At the front panel of the HP Designjet T7100, select the icon, then Image quality maintenance > Enable color calibration > On.
  3. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  4. Check that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper you have loaded.
  5. If you have an HP-GL/2 file for an HP Designjet 4500 and you want to print it on an HP Designjet T7100, use the Embedded Web Server or the front panel.
    • Through the Embedded Web Server: leave the color options set to Default.
    • On the front panel: select the icon, and then select Setup > Printing preferences > Color options > Emulate printer > HP Designjet 4500 Series.
    For other HP Designjet printers, set both printers to match the screen colors (sRGB, if that is available), as when printing with separate HP-GL/2 drivers.

The output is completely blank

If the front-panel graphic language setting is Automatic (the default), try the other settings: PostScript for a PostScript file, HP-GL/2 for an HP-GL/2 file, and so on. Then send the file again.
When you have finished this particular print, remember to reset the graphic language to Automatic.

The output contains only a partial print

  • If you pressed Cancel before the printer received all the data, you ended the data transmission and will have to print the page again.
  • The I/O timeout setting might be too short. This setting determines how long the printer waits for the computer to send more data, before deciding that the job is finished. On the front panel, increase the I/O timeout setting to a longer period and then send the print again by selecting the icon, and then selecting Connectivity > Advanced > Select I/O timeout.
  • A communications problem between your computer and the printer might exist. Check your USB or network cable.
  • Check that your software settings are correct for your current page size (for example, long-axis prints).
  • If you are using network software, make sure that it has not timed out.

The image is clipped

Clipping normally indicates a discrepancy between the actual printable area on the loaded paper and the printable area as described by your software. You can often identify this kind of problem before printing by previewing your print.
  • Check the actual printable area for the paper size that you have loaded.
    printable area = paper size – margins
  • Check what your software understands to be the printable area (which it might cite as "printing area" or "imageable area"). For example, some software programs assume standard printable areas that are larger than those used in this printer.
  • If you have defined a custom page size that has very narrow margins, the printer might impose its own minimal margins and clip your image slightly. You might want to use a larger paper size.
  • If your image contains its own margins, you might be able to print it successfully by using the Clip contents by margins option.
  • If you are trying to print a very long image on a roll, make sure that your software can print an image of that size.
  • You might have asked to rotate the page to landscape orientation on a paper size that is not sufficiently wide.
  • If necessary, reduce the size of the image or document in your software, so that it fits between the margins
Other explanations exist for a clipped images. Some programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, use an internal 16-bit coordinate system which means that they cannot handle an image of more than 32,768 pixels. If you try to print a larger image, the bottom of the image will be clipped. To print the entire image, try these suggestions:
  • If you are using an HP-GL/2 driver, you can reduce the resolution so that the whole image requires fewer than 32,768 pixels. The Windows driver includes an option called 16-bit App. Compatibility, which reduces the resolution automatically. The option is on the Advanced tab, under Document Options > Printer Features.
  • Save the file in another format, such as TIFF or EPS, and open it in another program.
  • Use a RIP to print the file.

The image is in one portion of the printing area

  • In the software, have you selected a page size that is too small?
  • Does your software read the image as being in one portion of the page?

The image is unexpectedly rotated

On the front panel, select the icon, and then select Setup > Printing preferences > Paper options > Rotate. Check that the setting is what you wanted.
For non-PostScript files: if Nesting is On, pages are sometimes automatically rotated to save paper.

The print is a mirror image of the original

On the front panel, select the icon, and then select Setup > Printing preferences > Paper options > Enable mirror image. Check that the setting is what you wanted.

The print is distorted or unintelligible

  • The interface cable that is connecting your printer to your network (or to your computer) might be faulty. Try another cable.
  • On the front panel, select the icon, and then select Setup > Printing preferences > Select graphics languag. If the language setting is Automatic (the default), try the other settings: PostScript for a PostScript file, HP-GL/2 for an HP-GL/2 file, on so on. Then send the file again.
  • Depending on the software, drivers, and RIPs that you are using with your printer, different ways to solve this problem exist. Refer to the vendor's user documentation for details.

One image overlays another on the same print

The I/O timeout setting might be too long. On the front panel, decrease the setting and print again. Select the icon, and then select Connectivity > Advanced > Select I/O timeout.

Pen settings seem to have no effect

  • You have changed the settings on the front panel by selecting the icon followed by Setup > Printing preferences > HP-GL/2 > Define palette, but did not select that palette in Setup > Printing preferences > HP-GL/2 > Select palette.
  • To enable the software-driven pen settings, go to the front panel and select the icon followed by Setup > Printing preferences > HP-GL/2 > Select palette > Software.

The image has a wood-grain appearance (aeroworms)

Figure : Inaccurate colors
Aeroworms are wavy, horizontal bands produced by air-induced dot placement error (DPE). In extreme cases, aeroworms give the image a wood-grain appearance. The problem occurs most commonly on print jobs that are set for low-quality and high-speed. It does not occur when the custom print-quality setting is set to “best.”
To eliminate aeroworms, select a higher IQ print setting.