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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Officejet 6500A e-All-in-One Printer Series

Issue

The quality of the printout or printed image is not as expected.
Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
note:
Some of the following solutions require the full HP software. If you did not install the full software when you installed your printer, click here to go to the software and drivers page, and then download and install the full feature software.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink or toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to the HP anti-counterfeit webpage (in English).
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

Solution two: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
note:
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, such as photo paper and envelopes. 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. Use only clean, wrinkle-free paper.
    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.
      ColorLok logo
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.
    • Some paper might 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 determines 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
Illustration of horizontal streaks
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Figure : Vertical streaks in printout
Illustration of 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.
Try printing again after trying the preceding guidelines.

Solution three: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.
note:
If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in this document might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Step one: Check the print quality settings

  1. Open the HP Toolbox.
    note:
    You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
  2. Double-click Printer Actions, and then double-click Set Preferences. The Printing Preferences dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. Under Paper Source, select Tray 1.
  5. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.
    • Paper sizes: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.
    • Media: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Quality Settings: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, decrease the print quality.
  6. Click OK, and then close the HP Toolbox.

Step two: Check the Print in Grayscale setting

  1. Open the HP Toolbox.
    note:
    You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().
  2. Double-click Printer Actions, and then double-click Set Preferences. The Printing Preferences dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. Click Advanced. The Advanced Options window opens.
  5. Under Printer Features, make sure that Print in Grayscale is set to Off.
  6. Click OK, and then click OK again to return to your document.
  7. Try to print the document again.

Solution four: Check estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check estimated ink levels, and then replace any low or empty cartridges.

Step one: Check estimated ink levels

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.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. On the home screen of the printer control panel, touch the Right Arrow () to display the second navigation screen.
  3. Touch the Ink Status icon (). The Estimated Ink Levels screen displays with gauges for all four ink colors.
    Figure : Example of estimated ink levels
    Image: Example of estimated ink levels on the control panel
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Continue to the next solution.
  • If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step two: Replace any low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to replace any low or empty cartridges.

This video shows how to replace an ink cartridge in the HP Officejet 6500A printer

  1. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you proceed.
    Figure : Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  2. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up and out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge from its slot
    Image: Remove the cartridge from its slot.
      caution:
    Do not lift the gray latch handle on the carriage. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down to install the cartridges correctly.
  3. On the replacement cartridge, pull the orange pull tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Remove the plastic wrap
    Image: Remove the plastic wrap.
  4. Twist the orange cap counterclockwise to snap it off the cartridge.
    Figure : Remove the orange cap
    Image: Remove the orange cap.
  5. With the cartridge contacts facing the carriage, slide the cartridge into the empty slot, and then press down on the cartridge until it snaps firmly into place.
    Figure : Insert the cartridge
    Image: Insert the cartridge.
  6. Repeat these steps for any other low or empty cartridges.
  7. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door.
  8. Follow the instructions on the control panel to start the cartridge alignment. The printer aligns the cartridges, and then prints an alignment page.

Solution five: Print and evaluate a print quality report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate a print quality report.

Step one: Print a print quality report

  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the input tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, touch the Right Arrow () to display the second navigation screen.
  3. Touch the Setup icon (). The Setup Menu displays.
  4. Touch the Down Arrow (), and then touch Reports.
  5. Touch Print Quality Report. The print quality report prints.
    Figure : Example of a print quality report
    Image of a print quality report

Step two: Check the print quality report for defects

In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
Use this table for examples of defects that can exist on the print quality report. These examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the print quality report
Defect
Example
Large font text is ragged on one end
illustration of ragged large text
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars
Illustration of streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color bars
Illustration of ragged color bars
The color bars are streaked with another color
Illustration of streaked color bars
The color blocks have regular white streaks
Illustration of white streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patterns
Illustration of jagged alignment patterns
  • If you see no defects on the print quality report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try these general print quality guidelines, and then do not continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document:
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that are enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the problem 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°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the print quality report, continue to the next steps.

Step three: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented

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. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Figure : Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
  2. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge.
  3. Examine the vent area on the cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure : Vent area
    Image: Cartridge vent area.
  4. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure : Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  5. 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
  6. Reinsert the cartridge. With the cartridge contacts facing the carriage, slide the cartridge into the empty slot, and then press down on the cartridge until it snaps firmly into place.
    note:
    Make sure that each cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
    Figure : Reinstall the cartridge
    Image: Reinstall the cartridge.
  7. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  8. Make sure that each cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each cartridge snaps into place.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door.
  10. Try to print again.

Step four: Use an automated tool to clean the printhead

  caution:
Never turn off the printer when ink cartridges are not installed. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead or that can damage the ink system, always replace ink cartridges as soon as possible, and always turn off the printer using the Power button.
  1. On the home screen of the printer control panel, touch the Right Arrow () to display the second navigation screen.
  2. Touch the Setup icon (). The Setup Menu displays.
  3. Touch the Down Arrow (), and then touch Tools.
  4. Touch Clean Printhead. The printer cleans the printhead, and then prints out a test page.
  5. Evaluate the test page for print quality.
    • If the print quality on the test page is satisfactory, touch No to return to the current print job.
    • If the print quality on the test page is not satisfactory, touch Yes to perform a secondary cleaning of the printhead.
      note:
      There are three printhead cleaning stages. Complete all three stages if necessary. If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes after the third cleaning cycle to start the first stage of the cleaning process over again.

Step five: Align the printhead

  1. On the home page, touch the Right Arrow () to display the second navigation screen.
  2. Touch the Setup icon (). The Setup Menu displays.
  3. Touch the Down Arrow (), and then touch Tools.
  4. Touch Align Printhead. The printer aligns the printhead, and then prints out an alignment page.

Solution six: Update the printer firmware

Firmware is software that is embedded in the printer hardware. There might be a newer version of the firmware that will resolve your issue. Choose the method to update to the most current firmware.

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 you remove 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 cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink or toner supplies, go to Printer and Page Yield Overview, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.
  1. If you are in Asia Pacific, the site directs you to a service center in your area.
  2. Search for part number CN643A.
  3. Follow the 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

Service or replace your HP product if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.
Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.
To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.

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