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HP Officejet 4210, 4250, and 4300 All-in-One Printer Series - Correcting Print Quality Problems

Introduction

This document will help resolve print-quality problems for the HP Officejet 4210 and 4250 Series all-in-one series products. If your problem is not listed, there may be another document that covers that specific topic. If a document on the problem still cannot be found, or the problem cannot be resolved, contact HP for assistance.

Basic print quality troubleshooting to determine the cause

There are many factors that can affect print quality and many of them are not related to the all-in-one. The first step is to determine if the all-in-one is the problem or if it is being caused by other factors. Review the basic print quality troubleshooting steps that are listed below:
  1. Check your paper and verify that the all-in-one has clean, white, inkjet-rated or multipurpose paper in it. Do not use copier grade papers or paper specifically for Laser printers. These papers are frequently coated and are not intended for dye-based inks.
    The paper container should also have a brightness and weight listed on it. The brighter and heavier the paper, the better the printout will look. For best results, use papers with at least 90 brightness and 75 g/m2 (20 pound) ratings.
  2. Verify that the all-in-one is on a firm surface that fully supports its weight and does not move as the all-in-one prints. If the all-in-one is placed on a desk or other surface that moves or shakes as the all-in-one prints, the printout quality may be affected.
  3. Refilled or remanufactured print cartridges often produce inferior results. HP will not support any print problems that result from using remanufactured and refilled print cartridges since their quality is not in HP's control. If you are using refilled or remanufactured print cartridges, replace them with a new HP print cartridge.
  4. On the all-in-one front panel, press and hold the OK button, and then press the Cancel button to print a self-test page.
    Figure : Self-test page
  5. Examine the self-test page printed by your all-in-one.
    • If the color bands are solid and the correct color and the text is sharp and clear, the problem is not caused by the all-in-one or the print cartridges. The problem is with the print settings, the file being printed, or the program you are printing from. Continue to step 6 below.
    • If the colors on the self-test page are not correct or are missing or the text is not sharp and clear, review the information in the Self-test page does not print correctly section below.
  6. Print the document again after changing the print settings by following the steps below:
    1. In the application you are printing from, click File and then click Print to open the Print window.
    2. Verify that the correct printer is selected and then click Properties.
    3. On the Paper/Quality tab, verify that the correct paper type is selected, and then change the Print Quality setting to Best. Verify that the settings on the remaining tabs are correct and then click OK.
    4. Print the file again.
      • If the problem is corrected, the problem was the print settings.
      • If the problem still exists, try printing on different paper.
  7. Print a different file or image. If you have a file that printed well in the past, try printing that file.
    Low quality originals do not print well. Screen captures and images from the Internet are often 75 dpi, a resolution too low to print well. If the print quality on the self-test page looks good but your printed image does not, even after changing the print settings, the problem may be the original file. Review the remaining information in this document to see if there is information about the problem you are experiencing. If the problem cannot be determined, contact HP for assistance.

Self-test page prints correctly but my file prints with incorrect colors

The all-in-one will reproduce many colors exactly; however, it is normal that some colors may be slightly different in shade or hue. If the colors are more than slightly off though, there is a problem.
Review the information below to correct the problem:
  1. Verify that the Color settings have not been changed by following the steps below:
    1. In the software program you are printing from, click File and then click Print.
    2. Click the option to change the print properties (usually Properties or Settings).
    3. Select the Color tab.
      • Print in Grayscale should not be selected unless you want to print in black and white.
      • The Color Attributes sliders should be centered, in the middle of the setting.
      • The Color Space setting should be set to sRGB/sYCC.
  2. Disable the HP Digital photography options. The HP Digital Photography options automatically adjust the printout and may affect the print quality.
    1. Before printing, open the Print Properties for the all-in-one print driver.
    2. On the Paper/Quality tab, click HP Digital Photography. If the option is grayed out, select Best as the Print Quality setting.
    3. Disable all of the HP Digital Photography options by removing the checks from the Automatic box or by selecting Off. Click OK to accept the changes.
      Figure : HP Digital Photography Options with all options disabled
  3. When printing on some non-HP photo papers, black ink may have a greenish tint when photo paper is selected as the paper type. Change the paper type setting to HP Bright White paper or Plain paper.
If the problem cannot be resolved using this document, contact HP for assistance.

Self-test page does not print correctly

This problem will occur if the ink cartridge is low on ink or has clogged nozzles. It may also frequently occur when using remanufactured or refilled print cartridges. To correct the problem, perform the following steps:
  1. If the HP Director software is installed, verify that the print cartridge is not low on ink on the Estimated Ink Levels tab of the Printer Toolbox by doing the following steps:
    1. Open the HP Director software.
    2. In the Director, click Settings, click Print settings, and then click Printer Toolbox.
    3. Select the Estimated Ink Level tab.
        Figure : Estimated ink levels
      1. Low ink level
      2. Ink levels OK
    If a print cartridge is low on ink, replace it.
  2. If the all-in-one software is not installed or the problem still exists, run the print cartridge cleaning utility from the all-in-one front panel by following the steps below:
    1. Press Setup.
    2. Press 5 to access the Tools menu.
    3. Press 1 run the print cartridge cleaning utility.
  3. At the end of the cartridge cleaning cycle, a page will have printed. Examine the page.
    • If the print near the bottom of the page and/or the colored squares (near their lower portion) no longer have white streaks in them and look correct, the problem is corrected.
    • If the problem still exists, open the all-in-one and remove the print cartridges. Clean any residue from the bottom of the print cartridges with a cotton swab or clean cloth slightly dampened with clean water. Do not clean the center area where the ink nozzles are located if at all possible. With a clean cloth slightly dampened with water, clean the print cartridge electrical contacts as well. Allow the cartridge to dry for five minutes before reinserting it.
        Figure : Cleaning the print cartridge
      1. The ink nozzle area that should not be cleaned
      2. Areas to be cleaned
      3. Print cartridge electrical contacts
  4. Repeat Step 2 to print the ink cartridge cleaning page again. Examine the results again. If the problem has not been corrected, replace the print cartridge.

Faded or grainy lines in printout

Perform the following steps to reduce or eliminate banding:
  1. Print at a higher quality setting.
  2. Verify that the paper you are printing on lies flat in the paper tray. Paper that is not flat can cause banding when the paper transitions over the rollers or cause the print cartridges to scrape across the surface of the page.
    Figure : Banding due to roller transition
    Figure : Banding caused when the print cartridge scrapes the paper
    Paper may be curled if it has already been printed on or if it is exposed to both humidity and lack of humidity. Use the media storage bag included with the all-in-one to prevent this from happening. Always store your paper (especially photo papers) in a sealed bag.
    1. Check the paper by taking a single sheet and placing it on a flat surface.
    2. If the paper does not lie flat, bend it in the reverse direction to straighten out the paper.
    3. Print the page again and see if the problem is corrected.
  3. Increase the Ink Volume setting to increase the amount of ink used.
    1. Before printing, open the Print Properties.
    2. Select the Basics tab and then click Advanced Features.
    3. Adjust the Ink Volume slider to a higher setting and then click OK twice.

Paper is curling from too much ink

Some papers cannot absorb enough ink to work correctly at all print settings. This indicates that you are using the incorrect paper for the task or a paper that is not heavy enough. Heavier papers absorb more ink. If you are printing photos on plain paper, you should be using 90 g/m2 (24 pound) or heavier paper. If you cannot change papers, try the following steps top correct the problem.
  1. Before printing, open the Print Properties.
  2. Select the Basics tab and then click Advanced Features.
  3. Adjust the Ink Volume slider to a lower setting and then click OK twice.
  4. Print the page again and see if the problem is corrected. Keep adjusting the Ink Volume setting if the problem still exists.
    If the problem cannot be resolved using the Ink Volume slider, reduce the print quality setting on the Paper/Quality tab.

Print is smeared by the following page (ink is still wet)

This is a paper problem. Some papers absorb ink better than others. Follow the steps below to reduce this problem:
  1. Before printing, open the Print Properties.
  2. Select the Basics tab and then click Advanced Features.
  3. Adjust the Dry Time slider to a higher setting and then click OK twice.
    There may be a brief pause inserted between pages to allow the page just printed to dry.
  4. If the problem cannot be resolved using the Dry Time slider, reduce the print quality setting on the Paper/Quality tab.

Borderless printing issues

Borderless printing is available only for letter, 4 x 6-inch photo paper, Hagaki, and A6 card sizes and is used to create borderless photos similar to photographs (refer to "Problems printing borderless images" for problem solutions). Review the information below if you wanted to print a borderless image on one of the supported paper sizes but it printed with a border:
note:
Borderless printing is not supported when using the Plain Paper setting.
  • Verify that you used the correct print settings. Select one of the borderless Print Task Quick Sets or change the Size Is setting to a size with borderless in the name on the Paper/Quality tab.
  • Unless the image has been sized to fit the paper, select Borderless Auto Fit to automatically resize the image to fit the page or the image will not be printed borderless.
    Figure : The Paper/Quality tab of the Print Properties
  • Some cropping of the image may occur to make the image fit the page when Borderless Auto Fit is enabled. This is normal and expected.
    Figure : Sample image showing how the HP software crops the image to fit the paper

Service the All-in-One

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.
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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