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HP Designjet 200/300/400 Series Printers - Scan Axis and Printhead Cleaning

Issue:
How often do the print path and printheads for the HP Designjet 400, 300, and 200 series printers need to be cleaned? Is there a recommended maintenance schedule for cleaning?
Solution
Cleaning and maintenance for the HP Designjet 400, 300, and 200 series printers should be done on a regular basis, and is generally determined by the level of usage for an individual printer. As a general guide, it is recommended to clean the electrical contacts and check for any potential buildup of ink when an ink cartridge is replaced.
These steps are necessary in order to prevent or resolve ink path and print quality issues (for example, smearing, misdirected nozzle spraying, vertical line straightness (VLS), or banding). To clean the entire print path and improve quality, all the following appropriate steps need to be completed.
  note:
Problems related to VLS and banding will only be supported if the problems are evident in the BEST print mode, on supported HP media.
Accessing and removing the cartridges from the printer’s carriage
  • Turn off the printer.
  • Lift the main window.
  • Pull the printer’s carriage from its left side, along its print path, out into the middle of the printer.
  • Remove the cartridges from the printer’s carriage on the left side of the printer.
Cleaning the carriage and cartridge electrical contacts
  • Gently wipe, in an up-and-down motion, the electrical contacts inside the carriage’s cartridge slot(s) with a water-dampened lint-free cloth until all of the ink is removed.
  • Clean the electrical contacts on the back of each of the printhead(s) that match the electrical contacts in the carriage slots using a dampened lint-free cloth until all of the ink is removed.
Cleaning the cartridge printhead’s edges
  note:
Cleaning the cartridge’s printheads is not a standard cleaning procedure, but may be used prior to replacing a printer’s cartridges.
  • On the bottom of the printhead, outside of the brass rectangular printhead and the copper square it sits in, clean the black outer edges of the printhead’s casing. These outer edges will need to be wiped clean with a lint-free cloth until all the buildup of ink is removed from each edge.
      note:
    It is important to clean all of the cartridge printhead’s edges on the color printers. This is especially true with ink smearing across the print path, with color machines, while printing mostly in monochrome (black).
  • Replace and verify the cartridges are in their correct carriage slots.
Cleaning the printer’s service station
  • Looking down, into the left side of the printer, notice there are rectangular shaped rubber caps that cover the cartridge’s printheads when the carriage is parked in the service station (color models have 4; monochrome models have either 1 or 2). These caps need to have all of the ink buildup removed using a clean and damp lint-free cloth.
  • The second area to clean is the black rubber wipers that are located approx. ¼ inch from the rectangular shaped rubber caps and back toward the center of the printer’s print path. Monochrome printers have only one wiper located on the outer edge of the right side of the printer’s service station.
  • If both these areas are not cleaned, they can wipe ink onto the cartridge’s cleaned printhead and print quality will not improve much.
  • Restart the printer.
Verifying print quality, HP Designjet 450C, 455CA, and 488CA models
After cleaning and reinstalling the cartridges, restart the printer and run a color cartridge alignment.
Color Cartridge Alignment
  • Load an “A” or “A4” size sheet of paper in portrait orientation.
  • Press the REPRINT and CANCEL buttons simultaneously to print the Color Cartridge Test sheet.
  • In the nozzle check section, check if any color block(s) has gaps or streaks. This may indicate the cartridge may be out of ink, have nozzles clogged, or needs priming.
  • Below the nozzle check section is the cartridge alignment section. Each set of parallel lines has an oval above them. If the oval is bold, that is the alignment selected. If the bold oval is not above the straightest set of lines, a change should be made to the alignment. Fill in the oval above the straightest set of lines (one selection per block) with a black pen or pencil. If any changes were made, follow the instructions printed at the bottom of the Color Cartridge Test sheet. The printer reads the changes and realigns the ink cartridge nozzles.
After the cartridge alignment has finished, perform a Print Quality plot to verify the printer’s output.
Color Print Quality Plot
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status:
  • Press the FORM FEED and MEDIA SOURCE buttons, hold them for 2 seconds, then release them simultaneously.
  • The printer will then take several minutes to print.
  • The Print Quality plot produces a printout that contains five test areas.
Reviewing the image quality print, 450C/455CA/488CA models
Test 1: is a printhead “warm up test” and should not be used in evaluating print quality.
Test 2: is the Nozzle Checkout. There should be no line breaks (absence of ink) or offset lines (misdirected spraying) in this test. This is one of the two main tests for quality in the printer. This test will show the physical printing position on each printhead nozzle and where any blockages are if these lines contain gaps. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 3: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Primary test. This tests for vertical line straightness (VLS) by printing and aligning the yellow, magenta, cyan, and black cartridges in a series of related vertical lines printed above each other, forming one continuous line of different colors from top to bottom. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 4: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Secondary test. It is used for two purposes. First, it verifies the combinations of colors are working together (purple = cyan and magenta, green = yellow and cyan, red = yellow and magenta). The second test is for evaluating the alignment and spacing between the cartridges. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
There is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
Test 5: consists of four horizontal bars (yellow, black, cyan, magenta) showing a gradation in tone and ink coverage from 60% to 100% with a solid bar running inside and along the bottom of each bar.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.
Verifying print quality, 430 model
After cleaning and reinstalling the cartridges, run a Black Cartridge Alignment.
Black Cartridge Alignment
  • Load an “A” or “A4” size sheet of paper in portrait orientation.
  • Press the SETUP and FORM FEED buttons simultaneously to print the black cartridge alignment.
  • Two blocks of sets of three parallel lines will print. Above each set of three parallel lines is an oval. The set of parallel lines with an oval in bold is the current alignment selection. If the bold oval is not above the straightest set of lines, a change should be made to the alignment. Fill in the oval above the straightest set of lines (one selection per block) with a black pen or pencil. If any changes were made, follow the instructions printed at the bottom of the Black Cartridge Alignment sheet. The printer reads the changes and realigns the ink cartridge nozzles.
After the Black Cartridge Alignment is finished, then perform a Mono Print Quality plot to verify the printer’s output.
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status press the SETUP and FORM FEED buttons together, and then release them simultaneously.
  • The Mono Print Quality plot will produce a printout that contains three test areas.
Reviewing the image quality print, 430 model
Test 1: is a “warm up test” and should not be used in evaluating print quality.
Test 2: is the Nozzle test. Use the right side nozzle print to evaluate the printhead’s performance. This test will show the physical position of the printhead nozzles, and where any blockages are if the lines contain any gaps. There should be no line breaks (absence of ink) or offset lines (misdirected spraying) in this test. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 3: is testing the vertical line straightness (VLS). This test is made up of three lines where the middle line is shifted to the left in the negative numbers and shifted to the right on the positive numbers. The zero area’s lines should be vertically straight without any offset either to the left or the right. The solid fill in the left lower corner should be solid and without any white lines (nozzle clogging). Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 4: is the VLS & Pen to Pen Alignment Secondary. It is used for two purposes. The second test is for evaluating the alignment and spacing between the cartridges. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast. There is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
Test 5: consists of four horizontal bars showing a gradation in tone and ink coverage from 60% to 100% with a solid bar running inside and along only the bottom of the black. This test in monochrome will only show all the bars in different tones of gray and black.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge, or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.
Verifying print quality, HP Designjet 350C model
After cleaning, reinstalling the cartridges, restart the printer and run a Color Cartridge Alignment.
Color Cartridge Alignment
  • Load an “A” or “A4” size sheet in portrait orientation.
  • Press the FORM FEED and CONTINUE PLOTTING buttons simultaneously to print the Color Cartridge Test sheet.
  • In the nozzle check section, check if any color block(s) has gaps or streaks. This may indicate the cartridge may be out of ink, have nozzles clogged, or needs priming.
  • Below the nozzle check section is the cartridge alignment section. Each set of parallel lines has an oval above them. If the oval is bold, that set of lines is the alignment selected. If the bold oval is not above straightest set of lines, a change should be made to the alignment. Fill in the oval above the straightest set of lines (one selection per block) with a black pen or pencil. If any changes were made, follow the instructions printed at the bottom of the Color Cartridge Test Sheet. The printer reads the changes and realigns the ink cartridge nozzles.
After the color cartridge alignment has finished, perform a Print Quality Plot to verify the printer’s output.
Color Print Quality Plot
  • Press the PRINT QUALITY and ROLL/SHEET buttons simultaneously.
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status:
  • Press the PRINT QUALITY and ROLL/SHEET buttons together, and then release them simultaneously.
  • The printer will then take several minutes to print.
  • The “Print Quality Plot “ produces a printout that contains five test areas.
Reviewing the image quality print, HP Designjet 350C model
Test 1: is a printhead “warm up test” and should not be used in evaluating print quality.
Test 2: is the Nozzle Checkout. There should be no line breaks (absence of ink) or offset lines (misdirected spraying) in this test. This is one of the two main tests for quality in the printer. This test will show the physical printing position on each printhead nozzle and where any blockages are if these lines contain gaps. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 3: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Primary test. This tests for vertical line straightness (VLS) by printing and aligning the yellow, magenta, cyan, and black cartridges in a series of related vertical lines printed above each other forming one continuous line of different colors from top-to-bottom. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 4: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Secondary test. It is used for two purposes. First it verifies the combinations of colors are working together (purple = cyan and magenta, green = yellow and cyan, red = yellow and magenta). The second test is for evaluating the alignment and spacing between the cartridges. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 5: is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. (Black inside yellow; black inside magenta; yellow inside magenta; black inside cyan; yellow inside cyan; magenta inside cyan). There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge, or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.
Verifying print quality, HP Designjet 300 and 330 models
After cleaning and reinstalling the cartridges, run a Black Cartridge Alignment.
Black Cartridge Alignment
  • Load an “A” or “A4” size sheet of paper in portrait orientation.
  • Simultaneously press the SETUP and FORM FEED keys to print the Black Cartridge Alignment sheet.
  • Two blocks of sets of three parallel lines will print. Above each set of three parallel lines is an oval. The set of parallel lines with an oval in bold, is the current alignment selection. If the bold oval is not above the straightest set of lines, a change should be made to the alignment. Fill in the oval above the straightest set of lines (one selection per block) with a black pen or pencil. If any changes were made, follow the instructions printed at the bottom of the Black Cartridge Alignment sheet. The printer reads the changes and realigns the ink cartridge nozzles.
After the Black Cartridge Alignment has finished, then perform a Mono Print Quality Plot to verify the printer’s output.
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status by simultaneously pressing the SETUP and FORM FEED buttons together, then release them simultaneously.
  • The “Mono Print Quality Plot“ will produce a printout that contains three test areas.
Reviewing the image quality print, HP Designjet 300 and 330 models
Test 1: is a “warm up test” and should not be used in evaluating print quality.
Test 2: is the Nozzle test. Use the right side nozzle print to evaluate the printhead’s performance. This test will show the physical position of the printhead nozzles, and where any blockages are if the lines contain any gaps. There should be no line breaks (absence of ink) or offset lines (misdirected spraying) in this test. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 3: is testing the vertical line straightness (VLS). This test is made up of three lines where the middle line is shifted to the left in the negative numbers and shifted to the right on the positive numbers. The zero area’s lines should be vertically straight without any offset either to the left or the right. The solid fill in the left lower corner should be solid and without any white lines (nozzle clogging). Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 4: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Secondary. It is used for two purposes. The second test is for evaluating the alignment and spacing between the cartridges. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast. There is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
Test 5: consists of four horizontal bars showing a gradation in tone and ink coverage from 60% to 100% with a solid bar running inside and along only the bottom of the black. This test in monochrome will only show all the bars in different tones of gray and black.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge, or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.
Verifying print quality, HP Designjet 250C model
After cleaning and reinstalling the cartridges, restart the printer and run a Color Cartridge Test.
Color Cartridge Test
  • Load an “A” or “A4” size sheet of paper in portrait orientation.
  • Simultaneously press the ALIGN CARTRIDGES and REPLOT keys to print the Color Cartridge Test sheet.
  • In the nozzle check section, check if any color block(s) has gaps or streaks. This may indicate the cartridge may be out of ink, have nozzles clogged, or needs priming.
  • Below the nozzle check section is the cartridge alignment section. Each set of parallel lines has an oval above them. If the oval is bold, that set of lines is the alignment selected. If the bold oval is not above the straightest set of lines, a change should be made to the alignment. Fill in the oval above the straightest set of lines (one selection per block) with a black pen or pencil. If any changes were made, follow the instructions printed at the bottom of the Color Cartridge Test sheet. The printer reads the changes and realigns the ink cartridge nozzles.
After you have finished these cartridge calibrations, print a Print Quality Plot to verify the printer’s output.
Print Quality Plot
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status:
  • Enter Service Mode 2 by holding down PRINT QUALITY and TURN ON THE PRINTER.
  • Set the desired print quality fast/normal/best, and load a sheet of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper in portrait, and press SETUP.
  • The printer will then take several minutes to print.
  • The Print Quality plot produces a printout that contains five test areas.
Reviewing the Image Quality Print HP Designjet 250C model
Test 1: is a printhead “warm up test” and should not be used in evaluating print quality.
Test 2: is the Nozzle Checkout. There should be no line breaks (absence of ink) or offset lines (misdirected spraying) in this test. This is one of the two main tests for quality in the printer. This test will show the physical printing position on each printhead nozzle and where any blockages are if these lines contain gaps. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 3: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Primary test. This tests for vertical line straightness (VLS) by printing and aligning the yellow, magenta, cyan, and black cartridges in a series of related vertical lines printed above each other forming one continuous line of different colors from top-to-bottom. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Test 4: is the VLS & Pen-to-Pen Alignment Secondary test. It is used for two purposes. First it verifies the combinations of colors are working together (purple = cyan and magenta, green = yellow and cyan, red = yellow and magenta). The second test is for evaluating the alignment and spacing between the cartridges. Again, all the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
There is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
Test 5: is also an alignment test of a circle within a circle. (Black inside yellow; black inside magenta; yellow inside magenta; black inside cyan; yellow inside cyan; magenta inside cyan). There should be no overlapping of each of these circles. If there is a problem with alignment, perform an accuracy calibration.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge, or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.
Verifying print quality, HP Designjet 200, 220, and 230 models
After cleaning and reinstalling the cartridges, run:
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • Perform the Black Cartridge Alignment by pressing the ALIGN CARTRIDGES button.
After the Black Cartridge Alignment has finished, then perform a “Demo Plot“ to verify the printer’s output.
  • Load a sheet or roll of “A,” or “A4,” or larger size paper.
  • When the printer displays the “Ready” status, Press the SETUP and REPLOT buttons together, then release them simultaneously.
  • The Demo Plot will produce a printout that contains four test areas.
Reviewing the Image Quality Print HP Designjet 200, 220, and 230 models
Area 1: are the Hewlett-Packard and Designjet 200 logos. The Hewlett-Packard logo should be printed dark and consistent and the Designjet 200 logo will have a variety of letter shapes. All the sizes of fonts should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Area 2: is an architectural line drawing of a building. All the lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Area 3: consists of a mechanical exploded view of the printer’s carriage with a gray rectangular background. Again, all object shapes and lines should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
Area 4: is the Designjet 200’s technical information. Again, all the text fonts should be well defined and sharp in contrast.
  note:
If the Image Quality Print does not appear well-defined and sharp in contrast, either replace the cartridge, or return to the section “Cleaning the Cartridge’s Printheads” and repeat the printhead recovery process again.

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