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HP Smart Tank Printers - Color or black ink not printing, other print quality issues

The quality of a printed document from your HP Smart Tank 790 or 7600 series printer is not as expected, color or black ink does not print, or printouts are smeared, fuzzy, dark, or faded.

Perform the following tasks in the order given. Use the printer after each task to see if the issue is resolved.

Check ink levels and fill ink tanks

Low ink levels can impact print quality. Refill any tanks that are low on ink.

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink. If you do not use genuine HP ink and HP printheads, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.


Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

  1. On the Home screen of the printer display, touch Menu.

  2. Scroll down, and then touch Ink levels.

    Estimated ink levels display.

  3. Fill any tanks that are low on ink.

Make sure you are using the correct paper for your print job

Make sure the paper you are using matches the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with the correct paper type.

  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and non-printing 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

Check print settings

Print settings can affect print quality. Make sure the print settings are appropriate for your print job.

Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, use an automated tool to resolve the issue.

  1. On the printer control panel, swipe left, and then touch Setup .

  2. Touch Tools > Clean Page Smears.

    A Cleaning page smears message displays, and the printer slowly ejects a blank page.

Print a Print Quality Diagnostic Page

To resolve many print quality issues, print a Print Quality Diagnostic Page, and then evaluate the results.

  1. Turn on the printer.

  2. On the printer control panel home screen, touch Menu.

  3. Scroll down, and then touch Tools.

  4. Touch Troubleshooting > Print Quality.

    A Print Quality Diagnostic Page prints.

    Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic Page
  5. Review the test patterns, checking for missing colors, fading, and white lines.

    • If you find defects on the page, continue to the next step.

    • If you do not find defects on the page, skip to the step to Replace the printheads.

Clean the printheads

Clean the printheads from the printer control panel if you find defects on Test Pattern 2.

A sample test pattern 2
  1. On the Home screen of the printer display, touch Menu.

  2. Scroll down, and then touch Tools.

  3. Touch Troubleshooting > Print Quality.

  4. Touch Clean Printhead.

If you have followed all the steps in this document and your printer still has print quality issues, replace one or both printheads.

Replace the printhead

Remove the faulty printhead, and then install the new replacement.

  1. Turn on the printer.

  2. Lift the ink access door, and then wait until the carriage stops.

    Lifting the ink access door
  3. Press the blue button on the carriage to open the printhead cover.

    Opening the printhead cover
  4. Remove the printhead from the carriage, and then set it aside on a protected surface.


    To prevent ink from leaking, hold the printhead by its sides and keep the printhead upright at all times.

    Removing the printhead
  5. Remove the new printhead from its package.

    Removing the new printhead from its package
  6. Pull the plug straight up from the top of the printhead.

    Pulling the plug from printhead
  7. Remove the tape from the printhead contacts using the pull tabs.


    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzle. Do not replace the protective tape on the contact. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.

    Removing the tape
  8. Insert the new printhead into its slot until it snaps into place.

    Inserting the new printhead
  9. Close the printhead cover.

    Closing the printhead cover
  10. Close the ink access door.

    Closing the ink access door
  11. Align the printheads.

    • If your printer has a touchscreen control panel, follow the control panel prompts to print an Alignment page, and then follow the instructions on the page to scan it and align the new printheads.

    • If your printer does not have a touchscreen control panel, an A blinks on the control panel and an Alignment page prints automatically. Follow the instructions on the page to scan it and align the new printheads.

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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