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HP Deskjet 1050, 2050 Printers - Fixing Poor Print Quality

This document is for HP Deskjet 1050 (J410), 1050A (J410), 2050 (J510), and 2050A (J510) All-in-One printers.
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
Remarque :
Windows operating systems only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows.
Figure : Example of garbled, jumbled or illogical text, or an incomplete print job
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout

Step 1: 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.
Remarque :
Rough handling at the store or during installation can cause print quality problems with newly installed ink cartridges. If you see print problems with newly installed ink cartridges, wait for a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.
If using genuine HP ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, you can use an automated tool to resolve the issue.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Load paper in the input tray.
  3. Press and hold the Power button, press the Cancel button () three times, press the Start Copy Color button () eight times, and then release the Power button.
    The printer feeds one page and makes noise for about one minute.
  4. Wait until the page is ejected from the printer before you continue to the next step.
After cleaning ink smears, try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check the paper

Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
  • 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.
Remarque :
Inappropriate, damaged, or unsupported paper can cause vertical streaks in printouts.
Examples of horizontal and vertical streaks in a printout
Image: Horizontal streaks  in a printout.
If your printout contains horizontal lines or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks, continue to the next step.
Image: Vertical streaks in a printout.
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. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
After checking the paper, try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.
If changing the print settings did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check the estimated ink levels

Low ink levels can impact print quality.
Remarque :
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.
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to the step to print a Printer Status Report.
  • If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace any low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Open the exterior door.
    Figure : Open the exterior door
    Image: Open the exterior door
  4. Open the ink cartridge access door.
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the ink cartridge access door
  5. Lightly press down on the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull the ink cartridge out of its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Image: Remove the ink cartridge
  6. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then remove the plastic tape.
      Attention :
    Do not try to remove the copper electrical strip.
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Do not replace the protective tape on the contacts. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape and do not touch the contacts or ink nozzles
  7. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the ink cartridge into its slot. Make sure that the ink cartridge is inserted in the correct slot.
    • The tri-color ink cartridge () goes in the slot on the left.
    • The black ink cartridge () goes in the slot on the right.
  8. Push the ink cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Snap the ink cartridge into place
    Image: Snap the ink cartridge into place
  9. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  10. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Close the ink cartridge access door
  11. Close the exterior door.
    Figure : Close the exterior door
    Image: Close the exterior door
  12. Follow any prompts on the computer screen.
  13. Wait about 30 seconds for the alignment page to automatically print.
    Remarque :
    The printer prints an alignment page automatically only when a new ink cartridge has been installed.
Continue to the next step to align the ink cartridges.

Step 7: Align the ink cartridges

For the best print quality, align the ink cartridges.
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the printed side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment page.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Graphic: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the Start Copy Black button to begin the scan. The printer aligns the cartridges.
  5. Wait until the Power light stops blinking, which indicates that the cartridge alignment is complete.
Try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Examine the Printer Status Report for defects

The Printer Status Report color blocks are printed by different ink cartridges. Examine the color blocks on the Printer Status Report to make sure the color blocks do not show white lines, and are not faded or missing.
    Figure : Which cartridges print which areas of the Printer Status Report
    Image: Which ink cartridges print which areas of the Printer Status Report
  1. Printed by the color cartridge
  2. Printed by the black cartridge
Make a note of which ink cartridges printed which areas of the Printer Status Report, and then check the report for defects.
In general, if the printer and its ink cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the Printer Status Report. The following examples are not inclusive, but they tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the Printer Status Report
Defect
Example
Description or cause
Broken lines in grid patterns
Image: Broken lines
Problem with the ink nozzles
Faded or nonuniform colors in the color blocks
Image: Nonuniform colors
Depleted ink cartridges, or ink mixing together
Track marks or ink smears in the text
Image: Smeared text
Fibers or other debris on one or both of the ink cartridges
The color blocks are streaked or lined
Image: Streaks in the report
The cartridge might be running out of ink or the nozzles might be clogged
One or more of the colored blocks is missing entirely
    Image: Missing colors on report
  1. All colors printed - no missing colors
  2. Yellow missing - the color cartridge is not printing correctly
The cartridge is out of one color of ink or the ink nozzles might be clogged.
  • If the color blocks do not show lines, and are not faded or missing, the print mechanism and ink cartridges work correctly. Do not continue the troubleshooting steps in this document. Return to the step to Check the print settings earlier in this document, and reset print quality and dpi settings.
  • If any of the color blocks show white lines, are faded, or are missing completely, continue to the next step.

Step 10: Clean the ink cartridges

If you found defects on the Printer Status Report, run an automatic tool to clean the ink cartridges.
Remarque :
To avoid issues that require cleaning, always turn the printer off with the Power button.
You might need to clean the ink cartridges several times to restore print quality. If cleaning the ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 11: Align the printer

For best print quality, align the ink cartridges.

Step 12: Manually clean the area around the ink nozzles

Do not perform these steps unless the test page or printout specifically shows smeared text or track marks. Clean the area around the ink nozzles if you see track marks or smears on the printouts.
Figure : Example of smeared text
Image: Example of smeared text
Figure : Example of text with track marks
Image: Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Dry foam-rubber swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that does not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well)
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the ink cartridges)
        Attention :
      Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the ink cartridge contacts. These can damage the ink cartridge or the printer.
  2. Make sure the printer is on.
  3. Open the exterior door, and then grasp the handle and lower the ink cartridge access door to open it.
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the ink cartridge access door
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  5. Lightly press down on one of the ink cartridges to release it, and then pull the ink cartridge toward you out of its slot.
    Figure : Press down to remove the ink cartridge
    Image: Press down to remove the ink cartridge
      Attention :
    Do not remove both ink cartridges at the same time. Remove and clean each ink cartridge one at a time. Do not leave an ink cartridge outside the printer for more than 30 minutes.
  6. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
    Figure : Hold the ink cartridge by its sides
    Image: Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
  7. Inspect the ink cartridge contacts for ink and debris buildup.
      Attention :
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles.
  8. Lightly moisten a foam-rubber swab or lint-free cloth with distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from it.
  9. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
      Attention :
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
      Figure : Clean the area around the ink nozzle
      Image: The ink nozzle and ink cartridge contacts.
    1. Nozzle plate - Do not clean
    2. Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3. Ink cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  10. Either let the ink cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  11. Slide each ink cartridge at a slight upward angle into the empty slot, and then gently push up on each ink cartridge until it locks into place.
    Figure : Push the ink cartridge into its slot
    Image: Push the ink cartridge into its slot until it locks into place.
  12. Repeat these steps to clean around the nozzles on the other ink cartridge.
  13. Close the ink cartridge access door.

Step 13: Replace the problem ink cartridge

Replace the problem ink cartridge if you saw defects on the Printer Status Report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the ink cartridge is not low on ink. The problem ink cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the Printer Status Report as described earlier in this document.
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. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Open the exterior door.
    Figure : Open the exterior door
    Image: Open the exterior door
  4. Open the ink cartridge access door.
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the ink cartridge access door
  5. Lightly press down on the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull the ink cartridge out of its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Image: Remove the ink cartridge
  6. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then remove the plastic tape.
      Attention :
    Do not try to remove the copper electrical strip.
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Do not replace the protective tape on the contacts. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Remove the plastic tape and do not touch the contacts or ink nozzles
  7. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the ink cartridge into its slot. Make sure that the ink cartridge is inserted in the correct slot.
    • The tri-color ink cartridge () goes in the slot on the left.
    • The black ink cartridge () goes in the slot on the right.
  8. Push the ink cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Snap the ink cartridge into place
    Image: Snap the ink cartridge into place
  9. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  10. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Close the ink cartridge access door
  11. Close the exterior door.
    Figure : Close the exterior door
    Image: Close the exterior door
  12. Follow any prompts on the computer screen.
  13. Wait about 30 seconds for the alignment page to automatically print.
    Remarque :
    The printer prints an alignment page automatically only when a new ink cartridge has been installed.
Continue to the next step to align the ink cartridges.

Step 14: Align the ink cartridges

For the best print quality, align the ink cartridges.
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the printed side down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass. See the engraved guide next to the scanner glass for help loading the alignment page.
    Figure : Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Graphic: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the Start Copy Black button to begin the scan. The printer aligns the cartridges.
  5. Wait until the Power light stops blinking, which indicates that the cartridge alignment is complete.
Print another Printer Status Report. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 15: Service the printer

If you have followed all the steps in this document and your printer is producing printouts with print quality issues, 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.
Remarque :
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.

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