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HP DeskJet 3700 printers - No black ink, wrong colors, other print quality issues

The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The following tasks help resolve missing black ink, colors are faded or do not match the original, and lines or streaks in printouts.

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

Update the printer firmware

HP regularly releases new firmware versions with printer enhancements or issue fixes. Update firmware on a regular basis to make sure you are getting the most out of your printer.

  • Update from the printer control panel: Many HP printers with touchscreens or menus can connect directly to HP to find and install updates. Make sure the printer is on a network with an active Internet connection. If the printer is connected with a USB cable, use one of the other options.

    On the printer, locate the Product Update or Check for Updates menu by pressing the HP ePrint icon or button ( or ). Or open the Setup, Service, or Settings menu, select Preferences, Printer Maintenance, or Tools, and then select Web Services, Printer Update, or LaserJet Update.

  • Download updates from HP Customer Support: With the printer turned on and connected to the computer or a network, go to HP Software and Driver Downloads to check for and install available updates listed under Firmware.

  • Install updates through the HP Smart app: Open the HP Smart app, and then create an account or sign in. If you do not have HP Smart, download it from 123.hp.com or your app store. After adding the printer, click the printer image, click Printer Home Page (EWS) or Advanced Settings, click Tools or Web Services, and then click Printer Updates.

Check for issues with the ink cartridges

Very low ink levels, using non-HP cartridges, and rough handling can cause print quality issues.

  1. Replace any non-HP or refilled cartridges with genuine HP cartridges. HP supplies are available from the HP Store and local retailers.

    HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. Go to HP Anti Counterfeiting and Fraud Program for more information.

  2. Check the ink levels and replace any low or empty cartridges.

    Note:

    The printer features a 'backup mode' that enables printing with one cartridge. Remove the low or empty cartridge to continue printing if a replacement is not available. Depending on the cartridge removed, blacks will not be as dark and color prints will be in grayscale.

    Ink levels
  3. Rough handling of cartridges during transport or installation can cause print quality problems. Wait a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.

    If you have a defective HP cartridge, it might be under warranty. Go to About Original HP Cartridges for page yield and HP limited warranty information.

Run a Print Quality Diagnostic report

Use a Print Quality Diagnostic report to check if the ink cartridges need to be cleaned or if there is an alignment issue.

  1. Load plain white paper in the tray.

  2. Print the report from the HP Smart app or the full feature printer software.

    • Windows: Search Windows for your printer name to open HP Printer Assistant. Click Maintain Your Printer, select the Device Services tab, and then click Print Quality Diagnostics Page to print the report.

    • Mac: From the Applications > HP folder, select HP Utility. Click Print Quality Diagnostics, and then click Print to print the report.

    • Android, iOS: Go to 123.hp.com to install the HP Smart app on your device. After you add the printer, click the picture of your printer. The report is located under Printer Reports, or in Advanced Settings > Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox.

    Print Quality Diagnostic report example
  3. Check for issues indicated on the report, and then follow the instructions provided to resolve the issue.

Run the automated printhead or ink cartridge cleaning tool

Clean the printhead and cartridges to resolve print quality issues including incorrect colors, streaks, and faded prints.

  1. Load plain white paper in the tray.

  2. Run the cleaning tool.

    • Windows: Search Windows for your printer name to open HP Printer Assistant. Click Maintain Your Printer, select the Device Services tab, and then click Clean Cartridges.

      If the page that prints has defects, click Second-level Clean to continue the next level of cleaning.

    • Mac: From the Applications > HP folder, select HP Utility. Click Clean Printheads, and then click Clean.

      If the page that prints has defects, wait 30 minutes, and then perform another cleaning cycle.

    • Android, iOS: Go to 123.hp.com to install the HP Smart app on your device. After you add the printer, click the picture of your printer. The cleaning tool is located under Print Quality Tools, or in Advanced Settings > Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox.

Perform an alignment

Align the printheads or cartridges when you replace them, to improve print quality, or to clear an alignment error.

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.

  2. Print an alignment page.

    • Windows: Search Windows for your printer name to open HP Printer Assistant. Click Maintain Your Printer, select the Device Services tab, and then click Align Cartridges.

    • Mac: From the Applications > HP folder, select HP Utility. Click Align, and then from the Align Print Cartridges window, click Align.

    • Android, iOS: Go to 123.hp.com to install the HP Smart app on your device. After you add the printer, click the picture of your printer. Click Advanced Settings > Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox, and then click Align Cartridges > Align.

    An alignment page prints with rows of numbered boxes. Each box on the page consists of two sets of lines.

    Example of an alignment page
  3. On the alignment page, find the box in row A in which the two sets of lines overlap the most, for example, A10.

    Boxes on the alignment page
  4. In the printer software or the HP Smart app, select that box from the A drop-down list.

  5. Repeat these steps for each row of boxes on the alignment page.

  6. Click Done or Apply.

Check the paper, print settings, and quality of the file being printed

Make sure your print job is set up for optimal print quality results.

  1. Check the paper type and condition: Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job and in good condition.

    • Some paper might not absorb ink as well as others, causing faded or smeared prints. Plain paper with ColorLok technology works well for text and documents with graphics. For photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.

    • Use clean, wrinkle-free paper. Wrinkled or curled paper can cause dark, horizontal defects.

  2. Load paper according to the print side: Typically, the smoother or glossy side is the print side.

    • For inkjet printers with a rear load tray, load the print side facing up.

    • For inkjet printers with a front load tray, load the print side facing down.

  3. Check the print job settings: From the application you are printing from, click File > Print, and then click Options, Printer Setup, or Preferences, or open the Paper Type/Quality or Media & Quality menu.

    Make sure the color, paper type, paper size, and quality settings are correct for your print job.

  4. Check the quality of the photo or document: Use editing tools to improve colors, brightness, contrast, and any other appearance settings. Higher resolution photographs and graphics result in clearer prints with more accurate colors.

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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