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HP Designjet 4000 Printer Series - Troubleshooting Print Quality Issues

General advice
Follow the general advice below whenever a print quality problem occurs:
  • To achieve the best performance from the printer, use only genuine manufacturer's supplies and accessories, whose reliability and performance have been thoroughly tested to give trouble-free performance and best-quality prints.
  • Make sure that the paper type selected in the front panel is the same as the paper type loaded into the printer.
  • Bear in mind that roll paper will generally provide better print quality than a single sheet of the same kind of paper. When using single sheets of paper, it is strongly recommend that the print quality be set to Best.
  • Ensure the most appropriate print quality settings are being used for prints in question. It is more common to see print quality problems if the print quality is set to Fast.
  • To maintain the best print quality at the expense of speed, change the Printhead monitoring setting to Intensive.
  • Check that the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are suitable for high-quality printing.
Banding
The printed image suffers from added horizontal lines as shown below (the color may vary):
Figure : Banding
  1. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  2. If the problem persists, perform a printhead recovery.
    Click here for information on how to perform a printhead recovery at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00264815.html.
  3. Consider changing to a heavier paper type: it is recommended to use HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Productivity Photo Gloss when printing dense colors.
    Click here for more information on recommended paper types at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00268240.html.
  4. If the problem persists, use the Image Diagnostics Print to further troubleshoot the problem.
    Click here for information on how to print and interperet the Diagnositcs print at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00263430.html.
Lines missing or thinner than expected
Figure : Lines missing or thinner than expected
  1. Ensure that the line thickness and color settings are correct in the software application.
  2. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  3. If the problem persists, perform a printhead recovery.
    Click here for information on how to perform a printhead recovery at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00264815.html.
  4. Consider changing to a heavier paper type: it is recommended to use HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Productivity Photo Gloss when printing dense colors.
    Click here for more information on recommended paper types at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00268240.html.
  5. If the problem persists, use the Image Diagnostics Print to further troubleshoot the problem.
    Click here for information on how to print and interperet the Diagnositcs print at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00263430.html
Solid bands or lines printed over the image
This kind of problem can show itself in several different ways, illustrated below in magenta:
  • A thick colored band
  • Thinner colored bands
  • Discontinuous colored blocks
  • Thin lines
Figure : Solid bands or lines printed over image
  1. Ensure that the line thickness and color settings are correct in the software application.
  2. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  3. If the problem persists, perform a printhead recovery.
    Click here for information on how to perform a printhead recovery at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00264815.html.
  4. Consider changing to a heavier paper type: it is recommended to use HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Productivity Photo Gloss when printing dense colors.
    Click here for more information on recommended paper types at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00268240.html.
  5. If the problem persists, use the Image Diagnostics Print to further troubleshoot the problem.
    Click here for information on how to print and interperet the Diagnositcs print at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00263430.html
Graininess
Figure : Graininess
  1. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  2. If the problem persists, use the Image Diagnostics Print to further troubleshoot the problem.
    Click here for information on how to print and interperet the Diagnositcs print at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00263430.html
Paper does not come out of the printer flat
Figure : Wavy printout
If the paper does not lie flat when it comes out of the printer, and has shallow waves in it, it is likely to see visible defects in the printed image, such as vertical stripes. This can happen when using thin paper that becomes saturated with ink.
Click here for more information on recommended paper types at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00268240.html.
Print smudges when touched
The black ink pigment can smudge when touched by a finger or pen. This is particularly noticeable on the following materials:
  • Vellum
  • Translucent bond
  • Films
  • Productivity photo paper
  • Natural tracing paper
  1. Try to print in an environment which is not too humid for the printer.
  2. Change pure black objects in your image to a dark color, such as dark brown, so that they will be printed with colored inks instead of black ink.
  3. Use HP Heavyweight Coated Paper.
  4. Increase the drying time.
Ink marks on the paper
This problem may occur for several different reasons. Choose the type of mark that best fits the issue.
Smears on the front of coated paper
If a lot of ink is used on coated paper, the paper absorbs the ink quickly and expands. As the printheads move over the paper, the printheads come into contact with the paper and the printed image is smeared.
Whenever you notice this problem, you should cancel the printing job immediately. Press the Cancel key and also cancel the job from your computer application. Otherwise the soaked paper may damage the printheads.
Try the following suggestions to avoid this problem:
  • Use a recommended paper type.
    Click here for more information on recommended paper types at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00268240.html.
  • If the image you are printing contains intense color, try using HP Heavyweight Coated Paper.
  • Use extended margins, or try to increase the margins by relocating the image within the page using your software application.
  • If necessary, try changing to a non-paper-based material such as transparent film.
Smears or scratches on the front of glossy paper
Glossy paper may be extremely sensitive to the bin or to anything else that it contacts soon after printing. This will depend on the amount of ink printed and the environmental conditions at the time of printing. Avoid any contact with the paper and handle the print with care.
It is a good idea to leave a sheet of paper in the bin so that freshly-printed sheets do not make direct contact with the bin.
Ink marks on the back of the paper
Ink on the platen is likely to make marks on the back of the paper.
Click here for more information on how to clean the platen at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00263706.html.
Defect near the start of a print
There is a type of defect that affects only the start of a print, within 5.5 cm of the leading edge of the paper. You may see a thin or thick band of inconsistent color:
Figure : Defect at beginning of print
To avoid this problem:
  1. Select the Extended Margins option in the driver, the Embedded Web Server, or the front panel. This means that the area of the paper affected by the problem (at the start of the page) will no longer be printed on.
  2. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
Lines are stepped
If lines in the image appear stepped or jagged when printed:
Figure : Stepped or jagged lines
  1. The problem may be inherent in the image. Try to improve the image with the application.
  2. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  3. Turn on the Maximum Detail option.
Lines are printed double or in wrong colors
This problem can have various visible symptoms:
  • Colored lines are printed double, in different colors.
    Figure : Lines are printed double, or in different colors
  • The borders of colored blocks are incorrectly colored.
    Figure : Borders wrongly colored
  1. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  2. Perform a Printhead alignment.
    Click here for information on how to perform a Printhead alignment at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00279446.html.
Lines are discontinuous
Figure : Broken lines
  1. Ensure appropriate print quality settings are being used.
    Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
  2. You are more likely to get good vertical lines with roll paper than with sheet paper. If you must use sheet paper, set the print quality to Best.
  3. Consider changing to a heavier paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Productivity Photo Gloss.
  4. Perform a Printhead alignment.
    Click here for information on how to perform a Printhead alignment at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00279446.html.
Lines are blurred (ink bleeds from lines)
If ink is soaking into the paper, making the lines blurred and fuzzy, this could be caused by humidity in the air. Try the following:
  1. Check that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are suitable for high-quality printing.
    Click here for temperature and humidity specifications information at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00262014.html.
  2. Try changing to a heavier paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper or HP Productivity Photo Gloss.
  3. Check that the paper type selected in the front panel is the same as the paper type that is being used.
  4. Select the icon, then Drying options, Drying time and make sure it is set to Optimal.
  5. Allow the prints time to dry separately; do not cover or stack them.
Click here for more information on recommended Print Quality settings at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00267964.html.
Lines are slightly warped
The paper itself may be warped. This can happen if it has been used or stored in an extreme environment.
Click here for temperature and humidity specifications information at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00262014.html.
Color accuracy
There are two basic requirements for color accuracy:
  • Ensure that the paper type has been calibrated, which will provide consistency from print to print, and from printer to printer.
    Click here for information on how to perform a color calibration at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00279526.html.
  • Select suitable options in your application.
      note:
    If not using PostScript, remember that the printer may be configured to use one of its internal pen palettes instead of your software's palette (which is the default).
    Color accuracy using EPS or PDF images in page layout applications
    Page layout applications such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress do not support color management of EPS, PDF, or grayscale files.
    If you have to use such files, try to ensure that the EPS, PDF, or grayscale images are already in the same color space that you intend to use later on in Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. For instance, if your final goal is to print the job in a press that follows the SWOP standard, at the time of creating the EPS, PDF or grayscale you should convert the image into SWOP.
PANTONE color accuracy
Spot colors are special premixed inks to be used directly in the press, and the best known spot colors are PANTONE colors.
With PostScript models, the printer provides a facility called Automatic PANTONE Calibration, which can easily match most of the PANTONE Solid Coated spot colors. When an application sends a PANTONE color to print, it sends the PANTONE name together with its own estimate of equivalent CMYK values. The Automatic PANTONE Calibration facility recognizes the PANTONE name and converts it to CMYK in a way that depends on the printer model and the selected paper type, enabling the color to be rendered with greater precision than is possible with the generic CMYK values sent by the application.
Even when using Automatic PANTONE Calibration, you cannot expect the printer to match the PANTONE colors exactly. The printer is certified by Pantone for some papers, but this does not mean that it can reproduce 100% of the PANTONE colors.
Using Automatic PANTONE Calibration (the best choice)
In order to use Automatic PANTONE Calibration, you need an application that recognizes the PANTONE colors, and a calibrated PostScript printer.
The Automatic PANTONE Calibration facility emulates PANTONE Solid Coated colors only (suffix C). Other PANTONE colors will be printed using the CMYK values sent by the application.
Converting PANTONE colors manually If you have a non–PostScript printer, or if you are using an application (such as Adobe Photoshop) that does not send the name of the PANTONE color to the printer, you will not be able to use Automatic PANTONE Calibration. Instead, if you wish, you can convert each PANTONE color manually to CMYK values in the application, using tables produced especially for your printer and paper type.
If your application has a facility to convert PANTONE colors to CMYK values automatically, it probably does not take account of printer or paper type, so you will get better results with a manual conversion using the tables.
You can also obtain a PANTONE calibrated color chart in EPS, TIFF, and PDF format, which can be convenient if your application has an eyedropper tool with which you can pick up colors from an imported graphic.
Tips
  • Automatic PANTONE Calibration works with PostScript printers only.
  • Ensure that Automatic PANTONE Calibration is turned on in the driver.
  • Some applications may not support PANTONE colors fully; for example, Photoshop 7.0 does not send the PANTONE Color with its name, it sends only the CMYK values from its standard table.
  • Some colors may be out of gamut and impossible to match precisely with your printer and paper type.
Color matching between different HP Designjets
If printing an image on two different printer models (for instance, on an HP Designjet 4000 Printer series and an HP Designjet 1000 Printer series), the colors of the two prints will generally not match well.
Matching two printing devices that use different ink chemistry, paper chemistry, and printheads is unlikely to be completely successful. The information provided here is the best way to emulate one printer with another. Even so, the end result may not be a perfect match.
Printing via separate PostScript drivers
The situation below is when printing on each printer using the PostScript driver installed for that printer. In this example, we are using an HP Designjet 4000 Printer series and an HP Designjet 1000 Printer series.
  1. Ensure that both printers have been updated to the latest firmware version.
    Click here for information on how to update the 4000 series printer firmware at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00270138.html.
  2. Ensure that you have the latest printer driver for both printers.
    The latest driver versions can be downloaded for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Ensure that Color Calibration is turned on.
    On the front panel of the HP Designjet 4000 series, select the icon, then Configuration menu, Color Calibration, On.
  4. Load the printers with similar paper types.
  5. Ensure that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper that is loaded.
  6. Print the image on the HP Designjet 1000 Printer series using normal settings.
  7. Now prepare to print the same image on the HP Designjet 4000 Printer series.
  8. In the software application, set the color space of the image to emulate the HP Designjet 1000 Printer series and the specific paper type that was used in that printer. The data sent to the driver must be already converted to this emulation color space, which is a CMYK color space. See your application's online help for information on how to do this. In this way, the 4000 series will emulate the colors that the 1000 series can produce when printing on that paper type.
  9. In the PostScript driver for the HP Designjet 4000 Printer series, go to the Color Management section and set the CMYK input profile to the same HP Designjet 1000 Printer series color space that was selected in the application (the emulation color space).
      note:
    When trying to emulate another printer, always use CMYK colors, not RGB.
  10. Set the rendering intent to Relative Colorimetric, or to Absolute Colorimetric if you want to emulate the whiteness of the paper.
  11. Print the image on the HP Designjet 4000 Printer series.
Printing via separate HP-GL/2 drivers
The situation below is when printing on each printer using the HP-GL/2 driver installed for that printer.
  1. Ensure that both printers have been updated to the latest firmware version.
    Click here for information on how to update the 4000 series printer firmware at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00270138.html.
  2. Ensure that you have the latest printer driver for both printers.
    The latest driver versions can be downloaded for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Ensure that Color Calibration is turned on.
    On the front panel of the HP Designjet 4000 series, select the icon, then Configuration menu, Color Calibration, On.
  4. Load the printers with similar paper types.
  5. Ensure that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper that is loaded.
  6. With the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet 4000 Printer series, select the Color tab, and set the Color Matching Method to sRGB.
  7. With the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet 1000 series, select the Options tab, then Manual Color, Color Control, Match Screen. Also select the Paper Size tab, then Paper Type, and select an Enhanced Colors paper type.
Printing the same HP-GL/2 file
The situation is that you have produced an HP-GL/2 file (also known as a PLT file) using the HP-GL/2 driver installed for one printer, and you intend to send the same file to both printers.
  1. Ensure that both printers have been updated to the latest firmware version.
    Click here for information on how to update the 4000 series printer firmware at http://www.hp.com/cposupport/printers/support_doc/c00270138.html.
  2. Ensure that Color Calibration is turned on.
    On the front panel of the HP Designjet 4000 series, select the icon, then Configuration menu, Color Calibration, On.
  3. Load the printers with similar paper types.
  4. Ensure that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper you have loaded.
  5. If you have an HP-GL/2 file produced for an HP Designjet 1000 Printer series and want to print it on an HP Designjet 4000 printer, proceed as follows using the Embedded Web Server or the front panel:
    • Using the Embedded Web Server - in the Color Management section of the Submit Job page, set the Input Profiles: RGB to None (Native).
    • Using the front panel - select the icon, then Printing defaults menu, Color Options, RGB Input Profile: None (Native).
      For other HP Designjet Printers, set both printers to match the screen colors (sRGB if selectable), as when printing with separate HP-GL/2 drivers.

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