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HP Officejet J4500 All-in-One Series - Missing, Faded, or Dull Colors

Issue
Colors are missing from the printed output, or are faded or dull.
Solution
Perform the following steps until the problem is resolved:
Step one: Check the paper
Check the paper to ensure it is the correct type for the project. If the paper is too fibrous, the ink might not fully cover the print surface
  • Many papers have printing and non-printing sides. Load the paper with the print-side down.
  • Use the correct paper type for the project. For everyday documents, plain paper works well. For documents with dense printing, such as high-contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced paper for the best results.
  • If the previous steps did not help, try a different paper. The ink might print better on heavier paper. HP designs inks and papers to work together, so genuine HP ink and HP paper are recommended.
Step two: Check the print settings
  1. In the program being used for printing, click File, and then click Print.
    The Print window opens.
  2. Make sure the appropriate product is selected, and then click Preferences or Properties.
    The Preferences/Properties window opens.
  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.
    Consider modifying some or all of the options on the Printing Shortcuts menu to increase print quality.
    • Print quality: If the quality of the printouts is not acceptable, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches the paper type exactly, select it instead of Automatic.
    • Paper size: Make sure that this option matches the paper loaded in the product.
    To see additional options, click the Advanced tab, and then click Advanced Features.
    The Advanced Features window opens. Consider changing the following option:
    Ink volume: Adjust the amount of ink that prints on a page. For lighter images (less ink), drag the slider to the left. For darker images (more ink), drag the slider to the right. The lighter the ink volume, the more quickly the printout dries.
Step three: Check ink levels
  note:
If a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge has been installed, or a cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the Printer Toolbox.
    1. Open HP Solution Center.
    2. Click Settings.
    3. Click Printer Toolbox.
      note:
    The Printer Toolbox can also be opened from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, click the Services tab and then click Service this device.
  2. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.
    Figure : HP Officejet J4500 Series-Estimated Ink Levels
      note:
    A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows that there is ink remaining in the cartridge. Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink. Replace print cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink.
Step four: Print a self-test page
  1. Make sure plain, white paper is loaded in the input tray.
  2. Use either of these methods to print the page:
    • Device control panel: Press Setup, select Print Report, select Self-Test, and then press OK.
    • HP Printer Utility (Mac OS): Click Device Information in the Information and Support panel, and then click Print Configuration Page.
  3. Examine the self-test report. It gives information about the cartridges and ink.
Figure : Self-test report
Step five: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the page
Identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test report to determine which cartridge is defective.
    Figure : Self-test report layout
  1. Printed by the right cartridge
  2. Printed by the left cartridge
  note:
When printing in reserve mode (that is, with one cartridge missing), the area of the self-test report where that cartridge prints is blank.
The patterns in each area might look slightly different on the page.
Step six: Look for defects
If the product and cartridges are working correctly, the patterns, which look like grids of lines, contain few or no missing lines. Also, the colors should be very similar to the color dots on the cartridge box.
  note:
Do not compare the colors on the self-test report to the colors on this Web page. Unless the monitor is calibrated, the colors are not the same.
Missing lines or streaked bars
If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that cartridge is not functioning correctly.
Figure : The magenta pattern shows missing lines and the bar is streaked - the cartridge is not functioning correctly
If the self-test report shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832192) (in English).
Colors are not similar to the color dots
The colors on the self-test report are printed by the tri-color (left-side) cartridge only. These blocks have labels describing the color they should be. If the color of any of the blocks does not match its dot, the left-side cartridge is not functioning correctly.
    Figure : The color of one of the colored bars is very different from the color on the dot - the cartridge is not functioning correctly
  1. Correct colors
  2. Incorrect color (yellow) - the tri-color (left-side) cartridge is not functioning correctly
If the self-test report shows colors that are different from the colors on the dots, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832204) (in English).
Missing colors
If any of the color patterns or bars are entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning correctly.
    Figure : Missing color bar
  1. All colors printed - no missing colors
  2. Yellow missing - the tri-color (left-side) cartridge is not printing correctly
If any of the patterns or color blocks are completely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting (c00832204) (in English).
Ink smears
If the self-test report shows smeared ink, it might be necessary to clean the cartridges.
Figure : Smeared ink
If the self-test report showed smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting (c01480928) (in English).
Step seven: Continued troubleshooting if the diagnostic page shows no defects
If no defects appear on the self-test page, the cartridges and product are working correctly.
If no defects were evident on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and product are working correctly. Click here (c01489240) (in English) to continue troubleshooting.
Cause
Missing or faded colors occur when the nozzles dry out, or when a color is exhausted because of specific printing demands. Also, colors might be dull as the result of contamination of the cartridge nozzles.
  • Do not remove the protective tape from a new cartridge until just before installation. Once the tape is removed, do not reapply it.
  • After the protective tape is removed, do not allow anything to touch the nozzles.
  • Print at least once a month to keep the cartridges in good working order.
  • Always turn the product off by pressing the button on the control panel. Turning the power off properly allows it to protect the cartridges.
  • When removing a cartridge from the product temporarily, put it into a cartridge protector.
  • If a cartridge protector is not available, put the cartridge into an airtight plastic tub. Make sure nothing touches the nozzles. Do not use a plastic bag. To store cartridges in a tub for a long period of time, place color cartridges with the nozzles down, and black cartridges with the nozzles up.

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