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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One (B210a, B210b, B210c, and B210e) Printer Series

This document is for the HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One (B210a, B210b, B210c, and B210e) 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.
Windows operating system 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 a garbled, jumbled or illogical text, or incomplete print job
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout

Solution one: 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.

Solution two: Allow automatic servicing to complete

Many print quality problems with black ink, such as poor black text or issues that occur with a newly installed black cartridge, clear up with the printer's automatic servicing routine. There is nothing you need to do. The print quality should start improving in a few hours.
If you cannot wait, continue with these troubleshooting steps.

Solution three: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the product 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.
note:
Inappropriate paper usually causes vertical streaks in printouts. Do not replace cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
Examples of horizontal streaks and vertical streaks in printout
Figure : Horizontal streaks in printout
Illustration of horizontal streaks
Figure : Vertical streaks in printout
Illustration of vertical streaks
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
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.
Try printing again after trying the preceding guidelines.

Solution four: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.
  1. In the software program you are trying to print from, click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Select your printer, and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. From the Media drop-down, select the paper type that matches the paper you have loaded in the printer.
  5. Click the Advanced tab. The Advanced Options dialog box opens.
  6. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.
    • Paper/Output: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size. For example, if you have legal paper loaded in your printer, select Legal 8.5x14in.
    • Document Options: Make sure that Print in Grayscale is set to Off, unless you are printing in Grayscale intentionally.
  7. Click OK, and then click OK again to apply the settings.
  8. Click OK from the Print dialog box to start the print job.

Solution five: Check ink levels and replace low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the ink levels on your printer, and then replace low or empty cartridges according to the results.

Step 1: Check estimated ink levels

note:
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.
  1. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon , and then touch Tools.
  2. Touch Display Estimated Ink Levels.
    The estimated ink levels display.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels
    Image: Estimated ink levels on control panel
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Continue to the next solution.
  • If any of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step 2: Replace any low or empty cartridges

  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on.
  2. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.
  3. Open the ink cartridge access door.
    The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Figure : Opening the ink cartridge access door
    Graphic: Open the ink cartridge access door
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
  5. To release the old ink cartridge, press the tab on the front of the ink cartridge, and then remove it from the slot.
    Figure : Removing the ink cartridge from the slot
    Graphic: Remove the ink cartridge from the slot
      caution:
    Do not lift the latch next to the carriage to install the ink cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated ink cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down to install the ink cartridges correctly.
    note:
    Never turn off the printer when ink cartridges are missing. Make sure you replace any missing ink cartridges as soon as possible to avoid print quality issues and possible extra ink usage or damage to the ink system.
  6. On the new ink cartridge, pull the orange pull-tab straight back to remove the plastic wrap.
    Figure : Removing the plastic wrap
    Graphic: Unwrap the new ink cartridge
      caution:
    Make sure you remove the orange pull-tab and plastic wrap completely before you twist the orange cap in the next step. Otherwise, ink might leak from the ink cartridge. When you remove the plastic wrap, the paper label on the top of the ink cartridge tears slightly, which is necessary to properly vent the ink cartridge.
  7. Twist the orange cap counter clockwise to snap it off the ink cartridge.
    Figure : Removing the orange cap
    Graphic: Twist the orange cap to remove it
  8. With the ink cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the ink cartridge into the empty slot. Press down on the ink cartridge until it is firmly seated.
      caution:
    Do not lift the carriage latch handle to install the ink cartridges. Doing so can result in incorrectly seated ink cartridges and printing problems. The latch must remain down to install the ink cartridges correctly.
    Figure : Reinstalling the ink cartridge
    Graphic: Install the new ink cartridge
  9. If the ink cartridge does not snap into place, remove the ink cartridge from the carriage. Gently bend the tab away from the cartridge, and then reinsert the ink cartridge into the carriage.
      caution:
    Be careful not to bend the tab out more than 1.27 cm (0.5 in). Moving the tab too far might damage the ink cartridge or cause the tab to break off.
      Figure : Bending out the ink cartridge tab
      Image: Adjust the ink cartridge tab
    1. Bend the tab away from the cartridge
    2. Do not bend the tab more than 1.27 cm (0.5 in)
  10. Repeat these steps to replace other ink cartridges, if necessary.
  11. Close the ink cartridge door. The carriage returns to the right side of the printer.
    Figure : Closing the ink cartridge access door
    Graphic: Close the ink cartridge access door
  12. When you insert a new ink cartridge, the printer automatically prompts you to align the ink cartridges.

Step 3: Align the printer

After you load plain white paper in the input tray, touch OK on the printer control panel. The printer automatically prints an alignment page to align the cartridges.
Figure : Example alignment page
Image: Example alignment page

Solution six: Print and evaluate a print quality diagnostic report and troubleshoot defects

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate a print quality diagnostic report.

Step 1: Print a print quality diagnostic report

  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon (), and then touch Tools.
  3. Touch Print Quality Report. The print quality diagnostic report prints.
    Figure : Print quality diagnostic report example
    Image of print quality diagnostic page

Step 2: Check the print quality diagnostic report for defects

In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the print quality diagnostic report. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the print quality diagnostic report
Defect
Example
Large font text is ragged on one end
illustration of ragged large text
Irregularly streaked or faded color bars
Illustration of streaked or faded color bars
Ragged color bars
Illustration of ragged color bars
The color bars are streaked with another color
Illustration of streaked color bars
The color blocks have regular white streaks
Illustration of white streaks in the color bars
Jagged alignment patterns
Illustration of jagged alignment patterns
  • If you see no defects on the print quality diagnostic report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try these general print quality guidelines, and then do not continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document:
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that have been enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
  • If you see one or more of these defects on the print quality diagnostic report, continue to the next steps.

Step 3: Make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly

If the vent on the top of the cartridge is clogged or obstructed, the cartridge might not work properly. Follow these steps to make sure that the cartridges are properly vented and seated correctly.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.
  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer.
    Figure : Open the cartridge access door
    Graphic: Open the cartridge access door
  3. Press in the tab on the front of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it up to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge from the slot
    Graphic: Remove the cartridge from the slot
  4. Examine the vent area on each cartridge, above the HP logo on the top of the cartridge.
    Figure : Vent area
    Illustration of the cartridge vent area
  5. If the cartridge still has the orange pull-tab attached, pull to remove it.
    Figure : Orange pull tab
    Image: Orange pull tab.
  6. If the vent is clogged, use a straight pin to gently remove excess adhesive from the vent.
      Figure : Clean the clogged vent with a pin
      Image: Clean the clogged vent with a pin.
    1. Clogged vent
    2. With a straight pin, gently remove excess adhesive from the vent
    3. Unclogged vent
  7. Reinsert the cartridge. With the cartridge contacts facing the printhead, slide the cartridge into the empty slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks firmly into place.
    note:
    Make sure that each cartridge is installed in the correct slot. Match the shape of the icon and the color of the cartridge with the slot that has the same shaped icon and color.
    Figure : Reinstall the cartridge
    Image: Install the new cartridge
  8. Repeat these steps to inspect the vents on each of the cartridges.
  9. Make sure that each cartridge is firmly in place in its slot. Run your finger along the top of the cartridges to feel for any that are protruding, and if any are, press down firmly until each cartridge snaps into place.
  10. Close the cartridge access door.
    Figure : Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  11. Try the print job again.

Step 4: Clean the printhead

Follow these steps to run a utility to clean the printhead.
  caution:
Never turn off the printer when ink cartridges are not installed. To avoid issues that require cleaning the printhead or that can damage the ink system, always replace ink cartridges as soon as possible, and always turn off the printer using the Power button.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon (), and then touch Tools.
  3. Touch Clean Printhead. After the cleaning process, the printer prints a test page.
  4. Evaluate the test page for any defects.
    • If the print quality is unacceptable, touch Proceed when prompted to continue the next level of cleaning. Repeat these steps for the third cleaning stage, if necessary.
      note:
      If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes before you perform all three levels of cleaning again.
    • If the print quality is acceptable, touch Done, and then continue to the next step to align the printer.
  5. Evaluate the test page to see if the issue is resolved.
    • If the print quality is acceptable, touch Done, and then continue to the next step to align the printer.
    • If the print quality has not improved, skip to the step to replace the printhead.

Step 5: Align the printer

Follow these steps to align the printer, if you found defects on the print quality diagnostic report.
  1. Load letter or A4, unused, plain white paper into the tray.
  2. Open the HP product software:
    • Windows XP: Click Start (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP product, and then click the icon for your HP product ().
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, click the folder for your HP product, and then click the icon for your HP product ().
    note:
    You can also open the HP product software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP product ().
  3. In the product software, double-click Printer Actions ().
  4. Double-click Maintenance Tasks (). The HP Toolbox opens.
  5. Click Align Printheads. The product automatically prints an alignment page to align the cartridges.
  6. After the alignment page prints, click OK, and then close the toolbox window.
  • If alignment failed, continue to the replace the printhead or service the printer steps.
  • If the alignment was successful, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Solution seven: Replace the printhead

If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing a problem, replace the printhead.
  caution:
Wait until you have a new printhead assembly available before you remove the cartridges. HP recommends that you do not leave the cartridges outside the printer longer than 30 minutes. This could damage both the printer and the cartridges.

Step 1: Check the printhead warranty status

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.

Step 2: Order the printhead

  1. If you are in Asia Pacific, the site directs you to a service center in your area.
  2. Search for part number CN643A.
  3. Follow the instructions to order the printhead assembly.

Step 3: Replace the printhead

Solution eight: Service the printer

note:
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.
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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