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HP Deskjet 1510, 2540 Printers - Black Ink Not Printing and Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for the following printers: HP Deskjet 1510, 1511, 1512, 1513, 1514, 2540, 2541, 2542, 2543, 2544, 2546, 2546B, 2546P, 2546R, 2547, 2548, 2549, Deskjet Ink Advantage 1515, 1516, 1518, 2545, 2546, and 2548 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.

Step 1: Use genuine HP ink 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.
note:
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 genuine HP ink cartridges are installed in the printer and the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Allow the printer to rest

Sometimes, print quality issues can be resolved during a period of inactivity. Consider waiting for about 30 minutes, and then try the print job again.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Step 3: Check the paper

Follow these guidelines to make sure that 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.
note:
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 trying the preceding guidelines, try to print again.

Step 4: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.

Step 5: Check the estimated ink levels

Low ink levels can impact print quality. Replace any ink cartridges that are low or empty.
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.

Step 6: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace any critically low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again. Skip this step if all ink cartridges showed healthy ink levels in the previous step.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  4. Lightly press down on the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull the ink cartridge out of its slot.
    Image: Remove the cartridge
  5. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the orange tab to remove the plastic tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Image: Remove the plastic tape and do not touch the contacts or ink nozzles
  6. 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.
    Image: Insert the cartridge into its slot
  7. Push the ink cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Image: Snap the cartridge into place
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  10. Follow any prompts on the screen.
  11. Wait about 30 seconds for the alignment page to automatically print.
    Image: The alignment page prints automatically after 30 seconds
    note:
    The printer prints an alignment page automatically only when a new ink cartridge has been installed.

Step 7: Align the printer

For the best print quality, align the printer after you install a new ink cartridge.
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the print 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.
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the Start Copy Black button or the Start Copy Color button on the front panel of the printer. The printer aligns the ink cartridges.

Step 9: Check the test page 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. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.
Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the test page. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.
Examples of defects on the test page
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 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 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 you see one or more defects on the print quality diagnostic report, continue to the next steps.
  • If there are no defects on the print quality diagnostic report, it indicates that the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. Therefore, you do not need to continue the troubleshooting steps in the remainder of this document. However, if printouts are still unsatisfactory, try the following general procedures to improve print quality:
    • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Enlarged images might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the issue 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 degrees. The problem might not display on the other end of the printout.
    • Avoid leaving unprotected cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
    • Always use the Power button to turn off the printer. This protects the cartridges from drying out.
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout.
Windows 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.

Step 10: Align the printer

For the best print quality, align the printer after you install a new cartridge.
  1. Lift the scanner lid.
  2. Place the alignment page with the print 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.
    Image: Place the alignment page on the scanner glass
  3. Close the scanner lid.
  4. Press the Start Copy Black button or the Start Copy Color button on the front panel of the printer. The printer aligns the ink cartridges.

Step 11: Clean the area around the ink nozzles

  caution:
Do not perform these steps unless the test report specifically shows smeared text or track marks. If the report does not show this defect, skip to the next step.
  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)
    • Clean sheets of paper
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the print cartridges)
        caution:
      Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the area. These can damage the cartridge or the printer.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  3. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
    Figure : Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull the cartridge out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
      caution:
    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
  5. Place the cartridge on a piece of paper with the ink nozzles facing up.
  6. Lightly moisten a clean, foam-rubber swab with distilled water.
  7. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
      caution:
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
      Figure : Clean the area around the ink nozzle
      Image: The ink nozzle and cartridge contacts
    1. Nozzle plate - DO NOT CLEAN
    2. Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3. Cartridge contacts - DO NOT CLEAN
  8. Either let the cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  9. Hold the cartridge by its sides with the nozzles toward the printer, and then insert the cartridge into its slot. Make sure that the icon on the cartridge matches the icon on the slot.
    • The tri-color cartridge () goes in the slot on the left.
    • The black cartridge () goes in the slot on the right.
    Figure : Insert the cartridge into the slot
    Image: Insert the cartridge
  10. Push the cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Push the cartridge into the slot
    Image: Push the cartridge into the slot
  11. Repeat these steps to clean the area surrounding the ink nozzle on the other cartridge.
  12. Close the cartridge access door.

Step 12: Clean the ink cartridges

The ink cartridges could be clogged, and you might need to clean them several times to restore print quality. Use the automated tool to clean the ink cartridges.
note:
To avoid issues that require cleaning, always turn the printer off with the Power button.

Step 13: Replace the problem ink cartridge

If the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, replace the problem ink cartridge, even if the ink cartridge is not low on ink. The problem ink cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the test page.
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 turned on.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the center of the printer. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before continuing.
    Image: Open the cartridge access door
  4. Lightly press down on the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull the ink cartridge out of its slot.
    Image: Remove the cartridge
  5. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then pull the orange tab to remove the plastic tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Image: Remove the plastic tape and do not touch the contacts or ink nozzles
  6. 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.
    Image: Insert the cartridge into its slot
  7. Push the ink cartridge forward into its slot until it snaps into place.
    Image: Snap the cartridge into place
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  10. Follow any prompts on the screen.
  11. Wait about 30 seconds for the alignment page to automatically print.
    Image: The alignment page prints automatically after 30 seconds
    note:
    The printer prints an alignment page automatically only when a new ink cartridge has been installed.

Step 14: 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.
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.

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