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HP Smart Tank 500 Printers - Color or Black Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for HP Smart Tank 500 and 508 All-in-One, Smart Tank 511, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, and 519 Wireless All-in-One, and Smart Tank Plus 551, 555, and 559 Wireless 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: Check ink levels and fill ink tanks

Low ink levels can impact print quality. Refill any tanks that are low on ink.
HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink. If you do not use genuine HP ink and HP printheads, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.
Using non-HP ink contaminates any genuine HP ink added later. Because ink remains in the printhead when the ink is changed, the contaminated ink can remain in the system and affect print quality.
Purchase replacement ink and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
  1. On the control panel, look for CMYK and blinking Ink icons . The Ink/Printhead light might also blink.
    CMYK displays with blinking Ink icons and the Ink/Printhead light on
  2. Fill any tanks that are low on ink.
    Filling the ink tank
    For more information, go to Refilling Ink Tanks.
Print another page. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Make sure you are using the appropriate paper for your print job

Use the following guidelines to make sure the paper you are using 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.
Print another page. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check the print settings

Check the print and paper settings to make sure they match your print job.
Print settings vary by operating system and software application.
  • Paper Type: Select the type of paper you are printing on, such as photo paper or plain white paper.
  • Print Quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.
  • Paper Size: Make sure you select the correct paper size for your print job.
  • Color or Black and White: If you want to print in black and white only, select the grayscale option.

Step 4: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, you can use an automated tool in the HP Smart app to resolve the issue.

Step 6: Clean the printheads

Clean the printheads if you find defects on Test Pattern 2.
If you did not find defects on Test Pattern 2, skip to the next step. Unnecessary cleaning wastes ink.
Test Pattern 2 with white lines
Test Pattern 2 with defects

Step 7: Align the printheads

Align the printheads from the printer control panel if you find defects on Test Pattern 1, 3, or both.
Test Pattern 1 with disconnected lines
Test Pattern 1 with defects
Test Pattern 3 with a white gap
Test Pattern 3 with defects
  1. On the printer control panel, press and hold the Resume button for three seconds.
    An Alignment Page prints.
    Alignment Page
  2. Follow the instructions on the page to align the printheads.
Print another Print Quality Diagnostic Report. If you find defects on Test Pattern 1, 3, or both, or if print quality is still unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Replace the printhead

If you followed all the steps in this document and your printer is producing printouts with print quality issues, replace one or both printheads.
Check your product warranty to determine if your printer is still under warranty, and then Contact HP Support to replace the printheads.
Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty printers.

Step 9: 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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