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HP Tango Printers - Black Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for HP Tango and Tango X 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 installing genuine HP ink cartridges resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

Step 2: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, use the HP Smart app and an automated tool to resolve the issue.
After cleaning ink smears, send a print job. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Make sure you are using the appropriate paper for your print job

Using incorrect paper for the print job might cause warping, lines, or streaks. Refer to the following guidelines to make sure the paper you are using is appropriate. 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.
After loading different paper, send a print job. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check the estimated ink levels

Low ink levels can affect print quality. Check the estimated ink levels in HP Smart.
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.
Open HP Smart, and then select HP Tango or Tango X, if it is not already selected.
Estimated ink levels display next to your printer.
Image: estimated ink cartrige levels
  • If none of the ink cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to Print a Print Quality Diagnostic report.
  • If either of the ink cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again.
  caution:
To avoid print quality issues and dried out ink cartridges, do not leave any ink cartridges outside the printer for longer than 30 minutes.
  1. Turn on the printer, and then open the printer lid.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Make sure the output tray or wrap is extended.
    Extending the wrap
  4. Gently press down on the Ink Door button to release the ink cartridge access door, and then lift the door until it stays in place.
    Opening the Ink Door
  5. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  6. Lift up the ink cartridge latch to release it, and then remove the ink cartridge.
    Lifting the printhead latch
  7. Remove the new ink cartridge from its package. Be careful to touch only the black plastic on the ink cartridge.
    Holding the ink cartridge by its sides.
  8. Remove the plastic tape from the new ink cartridge, and then discard or recycle the package and tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Removing the plastic tape
  9. With the nozzles toward the printer, insert the ink cartridge into its slot, and then squeeze the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    note:
    Install the color ink cartridge on the left and the black ink cartridge on the right.
    Inserting new cartridges
  10. Repeat these steps to install the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  11. Lower the ink cartridge access door, and then press gently to lock it in place.
    After you install new ink cartridges, the printer aligns the ink cartridges and prints an alignment page.
After replacing low or empty ink cartridges, try to print again. If the issue persists, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Examine the color blocks for defects

Examine the color blocks on the Print Quality Diagnostic page to make sure the color blocks are not streaked, faded, or missing.
Example of the color blocks without defects

Step 8: Clean the ink cartridges

Cleaning the ink cartridges can improve print quality. Clean the ink cartridges with HP Smart, and then evaluate the results.
note:
To avoid issues that require cleaning, always turn the printer off with the Power button.
If the print quality is still unacceptable after 2 cleaning cycles, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Examine the alignment lines and green color block for defects

Examine the alignment lines and green color block on the Print Quality Diagnostic report. Make sure the lines are straight and connected and there are no dark lines or white gaps in the green color block.
Alignment  lines without any defects
 Green color block without any defects
  • If any of the alignment lines are not straight and connected, or the green color block has dark lines or white gaps, continue to the next step.
  • If you see no defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic page, the print mechanism and ink cartridges are working correctly. If print quality is still not satisfactory, try these general print-quality guidelines. You do not need to continue the troubleshooting steps in this document.
    • Make sure the image you are printing has a high enough resolution. Images that have been enlarged might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the problem is near the edge of a printout, use the print settings to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
    • Do not leave unprotected ink cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
    • Always use the Power button to turn the printer off. This protects the ink cartridges from exposure to air.

Step 10: Align the printer

Align the ink cartridges for best print quality using HP Smart.

Step 11: Manually clean the area around the ink nozzles

If you see track marks or smears on the printouts, clean the area around the ink nozzles. Do not perform these steps unless the Print Quality Diagnostic report or printout specifically displays smeared text or track marks. If you do not see track marks or smears, skip to Replace the problem ink cartridge.
 Example of smeared text
 Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • A clean, lint-free cloth or a clean, dry cotton swab
    • Distilled or bottled water
        caution:
      Do not use tap water because it might contain contaminants that can damage the printhead.
  2. Gently press down on the Ink Door button to release the Ink Door, and then lift the Ink Door into the open position.
    Opening the Ink Door
  3. Wait until the printer is idle and silent before you continue.
  4. Lift up the printhead latch to release it, and then move the ink cartridge back and up to remove it.
    Lifting the printhead latch
  5. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
    Holding the ink cartridge by its sides.
  6. Lightly dampen a clean, lint-free cloth or swab with bottled or distilled water.
  7. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the cloth or swab.
      caution:
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
  8. Wait for the cleaned area to dry before you continue (approximately 10 minutes).
  9. With the nozzles toward the printer, insert the ink cartridge into its slot, and then squeeze to lock the printhead latch into place.
    note:
    Make sure you re-insert the color ink cartridge into the left slot and the black ink cartridge into the right slot.
    Inserting cartridges
  10. Repeat these steps to clean around the nozzles on the other ink cartridge.
  11. Lower the Ink Door, and then press gently to close it.
Try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 12: Replace the problem ink cartridge

Replace the problem ink cartridge if you saw defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the ink cartridge is not low on ink. The problem ink cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report as described earlier in this document.
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. Turn on the printer, and then open the printer lid.
  2. Load plain white paper into the input tray.
  3. Make sure the output tray or wrap is extended.
    Extending the wrap
  4. Gently press down on the Ink Door button to release the ink cartridge access door, and then lift the door until it stays in place.
    Opening the Ink Door
  5. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  6. Lift up the ink cartridge latch to release it, and then remove the ink cartridge.
    Lifting the printhead latch
  7. Remove the new ink cartridge from its package. Be careful to touch only the black plastic on the ink cartridge.
    Holding the ink cartridge by its sides.
  8. Remove the plastic tape from the new ink cartridge, and then discard or recycle the package and tape.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Removing the plastic tape
  9. With the nozzles toward the printer, insert the ink cartridge into its slot, and then squeeze the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    note:
    Install the color ink cartridge on the left and the black ink cartridge on the right.
    Inserting new cartridges
  10. Repeat these steps to install the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  11. Lower the ink cartridge access door, and then press gently to lock it in place.
    After you install new ink cartridges, the printer aligns the ink cartridges and prints an alignment page.
Try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 13: 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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