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HP Designjet Z6100 Printer Series - Print quality troubleshooting

General advice

Use the following approach when you have any print-quality problem:
  • To achieve the best performance from your printer, use only genuine HP supplies and accessories, whose reliability and performance have been thoroughly tested to give trouble-free performance and best-quality prints.
  • Make sure that the paper type that you select on the front panel is the same as the paper type that is loaded in the printer. Make sure that the paper type has been calibrated. Also make sure that the paper type that you select in your software is the same as the paper type that you loaded in the printer.
      caution:
    If you have the wrong paper type selected, you might experience poor print quality and incorrect colors, and damage to the printheads might occur.
  • Make sure that you are using the most appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. You are likely to see lower print quality if you have moved the print-quality slider to the Fast end of the scale, or set the custom quality level to Fast.
  • Make sure that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are in the recommended range.
  • Make sure that your ink cartridges and printheads have not passed their expiration dates.
  • Avoid touching the paper while printing is in progress.

Embedded Web Server Print Quality Troubleshooting wizard

Figure : Embedded Web Server print quality troubleshooting wizard
The Embedded Web Server Print Quality Troubleshooting wizard is designed to help you resolve some of the most common print-quality issues that users encounter in large-format printing. The wizard guides you through the resolution of the following print-quality issues:
  • Dark or light horizontal lines across the image (banding)
  • Graininess
  • Poor line quality
  • Inaccurate color
To access the Embedded Web Server Print Quality Troubleshooting wizard, click the Print Quality Troubleshooting link on the Support tab. Select the print-quality issue that you are experiencing and click the Next button.
A list of suggestions for corrective action appears along with help to guide you through the corrective action.

Lines are too thick, too thin, or missing

Figure : Thin and missing lines
  1. Verify that the paper type that you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you selected on the front panel and in your software.
  2. Make sure that you are using the appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes.
  3. If you are using a HP-GL/2 driver and the resolution of your image is greater than the printing resolution, you might notice a loss of line quality. You can find the Max. Application Resolution option on the Windows driver Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features. If you change this option, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  4. If lines are too thin or missing, print the Printhead status plot.
  5. Try aligning the printheads. After alignment, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  6. Select the Paper icon on the printer's front panel, and then View loaded paper to see the paper-advance calibration status. If the status is PENDING, perform a paper-advance calibration.
If the problem persists after you complete these actions, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Lines appear stepped or jagged

Use the following procedure if lines in your image appear stepped or jagged when printed:
Figure : Stepped line
  1. The problem might be inherent in the image. Try to improve the image within the software program that you are using to edit it.
  2. Make sure that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.
  3. If you are using an HP-GL/2 driver, hange your image-rendering resolution to 300 dpi or 600 dpi, depending on your printing need. The Max. Application Resolution option in the Windows driver dialog's Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features.

Parts of lines or text are missing

A high-quality large-format print job often requires a large amount of data, and in some specific workflows, the output might not look like you expected. Here are some suggestions to help you to avoid this problem:
  • Select a smaller page size and scale to the final page size in the driver or on the front panel.
  • Save the file in another format, such as TIFF or EPS, and open it in another program.
  • Use a RIP to print the file.
  • Reduce the resolution of the bitmap images in your software.
  • Select a lower print quality in order to reduce the resolution of the printed image.
  • On the Advanced tab of the Windows driver dialog, select Document options, Printer features, and then establish the following settings:
    • Set Send job as bitmap to Enabled (HP-GL/2 driver only).
    • Set 16-bit App. Compatibility to Enabled.
    • Set Max. Application resolution to 300.
    note:
    These settings are described for troubleshooting purposes only and might adversely affect the final output quality or the time necessary to generate the print job. Therefore, restore these settings to their default values if they do not help to solve the problem.

Lines are printed double or in the wrong colors

This problem can have various visible symptoms:
  • Colored lines are printed double, in different colors.
    Figure : Colored lines printed double
  • The borders of colored blocks are the wrong color.
    Figure : Colored blocks wrongly colored
Use these steps to correct this kind of problem:
  1. Align the printheads.
  2. Make sure that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.

Lines are blurred (ink bleeds from lines)

Figure : Blurred lines
Humidity can cause ink to soak into the paper, making the lines look blurred and fuzzy. Try the following remedies:
  1. Make sure that your environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are suitable for high-quality printing.
  2. Verify that the paper type that you select on the front panel is the same as the paper type that you are using. To check, select the Paper icon from the printer's front panel, and then select View loaded paper.
  3. Try changing to a heavier paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper, HP Super Heavyweight Coated Paper, or Digital Fine Art paper.
  4. If you are using glossy paper, try changing to a different type of glossy paper.
  5. Align the printheads.

Lines are slightly warped

The paper itself might be warped. This can happen if it has been used or stored in an extreme environment.

Dark or light horizontal lines across the image (banding)

Try the following remedies if your printed image suffers from added horizontal lines as shown (the color may vary):
Figure : Banding
  1. Make sure that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you select on the front panel and in your software.
  2. Make sure that you are using appropriate print-quality settings for your purposes. In some cases, you can overcome a print-quality problem merely by selecting a higher print-quality level. For instance, if you have set the print-quality slider to Fast, try setting it to Best. If you change the print-quality settings, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  3. Print the Printhead status plot.
  4. Check the paper-advance calibration status on the front panel. If the status is PENDING, you should perform paper-advance calibration.
  5. Try aligning the printheads. After alignment, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
If the problem persists, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Image is grainy

Figure : Graininess
  1. Verify that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you select on the front panel and in your software.
  2. Verify that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Make sure that you are using appropriate print-quality settings. In some cases, you can overcome a print-quality problem merely by selecting a higher print-quality level. For instance, if you have set the print-quality slider to Fast, try setting it to Best. If you change the print-quality settings, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  4. Try aligning the printheads. After alignment, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  5. Check the paper-advance calibration status on the front panel. If the status is PENDING, you should perform paper-advance calibration.
If the problem persists, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Image has a metallic hue (bronzing)

Bronzing describes an image that has a metallic hue when it is viewed from specific angles. Bronzing occurs most commonly when you print pigmented inks on non-matte paper, such as photo paper. If you are using standard print-quality options and the image contains the bronzing effect, move the slider to Quality.
If you are experiencing bronzing when printing grayscale images on glossy paper, try using the Full Set of Inks printing option. To do so from the Windows driver, click the Color tab and select Print In Grayscale, and then select the Full Set of Inks option from the drop-down menu.

Printed output is not flat

If the paper does not lie flat when it comes out of the printer, but instead contains shallow waves, you are likely to see defects in the printed image, such as vertical stripes. This can happen when you use thin paper that becomes saturated with ink.
Figure : Waves in the paper
  1. Make sure that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you select on the front panel and in your software.
  2. Try changing to a thicker paper type, such as HP Heavyweight Coated Paper, HP Super Heavyweight Coated Paper, or thicker Digital Fine Art papers.

Print smudges when touched

The black ink pigment can smudge when a finger or pen touches it. This is particularly noticeable on: vellum, translucent bond, films, productivity photo paper, and natural tracing paper.
Try these remedies to reduce the smudging:
  • Try to print in an environment that is not too humid for the printer.
  • Change pure black objects in your image to a dark color, such as dark brown, so that they are printed with colored inks instead of black ink.
  • Use HP Heavyweight Coated Paper.
  • Increase the drying time.

Ink marks appear on the paper

This problem can occur for several different reasons.

Smears on the front of coated paper

If a lot of ink is used on coated paper, the paper absorbs the ink quickly and expands. As the printheads move over the paper, the printheads come into contact with the paper and smear the printed image.
Whenever you notice this problem, cancel the printing job immediately. Press the Cancel button on the front panel and also cancel the job from your computer software. Otherwise the soaked paper might damage the printheads.
Try the following suggestions to avoid this problem:
  • Use a recommended paper type.
  • If the image you are printing contains intense color, try using HP Heavyweight Coated Paper.
  • Use extended margins, or try to increase the margins by relocating the image within the page by using your software program.
  • If necessary, try changing to a non-paper-based material such as transparent film.

Smears or scratches on the front of glossy paper

Glossy paper can be extremely sensitive to the bin or to anything else that it contacts soon after printing. This depends on the amount of ink that has been deposited on the paper and the environmental conditions at the time of printing. Avoid any contact with the paper surface and handle the print with care.

Ink marks on the back of the paper

Ink residue on the platen or the input rollers is likely to mark the back of the paper.

Defects near the top of a print

In a defect that affects only the start of a print, within 5.5 cm of the leading edge of the paper, a band of inconsistent color appears:
Figure : Top-of-print problems
Use these steps to avoid this problem:
  1. The easiest solution might be to select the Extended Margins option in the driver, through the Embedded Web Server, or on the front panel. Using this remedy means that the area of the paper affected by the problem (at the start of the page) might not be printed on.
  2. Align the printheads.
  3. Make suer that you are using appropriate print-quality settings.

Colors are inaccurate

Figure : Inaccurate colors
If the colors of your print do not match your expectations, try the following remedies:
  1. Verify that the paper type you have loaded corresponds to the paper type that you selected on the front panel and in your software. At the same time, check the color-calibration status. If the status is RECOMMENDED or OBSOLETE, you should perform color calibration. If you have made any changes, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  2. Verify that you are printing on the correct side of the paper.
  3. Make sure that you are using the appropriate print-quality settings. If you have selected the Fast options, you might not get accurate colors. If you change the print-quality settings, reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  4. If you are using Application Color Management, make sure that the color profile that you are using corresponds to the selected paper type and print-quality settings.
  5. If the problem consists of color differences between your print and your monitor, follow the instructions in the “How to calibrate your monitor” section of the HP Color Center. Reprint your job if the problem has been solved.
  6. Print the Printhead status plot.
  7. Consult the HP Knowledge Center at http://www.hp.com/go/knowledge_center/djz6100/ for step-by-step color assistance with different software programs (English language content only).
If the problem persists, contact your customer service representative for further support.

Colors between different HP Designjets do not match

If you print an image on two different printer models (for instance, on an HP Designjet Z6100 printer series and an HP Designjet 5500 printer series), the colors of the two prints might not match well.
Matching two printing devices that use different ink chemistry, paper chemistry, and printheads is unlikely to be completely successful. Use the information provided here is to attempt to make one printer match another.

Print with PostScript drivers

The situation describes printing with the PostScript driver installed for that printer. In this example, we are using an HP Designjet Z6100 printer series and an HP Designjet 5500 printer series.
  1. Verify that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Verify that you have the most recent printer driver for both printers. Download the latest versions for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. On the front panel of the HP Designjet Z6100, select the Setup icon, and then select Printer configuration, Color calibration, On.
  4. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  5. Verify that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper that you have loaded.
  6. Use you normal settings to print your image on the HP Designjet 5500.
  7. Now prepare to print the same image on the HP Designjet Z6100.
    In your software, set the color space of the image to emulate the HP Designjet 5500 and the specific paper type that you used in that printer. The data sent to the driver must be already converted to this emulation color space, which is a CMYK color space. See the online help for the software program to find information about how to do this. In this way, the Z6100 will emulate the colors that the 5500 can produce when printing on that paper type.
  8. In the PostScript driver for the HP Designjet Z6100, go to the Color Management section and set the CMYK input profile to the same HP Designjet 5500 color space that you selected in the software (the emulation color space).
    note:
    When trying to emulate another printer you should always use CMYK colors, not RGB.
  9. Set the rendering intent to Relative Colorimetric, or to Absolute Colorimetric if you want to emulate the whiteness of the paper.
  10. Print the image on the HP Designjet Z6100.

Print with HP-GL/2 drivers

The situation describes printing with the HP-GL/2 driver installed for that printer.
  1. Verify that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Verify that you have the most recent printer drivers for both printers. You can download the latest versions for any HP printer from http://www.hp.com/go/designjet.
  3. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. On the front panel of the HP Designjet Z6100 printer series, select the Setup icon, then Printer configuration, Color calibration, On.
  4. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  5. Verify that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper you have loaded.
  6. In the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet Z6100, click the Color tab, and select Printer Emulation from the list of color management options. Then select the HP Designjet 5500 from the list of emulated printers.
  7. In the HP-GL/2 driver for the HP Designjet 5500, click the Options tab, and then select Manual Color, Color Control, Match Screen. Also click the Paper Size tab, and then select Paper Type.

Print the same HP-GL/2 file

The situation describes how to produce an HP-GL/2 file (also known as a PLT file) with the HP-GL/2 driver installed for one printer that you intend to send to another printer.
  1. Verify that both printers have the most recent firmware version.
  2. Make sure that Color Calibration is turned on. At the front panel of the HP Designjet Z6100, select the Setup icon, then Printer configuration, Color calibration, On.
  3. Load the printers with the same type of paper.
  4. Verify that the Paper Type setting on the front panel corresponds to the paper you have loaded.
  5. If you have an HP-GL/2 file for an HP Designjet 5500 and you want to print it on an HP Designjet Z6100, use the Embedded Web Server or the front panel.
    • Through the Embedded Web Server: leave the color options set to Default.
    • On the front panel: select the Setup icon, and then select Printing preferences, Color options, Emulate printer, HP Designjet 5500 Series.
    For other HP Designjet printers, set both printers to match the screen colors (sRGB, if that is available), as when printing with separate HP-GL/2 drivers.

Output is completely blank

If the front-panel graphic language setting is Automatic (the default), try the other settings: PostScript for a PostScript file, HP-GL/2 for an HP-GL/2 file, and so on. Then send the file again.
When you have finished this particular print, remember to reset the graphic language to Automatic.

Output contains only a partial print

  • If you pressed Cancel before the printer received all the data, you ended the data transmission and will have to print the page again.
  • The I/O timeout setting might be too short. This setting determines how long the printer waits for the computer to send more data, before deciding that the job is finished. On the front panel, increase the I/O timeout setting to a longer period and then send the print again by selecting the Setup icon, and then selecting Connectivity menu, Advanced, Select I/O timeout.
  • A communications problem between your computer and the printer might exist. Check your USB or network cable.
  • Verify that your software settings are correct for your current page size (for example, long-axis prints).
  • If you are using network software, make sure that it has not timed out.

Image is clipped

Clipping normally indicates a discrepancy between the actual printable area on the loaded paper and the printable area as described by your software. You can often identify this kind of problem before printing by previewing your print.
  • Check the actual printable area for the paper size that you have loaded.
    printable area = paper size – margins
  • Check what your software understands to be the printable area (which it might cite as "printing area" or "imageable area"). For example, some software programs assume standard printable areas that are larger than those used in this printer.
  • If you have defined a custom page size that has very narrow margins, the printer might impose its own minimal margins and clip your image slightly. You might want to use a larger paper size.
  • If your image contains its own margins, you might be able to print it successfully by using the Clip Contents by margins option.
  • If you are trying to print a very long image on a roll, make sure that your software can print an image of that size.
  • You might have asked to rotate the page to landscape orientation on a paper size that is not sufficiently wide.
  • If necessary, reduce the size of the image or document in your software, so that it fits between the margins
Other explanations exist for a clipped images. Some programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, use an internal 16-bit coordinate system which means that they cannot handle an image of more than 32,768 pixels. If you try to print a larger image, the bottom of the image will be clipped. To print the entire image, try these suggestions:
  • If you are using an HP-GL/2 driver, you can reduce the resolution so that the whole image requires fewer than 32,768 pixels. The Windows driver includes an option called 16-bit App. Compatibility, which reduces the resolution automatically. The option is on the Advanced tab, under Document Options, Printer Features.
  • Save the file in another format, such as TIFF or EPS, and open it in another program.
  • Use a RIP to print the file.

Image is in one portion of the printing area

  • In the software, have you selected a page size that is too small?
  • Does your software read the image as being in one portion of the page?

Image is unexpectedly rotated

On the front panel, select the Setup icon, and then select Printing preferences, Paper options, Rotate. Verify that the setting is what you wanted.
For non-PostScript files: if Nesting is On, pages are sometimes automatically rotated to save paper.

Print is a mirror image of the original

On the front panel, select the Setup icon, and then select Printing preferences, Paper options, Enable mirror image. Verify that the setting is what you wanted.

Print is distorted or unintelligible

  • The interface cable that is connecting your printer to your network (or to your computer) might be faulty. Try another cable.
  • On the front panel, select the Setup icon, and then select Printing preferences, Select graphics languag. If the language setting is Automatic (the default), try the other settings: PostScript for a PostScript file, HP-GL/2 for an HP-GL/2 file, on so on. Then send the file again.
  • Depending on the software, drivers, and RIPs that you are using with your printer, different ways to solve this problem exist. Refer to the vendor's user documentation for details.

One image overlays another on the same print

The I/O timeout setting might be too long. On the front panel, decrease the setting and print again. Select the Setup icon, and then select Connectivity menu, Advanced, Select I/O timeout.

Pen settings seem to have no effect

  • You have changed the settings on the front panel by selecting the Setup icon followed by Printing preferences, HP-GL/2 , Define palette, but did not select that palette in Printing preferences, HP-GL/2, Select palette.
  • To enable the software-driven pen settings, go to the front panel and select the Setup icon followed by Printing preferences, HP-GL/2, Select palette, Software.

Image has a wood-grain appearance (aeroworms)

Figure : Inaccurate colors
Aeroworms are wavy, horizontal bands produced by air-induced dot placement error (DPE). In extreme cases, aeroworms give the image a wood-grain appearance. The problem occurs most commonly on print jobs that are set for low-quality and high-speed. It does not occur when the custom print-quality setting is set to “best.”
To eliminate aeroworms, select a higher IQ print setting.