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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer Series (C310)

This document is for the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer Series (C310).
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.
To resolve most print quality issues, use genuine HP cartridges, and in some cases, you might need to allow the printer to complete the automatic servicing routine. Check the paper and print settings to make sure that they are correct for the print job, and clean the cartridges and printhead. You might need to replace any empty or defective cartridges.

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).

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 use 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 you use the preceding guidelines to make sure that the paper you use is appropriate for the print job, try to print again.

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 from which you are trying to print, click File, and then click Print. The Print window opens.
  2. Select your printer from the Name: drop-down list, and then click Properties. The printer Properties window opens.
  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.
  4. Under the Printing Shortcuts section, click the type of job you are trying to print.
    Figure : Printer Properties window with Printing shortcuts highlighted
    Graphic: Printer Properties window with Printing shortcuts highlighted
  5. Review the following options on the right side of the printer Properties window, and then make any necessary changes.
    • Paper sizes: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.
    • Print quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.
  6. Click the Features tab.
  7. Under the Color Options section, make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.
  8. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the print job.

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

Follow these steps to check the cartridge ink levels with HP Solution Center, and then replace low or empty cartridges, if necessary.
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.
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.
  2. Click Settings ().
  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens.
  4. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab. The estimated ink levels display in a graphic on the computer.
    Figure : Estimated ink level graphic in the Toolbox
    Illustration: Estimated ink level graphic in the Toolbox

Solution six: Print and evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report

Follow these steps to print, and then evaluate a Print Quality Diagnostic Report.

Step one: 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
    Graphic: Print Quality Diagnostic Report

Step two: Check the Print Quality Diagnostic Report for defects

In general, if the printer and its cartridges work 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 three: 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 on the top of the cartridge
    Image: Vent area on the top of the cartridge
  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. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the cartridge into its slot. Press down on the cartridge until it clicks 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.
  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. The carriage returns to the right side of the printer.
    Figure : Close the cartridge access door
    Image: Close the cartridge access door
  11. Try the print job again.

Step four: Install a firmware upgrade

Check for a firmware upgrade that might help solve the problem:
  1. On the printer control panel, touch the Setup icon ().
  2. Touch Web.
  3. Touch printer Updates.
  4. Touch Check for printer Updates.
  5. Touch Yes to update. The update might take 10 to 20 minutes. Do not turn off the printer until the update is complete. The printer will shut down and start back up automatically.

Step five: Clean the printhead

Follow these steps to run a utility to clean the printhead.
  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 Cartridges.
    note:
    Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.
  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.

Step six: Align the printer

Follow these steps to align the printer, if you found defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.
  2. In HP Solution Center, click Settings ().
  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  4. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().
  5. Click Print Page. The printer prints an alignment page.

Solution seven: Replace the problem cartridge

If none of the preceding steps resolved the issue, replace the cartridge that corresponds to the defect on the Print Quality Diagnostic Report. For example, if one of the magenta color bars is defective, replace the magenta cartridge. Use the following steps to replace the problem cartridge.

Step one: Replace the problem cartridge

  1. Turn on the printer, if it is not already turned on.
  2. 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 cartridge access door
  3. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  4. Press in the tab on the front of the ink cartridge, and then pull it up and out to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Removing the ink cartridge from the slot
    Image: 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 that 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.
  5. Remove an ink cartridge from its package, and then pull the orange pull-tab straight back.
      caution:
    Make sure you remove the orange pull-tab and plastic wrap completely before you remove 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.
    Figure : Removing the new ink cartridge from the plastic wrap
    Image: Remove the new ink cartridge from the plastic wrap.
  6. Twist the orange cap counter clockwise to snap it off.
    Figure : Removing the orange cap
    Graphic: Twist the orange cap to remove it
  7. With the nozzle and contacts facing down, slide the ink cartridge into its slot, and then press down on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    Make sure the colored icon on the ink cartridge matches the colored icon on the slot.
      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 : Inserting the ink cartridge
    Image: Insert the ink cartridge.
  8. 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)
  9. Repeat these steps for each ink cartridge that needs replacement.
  10. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    When you insert a new ink cartridge, the printer automatically prompts you to align the ink cartridges.
    Figure : Closing the ink cartridge access door
    Graphic: Close the cartridge access door

Step two: Load plain paper

  1. Raise and hold the output tray in the open position.
  2. Slide the paper width guide to its outermost position.
    Figure : Slide the paper guide outward
    Graphic: Move the paper width guide outward
  3. Insert the stack of paper into the input tray with the short edge forward and the print side down.
    Figure : Load plain paper
    Graphic: Load plain paper
  4. Adjust the paper width guide so that it rests against the stack of paper.
    Figure : Adjust the paper width guide to the stack of paper
    Graphic: Adjust the paper width guide to rest against the stack of paper
  5. Lower the output tray, and then pull the tray extender towards you, as far as it will go. Flip up the paper catch at the end of the tray extender.
    Figure : Lower the output tray
    Graphic: Lower the output tray

Step three: Align the printer

After loading plain white paper, touch OK on the printer control panel. The printer automatically prints an alignment page to align the cartridges.
Figure : Example alignment page
Graphic: Example alignment page
If the printer fails to align automatically, follow these steps to align the printer through HP Solution Center.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:
    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.
    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.
  2. In HP Solution Center, click Settings ().
  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  4. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().
  5. Click Print Page. The printer prints an alignment page.

Solution eight: 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.
  1. If you are in Asia Pacific, the site directs you to a service center in your area.
  2. Search for printhead number CN642A.
  3. Follow the instructions to order the printhead assembly.
When you have the replacement printhead, go to the replace the printhead for your printer.

Solution nine: 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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