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HP LaserJet Pro Color M300 and M400 MFP Product Series - Solve Print Quality Problems

Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue.

Print from a different software program

Try printing from a different software program. If the page prints correctly, the problem is with the program from which you were printing.

Check the paper type setting for your print job

Follow these steps if you are printing from a software program and the printout has smears, fuzzy or dark print, curled paper, toner scatter, loose toner, or dropouts.
  1. Choose the Print option from your software application.
  2. Within the Print Dialog Window, click Properties or Preferences.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. Check the paper type setting.
    1. Click on the Type is or Paper Type: drop-down list.
    2. Select the paper type that best describes the paper you are printing on.
      • If you are using special paper, such as glossy, select the appropriate paper type.
      • If you are using light paper select a lighter weight paper type in the drop-down list.
      • If you are using heavier paper select a heavier weight paper type in the drop-down list.
    3. If the paper printout is curled or wavy, select a lighter weight paper type in the drop-down list.
    4. If the printout has areas of fuzzy or dark print, toner scatter, or loose toner select a heavier weight paper type in the drop-down list.
  5. Click OK to save changes. Click OK to print.

Check print cartridge status

Follow these steps to check the estimated life remaining in the print cartridges and if applicable, the status of other replaceable maintenance parts:

Step one: Print the supplies status page

Follow these steps to print out the supplies status page from your printer:
  1. On the printer’s control panel, touch Setup menu .
  2. Select Reports.
  3. Select Supplies Status Page.
Figure : Supplies Status Page

Step two: Check supplies status

  1. Look at the supplies status report to check the percent of life remaining on the supplies status page for the print cartridges and if applicable, the status of other replaceable maintenance parts.
    note:
    Print quality problems may occur when using a print cartridge that is at its estimated end of life. The supply status page indicates when a supply level is very low. Once an HP supply has reached very low, HP’s premium protection warranty on that supply has ended.
    The supply does not need to be replaced now unless the print quality is no longer acceptable. Consider having a replacement available to install when print quality is no longer acceptable.
    If you determine that you need to replace a print cartridge or other replaceable maintenance parts, the genuine HP part numbers are listed on the supplies status page.
  2. Check to see if you are using an HP genuine cartridge.
    Type of print cartridge
    Description
    Refilled or remanufactured print cartridge
    Hewlett Packard cannot recommend the use of non-HP supplies, either new or remanufactured. Because they are not HP products, HP cannot influence their design or control their quality. If you are using a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge and are not satisfied with the print quality, replace the print cartridge with a genuine HP print cartridge.
    Genuine HP print cartridge
    A genuine HP print cartridge has the words “HP” or “Hewlett-Packard” on it, or has the HP logo on it.

Calibrate the product to align colors

Calibration is a printer function that optimizes print quality.
Follow these steps if you experience print quality problems such as misaligned color, colored shadows, blurry graphics or other print quality issues.
  1. On the printer’s control panel, touch Setup menu .
  2. Select System Setup.
  3. Select Print Quality.
  4. Select Calibrate Calibration.
  5. Select Calibrate Now.
note:
A Calibrating message will appear on the printer control panel display. The calibration process takes a few minutes to complete. Do not turn the printer off until the calibration process has finished.

Print a cleaning page

During the printing process, paper, toner, and dust particles can accumulate inside the printer and can cause print quality issues such as toner specks or spatter, smears, streaks, lines or repeating marks.
Follow these steps to clean the printer’s paper path:
  1. On the printer’s control panel, touch Setup menu .
  2. Scroll down and select Service.
  3. Select Cleaning Page.
  4. When prompted, load copier-grade paper (not bond, heavy, or rough paper), and then select OK.
note:
A Cleaning message appears on the printer control panel display while the cleaning is taking place. The cleaning process takes a few minutes to complete. Do not turn the printer off until the cleaning process has finished.
A page will be printed when the task is complete. Discard the page.
You might need to repeat the cleaning process to thoroughly clean the printer. Print a few more pages to see if the problem is resolved.

Perform additional Print Quality Troubleshooting

Use the Print Quality Troubleshooting pages to help diagnose and solve color print-quality problems.

Step one: Print PQ Troubleshooting Pages

Follow these steps to print out the pages from your printer’s control panel:
  1. On the printer’s control panel, touch Setup menu .
  2. Select Reports.
  3. Scroll down and select Print Quality Pageand print the print quality page.
The printer returns to the Ready state after printing several Print Quality troubleshooting pages.

Step two: Interpret the Print Quality Troubleshooting Pages

Follow these steps to interpret the Print Quality Troubleshooting pages:
The page prints five bands of color, which are divided into four overlapping sections. By examining each section, you can isolate the problem to a particular print cartridge.
    Figure : Print quality troubleshooting bands
  1. Yellow
  2. Cyan
  3. Black
  4. Magenta
  • If a dot, mark, line or streaks appears in only one section, replace the print cartridge that corresponds to that section.
  • If a dot, mark, line or streak appears in more than one section, replace the print cartridge that matches the color of the mark or line.

Visually inspect the print cartridge

Follow these steps to inspect the print cartridge:
  1. Remove the print cartridge from the printer.
  2. Verify that the sealing tape has been removed.
  3. Examine the surface of the green imaging drum on the bottom of the print cartridge.
      caution:
    Do not touch the green roller (imaging drum) on the bottom of the cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print-quality problems.
    Figure : Imaging drum - Do not touch
  4. If you see any scratches, fingerprints, foreign objects or other damage on the imaging drum, replace the print cartridge. The HP part number is listed on the supplies status page.
  5. If there are foreign objects protruding from the cartridge e.g. plastic, sealing tape, or blade, replace the print cartridge.
  6. Try rocking the print cartridge gently several times and reinstall it. Print a few pages to see if the problem has been resolved.

Check paper and printing environment

Step one: Use paper that meets HP specifications

Some print-quality problems arise from the use of media that does not meet HP printer specifications.
  • Always use a paper type and weight that is supported by the printer. Refer to the printer’s user manual for a list of supported paper types.
  • Use paper that is of good quality and free of cuts, nicks, tears, spots, loose particles, dust, wrinkles, voids, staples, and curled or bent edges.
  • Use paper that has not been previously printed on.
  • Use paper that does not contain metallic material such as glitter.
  • Use paper that is designed for use in laser printers. Do not use paper that is designed only for use in Inkjet printers.
  • Use paper that is not too rough. Using smoother paper generally results in better print quality.

Step two: Check the environment

The environment can directly affect print quality and is a common cause for print quality or paper feeding issues.
  • Move the printer away from drafty locations such as open windows or doors, or air conditioning vents.
  • Make sure the printer is not exposed to temperatures or humidity outside of printer’s specifications.
  • Do not install the printer in confined spaces such as a cabinet.
  • Ensure the printer is positioned on a level and sturdy surface.
  • Remove anything blocking the vents. Make sure that there is good air flow around the printer, including the top.
  • Protect the printer from airborne debris, dust, steam, grease, or other elements that can leave residue inside the printer.

Check other print job settings

If you are printing from a software program, follow these steps to try to resolve the issue by adjusting other print driver settings.

Step one: Check the economode settings

Follow these steps if the entire page is too dark or light:
  1. Choose the Print option from your software application.
  2. Within the Print Dialog Window, click Properties or Preferences.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab and find the Print Quality section.
    • If the entire page is too dark,
      1. select 600 dpi from the drop-down list
      2. select the EconoMode check box
    • If the entire page is too light,
      • select FastRes 1200 from the drop-down list
      • clear the EconoMode check box
  4. Click OK to save changes. Click OK to print.

Step two: Adjust color settings

Follow these steps if colors on your page do not match your screen or if you are not satisfied with the colors on your print job:
  1. Choose the Print option from your software application.
  2. Within the Print Dialog Window, click Properties or Preferences.
  3. Click the Color tab.
    1. Select the Color Themes drop-down list.
      • Default (sRGB): This theme sets the printer to print RGB data in raw device mode. When using this theme, manage color in the software program or in the operating system for correct rendering.
      • Vivid: The printer increases the color saturation in the midtones. Use this theme when printing business graphics.
      • Photo: The printer interprets RGB color as if it were printed as a photograph using a digital mini lab. The printer renders deeper, more saturated colors differently than with the Default (sRBG) theme. Use this theme when printing photos.
      • Photo (Adobe RGB 1998): Use this theme with printing digital photos that use the AdobeRGB color space rather than sRGB. Turn off color management in the software program when using this theme.
      • None: Sets the printer to print RGB data in raw device mode. To render photographs correctly when this option is selected, you must manage color in the program in which you are working or in the operating system.
    2. Select the Color Options.
      • Click the Automatic setting.
        • Automatic setting: Select this setting for most color print jobs.
        • Manual setting: Select this setting to adjust the color settings independent from other settings.
          note:
          Changing color settings manually can impact output. HP recommends that only color graphics experts change these settings.
      • Click the Print in Grayscale option to print a color document in black and white.
  4. Click OK to save changes. Click OK to print.

Try a different printer driver

Figure : Unexpected Output
You might need to use a different printer driver if you are printing from a software program and the printed page has unexpected lines in graphics, missing text, missing graphics, incorrect formatting, or substituted fonts.
HP PCL 6 driver
  • Provided as the default driver. This driver is automatically installed unless you select a different one.
  • Recommended for all Windows environments.
  • Provides the overall best speed, print quality, and printer-feature support for most users.
  • Developed to align with the Windows Graphic Device Interface (GDI) for the best speed in Windows environments.
  • Might not be fully compatible with third-party and custom software programs that are based on PCL 5.
HP UPD PS driver
  • Recommended for printing with Adobe® software programs or with other highly graphics-intensive software programs.
  • Provides support for printing from postscript emulation needs, or for postscript flash font support.
HP UPD PCL 5
  • Recommended for general office printing in Windows environments.
  • Compatible with previous PCL versions and older HP LaserJet printers.
  • The best choice for printing from third-party or custom software programs.
  • The best choice when operating with mixed environments, which require the printer to be set to PCL 5 (UNIX, Linux, mainframe).
  • Designed for use in corporate Windows environments to provide a single driver for use with multiple printer models.
  • Preferred when printing to multiple printer models from a mobile Windows computer.
Download additional printer drivers from this Web site: www.hp.com/support, click Software and Drivers, and enter the printer product number.

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