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HP Designjet 5500 Series Printers - Using the Front Panel Menus

Action keys and print-quality lights

Action keys

  • Cancel: stop printing and loading while they are in progress, cancel dry time, and cancel nest waiting.
  • Load/unload: load and unload printing material.
  • Print quality: select the print mode (max quality, productivity, production, or max speed).

Print-quality lights

The green lights indicate the print mode you have selected. Each time you press the print quality key, the lights change. Two green lights indicate that you have selected production mode.

Printer setup menu

  • Device setup
  • I/O setup
  • Utilities
  • Internal RIP settings
  • Queuing & nesting
  • HP-GL/2 settings
  • Page format
  • Demos
    There are new options in all of these sub-menus, except I/O setup and HP-GL/2 settings.

Device setup menu

  • TUR installed (no/yes)
  • Cutter (on/off)
  • Graphics language (CALS-G4/HP-GL-2/PostScript*/PDF*/TIFF/JPEG/automatic)
  • Drying time
    • Automatic
    • None
    • Manual (1…255 min)
  • Pen check
    • Optimized
    • Manual (every 1...255 plots)
    • Next plot
  • Heater
    • Automatic
    • None
    • Manual (10...100%)
  • Sleep mode (30/60/120/150/180/210/240 min)
* on PostScript(R) model only

Graphics language menu

The printer prints HP-GL/2, CALS-G4, PDF, TIFF and JPEG files directly.
The default and recommended option for the graphic language setting is Automatic, which enables the printer to change its behavior depending on the type of file received. Select a specific language option instead of Automatic if the application in use sends files to the printer without identification headers.

Printhead check frequency (pen check)

The key to high printhead performance is a suitable strategy for checking and preparing them to print. HP has optimized the frequency of printhead checking for the HP Designjet 5500 series, thus decreasing total print time. Adjust the frequency of checks manually to increase printhead maintenance and to ensure image quality, or to avoid printhead maintenance and get higher throughput.
To adjust the frequency of printhead checking, choose the printer Setup icon, then Device Setup and Pen Check.
  • Optimized. This is the default and recommended option. Checking frequency is set automatically.
  • Next plot. The printheads will be checked the next time a job is sent to the printer.
  • Manual. Manually set the checking frequency from each job to once every 255 jobs.
    It is not recommended to set a long period between printhead checks. The printer uses the information from the printhead check to decide which nozzles to use, until the next printhead check refreshes that information. Nozzle quality can vary in between printhead checks, affecting image quality.

Adjusting the heater

When the printing material emerges from the printer, it passes over a wide strip of metal that is gently warmed. This tends to improve image quality and helps the ink to dry. The heater is set to work automatically, varying the level of heat according to the type of printing material. In most cases, this automatic setting will give the best results. However, the heat setting can be manually selected in unusual environmental conditions (for example, high humidity), or if non-HP printing material is being used. The heater can also be turned off completely.
To adjust the heater manually, choose the printer Setup icon, Device setup, Heater, and Manual. Select from 10 to 100% of maximum heat.
Increasing the heat will tend to dry the ink faster, but too much heat can cause image-quality defects.
The heater can also be turned off by choosing the printer Setup icon, Device setup, Heater, and None.

Setting sleep-mode timer

The printer automatically goes into sleep mode after a period of inactivity (30 minutes by default) in which it uses less power.
To adjust the sleep-mode timer manually, choose the printer Setup icon, Device setup, and Sleep Mode. Scroll to the appropriate setting and press Enter.
In Sleep Mode, the front-panel display and status indicators turn off, but the indicator light above the Sleep-Mode key turns on. The printer “wakes up” immediately when the sleep-mode key (or any other key) is pressed on the front panel or when there is any I/O activity, such as the receipt of a file.

Utilities menu

  • Replace ink system (no/yes)
  • Track media length (yes/no)
  • Usage (print usage / view usage)
  • Menu mode (short/full)
  • Calibrations - printhead alignment, color calibration, accuracy, banding
  • Reset webaccess password
  • Test prints - (HP-GL-2 / service config / network-card config / usage report / image-quality print)
  • Statistics - (RAM present / hard disk / code rev / PS code rev* / PS font code* / service ID / num cycles / boot ROM)
  • Default menu
  • Display contrast (up/down)
  • Clean platen
  • Lens maintenance
* on PostScript models only

Banding calibration

Banding calibration attempts to eliminate the problem of banding by optimizing media-advance settings to suit the specific media type and environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature. It is available only for media types with short drying times: all HP coated papers, HP Bright White Inkjet Paper, HP Productivity Photo Gloss, and HP Productivity Photo Semi-Gloss. It is only useful in the faster print modes (max speed and production).

Performing banding calibration

Do not send any further job to the printer while performing the banding calibration. Otherwise, the job may be printed among the calibration patterns.
Follow the steps below to perform banding calibration:
  1. Select the Setup Menu icon on the front panel.
  2. Select Utilities, Calibrations, Banding, and Recalibrate.
    The printer prints the calibration print nine times using nine different media-advance settings, in the print mode currently selected in the front panel. This takes about seven minutes, depending on the print mode and the media type.
  3. When prompted to select a print in the front panel, choose the print that shows the best image quality, in your opinion; or select Cancel to cancel the calibration.
Whenever you use the selected media type in future, the media-advance settings that you chose will be used. You can repeat the process for another media type.

Reverting to the original settings

If you decide after calibration that your image quality is worse than before, you can return to the original settings.
Follow the steps below to revert to the original settings:
  1. Select the Setup Menu icon on the front panel.
  2. Select Utilities, Calibrations, Banding, and Restore Factory.

Internal RIP settings

  • Start printing (optimized/immediately/after processing)
  • Ink emulation
  • CMYK
  • RGB
  • Color calibration (off/on)
  • Align calibration (on/off)
  • Black replacement off/on
  • Scale (100 ... 419% / fit to page)
  • PS encoding* (software* / binary* / ASCII*)
* on PostScript model only

Ink emulation

The HP Designjet 5500 printer can emulate the color behavior of offset printing presses as well as the usual RGB monitors. To get accurate color for a proof, select the CMYK color emulation mode that matches your offset printing standards. The selections are:

CMYK ink emulation

  • Native: no CMYK emulation
  • SWOP: U.S. Specification for Web Offset Printing
  • Toyo: Japanese standard for offset press
  • JMPA: Japanese standard for offset press
  • EuroScale: European standard for offset press
  • DIC: DAINIPPON Ink Company
    These settings have no effect if the application is defining its own CMYK space, known as calibrated CMYK or CIEBasedDEFG in PostScript terminology.

RGB ink emulation

  • Native
  • sRGB
  • Apple RGB
  • Adobe(R) RGB
  • Colormatch RGB
    These settings have no effect if the application is defining its own RGB space, known as calibrated RGB or CIEBasedABC in PostScript terminology.

Printhead alignment calibration

The HP Designjet 5500 printer performs an alignment automatically whenever you replace a printhead or load a new media type. However, this calibration is very long (approximately 17 minutes depending on media type). To increase productivity, you can turn off this feature on the front panel of the printer.

Turning off automatic alignment

Follow the steps below to turn off automatic alignment:
  1. Select the Setup Menu icon on the front panel.
  2. Select internal RIP Settings, Align Calibration, and Off

Requesting a printhead alignment

Request a printhead alignment from the front panel at any time. The printer aligns the printheads immediately, or, if an image is being printed, as soon as the current print job is finished. The alignment procedure requires a minimum paper size of A1/D-size (24 inches). When the front panel displays ready, the printer is ready. Make sure the printer window and the right door are closed after you replace the HP supplies. The printer will not print while these are open.
Follow the steps below to request a printhead alignment:
  1. Select the Setup Menu icon on the front panel.
  2. Select Internal Utilities, Calibrations, and Printhead Alignment

Queuing and nesting

The HP Designjet 5500 series printers give you the option of turning off the print queue. When this option is selected, jobs are deleted from the queue once they are printed. This remedies the security issues that arose with the print queue having no shut off feature

Page format

  • Size
  • Inked area
  • Extrawide (1.0 × 1.4 m / 42 × 59 inches / 44 × 62 inches / 1.2 × 1.7 m / 52 × 73 inches / 54 × 76 inches / 60 × 100 inches)
  • Oversize (over A2 / over A1)
  • Arch (best ARCH / ARCH A...E1)
  • JIS (best JIS B / JIS B4...B1)
  • ANSI (Best ANSI / ANSI A...E)
  • ISO (Best ISO A / ISO A4...A0)
  • Software
  • Rotate (0...270)
  • Margins (normal/extended/smaller)
  • Nest spacing (automatic/manual (0...30 mm))
  • Mirroring (on/off)


The HP Designjet 5500 series printer adds new margin functionality with the addition of smaller margins. Smaller margins are primarily designed and recommended for CAD line drawings.
To select and change internal margin settings, choose the Setup Menu icon, Page Format, and Margins. Choose the appropriate margin setting (Extended, Normal, Smaller) and press Enter. The margin settings are described in the table below:
Top margin
17 mm (sheet)
17 mm (sheet)
5 mm
7 mm (roll)
15 mm (roll)
Side margins
7 mm
15 mm
5 mm
Bottom margin
35 mm
35 mm
5 mm